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July 30, 2008

Food Finds: Three Nuns


IMG_8045, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Tres Monjitas Lite Orange Juice. San Juan, PR. 2008.

LA: Loteria Grill Hollywood


IMG_7526, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Monday night my colleagues and I had dinner at the new Hollywood branch of Loteria Grill. We had a great time there. The food was excellent, the service was friendly and the space was beautiful.

While my companions went for burritos, I chose tacos so I could sample more varieties of fillings. Obviously, pork was my priority. On the left is the shredded Cochinita Pibil, pork slow cooked in a banana leaf. On the right, Carnitas, roasted and crisp. I loved them both, but that isn't a surprise.

The one disappointment of the meal was the Albondingas taco, not pictured, which I had high hopes for. It was filled with three small beef meatballs in a tomato chipotle sauce.

It sounded awesome, but the meatballs didn't have nearly the chipotle flavor I expected and the meat itself seemed overground and had a slightly pasty texture to it.

I have made similar meatballs before from a cookbook I bought in Mexico last year, but have never had anyone else's, so I was very excited. I'll have to stick to homemade for now.

Regardless of that one small disappointment, I really enjoyed the meal at Loteria.

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There is much I could say about the beautiful space and interesting decor, but the most important note for anyone who may go there is that there is no noticeable sign. One of the folks I met up with there got totally turned around after walking by it a couple times. The only reason I knew what to look for was because I'd seen photos on Eater LA.

Loteria Grill Hollywood
6627 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles
323-465-2500

Graffiti of the Day: SomeTimes


IMG_6475, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Atocha


Atocha Station, Madrid, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Madrid, Spain. 2003.

Atocha station has an interesting significance in my memory. My sister and I stayed a couple blocks away from Atocha station when we were in Madrid on our Euro-Trip. It's a big beautiful station and strikingly, it houses a climate controlled rain forest in the remnants of the original station.

It was one of the landmarks that we both remembered very clearly. A little over a year later, it was at the center of the March 11th bombings. It was jarring. One of the great benefits of traveling, as far as I'm concerned, is that it tangibly connects us to places we might otherwise only see or hear about abstractly on television or in movies. The flip side of that is that when someone happens to try to blow it up, it hits closer to home.

July 29, 2008

LA: On Shaky Ground

This morning in Chino Hills, a place I'd never heard of before today, there was an earthquake of 5.4 magnitude. 37 miles away, where I was, the ground wobbled for a good 15 seconds.

Sadly, I have no great story about my first earthquake. I didn't really noticed it until one of my co-workers pointed out that the ground wasn't actually supposed to be shaking.

It was sort of cool.

I don't need anything more severe than that, but I thought it was a pretty cool thing to experience. I've always wondered what it would be like. The answer: wobbly.

Graffiti of the Day: Smokin'


IMG_9941, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

West Side Highway, Chelsea, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Celso

Photo of the Day: Woolworth's


IMG_6170, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 28, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Judith Supine


IMG_8567, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

DUMBO, Brooklyn. 2008.

Artist: Judith Supine

Celebrity Sighting: Brad Dourif


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I hadn't even gotten out of the airport before seeing my first 'celebrity.' Brad Dourif stood behind me in line for a taxi. Who? Yeh, I didn't know his name either but I imdb-stalked him and found his name and his rather lengthy filmography.

I initially recognized him as having been in the second The Lord of the Rings chapter, but later discovered that his career goes all the way back to playing Billy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. If you were to see him and recognize his face, it would be for his creepy, piercing eyes, but his most well known work is probably as the voice for Chucky in those terrible Child's Play Movies.

I had planned to write this post more tongue-in-cheek, about how ridiculously obscure this guy is, but really I have a lot of respect for character actors like Dourif. These are actors who go in, do their jobs and go home. We don't have to hear about who they're sleeping with or which parties they attend or what their political cause is. Because he's just an actor doing his job.

Photo of the Day: Twilight on Atlantic Ave


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Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. 2008

July 27, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Faded Plasma Board in BK


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Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. 2008.

Photo of the Day: A Fly on the Wall


IMG_5379 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Red Lion, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2006.

July 26, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Organic


IMG_1038, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

East Village, NYC. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Gloom


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Floyd NY, Brooklyn, NY.

July 25, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: I Dream


IMG_1917.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2007.

Summer Vacation Decision: SF


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Again, it's not so surprising, given all my pining for the Bay Area that I decided to head back there next month. Last night I booked my ticket.

I'm hoping to finally catch up with friends who live there that I never manage to see during my usual trips. Guyvera will also be joining me and we'll hang out with his people as well. So, we'll be with a bunch of locals who know where to go and what to do.

Next, I need to see if I can find a place to stay with a kitchen, so that I can do something with the goodies I hope to get at some of those farmers markets I love so much.

But first, LA. I fly out Sunday morning. More to come...

Photo of the Day: Candy & Cigars


IMG_5797 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

July 24, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: 5 Pointz


IMG_6405 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Long Island City, Queens. 2006.

July 23, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Gaia


IMG_7372, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

Artist: Gaia

Photo of the Day: Roof Collapse


Roof Collapse, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

First Roumanian American Synagogue, Rivington & Ludlow, Lower East Side, NYC.

Photo of the Day: Mister Softee: snitch


Mister Softee: snitch, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Columbus Circle, NYC. 2006.

July 22, 2008

Bed-Stuy Block Party


IMG_7203, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last weekend, Tammi and I participated in our annual block party. It was a first for both of us. Every year, I've discovered the festivities the day of the party, as I'm leaving the house to do one thing or another.

This time we had a little advanced warning and I fired up the grill. Tammi and I took the grill and a couple of chairs out onto the street in front of the house and sat with our neighbors for hours, talking and getting to know each other.

It was a great time.

Update: Photos now posted on Flickr.

Graffiti of the Day: Vandal


IMG_7348, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

Return to LA LA Land


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Work will take me out to the City of Angels again next weekend for a little over a week. Clearly, I'm already planning out my meals. Musha and Mozza are already in the plans. Hot dogs at Oki Dogs or maybe Pink's are a must as well.

I've been checking out Eater LA among other sites to hear about what's new and wonderful out there. Last week I discovered that Loteria Grill, whose Farmers Market location I visited in my first time in LA, has opened up a new location a few weeks ago. That's on the list.

Rummaging through my delicious bookmarks, I was reminded that there is apparently a branch of Santouka in Torrance. I'm so hoping they have the pork cheek ramen. I have to have that again.

Last summer I visited Santa Monica beer bar and restaurant Father's Office on my last day. It reminded me of the 'new' Blind Tiger with it's interesting and wide selection of beer and tasty bites.

It's also time to revisit the recommendations the TOJ gave me last year.

More to come...

Photo of the Day: Break Time 2


IMG_6819, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

San Francisco, CA. 2003.

July 21, 2008

Jakewalk

Not that I have any appreciable number of readers, but I try to stick to a few principles in keeping this blog. One of them is that I want to avoid ever trashing the places I write about. I feel like there's plenty of negativity on the internet as it is, there's no reason to add to it.

I also know enough people in the hospitality industry that I understand that off-nights happen. I've put off writing anything at all about my experience at Jakewalk, because I don't want to be one of those irritating netizens who gets their jollies writing tirades tearing down someone else's hard work.

So, I post about my visit in as much of a matter-of-fact manner as possible, hopefully keeping my editorializing to a minimum...

When my party of 4 got to Jakewalk, half the tables were empty. We ended up sitting in the back, across from end of the bar with the waitstaff station and the kitchen. Even so, it took 15 minutes for our order to be taken. After another 15 minutes, one of my friends walked the 5 feet to the bar to ask for our drinks again. During that time our waitress passed by us going to the other tables without checking in on us once or even letting us know that our drinks were coming. One of the proprietors I believe, took over and tried to sooth us, but we were already irritated.

It was another 45 minutes before our food showed up. The guy we had been dealing with spoke to us a few times apologizing for the delay and letting us know that it was nearly ready. It wasn't until we got our food that the waitress came back. Instead of being apologetic that our food took so long to show up or that she never once followed up to see how we were going, she advised us that we should try to enjoy ourselves even though it took a long time.

The most frustrating part was that none of the food actually needed to be cooked, just cut up and dropped on a plate. We had an order of Rillettes and a plate of cookies both of which require no preparation at all. The fondue was the most complicated to prepare because it had bread, apples and sausages that had to be sliced up along with the cheese that had to melt in the bowl. This should not have taken an hour.

Really though, the worst part is that the food and wine were all good, but the overall experience was awful. On principle, I would never go back to a place that treated me so poorly. So, I won't be back either way.

Photo of the Day: Gutted Streetcar


IMG_5540, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Red Hook, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 20, 2008

The Honeymoon Decision


Paris, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

After a year of hoping and wishing and just about giving up, Tammi and I have decided to go to Paris for the Honeymoon.

You'd think that the travel portion of the wedding would be something I'd be all over. It's certainly the area I'm the most comfortable with and knowledgeable about, much more so than paper and printing styles or what kind of suit I should wear.

Yet, I've been putting this off for a while. Mostly because, given the economy and the weak dollar, Paris has been out of reach for us.

Instead, we were going to go to Brazil. The tickets were on hold, awaiting the final click. Then my Aunt - my wonderful, fantastic Aunt - called me to let me know that she would be entering a large donation to the honeymoon fund. We were elated.

Nothing against Brazil, but before I had even figured out how to propose, the idea of a honeymoon in Paris was nearly fully formed. It would be a change from our standard expeditions, something familiar and relaxed. I wanted to defy my habit of spending my vacations on my feet trying to see every single thing possible before leaving. Instead of exploring all the time, we'd live there if only for a couple weeks. We'd go to the markets, I'd cook, we'd wander the streets leisurely instead of intently seeking out the next place on the list.

There is a visible difference in our attitudes toward just about everything wedding-related since deciding on Paris. This morning I gathered up my Hemingway and Orwell along with various other books about or set in Paris and started looking at vacation rental sites.

We're so excited!

Graffiti of the Day: Wolf Headed Ana Peru


IMG_6500, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008

Artist: Ana Peru

Photo of the Day: Bars (Windows, not Booze)


Bars (Windows, not Booze), originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Harlem, NYC. 2006.

July 19, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: ElbowTile


IMG_6485, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Water on the Brain


Water on the Brain, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 18, 2008

Photo of the Day: Vertigo


IMG_1509, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

UWS, NYC. 2008.

July 17, 2008

Breakdancing at the Library

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New York Public Library, Midtown, NYC. 2006.

This troupe performs on Fifth Avenue in front of the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. The most obvious member in the group is Q, a Japanese woman who was highlighted in a NY Times article last year. She's not just there as a gimmick though. Her moves are daring and playful. The rest of the group did their thing as well. I particularly liked the popper who strutted and bounced back and forth, posing the whole time.

Note: I posted the photo above among others and the description below to Flickr when I first signed up. I hadn't planned on blogging, so I just editorialized in the set description. I just came across it and thought a repost was in order.

Photo of the Day: Gimmie Shelter


Gimmie Shelter, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Downtown Hartford. 2006.

July 16, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Trainside


IMG_4949-51, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Passing through the Bronx on Amtrak. Bronx, NY. 2008.

Food Finds: Flott Tuna


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Found at Buon Italia, an Italian import shop at Chelsea Market, NYC. 2008

Summer Vacation Options Part 5: Pac NW


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Seattle & Vancouver: This is the most vague, as I don't have as many specific recommendations as much as wild ravings about how wonderful the area is for food folks. Hell, I want to go to Seattle solely on the idea of visiting Salumi and going to the fish market. As far as I've heard, the whole region is awash with fantastic food, shellfish and microbrewed beer. What's not to love?

Summer Vacation Options Part 4: SF


IMG_7339.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This is pretty self-evident, given all my complaining about how little I got to see San Francisco last month. Guy lived there for a few years and would be into going back for a couple days as well. I think I'd want to stay some place with a kitchen and really take advantage of the farmers market for once. Also, the tacos would be plentiful.

I'd have to make several expeditions into the various graffiti havens and explore some of the neighborhoods I haven't seen. There are also a bunch of college friends who live out there that I didn't have time to see at all last month.

While there, I'd also like to see more of Oakland, I got a few recommendations for places out there to visit last month, but there was no time to go.

Summer Vacation Options Part 3: Canadia


IMG_3536.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For something completely different, we could always head north. This is the time of year to go, before the whole country is buried in snow.

Quebec City:
I've have read interesting things about the 'Europeaness' of the city and this year they are celebrating a huge anniversary, so there are events happening all summer.

Montreal:
I already have a trip to Montreal planned later this year, but another couple days just means more smoked meat for me. Also a ton of great local brewed, european-style beer that's never exported down here. I have been wanting to go back to Montreal for years, two trips would be fine by me.

Toronto:
TO as the locals call it, has a hip-hop scene that hosts graffiti festivals regularly, cool hang out spots, great local brews that I have never seen south of the border and a local food scene that was strong before I'd ever heard the term locavore. Additionally, it's got huge international communities, which means great West Indian and Asian food just about everywhere.

Summer Vacation Options Part 2: The South


Streetcars, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This is clearly more of a Barbecue trip. I'd probably just fly down to DC to meet Guy and we'd head out from there.

North Carolina:
Again, we'd see my aunt and hunt down some pork.

South Carolina:
Guy mentioned a cool vibe in Charleston and perhaps a visit to some of the coastal islands. I'm less familiar with the region, but it sounds interesting to me. Particularly those island populated by the Gulla.

Memphis:
I've heard so much about Tennessee's barbecue that this is a must as far as I'm concerned. Barbecue and blues, no question.

New Orleans:
As I've mentioned, I've been wanting to return to New Orleans for a while now and this would be a good opportunity. Unfortunately, I wouldn't want to make plans to go there at the end of august until the exact last minute, so that would have to be decided on the fly.

Summer Vacation Options Part 1: Mid-Atlantic


Roll 3 - 96, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This would be a relatively leisurely itinerary. We'd be able to meander down the seaboard to sampling some regional specialties along the way.

First stop, Philadelphia:
Obviously, I know more than a few places to go in Philly. I imagine I'd want to spend most of the time there in Northern Liberties. I keep hearing about more and more places popping up there. If we're driving, it would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally check out a few South Philly gems that I've only read about, including John's Roast Pork and the Italian Market. Osteria, which I never managed to post about last year, is a must.

Pit stop, Baltimore:
Crabs are key. I don't know where to go, but if we were heading towards DC, I'd want to sample some of the famous crustaceans.

Washington DC:
This is Guy's turf these days, so I'd leave it to him to figure out particulars. I'd probably want to check out the Smithsonian, while I'm there and probably Brickskellers a beer bar I visited many years ago.

North Carolina:
My Aunt is in Chapel Hill, so I'd stop in an visit her for a few days. There is also a huge amount of barbecued pork that needs to be eaten. My aunt is a vegetarian, so I rarely get to seek out the legendary pork shacks while down there. This would be the time.

Photo of the Day: Eagle Clothes


IMG_6019, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Gowanus, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 15, 2008

UltraClay's Summer Vacation

The powers that be have unexpectedly blessed me with an extra week of vacation this year. Given that I've been hoarding my time for the honeymoon (more on that to come), I was a little shocked to find myself suddenly have more time than I know what to do with. It will definitely be the last week of August, but other than that I'm not so sure.

I just spoke to Guyvera, who has some time as well and we've come up with a few options. Clearly food is a priority, but I'm hoping to do a 'road trip' without spending 90% of the time on the road. Maybe that's antithetical to the concept, but as a non-driver, I really want to see more than the inside of a car.


Here's what we've got so far...

•Mid-Atlantic: Philly-Baltimore-DC-NC
•The South: DC-NC-SC-Memphis-New Orleans
•Canadia: Quebec City-Montreal-Toronto
•San Francisco
•Pac NW: Seattle-Vancouver

Keep reading for the run down on each option.

Graffiti of the Day: Boom Box


IMG_7867, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Mission, San Francisco. 2006.

ATL: Robbed Part 2

It's been a month since our room at the Atlanta Marriott Downtown was robbed.

When we discovered it, security came to our room, took our statement and directed us to discuss the issue with management. The manager on site told us not to bother filing a police report and that we should check with the general manager when we got back home. The general manager directed us to their risk management department. The risk management department returned my call once, didn't have the file on hand and said they'd call back. They never did.


Finally, after calling again three or four times, Tom Sislo from Columbia Sussex, the franchise owner told me that, even though he hadn't even seen the report yet, the Innkeeper's Statute absolved them of all responsibility of the theft.

Literally a month after the theft, after speaking to 7 different people on this subject and a number of unreturned calls, I was told that no matter what, the hotel would not accept fault and that apparently it's not in the hotel's interest to investigate this case significantly.

So, there you go. Apparently we should all expect that anything we don't leave in a safe (which isn't provided in the room) will be rummaged through and potentially stolen. Good luck!

Rustik Tavern

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One of the best benefits of bike-riding for me has been the exposure to areas I would otherwise never see. This has inspired me to explore beyond my standard MTA-mandated locales and find places that aren't so convenient to the train travelers among us. Which is how I came across Rustik Tavern.

I had gone to the Home Depot on Nostrand to pick up a few things and planned on riding down to Fort Greene to get some food. After a few blocks of riding with half a ton of stuff on my back, I saw Rustik and decided that closer was going to be the better bet.

I like Rustik. It's very rough and I have to say the food I had the first time was not so great. The waitress later told me that no one from the kitchen showed up that day and the rest of them were improvising. This explained the shriveled, overcooked chicken that came with my waffles.

They opened up last year and are still experimenting on their format. Posters hang advertising comedy shows and jazz performances, on a recent brunch visit a band played Mediterranean music for fewer than a dozen customers.

But going there reminds me of being at Moe's in 1999/2000. The crowd there is communal and fun and the neighborhood, just on the Bed-Stuy side of the Pratt area, reminds me of Fort Greene when I just got out of school. Before the crowds overran places like Habana Outpost and Stonehome, there was no trouble finding place to chill over a beer and meet your neighbors.

I look forward to spending more time at Rustik. At some point I'll need to figure out a convenient way to get there without the benefit of my bicycle one day so I can see what it's like in the evening. I'll be sure to report in when I do.

Photo of the Day: Glow


IMG_4835, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Barcade, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 14, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Flying Car


IMG_2733, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

SoHo, NYC. 2005.

Photo of the Day: Gun Hill Fence


Gun Hill Fence, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Midtown, NYC. 2006.

July 13, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Borf Rising


IMG_2058, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Washington DC. 2005.

Photo of the Day: Fishbowl Bus


Maps, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

1975 Brooklyn Bus Map.

July 12, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Dismembered


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DUMBO, Brooklyn. 2006.

Peaches is Open!


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Tonight was opening night at Peaches Market, the new restaurant by the pair that run the successful Smoke Joint Barbecue spot in Fort Greene. I've been excited about Peaches since I first heard about it a month or two ago. I've been silent on it only because I didn't want to jinx it and no firm launch date had been announced until a week or so ago.

Apparently they did publicize it enough, I swear the whole neighborhood was there tonight. I suspect they were a bit too successful, given that there were crazy delays getting the food out. Even so, I'll cut them plenty of slack for doing as well as they did on their first night.

I have a ton of questions about how the place is going to work. Tonight the 'Barbecue Counter' was open, serving a menu pretty similar to what I remember of my visit to Smoke Joint in the same counter setting. The initial reports I read said that Peaches wasn't going to focus on the barbecue so much as be a general southern dining restaurant. My presumption had been that it was going to have table service as well.

Both of these things may be 'day two features' that will come after the kinks have been worked out. We'll have to see. Right now they are only going to be open on the weekends, Friday - Sunday, allowing them time during the week to continue with the work.

Another important note is that they don't yet have a liquor license. I had assumed that getting one would be impossible given our byzantine liquor authority rules and the school and the churches just down the block, but it sounds like that is something they expect to have soon.

I'll be visiting several more times in the coming weeks, so expect more details along the way. I can't begin to convey how excited I am to have a place like this just down the block from home. Already I've met a neighbors that I've only ever said 'hi' to on the street. I felt a sense of community I haven't truly felt in the 20-odd years I've been living in Bed-Stuy. I'll definitely be there to support them as much and as often as I can.

Photo of the Day: The Mark


The Mark of the Beast..., originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Gramercy, NYC. 2006.

July 11, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Dismal


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LES, NYC. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Beater


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Upper East Side, NYC. 2006.

July 10, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Create


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NoHo, NYC. 2006.

France: Paris Train Show


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Champs-Elysee, Paris. June 2003.

There was a Train Show on the Champs-Elysee when I visited Paris during the summer of 2003. The obvious cultural difference here is that the French were having a public show boasting the technology of rail transportation while the US, even now sees 'starve the beast' as the best way to deal with such alternate transportation. You'll rarely see anything like this in the States as it is.I've gone on my tirades before while discussing the shinkansen in Japan, so I'll leave that alone.

More jarring that that was this train car, above. It's a cattle car, which was used during The War to deport Jews, among many others, to concentration camps. This was amazing to me. I can't imagine anything like this taking place here in the US.

One of the most fascinating parts of visiting Europe to me is the remarkable perspective they have on history. Europeans live surrounded by institutions and structures older than the United States. Something that happend 60 years ago is considered a recent event and something worthy of continued remorse. Here we consider 30 years of Affirmative Action sufficient to counter 400 years of oppression. Perspective is not something we do so well in the land of "You're either with us or against us."

Much can be said about whether the French are really admitting any culpability here. There are a million perspectives on history. Regardless, the mere acknowledgment strikes me as more mature than anything I've seen here at home.

Photo of the Day: The Walls Have Eyes


IMG_5544, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Murakami Exhibit, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn. 2008.

July 9, 2008

Food Finds: MayoKetchup


IMG_7382, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

So we are clear, the 'Supermarket Finds' feature is not entirely literal. Food products of all kinds, particularly interestingly packaged food products all fall under this category.

MayoKetchip, seen here, was found on the table at a god-awful food shack outside of the Yunque National Park in Puerto Rico. I definitely didn't try any of it, but I suspect it couldn't have made the food much worse.

The funny part is that this 'authentically puerto rican'

Graffiti of the Day: CEOzilla


IMG_8807, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

West Side Highway, NYC. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Just Another Angel on the IRT


Just another angel on the IRT, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Grand Army Plaza, Park Slope, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 8, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Crispin


Crispin, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bowery & Spring, NYC. 2006

Bed-Stuy: The Petition

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Last weekend, I sacrificed one political belief for another. Out of the blue one Saturday morning, the door rang. It was a petitioner collecting signatures to get some democratic candidates on the ballot. I was tempted to just tell him to buzz off. Door to door anything tends to get on my nerves. Worse, the petition was for a couple politicians I'm not so fond of.

Ed Towns and Velmanette Montgomery have been 'representing' me for the entirety of my 22 years in Brooklyn. They have managed to stay in office, as far as I can tell without ever sticking their necks out or taking a stand on anything. It's been a point of annoyance of mine for a long time. People have fought for ages to get Black folks into positions of influence. Yet these people have broken no ground. They've done nothing but continue the long tradition of ethnic patronage politics. Those politicians of the 'movement' generation took positions in groundswells of support and have done nothing appreciable but grown roots. Worse, those like Major Owens and Una Clarke have tried to pass their positions down to their children like a family heirloom. And we've continued to put them in office, in part because we've got no better options, but also in part because we can't be bothered to demand better.

I could have gone on and on about why these two candidates do not have my support. But the petitioner caught my attention. He was in his teens or early, early twenties, dressed 'as the kids do these days' with a T-shirt that went down to his knees and a baseball cap turned just so over his Do-rag.

I couldn't reject someone like that who was actually playing some appreciable part in the process. Hell, he's playing more of a part than I am. I've never volunteered. Not once have I gone out and done anything besides vote for my candidate of choice. So, given the fact that this kid was here at my door on a Saturday morning, I couldn't bring myself to turn him away. I signed it.

Photo of the Day: Farmers Market Truck


Farmer's Market Truck, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Prospect Park Farmers Market, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 7, 2008

BAM AfroPunk Festival


IMG_6439, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This weekend BAM opened up the AfroPunk Festival with an outdoor concert and a skatepark in the parking lot.

From the BAM site:

Say it loud! The Afro-Punk Festival is back at BAM for the fourth year running. We're delivering six days of films about black rebellion and change, as well as a celebration filled with music, a skate park, a special DIY marketplace, and much more. Spend your fourth of July by celebrating a real revolution.

Punk isn't really my thing, but Black folks doing the unexpected appeals to me. I stopped in for a little while, until the music got to be too much for me.

It was cool seeing all these kids trying out tricks on the ramps, maybe one of these days I'll catch one of them at the X Games.

Graffiti of the Day: Infinitly Amplified


Amplify, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

West 4th Street Station, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2006.

Artist: Infinity

Photo of the Day: Blue Sunset


IMG_6696, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Fort Greene, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 6, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Choose


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18th Street and Valencia, The Mission, San Francisco. 2008.

"A white mouse pokes its head out of the sewer grate and gives him an inquisitive glance. He swears the mouse winks before it scurries up 18th

a. Intrigued, he follows the mouse.
b. Dismissive, he shrugs it off"

I was a huge fan of the "choose your own adventure" books as a kid. Sadly, I didn't take the adventure, so I'll never know where it would have led. . .

Photo of the Day: The High Life


IMG_7281, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

NoHo, NYC. 2006.

July 5, 2008

New Amsterdam Market: Amy's Bread


IMG_5657, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

One last word on the New Amsterdam Market. Tammi picked up a loaf of bread from Amy's Bread and loved it. As described by her, when she asked about what was in the bread, they listed all things whole wheat and organic, topped with sea salt. I'm wholly unfamiliar with such things, so all I can say is that it was delicious.

The entire loaf was gone before the end of the night.

Graffiti of the Day: Watching


IMG_1894.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2007.

Photo of the Day: Dizzying


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Union Hall, Park Slope, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 4, 2008

Happy Fourth of July!


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Happy Independence Day, folks. Hopefully the rain clears up and we'll all have a good day of eating and hanging out with our friends and loved ones. It's the best way I can think of to celebrate freedom. ::c::

Graffiti of the Day: Faust


IMG_1917, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

East Village, NYC. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Scroll Wheel


IMG_3180, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Transit Museum, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 3, 2008

New Amsterdam Market: Filming


IMG_5717, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Tammi and I went on camera for Stephanie, the woman above who was documenting the event for the organizers. I was sure to point out how annoyed I was coming back from San Francisco without something like this available. Tammi decided to pass, but lost her camera-shyness after reminding me of five things I should have said.

Among them, Tammi was sure to let her know that this was my first time riding my bicycle into Manhattan and that I did it just so I could get out to the market. I mapped it all later and we rode 14 miles that day.

Graffiti of the Day: Lost City of Letters


Lost City of Letters, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

SOMA San Francisco, under the freeway. 2007.
::c::

New Amsterdam Market: Mini Ham Sandwiches


IMG_5674, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Marlowe & Son sold these fantastic little sandwiches with ham, pickles and butter. Really, its all you need. I still haven't made it to their restaurant yet. I've got to get out there soon, because these were awesome.

The Unfancy Food Show


IMG_5776, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

After the New Amserdam Market, Tammi and I rode up to Delancy and over the Williamsburg Bridge. The ride kicked my ass, but it was worth it to get to the Unfancy Food Show.

The show was organized by Tom Mylan, the butcher who taught the Pig Butchery class at The Brooklyn Kitchen. In fact Gothamist used one of the shots I took of Mylan at the class for their pre-show interview.

The event itself was not nearly as big as the New Amsterdam Market , but it wasn't meant to be. There were about 20 vendors selling and displaying artisanal wares from coffee to books to knives. And of course Pork. From the folks above, I bought "Pork Sticks" tasty skewers as well as some fantastic uncured smoked bacon that I cooked up and served that evening. Just next to them, people were selling porky beans and rillettes. I didn't get a chance to try that out.

Sixpoint from Red Hook was there as well, selling their new batch of Hop Obama, a strongly hopped amber ale that received many accolades in the spring.

I could have stuck around all afternoon, drinking beer and sampling everything but I had a bag full of food to cook.

New Amsterdam Market: St. Brigid's Farm


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If I wasn't already psyched about this market after the oysters, this did it. The fine folks from St. Brigid's Farm in Maryland came all the way up here to sell their meat, including tons of off cuts that made me incredibly happy.

They had me at Sweetbreads for $3. My jaw dropped. I've never seen Sweetbreads available anywhere but on a menu. I almost got them and still sorto f wish I had, but I wasn't going ot have the time to devote to learning new cuts that evening, so I passed.

Instead, I bought veal cheeks and a veal tongue. I braised them both, cooking the cheeks in a mixture of veal stock and veal demiglace. The tongue I simmered in rich pork stock. Mmmm.

This is definitely something I've never seen at the Greenmarket:
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New Amsterdam Market: Hen Sandwich


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At the recommendation of some friends we ran into just as we got to the Market, Tammi had this open-faced Hen sandwich with walnuts and radishes from Bridge Urban Winery, the Williamsburg outpost of a Long Island vineyard. I had a bite and enjoyed it, but I have to say that I'm not so clear on the various distinctions between birds.

One booth that I didn't get a chance to peruse as well as I'd have like is Bo Bo Poultry, which had quite a variety of birds on display. I'm hoping to make it to their retail outlet before it closes up at the end of the month.

Photo of the Day: Lurking


IMG_4331, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bergen Street Station, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. 2006.

July 2, 2008

New Amsterdam Market: Oysters!


IMG_5693, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

There is no better symbolic find at the Market this weekend than the Oysters being shucked and sold by Stella Maris. The oysters at the ferry building were central to my recent fixation with San Francisco and here they were, right at home in this wonderful market.

They didn't last long.

New Amsterdam Market


IMG_5721, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

So, fine, I'm a little behind the times with this post. Everyone has been taling about the incredible food day last Sunday. Down at the Seaport, there was the New Amsterdam Market, which hosted the Winter Market in December and the Unfancy Food Show was hosted out in Williamsburg the same day. More on that to come...

It was a great day. Just weeks ago I was proclaiming my 'market envy' of San Francisco and here we are with two great food related events, both working toward the goal of bringing just that sort of marketplace to New York.

According to the mailing I received today, about 7,000 people passed through the New Amsterdam Market on Sunday. I can attest to the crowds as it was almost immediately unbearable when Tammi and I got out there, only 30 minutes after it opened. Even so, we found some great food. I'll be posting a bit about the highlights shortly.

The concept of the Market, if you haven't heard, is to use the old Fulton Fish Market as a public market, focused on food, along the lines of the Ferry Building. As usual, the battle is between developers and locals, so we'll see how that all works out. The group has hosted three events now in the hopes of demonstrating the public demand for this. Given the throngs of people at both events, I think it's clear that New Yorkers want this.

Even better, being stationed down by the Seaport would finally give us a piece of the City back that had all but been surrendered to the tourists and doubledecker buses.

Food Finds: Vacu-Fish


IMG_2190, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Naka-Meguro, Tokyo. 2007.

Graffiti of the Day: Beatnik


beatnik, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2006.

Photo of the Day: Soul Bar


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Las Cañitas, Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2006.

I can't remember if we just stumbled upon Soul Bar or if we saw it in a guidebook. Either way, we had a great time here, sitting for hours listening to American soul music and snacking while Tammi tried the various cocktails and I worked my way through the local Malbecs they stocked.

July 1, 2008

Photo of the Day: Santa Claus has a Posse


Santa Claus has a Posse, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. 2003.

Graffiti of the Day: Vota Alternativa


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Condesa, Mexico City. 2007.