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May 31, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Fresh Talent

Fresh Talent, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY.

Photo of the Day: Candle Light

IMG_7774, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

May 30, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: JFK

IMG_0432, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

US Senator, San Francisco 2007.

Photo of the Day: Happy Birthday Tammi!

Rockstar, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Happy Birthday Tammi!

May 29, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Baron Von Fancy

IMG_2229, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Taxi, NYC.

Artist: Baron von Fancy

Photo of the Day: Coney Island Subway

IMG_5991, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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

Photo of the Day: Listen

IMG_8250, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Habana Outpost, Fort Greene, Brooklyn

May 27, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Let's Play...

Armageddon, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

New York, 2004

Photo of the Day: Watching and Waiting

IMG_8994, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Wall Street Run, New York City.

May 26, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Appa

IMG_0726, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

San Francisco, 2007

Artist: Appa the Dancing Elephant

Photo of the Day: L Train Seats

IMG_5502, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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

Photo of the Day: Strong as an Ox

IMG_7006, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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!

The Birthday Festivities


I make a big deal about my birthday. I always have. The fact that I'm turning 30 this year makes it that much bigger a deal. With two weeks left, I'm still working out the various events marking the end of my 20's. I plan to be out on the town every night for the last week before my birthday.

Tammi's birthday is next week, so her festivities include dinner at Esca and then a joint party in the meat-packing district on Thursday.

Friday evening I'm working. But Todd is having a party I plan to hit up afterwards.

Saturday I'm going to The Brand New Heavies concert with Will at the new Highline Ballroom. He's seen them 3 times in the last year and has had great things to say about them. I'm really looking forward to it.

Sunday is a late night at the office, so no party then.

On Monday, My mom is taking us to Peter Luger. we've got an early reservation, so I'm hoping to go out somewhere afterwards.

Tuesday Eric and I go to CraftSteak, with maybe a post dinner drink at Del Posto.

Finally Wednesday, the day before we head to Tokyo, is the party. I had been thinking about the Pegu Club for a while now. But having gone there recently, it's not so great a fit. Now I'm thinking ReBar, but I haven't been there yet. I think I may swing by there tonight to check it out. Has anyone been there? Let me know what you think in the comments

Thursday morning we fly to Tokyo. I think after a week of parties I shouldn't have too much trouble resting for 14 hours. When we land, I'll be 30 years old.

Graffiti of the Day: Mona

IMG_0023, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn Uncorked

IMG_8788.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last week I went to Brooklyn Uncorked, a wine tasting at the BAM Cafe. The event brought in more than 20 different wineries from Long Island to show off their products. It was sponsored by Edible Brooklyn, the free food magazine. I heard about it a month or so ago from my editor at the Brooklyn Record, they had given us press passes. I was pretty psyched to check it out.

I'm still getting a handle on the wine thing. I know a decent amount about what I like, but there are huge swaths of grapes and styles and regions that I'm entirely unfamiliar with. The idea of exploring a region so close to home really appealed to me.

When I got there and saw so many people pouring Merlot, I was also pleasantly surprised. I don't know much about Merlot either. It would be a good way to kill two birds with one stone. Or so I thought.

Unfortunately, it seems that Merlot is nearly the only thing they grow out in Long Island. Pretty much every table I visited had the same selection. I had the same conversation about a dozen times:

Me: What are you pouring?
Them: Well, we've got our Merlot, here. And this is our blend with X% Merlot, X% Cab Franc and X% Cabernet Sauvignon. We've also got this, which is Y% Merlot, Y% Cab Franc and Y% Cab Sauv.

I like variety and I didn't find any there. I'm probably somewhat biased because I'm just not fond of Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, with few exceptions, I can't stand it. So, most of the blends were ruined for me, because even with 30%, it overpowers the other grapes. A few of them mixed some other grapes into their blends, which was interesting. But 5% Syrah or 10% Malbec was barely noticeable to me.

In the end, I was just bored. When I asked about the fact that everyone brought essentially the same selection, I was told that they all made many more, but chose to bring the most popular. That sort of depresses me. I'd think that an event like this would have been a perfect opportunity to show off wine that's different from everyone else's. Instead they went with the same old same old.

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.

Graffiti of the Day: Flight

IMG_8641.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn


IMG_6985, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

"I'm trying to think of more excuses to come back here." Tammi said while we were having brunch at Dressler Sunday morning - not 12 hours after having had dinner there.

That's a little overboard, but I really wanted some more doughnut holes. This week's flavor was cinnamon sugar.

Dinner on Saturday was great. I had beef and beef, ribeye steak and braised short ribs on top of mashed potatoes and spinach. I loved the contrast between the firm steak and the meltingly tender short rib.
For Brunch I had a tasty burger that I couldn't finish because I was full of doughnut holes.

This is definitely going to be our go-to place for a while.

May 22, 2007

Photo of the Day: Yerba Buena Reflected

IMG_0290, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Zeum, Yerba Buena Park, San Francisco, 2007.

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May 21, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Out of the Shadows

IMG_2150, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Monsieur A, DUMBO, Brooklyn.

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Photo of the Day: In the Zone

IMG_4630, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Scotland Run, Central Park, NYC. 2007.

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May 20, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Swoon Self-Portrait

IMG_0228, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Doorway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Artist: Swoon.

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Photo of the Day: The Bean's Underbelly

IMG_8332, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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May 19, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Vuelve

IMG_0946, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Graffiti of the Day: Misleader

Misleader, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Aspen, 2007.

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Photo of the Day: Crabby

IMG_0842, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Dungeness Crab. Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco. 2007.

May 18, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Remember the Fallen

Remember the Fallen, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Washington DC, 2005.

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Bars: Barcade

IMG_4830, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I can't think of much better to say about Barcade than what I wrote in my Brooklyn Record piece:

"Barcade has everything adulthood should have: great beer and video games. Knock back one of the two dozen beers on tap while playing Frogger or Zaxxon or Moon Patrol or any of the other '80s video games. A pool table is in the back for those seeking a more traditional bar game. Gothamist recently ran an interview with Paul Kermizian, filmmaker and owner of Barcade."

Going to Barcade for the first time was a revelation. All the games of my childhood were there and still only cost a quarter per game. Add to the that some of the best craft brews around and it's a wonder I ever leave.

388 Union Ave. Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
L to Metropolitan, G to Lorimer St.

Photo of the Day: Lanterns

IMG_2248, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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May 17, 2007

Beer: Coopers Sparkling Ale


I've been coming across Coopers Sparkling a lot lately. It comes from Australia, having somehow broken through the Foster's monopoly.

The name Sparkling is appropriate: Immediately after pouring, a wall of bubbles hug the glass, almost obscuring the fog of sediment left over from its bottle conditioning. Its sharp effervescence pricks at the inside of your mouth as you drink it. The fizzy texture almost the overshadows flavor, but if you look past it, there's a sweet fruitiness to it.


Spike Hill's Hot Wings

IMG_8653.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I spent the afternoon at Spike hill on my day off the other day.

One of their daily specials was Hot Wings, which I can rarely pass up. These burnt the hell out of my mouth, but were so good. Instead of the standard 'Frank's' style hot sauce, they used a Vietnamese chili sauce, speckled with red pepper flakes. It was sweet and hot and left my mouth nearly numb. I'm hoping that they have these there again.

(Update: Over a year later, I still haven't seen these offered again. I think I'll have to try making this myself next time I make hot wings.)

Graffiti of the Day: This is what we're fighting for?

This is what we're fighting for?, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Crosby Street, SoHo, NYC.

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Photo of the Day: curly

IMG_2475, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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May 16, 2007

Damn Spam

The comments section (and consequently, my email) is getting flooded withspam comments. Consequently, I'm only allowing automatic posting to typekey users.

Graffiti of the Day: D-Lovely

IMG_3637, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

416 Graffiti Festival, Toronto, 2005.

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Photo of the Day: 20 Year old Port

20 Year old Port, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

I first tasted port in Lisbon. After dragging my jet-lagged sister around town all day, I had one last stop. We stopped at the Solar do Vinho do Porto - Lisbon, a branch of the government organization dedicated to the promotion of port wine. The main room looked more like a living room than a bar. Apparently the word "solar" in traditional English is the "upper chamber of a medieval house," presumably similar to a parlor or sitting room. At least that's what my computer's dictionary says.

I hadn't had port before. At the time I didn't know much about wine in general. I wanted to try it because it was so specifically Portuguese. I've been a fan ever since. While in Lisbon, I picked up a bottle each of red port and white port. White port is great, but you can't find it here in the states. When done right, it has a nutty caramel flavor that's incredible. The closest thing I've gotten to a good white port is a Marsala I got from Italian Wine Merchants last year.

Outside of that, I'm 'stuck' going after 10 and 20 year old red port as I find it. I've been considering buying a 1977 for myself for my 30th birthday this year, but I haven't actually done it yet...

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May 15, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: CODO

IMG_2653, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

CODO, Chicago, 2006.

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Wonder-Full Party

(Originally Posted on The Brooklyn Record):

Saturday night in Willamsburg, hundreds came out to for "WONDER-Full IX - An annual tribute to the genius Stevie Wonder" at the Sugar Factory. World famous DJs Bobbito and DJ Spinna came together once again to play any and every song that the legendary Stevie had a hand in. Any songs written and ghost-written by the artist were fair game, as were songs that sampled his works. Now hosted by Keistar Productions, Wonder-Full started out nine years ago as a way to celebrate the Stevie Wonder's birthday, May 13th. Back then, the crowd was small enough to fit in a venue with a 75-person capacity. This weekend there were easily over 1000 party-goers in attendance in the 14,000 square foot, multi-level venue.

While glad for the success, some worry that the party may have lost something. DJ Jon Oliver has been attending these parties for years and plugged it on his website weeks ago. After it was all over though, he worried that all the hype may have backfired.

This year's Wonder-Full party did not feel as intimate as in previous years. Their success is well-deserved but as is always the case, when an event becomes "the place to be" you get less people coming for (in this case) love of Stevie Wonder and more people who just want to be up on what's hot.

-clay williams

Photo of DJ Bobbito by Ultraclay!

Bars: Spike Hill

Spike Hill

I'm a big fan of Spike Hill. It's got a great versatility to it. Regardless of your mood, Spike Hill is almost always the right place. A couple weeks ago, I ended up going there two days in a row. Once in the evening when I went out drinking with Eric, then the next day with Tammi after brunch, we spent a couple hours lounging in the back.

In case you missed it, here's what I wrote for the williamsburg beer tour in the brooklyn record:

Spike Hill is not your typical beer bar. There are 12 taps and nearly 50 bottles, serving up beer of all styles and nationalities — yet it has none of the geekery you might expect. There's no need to impress anyone with your vast beer knowledge here. You can sit in the front window and watch Bedford Avenue pass by, chat with fellow patrons at the long dark wood bar, and/or pack into the deep booths in the back with friends or a laptop. The menu takes unassuming dishes like grilled cheese and makes them interesting as well as comforting by changing up the breads and cheeses.

Spike Hill is probably one of my favorite bars around. I'm finding myself there more and more lately.

Spike Hill
184 Bedford Avenue at North 7th Street

Photo of the Day: Iron Giant

IMG_1431, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Embarcadero, San Francisco.

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May 14, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Captain Iris

IMG_3416, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

DUMBO, shot from the Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn.

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The World According to Clay

the world according to.jpg

Google now offers personalized maps without the geekery previously necessary to put one together. I've wanted to do one since Eric put together a Paris map for his trip there last year.

I've started populating the map with bars I've been to in my travels. At some point, I'll figure out how I want to connect it to the site, in the meantime, click on the screenshot above and take a look.

Fort Greene Street Party

(Originally Posted on The Brooklyn Record):


The fine folks at Habana Outpost pulled out all the stops this weekend. Their re-opening party spilled out onto South Portland Street, the festivities took over the block as local artisans sold their wares, clowns and other performers wandered about and bands played on for the crowd. Hundreds came out for the first cuban sandwiches and mexican corn of the year to be served out of the big red truck at the heart of it all.

We were there for much of the afternoon listening to the DJ alternate with Conjunto Guantanamo, a Cuban band based in DUMBO. The stilt-walkers danced above us as we sat out in the sun. We missed it, but the circus atmosphere took a more mature turn in the evening with a fashion show followed later by a burlesque performance.

Habana Outpost, 757 Fulton Street (at So. Portland); (718) 858-9500.

-clay williams

Photo by ultraclay!

Chicago Notes

IMG_2357, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Kevin, a former co-worker, is heading out to Chicago soon and asked for some recommendations. Follow the Jump for the extended version of my picks.

Sweets and Savories:
One of the best meals I had out there. The server/manager coerced us into getting the 7 course tasting menu. We were both really glad he had. The meal included mussels and chorizo in a tomato broth and mini-burgers made with escargot and braised beef, served on tiny 'kaiser'-style flaky pastries. I even enjoyed the Halibut course, even though I usually avoid fish. The entire meal was wonderful. He paired it with a Bonny Doon Grenache that I've been hoping to track down again ever since.

Frontera Grill: Great Mexican food by Rick Bayless. I had the Milanesa de Puerco, which the bartender told me was a staff favorite. Don't worry, it's not spicy. It's a breaded pork cutlet, fried crispy and served over a sweet tomato sauce w/ black beans.

Morton's: Great Steak, even if it is a chain. They come out and show off all the meat for you to choose from. I had a juicy, rare Rib Eye with the bone. I was a little disappointed with the creamed spinach, which was sweeter than I'd like. The nutmeg overpowered it.

Hopleaf Bar in Andersonville - If you're with anyone who's really into beer, take them here. I had wanted to go a couple times, but only made it there once. The food was good, but I don't remember the details.

Harold's Chicken Shack is a famous South Side staple. I never made it there, but it's supposed to be worth the trip.

Get Deep Dish Pizza at Giordano's:

Earlier on the blog, I wrote:

I had heard that I needed company to even begin to dig into a real Chicago deep dish pizza, so I didn't bother trying until Tammi met me there. We ended up going on our last day, a couple hours before we had to head to the airport. The pie was so thick and heavy that we barely got through half of it without hurting ourselves.

Get a burger at the Billy Goat Tavern. It's a divey hole in the wall hidden under the street. This place is famous for an SNL skit with John Belushi. it's a bit before my time, but everyone mentions if when you talk about this place. Regardless, the burger is great.

Nacional 27 was a little scene-y for me, but you may be into it if you're taking someone out. The food is latin fusion. Again, not too spicy (wuss). After dinner, they open up the middle of the dining room into a dance floor.

Hot Chocolate
Wicker Park - a lot of great places to hang out, listen to music and have brunch, including Hot Chocolate (above).

Also in that area is a pizza place called Piece
, which has regular East Coast style pizza and a nice selection of in-house made beers.

The food alone was reason enough for me to look forward to my next trip back to Chicago. There was plenty that I didn't get a chance to try out, and plenty that I just plain want more of. Maybe I'll get a chance to sneak away for a weekend this summer.

Photo of the Day: Big Sista is Watching

IMG_0553, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Back up singer, Blackalicious. Summer X Games 13. Los Angeles, 2006.

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May 13, 2007

In the Works

I was just talking to Gallo Loco the other day and he mentioned, for the umpteenth time that we should collaborate on a food blog. I decided to start playing with MT and setting up a multi-author blog. It was pretty straightforward.

Now comes the hard part, figuring out the content. It's in the early stages, so who knows what the final product is, but I'll be sure to keep you posted.


Graffiti of the Day: Fuckin REVS

IMG_1697, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.


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A Full Day


Wow, yesterday was great.

When I got out to Habana Outpost, they were still setting up, so I wandered over to The Brazen Head. Lo and behold, they were having another Cask Ale Festival! I had a few rounds there before it started to fill up.

When I got back to Fort Greene, Habana Outpost was packed. Their opening party spilled out on the street, filling the whole block of South Portland. Local artisans and vendors sold their wares, clowns and stilt-walkers wandered about, there was even a fire-eater. Tammi, Laura and Guy met up and we split a couple sandwiches and some corn while we watched bands perform on the stage set up in the middle of the outdoor space. After the crowd overtook us, we went to Stonehome and had a bottle of sparkling rosé.

Then, Tammi and I headed to Boerum Hill for a barbecue. Dale, who I haven't seen in close to 2 years was in town. It was great to see him.

After all that, a bunch of us headed out to Wonder-Full, the Stevie Wonder tribute party out in Williamsburg. I still don;t know enough Stevie Wonder music, so a litle of it was lost on me. I still enjoyed it. I took off a little early though.

I was wiped out.

Photo of the Day: Drum Circle

IMG_4304, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Drum Circle, Atlantic Antic. Brooklyn, 2006.

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May 12, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Borf in 3D

IMG_9317.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

11 Spring Street, 2006.

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Talk Radio

I can count on one hand the number of broadway shows I've been to. I often hear about plays (never musicals) that I might be interested in seeing, but I rarely end up actually going. So, when Tammi offered to get a couple tickets to TalkRadio, I was psyched that one of us had some follow through.

I really wanted to see 12 Angry Men but ended up missing it. I had heard great things about Liev Schrieber's performance in it. He managed to beat out some really talented folks, including fellow castmembers for the Tony that year.

I don't know a lot about theatre and I mostly know Bogosian as the new captain on Law & Order: CI. Regardless, I obviously have an opinion on the show, however uninformed.

I enjoyed it, but I thought there were a couple of areas where it could have benefited from some subtlety on the actors' parts.

The biggest example of this is the drunken cataclysm in the end. It's very well done. Tammi said he really seemed like he was plastered up there. To me, the problem was that he was never tipsy. There was no transition in most of the major things that happened in the play. It was like a switch was flipped and everything turned upside down.

The other complaint was Stephanie March, who I also know from Law & Order. She clearly hasn't adjusted to the stage. Instead of projecting her first several lines, she seemed to be yelling at us. She did get better over the course of the show.


Photo of the Day: old couple

old couple, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

May 11, 2007

Habana Outpost Re-Opening Party

LEE, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

If you're looking for me, tomorrow, look no further than Habana Outpost. I plan to spend as much of the afternoon as I can there. I can't wait to sit out and relax over several beers, a cubano and mexican corn.


Brunch At Dressler

(Originally posted on The Brooklyn Record):

Dressler is the high-end branch of the Dumont Empire. Situated on the same quiet stretch of Broadway as Peter Luger, it has already managed to make itself a destination. A recent attempt at same-day dinner reservations for a party of three yielded one opening at 9:30. Given its popularity for dinner, I was happily surprised when there was no wait for brunch.

The key to a good brunch is having a balance between breakfast and lunch fare. Some places throw a mediocre pasta dish on a menu full of eggs and pancakes—sorry, that's not brunch. Dressler does the meal right, offering a harmonious blend of omelets, french toast, burgers, and fried chicken. It was, in fact, the fried chicken that brought us there. A friend had recommended it, swearing it was the best he'd ever tasted.

And the chicken is indeed pretty great. The breading is crispy and thick, substantial without being heavy. The mild seasoning flavors the skin with a light herbiness. It comes with a giant, flaky biscuit, which barely fit in my hand.

These enormous biscuits also serve as the platform for the Benedict, Dressler's turn at the requisite brunch dish. Hickory-smoked ham replaces Canadian bacon, but don't worry, the Hollandaise is still there. This is the must-have dish for my next visit.

Finally, there's the Fresh Baked Goods, a side whose particular composition changes from week to week. When we were there, the main attraction was a pair of glazed doughnut holes that made me resent every Dunkin' I've ever put in my mouth.

149 Broadway, Williamsburg. (718) 384-6343.

-clay williams

photo by ultraclay!

Graffiti of the Day: Kid

IMG_9863, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2006.

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Bars: Moe's

I don't go to Moe's anymore. It's not that it's changed at all - at least not that I know of. In part it's just that I lost my patience for crowded bars a couple years ago. And Moe's can get pretty crowded.

On the weekends they have DJs spinning some great tunes. Jon DJed there from time to time. I don't remember how many times I've sat there just getting amped over the music. Even the jukebox is great. It's got old school hip-hop, soul and funk with an eclectic mix of everything else swirled in.

Unfortunately, the vibe at Moe's changes on the weekends too. It almost becomes more of a club than a bar and it has all the hazards that includes: Way too many over-dressed people crammed into a tight place. Maybe I've just gotten old, but that doesn't appeal to me so much these days.

During the week it's more of a neighborhood bar. Relaxed regulars hang out with the bartender or lounge on the couches in the back. Writing about it, I'm starting to miss it. I'll have to swing by for a round soon. Maybe this weekend before it gets too crowded.

Moe's is definitely a cool place to relax, but you have to hit it at the right time.

80 Lafayette Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 797-9536

Photo of the Day: Spontaneous

IMG_4009, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

May 10, 2007

You can't go home again

After putting it off for almost a month, I finally went back to my old place a couple weeks ago to pick up the last few things left. My old landlord, Patrick had been calling me about it. I needed to just get it done. Honestly, I'd been a little apprehensive about going back, in part because of how strange it was to see it emptied out. The orange walls were bare and every sound echoed back at me.

That apartment was my home for 8 years.

When I got there, Patrick and his wife, Gloria were there talking to the guy they brought in to fix up the place. I could hear the same creepy echo from the hall, then I walked in. They had re-painted the apartment a bland off-white. The warm orange glow was gone.

It was so disturbing, it was all I could do to grab the last of my stuff and get out of there.

Patrick and Gloria gave me a ride to the new apartment and in the end it reminded me of the day I was dropped off at college.

Graffiti of the Day: Love Billy, 2005

IMG_9834, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2006.

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Photo of the Day: Hilarious

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May 9, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Stay Rusty

Stay High 149, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Stay High 149, Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

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Photo of the Day: Summer in the City

IMG_8150, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

May 8, 2007

This Little Piggy Went to DUMBO

(Originally posted on The Brooklyn Record):

This Saturday in DUMBO, the intoxicating aroma of pork will be in the air. The Brooklyn Brewery is hosting its 7th annual Brooklyn Pigfest in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Like last year, the proceeds go to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. Manning the pit will be Sam Barbieri of Waterfront Ale House along with Jeff Reilly of The Smokin Grill, Rob Richter of Hill Country Barbecue and Matt Fischer of Atoms Ribs. They'll cook up three whole hogs (each slow-cooked for 20 hours), plus ribs, chicken, and sausage. All for the hefty price of $85 at the door (or $75 presale). Thankfully admission includes as much barbecue you can eat, plus beer from the Brooklyn Brewery to wash it down. Anyone care to share any memories from last year's event?

Brooklyn Pigfest, Saturday, May 12th from 1pm - 6pm at the Tobacco Warehouse, Brooklyn Bridge Park (corner of Water and Dock Streets).

Graffiti of the Day: Elbow Toe

IMG_0094, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2006.

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Photo of the Day: The El

IMG_2774, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

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May 7, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: HELL's Bodega

IMG_8598, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bodega, now a Sports Bar, Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

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Europe Trip '02, Part 1


The day after Christmas 2002, I took my sister on a 4 city trip to Europe in an attempt to convince her to spend a semester abroad. It's shocking to anyone who knows me now, but I didn't really travel much before I got out of school. It's pretty much my only regret. In hindsight, I should have seen the world and ditched town every chance I could. I've been making up for lost time ever since. That was motivation number one.

At the time, there were some big upheavals happening at the company where I worked. There were layoffs and reorganizations and no job was secure. In May, we were told that they would let us know whether we would be laid off by the day after Columbus Day, 5 month away. We were also told how much money we would receive if we were to be let go. The only way I could deal with the uncertainty was to consider what I would have done if I got that severance. There was no question. I would have traveled. I mentally planned out 3 months wandering around Western Europe. I hadn't been to Europe since my high school Spanish trip almost a decade before.

As the day approached, it was all I could think about. Every time a user did something stupid or I had to deal with dumb software or I sat through a useless meeting, it popped in my mind. Looking back, that was really when I lost my commitment to that job. When I was told that I would be keeping my job, I resented it for taking my trip away. I resented being put in a position where I was hoping to get the ax. The weekend before we were told, I decided to take matters into my own hands and I booked this trip.

The trip took us to Lisbon, Barcelona, Paris and Madrid. While there, I tasted port for the first time, practiced my Spanish, fell in love with Paris and ate extremely well. I'm digging through my notebooks and photos from the trip. I'll post about it as I track them down.

Photo of the Day: Brooklyn Twilight

Brooklyn, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

May 6, 2007

Archival Footage

Spain 6 - Fountain.jpg, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Looking through the scans posted Mike and Marni flickr streams, I was inspired to do a little scanning myself. I found what was left of my old portfolio from HS during the move and took them to work months ago. I'm stuck in the office tonight, so I decided to finally get around to it.

This shot is from my high school Spanish trip in 1994. It was my first time to Europe. I think back to how much I enjoyed it and wonder why it took me so long to go back. . . .

I hope to find more of my old photos and get them scanned in, too. Looking back at my old photos, I see some of the same themes that I'm attracted to now: repetition, reflections, shadows, textures. . . . It will be interesting to see what else I've held on to.


Graffiti of the Day: av one

av one, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

DUMBO, Brooklyn.

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Photo of the Day: Bridges

Bridges, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

May 5, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Up Close & Personal

IMG_1637, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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Photo of the Day: Behind the bar

IMG_2194, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last Exit, Atlantic avenue, Brooklyn.

May 4, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Burner King

Burner King, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

416 Graffiti Festival. Toronto, 2005.

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Photo of the Day: A Vision

IMG_0091, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

May 3, 2007

Hawai'i Guide


Tammi and I went to Hawai'i for Thanksgiving 2005. We went to Oahu and Maui for 2 weeks. Shortly after that a co-worker told me he was heading out there with his family and wondered if I had any favorites to share. I wrote something up, pointing out a few of the places we went. Paul and Miriam, friends who are getting hitched at the end of the month, are going to Hawai'i for their honeymoon. They'll be going to Honolulu and hope to hit one of the other islands while they're out there.

After the jump, an expanded version of what I wrote up...

Oahu gets a bad rap for being touristy, but there are plenty of places to go
that are a lot of fun and pretty interesting.

First, don't just stick to the Waikiki area, that's where nearly all the tourists are. Check out a bit of the rest of Honolulu. There's a lot there off the beaten path that's worth hunting down. You'll probably see it in a guidebook, but I'll add another recommendation for Chef Mavro's downtown. It's perfect for a fancier dinner.

There's a lot happening in the Chinatown area. If nothing else you should go there just to get some dim sum. Besides that though, the area has a much more local vibe. When we went, some cool bars and clubs were popping up. We heard a lot about Next Door, but never got a chance to check it out. Chinatown is also where the best lei's are made, so if you want to pick up something more authentic than what they give out at the airport, check over there. I really liked getting out there away from the throngs and seeing a different side of life in Honolulu.

That said, Waikiki has plenty of things you should do at least once. There are tons of shops and restaurants and bars and hotels there. It's an interesting mix of people and can be fun for an afternoon. This is the place you'll do most or all of your shopping. In Particular, the ABC store is where you'll probably get a bunch of things. There is literally one on every block, sometimes more. They sell nearly every little thing you'll need, beach mats, towels, souvenirs, snacks, reading material, and so on. Don't ever worry about needing to go back to your hotel because you forgot something, they've pretty much got you covered.

Into the Deep

We took a submarine tour while we were there too. That was a lot of fun. Beats the hell out of a glass bottom boat. We went down about 100 feet and got to see sea turtles and fish swimming around sunken ruins and such.

Hawaii gets tons of traffic from Japanese tourists, most of which is centered in Honolulu. That means you get a lot of good Japanese food. Take advantage. I love the Ramen shops. It's nothing like the stuff you ate in college, believe me. My favorite are the soups with Udon noodles. They're thick and almost meaty in texture. It's a great cheap snack. There are a couple at the beginning of the strip, one is as good as another in my experience.

Down a couple miles past the end of the Waikiki strip is Diamond Head. You can see if from everywhere in the area pretty much. It's the remnant of a volcanic eruption 200,000 years ago. There's a hike trail that starts in the middle and goes up to the highest point. When you reach the top, you'll have an incredible view of the island. Climbing Diamond Head is a nice relatively easy hike and totally worth it for the view. It's a short bus ride from the main strip in Waikiki. I hear a more
advanced hike, that is likely to be less crowded is the Manoa Trail. We didn't make it out there but I was told it's very lush and tropical where Diamond Head is more arid and desert-like.

If you go to any of the other islands, I'd recommend Maui, but it totally depends on what you're looking for. We stayed in the town of Lahaina on the southwest shore. It's like a slightly commercialized old New England town, very cute and some really good food. David Paul's Lahaina Grill, Io and Pacifico were all fantastic. And nearly every restaurant there has a beautiful view of the ocean.


While we were there we did the sunrise tour to Haleakala, an inactive volcano 10,000 feet up. A tour guide picked us up at 3 or 4 in morning to take us up there. It's a bit crowded and very cold, but watching the sun come up from above the clouds was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

Oh, be sure to check out a luau. They have them in Honolulu and Maui and probably the other islands as well. I've been to 3 different ones. Some focus on history, some are a bit campier, regardless, they are all entertaining and worth the money. Also, there aren't a ton of places to get traditional Hawaiian food and the kalua pork is worth it if nothing else.


Graffiti of the Day: Borf, The Diplomat

Borf, The Diplomat, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Washington DC, 2005.

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Photo of the Day: Cast Iron Lampost

Cast Iron Lampost, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Flatiron, NYC.

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May 2, 2007

Bars: The Ginger Man

I can't stand The Ginger Man. It's always packed with the worst sorts corporate tools. The service is awful, largely because even the waitresses can't get from one end of the room to another without bumping into 100 people. But I keep going back there.

Here's the thing, It's not a bad place. The space is beautiful, it's got 20 foot ceilings, huge windows which light up the place and a beautiful dark wood bar that goes on for days. There are comfortable couches and lazy boys in the backroom lounge. The little food I've had there has been pretty good. I'm fond of the giant pretzel served warm with a honey mustard dip.

Most importantly, it's got a ridiculous beer selection. It's got 66 draughts, 2 hand drawn casks and 130 bottled beers.

That's why I keep going back. That and the fact that I work 2 blocks away. It's location is also key to the crowd it attracts: It's stationed right between Penn Station and Grand Central, which makes it perfect staggering distance for all the suburbanites who need to catch their trains home.

The crowd is absolutely awful.

One day, I hope to figure out when the perfect time is to go to Ginger Man when it's empty and I can enjoy the selection and a snack while actually being able to hear my companions. One day...

The Ginger Man
11 East 36th Street
btwn Fifth Ave. and Madison Ave.
New York City

Graffiti of the Day: Introspect

IMG_1390, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

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Photo of the Day: Got A Light?

IMG_2906, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

May 1, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Capitalismo

Capitalismo, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Buenos Aires, Argentina. 2006.

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Photo of the Day: May Day Rally

Rallying the Troops, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

A Year ago there were rallies across the country to bring attention to the immigrant's side of the immigration issue. This was one of my favorite images. Check out some more after the jump.

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What Would Dora Do?