Saturday, July 26, 2008

Longin' for some Beach and Lobster.

I must have been living in darkness for the past 20 years or so. Summer came and went and the beach never played a part. Pool neither. The only attachment to water was whatever fish or crustacean I chowed on.

Well, I finally removed the blinders and came to my senses. The kid is a self-certified beach bum. Hanging ten, clam baking, turtle waxing, sand castle making, helmet crabbing, jelly fishing and all that. And burning the shit out of my epidermals. I don't fully grasp the sun tan SPF thing. I want color so I use the 15. I should use the 30. Then I get home and realize I missed 40% of exposed skin. Fuck it. We getting color...

In case you didn't get the title, Long Beach was the beach of choice. I was going to add a "pause" but I'm not sure it deserves one. For good measure, pause. 40 minutes from the BX and you're walking on the beige sand off the Atlantic. Just catching rays baby, just catching rays. I'm like Willie Mays out there. Nothing gets by me. The eastern most part of Long Beach, bordering Lito Beach is pretty empty. The water is designated for surfers so there are less kiddies around. And the waves were in full force. The hurricanes are having a great effect on the tide. I thought I was on Waikiki Beach kowabunga-ing on some gnarly riptides- but keeping away from those ankle busters. I might terminate all sneaker purchases and go in on a surfboard. Get one with a big H on it. That's some lovely shit.

After 4 hours of basking, lunch was a calling. And if you know Long Beach, then you know Jordan Lobster Farms. Located right before the bridge to Long Beach off Austin Blvd., Jordan's waterfront patio provides for some ideal dining. Nothing beats sitting on the water cracking open the sea's delicacy. A one pounder with corn on the cob and cole slaw runs you $18.50. The current deal of 3 1 pounders for $39 is the business but I'm not capable of doing that sort of damage. They come sliced in half so the tail meat is easy to remove and the claws come semi cracked so not much muscle is needed to get into that soft creamy meat. The melted butter on the side is a baby pool of mouth watering fat. And even if I'm trying to trim down the mid-section, I dive right into it.

I started the meal off with half a dozen cherry stone clams on the half shell. Doesn't cherry stone just sound tasty. Mid-sized chewy morsels with a nice cold sea flavor. Add some lemon and cocktail sauce and the disco ball starts spinning. The cocktail sauce is really heavy on the horseradish so keep that in mind. The corn that accompanied the lobster was pretty dry and tasteless. Should have poured all the unused butter on it. Next time.

Jordan Lobster Farms
1 Pettit Place
Island Park, NY 11588
Monday - Sunday 9AM - 7PM

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

El Nuevo Ambiente in Inwood- Worth the Trip Uptown (or Downtown for the 718 and 914)

Just because I've been slacking on food write-ups doesn't mean the kid hasn't been eating. I'm hording an arsenal of material, preparing for a blog onslaught in the near future. Keep your eyes open and your stomachs empty.

A mainstay of mine for the last several years has been Nuevo Ambiente on Broadway just north of Isham Street in the Inwood section of Manhattan. I ate there regularly up till a year ago and have made sporadic visits since. Inwood has tons of Spanish restaurants, mostly Dominican, and you just have to keep trying them until you find that gem. This spot is definitely a gem. Being that Nuevo was across the street from where I stayed, I lucked out.

The one dish that keeps calling me back is the Pechuga De Pollo Salteado- sliced chicken breast with onions and peppers. The flavors are incredible. Tender pieces of white meat sauteed with sliced green pepper and rings of red and white onion in a dark garlicky sauce. Throw a little salt and tanginess into the mix and your tastebuds will be screaming Huepa!!! all night.

The meal is always accompanied by white rice and red beans, as well as a small salad- lettuce, tomato, cucumber with oil and vinegar. Their white rice has been consistently on point. Always loose, never clumpy or burnt, and has the perfect amount of salt and butter. Put some chicken over the rice and let the union of the 2 work its magic. The strong flavors of the chicken are toned down by the rice and it's a beautiful thing. The beans, usually an afterthought for me, have a great cilantro taste and are great by themself.

When my eyes are bulging out the sockets I also order the tostones- fried green plaintains. We're talking a lot of food here, but when in Rome... You might not finish it all, but to experience all these tastes and flavors is completely worth it. Thinly smashed slices of green plantain cooked to a nice golden hue. Crispy on the outside with a chewy, pasty inside. Make sure they throw some salt on them- Throw some salt on that bitch- and potato chips will be so last year. Sometimes they have a garlic dipping sauce which is highly recommended, but if not, just dip the tostones in the juices of the pollo salteado. Es la bomba!!

English is lightly spoken, so if you have any espanol in the vocabulary, go with that. I mean, I scored a 98 on the Regents, so some might call me bilingual. I'm just saying. The highlight of my academic career by the way. The english translation is on the menu, so point if you have to. Really pleasant people and the service and turnover is quick. They have also had the same chef and personnel for the 3 years I've been frequenting- says something in my opinion. The First Class car service dispatch is 2 storefronts away and Seaman cars aka 2 minutes is on 214th St. and 10th Ave. around the corner. The drivers from both companies are always eating there. When the locals eat there, I consider that a testament to the quality of the cooking. The other dishes I've tried, mainly pollo and carne guisado- beef and chicken stew- are great. I've never had a bad meal, I'm just sprung on the salteado. Prices are very reasonable, better yet inexpensive. The mentioned meal including the platanos costs $12. More than enough food for 2.

I have never eaten in, though there are 8 tables and ample space if that's your desire. If the sun is out and you want to enjoy the day and fresh air, get a blanket and head to Isham Park or Inwood Hill Park down the block, towards the water. I think I love Inwood.

El Nuevo Ambiente
4986 Broadway betw. Isham St. and 212th St.
New York, NY 10034
Across the street from the 207th St. A train stop and 2 blocks from the 215th 1 train stop

Open 7 days a week till 1 am. Call to double check hours.

For a menu click HERE. Some prices might have increased.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Video Music Box 25th Anniversary Concert Friday, July 18.

Cancel your weekend getaway to St. Tropez. Tell your wife the customary "Friday night date" will have to be on Saturday. Tell your boys the Boardy Barn will have to wait.

This Friday, July 18 will be the 25th Anniversary Concert/ Extravaganza for Ralph McDaniel's Video Music Box. A brief list of artists invited/expected to show up has been announced and it's going to be something special. For what Uncle Ralph has done for hip hop locally and throughout the world, the entire hip hop community should be provileged to get on that stage and pay homage. Now we all know that won't happen, but I'm sure a roster of hip hop luminaries, both past and present, will be on hand.

The roster so far is:

DJ Jazzy Joyce, The Crash Crew, TSki-Valley & Spoonie Gee, Luv Bug Starski, Sugar Hill Gang, Joe Ski Love, Entouch, Special Ed, Dana Dane, Naughty By Nature, DJ Clark Kent, Ralph Ray Dejon, OC, Chubb Rock, Jeru Da Damaja, Milk Dee, DJ Chuck Chillout, Jeff Redd, Red Alert, DJ Kid Capri, Nice N Smooth & Special Guests

This is a FREE Central Park Summerstage event. Will run from 7pm to 10pm at Rumsey Playfield- roughly 72nd Street. Since it's a FREE show get there early to guarantee entrance. For more information regarding the concert and Summerstage click HERE.

Here's a quick bio on Ralph McDaniels and his show. An informative 5 minutes.

A little blast from the past- start 40 seconds in.

Good Bye and Good Riddance.

I'd like to announce that the Howfresh summer soul cleansing has officially begun. My purchase of the Alife Sauconys- the sneaker that popped my tire troubled me greatly and as long as they were present in my place of dwelling, the demons would continue to fester within.

Well, they have been sold and are in the process of shipped. I can honestly say I have no regrets for selling these. Not only did I purge myself of guilt and self-hate, but made some money in the process. I wasn't sure if there was a resell market on these, but to my delight, these sold for close to double of retail. In a previous life I would have taken that loot and copped some other footwear. But no more. The new, mature Howfresh will take the money and spend it wisely. On a PS3. I really hope I'm kidding.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


When it comes to fitteds I won't rock a Red Sox or Mets fitted. I bleed the navy and blue. Add any Boston team to the "Do Not Wear" list. Currently the Tampa Bay Rays are on the same list. If they become lovable losers later this season- they're currently on a 7 game losing streak- a Rays cap might be donnable.

I also will not fuck with a Yankees fitted if it's not navy. Specifically the interlocked NY. For years every color under the sun has been created. The combinations enter the hundreds. No matter how fresh the color or how bad I need a match for some kicks, it just can't be done. I admit, I slipped several years ago and copped an all brown fitted with a black NY and bill to match the Nordic Pack Forces. It didn't feel right when I copped it and that feeling remained. Ultimately I got rid of those kicks- I copped an 11 and 12 but really needed an 11.5- still looking if you got any- and the hat has been sent away to greener pastures- not really, I just haven't worn it.

As shown in the pic above, I spotted a New Era Yankee with velcro on Strictly Fitteds. For whatever reasons, this shit bothered me. I guess New Era's trying to take it back on some Lotto shit. Currently the hat is only available in Japan and hopefully it stays that way. It looks terrible. Imagine how fake this will look in person- the logo must be a good quarter inch off the hat. Ugh. The one great thing about the dark navy and white is that it goes with everything. Universal buttahs. No need to try and get cute.

I didn't realize how many Yankees joints I had- found about 8 in a bag just now. It got a little out of control where the minute the white band got dirty I'd have to cop a new one. Plus they shrunk very easily. The white band fitteds- used by MLB until this year were made of 100% wool. Finally MLB introduced a new fitted made of Polyester with a black band. I can say that these don't shrink. Through torrential downpours and sweat, the fit has remained the same. The bill might have gotten softer and the shape might have rounded out a bit, but the band didn't give. About fucking time MLB created a product that can withstand the elements. The blackband also masks whatever dirt/sweat stains your filthy forehead emits.

And how not to celebrate the Yankee fitted than with a song solely dedicated to it:

I only heard this once a while back when someone forwarded it to me. Apparently this was the shit in the Midwest. Hoooooody hooooooooo.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Howfresh Is So McFly!!!!!!

I gotta stay McFly-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i Till I Die-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i.

And I quit this shit the other day.

You know what they say about big feet. Aaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyoooooooooooo.

Where the sneakers were purchased. See if you can spot me on line. What a bunch of dummies. True story- Bif was cutting in front of mad people on some hard body shit. I wish they chose a better song in the background, like some Chuck Berry.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

79th St. Boat Basin- NYC's Little Riviera

I don't know why I've only been there twice. The place is a little slice of heaven on the Upper West Side. Booze and grub in arguably the most aesthetically pleasing location on the whole island. Overlooking the marina and the Hudson River with views of New Jersey- directly across from West New York and Guttenberg- you can't ask for a better place to be after a long day at the office. You couldn't ask for a better place after a day off either. It's a crying shame that NYC doesn't utilize their waterfront property the way any smart civil society with the real estate they have should. It makes no sense. None. Dyckmann St. had a similar spot called Tubby Hooks that closed down several years ago. Smarten Up NYC.

It gets better. The Boat Basin hosts a daily Happy Hour from 4pm - 7pm taking $2 off all drinks. Their regular prices are great- $6 for a Heinken, $5 for a Corona, $WHO CARES if you drink Bud or Coors- so we're talking $3-$4 cervezas for 3 hours. Huepa. Their slices of lime are pretty big. Got to beat those shits in the bottle while squirting- Pause- lime juice in the ogler.

They're able to accommodate large groups- we had about 8 and were seated shortly after giving our name. The food is decent. For me the grub is secondary, but it is far from offensive. 30 peel and eat scrimps for $30 beans gets the job done. Cool and crisp. I've had better and I've had worse. The nachos are bare bones. But when you're drunk, chips, cheese, salsa and sour cream is worthy of a James Beard award. The sandwiches are recommended too- the grilled chicken breast is a safe bet. There are plenty of other items on the menu for anybody looking for more options. I didn't have my camera available so I have no food pics. All pics are courtesy of the Boat Basin site.

The only drawback is that they close at 11:30pm on Thurs-Sat. I guess you can't have too much of a good thing. Get there early so you can get your fill. Keep in mind that time really flies when you're just chilling on the water removed from whatever bullshit you were dealing with. It's a cool young crowd ready to have a good time. No dress code- shorts and kicks are recommended as the thermometer rises. Enjoy.

The West 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe
79th St. below the Henry Hudson Parkway
Monday through Wednesday – 12 noon till 11:p.m.
Thursday and Friday - 12 noon till 11:30 p.m.
Saturday 11 am till 11:30 p.m.
Sunday 11am till 10 p.m.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Spread Love the Brooklyn Way- Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival July 12th

I've been devoting way too much time to BK, Crooklyn, Brooknam, the Planet of Brooklyn, Kings County, whatever. Back to back posts might be a bit OD, but on some hush hush shit, I really like it out there. Trying to keep that under raps so let's keep that between you and me. Maybe I'm jealous. Why can't the Bronx thrive and prosper like BK? What are we doing wrong? Adolfo, let's get this shit cracking already. Plus the BX is the most American borough, being part of the mainland and all.

So this Saturday, July 12th, is the 4th Annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. I've been a devoted supporter since the first one in the backyard of the Brooklyn Brewery- my introduction to Little Brother. It's grown over the years and is now hosted in Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park- the park directly below the Brooklyn Bridge. Green grass overlooking the East River with the lower Manhattan skyline in the background. Not much can beat that. Plus the waterfall exhibit is under way so the cascades will be cascading.

This year's lineup includes KRS One, Buckshot, Smif N Wessun, Blu & Exile, DJ Premier, and an assortment of other artists (peep the flyer above). Hosted by Ralph McDaniels, who is celebrating 25 years of Video Music Box this year. So it's the BK Hip Hop Festival and the headliner is Boogie Down's own Blastmaster KRS One of the legendary BDP Crew (Boogie Down Productions). Oh the irony. This is the same man who brought us "The Bridge is Over" where it was stated, "The Bronx Keeps Creating It, Brooklyn Keeps On Taking It." I'm not trying to spark some inter-borough beef, but a point for the Bronx.

The event is free but a donation of $10 is strongly encouraged. For more information check HERE.

The concert begins at 3:45pm and should run till 8pm. Last year there were no liks, but I'm hoping the proper paperwork was submitted so I can enjoy a lager or 2.

The song I heard in my head all day while thinking of this post was the Spread Love remix- vocals by Take Six over a super hard drum break. On the Bozo Meko 12" with "The Bridge is Over" on the A-side. Coincidence? I read this joint might have been produced by The 45 King. Hotness none the less. Just click on the link and start the head bopping.

Spread Love- Bozo Meko (re-upped on 4/13/09)

I Make Fresh Posts Daily, You Burn Me? Really?

Now I can add cinematographer to the resume.

Special Ed's performance at the Crooklyn Dodger reunion show in Prospect Park 2 weekends ago. And he brought it back with dancers on the stage doing the tandem thing. Pardon the rudimentary photo skills but I was busy doing the running man and jumping over my leg while trying to keep the camera focused. In that case I deserve an oscar.

Seeing this live was the main reason I went to the show. Don't get me wrong- the roster of artists was some hip hop dream team steez, but seeing Special Ed perform "I Got It Made" was on my list of artists and tracks to witness live. I've been fortunate to see a lot of great shows, so this was one of the main items to check off. Seeing Big was on the list, but I doubt that will ever happen. It almost did though- I went to a show in Albany where he was slated to perform, but he got locked up the night before for hitting a fan with a bat outside of Nell's on 14th Street. That's better than falling down a flight of stairs and breaking a leg. At least more gangsta.

"I Got It Made" has remained timeless over the years. I was introduced to the song via Video Music Box after school- it must have been played every day for a year. That Ripples sample sounds fresher and fresher as time goes on. This track will be 20 years old next year and still demands a 1 am play at a party. Prime time. And lyrically, you'll be hard pressed to find a more braggadocio track. He had 20 cars, 74 Honda Scooters, an island of his very own, a frog, a dog with a solid gold bone, a spot in the shade, and alligator souflee. Just talk that shit. In 8th grade- Ms. Sasso's class- I incorporated the entire first verse in a poem we were assigned to do regarding ourselves. Everything was word for word aside from the "I'm not a Puerto Rican But I'm speaking so that you know". I had to switch it up a bit. You know the kid got an A. Thanks Ed. I owe you one.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Good bye Crawfish, Until Next Year. Please Write.

I'm not good at good byes.

With a heavy heart and dampened eyes I say farewell to a friend. They get taken from us so quick. Just when you begin forging that relationship, it's over. Why does it have to be this way? Why?

So crawfish season is over. It's a short season, late February to late June. I had my final serving of the little critters at Mara's Homemade a week and a half ago. The photo above is of the last mudbug eaten. I don't have a name for him, but that doesn't mean he won't be remembered. They were good, but not great. You could tell that the season was coming to an end. Smaller in size and a lot of uncoiled tails- (dead before cooked) meaning a mealy consistency. I still enjoyed them. It's crab season now, but Howfresh doesn't do crabs. For some reason they just don't agree with me.

So I have 8 months to reflect on these juicy little morsels and practice my technique. Twist and peel, twist and peel, twist and peel. One day I'll enter tournaments.

The final bucket:

The remains:

The consolation is that it's white shrimp season. Should soften the blow a bit.

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

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th.

What's more patriotic than working today? Giving back to Uncle Sam. A true American.

Enjoy the BBQs. Reduced fat in a health conscious world.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New York Yankees + Air Force 1s =...

... Go back to the drawing board.

Just caught wind of these over at Niketalk and to say I'm not impressed would be an understatement.

You mean to tell me you have the greatest sports franchise and the most illustrious Nike model on the planet collaborating and this is what you come up with? Aside from the gum sole, I don't think there are any other redeeming qualities.

Word is the sneaker will be released on July 4th in celebration of the All Star Game being played at the Stadium in its final year. Aside from the pinstripes- if you even want to call them that- there are no other references to the Yanks. And what the fuck is that web stitch on the mid panel? Is that supposed to be the netting behind homeplate? At least do the Nike on the back in a similar Yankee font, or put a jersey material swoosh or tongue. There are so many ideas and options that could have been implemented. I understand that there are licensing issues and things of that nature in play, but Nike should be able to call in a favor or 2 and make these official.

Enough complaining. Now just tell me where I can cop the fucking things.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

They're Back!! Howfresh is Wild for Wildwoods!!

July 1, 2008 will go down as one of the greatest days in sneaker history. After years of a Wildwood drought, a new pair has just been released. Part of the "Rainbow Scribble Pack" this pair has black and white suede and leather uppers with rainbow scribble over a black midsole. Features a mesh tongue with ACG stitched in gold.

For several months I've seen samples and catalog shots, but didn't hear of any release dates. Nike finally smartened up- Smarten Up Nike- and re-released one of the greatest sneakers ever designed. A stream lined runner with a rugged edge. Could pass for an air max before you see the ridged sole under the toes. One of the early ACG models. Super light weight and comfortable- narrow- might not work for the fat footed folks. Triple F son. With jeans or shorts, these kicks are perfect. The last Wildwood released in the US was the navy with sea crystal swoosh- early 2004. Europe released some up to mid 2004- notably this brown and orange pair. And then the mystery began. Where o where did all the Wildwoods go? Ebay had some, but the amounts were dwindling, nearly reaching endangered species status.

2 other samples have been popping up on the net and ebay. One pair is a simple white and black sneaker with a varsity red swoosh and midsole. Cool breeze in this one.

The other one is a bit too Kanye for me. I see you Nick. A green and purple safari colorway- safari being the textured exotic leather- with a patent pink swoosh. Also includes a splattered heel tab. My jeans aren't tight enough to fuck with these.

2 other images that came from a catalog look decent. The men's shoe is this anthracite, concord, black, volt colorway that looks mean. The concord purple midsole and swoosh and the speckled strip above the midsole gives the shoe some extra flavor.

The women's shoe is decent- white, dark cayenne, sunset, metallic gold. The leather looks textured. Not a fan of the gold, but it might look cute on little feet. Catalog images can look completely different from the final product, so who knows what they'll actually look like. Props to ebay and niketalk for the images.

Aside from Air Force 1s, Wildwoods are my number 1. They even trump forces at times and take the throne. They aren't as clunky as forces and for a summer that's about to be hot as potatoes, you want those lightweight joints on the dogs- keeps the woofing to a minimum. Amazingly, the toe boxes handle wear very well and rarely show creases. Peep the photo. All of the pairs have been worn multiple times and stay fresh. Howfresh? My only complaint with Wildwoods is the paint cracking on the midsoles. It happens on nearly every pair.

Currently I'm playing with 8 wearable pairs. Always looking for more, the safari colorway in particular, and whatever I can get in a size 12. I feel it's important that this unheralded sneaker gets the attention and exposure it deserves. After the Wildwood BBQ post I had intentions of expounding on this special sneaker but got sidetracked. I apologize for the delay. With that, I introduce you to the Nike Air Wildwood.

The OG pair from 1989. Unwearable- the sole is cracked and would completely crumble if worn. A true relic of the late 80s, early 90s. When the downtown folks were rocking North Face and bright shit. I think they retroed these in the mid 90s, and it's time Nike does it again.

The OG retros. A beautiful sneaker that was re-released more than once. Black, gray and red colorways work 10 out of 10 times. The swoosh really screams on these. Says pimento, but could pass for infrared (air max 90s and Jordan 6s). 2nd pair, so I need to keep these ultra crispy. June 2003 production date.

The Rhinos- a (Concept Japan) release. Never released in the states. I used to think this was the greatest sneaker ever made, the way the gray (rhino) nubuck and leather played off the purple and forest green, but those feelings have diminished. The midsole should be bright white as opposed to the net/off white color and the cracking makes me sick. January 2004 production date.

The Skyline JDs. Released from JD Sports in the UK, never available here. Part of a pack with a pair of Air Max 90s, the baby blue compliments the brown and beige very well. The raspberry ACG on the midsole takes this shit over the top. December 2003 production date.

The Bark Pack. You can beat the shit out of these and they still look new. The textured leather- similar to bark on a tree- is a nice touch with the dragon red swoosh. Definitely a more mature looking colorway. Put a brown polo on and sip some cognac. Released as a premium shoe. September 2003 production date.

The Navy/ Sea Crystals. The pair to rock with a Yankee jersey and fitted. The toned down teal doesn't overpower the rest of the shoe. Perfect for a laid back dude like myself. January 2004 production date.

The Chino/ Energy pack. Probably the most comfortable wildwood I've owned thanks to the mesh toebox, side/ankle panels, and tongue. I've beat these up and would love to get another pair. June 2003 production date.

The Yellow midsoles. The most recent pair I've acquired. Didn't love them when they were in stores, but we have learned to get along. That yellow is tough to do at times. December 2002 production date.

The Candied Yams. Yeah, I named them myself. They just remind me of yams with the marshmallow on top- especially with the charred parts. I got these from a friend in the UK. I was expecting a different pair but was pleasantly surprised when I saw these. Purchased from a London footlocker, I've yet to see anybody else with these. A 1 of 1? Don't ruin my dreams. June 2004 production date.

Hopefully this post answered all your questions regarding Wildwoods. There are other colorways out there, especially some really fresh female pairs, but that's for another day.