Friday, December 29, 2006

Huge Bonus For You

We're going Goldman style today with a huge bonus for everyone. That's right, a second, bonus post. Damn straight we could have just combined both them up into one post but that's not how we roll during bonus season. And Uncle Sam won't be taking 50% of this bad boy. "Dude in a doorway in a bar in Soho"

Anyone Seen My Dumpster?

I know I left a dumpster somewhere in Chelsea but now I can't seem to find it. Anyone seen it? I think it's on 14th Street.
Alt.: Acme Construction's feeble attempt to hide an illegal demolition from city building inspectors.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

What's Up with Pinkberry?

There's a new frogurt shop in town called Pinkberry. Imported from LA, where it is so hot and addictive they are calling it "crackberry" and waiting 45 minutes on lines around the corner guarded by security. The Pinkberry craze has finally hit New York...slowly. An outpost has opened on the Upper East Side on 2nd Ave:
The internets is raving about the decor of Phillippe Starck chairs and Le Klint lanterns and the fact that they won't let you take pictures inside. Well Pinkberry management is no match for the mighty Velvet Sea camera- behold the interior:
The floor was made of tiny pebbles and was pretty cool. Upon entering Pinkberry, we could ascertain that it was some sort of dessert shop but even the menu behind the counter didn't fully explain that they sell fat free frozen yogurt. Surprisingly Pinkberry only offers 2 flavors- plain and green tea. They have a plethora of fresh fruit toppings as well as some more decadent choices- neatly arranged:
I sampled both flavors and found them both to be blah (speaking technically of course). The plain tasted no different than unsweetened regular yogurt with a hint of sourness and it's consistency was even similar. You could get the same effect by putting a cup of Dannon in the freezer for 30 minutes. The green tea was better but it was extremely tea-like with virtually no sweetness to it; it was like eating tea. It even tasty "gritty". Not what I'm looking for in a dessert. I suppose the toppings would add sweetness but really it's not much different than really cold yogurt with fruit (and 10x more expensive).
They were generous with the toppings. I'm not predicting big success for this store- with the multitude of other options within a 3 block radius and the lack of flavor and sweetness, Tasti-D you have nothing to worry about. Pinkberry plans to add 15 more stores in the area soon. Blahberry!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Crazy Spinning Coke Ad

Most companies tend to use a new hip stylish flashy vehicle when doing street promotions for their products- maybe a segway or a Cooper mini or BMW or a Xterra or Scion or Ferrari or something. Not Coca Cola! Coke is busting out it's newest 3D electronic holographic ads on the streets of New York's East Village on top of a vintage 1993 Chevrolet Caprice station wagon:To Coke's credit, at least it didn't have wood panels on the sides:
Check out the video for real in your face spinning action:

The maker of the Coca Cola hologram ad is Bulsack, a company involved in three seemingly unrelated and bizarre businesses- "ultra effective 3-d holographic advertising systems", portable waste disposal systems, and vacation properties in Bulgaria. Does the juxtaposition of those three things even need a joke or sly comment from me? Can't beat the real thing.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Holidays Yo

Happy Hanukkah from this man in Manhattan and Merry Christmas from this dog in Dumbo (Brooklyn).
They would both like holiday treats please.. cash or cookies. And to all a good night.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Just Bought A Sweet Van

Yo Xzibit, pimp my ride...oh wait, it's already pimped. Ha. Just bought this sweetass van from some dude who was living in it down by the river. Apparently he's some sort of motivational speaker or something but not doing so well. It had a forsale sign on it and I saw the guy and he only wanted $100. I poked around inside, it didn't smell, test drove it real fast and now it's mine for a bit until I put it up on Ebay. Seemed sketchy but I got the title for it; the name on the title is "Matt Foley". A googlesearch turns up about 10,000 links for Matt Foley, so I have no idea how legit this guy was but whatever, I've got the van now and it's sweet graf tags. Hopefully they aren't gang signs or something. This thing's got an all pleather interior, a cd player, and captain seats that recline. I'm so pumped (that's "stoked" to my Cali readers) to have freshy fresh transportation now; if you see me driving around town in my pimped van, flag me down and say hi!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Unintended Effect

Clearly not the intended effect this phone booth ad is going for. Sometimes you just have to be in the right spot at the right time to get the money shot. Does that guy look like a creepy metrosexual Ben Stiller in underwear with midget legs or what?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Irony in Vegas

Perhaps "volcano heat" brick oven pizza was just a little too hot for it's own good as this place was burnt to a crisp.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Open Letter to Northwest Airlines

Dear Northwest Airlines,
First off, you might want to rethink the NWA abbreviation due to the former rap group of the same name; although it's worked for you so far, so whatever, it's your option.

Secondly, your gate scheduler at LaGuardia airport needs some help; if you have 6 gates available and 2 flights departing within 5 minutes of each other with the rest not departing for several hours, you might want to spread out the 2 flights to nonadjacent gates to avoid a "clusterfuck" in that area.

Now that you are part of the "sky team" alliance with Continental and Delta, you might want to re-evaluate your boarding procedures to be more consistent with those airlines (and every other airline on earth). All airlines with assigned seating will board first class, elite mileage, disabled, elderly, and those need additional time to board first. Your policy is right in line with that- no problems.

Now here's the part where Northwest differs; on a large plane it is customary to board passengers in groups. You can board from the back of the plane or the front. Most airlines will split the plane into 2 or 3 groups for boarding. Your policy of "all other passengers may now board" is insane. Passengers aware of the procedure all gather around the gate area waiting for the announcement and then rush the gate when you make it. Combined with the already existing clusterfuck from your gate assignments, this leads to a doubleclusterfuck (yes that's the technical term).

Most airlines will show a movie on flights longer than 3 hours. Typically a bad movie, but a recent release nonetheless. Most airlines do not have a weird odor coming out of their ventilation systems. Typically any bad smells can be mitigated by use of the overhead fan, not caused by them. For these reasons Northwest, I officially deem you "worst airline ever". Thank you.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Brooklyn Pizza Tour

Brooklyn pizza is all the rage these days, with Domino's coming out with it's own "Brooklyn-style" line of pizza, but why settle for a cheap imitation? Brooklyn's own Tony Muia provides the awesome "A Slice of Brooklyn Pizza Tour", where you can taste some of the best pizza in the world and get a true insiders tour of Brooklyn.

The tour starts in Manhattan and Tony explains the history of pizza in America. Maps are provided as you travel over the bridge to Brooklyn:
The tour bus is pretty small, holds maybe 20, nice intimate size.
Tony gives some Brooklyn history and points out the sights as the tour makes some scenic stops:

Then the tour makes it's first food Grimaldi's. Typically at Grimaldi's you would have to wait at least 30 minutes on line outside before getting in, but Tony, in true Brooklyn style, "makes arrangements" so the group walks right in and gets a good table up front.This part of the tour showcases traditional New York pizza, thin crust, crispy with charring from the coal oven, with fresh mozzarella melted and sweet sauce scattered on top and a few pieces of basil to top it off. The ingredients are all prime and the pizza comes hot from the oven and is the best pizza you will ever eat. Hands down.
The belly stuffed tour continues on. Tony caters the tour to the group; moving at their pace and adding in things off-the-cuff that relate to them or where they are from. It didn't feel like a scripted tour at all, very down to earth and relaxed but still incredibly informative. We passed some obnoxiously large houses in Bay Ridge:

The tour goes through a bunch of different neighborhoods, here's a small Revolutionary War Cemetery (ignore the misspelling in my caption please!) that surely no other tour would pass.

Here we pass the garage from The Godfather (I think that's the movie?).. there's lions on top. While the bus is driving, Tony plays clips of different movies shot in Brooklyn timed perfectly so right after you see the clip, you drive past the same location- so cool!Remember the opening scene from Saturday Night Fever, when John Travolta stacks 2 slices of pizza on top of one another and eats them... this is the spot!

All this history makes one hungry and the tour makes it's second stop at L&B Spumoni Gardens for a taste of some Sicilian style pizza.L&B cooks up a unique pizza with the sauce on top and very little cheese. It's soft and delicious, some of the best Sicilian style pizza I've had. They also make a killer spumoni (which is not included in the tour price but worth it definitely). Spumoni is like ice cream and gelato in one.

The tour ends in Coney Island, where if you are somehow still hungry, and the only ones on my tour that were hungry were the marathon runners, you can buy yourself a famous Nathan's hot dog. The bus drives everyone back past quite a few other interesting neighborhoods and sights.
The tour is awesome. It's a great mix of history and pizza and pop culture but the real crust to the whole tour is Tony. Tony holds the whole thing together affably and mixes in personal anecdotes and jokes about growing up in and life in Brooklyn. You're not going to learn about stoopball from a tourguide on one of those red double decker bus tours. He's a true Brooklyn personality. You really get "a slice of Brooklyn" and it's tasty enough to fill both your belly and your brain. Very enjoyable and highly recommended.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Bread that Swept Manhattan

There's a breadvolution going on in the blogosphere. Apparently Mark Bittman of the New York Times posted a recipe for a very simple no kneading bread as taught to him by Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery and the cooking blogs caught wind of this and everyone's getting into the act.

I got the recipe from Leland's mom of Eat fame; when I saw the ingredient list, I thought- hey I can do this. So here's the step by step from a non-cooking blogger using what was in the house. How amateur am I? This is my first bread I've ever cooked not using a bread machine. Ever. And it was easy!

Consider this the "for dummies" version of the recipe...
Ingredients- flour, water, salt, and fast acting yeast. That's it! I had to buy the yeast but I already had wheat flour and kosher salt. The recipe just says salt, so I have no idea if kosher salt makes any difference at all. Nor do I have any idea how to adjust the recipe for wheat flour. Nor are my measurements precise; I just scoop!
Mix 3 cups of flour, 1.5 cups water, 1/4 teaspoon yeast, and 1.5 teaspoons salt. Apparently you are supposed to mix all the dry ingredients first, but as you can see below, I did not do that. Did it make a difference? No idea!
I used cold tap water and I'm not sure if that made any difference either. I took my scraper and mixed it up for about 30 seconds until all the water and flour mixed well.
I covered the bowl with plastic wrap (Reynolds wrap is a poor clinger, btw) and set it in the microwave overnight. The recipe said to keep it in a warm place; I supposed I could have just left it on the counter but the microwave got it out of the way.
After 12 plus hours, dough should have risen to about twice it's size and be bubbly. And it was! The "bubbles" were more like small depressions of popped bubbles, and not Hubba Bubba style giants. This was after 15 hours:
Flour up your counter or work area (I used a plastic cutting board) and your hands. Flop dough down and spread it out a little bit. Fold dough over itself from all 4 sides, like the back of an envelope but messier. Place folded dough "postage" side up in wax paper and wait 1-2 more hours. The recipe actually says to use a towel but that would mean more laundry, so wax paper works fine. Next time I would flour it up a bit though.
Preheat the oven AND THE POT to 475. The original recipe calls for a Le Creuset but I have no idea what that actually is and used a large corningware dish that had a lid. Dump the dough postage side down into the pot. Dumping the dough into the hot dish was a little tricky as it stuck to the wax paper a little bit and it was all off to one side of the pan but I just left it as is. At this point I sprinkled some poppy seeds on top.
The next step is crucial- COVER THE PAN for the first 30 minutes. The glass lid worked fine, although it didn't seal 100% tight due to some dough on the rim. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and keep cooking the bread 10-25 more minutes until it looks done. With the dark wheat bread this proved slightly difficult.
Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. If you don't have a cooling rack (like me), use the rack from your toaster oven.
Once it cools, you will have a delicious bread. The bread was a bit dense with a slight chewiness to it, and as every other blog mentions- a delicious crust. It was simple to make and came out awesome paired with my world famous Buffalo bison chili. I highly recommend this even for novice bakers.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Intrepid on the Move

Local war hero ships out. The USS Intrepid was finally freed from it's muddy berth on the Hudson River today. This was the second attempt to move the massive WWII kamikaze attack survivor to New Jersey for repairs. Superblogger Z. Madison is superpumped about it. Here's some shots I took while visiting the Intrepid this past summer:

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Security Cameras

Found at the local CVS drugstore... a security camera with a lovely sign hanging from the ceiling saying that recording is in progress... one small issue.. THE SIGN IS BLOCKING THE CAMERA'S VIEW. It's actually blocking it more than it appears to be in the photo. Unless it's an X-Ray camera, but the sign doesn't mention that, so I'm gonna say nixnay on that one. In these dangerous times, the last thing we need is for the terrorists to gain control of CVS and it's overpriced toiletries. If we can't even protect CVS, how are we going to protect our borders?