Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back on My B's and Q- Dinosaur Bar B Que (Pork) Ribs are Second to None.

Dinosaur BBQ makes the best pork ribs in NYC. Period. The consistency with which they churn out the hog chest cavity is remarkable. As mentioned in a previous post from the summer, I put Dino on hold due to birds chirping how the quality had begun to deteriorate. I said it then and I'll say it now- LIES!!!! If these ribs were within arm's reach while the wise bearded men were scribing the Kosher dietary laws, swine would be acceptable. Brisket for the holidays? Fuck that, we're getting a rack with a side of barley and kasha varnishkes.

I've eaten there twice in the past month and there is definitely magic in that kitchen. The M.O. has been the same from jump when it comes to ordering. It usually starts with the wings and an additional starter or 2 and then the ribs. And then dessert- make sure you leave some room.

We sparked this meal with jumbo chicken wings- we're talking poultry on juice steez. The photos weren't quality enough to post on Howfresheats. They are some of the plumpest fowl extremities I've ever seen. And they are fucking good. Different from the typical fried bar version, these are spice rubbed, pit smoked, then finished on the grill, as the menu says. They are prepared 4 ways from Mild to Hottest aka the Devil's Duel. I've only had the hot Wango Tango version which aren't that hot at all. Going for the hottest next time and I will conquer that shit. This was a party for 7 so we also got the large Swag Sampler plate consisting of more wings, fried green tomatoes, spicy peel & eat shrimp (raging boil of beer, old bay, cayenne, herbs & spices) and creole spiced deviled eggs. A nice little sampler that sets the stage for the main attraction.

Dinosaur is home to one of the best bargains in the city- the Sweetheart deal. A full rack of ribs and 4 sides plus cornbread for $27.95. That's 12-13 ribs and 4 small but ample sides. If you're with a lady no problem, but if you're with you're boy swallow your pride and add a pause after ordering. Once that rack is in front of you you could give 2 shits what it's called. These ribs are unbelievable - a thick bark covering the tender pink meat and thin layer of fat. The meat falls off the bone and gristle is at a minimum. Sometimes it's worth not going in too heavy on the starters just to relish this meal. True story.

Aside from the sweetheart deal a bunch of other dishes were ordered giving me the opportunity to try some new things. I never had their brisket and was pleasantly surprised- tender and smoky with a very prominent pink smoke ring. There was too much sauce covering them however- let the brisket breath.

Another dish I had the opportunity to try was the Ode to Elgin which featured a hot sausage link from the legendary maker in Elgin, Texas. Nice snap and full of flavor with some Texas heat. I've made it my business to try hot links as of late, pause. They were never on the radar, but after having some no joke links at the Big Apple BBQ Block Party this summer I go in. Pause. It came with a quarter rack of ribs and some brisket, which turned out to be overkill but in order to get the hot link you need to order the meal. And there was only 1 link. Dino, if you're listening, add the link as a side or offer 2-3 links and dead the rest.

Other dishes ordered were the Tres Hombres- Bar-B-Que pork, Texas Beef Brisket & Bar-B-Que ribs, the pulled pork sandwich platter and the West Texas Rib-Eye- described as choice Angus beef, cold smoked, spice rubbed & topped with a Habanero cooks butter or our Bourbon Molasses Steak Sauce. Honestly I didn't even know that was on the menu.

It wouldn't be right if the sides weren't given their due. The cole slaw is perfect, crisp, thinly sliced cabbage and not too sweet. BBQ Beans, BBQ fried rice, mac n cheese, fresh cut fries, salt potatoes, and the special of the day was black eyed peas with bacon. I've yet to have a side I didn't care for. We ordered 4 desserts- the Chocolate Ice Box pie- chocolate pudding in an oreo crust with whipped cream, the peanut butter pie also with an oreo crust, key lime pie and this coconut-banana pudding. That chocolate ice box is so mean. I know others put their money on the peanut butter pie, but my peanut allergy makes me hate it off GP.

The entire party was more than pleased with the meal and some new Dinosaur believers were made. Of course we overate and the discomfort was evident. We're a bunch of ex-athletes that have turned the corner and are never coming back. Drinking beers the entire meal didn't help matters either, but their beer selection is too deep to pass on- something like 23 different drafts on tap at all times. While winter ales are available (too gingerbread cookie status), I stay ordering the Spaten Oktoberfest. For a dark beer, not too heavy and a slight sweetness. If you're feeling experimental go in on the 4 beer sampler.

With the recent opening of several spots just north of Dino on 12th Avenue under the bridge, the party can continue. There is a Thai spot (Talay), an Italian restaurant (Cova Trattoria), the Hudson River Cafe and a club called Body. I haven't been to any but now you have some options. Or you can hit El Morocco on 145th and Bway if that's how you're feeling.

Dinosaur Bar B Que
646 W 131st St.
New York, NY 10027
Monday – Thursday 11:30 am to 11:00 pm
Friday & Saturday – 11:30 am to Midnight
Sunday – Noon to 10:00 pm

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Jingle all the Goyim.

You're still my people. When Chanukah and Christmas overlap it is some super powerful joyous shit- Superfriends status. The eggnog and latkes get swapped back and forth, chocolate gelt are used as ornaments, the 6 pointed star adorns the top of the tree, and red and green candles fill the menorah- religious differences are put aside. It's a beautiful thing.

Happy holidays to all denominations, even if I don't believe in your leader.

Coincidentally I saw The Legion perform Friday night Rakim show at the Knitting Factory. Yes he did show up and blessed us with at least an hour. I wanted to do a write-up/memory lane post about them and now with X-mas upon us, I've been handed a mulligan. Thank you Mr. Kringle. Aside from the R, Legion was the highlight of the show. Brand Nubian was cool but I've seen them a bunch and Black Thought on stage isn't that entertaining. Just Ice was on stage for way too long and I have no interest in his new shit- though "Going Way Back" is that joint- those drums and that piano get busy. And a Juju-less Beatnuts isn't really the Beatnuts.

So, I'm in the back bar and I hear this shit knocking. Look through the doors and boom- "Jingle Jangle" is rocking. What?? This was my joint back in high school. I had to kill that cool shit and make my way towards the stage. And the shit sounded crisp. Too bad they were one and done. I had the fingers crossed for some "Legion Groove"- possibly one of the greatest beats ever constructed. Peep the tracks below and video footage from Knitting Factory I spotted over at Grandgood. They too have used this holiday period to spread the Legion gospel. They beat me to it, what can I say.

If anybody has Theme + Echo = Krill- get at me.

All tracks are ripped from the 12"- sound might be a little low.

The Legion- Jingle Jangle ft. Dres 12"

The Legion- Jingle Jangle Krill Remix ft. Black Sheep

The Legion- Legion Groove 12"

Live at Knitting Factory 12/19/08

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

H is for Happy Anniversary, Birthday, Hanukah- The H of H's Post.

I woke up at 11 on my born day, I'm 32, it's a blessing, press power, log on, hit refresh, peep Howfresh and...

There are 25 H hats in the photo. Rather than assign a meaning to each cap, I'll let you play with the "H is for..." template.

A year ago today this blog was created as a birthday gift from the ex-lady. At least the yearly milestones will always be easy to remember. At times it's bittersweet that we can't share this together, however her other gift-the naughty Santa's helper pics- help ease the pain. Maybe I'll do a post about those one day, but for now we keep it cool and celebrate the born day.

In the past 365 day cycle 152 posts have been thought of, planned and executed. I take a lot of pride in every post and make sure the Board of HowfreshEats approves of the content and quality. Once that starts to slip, you're toast. Hopefully in early '09 the blogspot will be removed and we will be completely independent. Viva la revolucion!!! just flows better. Then I can make t shirts and be that really annoying self-promoting jerk. $15 a pop peoples. And I'll make sure they match the newest kicks. I think a sticker campaign might be in order, bring back the late 90's street teams and elude the jake.

152 posts in one year doggie, I can divide, 10 were poop, the others were buttahrific, that's one dope post every 2.6 days average ... and that's not LAAAAAAMMEEEEE!!!... I've been in it one, still having fun, so smarten up dun!!!

I'm definitely enjoying talking my shit, and hopefully that is being conveyed to you, the viewer. I was told that a recent post was too stiff and PC. I apologize for that. The last thing I want to do is conform to the norm and start that cookie cutter shit. Just keep it loosey goosey baby and let the fish fry. If I have to throw in an additional fuck or shit, I have them on standby.

There are probably close to 30 started posts that never caught the light of day due to my procrastination or something to that effect. Most of those being restaurant reviews and concerts that I dropped the ball on. I'll need to rehash some of them and let them shine. Hopefully I remember how the food tasted- if not "It was good" or "I like it" will have to do. In terms of concerts, if you don't address it a day or 2 after the show it's old news and every other blog has posted video or commented in some capacity. Another Nas show, Kane's 20th anniv., Rakim, Menahan Street Band, and more. Those are some of my regrets. On some honest shit, I have new post ideas and visions all day, but a computer isn't readily available to make it happen. But even when I'm at the command center I still find myself bullshitting and getting caught in the web of fear of wackness. When days go by and the blog turns stale, unless I'm chilling with the buffalo in G-d's Country, chances are I'm blogger blocked. Let 2009 bring clarity to the world of HowfreshEats.

And don't get it twisted. While I might not have posted a Letter H fitted post in 2 and a half months, do not think I haven't been on my H-ustle. There are several new goodies in the images.

Long Live the H.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dear Mark Teixeira... Welcome to New York City, Welcome to New York Cityyyyyy!!!

It's the home of 26 championships, the House that Ruth built...

Unfuckingbelievable. Cash stole the show and swooped in to save the damsel in distress. Fuck you Boston. Sorry Washington.

I was happy with CC. AJ not so much. And let's not forget Swisher. But what's done is done and now I'm even happier. Time to iron the jersey, cop another fitted and hit the batting cages. It's spring in winter. I guess we don't need Killa Cam anymore. I'll be alright. Swish in center and Tex at first. I'd say fast forward to October, but I love summer night ballgames.

Tex is a beast- an OPS monster. Slow starter, but things might be different in the Bronx. He'll be 28 when the season starts so we have the prime years ahead of us. Switch hitting ninja.

And to celebrate this signing the Yankees are offering quarter bleacher seats for the first 2 games ever played at the stadium against the Cubbies, even if they are exhibitions. Grandstand tix for a buck ten. And I thought the Yankees weren't a fan friendly organization. I stand corrected.

A toast to the greatest sports franchise in the universe. Mazel Tov. It's a celebration bitches.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The 8th Letter Will Be Repping the 18th Letter This Evening at Knitting Factory.

A super last minute reminder that Rakim the G-d MC will be performing the final hip hop show at Knitting Factory NYC tonight. Knitting Factory will be closing its doors at the end of the year and will reopen in Williamsburg in March of 2009. Fuck me. Ugh. Make sure you get out there, snow and all, to see some real rap shit. Hopefully he doesn't pull that quick set shit like last time.

Black Thought- sans the Roots, Keith Murray and Just Ice are also on the bill with vinyl only DJ sets from Dante Ross, Psycho Les, JS 1, Chairman Mao and more.

Tix are $30, $35 at the door (if available). Peanuts. To see Rakim in such a small venue will be a treat. Don't hate yourself tomorrow for missing this one.

For more info click HERE. Tickets appear to still be available.

Howfresh's Kicks Spotted at 21 Mercer.

And his brown socks. Peep it HERE.

These motherfucking paparazzi can't let the kid breathe. I mean I'm looking at kicks and they swarm me on some boy band shit. I started getting mad claustrophobic and the walls started to cave in. That's why you see me about to lunge at the lens. Last time I let security cop bootleg Louis on Canal.

On the plus side your boy was chosen amongst 2,426 shoeheads as having the "sneaker of the day" at 21 Mercer St. An arduous journey to the peak of Mt. Mysneakersaretheshit, but well worth it. It's a daily occurrence, cats line up to be granted the honor of carrying the torch.

What we have here are the Nike Air Force 1 Orcas from mid 2004. Black and white. That's it. Mad simple, but in my top 5 of all time. I have all these colorful joints in boxes that scream too loud for me, not for me as in "Wear Me!!" but as in look at my feet. I prefer quiet, simple, powerful shit. People think you're wearing all whites, and then (insert sound of killer whale). The black swoosh and back panels set it off. But what really catches people off guard is the all white sole. That makes the black sections pop that much more. That's why it's imperative that these remain clean. The crisp white needs to contrast with the black, otherwise the shit doesn't work. Summer time you see them out the gate, but with jeans on you play mind games.

I believe the "Orca" title derived from the similarities it shares with the Orca aka Killer Whale. These were part of a pack with the Air Trainer 1 and Dunk Hi, and a dunk lo was released a little later. This could be total bullshit but I recall reading that the designer of the pack was a Japanese cat named Oruka, and that was the official name of the pack. But the coincidence of the colors and orca makes that hard to believe.

I take care of these on some super meticulous shit, if not obsessive. Clean the soles after every wear. Look at them- I've worn these 50-75 times since 2004 and they look fairly crisp. The sole is getting worn down but we walk in this city. I do have a second pair but I'm scared to break them out and make them unpure. Seriously.

Here is the gem of this post... if you're an air force head and do not own the Tarrago Sport Cleaner- you're playing yourself. I couldn't find the item on the link, but that's the company. They're based out of Espana. It's sold in NYC but I don't care for the store so I prefer not to publicly endorse them. If you know me then you know where, and if you don't, email me and I'll put you on. I have never seen any other product clean the rubber soles on forces like this. Jeans bleed- no sweat, driving and get pedal marks- ain't nothing, wear your joints out and they get abused- this shit is your First-Aid kit. For real. And it costs about $2. Always have an extra on hand.

On the topic of forces, uptowns, A-1s, ups, airs, willy dees, etc. peep the video below. Taken at the Nike Playmakers III event Wednesday night at Nike Town. Clark Kent was on the tables and the AF1s were the star of the show. The air force cup runneth over. 3.5 minutes of some unbelievable joints. Video courtesy of SneakrAddicts.

SneakrAddicts DVD X Nike Playmakers Part 3 from SneakrAddicts on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Letter M Takeover- Mayer Hawthorne & The County and Menahan Street Band.

H still runs this shit.

You don't have to buy an H fitted. You don't have to eat crawfish. You don't have to cop the freshest forces on the planet. But you must listen to Mayer Hawthorne and the County and Menahan Street Band.

The A side of the heart shaped 45 shown above might be the best record of 2008. I'm not one to anoint an artist or piece of music so quick, but this shit is that dope. This joint oozes throwback soul. You would never believe that one person was responsible for every element of the music including vocals, instruments and composition. And I'm sure you wouldn't think he was a 29 year old white dude from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Seriously, what's going on here. Obama's in the office and we got blonde hair and blue eyes bringing Motown back. Change fam, change. I'm lying about the eyes and hair- could be brown.

Signed to Peanut Butter Wolf's Stones Throw Records, Mayer Hawthorne & The County has only released 2 tracks. 2 very different tracks. While Just Ain't Gonna Work Out exudes a raw, drum heavy, kick your girl to the curb vibe, When I Said Goodbye has Mayer shabop shabopping in a suit with his hair slicked back crooning to babydoll that he fucked up. Make up your mind Mayer. Beyond the content of each track, the voice sounds completely different.

I've been sitting on these joints for a couple of weeks and wanted to share this with the world immediately but I had such a hard time articulating the dopeness. How do you say this is banging without saying this is banging. I'm trying. But it is banging. The fact that Just Ain't Gonna Work Out is only 2 and a half minutes is such a fucking tease that you're compelled to keep pressing rewind. That might be better since you get 5 minutes rather than say 3 minutes 50 seconds off one play. It ends so abruptly and catches you completely off guard- as if the hamburglar ran past you and swiped your black label burger from your hands before you had a chance to take a bite. I'm rambling but this is what good music can do to you. On a plus side, if you're having problems with wifey, put this shit on her ipod and bounce. Hate her friends? She hates yours? Caught her on myspace giving the peace sign and kissing the camera? Sorry baby, it just ain't gonna work out. And tell me Ghostface won't use that intro on his next album. Ghost and Mayer is a collabo waiting to happen. Put on the blue light!!!

Mayer Hawthorne and the County- Just Ain't Gonna Work Out

Mayer Hawthorne and the County- When I Said Goodbye

It's not fair that Menahan Street Band has to follow Mayer. They are equally as talented and just as capable of making that get out of your seat and groove shit. I've mentioned them before while fawning over Sharon Jones. To refresh your memory, MSB is responsible for Jay-Z's Roc Boys sample. And they're record kills Jigga's. Their full lenth CD "Make The Road By Walking" dropped in mid-October and has stayed playing on the H-Pod. Their horns are crazy. Think Young Holt Unlimited. If that doesn't force your hand to cop I don't know what will. Below are 2 of my favorites off their LP. I prefer to provide a sample so you can go out and support. For more info on Menahan click HERE. They will be performing at Southpaw in BK on December 20th for 14 beans. This is the type of shit that gets me to visit the planet of Brooklyn.

Menahan Street Band- Tired of Fighting

Menahan Street Band- The Contender

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Crawfish are Back, and You Know They Could Never be Wack.

It's that time of season so let's rejoice. My crustacean friends have appeared a bit little early this year, as January-February usually sparks the new crop of critters. You could tell it wasn't prime time as most were rather small, but delicious nonetheless. Unlike the end of the season, there was hardly any mealy meat. If the crawfish is dead prior to cooking the meat just falls apart and is difficult to remove from the tail.

My go to spot in the city for mudbugs is Mara's Homemade on 6th St. between 1st and 2nd, bringing some cajun to Curry Row. To my knowledge this is the only spot in the city that regularly serves them and has them shipped weekly. I used to go to the Bayou in Mount Vernon but haven't been there in years. And when I really get the craving, I call my pilot to take a quick jaunt to H-ouston. But maybe later because my waiter made tasty crawfish souffle...

Mara's was plan B this night. My boy Mark of USA Today fame, no longer the sort of hippy, and I tried to get a table at Babbo, but no luck. One day I will do some fine dining on here. Even if it kills me. So we sparked it with 2 pounds of crawdads. I get the weekly emails advertising specials usually on Sunday and Monday, one of them being 3 pounds for $25. Not realizing what day it was I went with the idea I was going in on the special. But it was a Saturday night and they were charging $12 per pound. This is NYC, what do you expect. And I need this shit.

Like previous trips to Mara's I keep it simple and usually go for the same things. That goes against my credo of trying new things, but there are exceptions to the rules. I can just eat pounds of the things and call it a day. But if I'm going to drop an additional $36 I might as well get some other dishes to fill me up.

We ordered the Gator Bites, which were tougher than usual, and the southern fried chicken served with smoked garlic mashed potatoes. If gator is overcooked it becomes like rubber. These weren't that bad, but after having this dish 5+ times there, this is the first time they weren't tender. The cajun cornmeal batter and remoulade sauce definitely enhanced it.

The fried chicken was good, but not great. It was moist, a big plus, but lacking in taste. I expect big flavors from this place and this left me underwhelmed. I still stand by Georgia's Eastside BBQ as having some of the best fried chicken in the city and especially the east village. There was a decent crisp shell to this though, and the potatoes were on point.

They serve Abita Andygator Ale, a dopplebock on tap and according to Abita it is a creature of the swamp, Andygator is a unique high gravity brew made with 2-row pale malt, German lager yeast, and Liberty hops. Unlike other high gravity brews, Andygator is fermented to a dry finish. According to Howfresh, it's great. A lighter bock that goes down smooth, too smooth. And with those spicy crawfish, the slight sweetness keeps that shit tame. The 8% alcohol content just adds to its appeal.

Between the grub and Andygator I was more than satisfied with the experience. I didn't need anything else. But then it got even better. Better? How can it get any better? Turns out there was a blind date in action to the right. It wasn't glaring until you really watched it. Somehow we started talking to the chick while dude, kind of corn, went to the bathroom- bad move homeboy- you can't leave your girl alone with 2 drunk dudes that devoured crawfish. You know what they say about crawfish? Nothing. Anyway, out of the blue she tells me I look like Daddy Yankee. Daddy Fucking Yankee. The McCain loving Republicano? What? And I wasn't even wearing a Yankee fitted. And she was surprised that nobody else ever saw the resemblance. It must have been the oversized fitted. And it must have been the only time she ever had the opportunity to talk to a gentleman in an oversized fitted. Boo, if you're reading this, holla at me. Cut that zero...

Bottom line is crawfish are back and have landed in NYC. Everybody else is doing it so why aren't you?

Mara's Homemade
342 East 6th St
Between 1st & 2nd Ave
Hours(call to double check): Mon, Wed-Thu 5pm-10:30pm, Fri 5pm-11:30pm, Sat 4pm-11:30pm, Sun 4pm-10:30pm

Monday, December 15, 2008

USA Today Loves HowfreshEats. Sort of.

Well, one of their readers does. Apparently this Dawson's Creek look-a-like thinks the blog is the bee's knees.

Kidding aside, my sort of hippy/kind of truck jewelry rocking/without a doubt messiah of PR friend was featured as the daily reader in USA Today's Pop Candy and he spread the gospel on the site we all know and love, minus the we all know and love. We're working on that.

Check it out HERE and HERE and HERE. And if you missed those, HERE too.

So to all my USA Today friends, welcome. Please come inside, take off your shoes, make yourself comfortable and enjoy.

TATS Cru- The Mural Kings on NYCTV at 4 am.

I guess we missed the 10pm airing. So we double up at 4am. Too late? Please. That's what DVRs are for. Channel 25 for Time Warner or 22 for Cablevision.

Featuring the famed Bronx graffiti contingent, this 2006 documentary follows TATS Cru as they get busy at the Graffiti Hall of Fame on 106th and Park, no BET, upholding their title as "The Mural Kings", and discusses their rise from graf kids in the streets to entrepreneurs making cake off corporate America. Talk about the American Dream.WNYC's Doc Bloc series just aired it at 10 pm and will be re-airing at 4 am. Definitely worth the watch. If you're from NYC you're definitely familiar with their work, even if you don't think so. From memorial murals to album release murals to commercial murals, their art is everywhere, and most definitely eye catching. Run time is 70 minutes.

You can also purchase the DVD HERE.

A little snippet for you:

Friday, December 12, 2008

It Doesn't Get More Hip Hop- DJ Premier and Peter Rosenberg at the 92Y Tribeca.

Yeah man, it was some dope shit.

If you didn't have a chance to make it out, downpours and all, you missed a great one. Luckily there's close to half an hour of quality footage (content and image-wise) posted below.

Primo was super engaging and extremely entertaining. It felt like the conversation could have kept flowing as Premier had no problems discussing everything presented to him. There was no awkward silence throughout the entire interview and the exchange between the 2 on stage seemed effortless. You could tell Rosenberg has been a student of Preem and was as interested in hearing the stories and history as the person that dropped 15 beans to be in the house. You can tell bullshit from the real shit in half a second, and having somebody invested in the content at hand made for a quality event from all angles.

The clips below show some of the more entertaining parts of the evening. Some stuff not in those clips is Premier talking about how he didn't like "Outta Here" by KRS and pretty much begged him not to put it on Return of the Boom Bap. The original recording had KRS putting the entire hip hop community on blast and basically calling out artists that were "outta here". I would love to hear that shit. Willie D from BDP persuaded KRS not to release it. He also says he's ready to do another Gang Starr album, once Guru agrees. Come on Guru, don't let The Ownerz be your swan song. Let's recreate that Daily Operation energy and then you can bow out.

This event was the first installment of the Noisemakers series hosted by Peter Rosenberg of Hot 97 and Juan Epstein fame. If you haven't heard some of those podcasts, do yourself a favor and catch them. The Large Pro, Fat Joe, Big Daddy Kane, and Mr. Cee episodes are banging. There are a lot more I need to catch up on.

I don't know who the next Noisemaker will be, but keep an eye out and make sure you're in the house.

"Nas is Like" breakdown- how he got the record, the kind of sample, the reason he took it and so on. Yes, those are birds chirping.

Answering questions from the crowd addressing porn, the best MC, how many beats he's been making, artists he wants to work with, thoughts on Dilla, his top 5 hip hop producers of all-time, the heavily discussed Terror Squad/Premier album that never was, and when Primo does put out his own album it will be tantamount to Dre's The Chronic.

The making of "Unbelievable" and how he met Big, and the incredible hip hop personalities that called Bed Stuy home. We learn that Big didn't know how to drive and that Lord Finesse sonned Diddy in the studio after hearing Puff wasn't going to put "Come On" ft. Sadat X on Ready to Die. Learn yaself.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Not Quite the Harlem Shake, but the UWS Shake- Shack that is.

After all the shit I talk about the Shake Shack- that they make the perfect burger and nothing beats drinking a beer and enjoying their food in Madison Square Park- you would think I'd have been camping out for the opening of the Upper West Side branch. The intentions were there, just not the actions.

That changed last week as I stepped into the indoor version of burger bliss according to Howfresh. And I'm a bit disappointed. It wasn't what I expected. Maybe my expectations were too high. I don't know. Maybe I was trying to duplicate all the enjoyable times I waited on line for an hour while drinking a beer and chilling with Roscoe Conkling. But there is no Roscoe at the new spot. And it's indoors. And the area is tighter. I'm not trying to complain, because I live much closer to the UWS branch, thus making the trip much easier, but it just lacked something. Maybe because I'm a summer dude, though I'm a winter baby.

I'll discuss the food shortly, but let me get to the bottom of my displeasure first. I think that SS is perfect summer food, or better yet, outdoors food. Just on some outdoor grilling steez. A quick burger, a dog, fries, a black and white shake, a beer. Just enjoying the park. Enjoying NYC. The freedom. The trees. The weirdos. The people watching. The sparrows cooling off in the dirt and trying to find some grub. The list goes on and on. But you catch my drift. I'm not saying the food isn't top notch, but it's the setting that further embellishes the entire experience. And once you're indoors and confined to the area, it's a different ball game.

Putting aside the atmosphere for a second, I will try to objectively give my opinion about what was consumed. Like usual I copped a Shack Burger, a Bird Dog, fries, and a black and white milk shake. Also had a Shackmeister Ale made by the Brooklyn Brewery while waiting on line.

Full disclosure, the Shack Burger is one of the top 5 burgers out there. Always cooked medium, unless specified, and moist and tasty. Aoooow. This was the first time the burger was slightly dry. Still a delicious burger with meat provided by Pat La Frieda Wholesale Meats (maker of the newly available Black Label burger- review to come very shortly) but this was the first time I could tell something was different. And this is after eating 10-15 of these. Maybe the grill's stronger and the staff is still learning the equipment. Until I return I just won't know.

The bird dog, a chicken and apple smoked sausage, brought me back to summer in the city. Smoky and a little sweet with a casing that snaps. Shit is delicious. Don't do it Chicago style, keep it simple, stupid. The fries are enjoyable, not memorable. It's worth getting one order for the table so you can go in on the protein. That deserves a pause. FYI- if you order a New York Dog, it comes with sauerkraut, as shown above. That isn't stated on the menu.

Being familiar with the Museum of Natural History area, it was odd to see Shake Shack situated across Columbus Ave. Though the location has always housed a restaurant, it caught me off guard when I saw the new SS for the first time. You know things for how they are and change from the norm can screw up the mentals. Anyway, once entering, the tables are to the right along the Columbus Ave. sidewalk and the counter and waiting area is straight ahead. There are around 4 or so picnic-like tables where you can meet Turkish women via Britain, and smaller 2-4 seaters along the windows. There is additional seating downstairs.

I might be on my hibernation this winter, and just hit Madison Square Park when spring returns. However, if a Shack Attack occurs, it's comforting to know that I can hop on the 1 to get my fix.

Shake Shack
366 Columbus Ave., NW corner of 77th St.
New York, NY 10024
(646) 747-8770
7 days a week- 10:45 am - 11 pm

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

There is No Recession in the Bronx.

If you look at the picture you may think that gold leaf is used to enhance the entrances, but give it a closer look and you will notice something different. It's blinding- and we know paint can't do that, only that pure uncut AU. Yup, that's right- each entrance of the stadium is made of gold. Yes, gold. 7,500 gold ingots were used for each structure. Lonn Trost, the Yankees COO felt a pure gold exterior would be a bit too flashy, and didn't want to rub this exorbitant luxury in the face of the locals, so he ordered that they were painted a sandstone color, giving that neo-vintage feel. Where you see "Yankee Stadium" engraved throughout, it is the meticulous work of several artists known for their gold carving skills. And now that gold is $100 cheaper than on Jan. 1, 2008, the Yankees want to pave the streets with gold bullions from the 4 train all the way to Jerome Ave. Shit is going to be magical. And that's the reason why an additional $350 plus million was requested from the city. From what I heard, the golden streets were what forced CC's hand to accept the $160 million. Every man has his price, but how can you say no to solid gold? It will rain everyday in the Boogie Oogie.

And I love it. After the smoke (shock) cleared with news of CC's unprecedented payday- 7 years $161 million, it was total joy knowing we have an official number one starter. It's been a while since we had that fireballer. Maybe Cashman really is a genius, holding onto Hughes with dreams that he would one day win rings with Carsten Charles. All it cost was money, no youth. Johan, you lost. Ideally we sign Sheets over Burnett and have the Bronx Brewers. Then bring over the tribesman Ryan Braun, Cecil's seed Prince to hit 60 HR a year and Killa Cam to improve our CF defense.

That gives us a rotation of CC, Sheets, Wang, Hughes, and Pettitte (I have confidence in him signing for less). Joba stays in the pen to be passed the reigns of closer once Mariano calls it quits. The middle relief dynamic changes drastically with this staff. The only person to worry about is Andy, and Sheets if he gets hurt. Otherwise these guys can give you 7 easy. Don't forget we have Brian Bruney who was killing it before hurting his foot.

I hope we don't go after Lowe. We don't need him for the money- how's that for exercising fiscal responsibility. He won't repeat his Dodgers' stats and his last 2 years with the Sox were a far cry from his Cy Young-esque 2002. I feel the same way about Burnett, especially for the years he wants, though it appears the Yanks offered him a 5 year contract possibly worth $90 mil. Ugh. CC might be on board for close to a decade, but there are no red health flags- as long as he keeps his weight down and doesn't make daily trips to the Feeding Tree around the corner for some jerk shrimp. Holla.

In terms of offense I'm not hungry for Tex. I think Swisher will have a bounce back year, and keep in mind we should have a healthy Jorge and Matsui. Something we heavily missed last year. I wish we re-signed Abreu, very underrated in my opinion, but I'll be OK. And A-Rod owes us a big year. Enough bullshit already- wifey problems are over so let's play ball.

Isn't it great that once again we took all the shine from Los Mets? They had one day to celebrate the signing of the arm waving, Dios loving, number padding jerkoff K-Rod. I wonder how Billy Wagner feels. I can't stand him, but now that he's in the NL East he won't be of concern. Plus he'll have the opportunity to get victimized by the Fightin' Phils.

And check this out- the dude is into kicks. When he arrives in the BX, I'll put him on to some local spots.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lord Help Me Out Now... It's a Black Friday- The Black Friday Nike Air Force Ones.

Some people buy computers and flat screens at 4 am. Others buy sneakers. I got home at 7 am and wasn't capable of an in depth rundown of the craziness that ensued several hours earlier thus the earlier blurb. It wasn't that crazy, unless your definition of crazy falls under hitting a sneaker store in the wee hours of the morning to cop a pair of super limited kicks that had been kept under wraps until the minute they were released. No pics were available, only rumblings of certain materials and colors. In this world of illuminati internet and the need for info NOW I'm impressed they were able to keep this sealed tight. It was sort of a throwback pre triple w days when you'd hit a store and be surprised by what stocked the shelves. Minus the 4 am release and wristbands being released on Wednesday to guarantee your pair. Maybe I'm stretching the similarities, but the element of surprise always makes things more enjoyable.

On to the shoes. These shits are dope- and I wasn't thinking I'd dig them. I had access to them so I made the trek downtown on some sort of gamble. Worst came to worst I'd unload them. But I was pleasantly surprised. Pony hair. Who the fuck has pony hair uptowns? I do. Aside from a pair I've only seen pics of years ago, this is the only pony hair joint ever released. And it works, especially in black. The sheen adds a lot of flavor to these, no other color would have worked. The back panel and swoosh is constructed with a ridged silver material. It shines but doesn't provide any hologram visuals. Kix in the City characterizes it as lenticular, but there is no 3D illusion. Who cares. Jeans will most probably be covering it. Unless the skinny jeans bandits are rocking them. As if the pony hair and silver teflon didn't cause your jaw to drop, it's the midsole that really gets the fresh treatment. How Fresh? So fresh. Black iridescence. With the proper light you see the sparkles shining. Busy P's lowered about 300 notches.

I forgot to mention that these were designed by DJ Clark Kent. My true heads know Clark from his production days, while these new youngins only know dude cause he owns a million pairs of sneakers. He gets more props from these cats for wearing an exclusive sneaker than for producing several tracks on "Reasonable Doubt" (Brooklyn's Finest, Coming of Age, Cashmere Thoughts), Jr. Mafia's I Need You Tonight and Player's Anthem, Rakim's Guess Who's Back, Canibus' How We Roll and a slew of other joints. Give the dude props for creating some hot shit, not for wearing a one of one. It's gotten so out of whack that at the Busy P release at Mercer St. people literally were bowing in reverence to him. Hop off, seriously. Back to the buttahs- this is my first customized box. Fuck it. I just like seeing my name but not on some narcissistic shit, just some I'm the man shit. Now I got to keep them. I haven't been this excited to wear a pair of sneakers in a long time. OoooooooooooooWeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

These sold for $150, and in keeping with Black Friday price slashes, these supposedly would retail for $300, based on the "Supreme" tag and the materials used. So look at that, I got a bargain. A shirt- kind of dope- and a mixtape were supposed to come with the kicks, but they ran out by the time I reached the register. Following the Mercer Street release, the kicks were being released at Concepts in Boston at 10 am and then the Shoe Gallery in Miami at 8 pm. Clark was to appear at each release. Talk about crazy.

Here's a pic of the line at approximately 4:30 AM outside of the Nike Sportswear Mercer Street store. This was the only spot to release these in NYC. I had a great chai blackberry tea there and some nice chocolate donuts. Next time I hope they have hot chocolate.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

HowFresh Gets High, High, High...

With Air Force 1s that is. I'm an athlete. I don't partake in the devil's vices.

Peep the new buttahs- the Stashes- black reptile on the front and back panels with a nubuck toe box and mid panel- spray can caps printed on the mid panel and ankle strap. Clean colorway- not far out like some of the other shit dropping like...

...These- the Safari Army Green and Gold joints. Army green safari print (textured suede like leather) cover the front and back. Army green patent leather laces the middle and a goldish leather toebox and gold safari print ankle strap finish it off. Personally, I don't understand the patent mid panel. I vehemently despise patent leather. Never liked it and never will. Too stiff and too flashy for me- plus it looks like plastic. The sole could have been tweaked a little better too. It's too dark down there. Army/olive green is a dope color, but gets lost with the black midsole. Maybe a gold/gum outsole would have popped it better. I've never been a fan of the round laces either, but that's easy to switch up. Nike I'm available if you need some freshness. How Fresh? True true.

It's the biggest night of the year so I hope everyone gets busy and has a safe one. No DWIs though. Jake is everywhere- thought I was going to get a ticket a little while ago heading over the Broadway Bridge. I had that open grate to play with so I got my Andredi on and Jake was sitting in a nook on the other side- I passed, their lights went on, I shit my pants, and they passed. Close call.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Like Bialys, Fuck the Bagels.

Bagels take all the spotlight. Bagel and butter, bagel and cream cheese, bagel and lox, pizza bagel, bagel chips, etc. But what about the cuzzo, the little quiet dude that doesn't need to shine, that doesn't need that glossy finish- that doesn't need the hole so that people can run in and out all day. Whoa.

It's time the bialy gets its due. Granted the bialy isn't as versatile as the bagel, but a warm bialy fresh out of the oven runs laps around a fresh bagel. The soft toothy dough with the light sprinkle of ground onion in the middle crater can create zen-like peace unattainable in most corners of the universe. Throw a little butter in the mix and let that bitch breathe. And I'm not even going to delve into whitefish on a bialy. That shit should be illegal.

We see bagel stores throughout the city. More so in Jewish neighborhoods, this used to be a Jewish city- shout out to the tribesmen and women. But where is a bialy store? Unless your already hip to the game, the sole creator of the mighty bialy rests on Grand Street right off Essex. Kossar's Bialy is the name and dough and onions is the game. The store's been operating for more than 70 years- at this location since the early 1960's, and not a damn thing has changed- that becomes evident the minute you walk in. Nothing fancy, shit, no atmosphere at all- aside from the beauty of bialys and ovens, a true step back into the Old World. Just an open area with the counter on the left. Racks of bialys behind the counter and racks of other items by the window- pletzels, bulkas, sesame sticks and bagels- yes bagels- I've never tried them but the website swears they're delicious.

An old plastic menu board rests on the wall displaying the several items they sell. On the other side is a fridge or 2 selling snapples and various spreads such as whitefish salad. It doesn't get more bare bones, but it doesn't get more delicious.

Bialys cost 90 cents. Dozens are treated the old school way and given the baker's dozen love- 13 for the bakeaphobes.

Bagels, I still love you.

Kossar's Bialys
367 Grand Street
New York, NY 10002
Sun-Thurs 6am - 8pm
Fri 6am - 3pm
Closed Saturday

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mm, Mm, Mm...

Awwwwwwwwwww yeah, I'm with this, I'm just gonna sit here laid back to this nice mellow beat, ya know, and drop some smooth posts, cause it's 2008 time to set it straight, knowmsayin and ain't no half bloggin', word, I'm ready...

Wow. 20 years ago Long Live the Kane dropped and changed the landscape of the burgeoning genre known as rap. Nobody was fucking with Kane, nobody. Rakim was Rakim, but Kane brought that swagger and braggadocio on a completely new level. His word play and machine gun delivery set a standard that few artists have been able to emulate. That's why 20 years later King Asiatic Nobody's Equal is still relevant.

And now it's time to celebrate. Tomorrow night, November 14th, the 20 year anniversary jumpoff will be jumping off at BB King's on 42nd Street. Tickets are running low so try to scoop them ASAP.

If you haven't seen him in recent years, don't think he lost a step. Dude puts on a better show than 95% of today's crop of artists. Showmanship at its finest. And best believe NYC will come out to celebrate this milestone feat. The Diabolical Biz will be in attendance along with Mr. Cee, Kane's original DJ. I'm sure tons of surprise guests will be in attendance to show their respect and admiration.

I might even bring my Bar Mitzvah board to have him sign the photos. Real talk on the photos, fake talk on getting an autograph.

For more info or to buy tix click HERE.

I hate to brag but damn I'm good, And If keyboards were a gun I'd be Clint Eastwood, and if blogging was a game I'd be MVB, Most Valuable Blogger on the QWERTY or if blogging was a school I'd be the principal, aw fuck it, HowFresh is invincible...