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October 10, 2012

OHNY: Walking The High Line, Section 3

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It's Open House New York time in NYC again. You may remember my trip last year to the old TWA Terminal at JFK. I mostly shot that with film for my analog series.

This year, Tammi got us on the OHNY list for a walk through the undeveloped section of The High Line. The area from 30th to 34th Street wraps around the Hudson Yards, which will also be developed in the next few years.

See more photos after the jump and the whole set on flickr.

Continue reading "OHNY: Walking The High Line, Section 3" »

May 21, 2012

The Narrative Process - My Tech Munch Presentation

Last Friday, I took part in a panel for the TechMunch Conference, a food blogger gathering, to discuss the narrative process. In it, Tricia Okin led a discussion with me, Liza de Guia of Food. Curated. And Kasey Hickey of Evernote Food about how each of us comes to the stories we publish.

Time limitations (and nerves) prevented me from hitting all my points, so I thought I'd post my whole planned talk here, after the jump.

Continue reading "The Narrative Process - My Tech Munch Presentation" »

May 9, 2012

Self-Promotion: My NoMad Photos in Travel + Leisure

Finally got the new Travel + Leisure - featuring photos by yours truly.

In my years as Flatiron Lunch correspondent for Midtown Lunch, I spent a lot of time in the area that's now being called NoMad. While covering the area, it grew from being a dead zone to being one of the more interesting areas to eat these days. Travel + Leisure magazine agrees - this month's Food Issue includes a piece highlighting a number of the places to eat in the neighborhood and two of my photos are used to illustrate them.

See which ones after the jump.


Continue reading "Self-Promotion: My NoMad Photos in Travel + Leisure" »

April 1, 2012

Self-Promotion: Ten Bells Photo on Travel + Leisure Site

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Last month, Travel + Leisure used one this photo from LES Wine Bar, Ten Bells in their slideshow of America's Best Wine Bars. I was really excited to work with T+L and hope to get a chance to work with them again in the future.

March 20, 2012

Self-Promotion: The BrunchCritic Tour

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Last month, Andrea of BrunchCritic hired me to shoot some places for her site. I spent the afternoon bouncing around half a dozen New York neighborhoods shooting some pretty cool looking brunch spots.

The adventure started with The Cupping Room in SoHo, above. After the jump, see where else I ended up - and check out brunchcritic.com for reviews and a spiffy brunch search tool.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: The BrunchCritic Tour" »

March 14, 2012

Kitchensurfing: Chefs & Photogs Meet

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A couple weeks ago, David Siegel, who I met while he worked at Peaches and later photographed as he made cookies for Fats and Flour, told me about a site called Kitchensurfing. The site plans to be a gathering point for chefs to share resources and compare notes. Earlier this month, they hosted an event which invited chefs and photographers to connect. Each chef brought a dish or two and the photographers styled, arranged and shot the food.

Of course, as much as I enjoy shooting food, it was the spectacle of all the people interacting with the food and each other that caught my eye. The result is more Food/Work than food porn. Get a look at what I saw after the jump.

Continue reading "Kitchensurfing: Chefs & Photogs Meet" »

January 31, 2012

Self-Promotion: In The New York Times

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This is hardly news to anyone who follows me on Facebook, Twitter or even Pinterest, but I'm still excited two weeks later.

The above photo is my first to be published in The New York Times. It's of black truffle soup dumplings at Red Farm and, just in time for Chinese New Year, it got a fair amount of attention, getting reposted on Zagat and Gothamist.

It's a great milestone and helped me push through as I did five more shoots the following week. Onward.

January 23, 2012

New York Tech Meetup's SOPA Protest

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Unless you were stuck in a cave, you almost certainly heard about the proposed SOPA and PIPA bills and last Wednesday's day of protest all over the internet that it resulted in. If somehow you missed what the whole bill was about, see The Oatmeal's hilarious SOPA explanation. While websites all over the world were blacking out their pages in a new form of activism, the folks at New York Tech Meetup decided to take an old school approach and led a rally in front of the office building of New York's two Senators.

As with last year's Meetup with Mayor Bloomberg, NYTM brought me in to document the event. See some of the photos after the jump.

Continue reading "New York Tech Meetup's SOPA Protest" »

January 2, 2012

Introducing Food/Work


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Happy New Year, folks. 2011 was packed with experiences and opportunities that I hope to build on for years to come. To begin, I'm launching a new photo project that I'm very excited about, called Food/Work.

Expanding on the Butchery project of the last few years and the kitchen shoots I've done in the last several months, Food/Work explores the real effort that gets food on our tables. Following the examples of Michael Harlan Turkell's Back of House series and my friend Donny's Foodaisance project, I want to call attention to the work that goes into cooking, preparing, cutting, cultivating and even killing the food that so many of us enjoy and obsess over.

Although the project will not be limited to Brooklyn, starting Wednesday, I'll be posting some photos on Nona Brooklyn every other week. The first post went up last month with photos of Emily Cavalier cooking dishes for November's Midnight Brunch supper club.

So, stay tuned. The slideshow above is just a preview of what's to come.

November 16, 2011

Self-Promotion: An Edible Events recap

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I've kept busy since returning from South America in part by running around photographing events. Among the events that I've been shooting like Midnight Brunch, New York Tech Meetup and the Fleisher's Opening, I've also been brought on a number of times to shoot events for Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan.

Check out some of the highlights after the jump.

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: An Edible Events recap" »

October 31, 2011

Finding Halloween candy with Eat This NY

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Brian Hoffman, a fellow contributor to Midtown Lunch, hosts regular videos on his site, Eat This NY. The other day, I joined him to film his Halloween video, which profiled artisanal candy shop, Papabubble. It was my first time seriously shooting video and thus quite a learning experience. We also got to geek out watching them create some of the unique handmade candy right on site.

As I'm incapable of watching people work with food without photographing them, of course I took a few stills along the way. Check them out after the jump.

Continue reading "Finding Halloween candy with Eat This NY" »

October 19, 2011

Self-Promotion: Photographing Mayor Bloomberg at NYTM

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Last week, I got called on to photograph the October edition of New York Tech Meetup, a monthly event wherein tech startups present their projects and ideas to other tech types, entrepreneurs and potential investors. Wearing my geek hat for a moment, it was an event that I'd been hoping to check out one of these days regardless, so I was really excited when my friend Jessica Lawrence, who works for NYTM asked if I'd be available to shoot it. Things got even more interesting when I heard that their special guest this month was going to be the mayor.

See the full set of photos from the event including more of the Mayor and all the presenters at ClayWilliamsPhoto.com.

September 21, 2011

Self-Promotion: Midnight Brunch II

Photo Recap: Midnight Brunch Edition Two with Google Places

After a month in South America, I got back to New York a couple weeks ago and have been keeping busy, that includes shooting Midnight Brunch last weekend. The event, hosted by Emily Cavalier of Mouth of the Border and sponsored by Google NYC, was the second in a series for the ethnically inspired supper club.

Thirty winners of a contest on Google Places were invited to an undisclosed location in the Lower East Side- the apartment-like space above Casa Mezcal on Orchard Street. The gathering was full of familiar faces, which made the whole thing a lot more fun. Folks I've met in my photo adventures and twittering over the last year or so were there along with plenty of interesting new people. It was a great time. For more details on the evening, including a full menu, see Emily's recap.


Now that I've returned, expect more Peru posts in the next few days...

August 1, 2011

Nom Wah Parlor with Chinatown Chowdown

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Last week, Tammi and I took to Chinatown's historic dim sum parlor, Nom Wah, to help celebrate the release of Chinatown Chowdown. As I mentioned before, the app is a savior for folks like me that have a hard time figuring out which of the hundreds of restaurants, carts and eateries in the neighborhood to try. I plan to spend some quality time exploring the options and thus far have it to thank for a few good meals.

Follow the jump for photos from the festivities.

Continue reading "Nom Wah Parlor with Chinatown Chowdown" »

July 8, 2011

Chinatown: Hua Ji's Pork Chop

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My first excursion into Chinatown with the Chinatown Chowdown app took me to a scaffolded building at the end of Allen Street. I walked past a crowd of people sitting on the sidewalk waiting for one of those cheap fare buses and knew that I'd never have thought to stop here without a proper guide.

Continue reading "Chinatown: Hua Ji's Pork Chop" »

June 8, 2011

The Highline, Section Two opens

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When I got the news yesterday that the second section of The Highline was open, I pretty much darted from my desk. Clearly, an extra long lunch was in order.

The design is more of the same brilliance that makes the southern part such a wonderful place to visit and has some added features including a lawn, a bleacher like seating area, and, below the north end, a food truck fueled snack bar - with beer. So, yeh, it's pretty great.

Get a first look at the space after the jump.

Continue reading "The Highline, Section Two opens" »

May 26, 2011

Instagram and other Digital Dalliances

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This week, through the grace of my lovely wife, I've upgraded my phone from a marginally functional iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4. So far, the best part of having it is that i can finally use the camera again. My previous phone ran so slowly that the camera was more or less useless.

The return to cameraphone photography has introduced me to the wonders of instagram. Many of the photographer friends I respect have been on it for ages, but i wasn't able to play along.

If you follow my twitter feed at all, you'll know that this has changed. In the day or so since i started playing with the app, I've posted dozens of pics. I've been using it so much that it seems like a good way to use my other Tumblr page. Now called Digital Dalliances, it'll mostly focus on the random photos I take with the phone along with some other digital images I find interesting at any given minute.

This may include some of the themes that have been such a hit on Analog UltraClay, like the food series and the current Black and White Bars set. Stay tuned!

May 9, 2011

Malaysian Jerky in Chinatown

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Reminiscing about last year's trip to Hong Kong inspired me to take a trip to Chinatown the other day. Wandering the area, I tried some egg tarts (more on that later), ogled markets, dodged knock off bag sellers and discovered this shop. They had me at 'jerky!'

Continue reading "Malaysian Jerky in Chinatown" »

May 4, 2011

Analog: Black & White Bars

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In all my analog experiments, I don't often shoot black & white. I just love color too much to act like it isn't there. Yet, occasionally, I come across results like this shot I took at Hanson Dry in Clinton Hill and a couple others (after the jump).

Continue reading "Analog: Black & White Bars" »

April 19, 2011

Analog Subways

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After a bit of a hiatus, I've started posts up on Analog UltraClay again. This week's theme is the subway, featuring film photos from New York's transit system.

Just going through the photos to select which I want to post got me thinking of other stations and compositions I want to try. I picked up a couple rolls of faster film than my go-to Ektar last week, so expect a sequel, possibly as soon as next month. Enjoy!

April 12, 2011

Quick Bite: Porchetta Platter

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A while back, I got a Blackboard Eats coupon for Porchetta in the East Village. I've gone on about my obsession with the Italian roast pork dish in the past. It's delicious. Usually, I get the sandwich, but with the discount, I figured I'd splurge a bit.

This is the Porchetta Platter with beans and cooking greens. And, I got a side of potatoes & burnt ends. Of course, it ended up being more food than I could eat - I took the potatoes home and broiled them up with dinner that night.

March 29, 2011

Recently on Examiner: Pharoahe Monch at SOBs

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I've decided that it's about time for me to get back out and shooting for Examiner.com again. Thursday night, I shot Pharoahe Monch perform at the release party for his new album, WAR. One of my earliest shoots for Examiner was a show of his celebrating the 10th anniversary of his first solo at Sputnik. I'm thinking of it as sort of a new beginning.

Examiner doesn't pay particularly well, but the practice of shooting events regularly is really useful. It's been a couple of months since shooting a show and I was surprised at how many little mistakes I made in my preparation that I had down when I was shooting regularly. None of it was insurmountable, but it was all stuff I should have known better. It was a good reminder of why the best thing you can do in photography is to just keep shooting.

March 14, 2011

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Doughnuts and Barbecue

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What you see here is a jelly doughnut from the new Doughnut Plant in Chelsea. After years of being told how good this place was, I finally had to give it a try. The result is that I'm hooked. The yeast doughnuts in particular are enough to make you want to go protest the local dunkin for lying to us all these years about what a doughnut really is.

While in the Chelsea area, I also took some time to celebrate the moderating weather with Barbecue at RUB and a survey of the Flatiron area food trucks, in hopes of encouraging some outdoor eating.

March 10, 2011

Cambodian Cuisine Returns - in a truck

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Longtime Brooklynites, may remember the Cambodian Cuisine restaurant that stood prominently in the middle of pre-gentrified Fort Greene. It's giant sign stood out and, well before pho and banh mi became common parlance in the food world, it was one of the only Southeast Asian places outside of the city's three Chinatowns.

It's long since closed and the location has been the home of Smoke Joint, the barbecue-centered sibling of Peaches and Peaches Hothouse.

I had only ever been to Cambodian Cuisine a few times and only really remembered it as a landmark of a lost time. Regardless, I have wondered, from time to time, what ever became of them. Last week, I found out when I stumbled upon their newly launched food truck, Cambodian Cuisine Torsu across from Washington Square Park in The Village.

Continue reading "Cambodian Cuisine Returns - in a truck" »

March 7, 2011

Fatty Johnson - gone, but not forgotten

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This weekend, Tammi and I finally got a chance to check out Fatty Johnson, the pop-up restaurant in the space where Cabrito used to be at 50 Carmine Street in The Village. This was cutting it down to the wire, as they finished up service there yesterday. The meal was great and made me wish I'd headed there earlier so I could have tried more of the food.

Check out what we had after the jump.

Continue reading "Fatty Johnson - gone, but not forgotten" »

February 11, 2011

Recently on Examiner: Jazz & Donuts

Gregory Porter celebrates Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocalist

It's been a minute since I've posted anything on Examiner. There were many technical difficulties on the site that were making it less and less worth my time. Still, I don't want to let it fade away, so I recently got out to shoot a couple events.

Earlier this week, I shot a show by Gregory Porter at East Village club, Drom. Gregory and I know each other from the neighborhood and his brother Lloyd, the owner of Bread Stuy let us know about it. Gregory was nominated for the Best Jazz Vocalist Grammy and wanted to celebrate with a performance for friends and neighbors.

Continue reading "Recently on Examiner: Jazz & Donuts" »

Analog: 1600 Speed

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When I was in Hong Kong, I picked up a roll of ISO 1600 film in the hopes of using it for some interesting shots at night at Angkor Wat. That never happened, but when I got home, I found a dark and snowy city perfect for high speed film.

The results are interesting. Being able to shoot on a gloomy, overcast day without opening the aperture all the way or having to slow the shutter down too far. Check out Analog UltraClay for more ISO 1600 shots from this roll and some others from a while back.

January 16, 2011

Food Finds: Top Shelf

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Grand Street, Chinatown, NYC. 2010.

December 31, 2010

Learning about fish at Eataly's Pesce

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As I've said in years past, I don't really do resolutions as such, but on my list of things to learn more about for the last couple of years has been cooking and eating fish. Yeah, yeah, health blah blah blah. It's good for me, but it's also a whole area of food that up until now I've been woefully unfamiliar about.

So, the week before Christmas, Tammi and I took a break from shopping and stopped in at Eataly for lunch at Pesce, the seafood restaurant by Esca chef, Dave Pasternack. Check out the courses after the jump...


Continue reading "Learning about fish at Eataly's Pesce" »

December 21, 2010

Lunch: How does Paris Sandwich stand up to the Banh Mi in Saigon?

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After writing up my Five Tips for Eating Banh Mi in Saigon, I found myself craving another Vietnamese sandwich. On my last trip down to Chinatown, when I went to Banh Mi Saigon, I noticed Paris Sandwich across the street and added it to my mental to-do list, so this time I decided to give it a try...


Continue reading "Lunch: How does Paris Sandwich stand up to the Banh Mi in Saigon?" »

December 17, 2010

The Stoned Crow Closing its Doors

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Sorry to interrupt the long string of Asia travel posts, but I just heard this and want to spread the word.

I've got bad news for longtime barflies and burger lovers: Greenwich Village bar, The Stoned Crow is closing at the end of the year. If you know the bar, you're already making plans to head over there now. If you don't, here's why you need to go.

For years, The Stoned Crow has been slinging one of the best burgers in town with little of the hype that has made nearly every other good burger in town an ordeal to get a hold of.

In part, the place stayed under the radar by sitting on a quiet block, away from the hustle and hassle of nearby Bleeker and MacDougal Streets. In fact, you've most likely passed it by on the way to Washington Square Park, neighboring Blue Hill or even the Radio Shack on the corner.

Go inside and you'll be rewarded with a laid-back atmosphere, a beer selection that includes some craft beers but doesn't obsess over it and a pretty amazing burger.

Continue reading "The Stoned Crow Closing its Doors" »

November 22, 2010

Self-Promotion: I'm profiled in today's NY Post @Work

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If you look on page 38 of today's New York Post, you'll find me looking back at you. I was profiled as part of their @work column in a piece about workers around town who have 'unusual' lunch habits, mine being seeking out new foods and restaurants for Midtown Lunch. Sadly, my photo didn't make the web edition. I'll try to scan it in some time today and post it.

I have to say, it was interesting being on the other side of a photoshoot. Lorenzo the photographer and I wandered back and forth through Koreatown looking for proper backdrops.


Update: See the scan of the printed version after the jump!

Continue reading "Self-Promotion: I'm profiled in today's NY Post @Work" »

November 19, 2010

Lunch: Banh Mi Saigon

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Even though I still have five days left before our trip to Asia starts, my mind has been 8,000 miles away for days. It's pretty much all I can think about.

Yesterday, my mental wandering took me on a trip far out of my usual bounds down to Chinatown to get a Vietnamese sandwich from Banh Mi Saigon, one of the old favorites in the banh mi craze. I'd never been there, but happened upon it a few nights ago and decided I had to return. Having rated first place in the Midtown Lunch Banh mi-palooza in the spring was definitely a good enough reference for me. Read on for the porky goodness.

Continue reading "Lunch: Banh Mi Saigon" »

November 16, 2010

Lunch at The John Dory Oyster Bar

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Today I strayed from my path of finding Midtown Lunch priced dishes in order to partake in some deliciousness from under the sea at the new John Dory Oyster Bar at the Ace Hotel.

The meal was a splurge to be sure, but was absolutely worth it. In the name of posting this now rather than waiting to make time to bloviate about each course, I'm going to post the courses after the jump with some brief notes. Enjoy!

Continue reading "Lunch at The John Dory Oyster Bar" »

November 12, 2010

The Best Camera

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I was bored on a recent commute and rediscovered the Best Camera app by Chase Jarvis. Based on his book "The Best Camera is The One That's With You," the app is a collection of filters and effects for your cameraphone pics.

After the jump check out some of the results of a train ride worth of playing with recent photos from the air show in Daytona Beach, wandering about town and (at the bottom) a couple potentially NSFW pics from the Arms Drawn party a few weeks back

Continue reading "The Best Camera" »

November 11, 2010

Photography: The Red Carpet

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Last night I covered my first red carpet event at the opening of the Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council's film festival. Indian and Indian-American actors, filmmakers and celebrities came through, posed for us and moved on to do video interviews and onto the event.

Like every shoot, I walked away with a better understanding of what's needed to be a photographer. See my takeaway and a few more shots from my first try as a 'paparazzi' after the jump.

Continue reading "Photography: The Red Carpet" »

November 10, 2010

Analog: Shooting with the Kiev 88

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In my exploration in shooting analog, medium format has fascinated me. That's most likely because it's sort of arcane and the frames are big and square. Unfortunately, I've had a pretty unfortunate track record shooting 120mm film - thus far at least. That's finally starting to change thanks to the the Kiev 88.

Read more about the Kiev after the jump and see photos I've taken with it on Analog UltraClay all week.

Continue reading "Analog: Shooting with the Kiev 88" »

November 1, 2010

Arms Drawn Recap

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Last week Wednesday night at Madame X, the Arms Drawn party went off without a hitch. A great crowd came out to support and enjoy the art and have fun. Mademoiselle Lena, above came in and posed for artists and audience alike in the drink & draw. In the end, the party-goers voted decisively for the team of photographers to win the prize of the evening. See the whole set of photos from the show, including some that may be NSFW.

The show will be up at Madame X for for another week, so stop through and check out my work there. And of course, my Seasonal Brooklyn show is still up at Peaches in Bed-Stuy. See all the pieces in the show at claywilliamsphoto.com.

Madame X, 94 W. Houston Street, Greenwich Village, NYC.

October 31, 2010

Analog: Street Photography

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One of the interesting side effects of shooting film has been a return to some of the subjects I used to shoot a lot more of when I was just playing around rather than shooting for assignments or blog posts.

I've been especially into returning to street photography in the last few months. Candid street shots can capture so much in a moment.

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After spending the last week posting nature photos from North Carolina on Analog UltraClay, I'm switching my focus to more urban environs.

If you're on Tumblr, I'd love to hear feedback on my work in comments or faves.

October 7, 2010

Morini Preview Dinner

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Last night, I took Eric out for his birthday. He managed to get us hooked up with reservations for Morini, the Osteria by Chef Michael White in Nolita. We had an amazing meal of antipasti, pastas and porchetta - not to mention a tasty dessert wine.

Check out the visual tasting tour of the meal after the jump.

Continue reading "Morini Preview Dinner" »

October 6, 2010

Self-Promotion: Analog UltraClay

Analog UltraClay Under Construction

With all the analog photos I've been working on lately, I've found myself in the situation of either cramming way more images into a blog post than really fits or holding back a ton of images that I'm really proud of. I phased out the POTD on the blog a couple years ago because I felt that solo photos tended to distract from the other content on the site.

So, now I'm launching a Tumblr site called, imaginatively enough "Analog UltraClay" to regularly post my film photography. My plan is to use the new blog to integrate with the subjects I've been covering here in a way that takes advantage of both platforms.

In particular, I'm hoping that using Tumblr will facilitate more discussion and feedback about the images, while I'll be writing about photography more in depth here, discussing technology, techniques and my observations and projects. If you're on Tumblr, I'd love it if you followed the new blog and let me know what you think of it.

As the photo indicates, it's all still 'Under Construction,' so feel free to let me know what you think I should do with it.


October 4, 2010

Carnivora by Jason Covert

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Life has been quite busy lately, hence the lack of regular posts. I'm working on a couple other things that may make it a little sporadic for a while longer, more on that later.

Among the things keeping me busy was the opening of Carnivora, a mixed media show by artist and friend Jason Covert. The show, a reflection of gods, nature and humanity goes on through Thursday, October 8th at the new gallery +ART (540 W 28th St). The closing party is Thursday night, October 7th.

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When Jason, seen here with his muse and girlfriend, Nicole, hired me to photograph the opening events I was very excited. To be hired to shoot by another photographer is pretty much the highest compliment I can get at this stage in my career. These days so many people want you to shoot for free, it was wonderful to have someone who knows the field and understands the value of the service to say that they appreciate my work and are willing to pay me for it.

That is all also to say that I am indeed available for hire to shoot events and openings. See more photos of the gallery, the work and the events after the jump.

Continue reading "Carnivora by Jason Covert" »

September 23, 2010

Food Finds: Admiration Mayonnaise

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Curry Cart, Midtown, NYC. 2010.

September 21, 2010

More Night Photography with the Canon 5D Mark II

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The taxi ride home from a late night at the office or on the town often inspires me to take out the camera and try to capture some of the world whizzing by me. This fails more often than it succeeds, but with the 5D Mark II, my odds have definitely been better. Here are a couple more. See the first set here.

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September 9, 2010

Greg Stamper Sings

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Last month, my friend Greg Stamper gathered friend and family to the release party for his new album, "One with You." Greg is a talented singer, which is something I had no idea about when we worked together as computer techs years ago.

As I pursue my own passions beyond the office life that I've lived for the last decade, it's completely inspiring to see Greg doing his thing.

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September 6, 2010

Eataly: The Staff

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The big story of the moment in the food world is the opening of Eataly, Mario Batali's transplanting of an Italian mega-market to New York. The gigantic space has restaurants, a bakery, a book store and a wine shop interspersed with market spaces selling meat, charcuterie & cheeses, gelato, produce and various other groceries.

The size and spectacle of the place alone is enough to work the eaterati into a lather. I know I was excited. So, Tuesday night, I joined the hordes and scoped out the lunch-worthy options for Midtown Lunch.

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The whole wide internet seems to be reporting on this place right now, so I'll dispense with that except to say that the food is great, the place is huge and it can be more than a little confusing to get around - especially when it's jammed with hundreds of other pushy foodies who absolutely need to be there right away.

That said, I thought I'd dedicate this Labor Day post to the remarkably attentive and friendly staff. More photos of these folks at work, including a spot check in the pizza kitchen from Molto Mario himself after the jump.

Continue reading "Eataly: The Staff" »

August 23, 2010

Quick Bite: Dim Sum at Jing Fong

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Some photos from Dim Sum in Chinatown the other day.

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Continue reading "Quick Bite: Dim Sum at Jing Fong" »

August 18, 2010

Freedom, First and Foremost

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When I started this blog, I made a conscious effort to avoid spending too much time on politics. Anyone who's heard me rant about the state of the world, the country or the city knows that I have ... strong opinions

More than 3 years later, I'm surprised at how much restraint I've managed. Don't worry, I don't plan to start including my partisan invective in my food, photos and travel posts.

That said, my friend Yelena has no such compunctions against loudly proclaiming her opinions on all sorts of topics and I often (if not always) agree with her. Today in particular, which is the point of this post.

This morning she revealed the one value that she holds fundamentally above all else: The First Amendment:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

Read the post for her particularly awesome take on the subject of our most innate of freedoms. For my part, I'll let the words stand on their own.

August 9, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Shows Shows Shows

Nneka at Highline Ballroom

The last few weeks have involved a lot of burning the candle at both ends, shooting late night shows and getting up bright and early to get to the office. Sooner or later I'm going to crash, but for now, enjoy the photos.

Monday night, I was in the meatpacking district shooting Afro-German singer, Nneka and Sierra Leone rap group Bajah + Dry Eye Crew, who I saw on one of my earliest shoots last year.

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The next day, I was at Brooklyn Bowl covering the monthly Talib Kweli and Friends show. Despite a late start that had some in ill spirits and me wondering how I was going to wake up in the morning, the show was worth the wait. Having grown up with 90's Hip-hop, I was blown away by the guests he brought through that night. The whole Boot Camp Click was on stage rocking Who Got The Props, Bucktown and more. Mister Man, of the much slept-on Bush Babees came through performing his verse from Fortified Live with Kweli. I definitely want to go next month just to see who else he'll manage to bring out.

After the jump, MJ Impersonators, elaborately fake rockstars, mermaids playing with fire and more.

Continue reading "Recently on Examiner: Shows Shows Shows" »

August 6, 2010

Pig Roast at The Breslin

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When I last mentioned The Breslin, I wasn't so pleased. The scene of 'sophisticated' frat-boys doesn't do anything for me and the fact that the 'gatekeepers' types stand between me and really magnificent food only made me that much more resentful.

I hadn't been there since my early visits, though I'm regularly tempted. That is until I got the note that The Tower of Justice was gathering friends there for a pig roast as a part of his Bachelor Party weekend of gluttony. The TOJ has guided me, again and again through some of the best food on the west coast, so he is definitely one for picking the right meals and this one was spot on.

Snooty host station and a douchey clientele can only keep me from so much deliciousness before I breakdown and eat some pig. After the jump, see how the pig above turn into this:

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Also, check out the brain shot (last one if you'd prefer to skip). It was the first brain I've ever tasted. It was interesting in texture, sort of pasty. The rest of the meal was amazing - as would be expected. The shoulder offered the juiciest, most succulent portions of meat, but, really, it was all amazing. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to hold up my avoidance of trendy jackasses and pissy hostesses for very long after that meal.

Continue reading "Pig Roast at The Breslin" »

August 4, 2010

Quick Bite: Fried Chicken at Blue Ribbon Sushi

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Blue Ribbon Sushi, Columbus Circle, NYC. 2010.

July 31, 2010

Self-Promotion: Promoted!

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Those keeping track of these self-promotion posts will remember that I won an honorary mention for this photo earlier in the spring for this photo from last year's Winter Market.

For my trouble, I received 20 rolls of Kodak Ektar film and the warm, fuzzy feeling of having my work appreciated. It was plenty and I was happy.

Then, I got a note from Kodak saying that one of the winners was disqualified, so I've been promoted to to Third place!

Oh, and how would I like my remaining 280 rolls of film.

Two Hundred and Eighty.

More. Rolls of film.
With 300 rolls to go through, expect more analog photos in your near future.

Update: Follow my progress and exploration going through The Ektar 300...

July 29, 2010

Quick Bite: Cabrito's Border Dog

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Last year, I lamented the fact that I chickened out on trying the bacon-wrapped hot dogs in Los Angeles. The other day, I finally got a chance to try a version of it.

Among the tasty happy hour specials at Cabrito are a selection of 'Border Dogs,' that is, bacon-wrapped hot dogs with yummy toppings including the guac and chicharrones you see here.

The special also includes a Dos Equis, which I'd just as soon skipped in favor of one of the better drink options. Really though, it didn't matte what I washed it down with, it was glorious.

July 23, 2010

Maialino

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After the success of last week's visual food tour of our meal at Williamsburg's Fatty Cue, I decided to similarly catch up on my meal at Danny Meyer's Maialino. Tammi took me there last month for my birthday and we had a fantastic time.

As with all of Meyer's restaurants, the service was amazing and course after course, the food was delicious.

See the photos after the jump.

Continue reading "Maialino" »

Photo-Geekery: Night Photography with the Canon 5D Mark II

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One of the spiffy features of the Canon 5D Mark II is that it has can shoot at an astronomically high ISO with much less noise interference in the image than one would expect.

Recently I decided to test it out a little bit and see how effective it can be by doing some night shooting out the window of a taxi on the way home after a late shift at the office.

The photo above is dark and silhouetted, sure, but at 5000 ISO, it's remarkably crisp and noise-less. All of the photos have been tweaked to some degree in Aperture, but none beyond recognition.

After the jump see a couple photos where I pushed the camera up to 25600, the maximum setting.

Continue reading "Photo-Geekery: Night Photography with the Canon 5D Mark II" »

July 21, 2010

The Limelight Resurrected as a Mall

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I was a lame teenager. I didn't go to clubs or do drugs or even drink much. I spent most of my free time hanging out and wandering the city. But I certainly heard stories about Limelight, then a notorious nightclub housed in a former Episcopal church. I wasn't religious back then either, but it always struck me as pretty ballsy.

This spring the space was reopened as a mall, much to the dismay of many a former club kid. It is a bit of a shock, but to hear some people describe it, you'd think it was a desecration of holy ground... Oh wait.

So, with no real ties to its previous incarnation, I stopped in the other day to take a look at the space. See a couple shots of the space after the jump.

Continue reading "The Limelight Resurrected as a Mall" »

July 15, 2010

Food Finds: Soothing Teas

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Chinatown, NYC. 2010.

July 14, 2010

Self-Promotion: Edible Manhattan, The Beer Issue

Tastemaker: Garrett Oliver, Brewmaster for Brooklyn Brewery

It's been a little while since I've tooted my own horn, so here's a new bit of Self-Promotion:

The July/August issue of Edible Manhattan (on stands now!) includes this fine photo of mine in their story on Garrett Oliver and the Brooklyn Brewery. It's actually the lead photo on the web edition of the story.

In case you missed it when I used this photo for POTD some time ago, the subject is Sheila Griffin, a friend who is also a photographer and who I have gone to more than a couple times for advice on the field.

The Edible magazine are always a good for news and insight in the local food world, when I'm out of town, in particular, I've got local Edible pubs to be a good resource. I'm not just saying that because they bought one of my images, but it certainly helps. I hope to work with them again in the future.

Onward and upward!

July 1, 2010

New Amsterdam Market starts a new season

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Sunday morning the New Amsterdam Market started up for the season. Obviously, I'm behind on some posts, so I'll just post photos from the the market. Over the summer, the market will be going on monthly, come September, it'll be weekly through December.

Photos after the jump:

Continue reading "New Amsterdam Market starts a new season " »

June 30, 2010

Butchery: Japanese Premium Beef

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About a year ago, a new Japanese Butcher shop opened up in NoHo. They specialize in Washugyu, Wagyu-hybrid beef that is raised in the Pacific Northwest to be deeply marbled like the beef from Kobe, Japan.

I stopped in once to get a couple photos, but haven't had a chance to get back to take a better look at their goods either photographically or to take home and cook.

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Most of the write ups about the place point out that it looks more like one of the area boutiques than any butcher shop. It's true and that's at least in part due to the fact that most of the meat is cut at their supplier, not on site.

I suppose that makes this shop more of a reseller than an actual butcher shop, and therefore not the same as my other butchery subjects. But, given how interesting and delicious the marbled beef I had in Japan was, I'll let it slide. Meat like that just needs a quick sear and it's ready to eat. If that. When we were in Tokyo I had some thinly sliced beef at a Yakiniku restaurant in Ginza that was so rich and wonderfully marbled, they encouraged us to eat it raw.

I probably wouldn't go that far if I were cooking it at home, but one of those steaks would be marvelous thrown on the grill for just long enough to get a good char.

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June 7, 2010

Babbo Birthday Dinner

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I took Tammi out to Babbo for her birthday a couple weeks ago. It was
her first time there and my first time in years. It's a pain to get a
reservation and we had dinner at 5:30pm, but the meal was amazing and
the service friendly.

It just happened to be the day I received my Canon 5D Mk II, so of
course I had to see how it did with the food porn.

After the jump, grilled octopus, soft shell crab, grilled beef tongue
and more.

Continue reading "Babbo Birthday Dinner" »

June 4, 2010

On Examiner: Summer Concert Season Begins

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With City Seen up, I've finally got some time and attention to get shooting for my nightlife column on Examiner.

And just in time for summer concert season to begun. The same day I put up the show, I headed out to Red Hook Park to catch Jay Electronica open up The Summerstage series.

The summer looks like it will be a good one for shows. Big Daddy Kane is playing at Von King (Marcy) Park in Bed-Stuy, Antibalas, the band behind Fela! is playing as part of the River to River festival and all sorts of acts will be in Williamsburg as part of the Northside Festival.

I'm hoping to get out to as many as I can over the course of the summer to put my new camera through its paces. I also want to take another crack at shooting street musicians in the parks around the city.

May 9, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Drinking in Brooklyn and the Freedom Party

A new Hot Bird rises from the ashes

If there was much of a theme at all in my last couple weeks of posts it was Brooklyn Bars. Besides the regular Brokelyn 25 series that I've gotten moving again, I've also posted about a few new choice spots to imbibe that have opened up recently. Above is Hot Bird, which I lucked into on its second night open. I basically got the first shots of the space and thus ended up on Brownstoner and Eater. The place looks pretty amazing, so I expect to spend quite a bit of time there this summer.

See what else I've been posting about after the jump...

Continue reading "Recently on Examiner: Drinking in Brooklyn and the Freedom Party" »

May 7, 2010

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Flatiron Excursions

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It's been a while since I've plugged my posts on Midtown Lunch. That's in part because I've been spending a lot of time eating and writing for it instead. There have been plenty of posts, from Taco Trucks to restaurant openings and even some tasty, if overpriced meatballs. But the big news for me is that I've now taken over the weekly Flatiron Lunch column every Friday.

Working on the southern edge of Midtown means that I've got as many options out of bounds as I do within Midtown proper. I've posted before about wanting to go out and explore my food options further afield and this has become a great excuse to do so.

See some of what I've been checking out after the jump.

Continue reading "Recently on Midtown Lunch: Flatiron Excursions" »

April 21, 2010

Food Finds: Roland Snails

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Chinatown, NYC. 2010.

Quick Bite: Cabrito

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I imagine many people might not have much of an appetite after watching a pair of goats being butchered, but after my Cabrito shoot, I very much craved some of their tacos. Luckily, the shoot didn't end up taking very long, so there was time for me to sit down and have a few.

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I had a chorizo, up top, a lengua, above, and a pork belly, below. Sadly the cabrito is only sold as a larger dish, so not so much a lunch dish. It was all delicious, regardless, but a return visit for some of that goat is definitely in the cards.

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April 20, 2010

Self-Promotion: Honorable Mention in Kodak Ektar Contest

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Back in December, while I was still in full-tilt analog shooting, I submitted the above photo of cranberries at the New Amsterdam Wintermarket to a contest on Flickr for images shot with Kodak's low-grain Ektar film.

Recently, I was notified that I made the honorable mention list! For placing, I get my photo posted on the big Kodak screen in Times Square and 20 more rolls of Ektar film.

The film is wonderfully smooth and I enjoy using it when lighting situations allow. It'll be great to get it for the summer time, when I hope to be spending more time outside shooting.

The official news release hasn't gone out yet, but it was announced to the contest's group on Flickr.

When I started posting all this Self-Promotion jazz a couple weeks ago, I hadn't actually expected it to become a weekly thing. Here's hoping it keeps coming!

April 8, 2010

Quick Bite: Baoguette

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The beautiful weather this week has drawn me further afield for lunch than I would usually travel. I suddenly found myself craving some deep sun and delicious ground pork.

That led me on a trip to Baoguette. I've lunched at the Lexington branch before, but this time I made it all the way down to the East Village and sat at the eat-in Baoguette Cafe.

It doesn't get much better than sitting in the sun watching St. Mark's Place go by. It was a hard trip back up to Midtown.

April 1, 2010

Lunch: Single Serve Korean Barbecue at Don's Bogam

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Korean Barbecue is awesome: the big plate piled with meats, the sizzling grill and the smell of all of it cooking in front of you and a group of friends sharing it all. The whole experience is fun and filling and leisurely time-consuming.

The only problem is that it's not so conducive to the lunch schedule and doesn't really scale down for one person so well. Or it didn't, until I found Don's Bogam a couple weeks ago. It sits in relative obscurity a block away from the main Koreatown strip. I happened upon it one day during lunch and decided to give it a try. What drew me in were the lunch specials, which at $12.95 may be outside the Midtown Lunch price range, but still makes for a great bargain for barbecue.

Food and pics after the jump...

Continue reading "Lunch: Single Serve Korean Barbecue at Don's Bogam" »

March 30, 2010

Self-Promotion: NYU SCPS Show

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Last fall, I took at class at NYU on Night Photography. Last week, I was invited by the school to show some of my work as a part of the 75th Anniversary celebration of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS).

This weekend, as part of the Literary and Visual Arts Festival, my photos will be on display along with visual art pieces from many other current and former students at the Silver Center at NYU.

I'm honored to have my work shown here and look forward to seeing it.

Butchery: More Dickson's Farmstand

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I've been showing my butchery work in a class I'm taking at ICP and got a bunch of feedback. Taking the feedback I've gotten from my classmates into account, I went back for another shoot at Dickson's Farmstand.

Mostly, I photographed the inside of the walk-in meat locker, where I could play with the flash without blinding anyone wielding a knife.

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While in there, I got a chance to get a closer look at their new addition, whole, young goats. They hung up in the back, looking a little creepy, but also delicious. Seeing them split up, I'm reminded of the large standing grills we saw in Argentina. Slow grilled like than and served with some chimichurri, I'm sure would be fantastic.

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It wasn't all just meat porn, though. I spent a few minutes taking some photos of Jake Dickson, the shop's owner and Adam, while he worked on a beef forequarter. Gotta love the action shots.

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March 28, 2010

Recently on Examiner: Jam Bands, Food Fests and Hip-Hop

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Woo! It's been a busy week. I've jumped back into the Examiner gig with both feet. Last Sunday night, after Cochon 555, I headed to Brooklyn to shoot The Disco Biscuits play Brooklyn Bowl. The night before, I covered the opening for Make It Fit at Brooklynite Gallery and the next night, I was at Choice Eats for Midtown Lunch. In one of my better attempts at synergy (without recycling, thank you), I managed to squeeze a Food Fest post together about Cochon 555 and Choice Eats, as well.

K-OS at Le Poisson Rouge

Besides all that, my Examiner column over the last couple weeks had recaps of a K-OS show in The Village, the third anniversary Mixer at Cakeshop and recommended Mé Bar for outdoor drinks on a Friday night when the weather was nice.

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This weekend, I've taken some much needed downtime at home with Tammi, but as the weather warms up, the activities in the city tend to multiply, so I expect to stay busy.

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Lines and Lent

Village Voice Choice Eats 2010

This week, I covered Monday's Village Voice Choice Eats, a food festival featuring over 60 restaurants. The good news is that there was plenty of good food and even though I had to stand in a line for an hour, which is totally something I don't do, I managed to stuff myself quite well before the crowd became so ridiculous that I had to bail.

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The Friday before that, I got a chance to meet up with my ML colleagues for a Lenten Lunch of all the seafood dishes under $10 at the Grand Central Oyster Bar. That was pretty fantastic, even for a heathen like me who has no idea when Easter is and tends not to eat a lot of fish. Brownie, of Blondie and Brownie posted a recap of the meal the other day.

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I'm so going back up to GCT for one of those Po Boys. Like, this week. The Rock Shrimp sandwich, above, was pretty fantastic too. I'd love to get a cup of the shrimp and eat them like popcorn. It was great to meet and trade notes with B&B, Jason of Me So Hungry, Amy of Amy Blogs Chow and Jenn.

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Most of my Midtown Lunch coverage this month has been stalking Kyochon, the new Korean Fried Chicken joint that opened, closed briefly to bad reviews and opened up again. That's all still in progress, so I'll have to get back to you on that in a week or so.

March 25, 2010

Food Finds: Pork & Ham Loaf

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Chinatown, NYC. 2010.

March 23, 2010

Butchery: Ryan Farr at Cochon 555

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Friday night I got an email from FoodBuzz telling me that I'd won a pair of tickets to Cochon 555, two days away. I was elated. At the event, chefs from some of the best restaurants in town had their way with five 125 pound pigs and handed out the results to attendees.

Yet, I only ate a couple small plates. Why? Because I'm a meat nerd and butchery awaited. Instead of grazing all evening, I spent a couple hours in the corner watching Ryan Farr, San Francisco's butcher king take apart a whole pig of his own.

Farr went muscle by muscle to show us cuts and techniques that I can't wait to try at home.

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He frenched a loin rack like one would a lamb roast. I think I'd have to see that several more times to even contemplate doing something like that.

Ryan Farr at Cochon 555 NYC

Really though, the coolest part was what Farr did with the head. He deboned it, removing the skull, then he stuffed the face with shoulder meat. After that, he sewed it all up with butchers' twine and a needle. See the slideshow after the jump for a blow by blow.

Ryan Farr at Cochon 555 NYC

I think I've found my next butchering challenge. Seriously, I've been all about cheeks and such for ages, it's time to graduate up to a whole head.

Talking to Farr about the classes he teaches back in San Francisco, I found out that unlike the classes here in New York, his classes are completely hands-on.

Before the session, I introduced myself and told him about my Butchery project. He was into the idea and told me I'd be welcome to come in to photograph a class the next time I'm in San Francisco. I'm hoping to be there over the summer at some point, so keep your fingers crossed.

Ryan Farr at Cochon 555 NYC

Continue reading "Butchery: Ryan Farr at Cochon 555" »

March 22, 2010

Food and Fashion meet for a laugh at The Astor Center (NSFW)

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I'm still catching up on the various shoots and events I've been juggling over the last month, so apologies for the delay. Just before our delay-laden trip last month, I shot a Gastronomica-sponsored Food and Fashion event at The Astor Center. The event began the Umami Art Festival and included a performance art piece called Robert Kushner and Friends Eat their Clothes. The distinctly odd show was brief and featured a fashion show made up of men and women (barely) dressed in foodstuff. Think an eggplant codpiece, a nori skirt and asparagus headwear.

I didn't end up posting it on my Nightlife column as I didn't want to test the posting guidelines, but if you'd like to see half naked artists dressed in vegetables and such, follow the jump and check out the extended Food Fashion set on Flickr.

Continue reading "Food and Fashion meet for a laugh at The Astor Center (NSFW)" »

March 10, 2010

Recently on Midtown Lunch: Pizzacones

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This is a pizzacone. It's an odd little invention that captured the fascination (and for some, disgust) of the blogosphere last week.

This pizza in a cone concept was introduced to the Manhattan eating audience for the first time when K! Pizzacone opened up to much attention last Monday. I had a front row seat covering it for Midtown Lunch.

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I'm not a stodgy traditionalist in pizza or much else, but giving a balanced report on something so weird was a struggle. While I did appreciate the opportunity to eat a wad of melted cheese, I think I'll stick with those boring flat pizzas I've known so well over the years.

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My report last week on Izakaya Moku, on the other hand, was no trouble at all. The latest in a trend of Korean-run Japanese restaurants offers a pretty good lunch deal and I made a point of doing as much -ahem- research as I could. Strictly for research purposes, I assure you.

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It may not be the best Japanese food in the city, but Moku and the other new places in Koreatown offer some very good options within walking distance of my office. If nothing else, I'm psyched to finally have a nice bowl of pork ramen available nearby.

What I'm really interested in is checking out the after work menu, which is far expanded and includes yakitori and various other izakaya fare. I think an Examiner post is in order.

Stay tuned.

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March 1, 2010

Analog: Appreciating Digital

You'll notice that there's no photo here. That's because I've been all analog for the last week and a half.

In all my recent experimentation over the last couple months, I've enjoyed the process of shooting film and the excitement of seeing the results. I did my best not to overly glorify film, but I certainly have been finding film more interesting. Not enough to replace digital, but I've definitely been talking up film a lot more.

I'll take it as a rebuke from fate or the photography gods that my digital camera crapped out on me a week ago exactly when I needed it for quite a few things including a photography class, a couple events I was covering for Examiner and of course the wedding and cruise this past weekend.

So, yes, I miss digital. Let me count the ways:

• Changing rolls of film in the middle of shooting an event sucks. No ones going to stop walking down the aisle or hold that pose long enough for you to swap rolls.

• Along the same lines, being able to take 1,000+ exposures on a chip allows you to catch more moments just through sheer volume. Everyone wants to think they're going to catch the Decisive Moment through skill, but sometimes skill still needs 30 attempts to get it right.

• Trial and Error. Seriously. You have no idea how scared I am that some setting was off and half the photos I took are screwy because I couldn't glance at the LCD to see that I shouldn't have used that aperture or didn't see that someone was totally backlit.

Finally, there's developing cost in both time and money. Between the snowstorm and the travel, I now have nearly two dozen rolls of film to develop. That's going to cost a lot and I won't get them for a couple days.

February 24, 2010

It's A Family Affair

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So, you thought your parents were embarrassing when you were a kid? How many times did they drag you out to sit on a bucket while they played drums and sang on the subway platform?

February 10, 2010

Midtown Lunching

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So, I wasn't particularly subtle in my recent post about new things afoot, but I wanted to make a point of not mentioning that I'm a part of the new editorial team on Midtown Lunch until something I wrote was actually posted.

So, here's the rundown for those who don't slavishly follow the food blog world: Zach Brooks of the blog Midtown Lunch has moved on to warmer pastures to Los Angeles. We'll forget all the terrible things we feel for LA and instead just be jealous for the warmer weather. I'll be posting, among a handful of other talented contributors in his stead.

I started with a post about the expansion of Little Italy Pizza, the place I posted about last year that's been my go-to slice spot that's been a favorite of mine for some time. They opened up a place a couple blocks away that I checked out last week.

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The short version is that I'll be plugging another site, but if you are a midtown wage slave, I'd also love to hear about what your favorite (non-chain) food options are. And I'm always looking for news. Checking early and often.

More to come. . . .

February 8, 2010

Butchery: Dickson's Farmstand

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Friday morning, I spent a couple hours at Dickson's Farmstand, the newish butcher shop at Chelsea Market. Jake Dickson graciously allowed me to come in to look around and photograph his place as a part of my Butchery project.

This session was the first step in expanding the scope of the project beyond the same guys I've been shooting. As I'm developing the idea behind the project and what I want to do with it, I need a larger representative group to hold up the ideas behind it. I hope to do more shoots over the next month or two, introducing more faces, hands, spaces and animals to the collection of images.

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At Dickson's, I spent most of the time documenting Adam, below, while he took apart three beef quarters. Adam eschews the term butcher in favor of the more descriptive 'meat cutter' and tries to keep closer to the traditional concepts of butchery that he learned when apprenticing under an old school butcher in Boston.

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One big difference in his methods I noticed is that Dickson's is equipped with hooks hanging from the ceiling that allow for easier cutting. I'd heard about this but hadn't seen it before. With the meat hanging down, pulling cuts off is significantly easier because gravity is on your side.

Adam used the same technique with hooks attached to his cutting table as well. It was interesting to watch.

Check after the jump for a few more photos. The rest are posted on Flickr in Digital and Analog sets.

Continue reading "Butchery: Dickson's Farmstand" »

February 1, 2010

This Week on Examiner: Bar Guides!

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Being in Aspen, I haven't had the opportunity to cover all the cool events going on this week. It's been killing me to read about everything going on on Gothamist and Brooklyn Based and the food sites, but alas.

Instead, I went with slightly less timely reports, posting about particular bars around New York that I'm pretty fond of. Head to Examiner to find descriptions and slideshows of Another Room in Tribeca, Bar Henry on Houston and an old favorite of mine, Deity.

I hope to get a couple more out there before I head back home. Then I'll have some reports coming in of all the stuff going on back in the Bright Center of the Universe.

On Saturday, I'll be covering Donuts are Forever 4 at The Bell House, hosted by Rare Form in annual tribute to the late, legendary producer J Dilla. The show will be featuring a number of great DJs including my friend DJ Tara and ?uestlove of the Roots.

So, check back on Examiner often to see what's up and where to go back in the Big City.

January 27, 2010

Analog: Diana Mini's half frames

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An interesting feature of the Diana Mini is the ability to shoot half frames. In addition to the square frames, which match the number of exposures typically on a roll, it can be adjusted with the flick of a switch to shoot twice as many rectangular exposures. All of these are from the same roll. I was surprised at how long it took to take 72 shots.


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My biggest issue with the Diana is what I've had with the Holga, which is figuring out exposure. I seem to only have luck shooting in daylight, regardless of the speed of the film. If I try to adjust the exposure time by using the bulb feature, it ends up being overwhelmed by camera shake. I'll keep at it at see what I manage to get up here in the mountains.

Check out more shots after the jump. More to come.

Continue reading "Analog: Diana Mini's half frames" »

January 23, 2010

This Week on Examiner: Adding some culture

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This week I went a little outside my usual area of coverage on Examiner. Jazz and Poetry are both art forms that I respect, yet know little about. So, I jumped in and covered a bit of both.

Nearly every venue in town this week has been hosting benefits for charities providing aid and service to Haiti's Earthquake victims. With so much else going on this week, I only got to cover one of them, L'Union Fait Force at Le Poisson Rouge.

The coolest part of the show was watching the Doctor Lonnie Smith Trio perform with Trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Smith (top) is a great showman whose flair added excitement to the show. Hargrove on the horn was wonderful.

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There was plenty more going on: Dance, Haitian drums, a pair of guitarists and the Vijay Iyer Trio, which is actually what drew me to the event. That morning, WNYC announced the event and played some of the Trio's take on Mystic Brew - better known to those of a 'certain age' as the basis of the classic "Electric Relaxation" by A Tribe Called Quest.

The show was fun and eclectic and went late into the night. I was so wiped out, I had to take off before the last set even started, missing hosts Groove Collective perform with Bernie Worrell of Funkadelic.

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On Wednesday, I changed things up a bit with by covering the Mixer Series at Cake Shop in the Lower East Side. It's a monthly series that hosts poets and authors reading their recent work. And first up was Tess Taylor, above, a classmate in college. We hadn't seen each other in at least the 10 years since graduation, but it was good to catch up, however briefly.

I don't know the first thing about poetry and I don't read books nearly as much as I should, but it was a great experience being surrounded by smart people enjoying intelligent things. I really hope to keep going to future Mixers.

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Among the other readers was Steve Geng, who read scenes from his new book, Bop City about Paris during the Algerian war. Just in the 15 minutes he was up there, he touched on themes of terrorism, sex, race, and French culture that fascinated me.

After the jump, more photos from both events...

Continue reading "This Week on Examiner: Adding some culture" »

January 12, 2010

Lunch: The Breslin

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Today, Sam Sifton of the New York Times will be reviewing The Breslin, the new restaurant in the Ace Hotel. Mere blocks from my office, I've had my own opportunity to check out the place and I'm not sure there's a lot that Sifton might say that would make me want to check it out again.

It's a sad thing, because everything I've had and heard tells me that the food is pretty amazing, but the culture of the place puts the scene first and customers second.

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The lamb burger, the only thing Ive had there is wonderful. The rest of the menu seems ridiculously magnificent. But much like The Spotted Pig, by the same folks, the crowd of 'see and be seen' types takes all the fun out of it and the staff seems to buy into that culture deeply.

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In a perfect world the entire clientele of the place would change. The people who show up to places because it's popular would forget it ever existed and the wonderful meat dishes would be available throughout the day for the rest of us to peruse at will.

Instead, there's a crowd of loud, unpleasant people talking about their polo weekends in Florida and Argentina and the staff spends more time ignoring you than finding out if you need anything. Apologies for being crotchety, but this is exactly the sort of thing that upsets me the most. Not sceney places that I'm not remotely interested in, but places that I would love to go to were it not for the nonsense.

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January 10, 2010

Lunch: Rye House

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Ever since getting into the analog world, I've found myself spending a lot more time in the FlatIron District. Whether stopping at a Color Lab to drop off or pick up film or going to Adorama or Calumet to pick up new rolls, I'm in the area between 17th Street to 23rd Street from 5th to 6th Avenues a couple times a week.

Changes in movement patterns around New York always inevitably leads to some interesting discoveries and Rye House is one of the best kind. After discovering it and stopping in for a drink after work, I made a point of returning for lunch a week or so ago.

Up top are a pair of sloppy joe sliders, which had the perfect balance of meat to bun to avoid a ridiculous mess. Topped with a couple rings of jalapeño peppers, it had just the right kick to it.

Below is a cross section of deep fried Mac n Cheese. It's an intriguing sounding snack. Clearly it piqued my interest. Sadly, it just shows that not everything ought to be fried. The outer crust just didn't add anything to the experience and in the end, I probably would have enjoyed it more in a bowl.

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A couple days ago, I stopped in again and tried one of the sandwiches, the Cuban. It was pretty perfect, Berkshire ham, roast pork, gooey cheese and tart and tangy pickles. Yeh.

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There are a few of other sandwiches on the menu I'd like to including the Beef Wellington with Filet Mignon and Foie Gras and the Pittsburgh with Andouille Sausage and a house slaw. I have got to try both of those.

What really fascinates me is an item from the dinner menu that I've got to have: Buffalo Sweetbreads.

Rye House, 11 West 17th Street, NYC. 212.255.7260

January 8, 2010

Beaten by the hordes

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This was the scene at The Metropolitan Museum last weekend when I attempted to go catch the Robert Frank exhibit. With New York seemingly empty of locals, I didn't expect to see the tourists numbered quite so highly here. It was very disappointing since I had really wanted to make it to that show, but there was just no way I was going to make it through this mob.

January 7, 2010

Lunch: Salt and Pepper

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I've been passing Salt & Pepper by for the last five years. Besides being the type of hole in the wall that is entirely missable, it's also wildly varied in a way I haven't really seen anywhere else.

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The front counter offers Latin and American food, serving everything from cheesesteaks and fried chicken to oxtails and pepper steak. There's also a strong Italian contingent with chicken parm, lasagna and meatballs.

That selection alone is vaguely unusual, but if you can squeeze through the narrow space up front and the tight seating area, you'll find another counter in the back.

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There you'll find an Indian and Pakistani spread with all sorts of options including vegetarian dishes, Naan and various curries like the Goat Curry I tried out. You don't see goat offered in many places, so I had to give it a go.

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I grew up with goat as a regular dish at home, so I don't think of it as very unusual, but I guess it's not so common. You'll almost always find it braised in a strongly flavored sauce, like curry, which makes the expected gaminess unnoticeable.

If you can't get past the whole goat thing, there's chicken and fish and lamb along with a number of vegetarian options if that's your thing.

See more photos of the space after the jump.

Salt & Pepper, 139 West 33rd Street, between 6th and 7th. 212.268.1919

Continue reading "Lunch: Salt and Pepper" »

On Examiner: Korean Barbecue

Kunjip Slideshow, by clay williams

After a lull in coverage, I'm back on Examiner posting about late night foods. This week's focus was on 24 hour Korean Barbecue in Koreatown. It's a wonderful thing.

Look at those ribbons of meat, ready for a ser on the grill. It's even better with a charcoal fire, but there aren't so many of those any more -- probably for the best at the places that cater to the post-karaoke crowd at 4am...

I'm also trying to find more events, parties and shows in the next couple weeks to cover for Examiner. If you know of any, let me know in the comments.

January 6, 2010

MTA Unlocked

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You've got to love the MTA. For all the fare hikes, service cuts and security rules they keep pushing, they still can't manage to keep their staff from leaving turnstiles unlocked, open and with the keys still in them.

Brilliant.

Lunch: Wolfgang's Bar Menu

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Last week was that languid period between Christmas and New Year's Day is a little surreal in New York. Those of us who actually show up to work, the office is a ghost town. Midtown is more crowded than ever, but it's made up almost entirely of tourists. Even the commute is more relaxed and roomy.

Keeping with the indulgent mood of the week, I met up with Eric one day for lunch at Wolfgang. Now, luxury week or not, we weren't getting Ribeyes or Porterhouses in the middle of the day. Instead, we go every once in a while to snack on their excellent bar menu.

I had the Cheeseburger topped with a thick slab of rich unsmoked bacon above. Getting a burger from a steakhouse is a habit I picked up years ago upon learning of Peter Luger's burger. That is a magnificent thing. Sadly, it's not nearly close enough to go to for lunch, so Wolfgang is my next best thing. They don't have the thick slice of muenster cheese or the buns made from their Luger's great dinner rolls, but they do have one thing that is centrally important: great meat. Both the beef and the bacon are juicy and tender and done just right.

Eric went with something you can't get at Luger's: the most literal take on a steak sandwich I've ever seen. It's actually a steak, grilled and chopped up to fit on a bun. Dab a little sweet and tangy house steak sauce on top and you've got one of the best sandwiches you're going to find around.

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At around $20 each, it's a splurge that only fits in the budget every now and again, but it's definitely worth it.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse
4 Park Avenue, New York, NY.
212.889.3369

January 4, 2010

Lunch: Haru Hana adds a new Japanese option in Koreatown

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This afternoon I had lunch at the new Japanese restaurant in KoreaTown, Haru Hana. It calls itself a Japanese Pub and stocks many of the izakaya favorites I know and love, but the decor and crowd, particularly on a Monday afternoon was much more subdued than all that.

Signs prominently advertise that they are open 24 hours a day, so I'll have to report in again after a late night visit. In the meantime, here's what I had for lunch.

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I passed on the katsu and udon, which I've had quite a bit of in the last month or so and chose a broiled eel rice bowl. I love Unagi. The sweet syrup that coats the top of the eelskin and gets soaked up by the rice is a thing of beauty.

I also tried a couple of the skewers to see what that was all about. Here I had one with bacon-wrapped sausages and the other with chicken and garlic. The sausages were sweetly tangy , like those I had the last time I visited Go Go Curry. Being wrapped in bacon, it's an automatic win. The chicken skewers sported leg meat and garlic cloves toasted until the two were visually indistinguishable. Thankfully, I noticed the different in texture before biting into the garlic by mistake. The flavors may have mellowed out as it grilled, but I don't think my co-workers would really appreciate the difference

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I do have to say one thing about the yakitori. They were wonderful, but after years of eating Japanese skewers at izakaya after izakaya, I have come to expect an open kitchen where I can watch the flames lap at the meat leaving bits of char and juices dripping. When I don't see them, it doesn't detract from the experience exactly, but I notice that it's not there.

Really though, it's not hard to tell when you look at the space. The restaurant is shotgun-style, like many of the other ground floor spaces on the block. There's precious little space to offer up for the ceremony of open cooking.

The menu is widely varied, with everything from Tonkatsu to Udon to Yakitori to sushi. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. Most Japanese restaurants tend to focus on one cuisine and do it really well, so it's a little unusual. That said, the dishes I had were wonderful and I'll be happy to work my way through the menu to take advantage of the of all that variety.

Haru Hana
28 W 32nd St
Between Fifth Ave and Broadway
KoreaTown
212.736.5393


Analog: Diana Mini

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The holidays brought me more photography gear that I'm looking forward to playing with in this brand new year. I've already mentioned the Lensbaby Composer that Tammi got me, but that's not strictly analog and I haven't really used that on my film Canon yet.

These photos are from the Diana Mini that my aunt gave me. The camera is a miniaturized version of the popular Diana toy camera from Lomography.

Unlike the 'grownup' Diana, the Mini takes 35mm film, which is much more convenient to find and get developed. It also has two frame sizes, square boxes, like you see here or rectangular half frames that effectively double the number of exposures you can make on a roll. I have only just started shooting half-frame, but check back here for an update in the next week.

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I'm still learning how best to use it, but these are some of the test shots I took last week. Lesson number one for me was that it's all but useless inside. I'll have to either only use it outdoors or get really good at timing my shots to the fraction of a second in 'bulb' mode.

This is my second foray into toy cameras, the first being the Holga, the mastery of which continues to elude me. Between being put off by the medium format film, the lack of metering and the larger shape that makes it more difficult to carry around, I've all but given up on learning how to make good photos with it. I'm hoping that the easier to manage Diana Mini can work as 'training wheels' to get the hang of shooting with a toy camera. One day, maybe I'll be ready to graduate to the medium format goodness of the Holga.

January 1, 2010

WinterMarket 09: Heartland's Winter Wassail

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It's easy to hate on Heartland Brewery. I've certainly done it. It's touristy and, Brooklyn-brewed or not, the beer isn't fantastic. But they do put an effort in and I give them credit for that.

They participated in the WinterMarket this year, just a block away from their Seaport location. To help battle the frigid temperatures, the folks here were pouring steaming hot mugs of a concoction blending beer, cider, rum, and a host of mulling spices. After nearly freezing my hand off taking photos and stuffing my face glove-less, this drink may have saved me a couple digits.

The heat, unfortunately, was really all it had going for it. The flavor was bitter, bringing out all the wrong parts of the ingredients. The orange peel and mulling spices and presumably the beer buried the innate sweetness of the cider instead of balancing it out. That said, the cold was hard enough that I kept on drinking it anyway.

A few minutes later, I came across a booth selling hot cider and I regretted not seeing it first.

December 31, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Oysters

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I typically love oysters, whether first thing in the morning or late into the evening. Sadly, the morning of the WinterMarket, I couldn't muster up the will to slurp down any of the ice cold bivalves on display. They do look gorgeous though, don't they?

December 30, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Fleisher's

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This bucket of guts and goodies brought to you by Fleisher's, the upstate butcher shop that has served as the training ground for many of the butchers that have been proselytizing the gospel of butchery in recent years.

Bryan apprenticed there through the fall and has continued to work there over the last several months and was working the booth with them at the WinterMarket. He introduced me to Jessica Applestone, who owns Fleisher's with her husband, Josh, the self-titled "MooRu". I'm hoping that next year some time I'll be able to visit the shop up in Kingston and photograph them and their apprentices in action.

For now though, I took advantage of the wonderfully priced offal and bought a pile of organ meats including a beef tongue, sweetbreads and a mix of beef and lamb hearts. The sweetbreads gave me some difficulty and didn't come out as well as I'd hoped, the hearts were awesome, more on that in a bit. I also bought a small pork roast that I cooked that night using Sara Jenkins' Porchetta salt that I also picked up that day.

December 29, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Porchetta

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Sara Jenkins' fantastic roast pork is what began my obsession with that rosemary and fennel scented lusciousness that is porchetta last year. So, it was wonderful to run into her booth at the Wintermarket on Sunday.

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My only disappointment was that the little porchetta sandwiches being served were not warm and fresh and custom made with requests for cracklins honored, but pre-made and chilled by the frozen temperatures outside. I guess that just means I'll have to make another pilgrimage down to the East Village one of these days.

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What was very cool was that she's now selling a packaged seasoning with Sicilian sea salt, fennel pollen and other ingredients that construct a semblance of the flavors she uses for her porchetta. I used it that night to season the pork roast I picked up at Fleisher's.

December 28, 2009

WinterMarket 09: Hot Pockets!

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The most amazing thing I ate at the WinterMarket was the "Hot Pockets" being sold by Quality Meats. Discard all thoughts of the vile microwave pastries made infamous by Jim Gaffigan.

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No, these incredible creations are filled with a mix of shredded Duck Confit and cheese and then pressed in a sandwich maker. So. Good.

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So, how was your Christmas?

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December 21, 2009

WinterMarket 2009

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Yesterday morning I braved the piles of snow to go down to the Seaport to attend this year's WinterMarket at the Fulton Fish Market.

I haven't written much about the New Amsterdam Market project recently, but it's been moving on track as far as I can tell. Starting this summer, there have been monthly markets taking place down there, but this was the first I'd manage to make it to since last year.

Despite the snowstorm, my fellow food nerds were out in force. I wasn't nearly the only one with a camera shooting food, servers and displays. It was great. I ran into Dave from Eating In Translation and we compared camera notes and geeked out for a moment.

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I wandered around shooting and eating and chatting with some of the vendors and had a great time trying out some new and interesting foods. Over the next couple days, I'll post some highlights of what I saw and ate.

December 17, 2009

Lunch: Dogmatic

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I already love hot dogs. Who doesn't? Whatever your preference for toppings or types of dogs or methods of cooking, it's a pretty great food.

Dogmatic didn't really have to do so much work to improve it. I'm really glad they did, though.

This gourmet dog is stuffed into a small hollowed out baguette. But, that's only after it's been slathered in a sauce of your choice including the intensely flavored Truffle Gruyere.

Yeh, really. It's then accompanied by one of a number of sides, in this case a cup of mac n cheese. Because, you know, the more cheese the better.

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New York SantaCon 2009

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I'm sure this weekend's New York's SantaCon was one of the more blogged about events recently, so I'll save you the recap.

I unintentionally came across a horde of drunken Santas in Washington Square Park and kept shooting until I lost my light. Here and after the jump, find some of my photos of Saturday's festivities. For more, see my Examiner slideshow.

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Continue reading "New York SantaCon 2009" »

December 16, 2009

Lunch: Is Go Go Going?

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It's a testament to my priorities in the world that the first reports that Hideki Matsui was leaving the Yankees for Los Angeles, all went something like this: "What about Go Go Curry?"

The hazard of basing your entire business around a single free agent player is pretty clear. But then, we've all enjoyed the quirks that make this place so interesting. According to reports, there is no plan to close up shop, although a Los Angeles branch may be in the works and the owner maintains his allegiance to Matsui.

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Despite the recent abundance of Katsu in my diet, I decided to stop in yesterday to check out the scene on the ground.

There was no sign of a change in color scheme or Angels gear anywhere. The staff still wore Yankee colors and most importantly, they still give out free toppings coupons on 'Go' days, that is any date with a '5' in it.

Best of all, the Katsu is still wonderful, the curry still think and the new-to-me pork sausage makes for a tasty combination with the other elements of the meal.

December 14, 2009

Transit Week

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For no particular reason, this week I've decided to post some impressions of the various transit systems I've passed through or otherwise explored this year. Enjoy!

Lunch: Arang -- Japanese Fusion in KoreaTown

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According to Midtown Lunch, Arang in KoreaTown used to be Korean/Sushi Buffet. ML also reported that they had shut down. I discovered it after that, once they had revamped and got rid of the buffet.

They still specialize in the Korean and Japanese, but the buffet has been scuttled. Now, you can order one of a number of bentos, like the one above with kalbi or lunch specials of Tonkatsu.

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I'm on a katsu kick these days, so the last time I was there I tried out the Cheese Donkatsu. I can't name too many Asian foods that work with cheese, so it take a moment to wrap your head around. But then, as I've observed before, katsu is just schnitzel. And fried, breaded things can be quite tasty with cheese.

The crust is crisp, the cheese is gooey and the katsu sauce adds a sweetness to it that can be unsettling at first, but works pretty well.

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On an earlier visit, I tried their Curry Katsu just to see how it stood next to Go Go Curry. The answer is that there's no comparison. It's entirely different. Arang's curry sauce is chock full of potatoes and carrots and chunks of meat. It's thinner in texture than the dense sauce of Go Go, but there's so much stuff in it that it doesn't really make a difference.

The best part of all these lunch specials is that they are reasonably priced for a sit down meal, with most if not all specials under $10. The place is rarely crowded during lunch hours, so it's a good place to go when you need a break from being surrounded by office mates all day.

Arang
9 West 32nd Street, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 947-3028

December 8, 2009

On the Examiner: Late Night Eats

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Tomorrow, I start up a feature on Examiner all about late night food. I know, where do I come up with these things! Really though, even the least food-savvy people crave _something_ after a night of imbibing. What's yours?

Chime in here or on the Examiner post or with the Midtown Lunchers I polled on this questions last week.

I even fixed up the comment section, which I gave up on some time ago. You can log in and post with many different logins, so give it a go and let me know what I should be checking out.

Finals

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Bobst Library, NYU. Greenwich Village, NYC. 2009.

Ten years out of school, it's easy for me to forget that it's also finals time for students all over the country. Outside of the occasional dream, this is something I happily have forgotten all about. I just had a conversation with my aunt, a college professor and she was telling me about all the reading and grading she's doing.

Periodically, we all have wistful thoughts of school days. I can't say I've ever missed this particular part though...

December 3, 2009

Lunch: In the mood for Japanese

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I haven't shaken my craving for Japanese food since getting back from Hawaii. Coincidentally, I ended up having to run lunch errands in Midtown East two days in a row this week. As I've mentioned before the East 40's is basically JapanTown North. So, I took the opportunity to slurp down some more noodles and enjoy the dulcet tones of "Irrashaimase!!" upon entry.

Above is a Tuesday's Kara age Curry Udon, a favorite of mine from Udon West's uptown branch. Without repeating myself too much, I'm a big fan of Udon. It's thick and hearty and perfect eating on a chilly fall day. Combine that with the warming spice of the rich curry broth and the visceral satisfaction of the crunchy on the outside, tender and herby on the inside fried chicken and I could eat this all winter.

Below is a bowl of Pork Belly Ramen from Manchenko Tei on 45th Street that I had on Monday. The two could not have been more different. The noodles were thin, soba, I think and the broth was lighter and silkier. Topped with a hunk of pork belly that was beautifully braised it was easily as satisfying.

There's so much food in New York, I'll probably end up back into my usual patterns of a little of this a little of that soon enough, but I'm really enjoying exploring the many many Japanese options available right now. The weather has had me craving soups, but I definitely want some yakitori sooner rather than later.

More to come.

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(PS: Welcome Midtown Lunch readers! Apologies for the poor navigation, I'm working on it. Please feel free to look around.

November 15, 2009

Quick Bite: Italian Sausage

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When I was in High School and College, I loved wandering the street fairs every summer. I didn't care that, except The Antic, they were all the same and rarely represented any aspect of the block of the neighborhood they were in. I wasn't particular.

I liked the gathering of people and, of course, I loved the food. The highlight for me was always the Italian Sausage stands. I could have Hot or Sweet, but always covered in a mountain of peppers and onions. For the life of me, I can never find one nearly as good in a store. Most pizza shops that sell sausage heroes, just don't have the flavor or the nice char from the griddle.

Last week, I passed by one of these fairs, probably one of the last of the season, and right on the corner was a sausage stand. I had to have one for old-time sake.

I just have to add a note of photo-geekery here. The pic is one of my analog shots, that I took on a roll of Fuji Velvia slide film. Check out the way the colors just glow out of the shot. I can practically smell the onions just by looking at it.

November 12, 2009

Chef Michael Psilakis at The Astor Center

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This week for the Examiner, I visited a cooking demo at the Astor Center by Chef Michael Psilakis of Kefi and Anthos. I was just there to shoot and thankfully didn't drool on anything, but the smells and sounds of all the food he prepared were amazing.

My Examiner post went up this morning with a slideshow of images I took that night and a brief write-up.

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In addition to the many digital shots I took while there, I also shot a few rolls of film, which I'm really happy with. This whole 'analog' thing has been fun and I'm falling further down the rabbit hole.

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After my old model broke a little over a week ago, I ran out immediately and bought a used Canon, which uses most of the same lenses that my digital uses. Ever since, I've been shooting even more film and redoubling my experimenting. I've even gone back to playing with Black and White, which I haven't done since I was in High School.

I think the results have been pretty good, what do you think?

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November 9, 2009

Lunch: Buffalo Chicken Pizza at Cafe Rustica II

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The idea of spicy chicken and bleu cheese on a pizza may seem wildly unusual to many, but for me it brings back memories of my college days. Back in Amherst, Mass, there is a pizza shop called Antonio's that specializes in odd toppings. There were plenty of others including Potato Bacon, with thin slices of baked potatoes with cheese and crispy bacon bits on top, but 'Spicy Bleu,' was always one of my favorites

So, when I saw this buffalo chicken pie come out of the oven at hole in the wall Cafe Rustica II on 35th Street, I had to have it. Though not nearly as good as my far off memories of Antonio's, it was close enough to take me back for a moment.

A firm layer of mozzarella sets the foundation of the slice. It holds what might otherwise be watery ingredients in place. The bleu cheese is a thinner dressing that I'd like, but is just strong enough to balance out the tang and spice of the buffalo sauce. The chicken chunks are breaded and fried, a departure from the slices I had back in college and maybe an improvement. The crispness of the breading adds another texture to experience and manages to soak up some of the hot sauce, making it a better vehicle for flavor.

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The way I found it was entirely by accident. My usual Herald Square pizza spot, Giuseppe's apparently closed down but I still wanted a slice, so I stopped in here.

In the 5 years I've worked in the area, I had only gone to Cafe Rustica once. Passing by, the signs out front declare it a 'Trattoria Pizza and Pasta House.' This is ridiculous. The closest thing to decor in this dark, cave-like space are the exposed duct work in the ceiling. This is not Trattoria. It's not even a Restaurant. It's a Pizza shop. Make no mistake.

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November 2, 2009

A Busy Weekend of Revelry

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It's a good thing that we had an extra hour thrown in this weekend, because there was so much going on this weekend, we needed it. I certainly did. With Halloween and the New York City Marathon both happening in the same weekend, there was plenty of celebrating to do.

Friday night, Tammi and I walked DUMBO as a part of the ArtCrawl, which included many of the neighborhood's galleries. Saturday evening, we hit the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade Saturday evening with our friend Saun. I hadn't gone out to see that spectacle since I was a kid, so it was a lot of fun to be in the middle of it again.

After that, it was an evening of party-hopping from Boerum Hill out to Fort Greene until late into the night.

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The next day we were up bright and early to get out to our usual Marathon viewing spot in Fort Greene. We got a group together to cheer on the runners and watched from the elites through to the back of the pack.

Of course, Halloween and Marathon photos are posted on Flickr. Read about all that and more on my Examiner column.

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October 29, 2009

Recently on The Examiner

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Apologies for the sporadic posts of late. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my posting here with my Examiner column. I have some things in the works that hope will help me keep the blog going and maybe tie my various online exploits together better.

In the meantime, I'm going to start a weekly post here recapping some of what I've been up to elsewhere, particularly on Examiner.

There's a lot to catch up on, so this will be longer than most will be.

To start, last week I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, above, to shoot an Oktoberfest event at co-sponsored by Brooklyn Based. That was a lot of fun and I got to play with some of the techniques I'm learning in my night photography class.

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Beyond that, I've spent some quality time at Sputnik in recent weeks. First I went to shoot Brand Nubian and in the process got a pass to go back the next week to see Pharoahe Monch.

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Finally, there was also the Big Apple Comic Con, which has grown tremendously from the days I remember in the basement of the Roosevelt Hotel 20 years ago. And with it, the costumed crowd has exploded. The costumes were wonderful and I spent my whole time there getting as many shots of them as I could. A bunch of them ended up featured on Gothamist.

That's the last few weeks in a nutshell. For more details o what I've covered, check out the column on examiner.com, or even better, subscribe!

I hope to have a weekend wrap post up early next week about all the Halloween festivities and the New York City Marathon. Expect sweat and costumes on both counts.

September 28, 2009

Quick Bite: Locanda Verde

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In the name of getting more posts up more often, I'm introducing a new feature: Quick Bite. I'll post an image or two from a (hopefully) recent meal with a note or two.

This weekend, Tammi and I had dinner at the bar at Locanda Verde. I had the awesome ribbons of parpardelle, above, topped with a lamb, veal ragu.

Below is the grilled octopus that I raved about when I posted on LV over the summer.

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Self-Promotion: I'm an Examiner

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One of the many factors impinging on my blog update time lately has been my new gig on Examiner.com, a website made up of locals reviewing and reporting on various beats in their area. I'm now their New York nightlife photographer and have been posting on events for the week or so.

So far, I've covered an art opening at Madame X, the anniversary party at Sweet Revenge, and last weekend's I Love Vinyl Party.

If you've got a party, opening or anything else generally nightlife-y going on, let me know and I'll try to come through to cover it.

Stop by the site early and often, as I'm trying to put together posts several times a week. If you want to get it in your feed reader, you can also subscribe.

That said, I do hope to get posting here as well over the next couple days. I've got photos and stories from Seattle, Vancouver and a few leftover from Philly and Los Angeles.

September 9, 2009

The Smoke Condition

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I understand that it's probably wise for MTA staff to avoid saying 'fire' on a crowded train during rush hour. But I still think that 'smoke condition' is a stupid euphemism.

August 23, 2009

The Cloisters

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As with most New Yorkers, there are a million sights, attractions and cultural institutions that I rarely if ever take advantage of. It's not that I don't want to, but life gets in the way most of the time and tourists get in the way the rest.

The Cloisters has been high on my list of places I wanted to visit for the better part of a decade. I visited it once, in sixth grade, 20 years ago(!).

This weekend, we're watching our niece and I thought it would be a good thing to take her to. My mom came along, too, with her neighbor's 10 year old in tow.

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I could have chosen a better day, given that this weekend Hurricane Bill brushed up against the Northeast, dumping even more water on us via some -freaky- storms.

Even so, I really enjoyed walking through the space. It's really an amazing thing, when you think about it. Rockefeller bought and moved brick by brick cloisters from five different churches around Europe here to New York. From a contemporary perspective, an exercise of wealth that massive is at once repellent and awe-inspiring.

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This summer has been ridiculously busy, and the fall is already starting to get booked up, but I hope that to be able to return before too long.

Going Analog

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A week ago, I discovered my old film SLR in the back of my closet. It's been a whirlwind of shooting ever since.

There's a softness in the edges and the hues in images on film that I find really interesting. I'm still learning about the effects and how to work with them. And of course the arcane nature of the whole enterprise appeals to my geekiness. I've been relearning film speeds and adjusting to manual focus.

As I've gotten into photography more over the last couple of years, I've avoided film for a number of reasons. High among them was that I ultimately like the instant gratification of digital.

I like the trial and error and still really feel that it's easier to learn the right settings when you can see what you do right or wrong right away. That's especially true compared to a medium that can take days to weeks to months or years to finally get developed.

I don't see myself giving up digital. It's just too useful and practical. So, in my own particular brand of obsession, I've taken to carrying around -both- my digital slr and my film slr. And the Holga that Tammi got me 2 years ago that I never got the film developed from until last week. After seeing the photos from the Holga, including the one above, I'm hooked on that too.

As usual, photos are posted on Flickr.

Further down the rabbit hole I go...

August 16, 2009

Another Mystery: Jennifer Denapoli

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Much like the guys I saw in Fort Greene, I felt like I was walking into someone else's story when I saw these pages taped up to the walls at the exit of the walls of the Herald Square station on my way to work. I don't know who Jennifer Denapoli is or who it is that misses her so much, but maybe posting this will one day yield even a glimpse of the story behind it all.

August 12, 2009

Lunch: Shut Out of the Outdoors

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My favorite (read: only convenient) outdoor space near my office has been locked up and fenced off for the better part of a month. It's doubly disappointing as it seemed to coincide exactly with the arrival of seasonal weather.

There's no sign or readily apparent explanation as to why it's locked up, but it is certainly a disappointment for the many local workers, like myself, starved for daylight and seeking a mere 15 minute respite from the office to soak up a little sun. Being on a side street, the space benefited from being just out of the way enough to avoid the throngs of tourists that shuffle around the base of the Empire State Building.

But now there's nothing. We either have to wade through the crowds to get to Herald Square, the heart of the swarm, where aimless tourists and shoppers meander or the benches in front of the old B. Altman's building where you can vie for spaces with the homeless.

Or, it's back to shoveling food into your mouth at your desk before someone says, "I don't want to interrupt your lunch but..."

August 11, 2009

Locanda Verde

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The night before leaving for LA, Tammi and I had dinner at Locanda Verde, the great new restaurant in the Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca. It was our second time there, after a birthday meal there in June.

The restaurant has gotten a huge amount of press on the blogs since it opened in late May and I have to say it's pretty well deserved.

I don't really know where to start describing the highlights of the meal without just listing everything.

The blue crab crostino was nicely spiced with black pepper to enhance the flavor of the crab.

The Lamb Meatball sliders are amazing. We had that the last time and had to have it again. The meat was richly flavored without any powerful gaminess to it was topped with a cheesy tomato sauce and pickle. I could eat them all night.

The grilled octopus was tender, but still had just the right firmness. The fish flavor was clearly present without being overpowering. And it had just the right amount of char to counter the other tastes.

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The winner of the night was Tammi's linguine with shellfish. Its sauce was sweet and creamy with flavors of herbs, garlic, lemon battling out with chunks of lobster, shrimp and clams tossed in. It was amazing.

There was plenty more, but I'm trying to keep it brief. Just thinking about it is making me hungry.

Locanda Verde
377 Greenwich Street
New York NY 10013
212.941.8900

August 10, 2009

Lunch: MFC (formerly Bon Chon)

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A month or so ago the Bon Chon Chicken in Koreatown (and I believe the location in Flushing) suddenly changed its name to Mad For Chicken. According to Midtown Lunch, this is a familiar story:

Ah yes- the old open a franchise... steal the recipe... decide you don't want to pay the royalties anymore game. If this whole thing sounds familiar, it's because it is. Shorty's (on 9th Ave. btw. 41+42nd) did the same thing to Tony Luke's. Thankfully for Midtown Lunch'ers one commenter is reporting that the chicken pretty much tastes the same as it always has, but I'm guessing it still takes forever to get your order. Thanks to Lunch'er Paul for passing along this link to the Bon Chon Website.

I stopped in for lunch before a couple weeks ago and can verify that on all counts, things are about the same. The chicken was the same, if slightly spicier and the service was just as slow.

I will say this though, the place did seem more crowded that I had ever seen it during lunch. And the waiter actually warned me that the food would take about 45 minutes, which I don't think I've ever seen before - it always takes that long, they just don't usually warn you.

Lunch: Num Pang

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Farther afield than even the extended area I've been attempting to survey as part of my walking project, Num Pang's sandwiches are good enough to hop a train for. I was downtown running a couple errands during lunch and took the opportunity to sample the pork belly special.

The sandwich, above, sported meltingly tender pork belly topped with pickled cucumber and rhubarb, shredded carrots and sprigs of cilantro. The flavors and textures fell together magically. The roll, which I worried might be too thick, turned out to fold perfectly with the meet when biting into it.

My only complaint was structural. The pickled rhubarb, simultaneously tangy, tart and sweet, was left in whole stalks, which are rather difficult to bite through. Each bite I struggled to get through it without yanking the entire piece out of the sandwich. If it had been cut up into smaller bits, the logistics of eating the sandwich would have been more convenient.

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Num Pang serves Cambodian sandwiches. They are similar to Vietnamese sandwiches in that they include a good deal of tender pork, stinging spice and tangy pickles, but with wider variations than what I've seen at traditional Vietnamese spots. I can't speak to other Cambodian sandwich shops, Num Pang seems to shine brightest on it's often changing menu of specials. Of course, it's regular menu is nothing to write off either.

Num Pang
21 east 12th street, new york, ny 10003
phone: 212.255.3271

August 9, 2009

The Highline and What's Wrong with New York

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If you haven't heard, the Highline is a freight rail line that used to run through the warehouses of the lower west side of Manhattan, delivering meat and such to the meat-packing district long before the neighborhood's primary appeal became Sex & The City tours and douchebaggery. In recent decades, it's been abandoned and overrun with weeds and become the hidden gem of The City. The only way to access it was to climb up random fire escapes or scale walls.

Flash to the present, after much lobbying from locals, the Highline has been turned into a park and it's the new 'It' spot in the 'It' neighborhood downtown. After opening in early June amid the deluge that just barely missed the rainfall record in city history, the droves that plague any and everything worth attending have invaded.

So, yeah, I'm bitter. The day that Tammi and I tried to go up there and found the scene above. There was a line to get to The Highline. A line. To get to a park. We weren't down.

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So yeah. We still haven't been to the Highline. I guess I have to wait for the most undesirable time to go and hope that no else has the same idea.

July 30, 2009

Lunch: Soba Totto

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A couple weeks ago, work took me up to a satellite office in the Grand Central area. As soon as I knew I was heading up there I started contemplating my lunch options.

Then it came to me: Japanese. While there's plenty of Korean food coming out of K Town, there isn't much in the way of Japanese food in the area besides some anonymous sushi spots here and there. The east 40's on the other hand hosts a veritable Japantown, catering to an older crowd than the raucous scene down on St. Mark's Place.

Soba Totto is one of my favorite places in the area. One of three upscale izakaya in midtown, I've often enjoyed the yakitori and somewhat exotic fare. All three locations roast interesting skewers of cartilage and rare chicken thighs and such. This location specializes in soba noodles, as seen in the soup on the right.

Most noodles are striking for their texture rather than flavor. Soba's buckwheat base adds another dimension. I'm told that the Japanese consider soba noodles to be comfort food, a taste of home. I'm not sure I have the vocabulary to pinpoint the difference, but I find the flavor to be heartier, meatier.

Paired with that was the bowl of ginger-marinated sauteed pork belly slices on a bed of rice. The whole meal, at $15 was a great deal.

I may have to return for lunch even when I don't just happen to be in the neighborhood.

July 16, 2009

Lunch Explorations

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I complain about the culinary wasteland that is Midtown, but all things considered, I'm in a relatively good spot to eat if I take a little more than the customary 15 minutes to grab something quick and eat at my desk.

Last week, Tammi and I started working on losing some weight. I refuse to call it a diet, but healthier living is probably for the best, so we'll see what happens. There may be some mention of it here and there on the blog, but if you want weekly updates on such things, see Ed Levine. That's not my thing.

Here's where it's relevant: One of my goals is to walk more and I figure what's more motivating for me that food? So, I'm trying to get out to some of those places that are pretty close to my office, but further than I would usually consider for lunch. Think 2nd Avenue, Curry Hill or Chelsea. All within 10 blocks of my office, but outside of the 2 block radius I typically lock myself into.

My trip to Baoguette was my first such excursion. My goal is to do this at least once a week. If nothing else, it should make for some more interesting eating options which can't be bad.

July 13, 2009

Oyster Sliders at Ed's Lobster Bar

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This is the most wonderful thing ever: Oyster Sliders.
Bacon-wrapped. Fried. Oyster. Sliders.

Seriously.

July 9, 2009

Butchery: The Times Catches On The Rock Star Trend

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I have to say it was pretty gratifying to see The Paper of Record chime in on the Butchery theme I've been going on about.

Most of the New York scene mentioned in the story were things I've been following and planning on posting about, but it was interesting to read about what's going on in San Francisco in particular. I'll have to make a point of seeking out such things the next time I'm in the area.

I'm also interested in reading Julie Powell's upcoming book about her time at Fleisher's, the Meat Mecca of the east. And I may finally have to finish reading Heat just so I can read more about Dario Cecchini, who I've mentioned here before.

In any case, if you have any interest in all this meat talk, the story is worth the read just for tips on others doing this butchery thing. Enjoy!

July 1, 2009

Music In The Streets

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In those few, precious moments of dry, warm weather, I've found myself appreciating the street musicians I otherwise pass by without a second thought.

Above is one of the many groups I saw one weekend in Washington Square Park. I didn't get a name for their group, but their sound was old fashioned, with the washboard playing and the twenties-style singing. The comeback of this warbling, rustic sound complements the 'speakeasy' trend in the bars and restaurants that have been popping up everywhere.

Below is a similarly old-school group called the Scandinavian Half-breeds, in front of the bike shop on Vanderbuilt during Summer Streets.

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The emotions and gestures on display by performers offer ranges much more difficult to find in everyday life. As I spend more time trying to improve my photography, I hope to get the opportunity to capture more of these artists expressions and moments.

If I manage to get enough together, I may put together a series of photos here on the blog along with information about the performers.

June 23, 2009

Washington Square Park Reopened

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After what feels like an eternity of construction and nonsense, Washington Square Park has finally reopened. It's been easily 15 years since I've spent a significant amount of time hanging out in the park, but walking through it still evokes feelings of home for me.

The renovation, while silly in some places, has made a vast improvement on the park. I walked through it a couple weeks ago, on an unusual summery day and took in the people and the sites.

Now that it has reopened, I hope to spend more time out there people watching and enjoying the new space.

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June 22, 2009

Krishna BBQ?

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In the middle of the BBQ Fest, a parade of Hare Krishna's marched down Fifth Avenue past the park. Somehow, I doubt that any of them detoured into the Block Party, but I like to think that the temptation was intense.

June 4, 2009

i2Y '09

Here's a quick heads up that DJ Juice E is going to be DJing the "I'm Too Young for This" un-gala again this year. Last year I reposted Emily's email about the event. Here's her message for this year's event:


Hi Everyone!!

About a year ago, I sent out a special request to YOU to come out and celebrate my 1-year out of chemo anniversary at I'm Too Young For This's Stupid Cancer Gala. I must say that I was floored by the response I got. I was amazed by how many of you bought tickets or donated funds. It made me prouder than ever and thankful to know such great people. That's why I was so glad to get a call from my friend Matthew Zachary who runs I'm Too Young For This asking me if I'd wanna spin at this year's Stupid Cancer (un)Gala on Wednesday, June 10. My answer: OF COURSE I WOULD! I CAN'T WAIT!! And now I'm hoping that once again, YOU'll help support this wonderful event for a very special cause.

For those of you who are new in my life, here's the recap: I am a Cancer survivor. And darn proud of it! This past March marked 2 years free from Cervical Cancer (knock on wood PLEASE!). I was initially diagnosed back in '05 at the age of waaytooyoung and subsequently underwent 2 years of on and off poking, prodding, having parts removed, tubes put in, blood drawn, chemicals administered, AND- somewhere deep in my records at Sloan Kettering I believe there are some compromising Polaroids of me that even Playboy would find indecent! (They said it was for radiation, but who really knows?! Look at Farrah!) Basically, I went thru the works. And for the past 2 years I am back at Sloan Kettering every 3 months like clockwork to make sure that those evil little squamous cells don't come back.



This has been an ongoing journey for me and my loved ones and I admit that I'm a much better person for it. I'm lucky. I have tons of family and friends who have supported me thru it all- and since. However I have met many young survivors who have no support system. Which of course brings me to that part where I've gotta ask YOU to cough up some MONEY!! I'm Too Young For This is a wonderful organization dedicated to supporting young adults, 18-40 with cancer. This reason that this is sooo important is that we are the fastest growing group of cancer patients. This is mostly due to that fact that doctors don't expect us to get sick. Therefore we go undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed- which is exactly what happened to yours truly. The other important aspect of this organization is that it has a strong emphasis on the arts. I guess YOU can all figure out why that's important to someone like me!!


I realize that everyone and their mother is fundraising for something or other these days (and I'm pretty sure that my mother'll back me on this one too!) (HI MOM!!) But seriously, please help us out and buy a ticket. Even if you can't make it out. The minimum is $25 but we'll take any small donation that YOU can manage. The event runs from 7-10pm- so plenty of time for YOU to come out, get seriously drunk and still make it to work the next day!! I'll be DJing along with my great friend- and the most amazing DJ I know- DP1. There'll be raffles, food, drinks, giveaways and a lot of very cool people. And just in case ya missed it- I'll be there!!

So there you have it. Feel free to check out their website: http://www.ImTooYoungForThis.Org
http://ungala.i2y.com/
Wednesday, June 10 @ the Taj Lounge
48 W 21st St, NYC
$25 = sponsor a survivor
$25 = admission
$45 = admission + free drink + 5 raffle tix
$65 = open bar! (beer, wine and soda)
Plus you might go to heaven. Who knows, right?

Finally- to all my friends at MSK- Thanks for all your hard work and for takin such good care of me!!
Now buy sum tickets!!!

Hope to see ya there!!!

Emily "Juice E" Rubin- Friend, DJ and very proud Cancer Survivor.

May 29, 2009

Taking Back The Streets of Midtown

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Starting Monday, May 25th, the Department of Traffic blocked off traffic on two stretches of Broadway in Midtown. It's part of a pilot program that creates a pedestrian mall for five blocks in Times Square and two blocks at Herald Square.

As someone who worked in Times Square for four years, I can't begin to tell you how much that extra room is needed. Just being able to bypass the tourists will be a vast quality of life improvement. Beyond that, having more outdoor space to sit in the sun and eat lunch in is greatly appreciated.

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On Sunday I was in the area and got to see the DOT workers repainting the road. It's exciting to see where the city is going with these pedestrian and bike-friendly programs. It started with more bike lanes popping up all over town, which has been very helpful to me as a nascent bike-rider. Then last year, the Summer Streets programs opened up miles of
road to bicyclists and runners and strolling pedestrians every Saturday in August.

Apparently, this is all the work of Janette Sadik-Khan, the Transportation Commissioner. I won't bother to paraphrase the more extensive New York Magazine article, which goes more in-depth into the commissioners plans as well as her opponents around the city.

I, for one, support the idea that since pedestrians vastly outnumber drivers, we should probably get more space. But that probably makes me as much a 'radical' as she is.

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Depending on how the pilot program fares, the spaces will be made permanent and the areas will be redesigned to cater to the new use. For now, orange barriers like these will keep the streets safe for pedestrians.

The unfortunate part of the entire arrangement is that most New Yorkers, myself included will still rush through these areas due to the complete saturation of tourists. But at least we'll be able to get by faster.

May 27, 2009

I Love Vinyl Party

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Saturday night saw the debut of the I Love Vinyl party at Le Poisson Rouge in The Village. Friends DJs Jon Oliver and Scribelove among others went retro and ditched their laptops for an evening of old-fashioned record spinning.

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We weren't there very late, but Tammi and I had a great time listening to the beats and feeling the crowd.

The word is that the party was such a success that they're already planning a follow up for next month:

June 26, 2009
10pm-4am

The Gallery Bar @ Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker St, NYC.

May 26, 2009

Seaport Market: Attempt #1

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When I read about the new market opening up in the old Fulton Fish Market stalls every weekend this summer, I excited. Visions of weekly versions of the New Amsterdam Market danced in my head.

Saturday morning, Tammi and I toiled in the garden for a few hours before heading into Manhattan. The Seaport was to be our first stop. Sadly, this is as far as we got. I couldn't bring myself to wade through the ridiculous crowd of tourists to get to what I'd been warned by Eric was a fairly underwhelming display.

Some time this summer I do want to check out this market as well as the new Water Taxi Beach, so stay tuned...

May 15, 2009

Bike Month

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I haven't been on my bike in a few months but May is Bike Month and has dozens of events around New York for those on two wheels to take advantage of. Those of us too chicken to go out in the crap weather will have to keep wishing for a drier end of the month.

And for those wondering, the Tour de Brooklyn is on Sunday, June 7th.

May 5, 2009

Lunch: Loreley

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After having the katsu curry at Go Go, I was thinking about the German roots of what's essentially Japanese shnitzel. The next day, I ended up on the Lower East Side and I took the opportunity to examine the source materials at Loreley, a German restaurant and beergarden.

Loreley is one of my new favorite places to go in the afternoon in LES. I hear the scene is godawful after work, but before that, it's a quiet, uncrowded spot to enjoy some sausage, shnitzel or strudel.

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It's also a great spot to sample some great German beers that you don't often come across. The focus at Loreley is on the Koln region, its food and its fine light bodied beer, kolsh. More like a traditional pilsner than anything we fine in the US, kolsh is light and sweet, but with a bite of hops that provides a zen-like balance.

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Loreley Restaurant & Biergarten
7 Rivington Street New York, NY 10002
Lower East Side
Between Bowery and Chrystie Street
phone 212 253 7077

May 4, 2009

Lunch: Go Go Curry

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I love Go Go Curry. It's the perfect convergence of quirky Japanese culture and yummy Japanese curry.

Japanese curry is an interesting thing. It's certainly not like the Jamaican curry I grew up on. It's thick and muddy, almost like a chili, spicy and full bodied.

Go Go specializes in serving this curry gravy over plates of rice and then adding toppings that are the centerpiece of the meal. Chicken, pork, shrimp, and any number of other options including boiled eggs or natto, fermented soybeans are offered.

I chose katsu, pork cutlets which are pounded thin then breaded and fried, a preparation borrowed from the Germans, who call it schnitzel. The difference is the sweet sauce that accompanies katsu, here drizzled on top of the pork. It's awesome because there's so much going on here: The flavors of the sweet, the spicy and the porky compete with the textures of the crunchy breading, the tender meat and the slight mush of curry sodden rice.

Then there's the quirk. The entire theme of the restaurant revolves around Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees, formerly of the Yamiuri Giants. The name Go Go is Japanese for 55, Matsui's number. Any day after he hits a home run, anyone who comes in gets a free topping.

I have no idea what baseball and curry have to do with one another, but as I've seen in Tokyo, it's more than just a game.

For a peek at all of the options, here's the awesome plastic display in the window:
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May 1, 2009

Lunch: Rafiqi's

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A couple weeks ago, when the weather first improved from the dreary rain mess of April, the hordes of office workers, myself included, flocked outdoors. Unfortunately, we all got in each other's way. The line for my usual curry cart was jammed.

I wandered around a bit looking for alternative curry suppliers and found Rafiqi's on Park and 32nd Street. I've often heard about the wonders of Rafiqi's, a chain of curry carts around the city which has blog reviews posted on the side of the cart.

The first noticeable difference was how quickly the line went. With 3-4 guys in the cart, they were churning out meals like a machine. Where I'd usually have to wait 15 minutes for my regular spot, I was in and out of line in 5 minutes.

The lamb, which had already been charred and was piled up on the skillet, was excellent. I found the chicken lacking, mostly because it wasn't actually curried. It was fine, certainly juicy, but it didn't hit the curry spot I was really looking for.

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Rafiqi's also offers a much bigger array toppings and additions than I've ever seen before at a curry cart. There was corn and cilantro and olives among other things. I didn't try too much this time around, but I could see myself giving Rafiqi's another go if old E&G Pyramid is a bit too overloaded.

Rafiqi's
Park Avenue South & 32nd Street

Butchery: Jeffrey's Meat Market

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If there's anyone on board with the whole 'Butcher as Rockstar' meme that I've been writing about, it's Jeffrey Ruhalter, proprietor of Jeffrey's Meat Market in the Essex Street Market. He's a self-described "RFB," Real Fucking Butcher, and a fourth generation one at that.

Passing by his shop, you're going to know who he is immediately. Every surface that is not displaying meat or prices is dedicated to Jeffrey: His name is in neon lights and his image reproduced a dozen times over in portraits and caricatures.

The only time I've actually shopped at Jeffrey's, I was a little put off by his outsized personality. I ordered a couple pounds of beef cut up in chunks. He immediately inquired further about what I wanted to use it for. When I said chili, he insisted that the meat must be ground. He'd use a course die, so the pieces would be big and thick. This is when I got the "RFB" spiel and the guarantee that it would be better his way.

I can't argue with results. The chili came out very well and the meat was just right.

I've recently read that Jeffrey has jumped on the butchering class bandwagon, which I can totally see. His classes go beyond the pig and lamb that Mylan has done at Brooklyn Kitchen and also has a class all about fowl, including game birds.

Jeffrey's Meat Market
Essex Street Market
120 Essex Street (at Delancey Street)
New York, NY 10002


April 28, 2009

Taco Trucks: Can You Hear Me Now? The Oreja Taco Can.

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I've already mentioned my fondness for the taco truck. What's even better are the trucks that have the crazy off cuts that you don't find often. In this case, it's the truck in front of the basketball courts at West 4th Street.

That's where I bought this exotic delight topped with orejas, pig ears. I've been all about cartilage lately. The soft crunch in every bite is amazingly satisfying. On top of that, ears have unctuous, lip-smacking skin wrapped around which adds another layer of texture to the experience.

It's not for everyone, but I certainly love it.

April 27, 2009

Kyochon Still Under Construction

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In the last week, Midtown Lunch reported the news that the KoreaTown announced Kyochon will not be opening for another couple months.

Today I peeked in the door and what I saw pretty much confirms that. Here are a few pics of the demolition still in progress:

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April 5, 2009

Work To Do: Posted Pics

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Last week, I finally made it to the Work To Do show at The Combine in SoHo. The experience was overwhelming. Every corner, nook and crevice of the space was used to display some kind of art.

The show is open until April 17th, so I'm definitely going to try to check it out again. I'm sure I'll see a million pieces I missed the first time around.

Photos posted here.

March 30, 2009

Still Have Work To Do

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When planning to attend last week's opening for Work To Do, the Royce Bannon-curated show at The Combine, I didn't anticipate the major difference between at Brooklyn show and a SoHo show.

Sadly this was as close as I got to the opening. I've only been to bk shows and just a few at that, so I had no idea there would be a guestlists with a large man keeping the riffraff out. On a rainy day, I hadn't the patience to wait outside to try to get in.

The show is up for a couple weeks, so I'll head down one day to check
it out soon.

Update: In the meantime, check out the pics in the Work To Do Pool on Flickr.

March 26, 2009

Late Night: The Shwarma

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Showing a bare modicum of discretion, I'm going to call this feature 'Late Night.' This category could very reasonably be called 'Drunk Food,' given that while always good, most of the dishes I expect to discuss are 100 times better after an evening of revelry. I've already covered White Castle and the Taco Truck (as well as other tacos),

The Shwarma, also known as the Doner Kebab to the Turks and sharing more similarities than differences with the Greek Gyro is an internationally recognized celebrity in the world of late night fare. In Mexico, they righteously substitute pork for lamb in the al pastor taco. In Paris, we passed a dozen spits roasting layer upon layer of lamb around the corner from the music row where we stayed.

The massive structure of meat is constructed with horizontal columns of fat which melt down, basting all the meat below. But, I expect I'm not telling you anything new. You've either seen these 'meat logs' around town in one way or the other and either fled in disgust or ran gleefully towards it.

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This particular Shwarma was served up from my go to place on MacDougal near Bleeker in The Village, Yatagan. It's not nearly the only one in the neighborhood. And, while I love it, it's not the best I've ever had, it now has a long-standing sentimental value just for being associated with so many of the late nights I've had through the years.


Yatagan Kebab House
104 MacDougal Street
Greenwich Village

March 25, 2009

Lunch: Tina's Cuban Pork

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I've been eating at Tina's since it opened as Sophie's before the schism. Since the beginning, the pernil or slow roasted pork has been central to my meals there. I know, it's shocking. I used to get the Cuban, but they pre-make them, which just doesn't seem quite as fresh, although it's clearly quicker during the lunch rush. So I just go to a pernil sandwich with whichever combination of toppings that strike my fancy on any given day, these generally include cheese and raw or sauteed onions.

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Occasionally, I'll want something more substantial and have a whole meal, like this Pernil with rice and beans. This particular order defeated me, leaving me stuffed with quite a bit left over.

The pork is juicy and flavorful. Though it lacks the citrus flavor you get at Cafe Habana/Habana Outpost, given that neither of them are available in midtown, I'll take what I can get.

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Much more importantly is a recent addition to the offerings that I just discovered this on my last visitat Tina's: chicharrones. Chunks of crisp fried pork skin are available in large trays on the counter at Tina's. Ask for some and you'll get a bag and the opportunity to take as many chicharrones as you can fit. I crushed them up and sprinkled them over my meal, adding the random crunch to each bite. Glorious.

I'm not sure if Tina's is offering the 'Pernil with a Twist' Midtown Lunch special, but I'm much more interested in a 'Pernil with a Crunch' option.

March 23, 2009

Lunch: Little Italy Pizza

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This is the Marinara Mozzarella Pizza from Little Italy Pizza a block away from my job. It's no bargain at $3.50 a slice, but it's one of my favorite slices in New York, so I end up here almost every week.

Constructed counter-intuitively with thick slices of cheese directly on top of the crust then topped with dollops of sauce which leave thick puddles of sweet tomato and shredded basil on every slice.

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For all the wonders of the topping, the crust adds a dimension lacking in most regular slices: The inner layer is soft and chewy, complementing the slight resistance in each bite of the firm cheese. By contrast, the bottom layer is crisp and slightly charred, dotted with sprinkles of breadcrumbs all along it.

The sign says Little Italy Pizza, but it doesn't appear to be at all related to the much better known Little Italy on Vanderbuilt near GCT. Looking it up on Google Maps, the closest hit I get is "Big George Pizza," with an address on the corner, 2 doors down from the actual space. Whatever the pedigree, they must be doing something right given the recent expansion into the tobacco shop next door. That's a good thing

Little Italy Pizza
33rd Street between 5th and Madison.

March 20, 2009

Spring in Midtown

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Despite the snowfall this morning, today is the first day of Spring. Wednesday we got a preview of the season with highs around 60. My fellow Midtown denizens and I rushed out and took advantage of the opportunity to spend some time in the sun for lunch.

That evening, Tammi and I grabbed a round at Mé bar, which was full about 15 minutes after this shot was taken.

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Of couse, the next day we got rained on, a preview of April showers no doubt. Regardless, we'll ake what we can get.

March 17, 2009

Opening: Work To Do

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Heads Up: On March 26th, The Combine (music plays) is opening at 112 Greene Street in SoHo. The space is going to be used for events and such, but in a nod to its history as an art space, it's kicking off its new existence with an art show.

Royce Bannon is curating a show called "Work To Do" which riffs on the themes of collective work and responsibility President Obama made the crux of his inaugural address. The event began as a vehicle for the members of ELC, the Endless Love Crew but quickly expanded beyond that.

The advance shots I've seen on Luna Park's Flickr Stream, Martha Cooper's Blog and on Brooklyn Street Art all look amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Work To Do
The Combine, 112 Green Street. SoHo.
Opens March 26th.

March 16, 2009

Markets: HMart

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HMart is so ridiculously convenient to my office that I would probably love it just for being there even if it wasn't such an excellent source for otherwise obscure or hard to find ingredients.

Right in the middle of the KTown strip, stopping there on the way home takes me all of a block out of my way.

Marbled Short Ribs

Add to that the fact that I can get beef short ribs, pork belly, udon noodles and a vast array of Asian spices and condiments, and I'm amazed I'm not there every day.

H Mart NYC
25 W 32nd St # 1
New York, NY 10001
(212) 695-3283

Lunch: The Curry Cart

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There are few things I miss from my days of working in and around Times Square, but the street food definitely ranks up there. Unlike most of Midtown, the Murray Hill/Herald Square/Empire State Building area has a pathetically light Street Food population. When I read Midtown Lunch's pieces on carts and trucks serving all manner of food from Middle Eastern to Jamaican to Korean, I pine for Midtown North in a way I never really thought possible. Not that being below 23rd Street wouldn't be vastly better in all regards, but it's relative.

Besides a couple hot dog carts with pretzels and shish kababs, this cart, on the corner of 32nd and 5th Avenue is the only consistently available vendor of street meat. It's sad. But he's good and always has a decent crowd, so I'm sure he's not going anywhere any time soon. Until I stood there last week taking pictures while I waited in line, I had never noticed a name on the cart. Apparently it's E&G Pyramid Halal Cart.

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This is my usual: Chicken curry and lamb on yellow rice, topped with hot sauce and white sauce. Love it.

On the side he throws in some iceberg and a couple tomato chunks along with some sauteed cabbage, which is pretty tasty. But the main event is the meat. The chicken is season with a great curry mixture that I've tried and failed to replicate at home. It's spicy, but not over the top. The lamb is pre-cooked gyro meat, but he sears it on the griddle until it's got a great crispy char on the outside that adds depth to the blend of flavors and textures.

When I want something smaller, I just have the chicken wrapped on a pita. The mixtures of the sauces and the curry soak into the thick walls of the pita and become a medium for the combined flavors.

So, while I wish there was a bigger variety of street food in the area, at least part of that desire is so that I'd have a shorter wait to come back to this one.

March 11, 2009

Lunch: By Mandoo, Denied

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Weeks ago, I went to a dumpling party at Eric and Marni's. It reminded me that I had yet to partake in one particular treat in Koreatown, Mandoo, a dumpling and noodle house where the food is prepared fresh in the window for all to see. I've been passing it for some time, but always put off by the rather intimidating line that often stretches out the door.

Over and over since then, I have tried to pop in before the lunch rush, to no avail. I've avoided the option of calling in an order largely because it would require me to eat them at my desk, when I want to enjoy them uninterrupted by work-related nonsense. I hold onto it as my last ditch attempt. More to come...

March 3, 2009

Lunch: Golden City

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It's easy to forget Golden City is there. Between name changes, a move across the street last year, and an innocuous location in the middle of 33rd Street, it seems more like it's trying to elude attention than attract it.

Honestly, the Chinese food selection blends in with thousands of others across the city. And the buffet in the front has an anemic selection of offerings that I rarely give a second look.

What makes it worth remembering is the other cuisine. Behind Golden City's Chinese menu is an entirely different offering: Vietnamese food. Pho, Pork Chops, Summer Rolls, the whole shebang. Sadly, no Banh Mi sandwiches, but I make do with what I can get.

Before I discovered Pho 32 in Koreatown, this was where I went whenever I needed a hot bowl of soup on a crappy day. It's still a good backup if the crowds on 32nd Street are too much. Meat selections are standard, offering Brisket, Sirloin, Tripe and Tendon.

The star of the show to me, is the Pork Chop lunch special seen here. For $6.50, I get a pile of thinly sliced chunks of grilled pork on top of fried rice.

While the char is not quite as intense as I'd like, the coating of juices that permeate every bite more than makes up for it.

It also makes up for the odd music that was playing last time I was there. It was a compilation of pan flute music including "My Way" and "Take on Me." Yes, "Take on Me."

While I can't vouch for the music, the pork is wonderful.

In case of any confusion, here's a picture of the shop, with all three names clearly on display:

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February 25, 2009

Lunch: Pinche Taqueria

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After months on its last legs, my iPod gave up the ghost last night. I knew it was coming, but now I had to replace it. Today, I finally gave in and bought an iPhone.

Since I was downtown anyway to go to the Apple Store, I took the opportunity to get some tacos from Pinche Taqueria, the wedge shaped shop in NoHo.

Above are the Carnitas, Pollo Asado and Al Pastor tacos that I had. They were wonderful.

What caught my attention here was the pork roasting on a spit in the al pastor in the traditional method that I fell in love with in Mexico City:

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Pinche Taqueria
333 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 343-9977

Lunch: 2nd Ave Deli

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After watching Anthony Bourdain's special, "Disappearing Manhattan", I found myself suddenly and deeply hungry. In scene after scene, Bourdain hit classics around Manhattan that I really, really wanted, none moreso than the glorious pastrami sandwich at Katz's Deli.

I decided then and there that I had to have some pastrami for lunch the next day.

I knew I wouldn't be able to make it downtown during my lunch break, so I set my sights closer to home.

The new 2nd Avenue Deli re-opened in Murray Hill to much fanfare last year after an extended hiatus. A bit too much fanfare for me as my first attempts to eat there failed due to lines out the door.

Things are more reasonable now and I was able to get the lovely stack of thinly sliced smoked meat you see here in short order. The pastrami is lean and meaty with crisply textured edges. I slathered some tangy house mustard on the sandwich and it was gone in minutes.

Of course, I washed it down with a cream soda.

I can't say that I'm not still craving Katz's Pastrami, which is juicier and sliced thicker, but this was still great and worth coming back for. Next time I'm here, I'll be trying the tongue sandwich and maybe the gribnes I keep hearing about.

February 23, 2009

Butchery Begins

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I've heard i said that butchers are replacing chefs as the rockstars of the foodie world . I don't know if I believe that, but the idea comes from the reception that folks like Tom Mylan have been getting by taking meat back from the shrinkwrap and styrofoam world.

As people start to consider where our food comes from, our attention has moved up the supply chain. Ten years from now, there will, no doubt, be a reality show about farmers. For now, though, it's the moment for the meat mongers.

Obviously, this is an area that I'm interested in. Last year, I took Mylan's pig class at Brooklyn Kitchen and Nate Appleman's class on Porchetta and I tried my hand at deboning a suckling pig myself. I've also been doing various curing projects that have thus far gone undocumented.

With butchery on the cusp, as it were, I figure it's time we knew where to find them. So, for a little while at least, I'm going to do some write ups about the meat markets around town. Call it a guide. I'll cover the high-end, blogged about, destination spots but also some of the community spots that cut meat everyday without fanfare or hipster sex appeal. Given my recent curing interests, I'll probably stray a bit into the area of charcuterie, so forgive me if each place doesn't technically fall under the official designation of butcher shop.

I intend this to be a space where we grant some glory to those who transform beasts of the field into something that can fit in a pan. Hopefully this will also be a helpful spot to find a better place to get your meat than the local supermarket.

More to come...

February 18, 2009

Lunch: Mondello's Chicken Parm

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The Chicken Parmesan, seen here, is the main attraction at Mondello. I've been coming here for lunch since I started working in the neighborhood five years ago and pretty much every time I've gotten this sandwich. When I get there, invariably there's a line of others at the hot food station all waiting for the same thing. It's no coincidence that that station is located closer to the door, I've seen the line go out the door on more than a few occasions.

The chicken is done right. They're plump and moist, probably due, in part, to the heavy turnover since the cutlets are never out long enough to dry out and shrivel up.

The sauce may be the best part of the whole sandwich. Mondello calls attention to this integral part of parmigiano dish that's so often overlooked. Where other places may dump pizza sauce on top, here, they offer a choice of regular and a meat sauce. Both have a salty, sweet flavor, but the meat sauce has a richness that adds another dimension to the sandwich.

Lately, I've been getting a mound of extra cheese on top to supplement the mozzarella that's already on the chicken when it's in the steam tray. It's not entirely necessary, but it just adds to the gooey awesomeness of the whole experience.

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Mondello
3 E 37th St
Midtown, New York, NY 10016
(212) 684-2411‎

February 11, 2009

Lunch Returns to Bon Chon!

Bon Chon Drumstick

I first wrote about Bon Chon Chicken almost two years ago, inspired by the buzz in the Times and on the blogs. A few weeks later I tried to take go with a co-worker and they had stopped serving lunch. I was crushed.

Yesterday, hours after getting the skinny on Kyochon, Midtown Lunch had another post about Bon Chon. Apparently it's been open for lunch for months and no one knew!

So, today after a particularly aggravating morning at work, I recovered with a Medium Hot & Spicy Combo:

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It was all I remembered: sweet and sticky with a tingly with a subtle spice that builds after the first two, three, four pieces. I stopped there out of a modicum of self-control, but also because I needed to proselytize. I brought back a handful of wings and gave them to the co-workers I knew would appreciate them. My first stop was the guy who missed out the first time. I felt I owed him.

What I had forgotten about was the particularly long wait time for the food. Despite the mostly attentive service and ordering as soon as I sat down, my order took about 35 minutes to show up. So, it's not a quick lunch, but it's delicious.

February 10, 2009

Kyochon, Coming Soon

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I've been passing this sign for a couple weeks now on the corner of 32nd and 5th Avenue, mere blocks from my office, but I had no idea what KyoChon was. Today I got the scoop from Midtown Lunch (which linked to my Pho post last week - thanks!):

Kyochon, the Korean fried chicken chain with U.S. branches in Flushing and L.A., is replacing the Brooklyn Bagel Cafe on 32nd and 5th in Koreatown. Called the "granddaddy of the Korean fried-chicken scene" Kyochon features fried chicken flavored with soy sauce, garlic, and ton of spices... oh, and there are spicy version available. And of course, the most important thing... it's open for lunch! No word on when it will open, but it can't be soon enough.

I'm so happy to hear about this as the two best Korean Fried Chicken places that I know around here are bars that don't open until 4pm.

February 8, 2009

New York Comic Con

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Yesterday I attended my first Comicbook Convention in about 15 years. I've been a regular reader of comics since I was 7, but the whole con thing died out for a while in New York and I never picked it up again after they started showing up again.

I totally forgot how crazy they can get. I led an expedition into the madness with Tammi and our niece and nephew in tow. We met up with Jason, who has kept up with the scene and waded through the hordes of costumed geekery for a few hours.

At this point, I'm not up for standing in line to get autographs or to check out creator panels and such, so we mostly wandered from one end of the show floor to the other, shopped a little and peeped some previews od video games that our nephew was very excited to see.

The costumed folks provided great photo subjects, and I took quite a few shots, although many of the good ones were obscured by the many many people there. The (mostly) good stuff is posted on Flickr, as usual.

February 6, 2009

Photo of the Day: Under the Red Light

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Midtown, NYC. 2009.

Hot Soup on a Cold Day

Pho

With the crap weather we've had lately, this big bowl of Pho hit the spot yesterday for lunch. I've mentioned the soup at Pho 32 before. This was my usual, the #4 with slices of brisket, tripe and tendon on top of a pile of noodles in a deeply beefy broth. All for $8.

February 3, 2009

Photo of the Day: The Secret

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CUNY Graduate Center, Midtown, NYC. 2009.

January 30, 2009

Graffiti of the Day: Think Twice


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Midtown, NYC. 2008.

January 19, 2009

Photo of the Day: Sushi Chefs

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Blue Ribbon Sushi, NYC. 2008.

January 13, 2009

Graffiti of the Day: Monster

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Nolita, NYC. 2008.

January 11, 2009

No Warm Welcome

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This isn't exactly what I found when I got home this morning, but it might as well be. While I was enjoying my great San Francisco day, walking around without a coat and sitting outside drinking wine, the Northeast got a dumping of snow and ice.

I guess it's just as well that I get used to winter weather now. In a week I'll be off to Aspen, where I'll be padding up in my thermals every day.

January 5, 2009

Season's End

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Yesterday, I hauled out our Christmas Tree, marking the end of another holiday season. Usually a pretty hectic season, this one was more so, being preceded by months of Wedding activity, paralleled by numerous work projects and, now, followed by a month on the road between a conference in San Francisco and another sojourn to Aspen in a few weeks.

That said, I had a fantastic December doing exactly what I wanted to do: cooking for and reveling with those most important to me. In the process, I also began working some of the many new projects I promised myself I would dedicate myself to after the wedding was all done. I spent time learning more about meat and butchering and curing and much of the arcane that I'm perpetually attracted to. Better yet, I took the opportunity to practice some of these new talents.

I don't do resolutions, but if pressed to make one, mine would be to continue what I've been doing over the last few weeks: shooting more, writing more, cooking more, reading more, learning more and applying it as much as possible so I can keep improving what I do.

December 24, 2008

Published: Untitled


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In all the hubbub over the last few months, I never got a chance to mention that some of my graffiti photos have been published. The book is called Untitled. Street Art in the Counter Culture. Most of my shots are from the 11 Spring Street project,, which I have posted in my Grand Closing set.

October 15, 2008

Wedding: Licensed!

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Last Friday Morning, Tammi and I braved the bureaucracy of the City of New York, pale flourescent lights and surly city workers to obtain our Marriage License. We're nearly there, which feels great and terrifying at the same time. Terrifying only because there's quite a bit left to do and mere weeks to get it completed.

September 23, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Matt Siren Burlesque


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Chelsea, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Matt Siren

September 18, 2008

Photo of the Day: Break Time 3


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Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

September 17, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Clogged


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SoHo, NYC. 2007.

September 16, 2008

Brother Jimmy's


Brother Jimmy's, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Brother Jimmy's, a new bbq spot opened up a month or two ago near my office. I had never heard of it before, but the buzz at the time of opening was that it is part of a chain based mostly on the upper east side - and tended to attract a UES style crowd.

To the uninitiated, the ues pretty much has 2 groups, rich old people and twenty-somethings fresh out the frat house.

That said, most of the posts I read about Brother Jimmy's stuck to maligning the customer base, not the food, which generally got good marks.

This was the first time I came across it since it opened. I was on my way elsewhere so I didn't get a chance to go in, but I'll definitely be trying out their bbq soon.

Stay tuned.

Graffiti of the Day: Because We Need to be Heard


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First Avenue, near Stuyvesant Town, NYC. 2008.

September 15, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Being Frank


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Nolita, NYC. 2008.

September 13, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Memorials of the Past, Design for the Future


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Williamsburg Bridge, Brooklyn, NYC. 2008.

September 9, 2008

The Upside of Fall


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I can't say I'm particularly happy that summer just blew by this year. With so much going on, I didn't get nearly enough time to relax outside and enjoy the season. But with September here, there are some benefits to cooling weather.

I took advantage of today's dank and rainy weather to tuck into a nice bowl of Pho from Pho 32 in Koreatown. I came across it late in the spring and couldn't bring myself to have soup when it was upwards of 80 degrees out. So, this was my first opportunity to return.

This bowl, the number 4, I believe, has thin slices of beef brisket, flank, tendons and tripe along with noodles. All the different textures of meat and the rich broth were incredibly gratifying. If nothing else, I now know how I will survive the winter ahead.

Continue reading "The Upside of Fall" »

August 17, 2008

Photo of the Day: Hanging Lanterns


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Village Yokocho (Izakaya attached to Angel Share), East Village, NYC. 2007.

August 13, 2008

Photo of the Day: Round Two


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Spring Lounge, SoHo, NYC. 2008.

August 10, 2008

Photo of the Day: The Mirrors of Houston Street


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East Houston, NYC. 2005.

August 9, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Orange FF


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LES, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Freestyle Family

August 8, 2008

dba Brooklyn coming to Williamsburg

This just in. . .

dba Brooklyn
@ N. 7the St.
(Between Berry + Wythe)
More Good Stuff

::c::

Graffiti of the Day: Embedded Stikman


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LES, NYC. 2008.

August 6, 2008

Food Finds: Admiration


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Chinatown, NYC. 2008.

August 2, 2008

Photo of the Day: Garbage Train


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West 4th Street Station, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

August 1, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Pig-Headed


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Chelsea, NYC. 2008.

July 29, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Smokin'


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West Side Highway, Chelsea, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Celso

July 27, 2008

Photo of the Day: A Fly on the Wall


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The Red Lion, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2006.

July 26, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Organic


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East Village, NYC. 2008.

July 23, 2008

Photo of the Day: Roof Collapse


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

Photo of the Day: Mister Softee: snitch


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Columbus Circle, NYC. 2006.

July 20, 2008

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


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

Harlem, NYC. 2006.

July 18, 2008

Photo of the Day: Vertigo


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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.

July 16, 2008

Food Finds: Flott Tuna


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

July 14, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Flying Car


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SoHo, NYC. 2005.

Photo of the Day: Gun Hill Fence


Gun Hill Fence, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Midtown, NYC. 2006.

July 12, 2008

Photo of the Day: The Mark


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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.

July 9, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: CEOzilla


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West Side Highway, NYC. 2008.

July 8, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Crispin


Crispin, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bowery & Spring, NYC. 2006

July 7, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Infinitly Amplified


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

Artist: Infinity

July 6, 2008

Photo of the Day: The High Life


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NoHo, NYC. 2006.

July 5, 2008

New Amsterdam Market: Amy's Bread


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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.

July 3, 2008

New Amsterdam Market: Filming


IMG_5717, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

While we were at the New Amsterdam Market, 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.

New Amsterdam Market: Mini Ham Sandwiches


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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.

New Amsterdam Market: St. Brigid's Farm


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If I wasn't already psyched about New Amsterdam 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 sort of 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


IMG_5636, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

At the recommendation of some friends we ran into just as we got to New Amsterdam 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.

July 2, 2008

New Amsterdam Market: Oysters!


IMG_5693, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

There is no better symbolic find at New Amsterdam 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.

June 25, 2008

Food Finds: Fresh Pig's Head


IMG00431.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Western Beef, Meat Packing District, NYC. 2007.


Graffiti of the Day: Mother & Child


IMG_4296, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Armsrock, Chelsea, NYC. 2007.

June 24, 2008

Photo of the Day: Candles and Coasters


IMG_0948, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Blind Tiger Ale House, West Village, NYC. 2008. ::c::

June 23, 2008

Bars: Rudy's


Rudy's, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Free hot dogs and cheap beer! There's nothing else to say. It's in Hell's Kitchen. Go!

Ok, there's a little more to say. Rudy's is this kick-ass little dive that is prolly not the best place for a first date or pre-theater dinner. When I worked in Times Square, I ended up here pretty regularly. It's definitely a good escape from the tourists and crowds, especially now that Bellevue and (I think) Siberia are gone. There's a small backyard that fills up pretty quickly.

Photo of the Day: The Gallows


IMG_0516, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Chinatown, NYC. 2008.

June 22, 2008

Photo of the Day: Lock Down


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NYC. 2008.

June 13, 2008

Photo of the Day: Back to Back


IMG_6998, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC. 2008.

June 12, 2008

Photo of the Day: Hands


IMG_9729, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For whatever reason, my latest photo fascination is 'hands' I've been shooting them more lately.... These belong to Rani.

June 11, 2008

Photo of the Day: Contemplation


IMG_0670, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Spring Lounge, SoHo. 2008

June 9, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: This is a Poster Graphic


IMG_6634, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

SoHo, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Shepard Fairey
::c::

Photo of the Day: The Lineup


IMG_9538, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I really want to make some dumb Sex and the City joke, but I'm drawing a blank.

Houston Street, NYC. 2008.

DJ Juice E Spins i2Y


IMG_9241, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

A couple weeks ago at Habana Outpost Jon introduced me to Emily a.k.a. DJ Juice E, whose spiffy record case is pictured above. She spins for the Sucia party at Madame X on Wednesday nights, which I've been meaning to check out for a while just based on the flyer.

Last week I got an email blast from her about an event she'll be working thrown by a group called i2Y or "I'm too young for this" that offers support and resources for cancer patients under 40 years old. It turns out Emily is a recently recovered cancer survivor herself and has seen many of the benefits a group like this offers.

I can't begin to condense her message out to everyone so I'll post it after the jump, but first, here are the details of the party:

Stupid Cancer Gala NYC '08
Thursday June 19th, 7pm-11pm
Taj Lounge 48 West 21st Street
Tickets: $25 on the Web & $40 at the Door.

Continue reading "DJ Juice E Spins i2Y" »

June 8, 2008

In The Club


IMG_0956, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last weekend Tammi joined me at the Blind Tiger as I completed my 'entry' into their Connoisseur's Club. I'm very proud. No t-shirt was available just yet, but I'm hoping my plaque will be up by my next visit.

Photo of the Day: Melting


IMG_0162, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Mé Bar, Koreatown, NYC. 2008.

Based on the weather reports, Tammi and I got out of town just in time to miss the heat wave that was set to hit New York. It's certainly not much cooler down here in Atlanta, but the AC is blasting wherever you go, so you only ever feel it briefly.

And we're heading to San Francisco this morning where we may actually be pining for temperatures over 70 degrees.
::c::

June 6, 2008

Big Apple BBQ Block Party 2008


IMG_0983, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This weekend marks another year that I must miss the BBQ Block Party because I'm out of town. Tomorrow and Sunday, Pitmasters from all over will be feeding the hordes some of the best barbecue to be had.

Given that I'm here in Atlanta having some awesome and authentic Southern food, including as much fried chicken as I can manage, I'm not complaining.
::c::

June 5, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Green Invader


IMG_1022, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

LES, NYC. 2008.

Cherry Season


IMG_0519, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last weekend Tammi and I went to Chinatown for Dim Sum with friends. I usually avoid the Canal Street area like the plague, especially on the weekends, but I may have to reconsider that.

While wading through the crowds, I was reminded that Chinatown is the best place to find tons of seasonal ingredients on the cheap. After seeing these mounds of cherries at 3lbs for $5, this recipe for cherry jam suddenly seemed like a great idea. I may have to suck up my distaste for the crowds when next I have some time to spend in the kitchen.

Photo of the Day: The Phantom DJ


The Phantom DJ, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

DJ Jon Oliver at Madame X, NYC. 2007.

June 4, 2008

Photo of the Day: Tourists & Locals


Tourists, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Times Square, NYC. 2006.

June 2, 2008

Photo of the Day: Yarn & Whiskey


Yarn & Whiskey, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

A girl's best friends.

The Red Lion, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

June 1, 2008

Gothamisted: Weekend Service


IMG00899.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Gothamist picked up this quick cameraphone shot I took of the crazy handwritten signage I found at Fulton Street yesterday morning. Much can be said about how irritating the poorly communicated service changes impact New Yorkers and the tourists who get in our way, but really, the saddest part is that this sign mostly makes sense to me.

May 31, 2008

Adventures in Signage: If You Nee the Kes...


IMG00903.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Reading Is Fundamental ::c::

May 29, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Bombed


IMG_4695, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Hell's Kitchen, NYC. 2007.

DJ Dhundee at the Renaissance Times Square


IMG_9501, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last night I stopped in for a couple rounds at the bar at the Renaissance Hotel Times Square. Typically, I'd avoid lingering in Times Square, but my friend Mike, a.k.a. DJ Dhundee DJs there every Wednesday night.

As soon as I got out of the elevator into the lobby, I heard "Feel Like Makin' Love" by D'Angelo and knew I was in the right place. There weren't a ton of folks out last night, which Fiona, the organizer attributed to the long weekend. I'll be sure to stop in again to see what a regular night is like. Crowds or not, it's nice to find a place to to hear some good music and have a beer in that part of the city.

Renaissance Hotel New York
714 Seventh Ave
New York, NY 10036

May 28, 2008

What's Old is New Again on the A Train


IMG_8754, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For the uninitiated, please excuse the subway geekery, for the subway geeks, please excuse the lack of precision. I'm into subways enough to notice when the MTA changes hardware, but not enough to memorize model numbers.

In the last few weeks, I've been seeing this relic circulating around the A line, my local train. The first time ,I thought it was a part of a movie shoot at Hoyt & Schermerhorn, where I believe they have been shooting parts of the Taking of Pelham 123. But then I started seeing it again and again to the point that I'm seeing them almost everyday now.

i mei on Flickr posted some shots of one and we've discussed this sudden mystery, but neither of us has any clue to it's reappearance.

It's an odd thing, because I haven't really seen this model around in years, yet suddenly it's back in rotation. I have to wonder if this is a money-saving attempt on the MTA's part. I'm all for it if it means more trains in the schedule, but somehow I expect the answer to be less in the interest of the riders than that.

The Blind Tiger Connoisseur's Club


IMG_8891, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

After 3 years, I am finally only 3 beers away from completing my membership in the Blind Tiger's Connoisseur Club. The challenge is to sample 51 different brews. Whoever accomplishes that, gets their name etched into the plaque on the wall and a T-Shirt, which is really all any good bar fly wants at their local.

I started in back in 2005, before the closing of the original Tiger, but was interrupted by the upheaval. It's a tribute to the management that they kept the box full of cards for all the old regulars who don't even get in there as much these days, since it's perpetually packed.

This weekend, I found a nice window of relative calm where I got to sit at the bar by the window and watch Bleeker street go by. I will say this about the new location, it's got more action passing by at any given moment, for good or ill. Of the many passersby, I noticed the horrendous double decker tour buses passing by every 10 minutes.

So it goes...

May 27, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Have Fun


IMG_8804, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

West Side Highway, NYC. 2008.

May 22, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Boom Box


IMG_8043, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Spring and Bowery, Nolita, NYC. 2008.

May 20, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Plasma Board


IMG_8660, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

East Village, NYC. 2008.

May 18, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Dunk


IMG_1053, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Alphabet City, NYC. 2008.

May 16, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Tiny Fairy


IMG_6074 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I found this miniature piece down the block from the Guggenheim. It was about the size of a thumbnail.

UES, NYC. 2008.

May 15, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: I'm Keith Hernandez


IMG_8067, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bowery & Spring, Nolita, NYC. 2008.


May 13, 2008

Photo of the Day: Ring Around the Fountain


IMG_9606, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Conservatory Garden, Central Park, NYC. 2007.

May 12, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: ESPO!


IMG_7966 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Tribeca, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Espo

Photo of the Day: Skeptical


IMG_8973, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Rani tends bar at Madame X when Jon DJs there. She often puts up with my incessant shooting at the bar, which I appreciate greatly.


May 11, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Freestyle Family


IMG_8650, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Freestyle Family

May 10, 2008

Photo of the Day: Feeling the Music


IMG_0884, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This is Sauniel, a friend of Jon's from high school. I met her at Madame X a few weeks back.

May 8, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Open Your Eyes


IMG_1058, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Alphabet City, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Open Your Eyes

Resto's Tete de Cochon Sandwiches


IMG00837.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Apologies for the low budget food porn, my cameraphone was all I had on hand.

I first heard about Resto and their Pig's head sandwiches when Eric passed me a link to a Grub Street post about it. The story goes that the chef started making this for the 'family meal' the crew shares before the dinner rush. It was so popular that they added it as a regular dish for customers. In fact, it's been the only thing I've ever seen on their specials board in either of the visits I've made to Resto.

The sandwich is served with pickled vegetables and crisply charred bread. Both offer a complexity that might otherwise be lacking, but can occasionally be overpowering. The char on the bread in particular can be a little more bitter than I really want. The pork is wonderful. Depending on which parts are included, you may experience the gummy chewiness of the skin or shreds of meltingly tender cheek meat.

It's a good thing this place is just outside of the 2-3 blocks I'm typically willing to walk for lunch. Otherwise, I'd be eating this a couple times a week.

May 7, 2008

Photo of the Day: Fill 'er Up


IMG_1835, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Sheila kicks ass. She's studying photojournalism at ICP, but has already gotten her work published in The New Yorker and the New York Times.


The Dove, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

May 6, 2008

Photo of the Day: FUBAR


IMG_1863, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I've known Henrietta since she was a bartender at Black Star, years ago. Now she is one of the folks running the show at Dove. I took this shot of her a month or two ago. I was rather drunk and stopped in after coming from a party. I love shots where people are in the dark lit by a single electronic screen. This shot in particular, is great because of her expression. I had no idea at the time, but apparently, she got called in in late saturda night while she was out at a party in Brooklyn because suddenly _all_ of the computers went down. I'd be pretty pissed too...


Dove, Greenwich Vilage, NYC. 2008.

Down the Rabbit Hole


IMG_6570, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Just a week ago, I went on about how I wasn't going to be one of the bike cultists. Since then, I've ridden around Brooklyn a few times, railed against drivers who block the bike lane, planned out future rides, traded notes with other bike riders on routes, gear and websites and spent an afternoon wishing I was riding instead of walking.

It's really amazing how it all happens. Last week, I mentioned to a co-worker that I had just gotten my bike and he told me that he also got a bike in the last week. The next day I'm getting, "So, I hear you got a bike..." It creeped me out at first, but I find myself really enjoying having people to trade notes and maybe ride with some time.

So, I've started to give in to it. I've been hitting folks up for advice and doing my best to learn my way around. I've definitely gotten more comfortable riding in traffic than I thought I would have by now. I'm not sure how soon I think I'll be ready to deal with taxis in midtown - that still scares the hell out of me - but the idea of riding in Manhattan is no longer the scariest thing I can imagine.

Weirder for me is actively thinking on a summer day, "what I really would like to do is get on the bike and ride to xyz." I'm not so sure how to deal with that yet.

More to come...

May 5, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: The WB


IMG_1095, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg Bridge, NYC. 2008.

May 4, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Jimi Was a Rock Star


IMG_3935, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008. ::c::

May 3, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Boxhed Board


IMG_8010, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Chinatown, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Boxhed


Boxhed started popping up around the city a couple months ago too. Not sure if this is a visitor or someone new to the scene. I guess we have to wait and see. I love the style though.

Photo of the Day: Brooklyn EIPA


IMG_0713, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Madame X, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008.

May 1, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Mission Accomplished


IMG_0189.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Gothamist reminds us that 5 years ago today, we were told that "Major Combat Operations" in Iraq were at an end. I wonder what the rest of this has been then...


Greenwich Village, NYC. 2005.

April 30, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Hope


IMG_7909, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Tribeca, NYC. 2008.

Photo of the Day: Decibel by Candlelight


IMG_1281, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Decibel Sake Bar, East Village, NYC. 2008. ::c::

April 29, 2008

Ramen on the Rise


IMG_6415, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The first time discovered that Ramen was more than the crap I bought at the drugstore in Amherst for 8 pack for a dollar was on my first trip to Hawaii. Waikiki in particular gets a lot of Japanese tourists and among the amenities offered is a good deal of Japanese food.

I totally fell for Ramen there, Udon specifically. I mentioned it in the Hawaii Guide, but it bears repeating.

In any case, I'm pretty psyched to hear about the recent openings of more ramen shops in the East Village. So far I have only been to Udon West on St. Mark's, which I just stumbled upon and hasn't gotten any press that I know of. The other two have been severely over-blogged, so have been packed. I'm hoping that the attention will die down and I'll get a chance to check them out soon.

In the meantime, enjoy this shot of a lovely curry udon with fried chicken that I had at Udon West.
::c::

April 28, 2008

Photo of the Day: Superior


IMG_1971, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Chelsea/FlatIron border, NYC. 2008 ::c::

Graffiti of the Day: Frida


IMG_9840, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

"We didn't cross the border, the border crossed us." -Frida Kahlo

I'm not sure who the artist is, please let me know if you do.
Chelsea, NYC. 2008

April 27, 2008

Photo of the Day: La Négresse


IMG_7350, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Several years ago, when I first saw this piece, I was transfixed. Mostly by the intensity in her eyes, but also by the clear African characteristics of her face. That's something you don't often see in museum art.


Later, I was struck with deja vu while standing in a huge open hall at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. "Fountain of the Four Parts of the Earth" by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux depicts this woman, along with four other representatives of the peoples of the world, holding up the globe. It took me 10 minutes of racking my brain to understand why I recognized her.

It wasn't until my recent visit to the Met that I finally understood her expression. According to the caption, the bust is captioned, "Why Born a Slave?"

April 26, 2008

Graffiti of the Day: Swoon Hand


IMG_8569, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Rivington Street, LES, NYC. 2008.

Artist: Swoon

April 25, 2008

Photo of the Day: Spring is Here


IMG_4315, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Garibaldi Statue, Washington Square Park, NYC. 2008. ::c::

March 17, 2008

Photo of the Day: St. Paddy's Day


IMG_3997, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

St. Patrick's Day Parade, NYC. 2007. ::c::

March 5, 2008

Photo of the Day: Spice Rack


IMG_8712, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Kalustyan's has one of the best spice selections in New York. I love to go there and just find something I've never cooked with before to take home and play with. ::c::

Kalustyan's
123 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10016

March 4, 2008

Photo of the Day: Smile!


IMG_8758, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Times Square, NYC. 2008.

February 27, 2008

Photo of the Day: Captain Polonia


Captain Polonia, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Polish Parade, Fifth Avenue, NYC. 2007.
::c::

February 25, 2008

Photo of the Day: Pizza Man


IMG_3079, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

SoHo, NYC. 2007.
::c::

February 24, 2008

11 Spring Street: A Year Later


IMG_8033, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Well, it's been more than a year since the Wooster On Spring project, but this is the first time I've really walked by it since the construction started.

It's depressing to think it's just going to be another condo, but at least it had a Grand Closing.
::c::

February 23, 2008

The Met


IMG_7041, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I had Monday and friday off last weekend which allowed for some much needed decompressing as well as a lot of exploring and shooting.

On Friday, I took the new camera out to The Met to try out the spiffy new lens Tammi gave me for Valentine's day. It's a 35mm f/2, which was perfect for the Museum's low light. See the photos posted in a set on my Flickr Stream.

::c::

Photo of the Day: Snow Storm


IMG_6630 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Sixth Avenue, Greenwich Village, NYC.

February 22, 2008

Photo of the Day: Central Park Arches


IMG_7542, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

February 20, 2008

Photo of the Day: Decay


IMG_6308, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

8th Street, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2008. ::c::

February 19, 2008

Photo of the Day: Meat-Packing


IMG_7722, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Meat-Packing District, NYC. 2008.

February 16, 2008

Photo of the Day: Water Taxi


Water Taxi, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Apologies for the pun. NYC. 2008.

February 15, 2008

Photo of the Day: Liberties


IMG_6048, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

February 12, 2008

Photo of the Day: The Met


IMG_4069, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Metropolitan Museum of Art, UES, NYC.
::c::

February 11, 2008

Winter Makes an Appearance


IMG_6501, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

For the first time this season, it actually looked like winter in New York. It was pretty surreal, given that it was sunny when I got on the train and was nearly a whiteout when I got out.

I, for one, haven't particularly missed winter and can happily report that none of it accumulated.

The Recession Special


IMG_5975, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

In case you hadn't heard (over and over again) the economy isn't doing so hot these days. One of these days the folks who declare such things will have to admit that there's a recession going on. In the meantime, I've taken to shooting the going out of business signs and vacant storefronts that I come across. They're collected on Flickr.

This afternoon, I came across about a dozen vacant spaces on the 3 block strip on 8th Street, right around the corner from Gray's Papaya, the home of the original Recession Special.
::c::

February 9, 2008

Photo of the Day: Shiny


IMG_6755, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Stoned Crow, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2007.
::c::

February 7, 2008

The Biggest Loser? The Knicks


IMG00637.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last night Eric and I went out ot the Garden to watch the Knicks lose and then eat Korean food. Everything went according to plan, the Knicks gave it up in the last few minutes and then we stuffed ourselves at Won Jo.

The game was actually pretty exciting, since they were playing another really bad team. Apparently the Pacers were also coming in on a long losing streak. It was a battle to see who was the biggest loser. The answer, of course, was the Knicks.

I've never been to a pro Basketball game before, so I found the entire experience interesting. What struck me was how small the court looked.

Inititially, we felt like our seats were really close, then during a time out the cheerleaders and other entertainers came out on the court. With dozens of normal sized people on the court, the space looks a lot bigger.

I'm think that baseball could learn from this. The upper deck would provide a much better view of the game if the athletes were 10 feet tall.

Something to think about...

Photo of the Day: Alley-oop!


IMG_1431, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Red Lion, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2007.
::c::

February 2, 2008

Photo of the Day: Blow


IMG_1272, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Washington Square Park, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2007.
::c::

February 1, 2008

Soggy Shake Shack


IMG_4996 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

FYI: Even on a crappy, rainy day, there were a dozen people waiting for their Shack Burgers. I'm going to have to call in my order next time. ::c::

Photo of the Day: Red Robot


IMG_0260, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

A picture within a picture. That would be Marni and her old camera.
::c::

January 31, 2008

Photo of the Day: The Dentist's Office


IMG00588.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Going to the Dentist sucks. ::c::

The Wedding: Venue Booked


IMG_0771, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This morning we signed the contract and booked Gary's Loft for the Wedding in November. This is where it all starts...

See shots of the venue in my Flickr Set.
::c::

December 28, 2007

Photo of the Day: Relaxing with the Morning Paper


Relaxing with the morning paper, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Broadway, SoHo, NYC. 2006.
::c::

December 27, 2007

Photo of the Day: Cork it


IMG_5809, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Dove, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2007.

December 23, 2007

Photo of the Day: Twilight on the Williamsburg Bridge


IMG_5751, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Delancy Street, LES, NYC. 2007.
::c::

December 20, 2007

Photo of the Day: Toothbrush Holders


IMG_2527.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Union Square Holiday Market, NYC.
::c::

December 16, 2007

The Winter Market


IMG_1568.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

At more or less the last moment this afternoon, I came across a blog post about the WinterMarket put on today at the old Fulton Fish Market by New Amsterdam Public.

I'm not so familiar with the group, but I believe their goal is set up a standing sustainable food market in that building. It sounds like a great idea to me. Why should we forsake the Seaport to the tourists, when we can actually use it for something worth visiting?

Despite the crappy weather, I had to leave the house anyway to work tonight, so I figured I'd head out a little early and catch the tail end of the event.

I got there about an hour before it ended. Half the booths were either gone or wrapping up, but I managed to pick up some cool stuff:

1 Jar of Rick's Picks Pickled Beets. I've been curious about them before but never wanted to commit to a whole jar until I had tasted them. The sweetness of the beets are balanced out by the tang of the vinegar and kick of spice that I can't quite place. These will clearly be passed around the next time I have people over.

1 Bottle of Sparkling Cider from the Sly Boro CiderHouse upstate.

And, 1 Pint Honey Nougat Ice Cream that was recommended to me by Robert, Mary and Blake, who I ran into on the way. I was suspicious of the thought of eating ice cream on such an awful day, but one sample spoon was all the convincing I needed.

The shot above is from the Wild Edibles table. They were selling scallops in the shell and Sweet Maine Shrimp. I would have bought some, but I figured my co-workers wouldn't appreciate the smell of raw shrimp permeating the office fridge.

This is said to be the first of many such events, so I look forward getting a better haul next time.
::c::

December 14, 2007

New Hardware


IMG_0877.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Christmas came a couple weeks early this year.

Yesterday I bought a new camera, the Canon 30D. It's my first SLR, which means that everything I shoot is going ot crap for a while. The learning curve is considerable.

I figured I'd start out with some familiar subject matter and there's precious little I've shot more than the Empire State Building.
::c::

November 23, 2007

Photo of the Day: Schlep


IMG_3456, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Red Lion, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2007.
::c::

November 19, 2007

Photo of the Day: Big Man, Little Dog


IMG_1579 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Red Lion, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2007.
::c::

November 17, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Aspirez


IMG_3675, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Downtown, NYC. 2007.
::c::

November 16, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: REVS Tunnel


IMG_3679, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

4/5 Train, Downtown, NYC. 2007.

Artist: Revs

November 15, 2007

Photo of the Day: Emphasis


IMG_6681, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Red Lion, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2007.

November 14, 2007

Photo of the Day: The Ferry


IMG_5441, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Downtown, NYC. 2007.

November 10, 2007

Photo of the Day: The Gates, Skewed


IMG_1587.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Gates
Central Park, NYC. 2005.
::c::

November 8, 2007

Photo of the Day: Take the Shot


IMG_5024, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Superfine, DUMBO, Brooklyn. 2007.
::c::

November 2, 2007

Art Over Hate


IMG00178.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

While commuting a month or two ago I saw this scrawl for the National Alliance, a hate group I mentioned a while back. The other day, I found this painted over it.

Very much an improvement.
::c::

October 30, 2007

Shooting in the City


IMG_9470, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I went for a short walk with the camera during my lunch break and stumbled upon a giant crowd in front of the NYPL Main Branch. I was across the street when about 100 people with cameras darted downtown after a woman in a wedding dress. I thought about crossing the street to get a better look, but decided I really didn't care enough to deal with the crowd. I guess I'll never make it as a paparazzo.

I gather that it was more filming for the Sex in the City movie...
::c::

October 29, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: ZTART


IMG_7739, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Gramercy, NYC. 2007.
::c::

October 23, 2007

Accidental Art


IMG_8714, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I shoot in bars a fair amount. The low light leads to many a blurry shot. Usually it's a total mess and I have to go through 20 shots before I find a shot that's even close to what I intended.

Every now and again I get a shot like this that I love even though it is nothing like I intended.
::c:

October 22, 2007

Photo of the Day: The Empire Strikes Back


IMG_7276, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I've finally gotten around to sorting through my flickr stream, along with some archives for a new batch of POTDs. Apologies for the absence for so long.

I figured I'd start with a familiar sight, my most photographed building.
::c::

Bars: The Red Lion


IMG_7575, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I go to The Red Lion for one thing: the perfect spot on Bleeker to people watch with beer. When the weather is warm, I love to sit out on Bleeker and watch the world go by. It's my perch, where I've taken some of my most interesting shots.

I've been going there for a few years now and I haven't even had a sip of beer inside. I haven't seen any of the musical performances they have there I haven't watch any English Premier League soccer that seems to always be on.

The food is ok, but you don't really go to a place like The Red Lion for the food.

According to Wikipedia, the name Red Lion is one of the most common for pubs throughout the UK. Consequently, it's a stop for many of the
Brits, Aussies and Irishmen looking for a bit of the familiar. I've sat there many times overhearing accented ladies bragging about the bargains they got with our play money while shopping in SoHo.

As with most pubs of this sort, the selection is predictable, Boddington's, Newcastle, Bass, Guinness and so on. Thankfully, they do offer a few good beers from this side of the world. My drink here is the Blue Point Toasted Lager, a nutty, medium-bodied beer or occasionally a Brooklyn Lager.


::c::

October 17, 2007

La Esquina


IMG_5656 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

La Esquina got a lot of press a few years ago for its basement bar. The entrance is behind an unmarked door of the tiny taqueria on ground level. It was one of those 'in the know' places that generally don't interest me at all. That whole hipper-than-thou vibe is annoying and contrived. Especially when the place that no one knows about is the subject of a million blog posts and newspaper articles.

But they serve tacos. Good tacos, as Eric told me a number of times. His advice was to bypass the snooty bar and just go to the taqueria.

One day when I couldn't take midtown any longer, I headed down to check it out.
The food, after the jump.

Continue reading "La Esquina" »

October 8, 2007

Bars: The Stoned Crow


IMG_6256, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Stoned Crow is a narrow, low-ceilinged dive hidden on an otherwise anonymous block just off Sixth Avenue in The Village. I've been going there for years and I still only know the street as "Not the block where Babbo is, the other one."

Personally, I think it stays cool through sheer anonymity, but not in a pretentious, 'in the know' sort of way. There's nothing smug about The Stoned Crow, it's just a laidback spot with a few well priced good beers and great burgers. The crowd here is one of the better ones in the area. It's rarely packed and it has none of the belligerent college kids of Macdougal or the overdressed grad students at The Dove or the tourists everywhere else. It's just a relaxed after-work hangout spot for people who don't wear ties work.

The place has tons of personality, between the movie and music posters that cover every inch of the walls to the old redhead who owns the place. She holds court over the pool table in the back every night.

Lately they've gotten a fair amount of attention for their burgers, after they managed to get a cook from Corner Bistro. I took Tammi there a couple weeks ago and now it's one of her favorite places for burgers. Just like CB, the bacon is key here. It's smoky and crispy and wonderful. It stands out among the juicy beef and thick layer of cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.


The Stoned Crow
85 Washington Place
New York, NY

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October 7, 2007

The Whole Foods Beer Shop


IMG_7418, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

After Chinese, we passed by the new Whole Foods on Houston and checked out the Beer Shop there.
Despite being at Whole Foods, the prices were remarkably reasonable. The picture above is the price list for growlers. Half a gallon of beer for $8-9. You can't beat that. Especially the Brooklyn Blast, which isn't bottled and only comes out during the summer. I've got to get some of that before they run out.

The selection was also great. It's the only place I've seen that sells bottles of Cooper's , and not just Sparkling, also the Pale Ale and the Stout.

New Kien Tuong


IMG00065.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I met up with Eric in Chinatown this afternoon and he took me to a restaurant near Grand and Chrystie that offers as a special, chunks of roasted meats on rice. We had Roast Pig, not to be confued with Roast Pork, and Roast Duck on a bed of rice with a tangy sauce. When I was done, I needed another order of pig.

It was incredible.

Even more incredible is that in the end, two orders of Pork and Duck on Rice and an appetizer portion of Pork added up to a whole $12.

Pardon the poor quality picture, I took a quick shot with the cameraphone so I'd be sure to find it again.

New Kien Tuong Restaurant
83 Chrystie Street, NY, NY 10002
212.966.2878

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September 11, 2007

Go!

Note to self (and anyone else reading this):
I have to go here.
::c::

July 19, 2007

We're Getting Married!


We're Getting Married!, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

On Tuesday, July 17, five years after we met, I took Tammi to Gramercy Tavern for an incredible meal. Then I asked her to marry me.

She said yes!

We have few details so far, the tentative plan is to do it next year, early in the summer, preferably in Brooklyn. No idea where or more importantly, what food and what music we'll have there.

Clearly, this will be an adventure. More to come...

July 10, 2007

Bars: The Half Pint

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Tammi and I discovered The Half Pint while walking through the Village a few weeks ago. We were both a little surprised to see this huge open bar in this space after it had been boarded up for renovations for the better part of the last year. Clearly Harry's Burritos wasn't coming back - no big loss.

I stopped in to check it out a couple times since then. It's a great space and pretty laid back in the after-work hour. Not sure what it's like on the weekend, when the crazy crowds of Bleeker and Macdougal are flooding the area.

Like The Red Lion, the staff seems to be recruited from the UK and Ireland. One waitress I met had only been in the country for 5 days. They're still working out some of the bugs, when I was there last, the cask pump wasn't working yet and some of the beer wasn't in stock.

And then there's the beer. With a name like Half Pint, you expect a strong focus on beer.
The thing about Half Pint's selection is that they have a bunch of good beer that I can get in a bunch of other places.

They have 23 taps and dozens of bottles of really good stuff, but a lot of them - coopers, blue point, brooklyn, fullers's, sam smith's, and so on. Not excessively British, they've got a wide selection, but nothing particularly obscure.

I think they do plan on rotating their menu, so this might change, but it's odd to go to a beer bar without a few beers that you haven't heard of before or at least don't see around much. The one beer they had that I hadn't heard of was Blue Tongue. I'm not sure it's history, but it was a so-so light bodied beer that certainly wasn't a great find.

Ultimately, it's going to be the vibe here that will make or break this place. So far I do enjoy the large space, covered in dark wood and filled with light coming in from the gigantic windows that line the walls. The servers are friendly and the menu seems good. I'll be following up regularly to see how it develops.
::c::

July 5, 2007

No go at Dixie's


IMG_6012, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last Thursday, we were supposed to meet up at Dixie's for their opening party. When I got there I found this line of people going all thr way to the corner. We bailed and went downtown instead.

What's funny is that we only ever saw anything written up on this place on Thrillist, which I hadn't even heard of before. I didn't see or hear about it anywhere else. Maybe everyone came to see the pony...
::c::

June 28, 2007

Photo of the Day: Through the Drinking Glass


IMG_4805, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

June 6, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Hell Box


IMG_2734.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Downtown, NYC.

Artist: Hell.

June 5, 2007

Photo of the Day: Conservatory Garden


IMG_9553, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Conservatory Garden, Central Park, NYC
::c::

June 3, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: When Copy Editors go feral


When Copy Editors go feral, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Delancy Street Station, NYC
::c::

Brand New Heavies @ Highline Ball Room

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Last night I caught the Brand New Heavies at the Highline Ballroom. It was a great show. I'm not very familiar with BNH, but I've heard good things about them. Tammi wasn't interested - she says all their songs sound alike, I don't entirely disagree. I still don't really know one song from the other, with one or two exceptions, but for the most part I like their sound.

Regardless, they know how to amp up a crowd. The music swayed from Funk to Soul to Disco rocking the ballroom with it. I went with Will, who has now seen them play 3 times. One of the highlights for me was when they played "I Don't Know Why I Love You." N'Dea sang it in that Micheal Jackson style, yelling and pleading the whole way through. It was great.

Check out the photos here.

June 2, 2007

Photo of the Day: Italian Trumpeters


IMG_4007, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

San Gennaro Festival, Little Italy, NYC.
::c::

May 31, 2007

Photo of the Day: Candle Light


IMG_7774, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

May 29, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Baron Von Fancy


IMG_2229, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Taxi, NYC.

Artist: Baron von Fancy

May 28, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Give More Buy Less


Give More Buy Less, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

A good idea...
Greenwich Village, NYC

May 27, 2007

Photo of the Day: Watching and Waiting


IMG_8994, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Wall Street Run, New York City.
::c::

May 25, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: FRESH shallots


FRESH shallots, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Wooster on Spring. 11 Spring Street, New York, NY. December 2006

Artist: Skewville

Bars: Dove Parlor


IMG_4378, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I sort of inherited The Dove. Frank, the owner of Black Star, along with Jen and Henrietta, two of my favorite bartenders there, opened this place up after Black Star closed. I think I may be the only former Black Star patron who goes with any regularity though. Dove is anything but a recreation of Black Star.

As the name suggests, Dove is a parlor more than a bar. It goes old fashioned with its antique looking decor and the doilies sitting under every glass. They recently started serving tea sandwiches and cheese plates.

Dove is also one of the more 'grown-up' bars near Washington Square Park, catering to the (slightly) more mature professional school crowd. These are the folks who have gotten past the frat party conditions of Macdougal, but still cram into a room a little more than they should. So watch out when stopping by on a Friday night. You might get flashbacks from your rush hour commute.

The drink menu focuses more on mixed drinks and wine much more than most other places in the area that I know. Tammi discovered the Sea Breeze here as she began migrating away from fru-fru cocktails. The wine selection is small, but has some good stuff. The beer selection is not extensive, it doesn't stock anything rare or obscure, but it has a very good basic set. When I'm there, I fall back on an old favorite, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Dove Parlor
228 Thompson St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 254-1435

May 24, 2007

Wall Street Run


IMG_9379, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

On Tuesday,
Tammi ran the 3 mile Wall Stret Run in 25:51. That's a 8:37 minute mile!
Congrats babe!
::c::

Photo of the Day: ESB Details


IMG_8685.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Empire State Building, up close.

May 23, 2007

Photo of the Day: Twilight at The World Financial Center

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World Financial Center, Downtown. Early 90's.