Green eggs and Dominican salami

Tags

, , , ,

Alright, I need to sober up already. I can’t sleep anymore that’s for sure, my cats wont let me, no they just start circling me like a couple of vultures demanding food by meowing and purring till they have woken me from my slumber. Why should they care if I need my sleep; there is food in the cupboard and they know it, and that’s all that matters to these two greedy cats.

They aren’t alone, I need food too. If I am to sober up any time soon I need two things: Emergen-C, and an egg-cheese-with some sort of pork product sandwich, oh yeah, and freshly squeezed orange juice…guess that makes three things.

I get dressed put on my sunglasses and head down to the bodega. Christ it isn’t even sunny outside. It doesn’t matter, the glasses stay, nobody must see my eyes when I’m in such a state, for if they did they would see the truth…That my eyes are two little lost souls drowning in a river, which flowed right down to my liver, which is an island in an ocean of Tequila and Rum.

I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s all really good Tequila and Rum, it’s just a lot of really good Tequila and Rum.

I used to just go to the Mexicans for breakfast, and if I wanted chorizo this morning, I guess I still would be. But I have started perfecting my own breakfast sandwich, and as far as I am concerned I have everyone beat.

Breakfast in this neighborhood comes on a myriad on vehicles. For $3.50 at the bodega you can get egg cheese and bacon, ham or sausage on a roll. If it’s a fancy bodega you can switch up the cheese, because something all these places had in common was that if you didn’t specify, it would be implied that you wanted american.

If I went to the mexicans, I could get my sandwich on a bagel or even croisant for $3 dollars, and over at the Cuchifritos breakfast is served on a hero for $2.50. The Bodega down by Becky’s house makes a breakfast wrap made with four eggs for $5, which honestly I cannot eat by myself. I guess you could hit the Burger King, or McDonalds, but with all these mom and pop options, why bother?

Don’t get me wrong, if I am driving cross country, am in the middle of nowhere, and there is a McDonalds, I am thankful for that classic egg McMuffin. But I live in a neighborhood full of immigrants, and even though they trump the fast food chains, I believe I can do better myself. I won’t even consider trying White Castle.

I have perfected breakfast, with a twist. Ham is boring, bacon is passe, and frozen sausage patties just don’t sound good when I actually think about them. So I have started using Dominican salami. I spice up the eggs by mixing in habanero sauce in with the eggs while I scramble them. The eggs do become green, which is fun to look at if not anything else I guess. As for cheese, I prefer american cheese, because honestly between the salami and the hot sauce, the flavor is covered. A slice or two of melted cheese always serves to bond the two nicely. 

I honestly never feel that much of a need for bread, the tortilla simply enables breakfast to eaten with my hands. So in the end you got yourself a breakfast burrito of sorts, and have that with a side of fresh oj and the road to sobering up becomes evident.

Now I need to buy some fresh oranges and a juicer and the middle man is cut out entirely. Well I guess technically the middle man is truly cut out when I grow my own orange trees, and raise my own pigs and chickens. Come to think of it, I am willing to pay someone else to deal with that. The image of me still drunk from the night before trying to slaughter a pig and squeeze oranges doesn’t sound appealing. I’m sure I would look a lot like the Swedish chef.

The sauce was red, and the girl golden

Tags

, , , , ,

You’d think this would have been the first post. Whenever I cook red sauce, I always envisioned it being so poetic to write about, and the process in which I go thru to make it. It’s nothing special I guess, or maybe it is. Maybe it’s been so long since I made it that I have forgotten how magical it really is. But this clearly can’t be the case because I know that I still find the whole process magical… just not in the David Blane sense either.

Becky and I went to the store to get the ingredients. She had plans of her own, she was along for the ride, she knew my sauce and the mystique that surrounded it. She couldn’t help herself, she was Jewish, and Jews are powerless to the flavor of authentic Italian food. Not that fake gumba slop they served in so-called-Italian Restaurants out in Long Island, or as my Chinese friends say “Ron Irand”, and definitely not Olive Garden or as my Chinese friends say (Awriv Garden).

How obnoxious is that, bottomless pasta, like you really need more than one bowl you fat fuck. Yea, what better to wash down nasty ass greasy white trash pasta than with breads sticks. Whenever I trash Olive Garden the 1st defense I always hear is how good their breadsticks are. Breadsticks are the hallmark of White Trashville U.S.A.. That’s how you know you live in a place with no class, someone somewhere is serving breadsticks. Well I guess I just cancelled out the entire continental U.S., this is obviously a difficult topic for me, lets move on.

Shopping is simple, you get two big bunches of fresh basil, two bulbs of garlic, about twelve links of sweet fennel sausage, and tomatoes. Some people brag about using real tomatoes, but I could honestly care less. I prefer to use Pomi. They are the ones in box. They are imported from Italy, and when you look at the ingredients, all it says is “Tomates”. I don’t want salt, oil or anything else, I’ll ad those things myself.

I used sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and cayenne pepper, because the spice must flow. In goes the tomatoes, salt, pepper and cayenne to taste, olive oil you can use liberally. Pomi will require 2 boxes of chopped, 1 box of strained, 13 cloves of garlic pressed right into the sauce. I know some people talk about grilling the garlic, or throwing in grilled onion, but I prefer to press fresh garlic right into the sauce. As for the basil, I go heavy, so wash thoroughly, chop as fine as possible and throw it in.

If you’re vegetarian you can leave it as is and slow cook it on a low flame for three to four hours, and remember to constantly stir. I hate going to restaurants tasting sauce that has clearly been burned, if you keep stirring on low heat, you will avoid this. However if you like meat… now is the time to put it in. Any meat I put in I like to grill or broil first. I’m going to broil the sausage links till the skin is lightly crisp, then I’ll put them in the sauce. If I make meatballs, I am going to grill them on the stove top, other wise, spare ribs get a light broil, along with braciole.

You always need something to do at this point, because you shouldn’t leave the kitchen; the sauce needs to be stirred. I poured some Schweppes, and Becky opens her laptop to read an ebook she just download. Becky has discovered an underground scene of erotic fetish novels, the latest that she is reading is about a girl who chronicles her sex-capades among unsuspecting men whom she seduces. Everything seems pretty tame till the woman reveals her true intentions. For the woman in the book leaves a stain after having seduced the the men she meets.

The stain being that she likes to wet the mattress of whomever she seduces. First waiting till the men are asleep before she does this, until she progresses into doing it during intercourse. She lies to the men, tells them that they excite her so much that she is spraying. This makes the men fill full of machismo, but the last laugh is on her, because in reality she is merely pissing on them. The book was titled “Golden Girl”, however I felt it should have been called “P-notes from the underground”.

The book occupied us enough in between testing and sampling the sauce. When you cook it’s easy to get carried away testing. By the time it was ready all we wanted was a couple of sausage links, or as my Chinese friends say…rinks.

After dinner, Becky packs a bowl and asks is she can borrow my pipe. Pipes, books, cd’s (anyone still use these) are all things I have learned never to loan out.Nine times out of ten they never come back. I tell her I bought mine at the gas station, she doesn’t believe me so I go with her to the gas station to prove it. The plastic container in which I bought my pipe from is still there, however now it is just filled with lighters. So I ask the guy behind the counter if they have any pipes. He give me a strange look as he hesitates. Finally he reaches behing the counter and pulls out something that look like a clear pen. Then I realize it’s a crack pipe.

I laugh, and tell him no, that wasn’t what I was looking for. I am shocked, really, a crack pipe? I thought for sure that craze was over. Crack just seems really retro and passe. Do people really go to the corner store to but a pipe?

Just out of curiosity I asked how much for the pipe, the man told me two dollars, I should have bought it as a momento. A sign of the times.

The end product

Becky reading “Golden Girl”

Piss Happens

Tags

, , ,

I have several memories of living with my mom after her and my dad split. One memory was how she could hear everything in her sleep, almost like everything but her ears went to sleep. She could be asleep in her bedroom and I could be at the furthermost point in the house, down the hall, past the living room and kitchen in the dinning room, rustle a few papers and she would storm in livid wondering what all the noise was about. Staying with Angela is never easy when she is there. She goes to sleep before me, and when she hits the sack, that’s it, everything has to be out, and not just the lights. Angela’s room is but just a tiny room of sheetrock in a giant wood framed warehouse. The ceiling goes more than 20 ft high and the walls are simply sheets of metal. Needless to say the temperature plummets at night. Not like it would matter if it wasn’t cold there is no couch, just some uncomfortable chairs sitting on a cold hard unforgiving concrete floor.

2:30 in the morning: Angela is asleep, I am awake, and really at a loss of what to do with myself. Normally I would just drink till I got tired however there is nothing in the house. Desperate, I run out of the house hoping to find a bodega I could buy some beer at. All i find after a few blocks is an old man walking his dog who informs me you can’t buy alcohol anywhere after 2am. I walk back to Angela’s cursing under my breath when it dawns on me, I have a bottle of Saki in the fridge that Nori gave me. Back in the game baby, lets get to it. I’ll have a little Saki while watching the daily show, catch up on that wonderful train-wreck of a republican primary, and go to bed.

So I pour some Saki into a coffee mug, light a cigarette by the front door, drinking and blowing smoke through the gate, as things slowly get foggy, just right for sleeping. Like my mom, Angela too has the super power to hear things that she shouldn’t while sleeping. In this case it was me, pissing on the carpet in her newly christened sacred corner for meditation. I have no idea how she can hear my urinating, I certainly can’t. What I can hear however is Angela yelling my name asking me if I was pissing on her carpet. What the hell is going on? Where am I? I’m not dreaming, I’m not home, I’m in a thick fog, and I have no idea what is going on.

I open my eye’s and I am standing in her little meditation corner not knowing how I got here but knowing full well that I need to go to the bathroom and shower. I stumble out of the shower and notice it is 5 am, the Saki bottle on the counter is empty and can swear I went to sleep at some point.

I am not right in my head, and I cannot think straight let alone form a complete sentence. I need to sleep. Angela yells and asks if I am on drugs and tells me I cannot sleep. Bullshit. Too much alcohol in my system, too little sleep, too little time to ingest what is obviously still in me. I throw on clothes and immediately leave the warehouse.

I text a friend in the mission letting them know I need to sleep, its past 5am, so the trains must now be running again. From stumbling to the subway to the actual ride I fell back into a fog. Until I arrive at my friends house and crash into bed.

I awake and find I’m alone, with the bed and apartment to myself. I know exactly what happened last night/this morning before… I look at my phone and there is a text from Angela: “you need to get your stuff and find another place to stay”.

I apologize, and mentioned that I was ashamed and all, but she isn’t having it. She claims I am wrong for leaving the scene of the crime to clean it up. Stating that she would never do that to me. Here lies a line that we will not get past.

I honestly feel what I did was a minor infraction, but that’s the level I am operating on. This is when real friendship is tested.  The more my head clears the more I think of what I would have done in her shoes… Let her sleep and just dealt with it the next day. Obviously Angela thinks differently… she thinks I should have just magically come out of my drunkenness and fixed things immediately.

That’s a nice thought in a parallel universe, but on planet earth, we have this thing called gravity.

We argue in text messages for a minute, she claims it isn’t about the carpet but the fact that I didn’t clean up. A couple of text messages later its about the carpet. Listen if its about the carpet, I’ll replace it, god knows the one I pissed one was a piece of shit. And if it’s a bout me being a decent person, well if she has known me 10 years now and if she is undecided on whether or not I am decent, well then I need to pull a big ass rabbit out of this hat.

I call Tony, and tell ask him if I can crash with him for a couple of days till I head back to New York. He asked me what’s wrong… says he can hear the sound of stress in my voice. I tell him I have been banished from Angela’s house.

“Really? what did you do”

“I pissed on her carpet”

“like you did this in the middle of an argument?”

“no I got drunk”

“on what?”

“Saki”

“oh no J…were you chugging it”

“maybe”

“what kind of cup?”

“coffee mug”

Tony laugh’s at me, “oh I can see it now, you know there is a reason they give you that stuff in a little cup. How many Coffee cups did you drink?”

I remember drinking like I just came in from the desert, like I hadn’t had any form of liquid in days. 1st cup, went down easy, but didn’t really feel anything, so I poured a 2nd, still no effect, then I started drinking a 3rd, and half way through I started feeling the 1st two cups.

I tell Tony I need to get my stuff from Angela’s so we agree to meet in west Oakland. I walk out on mission and 19th and head for 16th. On the way I see Grand Donut shop and realize one: I haven’t eaten yet today and two: The donuts have got to be fresh, and this is one of the best places in the mission to get a glazed buttermilk bar. At $1.25 a pop, this place is a god send.

When I got back to Oakland, tony is waiting for me at the BART station. We head to angel’s place where all my stuff is in a pile in front of her room. She stares me right in the eye, as if I am an alien. She doesn’t know what to make of me, and she is still cleaning the carpet 11 hours later. She must be pissed.

I load up the car and go to close the front door of her warehouse and Angela magically appears at the front door to close it herself. She gives me a long stare and ask’s me if I have anything else I would like to say. She wants to stick me threw a verbal meat-grinder, I can see it in her eyes. For me just get my stuff and leave is not enough for her. Well if that’s what she wants, then she can just go on craigslist and find a guy to fuck in the ass. I am not that person.

I look at Angela dead in the eyes and in a dry tone say “no”. When I get in the car with Tony I ask if its bad that I am having a hard time feeling guilty. He just sort of mumbles and leaves it at that.

Tony has an errand to run when we leave and while driving to it I see a carpet warehouse and laugh. Tony gets lost and winds up driving in a circle and we pass by the warehouse again. Its at that point I just stare at it a realize what I must obviously do. Christ it’s practically staring me in the face, what the fuck is wrong with me. On the outside of the carpet warehouse is a phone number in large print on the outside and I know I must write down this number. Tony speeds up before I can write anything down and I have missed my opportunity. Just then Tony starts to complain that he has missed his turn and once again we go in a 3rd circle and I tell tony to slow down so I can get the number.

I punch the number in my phone and call. Once an operator answers I began to inquire about purchasing a carpet. “So is it possible for me to just walk in and buy a carpet, how do you guys operate?”. When she confirms I start asking about what size I need and what price range I was looking at. I had Tony turn around immediately and we went inside and met with a short middle-aged saleswoman who lead us into a room filled full of carpets. I start to dig through a pile of throw rugs until I find something I am looking for. That’s it, we roll it up and Tony looks at me approving and walks back to the truck to throw the carpet in while I paid.

We get back to Angela’s and I call her saying that I forgot something and could she please come open the door for me. When she opens the door I just put the carpet rolled in plastic in front of her as a peace offering. She looks directly at me, smiles, and asks me if I really forgot anything and to which I once again say “no”. She gives me a hug and says “Next time please just clean up your mess”. I just turn and around and sort of grumble gibberish in a low tone. I need food, need to go clean up, and need to get the fuck out of the sun.

Angela didn’t say it but I fully understand why she was upset. The whole time I have stayed with her she has talked about self help seminars and learning meditation technics. Just a couple weeks earlier she was at a ten day silent meditation retreat that she stayed at through Christmas and new years eve. Angela is working very hard to be focused, to maintain a strong sense of order and has been proudly vocal about this. I am sure that my little ball of recklessness was just a giant monkey wrench fucking up her entire production. I know this, and that is not something I honestly care to be.

I get back in the truck and Tony is giving me a very big smile of approval as he bobs his head up and down like a chimp. I just pissed on a good friends carpet and I think it’s completely hilarious. The piss, the drunken train-ride, the carpet, and now I can laugh about it practically guilt-free. The true beauty of this is that I have neutralized a very explosive situation in less than twelve hours all for the low price of $50, lets hear it for Chinese labor.

The Amish came to Brooklyn.

Tags

, , , , ,

I arose from the subway at Eastern Parkway and headed south down Utica. Its the 5th of October yet nobody seems to have gotten the memo. Down every block there are smoking BBQ drums slowly cooking jerk chicken and corn on the cob. I want to buy some now, but I’m headed to a client’s house a few blocks away. I must wait, it would be poor etiquete to show up with food, that I probably wasn’t going to eat anyway, seeing I would have my hands full with Kadia’s computer. I’ll get it on the way back, no problem.

I get in and notice Kadia and her relatives from Trinidad are in the Kitchen waiting for me. The house is a tight squeeze, the the lid to the trash can has a motion detector, and they clear an end table to be my workspace. Couldn’t be more than a foot and a half in diameter, the true test of a professional.

I sat down, gave the laptop a once over, Kadia talked on her iPhone, and her cousin just stood in the doorway watching me take apart a laptop, in my lap. The table was where I decided to put my tools, replacement screen plus whatever screws that I pulled out of it. 30 minutes later and I was done. Pop!

I asked about the smoking drums over on Utica and if they were legit. We talk about jerk chicken and I mentioned Peppas. They already knew about Peppas and asked if I knew about Ali’s. I was one step ahead of them….or so I thought. I have been to Ali’s on Flatbush, but the same people own one on Utica, and word is, it’s better. Furreal??

I wanted jerk chicken from the drum, but fuck it, let’s be honest; I had been craving Roti for almost 2 weeks now, Ali’s was on the way to the train station, and that’s all there is to be said. Ali’s was the loudest spot in the block, selling cheap jewelry on a folding table out front, next to a sound system, where on a table a DJ ran thru selections and sold mixes as well. I heard a dance hall version of “rain drops falling on my head”… The fuck?

This is as official as a west indian neighborhood can get in NYC. The woman here tend to be much darker, with unique curves to their shape. Then there’s the hair: if it’s a wig, its dreadful, if it’s their own hair it’s relaxed, and if it’s a weave, it’s blond. If their shoes aren’t modest, then they look like they hurt.

They were out of curry shrimp so there went my first choice. I tried goat last time and really wasn’t into picking bones out of my roti so I went for the boneless chicken, with pepper. I walked around thinking maybe I could run into Aziz, but my texts didn’t get any reply and I just decided a bench right there on Eastern Parkway would be fine. When the food is fresh, you must eat it then, for it’s only slipping further and further into not-so-fresh…ness.

Verdict: That roti from Utica was significantly better than the other Ali’s on Flatbush, outrageously so. You know when the food is so good, that when it hits your taste buds you just can’t help but say “fuck!!”. Yeah, that good.

On the way home I transfered from the A to the L at broadway Junction. Coming up the escalator at Broadway Junction I heard singing. I approached the intersection between the J/Z and the L platforms and saw a Amish choir singing. It would be one thing if you saw this in Grand Central or even Williamsburg, but they came to the hood. Just seeing a group of white people gathered in mass is one thing round here. But throw in those little bonnets, funny outfits and songs about Jesus (I think they’re singing bout Jesus), and well it was just a little out there.

I got home in record time, met up with Mani and all the other yahoo’s at the bodega. Five of them were outside when, my neighbor and her friend walk past. The dudes all start cat calling “oye chulita, god bless you”. Those girls are maybe fifteen, and those dudes are twenty-seven, at the youngest. I mean seriously?

Mani wanted to drink, so I suggest getting some nutcrackers. Now for those who don’t know, nutcrackers are mixed drinks you can buy from just any dude. For 5 bucks you get a homemade cocktail in a plastic drinking container and its all cheap alcohol mixed together with fruit juice. There is never a need for a holiday or special event, you just have to wanna drink something served chilled, fruity and strong.

Well turns out the Chinese restaurants serve nutcrackers, I mean they’re Chinese, they don’t give a shit, they also sell mofongo. We went to the Chinese spot, ordered two white zombies, a wet pusy and a thug passion. This is all on the menu, pusy is spelled with one “s” and the kicker is that these drinks are to go. It’s like I’m in New Orleans.

All the local riff raff were crowding around in the back of the bodega and there I was, the lone island of white, in a sea of low life latinos, filled with so much alcohol they were practically pickled. I’m sure that when the mosquitos bite into them, the mosquitos just drop on the spot from alcohol poisoning. It’s not uncommon for some people to get so heavily intoxicated early enough in the day that they are heading home piss drunk by 7pm, but some of us go till four or five in the morning.

On the TV was Sabado Gigante, and this honestly was this perfect drinking companion a Television could offer when you’re drinking, or if you’re old. I guess if you’re old and drunk it must be even perfect. Sabado Gigante is all over the place, and I can’t tell when it’s time for titties, talking or the talent competition; but I do know, that I love El Chacal.

If you ever watched the Apollo, you know that during the talent competition, if a contestant isn’t doing well, then Sandman would just come sweep and troll that dude off of the stage. Well El Chacal is the Latin Sandman, looming over the aspiring singers, waiting for them to sing off key so he could start blowing random notes from a horn over whatever the contestants were singing, cueing them to stop.

Back at the bodega everyone is drinking by the produce section. Maria slirps on a bottle of Corona while her three year old grandson sleeps in the baby carriage next to a box of rotting platanos. The little fella looked like he had been drinking himself. Let’s look at this for a second: Maria’s kids wanted to go out and party so they asked grandma to watch their kid, and of course grandma just took the little fucker with her to the bodega. Because granny has got to get hammered too.

Come 1 am we decide that we needed to sober up and head to the Chimi Mundo. A chimi is a Dominican hamburger …if you will. I walk up and to the Chimi truck and say “dame dos Chimis, por favor”

he looks at me and laughs “con todo wero?”, and I respond “si, damelo con todo”

Mani is out of his head… and so big that no one tells him to stop drinking, so he doesn’t. After I ordered our Chimis he puts his arm around me and asks if I ordered that all by myself, pointing at me and saying “esta chingon”.

A chimi is not a hamburger per say; the beef patty has garlic, onion, bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce in it. The sauce is a mix of ketchup, mayo, orange juice, oregano and Worcestershire sauce. Then they dump onions, tomato, cabbage, and frying oil, on top of that put it on two buns they have pressed. Kind of like a Dominican independence celebration in your mouth, but when you’ve been smoking and drinking, it’s great.

When I got home the fifteen year old girls were outside my apartment. They were my neighbors in the building next door, but what I didn’t realize, is that they were Maria’s kids. Jesus how many fucking people live in that apartment. They have a place no bigger than mine, yet I live alone, and there must be roughly seven people in that apartment. Maria, her sister Daisy, Daisy’s kid, and Maria has three maybe four kids. She has one boy and two maybe three girls.

They were having a party when some unruly kid started talking shit and bullying other kids. One of the parents boyfriends got in his face asking why he was violating the their apartment. The kid grabbed a bottle of Ciroc and swung it into the older man’s face. According to the kids telling me the story, blood went on everyone. REALLY!! They make it sound like a Tarantino flick, but then Maria came outside covered in blood, partially drunk, yet still able to flirt with me.

They apologized for the noise and I said it was just fine. The louder they are, the louder I can be, for when these people slowly migrate out of the neighborhood, all the new blood will start telling me to turn down. Protect my right to ridiculously loud volumes: Keep Bushwick loud.

Chimi Mundo

Don’t leave me

Tags

, , ,

Thank god for New York institutions who have stood the test of time. I wrapped up what little work I had today and figured why not stop by Di Palo’s. I would pick up a ball of fresh mozzarella and maybe get some Locatelli romano. The rice balls looked good, as did the mortadella. I decided to also get some sopressata, and while looking at the smoked mozzarella, the guy behind the counter just threw it in my bag. It was the end of the day and they were going to make more in the morning anyways.

When I get home I lay out a spread ready to eat while I talk to Jason tonight. Jason and his friend need help installing software. I met Jason when I lived in Seattle. Jesus that time in my life was a simply an eleven and a half month long intermission. Jason was my roommate when I lived in Ballard. I responded to an ad and when I finally got to the house, a guy opened the door looked at me and said “you’re perfect, the rooms yours”, I hadn’t even said a word yet. I forgot the guys name but he was moving out and there were three other roommates. An Irish kid from New York named Mikey, Jason who played drums, his girlfriend Serena who played cello, and a guy named Jared who the guy giving me the room told me to watch out for. Jared was a djimbe player in a band called Trillian Green, wore hemp clothes, had long hair and a goatee, didn’t do drugs, womanized hippie chics, and was not to be trusted. The exact phrase used to describe him was “east coast in the guise of a hippie”

The day I moved in was my 23rd birthday, and I had a view of the Cascade mountains from my bedroom which I always thought was a nice contrast from having grown up in Houston which is flat and ugly. Seattle was such a peculiar experience in learning what I didn’t like in life… like Seattle itself. But me and Jason always kept in touch and I’m happy for that, he is a brother and always will be.

Which is why I am helping him now while I eat. Something I have been craving for the longest is fresh mozzarella, but more so is this Locatelli cheese. Locatelli has got to be my favorite cheese, the sharp savory tone to it, very robust yet light, and romano cheese is something that goes deep to my childhood back when I could eat three plates of pasta at sunday dinner. I would eat so much that I had to go lie down on the couch, unbutton my pants, close my eyes and wait for the pain to go away seeing how I stuffed my belly beyond capacity.

The Locatelli wasn’t the only star here, I had olive oil shipped in from a friends olive garden in Italy. I also take pride in my balsamic vinegar, which I decided one day had to be of exceptional quality. I found this brand of balsamic vinegar at a pork store in Bay Ridge that they made in house, and this was sweet and thick like molasses. In a bowl I mixed the olive oil with balsamic and ground in some black pepper. I decided to use the smoked mozzarella which had a nice flavor, and had a pile of grated romano to dip my bread in, with a few Kalamata olives and sliced sopressata on the side. A chilled seltzer was on hand to cleanse the palette… and thats a fucking meal.

I didn’t eat good when I lived in Seattle, I was still vegetarian at that time and like an idiot, ate lots of tofu and textured vegetable protein (TVP). In fact I ate so much protein that I got a hemorrhoid. I tried to deduct how else I could have gotten it, but that was the only thing that made sense, and I haven’t had one since.

On occasion I would go to Pike Place Market and pick up some giant dungeness crab the size of your head to take home and steam, or when it was in season, Copper River salmon. Jason would go on about how standard salmon would contain ten percent fish oil, while Copper River salmon contained as much as 20 percent fish oil, due to a higher fat content acquired by the fish to adapt to the cold waters of the Copper River. But most of the time I ate tofu :(.

It was living in that house in Seattle I discovered that baking was my Achilles heel. I tried making banana bread, put it in the oven, smoked a fat bowl, passed out on the couch and woke up to Jason pulling a burning black brick out of the oven.

Jason and Serena would argue constantly in that house, which was too much like hearing my own parents argue. I remember one argument in particular in which Jason and I had to leave immediately afterwards. Before we left I set up my dat recorder under the couch. I did this because I knew after we left Serena would go out to that couch and cry, I don’t know why I knew this, it was just a hunch. When I got home I found the dat still there, and obviously the tape had run out, but I was correct, and I got a clear recording of some very traumatic bawling. A few years later I used it in a recording and sent a copy to Jason.

The few times they didn’t argue was when they were fucking. Instead Serena would moan so loud that Mikey would bitch about it stating “she’s just doing that to tell everyone in the house that she was fucking Jason”. He told me this while washing his hair and armpits in the kitchen sink. I asked him what he was doing and he said has was taking a Puerto Rican shower.

Mikey slowly went on a downward spiral in that house, and running into him became more and more like bigfoot sightings. When he opened his door you could smell his room downstairs, like it was a dungeon or a cript. One day I Looked at Jason and said “fuck it, I’m going in”, and I proceeded to demystify what was actually going on in his room, so I went and knocked on Mikeys door. When he opened I asked if he wanted to hang out and he invited me in. It was then I learned of the evils that men do when alone. Mike was cooking up cocaine with ammonia and smoking it through a Coke can. He offered me some and I thought to myself, whats the worst that could happen. I smoked, I got high, and about 20 minutes later said I was gonna go crash. I felt like shit, it wasn’t a pleasant feeling at all, and I just didn’t get it. I tried to watch TV, but nothing was appealing, I figured I would listen to music, but once again none of my cd’s seemed appealing. Then I told myself “J, go to sleep, and when you wake up, this will be gone” and thats exactly what I did

When Mikey moved out I took his bedroom. The other roommates thought I was crazy, but once I had it cleaned up, it was really nice and I even had two windows, one with a view of Mount Ranier. One morning while going for a walk I saw Mikey’s car, a Plymouth Valiant. I walked up to the car and saw that he was sleeping in the back.

Once my mom came to visit and I took her to Vancouver which was only two and a half hours away. We went to the Vancouver Art Gallery which currently had Edvard Munch’s entire collection on exhibit. We saw The Scream, but my personal favorite was The Vampire. Then I had the idea of taking my mom down to Hastings St, which had recently become known as “New Amsterdam”.

Canada recently had decided to stop arresting people for drugs, and on Hastings st, a majority of the businesses encouraged that you “light up” on premises  Knowing my mom enjoyed the occasional smoke, I thought it might be fun to indulge with her just this once. Normally I don’t do that; I know I do that sometimes and I know she does that sometimes, however I don’t want to know my mom on that level. She is not my friend, she is my mom, and I want to love her as my mom, just saying.

On the way to Hastings st we met two dreadlocked hippy white kids who just happened to be from Houston. We chatted for a few minutes and agreed to meet them back at the Cannabis Cafe. When I got to the cafe I asked someone behind the counter where I could score a dime, they mentioned trying across the street at the Crosstown Traffic. So I went into the Crosstown Traffic, ask the person behind the counter where I could get some green, and she pointed to a dude playing pool. I asked if he had a dime, I gave him ten dollars Canadian (this is back when 1 American dollar was 1.50 Canadian), went back to the Cafe where my mom was waiting with the two little hippy kids. The hippies had the pipe, we shared a bowl, then when they asked where I got the green, I told them I would just sell them my dime for ten dollars. They bought it off me, my mom mentioned that was “slick” of me, and I bought her a slice of cheesecake made with hemp oil.

We then wandered around, got a meal, went back to the hotel room, watched Boogie Nights and passed out.

Jason knocked up Serena when I still lived there. He wanted her to get an abortion but she said the baby had already come to her in a dream and told her what her name was…it was Magdalena. I tried staying as long as I could to witness Magdalena’s birth but she came late.

When I finally left Seattle it happened like magic. I lost my job on Friday, on Saturday I was talking to Ure about how I really didn’t want to start over in Seattle, and asked about the possibility of me moving to San Francisco where he lived. He lit up immediately and said “oh man you gotta come here…seriously” He said he could get a place ready for me, so I said fine lets do it. So I decided I was moving on Saturday, on Sunday I put my room up at the co-op and that night someone came by and decided to take it insuring I would get my deposit of $300 back.

On Monday I received a cd drive in the mail, from a company that sent it to me by accident, and I sold that for $300. Jesus what a sign of the times that was: In 1998 an internal cd-drive for a computer cost $300, now they sell for $40. On tuesday Sally called and asked what I was doing and I told her I was getting ready to go to San Francisco. She asked what was in San Francisco, and when I told her I was moving there, she said she was as well and was leaving in a week, and asked if would like to hitch a ride. It was all rather serendipitous, and like that I was gone.

Balsamic reduction

Pastrami with the pill lady.

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Sometimes I get an itch. I can choose to ignore it, or I can do something about it. I used to have someone I could call. She was a one stop mobile pharmers market, at it so long I had thoughts of cutting her open and counting the rings. And the East Village was where I had to meet her.

It was hardly any skin off my back, seeing how her and Farhad both lived at first and first. Along with Little Frankies, Lucien, the punjab spot, and the crown jewel Katz deli.

I remember first meeting Carla, Dougie introduced us in the evening, and earlier that day he introduced me to JG Thirwell. It was when both Dougie and Farhad lived on 1st street and that day was their block party so everyone was out. Thirwell had two bands Feotus and Steroid Maximus that I listened to as a kid. Carla had a handful of Percocets that I intended taking with me to Katz. Figured they would nicely compliment a pastrami on rye with an order of fries. The pastrami at that place is like crack, I don’t know how they do it, but it’s worth every bite.

Aziz bitched about the cost of a good Pastrami sandwich at Katz, but when you look at the going rate for quality “old Jew York” deli meats, it’s par for the course. A pastrami sandwich at Katz is sixteen dollars, so is Pastrami Queen up at 78th and Lex. Fine and Shapiro and Mister Broadway are both fifteen, Eisenbergs is on the low-end at twelve dollars, and to be honest, their pastrami is just ok.

Katz also has good hot dogs, steak fries, egg creams, brisket, and matzo ball soup. I usually don’t experiment beyond those items though my mom loves the liver. Sometimes I would bring Carla in with me when I didn’t mind listening to her rattle on. White crust on the edge of her mouth, and talking endlessly and aimlessly, you could go out of your mind having a conversation with her. If I had to work on her computer I would just focus on that and everything she said became white noise. We got into an argument on the phone once and she just wouldn’t stop talking. Even after we made up her inability to shut the fuck up prompted me to hang up on her. It wasn’t anything personal, I just couldn’t deal with it anymore.

Me Farhad, Dylan and Kin all scored from Carla one night then when to Katz. Me and Farhad split a pastrami and fries, Dylan is vegan so he just ordered beer, and Kin ordered a hamburger. The waiter hesitated and said “you come to Katz and order a hamburger?”

I once came here with my mom and Niquae, and just as we sat down a tour bus unloaded a fuck ton of Germans into the place, so many that we had to share I’ll table with two of them. Niquae was a world class bitch to them, and I have no idea why I dated that girl. I think I was in denial about just how crazy she was.

I need to go there this week, but I need someone to go with, it’s not the type of place I want to eat at alone. I learned to enjoy eating pickles at Katz. Fucking thirty year old man, and for years I was disgusted by the things. However they bring you a bowl of pickles when you sit down, so at one point I coaxed myself into taking a bite.. and low and behold and liked em.

For a while neither Dougie nor I knew where Carla was. She had gone MIA, until one day Dougie told me he found her and that she was really sick. Dougie and Carla went way back, she was a big fan of David Bowie, and Dougie played drums for Iggy Pop making them natural allies.

Carla saw a dr who was going senile, and would write her a prescription for whatever she asked for. She had xanies, vics, percs, valium, etc… it was a long extensive resume, and it was clear she got some for herself too. This explained the perpetual run-on sentences, the crust on the side of her mouth, and the stories of her being so constipated she would wake up in pain from not having gone to the bathroom in several weeks. She mentioned doing so much dope that she hadn’t shat in almost a month.

I remember eating with her at the deli to score and catch up, though I don’t remember what she had, maybe she just had a coffee? I had her over to my apartment once to fix her computer. While there I got a picture of her with her hands covering her face, and for some reason I always felt it was an appropriate pose. I should call her, maybe she’ll wanna go to Katz.

Cookies and Ketamine

Tags

, , , , , ,

Harriet Dubman came over this morning. She went on and on about having to do homework for school but how she couldn’t focus because she’d rather be on K. Apparently the previous night was the unofficial night of a thousand k-holes, and wouldn’t the world be better floating in a sea of ketamine and yadda yadda, etc… I had work to do as well but had a hard time focusing seeing how I needed to eat…not only that, I needed to go to Mikey’s Hookup.

So I told her lets go to Bedford, we can get falafel at the Oasis, and I’ll get a cf card for my camera. Then we can come back to my place, I’ll be able to focus, we’ll both finish our work, and then make time for k-holes.

We get to Bedford and hit up the Oasis first, Hook up second, then Harriet mentions that she wants a cookie. Yea, I could go for a cookie too. Initially I decided to use my iphone to find a cookie shop round us, but Apple Maps just lead us to a bunch of coffee shops. Harriet’s getting tired of walking around we still need to get home, and I decide to call Adam to see if he knows of anything in the neighborhood. He mentions a place called “Milk” over on Metropolitan and Havemeyer. Apparently this is David Changs operation, and that gives me faith.

This isn’t where you come if you are looking for a chocolate chip, or muthafuckin snickerdoodle, no sir. Cookie flavors were cornflake marshmallow, corn, blueberry & cream, confetti, and compost. I inquire bout the compost assuming that it is just odd and ends, the lips and asses of snacks. The girl behind the counter confirms my suspicions and I decide that our best move would be to just get 3 cookies, blueberry, cornflake, and compost.

Harriet bites into the blueberry cream and starts into how she hates the current status gender rules. her luck with men hasn’t been the best, and apparently has had several run-ins with men who like it up the ass. I wrote a poem for one situation in particular called “So you had a bad date“.

“Just find me one man who doesn’t want to get fucked… thats my mission, to find the one man in New York city who doesn’t want to get fucked in the ass” She exclaims spitting out bits of blueberry and cream. I am really digging these cookies, Cornflake and marsh mellow has a real nice gooeyness to it.

“I’m sick of these modern gender rules, I want shit to go back 100 years”

I hear this and ask “so you think the feminist movement was a failure?”

She breaks it down, that she feels men are too sensitive, too intouch with their feelings, and downright too feminine. She wants a man to be a man, beat the crap out of her in bed, and not expect her to fuck em. With Harriet, sex isn’t sex without bruises, this is the secret to her orgasms.

We get back to my apartment, finish our work and I realize I have no time for a k-hole, I have pictures and drinking to partake in at the bodega on the corner, aka mi casa segundo. Since the place is closing, we value it more, we enjoy it more, laugh louder and drink heavier.

It’s gonna go long tonight, which is something I need. I’m gonna need some vicodin to keep me awake all night.

We started drinking till the bodega closed at eleven, then went to Maria’s to keep going. Maria made tostones and fried pork. This helped off-set the alcohol. Vinnie started singing boleros, Mani egged him on, Maria and Eddie dance bachata, and I talked politics with this older Puerto Rican. The brugal poured heavy as I compared voting for president being just as effective as choosing paper or plastic.

This ain’t a classy affair, this is simply the ugly getting worse.

At one point in the middle of my drunken stupor, I went to the bathroom and had to use my hand against the wall to hold myself up. Seeing this I thought I liked the image and somehow felt the need to document it with a photograph. So with my right hand on the wall, left taking the photo, I was left with my waste to aim for the toilet. This is like a magic trick, I should take that act on the road.

When I decided that I had had enough, I just walked out the door saying I would be right back. Thats how I get out of saying goodbye, and I’m famous for it.

Getting ready to get worse

 

Acquired tastes vs food you’re just not that into.

Tags

, , , , , ,

Last night I had to go to the south side of Williamsburg to fix Janet’s wifi card. Afterwards I went by the Magic Cobra where her boyfriend works to hangs for a few minutes. I was still hungry and thought about going to get some grits from Pies and Thighs when I remembered that right across the street from Magic Cobra was a place call Bistro Petit that served truffle macaroni n cheese.

With truffles, a little goes a long way. I told this to Aziz a few weeks ago when he mentioned not caring for truffles stating “isn’t it more of an acquired taste?”. Well, I guess it depends on your definition of acquired, or more importantly, how we use the word.

It’s a vague term, used liberally and as far as I am concerned, very misleading. According to TLC, coffee, alcohol, blue cheese and olives were all “acquired tastes”. Seriously?… Because I would find it safe to say that the number of people who drink coffee and alcohol easily outnumber the people who don’t. I don’t drink coffee, even though I love the smell of it. I don’t think it’s acquired, because I just think it’s mediocre in the taste category. I’m not disgusted by it, it’s just not my thing.

Then what about chinotto, people in Italy and surrounding areas love this stuff. I had a friend from Geneva over one night, he was drinking chinotto and I was drinking root beer. I told him I couldn’t drink that chinotto for I thought it tasted like cough syrup, and upon hearing this he asked to try some of my root beer. Turns out he was just as disgusted by my root beer as I was by his chinotto. Was root beer and acquired taste?

Then there is ginger, it’s a staple in Jamaican cooking, as well as with sushi. However I cannot not stand it… maybe I have yet to acquire a taste for it, and if thats the case, how will I acquire the taste for it? From eating it over and over again until my palette submits, or until my mind begins to associate it with good memories. I am like that with music; I can listen to Journey not because I think it is good music, but because I have enough positive memories behind it.

Is this all mind over matter, this whole “acquired” business? I didn’t care for “I’m a fool to do your dirty work” until I heard Tony Soprano singing it, then I thought it somewhat menacing in it’s only little way. A Simular situation with octopus: I would have never eaten those tentacles until one day I saw these old Italians happily slurping them up much to other peoples disgust. So then I thought they must be fine, and I would like to disgust people too. Now I just love octopus and Steely Dan… well that one song at least. You can keep “Ricky don’t lose that number”, shit just makes my penis soft.

My ex hated tamales, I should have told her it was an acquired taste, same goes with my future defense for White Castle. Wasn’t the preferred level of spice in our food acquired too, and wait isn’t whether or not one uses salt in their cooking acquired? When does it stop being a preference and start being acquired?

What about Tarzan, while he was fictional, he did eat magots and what not. Are magots acquired or are they a delicacy and when does something go from being an acquired taste to being a delicacy. Ever heard of rocky mountain oysters? They’re bull calf balls, sometimes pig or sheep testicles are used, and they are considered a classic western delicacy. Crickets, snails, sea urchen, octopus, fish eggs, cow balls are all delicacies, and quite possibly acquired tastes all at the same time; They’re sort of like transformers.

With that, sea horse, tiger penis, dried scorpions, horse gallstones, and rat fetus, are neither delicacies nor are they acquired, because they are medicinal. Men in China think eating the penis of a tiger will cure their impotence. Hey I got an idea, why don’t you find someone new to fuck. How much of this is a placebo affect, and how much is in your head? But more importantly, When does food stop being medicinal, and just start being nasty ass shit nobody wants to eat, but will if their motives lie outside the bounds of basic general hunger?

I thought everything we digested affects your health in one way or another. I make red sauce from scratch and could eat this food every week not only because I love the way it tastes but also that I find myself having a positive association with it. Therefore it is medicinal for my mental health. In Addition, I eat vegetarian spinach salads not simply because I think they are good, but also because they are good for flushing out me bowels, once again demonstrating a medicinal use of food. I think all food is medicinal in a myriad of ways.

Lets say that if it isn’t water, it’s quite clearly acquired in one way or another, and it’s always a delicacy to somebody. Have you noticed that whenever they serve food on Fear Factor or Jackass, the word “delicacy” is commonly thrown around.

The next time I meet a vegan, I am going to argue that meat has medicinal value, and is obviously an acquired taste. I will then further elaborate that they seem to possess a rather unrefined palette, but there are certain foods with medicinal properties that they can take to cure that. Then I will take to them to Popeyes stating that while I understand that spicy fried chicken is an acquired taste, in Afghanistan, it’s considered a delicacy.

Truffle Mac’n Chz

Share

Pizza shit outta me.

Tags

, , , , ,

New York is the birthplace of pizza, and most of the pizza joints in the five boroughs are shit. You’re literally up to your asshole in dumpy spots that serve slop on cardboard. If you think having an Italian running the joint makes a difference, let me clear things up for you…it doesn’t. In fact it can make things worse, because every Sicilian left in this town thinks that they are an authority on Italian food.

In fact I would say it’s simular with my black friends. They are always so unimpressed with soul food restaurants, they all talk shit about em, and it’s always better at home. Italians from New York are very simular, very opinionated, usually unimpressed, and to be honest, I don’t care to cook for them.

Most of the best pizza in this town is not served by slice. In fact I’d say you could break pizza down into separate categories. Pizza by the slice is one thing, and it can be a bit of a freak show. I remember when I first met Aylin, I had helped her with stuff around the house and she at one point wanted to show me gratitude by getting us some food. When I asked what she had in mind she asked if I liked taco pizza or philly cheese-steak pizza. I just laughed, thinking that she couldn’t be serious, but she was. I thought for certain this had to be a shop run by Mexicans, but no…it was a nice Sicilian woman named Anna.

Falefel pizza, chicken ceasar salad pizza, nutella and marshmellow pizza, I mean seriously, this whole place is out of order. But they do a good sicilian slice.. and when I was starving for something heartier than that, I would get a lasagne slice. A friend onced explained that this was what made the pizza the perfect snack, is that it was just an avenue for almost any cuisine. I felt this to be a bit much, but fuck it.

Not only that but now you have this place called Two Bros pizza, and it’s a dollar a slice. Thats right..A dollar, and you know what…it’s actually decent. NOT AMAZING, but for a dollar a slice, it is what it is: modern New York pizza by the slice.

The second category would be “modern italian pizza”. Saraghina, Robertas, Luzzos, all of whom do single sized pies which two people can split with modern italian ingredients like capocollo, prosciutto, bufala. Saraghina is a personal fav because they have a good octopus and squid appetizers.

These places are good for dates, or to bring family, with attention usually paid to fresh. So much so that they will run out of items, which makes me trust it more.

If I go to a restaurant which serves a variety of food and they never run out of stock, then I can only assume that something is rotting somewhere. But if they have a smaller menu, and things are made for that day, then you know they aren’t moving bulk, they are crafting food.

Then you got “old New York” Pizza: Grimaldis, Di Faras, Totonos, De Ninos, Lombardis, and The L&B right next to the Spumoni Gardens. People either love or hate Di Faras. I mean it’s just one guy making the pizza there, where you will wait an hour for a pie, and he will do slices for $5 a pop. There is also South Brooklyn Pizza in the east village, where once again $5 slices, but one day I honestly thought I had one of the best slices years there. It was topped off with capers and fontina cheese, with fresh romano cheese on the counter, However I came back a week later with friends and it was just ok. He does have Manhattan Special coffee soda on draft, I thought that was kinda cool.

Totonos was opened back in 1929 by a guy who worked at Lombardis then later went and opened his own spot all the way out in Coney Island. Not too long after me and my mom last ate there it caught on fire, still not sure if they reopened that location but they did open a spot in the upper east side that I heard was just ok. I went to the L&B and it seemed to be all about that upside down sicilian slice. It wasn’t bad but that place can’t possibly be under original management because I noticed that everyone behind the counter was Arabic, which is fine seeing how Arabs more than likely invented the concept of pizza.

I first heard about Grimaldis from Kay. Something about a plane crash in Europe or somewhere outside the country which people were drinking water from their socks. After being rescued one of the survivors was asked what he was gonna do first when he got back to New York, he said go to Patsys. Apparently he meant the Patsys underneath the Brooklyn Bridge that wound up changing their name to Grimaldis. Grimaldis is now run by Russians and there is always a line out the door. I don’t do lines and at this place you don’t have to. I just order to go, and take it to a bench by the water and eat with a truly breathtaking view of the Brooklyn Bridge and downtown Manhattan . Nine years ago I thought it was alright but in the past few years it has gotten better, right around the same time they started expanding. Now there is one right by where I grew up in Houston Texas.

Then you have Lombardis, deemed the oldest pizza place in America. I have been going there nine years now, and have had the same guy waiting on me for 8 of those years. His name is Yani, he is in my phone, I never wait, and he has my order memorized: Extra pepperoni, garlic and ricotta with the crust burned. The place never lets me down

Me and Farhad used to eat there all the time. In fact, if either one us asked the other if they wanted to eat at Lombardis, what it really meant was, do you want to go to Lombardis, swallow some pills at the table, and chase it with a pizza. I honestly cannot tell you how many times I walked out of there loaded, only to stroll on down to Thompkins Square Park and throw up in a trash can. Jesus I must have puked in every corner of that park at one time or another. Have you seen that park lately, have you taken a look? Now it’s all baby strollers and dog shit.

A Lombardis Standerd

Share