Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Best Seventh Anniversary

Here we are again, the 31st of May again.

Lately it seems I've had a lot of people asking me how long I'm going to keep blogging.  They also ask how long I'm going to keep using this phone.

I like both just fine. No plans to quit either.

But, truth be told, I'm holding out for a job that gives me a Blackberry. And a job that forces me to diminish my web presence. For the sake of the nation's safety. Or their image.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Best Happy Memorial Day

No one is working today, right?  No one is at work and killing time by looking at blogs, right?  Well, it's a good thing you came over today because that little movie Jeff made of himself roller skating on the Williamsburg Bridge has made its way onto the internet.

See you back at work this week with posts about two significant anniveraries, thoughts on the Tree of Life, the three other books I read last week, pictures of friends at two different but similar social gatherings, and who knows what else?  Maybe record reviews?  Maybe a picture of something I ate?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Best M Wells, They Wish They Could Be As Good As You

Tonight I went to M Wells in Long Island City with Carol.  Lots of great things have been said and written as of late (consider this NY Times review, for example) about this relatively new fancy diner (or fancy restaurant inside a diner) so we had a visit.

The menu is intimidating and the prices of the Big Dishes baffling until you see how big these big dishes are.  For example, the $42 hamburger?  It's meant to be shared by a group, it looks like something you'd see on Man vs. Food.  We had wanted to try the Canadian Pork Shoulder but they ran out before we could order it, but our neighbors at the counter had it and it was gigantic.  We ordered from the small dishes and, in spite of universal recommendation (consider this excerpt from the Times review: Also first-rate: a plate of veal brains that displayed the sort of sauté skills generally associated only with the very highest level of classical French cooking. They are served as two slightly crisp lobes. They do not look like much. But the exterior gives way to clouds of flavor. It is brain panna cotta, essentially, and if it is on the menu it is an absolute must-order even if this sentence freaks you out.), couldn't bring ourselves to try the veal brains.  Not this time.

We started with the Caesar Salad with Smoked Herring Dressing.  You could really taste the herring.  Don't understand why they scrimped on the parmesan, though.

Next up, the Tuna with Capers, Garlic, and Egg Yolk Sauce.  Just wonderful.  Look at it!  Maybe a little out of focus, but you can tell how delicious it is just by looking at it.

Workers working hard on making everything delicious.  Service was great, attentive and caring.

Lastly, the Butter Chicken--a very mild chicken tikka masala kind of thing on an English Muffin.  Profoundly delicious and I don't know who was the clever one that decided to put it on a muffin but it's a very good trick.  And back there in the back . . .

The Soft-Shell Crab Club Sandwich . . . because of course the club sandwich has soft-shell crab in it!  Biting through crab and biting through chewy bacon, it's not so different.

And for dessert . . . a nice normal slice of banana cream pie.  Because this is a diner after all.

My Final Declaration re: M Wells: This place kicks.  The dishes weren't just inventive but delicious as well, everyone in the establishment was clearly having a great time—while waiting in line for the bathroom I found myself comparing meals with the rest of the queue.  I haven't had such a good feeling about a place since my first meal at a certain four-syllable restaurant that starts with an M and ends with a U.  I'm looking forward to my next visit, hopefully with a band of food lovers so we can attack the Meat, Loaf or Burger and hopefully with at least one other person willing to try the veal brains.

And also, yes, this place is in Queens but it's right outside the second stop off the 7 train, getting there could not be easier.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Best I Read This Too

When I read Infinite Jest two years ago there came a point towards the end of the book where I realized their wasn't going to be a conclusion.  And in reading the Pale King, there came a point towards the end of the book where I realized there wasn't going to be a story.

The thing that is so understated and underemphasized in everything I'd read and that I read about the Pale King is that is an unfinished work.  It is a very nice collection of vignettes and stories, some just a paragraph, others well over fifty pages long, related to an idea for a book David Foster Wallace was working on.  There is some very great stuff in here, particularly in the first half of the book, but the most interesting part of the book is at the end where the editor has included some unused notes and ideas DFW had for the different chapters and books, clues of where this whole thing was headed.

I like what we got, but I wish we could have taken the whole trip.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Best Second Half

Remember that podcast I do with Steve?  Curious Kittens?  Well it still exists and Episode Six, the second half of our conversation with Brad the UFO expert is now online!

The highlight of this episode is Brad's story about being on the Williamsburg waterfront, seeing what appeared to be a UFO above him in the sky, and shortly after that being approached by "people" he believes were not of this Earth. I know, it sounds crazy to read it here but listen to the tale.  It's a curious one.

Click here to go experience Curious Kittens Episode Six!

Best Friday Night at the Jersey Loews

There was this time I had been in San Francisco and I needed to get back to San Marino.
I recognized the opportunity I had to take the 1 home along the coast wasn't sure if I wanted to make the extra time commitment . . . couldn't I take the scenic route some other time.  I mulled it over for a bit, recognized that "some other time" might be in a pretty long time, and took advantage of the opportunity.  It was long, but it was good, I'm glad I did it and I haven't had another chance to do it ever since.

Friday night Barry Lyndon was playing at the Jersey City Loews.  I'd never seen it, I was curious to see it, but I also felt like just going home.  I mulled it over a bit, recognized this might be my one opportunity to ever see it on the big screen, and took advantage of the opportunity.  It was long, but it was good, and I'm glad I watched it.

The film plays out in two halves.  The first half might be my favorite movie of 2011.  I thought it was very funny . . . I'm not sure if it was supposed to be funny, no, there was definitely a sense of humor at play.  Definitely.  Second half: Not necessarily as funny and I certainly thought less of Barry, but what a final duel!

Anything you ever read about Barry Lyndon mentions how Kubrick wanted to film it without the aid of electrical light, meaning many an interior scene illuminated only by candlelight.  For these scenes he used a specially rigged camera with a 50mm Zeiss f/0.7 lens.  I did not want this little post on Barry Lyndon to be without that data.  And now that I understand apertures a little bit, the existence of an f/0.7 lens just boggles my mind.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Best This Was My Facebook Status Friday

Yesterday's news, but . . .

Re: the unfortunate passing of Randy Macho Man Savage,
Does this count as being caught up in the Rapture?
And in the resurrection, will he spring from the ground or come falling from the sky, dropping the ultimate flying elbow on all of

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Best Week's Eatings

Last week longstanding plans and unexpected invitations lead to four nights of excellent eating.  Let me show you!

Monday Night

Cory was in town and, unexpectedly, he was available for dining Monday night so we went to RUB for burgers as I hadn't been there for months!  On the left, the evening's special Burnt Ends Burger and on the right, their wonderful RUB Burger.

Tuesday Night

Pearl was in New York, as she occasionally is, and wanted to know if I'd like to join her and her mom for dinner at Momofuku.  Yup, that sounds like something I'd like to do.  So I did it.

I found the Noodle Bar's cauliflower/golden raisin/brown butter vastly improved from when I had had it in January.  It was sitting on something creamy, whatever that creamy stuff was is what made it better.

The roasted potato dish is now served with ramps, hoisin sauce, and bonito.

Crispy lamb belly with green apple and olive.  Let me just say it: a rare Momofuku misfire.

Not a misfire: flank steak with watercress, butternut squash and egg yolk. 

Just so you know: this is how I look when I'm being brought my food at Momofuku.

Wednesday Night

After months and months of planning with Emily, met up with a bunch of amigos at Ma Peche (the midtown Momofuku) for their Beef 7 Ways dinner.

Here's the menu:

Here's the diners,

Suzi and Stevie

Paul and Emily

Micah and Amber

And me and Cory and a beef rib

And here are our many courses of beef:

Tendon, Basil, Watercress Salad with Plum Vinaigrette.  One of the most delicious of all the courses!  The old beef tendon dish at the Ssam Bar had me prepared for this out of the ordinary protein.  I think I've developed a taste for tendon, the lasagna noodle of beef.

Wagyu Carpaccio with Ginger Scallion.  Perhaps my pallet is not refined enough to appreciate carpaccio, it just tastes like lunchmeat to me.

Not beef: Fluke with Blood Orange, Avocado, and Black Rice.  Don't let the dish (the actual dish) deceive you, there's a lot more in there than it looks.  It's a deep pile and very nice.

Here's the fixins for wrapping up the rest of our beefs:

Look at this beautiful lettuce flower!

Beef Ribs in Kunz Ketchup with Masago and Scallion.  The question remains: What is Kunz ketchup?

Meat Pie with Potato and Onion.

Meat pie bisected.  Do you care to know what that meat is?  It's tongue.  A gigantic mass of ground tongue . . . delicious on Wednesday night, leaves a lingering flavor you regret on Thursday morning.

Terribly out of focus but terribly delicious: Carrots with Bone Marrow, Chili, and Lime.  From my experience, any Ma Peche vegetable dish is going to treat you very right.

Black rice with something and something and something else.

Warm Asparagus with Egg, King Crab, and Chili Butter.

Back to beef!  Ribeye!

Brisket with Marrow, Chili Jam, and Shallots.  Very nice, picture does not do it any sort of justice.

Final beef course: Oxtail Soup with Tamarind, Mint, and Cilantro.  At first I thought this little shot of soup was a lame way to finish off the meal, a wimp-out course, but actually I liked it very much.

Final Opinion of Beef 7 Ways: A nice meal, a pricy meal . . . but as far as Momofuku large-format meals go, I rank it below the Bo Ssam and Fried Chicken.


No photos, but I had Brooklyn tacos with Bryndee.  And nachos.  It was a two way birthday celebration.  Where did we go?  You know, that place on Graham Avenue that I don't know the name of.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Best Visit to the Javits Center

Something that you might not know about me is that I love trade shows.  I love seeing booth after booth after booth of people doing kind of the same thing in the same industry.  I'm being serious!  I'm not making it up!  I'll go to just about any tradeshow I'm invited to, particularly the National Stationery Show!

I was the invited guest of Lifestyle Crafts out of Orem, Utah.  I walked the floor a bit, got creeped out by artists trying to sell their personal lines of greeting cards and made nervous by vendors who started talking serious shop to me because they saw I was an "Exhibitor."

So I went over to "my" booth to see what it was that I made and met up with Lifestyle's Director of Marketing, Laura.

She showed off their line of products,

And fellow Lifestyler Kylie gave me a demo of their/our letterpressing and die cutting machines.  Here she lays out the cut for a cupcake crown . . .

Et voila, cupcake crown!

Lifestyle Crafts seems like a great business with a great line of products that I can see crafty types just eating up and I'm proud to be associated with it.  I bet these people all wind up millionaires if they aren't already.

The National Stationery Show runs through Thursday but I don't think you can go to it if you aren't in the business.  But if you want to go real bad I bet that can be arranged.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Best Second Annual Chicago Birthday, pt. 3

First of all, did you guys realize blogger was down at the end of last week? Even if I had had the time to finish these Chicago posts I wouldn't have been able to. Anyway . . .

Sunday afternoon I told my mom goodbye because she had meetings that afternoon and wouldn't be back before I went back to New York.  I wish I had smiled better for this picture, but these are my folks and they look good.

Before Jeff drove back to Nashville we made a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry (this is what it looks like by the back entrance, if you didn't know).

We were there to see the U505 exhibit.  What am I talking about?  Well, during WWII German U-boats caused a lot of trouble for the Allied forces, as these mannequins show us.

And as many a display told us.

And as various interactive dioramas also showed us.

BUT did you know that us, the US, caught a U-boat off the coast of Africa?  And that it's at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago now?  And that it's the greatest museum exhibit you could possibly imagine?  All true!

For $8 you can take a tour of the inside of the U505 and it's totally worth it.  Did you know it only had two bathrooms?  And that the coolest room on board was 93 degrees?  And that everyone would go the whole trip without bathing (meaning 60 days or so).  That's why they nicknamed them swine boats.

One of the big scores of capturing the U505 was there was a German Enigma code machine on board along with hundreds of pounds (or was it thousands?) of code books.  An engima machine could generate something like seventeen septillion permutations of its code.  Sheesh!

The U505 exhibit provides children with an unusually high amount of opportunities to play like they're Nazis, though. Which is a little odd.

For example, via simulator I successfully navigated my Nazi submarine away from Allied depth charges and was rewarded with a sticker for the accomplishment.

After our visit to the U505, which we were at for about two hours but probably could have spent four hours at, we drove around Hyde Park looking for a certain home . . .

Can you guess the owner of this house?  Perhaps click the photo and read the signs for important clues.  Or click here for the answer.

Then we told Jeff goodbye, took a long ride on the L, ate a proper Sunday dinner, and caught our flight out of Midway.

Goodbye, Chicago!

During the flight I did this.  With my foot.  On accident.  Another thing that happened during the flight: the pilot announced the news about Osama Bin Laden.  But I was asleep and missed it.

Hello, Newark.  You've never looked so good.

All in all, it was a super-awesome weekend.  Can't wait for my Third Annual Chicago Birthday.  Will you be there?  Stop being lame, just say yes.