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October 31, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Blanco

IMG_7342, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.


Photo of the Day: Trick Or Treat!

IMG_8597, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Greenpoint, Brooklyn. 2007.

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...

Hello Kirchner

Hello Kirchner, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Christina Fernandez de Kirchner was just elected President of Argentina. This was a topic of discussion on this afternoon's Leonard Lopate Show on wnyc.

Obviously the idea of a First Lady being elected to take her husband's office is topical here in the US. But really, I just wanted an excuse to post this bit of graffiti I found last year in Buenos Aires.

For a little more graffiti fun with the Kirchners, see Terminestor, a GOTD back in march.


Graffiti of the Day: Great Horny Toads!

IMG_8387, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Photo of the Day: Power Lines

IMG_5834, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Berkeley, CA.

October 29, 2007

What is This?

IMG_8389, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Ok, someone please answer this for me. I have no idea what this is but I've noticed them out on the top of poles on the street. I was talking to some folks the other day and we were trying to figure out what it was. Someone suggested asking the internet, so here we are...

Anyone? Anyone?

Wells Ales & Lagers

I stumbled upon a post on Time Out New York about a change in management at Wells Ales & Lagers in Williamsburg. I had never heard of this place even though I must have past it a hundred times.

Apparently they have a huge selection. I'll have to check it out soon. Sounds like it'll make a nice addition to the Williamsburg Beer Crawl....

Graffiti of the Day: ZTART

IMG_7739, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Gramercy, NYC. 2007.

World Famous Murray Hill


Found at Duane Reade, across from the Empire State Building. Is this a thing? Do people come to New York to see famous Murray Hill? Is that at the top of the list above Yorkville and Kips Bay?

Photo of the Day: Flag Bearer

IMG_7814 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Polish Parade, Fifth Avenue, NYC. 2007.

October 28, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Green Haired Celso

IMG_7686, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2008. Artist: Celso.

Nashville: 2nd Ave North


On my last night in Nashville I got away from Music Row, the main area of Broadway and headed out to 2nd Avenue North. Whereas Music Row is full of small, gaudy Honky Tonks, some authentic, some not, 2nd Avenue North has no authenticity whatsoever. It starts with a Hard Rock Cafe and ends with Hooters. In between it's more or less the same sort of thing. Now, I usually avoid this sort of thing, but given the choice of Honky Tonk or nearly anything else, I have to seriously consider my options. The lesser of two evils actually turned out to be a fair amount of fun, despite my snobbery.

I even managed to see some live music in Music City. A co-worker and I ate at BB King's and watched Cissy Crutcher, a soul singer and her band play. The show was really entertaining. The fried chicken pretty good too. After that we avoided some of the early Halloween revelry and hung out at one of the less crowded bars on this strip.


Nashville: Jack's Bar-B-Que


I knew I was in for a much better Tennessee barbecue experience than at Rippy's as soon as I walked into Jack's Bar-b-que. Besides the excess of anthropomorphic pigs that Guy advised me to look out for at the finest of establishments use for decoration, there was also the smell. Wood smoke permeated the entire space.

Another clear indicator was evident when I paid. It was the cheapest barbecue I've ever had. The large pork sandwich, served on a kaiser roll, as opposed to the small's hamburger bun, along with mac n cheese and a bottle of Shiner Bock set me back a whole $10. That's roughly half the price of any such combo available in NYC that I know of.


The pork hit the spot. I'd describe it in detail, but I scarfed it down rather quickly. Suffice it to say it was smoky and delicious. The slight dryness I found was more than compensated for with a small dollop of their XXX-911 barbecue sauce. While the sauce wasn't nearly as hot as its name would suggest, but it didn't need to be. The smoked chili flavor was perfect.

I had planned on returning for another taste and to try out the brisket before my flight. Sadly, Saturday afternoon seems to be prime time for Jack's. The small space that was nearly empty Friday afternoon was jammed and had a line out the door. So much for that.

Nasville: Yazoo ESB

Apparently the folks at Yazoo took the name Extra Special Bitter literally. This ESB is much more like a light bodied IPA than a british style bitter. I pity the Englishman who orders this in hopes of a taste of home. It's definitely not a session beer, but it's a good hopped out beer, when that's what you're looking for. It's got dark, golden coloring.

I never made it out to the Yazoo Brewery yesterday. It turned out to be further than I thought, after walking halfway there, I discovered it was still another mile away.

Photo of the Day: Chinatown SF

IMG_1828, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Chinatown, San Francisco, CA.

October 27, 2007

How to Lose a Pound and a Half in 10 Minutes

IMG_9434, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

After I got home from Nashville, I did something I hadn't done in 8 years:

I cut my hair.

I've been getting sick of the long hair for a while. It was just getting in the way. I could have trimmed it, but I went a slightly more drastic route. It still needs work. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet, but here it is...

Graffiti of the Day: RIP ODB

IMG_7632, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2007.

Graffiti in Nashville

IMG_9048, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This is the only notable graffiti I found in the entire downtown area of Nashville. Robot guy, I salute you.

Photo of the Day: In Motion

IMG_8165, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bleeker Street, Greenwich Village, NYC. 2007.

October 26, 2007

Nasville: Viva NashVegas

IMG_8960, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This afternoon, after I checked in, I walked down the Broadway strip, past some of the 'Honky Tonks" that made this town famous and, presumably a bunch of others that jumped on after the fact. It seemed a little surreal to me. Odd, because I've never seen a honky tonk before, much less a dozen within a couple blocks, yet the scene seemed familiar.

So much of the street appeared to be commercialized and contrived to sell to tourists. Crazier to me was that the sign above was proudly proclaims that this strip is becoming a little Las Vegas.

It made me a little sad, even though I don't have any allegiance to the music or its history. A little scared too... I imagine The Bronx in 40 years made into an amusement park for hip-hop, complete with stores selling fake gold chains and 50 Cent or Kanye West blaring over the PA system on every corner.


Graffiti of the Day: Spanko

IMG_7669, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2007.

Nashville Observations

IMG_8931, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

So far, I've only seen the area around the convention center on Broadway, but this is what I've noticed so far...

They have country music piped out on the sidewalk near the convention center.

Every bar/restaurant I've passed on Broadway has live music advertised. Some of them were already performing. At 11:30am.

Apparently attendance is low for the Nashville Predators, the local Hockey team. The restaurant across the street from the stadium, Rippy's, has a campaign to help increase ticket sales so the team doesn't leave town.

The weather here is not any warmer than home. In fact it's exactly the same.

CMT, the Country Music channel is based here.

Nasville: Yazoo Pale Ale

IMG_8941, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Yazoo Pale Ale is a locally brewed pale with fairly typical flavors for an American pale ale. It's not bad, but I'm having a hard time finding much distinctive about it.

Given that I'm drinking it at a place with 10 generic, mass-marketed brews, including 3 different Miller offerings, I'm pretty happy that a beer like this is available, but it's hardly memorable.

It does make me wonder what beer selections I'll have to look forward to elsewhere in this town...

[Update: It turns out that the Yazoo Brewery is not terribly far from here. I'll have to go check it out htis evening after we wrap up.

Photo of the Day: Foggy Hills

IMG_8316, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

No Fall Foliage here.
Bristol, CT. Fall 2007.

October 25, 2007

Nasville: Rippy's

IMG_8950, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Rippy's Smokin' Bar + Grill sprawls. The ground floor space takes up two extended store front, each with it's own bar, one with an eating space, the other with pool tables. Upstairs is third bar and a patio, which I'm sure would be a lot more pleasant on a warmer day.

The service isn't so great, think 40 minutes and still no food. But then a million people - myself included - just dropped in a block away for a conference that they hadn't expected, so they were totally slammed. It happens.

The important thing is the food.

And by that criterion, it's a total disappointment.

A list of offenses after the jump...

-The wings were tough. They weren't over cooked. They looked really good, actually. They were plump and the sauce was as it should be. But the meat was just tough.

-The ribs were dried out. Nearly all the moisture was gone, except somehow they managed to retain grease.

-The sausage slices were so mushy that it melted off my plastic fork. You could mash it into a puree if that weren't totally disgusting.

-This may be something I just don't know about, but what's the deal with the blocks of cheese? There were three or four blocks of solid cheddar. I don't know why.

-The slices of pork loin were actually alright. The meat wasn't entirely dried out, which is surprising for most pork loin. Usually that cut has to be brined and slathered in something to keep keep it from turning to cardboard. It also had a nice dollop of a smokey chili sauce on top of it that I particularly enjoyed.

Sadly, that's the best thing I can say about the experience.

In short, it kind of sucked. The onion rings were fine, but I've never been a huge onion ring fan, so even that wasn't particularly gratifying. I'm hoping the rest of my meals are improvements on this one. I'm on the hunt for pulled pork next.


429 Broadway
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 244-7477


IMG_8732, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

My flight to Nashville this morning went out of LaGuardia. I've avoided flying out of there for years. The last time I flew from there it was a schlep and a half to get home. It's the least accessible airport in the area via public transportation. Imagine taking a bus down busy Steinway Street at rush hour just to get to the G Train. It was a nightmare.

My flight was so early this morning there wasn't even the remote consideration of using public transportation. So I cabbed it. Turns out that it's way easy to get to in those automobile contraptions. Seriously, I got in the cab at 6am and was checked in and at my gate by 7am. Even taking the airtrain to JFK, my preferred mode of transport, I'd still be waiting at security.

So, there you go, a life lesson. Going to the second worst airport in the entire country can actually be a bit more convenient than going to the worst. If you pay $30...

Graffiti of the Day: The Chase

IMG_8419, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2007.

Photo of the Day: Reflect

IMG_6181.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Mont Royal, Montreal, QC. 2003.

October 24, 2007

Post Earthquake Internal Meeting Place

Office Building. Glendale, Los Angeles, CA. 2007.

Gee, the things you don't think about when you live on stable ground.

Eli Recommends: Brahma Black


I got the following email from my world-traveling friend Eli. He just got back from Brazil and had what he calls the best beer you'll ever drink. With a title like that, clearly I've got to let everyone else know about it...

"brahma black" - if you can get it on tap anywhere in nyc, i'm not sure, but ask for it. when they serve it (if they serve it the same way they serve it in brazil), the beer is essentially all head. it is creamy - it is delicious. sweet, with no aftertaste whatsoever. the brewing process uses aromatic hops, but not the other hops present in germanic beers. it is pretty amazing stuff - one of the highlights of the week in sao paulo, easily.

you had it before? let me know - i think the on tap version i had in sao paulo may have been cask conditioned....but not certain.

Thank you Eli!

Graffiti of the Day: Insa Mailbox

IMG_8089, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Artist: Insa.


Photo of the Day: Repent

IMG_8006.JPG, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

The Gate, Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn. 2004.

October 23, 2007

Cask Ale on The Pour

The Pour, Eric Asimov's blog on nytimes.com has a post today about cask ales. He mentions Alex Hall, formerly of the Gotham Imbiber.

Check it out.

Also, don't forget the cask ale festival at The Brazen Head next weekend..

In other

Graffiti of the Day: RAB Manhattan Bridge

IMG_7661, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 2007.
Artist: RAB ::c::

Pork Confit


I've always been intrigued by duck confit. It hits the slow cooking impulse and is made even more appealing just based on the somewhat unusual method of cooking in it's own fat.

When it came down to actually making duck confit myself, I've always found it to be terribly impractical. The price of duck legs is never quite economical when compared to a whole duck and the cost of duck fat is not cheap for a relatively small portion that will probably not have another use. Part of what appealed to me about making confit is that it seems like the sort of thing that should be easily done with parts on hand. And I'm sure it was 200 years ago. These days, not so much.

On Eric's recommendation, I bought "The Whole Beast" by Fergus Henderson a few weeks ago. I pretty much read it cover to cover. His writing style is so unlike any I've ever read in a cookbook.

When I got to the section on confit and discovered that he doesn't limit the method to ducks, it was a revelation. Immediately I wanted to give it a try. The recipe is ridiculously simple, especially if you pathologically keep home-rendered lard in the house, which I do.

The Foodtown in Bed-Stuy sells pork shoulders cut into slices with a band saw and packaged back together. It was great for pork steaks. Or would have been if the meat wasn't so tender that many of the steaks broke into yummy bite sized chunks before hitting the table.

Making confit is so simple that barely qualifies as a recipe. The ingredients are pretty fluid. Choosing which meats to use is a bit of a mystery to me. Duck and pork are the fattiest animals we eat, so they seem to make sense. But does chicken? Lamb? Rabbit? Beef? Doubtful. But who's to say that rabbit can't be vastly improved by cooking in pork fat. Not me, certainly. I suspect I'll be spending a good deal of the winter determining which meats benefit from this sort of preparation.

Beyond that, have enough salt, pepper and thyme leaves to sprinkle across each piece of meat on both sides. Stack them up in a non-corrosive container and refrigerate for a day or two. Scrub off as much as you can before continuing.

Next, immerse the meat in warmed liquefied fat, preferably from the kind of animal you are cooking.

Cook at 325 for 3 hours or until the meat is tender. I went with a lower temp and gradually moved it up to 325.

Revel in the wonderfulness and try to remember to share. I left mine to sit in the congealed fat for a week before serving it, so allowing the flavors to settle may be recommended. Apparently it will keep for 6 months, but I can't imagine keeping it that long without eating it.

For dinner the other night, I took the largest 'steaks' and put them on a cast iron in the broiler. The browning added another dimension to an already transcendental meat. The next day we couldn't be bothered and just scarfed it down as is. Sadly, photographer clay and cook clay rarely co-exist, so I have no record of the pork confit. Given how successful this went, though, I expect to have some on hand in perpetuity.

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.


IMG_8687 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

According to SlashFood this morning, today is "National Nut Day." I usually don't give any of that stuff a second thought, but the fact is I had these on hand since I made them as a snack for Saturday night. Also, I'm exactly juvenile enough to be highly amused by talking about my roasted nuts, so there's that too...

I got the recipe months ago from an episode of Nigella. She adapted the recipe from Union Square Cafe. The recipe is posted on The Food Network's site. I adjusted it by adding more pepper and using a lot more butter.


Photo of the Day: God-Fearing

Out West Trip 021, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC. 2004.

October 22, 2007

Graffiti of the Day: Cereal Killers

IMG_8394 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 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.

Open For Business

This weekend Tammi and I hosted our first guests at the Apartment. After nearly 7 months, we finally have the place presentable, albeit with some boxes and laundry bags hidden away in corners and crevices.

Saturday night, Robert and Mary allowed us to repay all the wonderful hospitality they've shown us over the years. I came up with a remarkably stress-free meal, which was the biggest surprise. Typically my menus have me sweating away in the kitchen for days before and then throughout the evening.

This time is was mostly a matter of chopping, tossing and sauteing. The most exotic part of the meal was the centerpiece, pork confit that I prepared a week before (more on that later), and all that took was reheating them sticking in the broiler.

The laidback pace was perfect. It left me time to spend relaxing in great company.

Of course there was plenty of food left, so the next day Eric, Marni and Anna came through and hung out over the last of the pork - I saved a batch just for the occasion. Eric picked up some charcuterie from a place in Chelsea I'm definitely going to have to check out.

It was so much fun to spend the weekend at home with friends. I missed that a lot and I'm glad to have the opportunity again.

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.


October 18, 2007

Rosell Boher Champagne

IMG_8540, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Last Friday was 4 years since Tammi and I started dating. To celebrate I made dinner and opened up a couple special bottles.
I bought this sparkling in Buenos Aires last fall. It's from a limited release of 9500 bottles. I have been saving it for a special occasion just like this.

This may very well be the best sparkling I've ever had. The taste was one you'd expect from a rosé. The flavor of black cherry was so strong, it reminded me of a kriek lambic beer. What was amazing was that it wasn't cloyingly sweet as a lot of fruity sparklings can be.

When it was done, I was irritated that I couldn't go out and get another. So, a hint to any friends who may be going down to Buenos Aires any time soon. This would make a fantastic gift to that special writer/photographer/geek.

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.

I've only had the two pork tacos so far, but hope to check out the chorizo and beef tacos on my next visit.

I like the Cochinita Pibil, which is spicy and tangy, topped with jalapeños and red onions pickled with habañeros. The pork itself is juicy and delicious.

The other pork taco is the Carne Enchilada,which is a little too sweet for me. The fruit flavor of the pineapples brings out the pork's sweetness, but it needs some spice to balance it out.

As good as the tacos are, the thing that blew me away was the quesadilla. I'm a sucker for cheesy foods, the gooier the better. The queso oaxaca used reminds me of cheese curds, soft and melty with a squeaky resistance in every bite. On a recent visit, I tried the Quesadilla deHuitlacoche which I didn't like as much, mostly because I've got no huge love for mushrooms. I'm learning to appreciate them more, but they just got in the way of my enjoyment this time. What I don't understand is why they don't offer a pork quesadilla. I'd be on that in a minute.

What may be the coolest part about La Esquina is that the taqueria serves until 5am. On my last visit, I was there after a late night at work with a co-worker. It was 2am on a Sunday night and there was a crowd of maybe a dozen people hanging out in front. As we got there Ellis G. had just finished drawing shadows on the sidewalk (below). I didn't get the camera out in time to shoot it before he took down the bike, food was my priority that night.


The Digital Shoebox


A couple days ago, I went rummaging through my pre-flickr photos, realizing that I don't really go back to any of my non-posted images very often. I decided to pick some of my better images and post them.

I found quite a few blasts from the past, including shots from festivals, my college reunion and the RNC protests back in 2004. Of course there's a ton of travel photos as well. I finally posted more photos from my trip to Europe with my sister.

I'll break them up into smaller sets as I go through them and deal with proper tagging, for now, check the all out here.

October 16, 2007

Cooking Chili

IMG_8500, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

It's braising time again! With the cooling weather, we can actually have the stove of the oven on for 8+ hours at a time without passing out from heat exhaustion. I had been considering how to usher in the season when Dorla emailed last week asking for a chili recipe. Chili is much more Tammi's area than mine, so I deferred to her and then took her recipe and tweaked it a bit. The base recipe is after the jump.

Since I happened to make a trip to Fette Sau the night before so I made a few yummy adjustments with what I had on hand:

I tossed in the bone from a smoked pork shank. It still had some chunks of meat on it, which took very well to the braise.

For liquid, I used what was left of a growler of beer from the night before (about a pint) and some pork stock I made a while back. You don't hear about pork stock too often, but it has come in handy.

Chili Recipe:

1 lb Slab Bacon
3-4 lb Beef Chunks
2 large Onions
1 head Garlic, peeled
1 Red Bell Pepper
1-3 Chile Peppers
2 Carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
Salt & Pepper
1 Tb Cumin
1/4 cup Chili Powder
1 Large Can Plum Tomatoes in Puree
1 can Tomato Paste

The beans are Tammi's area, the amount is up to you. She loves a lot of beans, so I used 3-4 cups of dried beans. Use red, white, or whatever your preference.

1.. Put the pot, preferably a large dutchpot, over a high flame.

2. Cook the bacon first, remove it from the pot.

3. Brown the beef chunks in the bacon fat. Remove.

4. Lower heat. Add chopped onions, I'd go with 2 large ones. Sprinkle with salt. Cook until they soften and turn a golden shade.

5. While onions are cooking, season the beef with salt, pepper, cumin (powder) and chili powder, maybe a little thyme or oregano if you have it.

6. Add chopped garlic, bell peppers, carrots and corn to onions, sauté briefly, 3-4 minutes.

7. Return Beef and Bacon to the pot, mix it all together.

8. Add Tomato Paste and a large can of Whole Tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon as you add them.

9. Throw in the chile peppers. To get more spice, cut the pepper in half before adding it in. The exposed ribs and seeds will heat things up. Conversely, remove the ribs and seeds if you want to dull that down and just get the chile's flavor without the heat.

10. If you're using dried beans they should have soaked over night before going in the chili. If you're using canned beans, you can hold off on adding them until the meat has been cooking for a while. Drain the liquid before you add them.

11. Now as far as the cooking liquid is concerned, you'll probably have plenty in there already, you just want to top it off. Stock is good, but some like to use beer or wine. I use what's on hand. The flavor will vary pretty wildly from one liquid to the other, so think about how you want it to taste. Even beer will vary in flavor depending on whether you use a malty stout or a lighter lager.

12. At this point you want to lower the heat and let it cook at a low simmer, covered, for an hour or two. Add canned beans after the first hour.

When the meat is tender enough to cut with a fork, it's ready.

When serving, toss in some chunks of cheddar and a dollop of sour cream if you have it.

Riding The Rails

I love the internet because no matter how obsessed you are with something, there's someone out there who has you beat. I have a thing for subways. The trains, the logos, the maps, everything. I find it all pretty interesting. I just found a site through a group on Flickr that let's you collect the logos of all the subway systems you've been on. Above are my 21, which I find to be a respectable number, certainly more than I expected...

October 15, 2007

The Castro Grilled Cheese Sandwich

IMG_8352, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This sandwich was the special this afternoon at Spike Hill. When the bartender told me that the sandwich was filled with tomatoes, onions and pickles, I hesitated. It seemed a little weird, but it was well worth the risk.

The tomato is always welcome in a grilled cheese as far as I'm concerned. It's a given, really. The onions are a little unusual, but caramelized, adding sweetness and moisture to the gooey cheese, it fit in perfectly. What really concerned me was the pickles. I grew up with a distaste for them and got over them in the last couple years. It turns out I couldn't have been more off-base. The tang of vinegar cut through the other flavors exceptionally well.

I just hope they don't mess with the mix like they did with the Hot Wings. The last time I ordered them, there were none of the little tasty touches that made me rave about them. They were generic and not nearly as interesting.

October 9, 2007

Fall Has Returned

IMG_6867, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

And like -that- it's Autumn again.

Yesterday Tammi, Dorla and I spent all afternoon sitting outside hanging out and drinking at The Red Lion, today, I'm wishing I had brought my jacket up to Connecticut. Seemingly this is it, I can't imagine it's really going to go back up to the 80's again before the end of the year. We'll see.

October 8, 2007

84 Degrees in October

IMG_7649, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

There are Halloween decorations out and it's 84 degrees. I've never been a fan of fall, so I'm not complaining, but it is a bit surreal.

Halloween Season?

IMG_7708 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

When did Halloween stretch out so long that decorations are up a full 25 days before the 'big day?'

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

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October 3, 2007

Heading Down to Country Town

IMG_6905, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Even though I'll be missing out on Barcelona, I do have a couple trips in the next month or so. In fact, I just heard that I'm going down to Nashville in a few weeks. I've heard that the bbq isn't nearly what it is in Memphis, but I'll see what I can find.

If anyone has suggestions, let me know.

October 2, 2007

Showing Some Skin

Jolie's Roast Pork, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

This post is entirely gratuitous. I just love crispy, crackly pork skin.

Cask Ale Time at The Brazen Head

IMG_7036, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Just a quick note that while at the Antic, I found that the next cask ale festival at the Brazen Head will be the weekend of November 2-4th. Clearly, I'm planning on attending.

Atlantic Antic 2007

IMG_6988, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

Sunday was a great Brooklyn day. Tammi and I waded through the crowds at Atlantic Antic and enjoyed good food and great company all day.

We met up with with various friends and randomly bumped into others. I had a thick, juicy sirloin slider from Donna Da Vine a newish wine bar that Tammi and I have started going to.

We also had some fantastic pork sandwiches made from the two whole pigs Jolie roasted. They were served on long narrow rolls and served with a mildly tangy horseradish mayonnaise.

And at a friend's urging we tried out fried oreos, which were a little weird. I was expecting something along the lines of the deep friend twinkie or chocolate bar often found at brit style chip shops. Instead, owing to the vendor selling them - an Italian Sausage truck - it was more like a zeppole, thick and doughy and covered in powdered sugar.

The one thing I didn't get that I miss is the shwarma usually served by a middle eastern food supply shop near clinton. They don't sell food at all most of the year and, invariably, it's the best I've had. By the time we ended up on that end of the Antic, I couldn't really contemplate eating much more.

When we were done, we hung out at an after party hosted by Robert and Mary, who live nearby.

All in all a really great day. See the rest of the Antic photos here.

And here for my extended description of the festival from last year.