Mmmkay, that's all I have right now. I guess 'cause most things are delicious. Just an excuse, really, to dash off a quick note to let y'all know I'm:
A) Still alive.
B) Still eating.
C) Still itchin' to blather on endlessly about A and B.
Thing is, I've been maniacally busy and doing a wee bit of globetrotting (well, one modest sliver of the globe) and will continue to be for a bit yet. But I shall return, surely by the end of the year, perhaps by the end of the month, at which time I'll share tales of eating my way through six states.
So, like the lions in front of the New York Public Library, patience and fortitude, my peeps. You be patient, and I'll be gobbling up the fortitude. (Which, by the way, tastes great atop a cream cheese schmeared Wheat Thin.)
Sorry. I just couldn’t say that without a run-on sentence.
I’d never had tamarind ice, “homemade style” or otherwise, and found the contents of the plump Fla-Vor-Ice type squeeze bag to be the unappealing color of an oversucked cola slurpee. (Everybody with a childhood knows y’gotta alternate the slurping with the spooning, to keep the syrup to ice ratio right.) But with reassuringly few ingredients and an Ozone Park manufacturing address, I confidently snipped, squeezed, and sucked.
Kraft’s new Asian Toasted Sesame dressing. Hard to find and chock full of high-fructose corn syrup, but well worth the hunt and the premature death. Last night I even dipped a couple of my perfect, big-as-my-head sautéed sea scallops into a dab of the baby diaper brown, and if not for my reluctance to defile such a sea treat, I’d’ve drowned them buggers in the stuff.
So I got home with an open bar buzz, an empty stomach, and one thing on my mind. Pimiento cheese. Back home in the South, pimiento cheese spread was sold in tubs in the market, but I don’t remember anybody ever whippin’ any up in their kitchen. I fired up the Internets, and sat there like Otis of Mayberry, hiccupping and Googling for a pimiento cheese recipe.
What?!? It’s just cheddar, pimiento, and Hellmann’s? This can’t be. No mysterious “mom” type ingredients? Rather than enduring what’s now been ten years of pimiento cheese deprivation in NYC, I coulda been downin’ this stuff every time I get tipsy?
‘Tis true. And screw the recipes. I’ve made it two or three times over the past few days, and it works better without one. Most recipes I found call for way too much mayo, and others add salt to already salty ingredients. Just eyeball it. Shred whatever cheddary cheese you have on hand (I used white cheddar, extra sharp, and smoked gouda), then add mayonnaise and diced pimiento until it looks right. Optionals include garlic powder, Tabasco, crushed green olives, and a dash or two of chipotle sauce or liquid smoke. I’d skip the lettuce and tomato on a sandwich this subtle, but whatever blows your skirt up.
Pictured above (we’ll see if I can keep up this photo thing), I’ve dollopped some onto a warm, parbaked bretzel roll from FreshDirect. Like a soft baldy pretzel in bun form. These things are impossibly dense and moist, and the combination of flavors is a keeper. Bretzels are also good hot and slathered with honey butter, or piled with ham and Nance’s sharp mustard.
Empanada Mama. Clean. Cute. A brightly colored oasis on a dingyish block in Hell’s Kitchen. Filled up after we got there. A more than welcome respite from the heat, and even when they opened up the front and let in all 89 of the degrees, it never got too warm. Great music overhead. Paolo Conte, Jerry Mulligan, Sugarcubes. Attentive, pretty service.
I’m a corn meal person, but E-Mama’s corn flour empanadas were baked hard, and my carne molida was mostly tasteless, I’m afraid. I’d also skip the Chorizo Colombiano with griddle cake and lemon, from the tapas menu. The arepa was dense but flavor-free, and the sausage was underspiced and gristle-y.
No, the wheat flour empanadas are where all the greasy taste action is. Can’t remember what the beau had, but I enjoyed his, too, and we both ordered repeats. With all the interesting looking selections, I hated to do that, but I had to. The “Viagra” (my mouth was always too full to ask why they’re named that) was a seafood lover’s wet dream. Shrimp, scallops, and crab. I was sure they meant that Barbie Doll crab stuff, and when it arrived, it didn’t look like anything special. But holy mackerel, that’s one tasty tart. So, like a blue-shirt-with-a-white-collar-wearing divorced cokehead Porsche salesman, I gobbled up second Viagra and kept at it.
The hot sauce was of respectable heat and the green sauce was downright drinkable. But I opted for a champagne soda. Next time I’m trying the sangria. Might even try and get fruity drink drunk.
Took home a tasty Belgian Milk Chocolate & Banana dessert empanada, and devoured it for breakfast the next morning. (Oddly, there’s a picture of that, but I ain’t sharin’.)
763 Ninth Avenue at 51st Street, Manhattan
Other empanada joints at which I’ve gobbled with glee:
219 E 23rd Street between Second & Third Aves, Manhattan
Wonderfully saucy Cuban-style empanadas. But there’s a good chance they’ve closed.
1748 First Avenue between 90th & 91st Streets, Manhattan
Argentinean. Most curiously delicious combination: celery and ricotta.
Now if only I could find a place that serves fried Coke without the accompanying aroma of cow manure, I’d be all set for the summer
“It's probably a smart idea to wear dark pants, and bring a change of clothes with you to work,” warns the manufacturer.
Alli works by blocking the absorption of 25% of consumed fat, releasing that 25% straight into the wild, often without warning. Naturally, diet-desperate Americans are unflinchingly gobbling up the $60 bottles as quickly as pharmacists can stock them. “Not since the 1987 post- Julio Iglesias run on penicillin have we seen anything like this,” said pharmacist Bill Buttspray of the Duane Reade at First Avenue and E. 91st Street in Manhattan.
Not really. Dude’s name probably tipped you off, huh? But they are comparing it to the Cipro-hungry days of the post-9/11 anthrax scare.
The more cynical among us must wonder whether GlaxoSmithKline perhaps weighed the negative publicity they’d surely get from the graphic and hilarious warning label against Americans’ vast gullibility, and determined that if people will voluntarily walk around with barf breath, and surgically remove most of a properly functioning organ, leaving them covered with hanging, runny skin flaps (this term co-opted with permission), then what’s a little excremental explosion at the office?
“The courteous young boys on my son’s Little League team were more than happy to hold a tarp up while I stood behind it and changed my poopy pants,” said one happy customer. “The sight of dozens of tiny hands struggling to keep their grip on that tarp made me realize what a beautiful world we live in.”
Again. Totally made that up. But if you had any idea how hard I laughed when typing it, you’d forgive me for misleading you.
“They tell you to carry extra pants around with you,” she went on, “but they don’t mention the tarp. You’ll want the tarp.”
Brazilian ad agency Salles Chemistri has created a low-fat yogurt campaign featuring fattened subjects in iconic poses, inviting the observer to compare their size to that of the original scenes’ occupants, Mena Suvari, Sharon Stone, and Marilyn Monroe. (Click here to see the plumped up Stone and Monroe.) The tagline for each reads, Forget about it. Men's preference will never change. Fit Light Yogurt.
Cambozola (which is the sound made when a drunk clown belches, coincidentally) hails from the region of Germany which also gave us that other fine cheesy comestible, Bavarian Beaver Cheese (second only to that of Venezuela). And dare I say this is way tastier. Deceptively mild at first bite, followed by sharp bursts of bleu. Follow this triple-cream cheese with a hunk of cherry pie only if you’re where you can safely allow your eyes to roll back into your head.
Fortunately, we were full of beer.
Had some time to kill before showtime, and I wanted to show my beau McCoy’s in Hell’s Kitchen (768 Ninth Avenue, between 51st & 52nd). I remembered it as the classic gritty Irish bar. Last time I was there, we sat across from a built-in jukebox next to a family toasting the matriarch being sprung from the hospital. Sprung a bit early, I’m guessing, as she was still donning a hospital gown and bracelet, and was hooked to a rolling IV pole. This wholesome scene was then interrupted by a wobbly gentleman entering the bar, threatening its patrons by announcing he was toting a bomb in his backpack. The weary bartender sprung to action with the most customer-comforting command ever.
“Get ouuutta hee-uh.”
Bomb Dude muttered something about Barbie shoes and the Disney-controlled United States Congress, then left. Take that, Department of Homeland Security.
Sadly, this place has gone the way of many great old NYC bars that’ve died. Or worse, those that’ve died, but haven’t yet fallen over. McHale’s, Terminal Bar, the original Siberia, The Village Idiot (yet another place I’ve seen a patron belly up to the bar wearing a fresh hospital bracelet). All gone. McCoy’s now boasts 10 big screen TVs, a less communal seating setup, and likely a more by-the-book response to terror threats. The juke’s still there, but my will to pump coin has gone.
And again, the black sesame ice cream is to voluntarily perish for.
Let's get lost, lost in each other's arms
Let's get lost, let them send out alarms
And though they'll think us rather rude
Let's tell the world we're in that crazy mood
This plan produced one helluva romantic weekend of big, wet monkeylove, but by Sunday evening, I think the beau wished we’d gone to a cookout or two, so’s I’d stop singing and/or playing the Chet Baker song. (That “repeat one” function really isn’t meant for when company’s over.)
Cut to last night. 6:30. We’re sitting around in our undiepants, perusing take-out menus. The beau remembers a movie review he’d read in the Voice. Finds his copy and reads it to me. Then grouses ‘cause he really wanted to stay home. Again. But he shouldn’t’ve read that review to me.
By 8:30 we were showered, clothed, popcorned, and nestled into our seats at Film Forum to see Let’s Get Lost, a 1988 Bruce Weber documentary on the life, music, and steep demise of Jazz singer/trumpeter Chet Baker.
Unseen for 14 years, this newly restored print is drippingly lush in high-contrast black and white, with an infrared film glow and meticulous attention to light and shadow. The visuals could stand alone. The performances could stand alone. The camera-hungry superfluous satellite characters and unlikely staged scenes with curious cameos by Chris Isaak and Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers) are unfortunate, but once the smack and the interviews start flowing, your heart snaps in a hundred different places.
Included are many of his women and children, and his mother, her familial facial structure upholstered with wrinkles so deep and starkly lit, they appear to be the clearly marked chapters of a sad biography. After lightheartedly listing her son’s impressive musical achievements as a child, she’s asked, despite the trumpet and voice, was he still a disappointment as a son. The folds beneath her eyes tighten as she considers the unexpected question. A breathless silence precedes a heartbreaking answer.
Other show-stoppers include a plea for a disrespectful audience to pipe down for a best-ever take on Elvis Costello’s “Almost Blue,” and a Weber query near the end of the film, asking Baker what his favorite kind of high is. The wide openness of the question would surely lead one to sum up their life and loves. The joy of that perfect sustained note. The blissful pleasure of a woman’s love. The returned smile of one’s child. Baker’s answer? Speedball.
The sponge tubes launched in the ‘30s using banana cream, and Hostess has had a few limited releases since then, but this time it’s apparently for keeps. Odd, considering just a few short years ago they threatened to yank the whole Twinkie line. Remember that? The bastids.
I’ve been eating much of it at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station of late. One of the busiest passenger rail facilities in the US, and not a bad place to kick it and wait for your train home to NYC. Across the street is the new Cira Centre that glitters, if you look at it right. Northbound trains take you past the riverfront scull crew houses strung with lights, and the deliciously whiney “TRENTON MAKES, THE WORLD TAKES” bridge sign in red neon. The 1930s station boasts a cavernous main concourse with stories-high windows and a dozen or so art deco chandeliers. A fully functioning shoeshine station and Old World wooden benches that vibrate when those seated on them fart. (If anyone knows whether others seated nearby can feel this, do let me know. Just… curious.) The most helpful homeless peeps you’ll ever wanna meet hang in this station. A massive marble special events room. The only event I’ve ever seen going on in there was late one night, two jugglers practicing. Big, gruesome statue of a winged angel dragging a dead railroad worker. And at the holidays, a giant, towering, fuck-you sized Christmas tree. Gotta love Philly.
The station’s food court selections are surprisingly feeble, though. Here’s the Pleasure Pie run-down, in no particular:
Auntie Anne’s – You’ll wanna take them up on their free sample before you plunk down three crispies for a lemonade more cloyingly sweet than a soft-focus puppy. Lemons is tart, Auntie!
Delilah’s Southern Café – Cryptically endorsed by Oprah, Delilah’s just can’t seem to get it right. The help is dim and every time I eat there, they’re out of something critical to the enjoyment of my meal. The idea is great, but their execution just misses the mark. The greens will be thick with a leathery sheen, wonderfully not overcooked, but also not very flavorful. The cornbread is sweet and cake-y, but over-baked. The fish cakes will be chunky and have a satisfying texture, but will be bland and dry. Choice of sauces? Hot sauce or nothin’. Ain’t Oprah never et her no real Southern cookin’? On a recent visit, I asked the counter girl what was good. “What did you have for lunch today?” “I didn’t eat lunch here.” Make something up, Girlfriend!
Bridgewater’s Pub – Serves wild boar and yak, but I recommend this really good walnutty, balsamic vinegary salad thing I’ve had twice, but I can recall neither the name of it, nor the ingredients of the salad. Neither can I recall why I’ve not had their yak burger. Sounds right up my alley. Maybe they were outta yak.
Asian Food Fair – A congealed looking steamer table along a major food court thoroughfare. I’ve never seen anyone actually eating the stuff. Just sayin’.
Bucks County Coffee – Completely addictive. Avoid, if you’re a broke-ass girl like me. Or be prepared to find your wallet a hundred bucks lighter at the end of the month. But oh, mercy.
Ben & Jerry’s – Never heard of Stephen Colbert. I asked twice.
McDonalds – The clock’s been wrong for years (ill-advised for a big city train station restaurant, I’d think) and to get an iced coffee, you’ll have to point, instruct, and throw the first few away. But it’s clean and spacious, and best of all… dollar doubles. Even though my meals are covered by an expense account, I often opt for the nostalgically-priced (now more than twice the price in some parts of Manhattan), reconstituted onion topped double cheeseburger. Sometimes you just need something soft and mindless. The McDonalds double cheeseburger is soft and mindless. It's like the Jay Leno of burgers.
Saladworks – I love this place. They have signature salads, some of which don’t make much sense, but I recommend building your own. Tasty dressings (including my low-brow fave, Thousand Island) and fresh ingredients, including pretty good sun-dried tomatoes and Buffalo chicken chunks. And they toss it using patented space age inversion technology. (They flip it a couple times.) This place is your best bet. Unless you wanna just get a cab to Tony Luke’s for a downright life-affirming Italian roast pork sandwich with provolone, sautéed broccoli rabe, and garlic breath for days.
And don’t forget to hit Faber News before boarding. Thee place to stock up on TastyKakes to take home to New York City, where demand is high (in my apartment, anyway) and availability is spotty.
Always with the costumes, these guys. Hats and dark glasses. Loud Hawaiian shirts and big, painted suits. I like to imagine it’s to protect their daytime identities as scientists and CEOs and Richard Underhill. Or maybe they’re just hiding from bench warrants. Either way, do not miss this now-mostly-disbanded bop rap band, for as with life, future gigs are never guaranteed.
I haven’t been this jealous of Canadians since the first time I bit into a maple cream doughnut at Tim Horton’s.
Your CDs have been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CDs and polished them to makesure they were in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CDs into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved "Bon Voyage!" to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 1st.
I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as "Customer of the Year." We're all exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
--Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
Gotta love it when humor merges with bidness. CD Baby's got it all over the dry, "your shit's been shipped" messages sent by Amazon and the lot.
And the dude won't even capitalize his job title.
Coffin Daggers Single Release Show
Thursday, May 31
$7.00 – Coffin Daggers go on around 10PM
96 Greenwich Street, NYC
Roly poly fiddleheads
Eat them up, yum
(Just Googled for the songwriter responsible for “Fish Heads,” and landed on an Ebay ad. “Fish Heads for less!” Now I’m gonna try Googling ‘crotch rot.’)
Fiddleheads are the furled tips of the Fiddlehead Fern, so named for its resemblance to the curved peghead of a violin. I think they’re mostly found in the Northeast. Or only in states beginning with the letter M, or some such. Foodies go all foamy trying to find them during their brief season in the Spring. But oh, if you can find ‘em. Blanch ‘em and sauté them in olive oil with garlic, and they’re… way overrated. Similar-to-but-not-as-good-as asparagus, though with a more pleasing texture. The packed leafy bit is moist and mushy, the curly stem is crunchy when not overcooked. And they’re great source of dietary fiber and roughage. With fronds like these, who needs enemas?
Round 1 Winners:
“Suddenly I See” – KT Tunstall
“Rock This Country!” – Shania Twain (would really piss off the red states)
“Beautiful Day” – U2
“Get Ready” – The Temptations
“I’m a Believer” – Smashmouth (Monkees cover)
“Are Ya Gonna Go My Way?” – Lenny Kravitz
“Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” – McFadden & Whitehead (let’s make Disco ominous!)
“You and I” – Celine Dion
“The Best” – Tina Turner
“Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” – The Police (unless she puts on shit-fly blue eye shadow and gets her tassels spinning in opposite directions, it ain’t magic)
Those smoke-head Ottawans. Sounds like good stuff, huh? Are you holding? I am.
The above lesson in Canadian law comes compliments of Wikipedia. And they’re not talking about ganj. They’re talking ramps. Ramps are wild leeks, hand-picked from riverbanks, and their availability is fleeting, so hop to. They’ll fill your apartment with a curious chemical smell commonly thought to be unpleasant. I don’t find it so, but neither do I want to be filling elevators with it, so if you’re as concerned as I am about imposing your leek reek upon unsuspecting souls, I’d eat ‘em when you’re not gonna be breathing on the boss.
Like Miss Pleasure Pie herself, ramps are uncultivated, a tad funky, and the reason for assorted drunken hillbilly hoopty-do festivals throughout Appalachia each Spring.
Down there, they pickle ‘em, can ‘em, and cut ‘em up in they eggs. None of those plans speak to me, but yesterday I made Pasta with Ramps and Cured Pork, an astonishingly tasty recipe I snagged from Gothamist. Creamy without cream, garlicky without garlic. If I’d been served this at Babbo, I’d send my deepest curtsy to Mario. That’s how good this dish is.
A vegetarian version can be found at Epicurious, and other ramp recipes can be had here.
The urbanly elusive “Tennessee Truffles” can (at the moment) be found at FreshDirect and the Union Square Greenmarket, where their availability is tracked by the unassumingly bookmark-worthy Lucy’s Greenmarket Report. (I don’t know this Lucy, but she’s doing God’s work. And I do know God.)
Because it sucks, that’s why. Two of my favorite foods are barbecue and sushi, but smoky-sweet beef rubbing up against pickled ginger and wrapped in seaweed? The flavors work together like Leonard Cohen and Goober Pyle. But digging out the savory beef and eating it with your fingers? Works.
Also tried the classic Korean style barbecued beef ribs over sticky white rice with a surprisingly fresh but dry salad. Sliced thin, grill striped, and flecked with sesame seeds, the beef was flavorful, but was more fat (and work) than I like. Had the foresight to get a side order of toasted soy sesame sauce, and it saved the dish.
What saved the meal was the black sesame ice cream. Holy Mother of Fuck, this stuff is tasty. A crazy rich and intensely flavored pearl gray dollop, topped with a fresh strawberry and sprinkled with black sesame seeds. Three bucks for a small a scoop, but worth every 75-cent bite.
The restaurant is austere-chic but tiny, so take-out and delivery are recommended. The order taker had a keen command of the language and a refreshingly good knowledge of the menu. And the fact they stapled the ice cream bag to the outside of the hot food bag damn near won my heart.
Aside from the downright life-affirming ice cream, I have to give the place an eh, overall. I’m told the glass noodles are good, though. I plan to give ‘em a go. Next time I don’t have tickets to Steely Dan.
I’d have to speak Italian do describe how good this stuff is. Made by San Pellegrino (the mac daddy of sparkling water), Limonata (lee-moh-NAH-tah) is spasmingly tart and tangy. Like the intense lemon ices I used to get at Caffe Dante on MacDougal in the Village, back when it was full of cigarette smoke and suave, open-shirted Eurodudes eyeing the high-heeled waitresses who looked like they could be Sofia Loren’s understudies. It’s great straight from the I’d-wear-it-if-it-was-a-T-shirt can, or on ice with a splash (or two) of Jack Daniels. And best of all, it’s made with real, fuck-you-US-corn-subsidies cane sugar. No high fructose corn syrup. And check out its sistah beverage, Aranciata, which makes creamsicle-icious floats when poured over a good vanilla ice cream. Would also make a Peep-worthy tee. (Nods to Italian graphic design.)
Follow the label’s commandments as written, I shall not, for that would surely yield a processed pie most foul, and I shant disrespect the anointed perfection of The Real Deal, by piling a wad of faux goo into a pie shell and calling it cheesecake. Philling cheesefake, I rebuke thee!
Nay, I shall instead stab at thine Philly Cheesecake Filling with yet another of your joyous creations, the Graham cracker. I shall do this again and again, lustfully, and with abandon. Dipping and partaking, dipping and partaking, each bite laced with delights both heavenly and earthly. I shall not cease until I am smudged with sin, Graham cracker crumbs adorning my awe-filled bosom, and smidges of filling-but-really-dip smoodge-ing my worshipful lips.
I also humbly beg forgiveness, Dear Heavenly Father, for my many sins and shortcomings. Particularly those I’m about to commit with this here cheesecake filling, over the next 20 minutes or so.
Seems the sister of one Austin Gullette heard her pet pig squealing at about 11pm (don’t ya just love stories that begin this way?), and went to investigate, finding her 45-year-old brother “engaging in intercourse with her Vietnamese potbelly pig, P-Pie. When she confronted Gullette, he fled into the woods.”
To find another barnyard critter to finish him off?
“Deputies caught and arrested Gullette who denied the incident,” but authorities noted, “the eyewitness account and physical evidence found on Gullete prompted the arrest.”
Whuh? A man’s misunderstood love necessitates the humiliation of having his dick dusted for pork gravy? Damn cockblocking sister. That’s gonna be one tense Mother's Day dinner.
“Gullete has been charged with committing a crime against nature and is being held without bond at the Ouachita Correctional Center. He faces a fine of up to $2000 and five years in jail with or without hard labor.
“P-Pie is under observation at a local veterinarian.”
My expectations were low. Every bit of press I’d read on the Benoit Delepine / Gustave Kervern film included the word ‘grotesque,’ and even Velvet’s invitation came with a warning of the ways of the French avant-garde. But though I wouldn’t have guessed the plot had I not been pre-hipped, I found each scene stood alone as it’s own brilliantly executed masterpiece. Stunning, both visually and aurally. The Foley is nearly another character.
And darkly hilarious! Delepine and Kervern masterfully play a Scotch tape fiend and a fingerless nub-sucker, respectively, a couple of Special K addicts who repeatedly tranq-dart one another in the spine, then collapse in puddles of euphoria. The pair employ such sophisticated comedy tenets as endlessness and mismatched dialogue/visuals (in one case, a thoughtful monologue followed by a glimpse at a menu full of critter anuses) and such low-brow ones as slapstick tussles and silly grins. The film opens with a claustrophobic shot of a hypnotizing mouth dance, reminiscent of Rocky Horror and guaranteed to make you crave crispity snack chips. It then goes on to give nods to Dali and Munch and creative taxidermy, with an armoire scene that sweetly summons early Monty Python.
I thought it was a great commentary on the tremendously uncomfortable lengths we’ll go to to maintain the comforts we crave, and how those comforts can so easily be our undoing.
The many apparent indignities suffered by animals in this film made me ponder whether there exists an animal protection agency policing French-made films. Yes, there’s pet beheadings and the slow skinning of another unfortunate creature (which sent some opening night attendees running for the doors), but there’s also love and beauty. And big laughs.
And heart. The closing credits end with a quote from Suquamish Native American Chief Seattle: "Whatever happens to animals will soon happen to man."
Tony Bennett's daughter Johanna will soon be treading - or trampling - the boards in a new play. At the We Are Family benefit, the actress told us she'll be co-starring in "Feeder," wearing a fat suit to play a masochist who is force-fed by a sadist. (Yes, it's a sexual thing.) Playwright James Carter is developing the production out of a one-man show he performed last year. Later at the benefit, Johanna's dad told us, unrelatedly but appropriately: "New York is the capital of the world - there's nowhere like it. Anything can happen here."
What? Weren't there any real live fat actresses with popses famous enough to draw the much needed attention (and backing)?
I'll never forget the first time I saw Equus live. Yikes! There's a naked stranger just four feet from me! So different from naked strangers in the movies. I'm thinking I may have the same reaction seeing a fat suit in the non-flesh.
Sure hope I can keep from blurting that out in the middle of the play.
Cut to days later. I’m nosing around Penn Station trying to find the place that has the insane Buffalo chicken panini, and I spot it. The May Details. It’d be quite a feat to exude more femininity than cover girl Orlando Bloom, but I’m keen to see if my Janie pulled it off.
I grab a seat on the Amtrak to Philly (where I sampled the faboo new TastyKake TastyGrahams pudding pie in a Graham cracker crust) and I settle in with my mag. And therrrrre’s Janie, the downward pull on her plush corpulence mimicked by the flesh colored draping behind her. In other shots, she’s crawling through an Elmer Battersesque setting, and reposing across a covetable divan, lustfully eyeing an even more covetable side table of pastries and cakes.
Also in undiepants: a fella. With a sheet-wrinkled belly and a respectable rack.
The accompanying article (“Super-Size Me, These men and women are hot for partners with more than a little meat on their bones.”) is silly in parts, and wildly misinformed in others (I know 400-pound people who fuck like bunnies) but mostly fair, to have been penned by vanillafolk.
Excited as I am to see such a thing in a mainstream magazine, and pleased as I am to have hooked Janie up with both fried cheesecake, and the men’s mag sort, I am distracted by a pages-away article on grilling, my eyes landing on the fully pornographic images of grill-striped sea scallops post-coitally dripping creamy orange tarragon butter sauce, and a sublime looking pepper-flecked pork tenderloin rubbed with mustard and bourbon (my favorite act of foreplay, by the way). As I gaze hungrily at the glistening grill marks, I feel myself being stared at.
Across the aisle, Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Guy gives up a smile. When his mouth starts to move, I yank off my ear buds.
“…turn back to the naked lady?”
Hmmm… cute or creep? So hard to tell, especially with the long-haireds. Either way, an article on fat sex ain’t no community event, certainly not one I’m inviting stranger-on-a-train to. I pointed to the magazine meats and said apologetically, “Kinda groovin’ on the pork right now.” And in what may have been the cruelest act of dismissal I’ve ever done without meaning to, I put my buds back in and returned to the article, which I then had to pretend to actually read until dude got off at Princeton.
I’ve since wished I’d taken his number and had The Naked Lady phone him. Then he’d be writing about this in his blog.
Woke up in the middle of the night last night, and turned to the tube to put me back to sleep. Heard a phrase that made me understand the ex who once put a foot through his TV, then spent the next ten years without one. “Countdown to custody.” Jesus god. Remember when news wasn’t about Anna Nicole Smith and her sad satellite souls? I almost don’t.
Turned the TV off (but resisted the kicking thing), and rooted around on my nightstand for a Tootsie Pop I thought I’d seen there. Found something even better to stick in my face. A Cuban.
The beau and I had been to a party at a friend’s place, where one of the guests had just returned to the US with a box of Cuban cigars in their carry-on. (If the embargo police are reading this, I do not recall the name of said guest. Nor that of the party’s host. Or even what he looked like. In fact, I think he’s changed his name. And left the country. And died, maybe. Yeah.) The bold smuggler had managed not to get Homeland Securitied at the airport, and we were handed an aluminum cylinder on our way out. I’d forgotten about it. But last night, I discovered a comfort combo guaranteed to make me forget all about doomed methadone babies and Giuliani campaign coffers and Paris Hilton and Al Sharpton and Nancy Grace and all of ‘em.
<> One big-ass jumbo shrimp cocktail.
<> Frosty-cold bottle of Guinness Extra Stout.
<> A flamin’ Montecristo, and no one you have to share it with.
I’d read about the anointing of the “smooth, brown thighs of young Cuban girls” (Hiaasen, maybe? Elmore Leonard? Hunter S. Thompson?), but I’d never tasted their bounty. I lit up. Drag one: Wondrous. Drag two: I feel a little guilt. Drag three: I feel a little buzz. Drags four through seven: I make a somewhat frantic effort to find my copy of the stunning 1959ish propaganda film, I Am Cuba. Drags eight through god-knows: I swear I feel Fidel Castro patting me on the head. I give up on the movie and put on some Tito Puente. Yes, I know he’s not Cuban. But he was handy. And he chased away the Castrolucination.
It gets fuzzy after that. Deliciously fuzzy.
The bookstore door then spits out another Vonnegut seeker, this time a gentleman I’d seen with him earlier. Validation enough for me. I point to the smoke-spewing doorway and the man trots over to fetch The Man, assuring me I'd done the right thing by telling me he was the lawyer. On their way back past me, I’m thanked. By the lawyer. I decided to skip the reading, but went home with a signed copy of the book, and a smile I couldn’t explain to my boyfriend because he was under the curious impression I'd quit smoking weeks earlier.
I’d like to say I quit soon after because this smoking-precipitated encounter couldn’t be topped. Or that free will kicked in. But it was mostly that lung cancer thing. And the smelly hair. And the boyfriend.
Well. Veniero’s might be better. I’ll need a controlled comparison test. Perhaps several.
The odd height only added to the serious chewy, and the anisette flavor was every bit as intense as that of Rocco’s. Perhaps more so. I’d still prefer ‘em lighter in color, and covered-er in nuts, but sweet simulated Jesus, them things were good. I wanna hold hands and buy furniture with these cookies.
‘Nappy-headed’ is not a condemnation. It’s a salon request. (Ask Stevie Wonder.) It’s no more a judgement than ‘fat.’ And have we forgotten that in this country, we pay young men good money to write and perform songs to and about the ho? And not just regular Springsteen money. Diamond-encrusted toilet paper on MTV Cribs money. So if ‘ho’ is offensive, how ‘bout we start with the biggest offenders and work our way down? Imus is surely near the bottom of that list. Well below where the hair gets really nappy. (Pickin’ up the theme?) Honestly, sometimes I think this is something Imus and Al Sharpton cooked up together to jack up ratings for both their shows. Like Rosie and The Donald did.
Kramerizing Don Imus is ridiculous, and waters down what we should really be pissed about.
So when I was invited out for some comedy Friday night, I was in more than dire need. And that’s exactly how it was proposed to me. “Some comedy.” Generic, no-name, store-brand, discount comedy. Five bucks. Almost guaranteed to be dripping with offensive stereotypes and off color thank-Jah-no-one’s-youtubing-this-stuff stuff. That, and the promise that Demetri Martin had once graced this Friday night stage were enough for me. Met my friends at Rififi in the East Village for The Greg Johnson Show.
The line-up was uneven and seemingly a smidge out of order, but I still recommend it. Highly. Laughed myself tired. And my decades-long record of the comedian always messing with me goes unbroken.
Can’t remember anyone’s name, nor could I recite a joke for you if my rent depended on it. (I truly suck at this blogging thing.) All I can tell you is the funniest comics were Somebody Mintz near the beginning of the show, and Lou Something at the end. And everyone in between gave me something to howl about. I can also tell you to grab a fresh drink from the bar before entering the theater, ‘cause there’s no service in there. One cannot reach the Flying Snot level of comedy show enjoyment without cocktails.
Just tracked down some names. See how much Mommy loves you? Mike Dobbins and Anthony Jeselnik were a bit challenging. Intentionally. Funny, though. Dan Mintz and Leo Allen, however. Let’s just say both of ‘em likely went home with some snot on their pant leg, ‘cause of me.
Wait. That’s not snot.
After the show, we got our dumpling on at Veselka (home of the most ass-kickety dill salad dressing in 50 states, several of them Baltic). Loaded up on stuffed cabbage and peirogies. Button-popping good. Literally.
To be eligible for a place in the band, you will need to meet the following criteria: you will need to be female, at least a size 16, have some musical talent and be ready for stardom.
Minimum size requirement! A smooshy-ish singer I once worked with told me the waiting room at the auditions for the role of Hairspray’s Tracy Turnblad on Broadway was filled with not-plump-enoughs comparing notes on how to quickly gain the mandated mounds. I have visions of across-the-pond girlies hittin’ the clotted cream and crisps to pack on the stones. Not an entirely unpleasant vision, mind you.
If the office etiquette films from the Preminger Archive were comic books, this is what they’d look like. Thanks, Richard. Thanks, MisterKitty. And thanks… Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Jelly Bellies – I’m a mix-my-own girl, so I like to get ‘em at one of many dispenser walls in candy shops throughout the city, but prefer Economy Candy on the Lower East Side, or Dylan’s Candy Shop on the Upper East, where they have clear plastic lidded Jelly Belly boxes you can load up for what feels like less money than the regular per-pound price. But surely I’m wrong. The boxes are compartmentalized, for those of us who’re anal about our jellybeans. While you’re there, hit the lower floor and color coordinate some M&Ms for a friend whose apartment is all purple and red. Or something. (I’ve done this twice, and both times, the candy never made it to the friends.)
Godiva Coconut Eggs – Dark chocolate eggs filled with creamy coconut. NOT coconut cream. Important distinction. Wrapped in baby pink foil. Insanely good. Monday they’ll be half price, and therefore insanelier good.
TastyKake Hippity Hops – Sounds like what somebody’s grandma would call Rap, dunnit? Used to be TastyKake Coconut Kandy Kakes, and why you’d change a name with so many appetizing instances of the ‘k’ sound is beyond me. These coins of coconutty cake covered in dark chocolate are now only available at Easter and Halloween (as Ghostly Goodies), and only on the shelves of TastyKake towns in the Northeast, no matter what time of year it is. In fact, these were previously unavailable from their website, though industrious Ebayers would hook you up. But now (hurry! quick!) you can snag a dozen two-packs from TastyKake.com for twenty bucks. They come in a holiday tin so hideous, I had to affix a strip of masking tape across the faces of the smiling bunnies adorning the lid, to keep them from sucking the soul from my very being. But I gotta say, in all my years of chasing these damn things down, I’ve never had them as fresh as what the Postman delivered yesterday.
And yes, my TastyKakes again arrived with an embarrassing personal message on the outside of the package. But this time, it was meant to embarrass.
The sandwich was tender and tasty, but a bit too dry for this juicy girl. I’d like to give it another go when I’ve got more throwdown room and easier access to cole slaw and squirt bottles. Pleasantly surprised by the sesame roll they used, though. Had a buttery, pastry-like mouthfeel. I’m not sure I’ve ever known a barbecue place to pay much attention to their buns. On my way to ask Ivanka Trump if she’s got Andy Dick in her five, I caught myself cooing over the heavy hunk of cornbread on someone else’s plate, and though I faux-protested, the plateholder insisted I take it. After I devoured with relish the dense, peppery bar, I asked the cornbread lady why she hadn’t wanted it. “It’s not that I didn’t want it,” said the young woman whose name I didn’t catch. “It just looked like you wanted it more.”
Mmmkay, so I’m a food brat, even at fancy parties. I’m woefully unimpressed by celebrity spawn, and I go all Billy Jack when I can’t get at the buffet table. Or the bar. But odds are she, though generous of cornbread, is stingy with the calories, and has since thanked me for eating several hundred of hers.
Sunday was cold and rainy, and I woke up with a bed attitude. So I laid around in my socks and undiepants, eating pepitas and watching (the ganj-enhanced) Planet Earth on Discovery Channel. Did you know the dwells-in-the-dark vampire squid produces flashes of disorienting light to confuse its predators and prey into thinking it’s something it’s not? Just like celebrities!
I didn’t give a second thought to them calories. Would sure love to have another hunk of that cornbread, though.
(Pass, actually. I prefer dark.)
UPDATE: The gallery has grabbed ankles to papal pressure and decided chocolate Jesus might just spoil their dinner. Not sure what they’ll do with the masticable Messiah now. I say lock him in a room with a dozen pre-menstrual women and all evidence will be destroyed inside of twenty minutes. In other news, I ate a whole swag sized box of Godiva last night, whilst pondering the demise of the diet-y deity. I don’t care what Bill Moyers says, this brand of religion is part street gang, part Bink for the weak. (The rest of us use cocktails.) Praise the Lord and bon appetit!
PS: This is fun. Has anyone used ‘tasty totem’ yet? How ‘bout ‘yummy Yahweh’?
The Fit’s the Shit