Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fantasy Baseball Feels More Like In-FANTAS-yde.

I'm killing the inner child in me every time I commit to a new season so little H should be dying in approximately 2 hours. Ugh. I was this close (holds fingers an inch away from each other) to bowing out. But then I realized how much I enjoy baseball and how important a 10 pm Wednesday night Giants Rockies game is. I don't fuck with late night talk shows so something has to keep me entertained. 11 pm Curbed is a great option but I've seen each episode multiple times. MLBTV is quite the shit though.

That pic isn't from my draft but it's close enough- we're a little younger and have way more swagger. Who am I kidding- we're all losers. My league just has more assholes- "Fakin' the Funk" status assholes. I'm still doing it so I guess I'm the asshole too. It's a weekly league this year so the daily grind won't be as intense but I'll still be freaking out. It's also head to head so I need to get familiar with the format. Holds, innings and quality starts are new stats. We still favor OPS so the monsters will remain monsters. To make it more interesting it will also be a keeper league. I have absolutely no strategy for this. I'm here to win this year anyway. Fuck Weiters, fuck Rasmus, fuck LaPorta. I go for the seasoned vet.

I have the 6th pick. Grady, Reyes, Howard? We'll see how things pop off. Maybe I'll choose an all "H" team. Make things fun. Ryan Howard, CHipper, CC SabatHia, IcHiro, Corey Hart, Brandon PHillips, Jayson WertH, JHonny Peralta, Orlando Hudson, HorHey Posada (???), CHone Figgins, SHeffield, Aubrey Huff, Howie Kendrick- you get the picture.

Yes-we have a board too. But ours is of the futuristic type funk George Jetson status- computer projection. We're so wavy.

We don't even have a name for the team yet. Fuck.

You're Fakin' the Funk.

I've been meaning to do a Fakin' The Funk post for a couple of months now, but the shit that irked me didn't rate high enough on the "go fuck yourself" meter. All I wanted was a reason to post up both versions of the Main Source classic "Fakin' The Funk" - something I was unaware of until recently. The idea just sat there. Today I can finally say that there's some bullshit going on and some major faking of the funk. A major thank you goes out to all parties as well as a big old fuck you. All I know is that I'm seriously faking the funk by posting the image above.


25% fare hikes during the worst economic climate in our lifetime. If you experienced the depression maybe not. Effective May 31, a ride will go from $2 to $2.5o. Monthly passes from $81 to $103. There goes that pair of $264 kicks I was going to treat myself to. Unemployment rates are at all time high- NYC just surpassed 8%- the highest in 16 years and almost double from a year ago- and now it'll cost more for these people to interview for prospective jobs, or better yet try to access the great (read: terrible) services at each of the borough's labor offices. Corporate America is getting bailed out so why not the everyday American. Fuck American International Group and let's focus on the American Local Group, i.e. the people. Rather than get pissed at the government, I'll stick with Lee Sander and his people. Wasn't there a budget surplus not too long ago? And they've even begun advertising on the outside of the train- love History channel- doesn't that bring in the cake? There's got to be other ways to generate revenue. MTA- You're Faking the Funk.

The New York Yankees:

What a buttahface. I do not hate the Yankees as a team. Let's be very clear. But as a business they leave a lot to desire, though I truly appreciate the CC and Tex pick-ups. It seems that segregation is alive and well at the house that A-Rod built. More like class warfare. In the Yankee Stadium A to Z Guide there is a mention that only ticket holders of field level seats will have access to the concessions in that level. Am I to believe that as an upper deck ticket holder I cannot enjoy the same things that the field boxer can? Are my tastes not as refined? The velvet rope will be in full effect at the new stadium. It was bad enough when they began to not let little kids into the field level box seats once they became empty in the later innings. That was one of the greatest thrills back in the days along with watching batting practice down low while trying to get a ball, pause, or autograph- it was your chance to be so close to the action. When it was over you went to your seat. Simple. Bring the fucking fun back you miserable pieces of shit. NY Yankees- You're Fakin' the Funk.

NYC Board of Education

I was a student at PS 24 from K through 6th grade. Principal Rothstein ran the show and like his staff back in the 80s, they were old school, meant business and more often than not filled their students with fear. You acted up- you got dealt with. A new breed has entered the school system- these ideological, romantic, save the world weirdos. I'd probably be one of them, but that shit wouldn't last long. I've subbed in the system and witnessed the craziness firsthand. Anyway- the current principal at 24 is being probed for Bizarre Buddhist Hate Chants he led for teachers that refused to kiss his hand every morning. I didn't know that hate was in the Buddhist's vocabulary. The voodoo dolls and effigies were next if the hateful hymns didn't do the job. Get this man the fuck away from these kids. No wonder they now grow up wearing tight pants and listening to Kanye. Enough already. How do you hire quacks like this? Maybe it's time to reevaluate the screening process. NYC Board of Ed and Principal Scharper- You're Faking the Funk.

Inconsiderate Neighbors:

There are 4 washers and 2 dryers in my building shared by 60 plus units. These machines are in demand. When doing your laundry have the fucking respect for your fellow tenant and don't let your shit sit in said washer and dryer for a period of time after the cycle ends. I prefer not taking your items out of the dryer for 2 reasons- 1- if you're a chick I'm a creep for touching and smelling your bra and panties, and 2- there isn't a clean surface or basket to throw them in/on. While I'd love to show you the same respect you show me, I'm not that much of an asshole. This shit gets me as livid as shitty drivers- laundry room rage. Selfish neighbor- You're Faking the Funk.

Ba ba bup bup ba.

As I said in the beginning of this post, I didn't know there were 2 versions of Main Source's "Fakin' the Funk" until recently. The track originally appeared on the White Men Can't Rap Soundtrack and was then released as a remix 12" on Wild Pitch Records- the remix is the one I know. The original goes straight into the Main Ingredient sample while the remix has Large Professor telling us "Now I've never been one to knock the next man for getting his...but this has always been something for which you have to be this is how we do" over Kool & the Gang's "N.T." Build up to get you ready. The track feels empty without it. The remix has a faster tempo than the OG and after several listens this becomes very obvious. The lyrics are basically the same in the first verse with several different ad libs thrown in. Things get switched up in the second verse. The OG version is missing the "cause times are real and I can't feel putting (scratches) down on the real to real" - one of the highlights of the track. The remix wins all day. I've attached the original sample. Peep the dope artwork. I need to tie food in somehow.

Main Source- Fakin' The Funk Remix- 12"

Main Source- Fakin' The Funk Soundtrack version

The Main Ingredient- Magic Shoes

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Did Diamond D Really Scare Crackers Up in Riverdale??

First time I heard that line off "With the Dope Sound" (hear below) I was a bit surprised, but it put Riverdale on the map. Around the time Diamond dropped the classic Stunt Blunts & Hip Hop he was living in Riverdale and I remember seeing him at La Pizzeria. That was even more shocking, but I gave him some props on the album and continued to eat my slice. Did I look scared? Maybe the cheese was so hot that it burned the roof of my mouth, thus causing my eyes to well up. If that was perceived as fear, I'd like to clear things up. Maybe he meant his neighbors. Diamond, if you're reading this let me know.

In late 2008 Diamond released The Huge Hefner Chronicles. I bought the album to support, and with the hopes that he might come with it. I rarely buy albums anymore but certain artists, especially on indy labels, get my lootcakes. Diamond is responsible for one of the greatest albums ever produced. We need to remember who provided the soundtrack for yesteryear and show some respect. Unfortunately I was pretty disappointed with it. The artwork should have forewarned me. What the fuck do I care about some cat balling that in real life isn't balling? The beats didn't do it for me. They weren't what I expect to hear from D. It makes sense since I came to find out that half the album is produced by other cats- Nottz, Jesse West, DJ Scratch and some others. I've never copped a Diamond album for lyrics.

The track shown above and available below, "Good/Bad", was the album's saving grace, and produced by the man himself. A personal stroll down memory lane over a slow mellow joint that knocks. Knocks heavy. If you're head doesn't nod after seconds into it, I'm sorry for you. The video follows in the throwback theme and keeps it real simple. Rather than distract you from the track with that balling-out-of-controlness, they let the beat marinate with images that tie into the lyrics. This track is on my best of 2008 which has yet to be released. I'm thinking of a June date.

For the record I don't know anyone that got brains in Yankee Stadium. Come to think of it, in the 80s when the stands were empty it could have been a possibility. Craziest thing I've done there is drop deuce or steal a bleacher seat.

Diamond D- Good/Bad

Diamond D- With the Dope Sound

Sunday, March 22, 2009

This is Strictly for the Tortas, No, Ifs, Ands or Sort Ofs- La Casa De Los Tacos in E. Harlem.

Why does the torta get no love? It appears that the sandwich is "the dish" for 2009 and I feel that the Mexican torta should be added to the equation. Fuck a Banh Mi, fuck a Cuban sandwich, fuck a hero, fuck charcuterie, fuck pastram- HOLD UP. Never that. Point is, the torta has been around for a long time, but I never hear about them, and it's time they get their shine. Isn't it ironic that we speak of tortas at the House of Tacos?

I noticed La Casa de los Tacos last summer while grabbing a slice at Patsy's just up the block. On a Saturday afternoon the place was packed and looked official. I had just eaten so I made a mental note to hit them in the future. Fast forward to early 2009 and I'm in there. I wasn't sure what to order so I figured I'd roll with the namesake dish and give the torta a try. The food was to go and tacos don't travel that well. Sandwiches are much more mobile.

I ordered a taco de bistec- beef ($2) and a torta de pechuga empanizada con queso- breaded chicken cutlet with cheese ($6). Washed them down with an apple soda. I fucking love apple soda. Back when I was a creative young lad I'd mix the Red Cheek with the seltzer and apple soda was born. And we're not talking seltzer in a plastic bottle, we're talking old school glass with the lever on top. Ofeeeshal. Sweet George used to deliver a case to the crib every week or so.

The taco was on point. Small pieces of tender sliced steak in a double tortilla with lettuce, tomato and a small amount of cheese. As you can see in the pic, they provide you with all the necessary condiments- chopped onion, cilantro, salsa verde, and several lime wedges. I added each- heavy on the cilantro- and just enjoyed it. Definitely one of the better tacos I've eaten in NYC. That isn't the greatest pic as the taco is wide open, but all you got to do is wrap that shit up B.

What exactly is a torta? According to my good friend Senor Wikipedia it "is a Mexican sandwich, served on an oblong 6-8 inch firm, crusty white sandwich roll, called a bolillo, telera or birote" featuring a variety of different ingredients and topped off with "garnishes such as avocado, sour cream, lettuce, jalapeƱo, tomato, and cheese."

This particular torta consisted of a breaded chicken cutlet with lettuce, tomato, jalapenos, a white cheese, and a garlic spread, similar to an aioli. I specifically left out the avocado. Like a philly cheese steak, the bread is one of the most important components. This particular one was light and airy with a nice outer crust. The bread is similar to a kaiser roll but the shape is reminiscent of a Portuguese roll. This kid loves the bread. The final step of making the torta is a quick press, though not as long as a Cuban or other Spanish sandwich. Pressed enough to give it some heat and a crisper shell.

The torta was served warm, as you can see by the melted cheese. One of the best features about a torta is that they're easy to handle- offering a lot of food and flavor in a civil fashion, while not tearing or falling apart. None of this sloppy shit while trying to open your jaw wide enough risking TMJ. The chicken was moist and not over-breaded. The saltiness of the cheese added a nice element while the jalapenos packed a punch. The crispness of the lettuce brought some crunch and the spread made me feel like I was eating garlic bread. So basically a breaded chicken cutlet on garlic bread with some spice and cheese. Shit sounds delicious to me.

Back to the apple soda. Sidral Mundet is a Mexican soda, and like most Mexican soda uses real sugar and not the hated HFCS. Between this and the sugar based Mountain Drew about to drop I might have to break up with juice for a period of time. It even has blended apple juice. Not apple flavoring, but the real thing. These Mexicans are really onto something.

La Casa De Los Tacos is located on the northwest corner of 117th and 1st Ave. A relatively large space with ample seating room. The waitress spoke minimal English, but with my high school level Spanish ordering wasn't a problem. They serve a variety of other things including many chicken, shrimp and steak dishes. I've had the taco/torta urge since this visit but haven't been able to get there, mainly because it's a pain in the ass to go a ride. Compared to some of the great spots I've hit around 106th and Lexington, this place ranks right up there with them.

La Casa De Los Tacos

2277 1st Ave. on the NW corner of 117th St.
New York, NY 10035
Open 7 days a week from 8am - Midnight

View Larger Map

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Cleaning = RECORDS FOR SALE!!!!

I rarely use this site for personal gain, but fuck it. It's a win-win for everybody.

I'm cleaning. What's new? I'm always trying to clean the crib. But it's more like tetris. I just move things into empty spaces and the game continues. I'm tired of that and realize this can't go on any longer.

I'm unloading between 700-1000 records. Mostly hip hop with some R&B- primarily late 90s- to mid 2000s, with other years thrown in. LPs, 12"s, promos and so on. Nas, Jay, Talib, Mary J., DMX, T.I., Busta, De La, Slick Rick, Fat Joe, Mobb Deep, and the list goes on. Pretty much all of the records are in excellent condition- many unplayed. A lot of doubles too for the rusty DJ that wants to polish up a little. Fuck Serato. Keep vinyl alive. Do it for hip hop.

I'm selling it as a lot. Looking for between $400-$500 for everything. Approximately 10-14 crates/cartons. Basically 50 cents per record. The list keeps growing so the value will get even better. I want it out. You want it in. Works perfectly.

Think of it as an act of philanthropy. All the money will help fund some adventurous snail eating in the South Bronx or duck tongues in China Town. Or I'll just cop some fresh kicks that I can coo about. I promise no H hats. We have enough for now. Or maybe I'll finally step the game up and make official. Pay for some server space and become the webmaster I always dreamed about.

If interested you can leave a comment or hit me at I have a list of most of them, but as I said, the list keeps growing. Unfortunately this is for NYC/Tri State only because there's no way I'm mailing these things. Good news is I have an elevator to makes things easier.

I beg of you. GET THESE SHITS OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Platanos are Magical on 207th St. at La Nueva Espana.

Not on some voodoo/Santeria shit, but secular. Better yet savory.

I've known about La Nueva Espana for several years. When a certain someone used to live in Inwood we went here once or twice and the dish I remember was the tostones magicos, otherwise known as magical plantains. They were delicious and I wanted to relive that moment of epicurean bliss.

As we all know my local go-to for Spanish (Dominican) food is Nueve Ambiente on Broadway, just north of Isham Street, but this day I was willing to walk that extra block or two to see if the memories served true. I'll admit, I was a bit intimidated walking in- straight Spanish and not a gringo in site. That usually doesn't bother me, but the place was hectic and I had no clue what or how to order. That's just my bullshit I guess. I saw everybody ordering the grilled half-chicken, and took that as a sign. As I placed my order they sold their last bird on the grill so I had to wait around 15-20 minutes for the next batch. At least I know it was prepared fresh.

Along with the half chicken, I ordered tostones magicos de carne (beef) and platano maduros (sweet plantains). The bill came out to $17. Not bad for the generous amount of food- could easliy serve 2 people. In hindsight there was absolutely no reason to get the maduros. I already had the magic joints and rice came with it. My nerves got the best of me.

Alright, alright, alright, I'll get straight to the main attraction, LOS TOSTONES MAGICOS. The dish is similar to mofongo, basically mashed tostones filled with a protein. AYYOOO. Here the tostone is shaped into a hollow half circle and filled with either beef, chicken or shrimp. As mentioned I ordered the beef, and after one bite halcyon visions from years past appeared. It wasn't that serious but these little morsels are delicious. The stewed beef had hints of garlic, onion and cilantro, and worked well with the salty and crispy plantain cup. And who doesn't love eating with their hands? You can't use a fork or knife with these without ruining the structural integrity. And if you were to do that the magic would seep out and the dish wouldn't be as good. 3 half cups come to an order ($5) and are pretty filling. Each is about the diameter of a baseball. Dominicans love baseball. But how the fuck did they lose to the Dutch? What an embarrassment.

The chicken brought me back to reality. Being cooked on the grill, the skin had a nice taste and texture, but the meat was pretty bland. I wasn't impressed. I'm used to either pollo guisado (stewed chicken) or the roasted rotisserie chicken where flavors are in abundance. I was expecting more here. The looks were deceiving. As you can see in the pics- the chicken looks good, unfortunately it didn't taste the same. Served with a salad of lettuce and tomato.

The rice, beans and platanos maduros were all standard fare. I took this to go, but there is ample seating in the dining room to the left of the counter area. I'll be back one day, just won't be ordering the grilled chicken. 2 orders of magic plantains are a meal's worth of food so we'll have to Blaine it out next time or try something new. Abracadabra bitches.

La Nueva Espana
606 W. 207th St just east of Broadway
New York, NY 10034
(212) 567-0500
Open 7 Days A Week- Call for Hours
Subway- A train to 207th St./1 train to 215th St.- walk several blocks to 207th St.
See Menu HERE.

Are These Really Crispy As Fuck?

I don't think so.

Undeniably, the white with gum sole Air Force 1 is one of the greatest sneakers ever created. EVER. Gum soles on forces are like fine lox on a bagel. Like getting out of work early on a Friday. Like meeting your boy at the game who has an extra front row ticket. It takes something that's great, and makes it even greater.

This past Saturday, March 14th, Alife Rivington Club in the LES released these to what I believe was lukewarm reception. Dubbed "Crispy as Fuck", the $225 price tag definitely wasn't "crispy." Shit was soggy. In a healthy economy that amount is sort of OD, so you can imagine the response in this shit. I'm sure the quality is next level with the insideout leather midsole and the quality leather uppers, but it's a throwaway. Alife has designed some crazy shit in the past and this is too easy. We expect a little better. Come to think of it, most of their recent designs have been pretty mundane. The New Balance were eh and the Sauconys were a follow-up to what they did last summer. I wouldn't be surprised if there are still pairs available. Years ago, an Alife-Air Force collabo would have sold out in hours.

The sneakers were supposed to have lacelocks on each shoe reading "CRISPY" on one foot and "ASFUCK" on the other. (The above photos have them because they were samples or renderings) But that wouldn't have been a good look for the family friendly corporation known as Nike, so Alife had to remove them from the sneakers. I love curses as much as the next man but sneakers should remain chaste. Inappropriate. On a side note, if anybody knows the synonym for lacelocks- sounds French- starts with a D or B, please let me know. Shit is driving me crazy. 3/22/09- The word is dubre, pronounced Dew Bray.

The embossed stars on the leather look terrible. Reminds me of Bapes. If I never saw a pair of Bapes for the rest of my life I wouldn't be upset. The sneaker looks too puffy. Too diddy. Too take that, take that. Just not a good look.

These are a pair of white and gum soles from early 2003. They cost $75 and they are perfect. Too perfect to wear in fact. I had a pair that I killed and am scared to wear these. They just look so nice in the box, crispy you could say. Point is, these are perfect as they are. No need to do anything to them. No need to gussy them up. Come up with some different shit, some new shit. Step your game up. The market isn't the same as it was last year and years prior to that. It's almost as if the zenith was reached and now a slow and steady decline is upon us. You can't get away with bullshit anymore.

Just because we're on the topic of gum soles, one of the flyest pairs out there. These are a 1 of 1 for Bobbito and they're so clean. Crimson on white with gum. The gum sole is never used on whites with a colored swoosh, but just imagine the possibilities. You can ID a pair, but $250 is pretty steep. Disregard the "coming soon" tag because they're never going to be released.

Photos courtesy of Ebay and various sneaker sites.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I'm Fully LOX-ED and Loaded Vol. 2- Murray's Sturgeon Shop on the UWS.

Not many foods bring me as much joy as appetizing. And not many places in the world prepare lox, baked salmon, and herring like Murray's Sturgeon Shop on the Upper West Side. A bagel and lox (belly) on a plain bagel not toasted with a slice of tomato might be my last meal request if I were on death row. Let's hope that situation never develops, but if so it's definitely a contender.

Bagels and lox are NYC. NYC is bagels and lox. You can get a serviceable bagel and lox sandwich at many places throughout the city. But when you want the best, quality of the highest degree, you have 2 choices- Russ & Daughters on Houston Street or Murray's on Broadway between 89th and 90th, NYC institutions. A little more than a year ago I Lox-ed and Loaded in the LES, and today we're letting off uptown. I've had Murray's a lot more than R&D in my lifetime- based on proximity- and it gets top billing. I've tried more things there and have a better overall feel for their quality and consistency. The main difference between the 2 is that R&D is more of a tourist attraction based on its location. You don't get the same customer at Murray's. We mean business uptown. We're not here to wax nostalgic and think of yesteryear. We're here to eat. Don't get it twisted though, quality is tantamount at R&D.

I've always associated lox and appetizing with celebration or a festive occasion. First off, the shit is MAD expensive. Every now and then my father would bring it home on a weekend morning, but based on the exorbitant prices, I've always viewed it as a delicacy. I don't get to eat it that often, so when I have the opportunity I definitely go in, and definitely appreciate it.

There are several staples I must have at Murray's. They are as follows:

The lox. They offer several variations, but the one to choose is the Mild Salt Cured Lox aka the Belly Lox. The saltiest and most briny salmon they have to offer. Silky and smooth. They usually offer a taste in the store and the smoothness is incredible. It literally melts in your mouth. A quarter pound costs $8.99. Due to the really strong flavor you can use less slices to make a sandwich. A quarter pound provided me with 3 nice sized sandwiches- 2-4 slices per sandwich, depending on the size of the slice. Belly lox are only cured in a brine, not smoked. The less salty Nova Lox, are lightly smoked and cured. The mild flavor forces you to add more slices to your sandwich. In a recession Belly Lox win.

The kippered (baked)salmon. This stuff is magical. The moistness. The richness. The saltiness. The oiliness. Pure decadence. Murray's describes it as "first cured than smoked resulting in a moist, flaky fish with a delicate smoke flavor." Unlike lox, baked salmon is sold in chunks from the fillet. Similar to eating a cold piece of salmon, but the curing and smoking process gives it so much flavor. I prefer eating it plain, but you can spread it on a bialy and enjoy it that way, similar to white fish. A quarter pound costs $9.50 and the piece above came out to a little more than $13. I dream about this stuff. Cause eating this is highly addictive, especially when you're used to having money to live with...

The Spinach Egg Salad. The perfect equalizer to the salt attack. Fresh, raw spinach added to their "hand chopped eggs mixed with sweet onion, celery & a touch of salt & mayonnaise." Protein and vegetables. That's a win win to me. The spinach adds a great texture to an already delicious egg salad. It might sound like a simple dish, but I've yet to find a comparable taste anywhere. $6 per half pound.

The plain cream cheese. Whipped into a smooth consistency that can easily spread on a bagel. Mild flavors that work great with the lox. I really dig cream cheese and can eat it plain. $6 per pound. I prefer scallion or chives cream cheese on a bagel, but need plain with lox. No need to jumble the flavors.

Those are the 4 necessities according to Howfresh. On this trip I ventured a little deeper into old world Jewish cuisine and ordered the pickled herring in cream sauce with onions. I hadn't had it in years and wanted to spark some old memories. My pops used to eat this or matjes herring on pumpernickel fairly often. Murray's pickles the herring themselves and offers a cream or clear wine sauce. The mixture of the fishy, mushy slices of herring, the sweet cream sauce and the sharpness of the crisp onion creates an odd interaction. It's good for a second and then too much for me. The cream sauce freaks me out a bit and the texture of the fish is something I'm not that used to. I tried it and won't be ordering it again for a while. $3.39 per fillet.

I have one complaint about this place. Their bagels are terrible. It's insulting to serve such fine food on such a shitty bagel. If you're ordering by the pound just remember to pick bagels up at H&H on 80th and Broadway or wherever you get yours. They reminded me of what you get in the morning coffee carts. Real light, no density or chew whatsoever. Smarten up Murray's. You're too good for this.

Murray's is take-out only and very small. The walkway is 3-4 feet wide and no more than 15 feet long. If it gets crowded the line definitely snakes outside. And there definitely are lines there. The workers behind the counter take their time when slicing the fish and preparing the other foods. These cats are artists with the knife. Hand sliced perfectly- thin translucent slices of fish. Some beautiful shit.

Years ago, back in the Old New York, appetizing stores were pretty common throughout the city. Today you can count the specialty shops on one hand. Along with Murray's and Russ & Daughter's you have Barney Greengrass (more of a restaurant that an order over the counter) and Zabar's, both on the UWS. There are other neighborhood spots scattered around, but no where as esteemed or historic as those 2. Murray's has been around since 1946 and has been keeping New Yorkers happy and full for more than 60 years. Many attributes of this city are disappearing as time goes by and corporate America takes over every inch of this city, but barring any fish shortage or other freakish event, Murray's will continue to pump breath into an aspect of New York City culture that is barely known, but delicious.

Murray's Sturgeon Shop
2429 Broadway between 89th and 90th Streets
New York, NY 10024
Subway- 1 train to 86th St. and walk 4 blocks north or the 2/3 to 96th St. and walk 6 blocks south
Open 7 days a week- Call for hours

Bow & Arrows = RECESSION.

The economy must be fucked up when people start shooting arrows. Bullets are dirt cheap so this is saying something. Maybe Bloomberg's anti-gun policies are resulting in more antiquated forms of weaponry.

In case you haven't heard, a woman was shot with an arrow Sunday afternoon in front of a nursing home in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. What gets me shook is that this is the same nursing home where I vote. Where I exercise my duties as an American citizen. Am I to believe this was some random act of violence or a message? A message to the voting public that a change isn't/wasn't wanted? Maybe this arrow was shot on November 4th, got caught in a massive tempest, and 4 months later began its descent. That must have been one ill trajectory.

It appears that this was an accident- a freakish occurrence of stupidity, and the woman unluckily walked into the arrow's path. This thing got lodged several inches into her belly. Unlike bullets, arrows aren't traceable via serial numbers, so this might go unsolved for a while. We have enough fucked up shit to deal with nowadays between the economy, job market, and A-Rod. Now this? I just can't deal. I'm lucky enough to be able to see buses and airplanes with my oversized fitteds covering my pupils, let alone propelled projectiles.

If this was a kid practicing for his archery team, then his parents need a beating. What's wrong with basketball, stickball, football, baseball, you name it? Fucking kids man. Get off your computer and your other tech bullshit and get some exercise. Archery doesn't count.

Or maybe the Wack-quas-keek Indians that once inhabited the Northwest Bronx are taking back what is rightfully theirs?

HERE is the article from the March 17, 2009 NY Times.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Paddy's Day and WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH A-ROD????

Now that I live in a non Irish neighborhood, March 17th is just like every other day. Granted Irish Eyes and the Liffy Bar are down stairs, but the debauchery doesn't even compare to Behan's, Celtic Cross, Rambling House and of course, the Lark's Nest. I miss the sloppyness in green, but not what happened to me last year.

Now on to the injured 3rd baseman that plays for the world's greatest franchise. Truth be told, the more shit this guy pulls, that "greatest" tag is slowly eroding. Hal and Cash, wake the fuck up. With all the steroids hoopla, followed by the hip injury, 10 weeks of A-Rod less media coverage was a good thing. I've said this numerous times, I used to be a fan of the dude, but that has worn off and I'll root for him strictly based on the fact that he wears pinstripes.

So Details magazine just hit stores with none other than Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez gracing the cover. Really? Really? Seriously? Really? What the fuck is wrong with you? I understand that magazine lead time is months in advance, presumably before the steroid news leaked, but Alex, have the humility, or just the common sense to pull the plug. Turns out the turnaround for this story was around 6 weeks or so. The interview was conducted a day before the Peter Gammons interview addressing A-Roid. I've got to admit that A-Rod sure played it cool knowing the shitstorm was approaching.

Alex- What more do you need? You are extremely wealthy. Extremely talented. Extremely ubuquitous. And extremely maligned. For good reason, as proven by this and you're obsession with doing the wrong thing. We hear you've hired an army of marketing and publicity specialists. Fire them immediately. For 10 grand I'll fix your image. Fly you to an undisclosed location so you don't have the ability to be seen or heard. Sort of like putting mittens on a kid with chicken pox.

This shit is too crazy to be real. Right? It can't be real. He must be fucking with us. He must have the greatest dark sense of humor and get off on this. I hope so. Kissing a mirror, pulling his shirt up, crying in the mirror? What the fuck is going on here? Kissing a mirror? He must be saying- "You think I'm narcissistic? Well here you go you fucking nobodies. Get off my dick, I'm the shit." At least I'd respect him for saying fuck off, I'm doing me, and you'll never be me. But that's doubtful. I wonder how the photographer managed to get those poses. Where was your PR dream team? Maybe Jeter had a disguise on and was snapping away. Interesting.

Below are several excerpts from the interview that I found amusing, or some might say "vomit inducing." I won't even comment on these gems. Other than the dude is fucking crazy. He actually called the writer up to ask him not to print his favorite Madonna record because "The last thing I want to do is go to every stadium and have them play that song" every time he bats. INSANE. I know for a fact that Shelly Duncan takes the subway. But A-Rod??????? The author stated it best with this, "Responses are wiped clean of anything raw, off-message, or authentic."

But what irks me the most?? This motherfucker is wearing Air Force 1s. Nah- not acceptable. You my friend do not deserve to rock these. Stick to a safer sneaker, like the Air Max Ltd. I don't think I've seen these. They aren't white on whites- the sole is either light gray or icey. Either way, not a good luck for AF1s.

To read the entire article go HERE.

On New York:

"New York is one of a kind," Rodriguez says. "It's made me ask all the tough questions. It's brought out the best in me. There are some things I have to work on. And that part is fun." He pauses, and then, perhaps alluding to coming events, says, "Revealing the truth about yourself is always good."

On what he wanted from the old Yankee Stadium:

"What I really wanted I couldn't get," Rodriguez says. "There was a scale in the training room that had been there for years. Very cool, rustic, gold. Babe Ruth weighed himself on that scale. Joe DiMaggio. Mickey Mantle. I would have paid a funny number for that."

On taking the subway:

"I've taken the subway to the stadium," he says, smiling. "For night games. The day to do it is a Friday, because traffic is horrible."

When asked if he really has taken the subway?

"Yeah. I have a hoodie on, but all it takes is one person and then you're done. But it's great. The fans get a kick out of it, I get a kick out of it. We talk about who's pitching tonight, and what we need to do. It's like being on sports radio."

All photos courtesy of Details.

Monday, March 16, 2009

H is for Hope, Happiness and Hate- the Trifecta of Emotions.

Or as in Hee, Hee, Hee because the joke's on me. They always get me with the H. My achilles H-eel. Believe it or not, I left 2 other H caps on the racks. Houston Astros caps in colors I wasn't digging. For the 3 I got- love 1 of them, dig another- though that's dwindling as the seconds tick, and regret the 3rd. You know what though- when I enter the University of Hawaii fan contest and knock the competition out with my unique ensemble of Warriors fitteds, it'll all be worth it. Grand prize? A year's worth of spam sushi and good vibes. Mahalo to the haters.

The H-Train is about to leave the station, so hop on and enter the mind of an obsessed collector- and as always, enjoy.

The stone, brown and orange joint with the H and star was the impetus for my little jaunt to NJ. Seasons had passed since my last trip to Cap City and the time was right. What we have here is a custom Huntsville Stars Minor league cap. That stone might get dirty, but the colors are dope. The Stars are the Double A affiliate for the Milwaukee Brewers, and before landing in Alabama, they played in Evansville, IN. Holla. This logo has been retired, but a new fresher logo has been created.

The mission to find this in a 7 5/8 has begun. No H cap will go unnoticed.

Next up is a custom throwback Houston Astros in brown and lime green. This dropped months ago and sold out quickly. I was surprised to see it on the shelf and was told they restocked various styles following a flood in the basement in which a lot of product got destroyed. A true fitted cemetery. But a tree grows in Brooklyn. The colors work and believe it or not, I don't own one brown H fitted. Problem is the logo is too big. The original logo is smaller, not as gaudy. That shit bothers me and that's the reason why I left the 2 other Astros caps in the spot. It almost looks bootleg. I'll get over it.

Now to the buyer's remorse. Another University of Hawaii joint? Really? There were 2 left. One real small and a 7 3/4. It fit well for a 7 3/4 and was marked down to $25 so I just took it. If anybody out there needs a U of H in a 7 3/4 that fits closer to a 7 5/8- you know who to contact.

In these tough economic times there is no way that 3 H caps will make my life any richer. Unless some marketing execs are looking for a letter H spokesman, purchases like this are more than egregious. Tuna fish, sardines, and pasta will have to sustain the kid until Obama can right this ship.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Amy Ruth's- The 116th St. Fried Chicken Champion.

It wasn't much of a battle and only included one challenger, but Amy Ruth's clearly owns the title. I don't know of any other spots on 116th that get busy with the fried fowl- east side is all Spanish and further west is mostly African, but who knows, they might get busy.

On a whim I wound up at Amy Ruth's Saturday night. Having eaten at Doc's the other day, recently opened by the Amy Ruth's founder Carl Redding around the corner, I felt it was only right to see who freaked the feathered friend better. A friendly competition between the former and latter. Would the recipes be the same? Clearly not.

The dine-in experience is completely different from take-out but I will try my best to be as objectively subjective as possible. At the end of the day it's the taste that shines through. Amy Ruth's was eaten in-house, fresh out the frying pan, while Doc's is take-out only. You could still eat it immediately, nulling the freshness and heat argument, but I probably ate it 20-30 minutes later. It was still warm. To read about Doc's fried chicken go HERE.

Amy Ruth's served a large breast with wing attached. A huge piece of chicken taking up close to half the plate. I was a bit disappointed there were no legs, but after one bite any sourpuss sentiment was out the window. A golden brown shell surrounding white moist, tender, and tasty chicken. I emphasize the tasty, because a lot of times the flavor is in the fried shell, and the chicken loses flavor as you go in. Amy Ruth's must marinate their chicken because an inch and a half into breast and there was spice and flavor. And still moist. By the end of the meal I was glad the breast was served and not legs and thighs, because the enormous surface area provided endless cracks at the crispy, oily and salty shell. Fuck potato chips, I should stack fried chicken.

The chicken was accompanied by candied yams, collard greens, and a slab of cornbread. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out what was in the yams to give it that extra special flavor. Coconut milk. This hasn't been researched or proven, but the taste was too spot on for my tongue to be lying. It was sweet on sweet and it worked. The greens were turkey based and did the job. I had one bite of the cornbread so I can't really comment. I was too focused on the rest of the meal.

Everybody else at the table (4 people) ordered the fried catfish dinner with mac and cheese and the greens. I felt like I was getting punked when I show up late and the chicken comes out. Next time I will most definitely get the mac and cheese. My meal was placed over the phone and when I asked how the m&c was, the response was "standard" so I took that as nothing great, when I should have interpreted it as the THIS IS WHAT YOU ORDER WHEN YOU'RE HERE standard. Another instance of Dallas Penn not looking out for the kid. First death by avocado and now this. Anyway, I had a bite and that shit is superb. A thick layer of cheese on top of a dense mixture of macaroni and flavor. I know I've said I can mess with bland m&c, but fuck that, I rather have this. In terms of the catfish, praise from all 4.

The sweet tea is on point at Amy Ruth's. I'd say the sweet tea battle ends in a tie. Both tasted the way they're supposed to. No dessert because I was full, the coconut yams satisfied my sweet tooth, and we had to bounce. The majority of entrees are $12 to $15 with several closer to $20. Parties of 5 or more have an 18% gratuity tacked on. I read on the website that Friday and Saturday night dining is assessed an 18% service charge. I'm not sure if that's double for a party of 5 or more. Inquire within.

The main inconvenience here is the wait. At prime time you're almost guaranteed to see a mob of people waiting outside to be seated. I didn't wait yesterday so I won't be spewing any vitriol. The kid's sort of a VIP. Or just late. This place is a destination so act accordingly. This is where Doc's might be able to capitalize and the masterplan is becoming evident. The wait is an hour, people hear about Redding around the corner, and boom, point for Doc's. Even if the fried chicken isn't nearly as good, there's enough to work with. I'll do some more research.

I'm sort of ashamed it's taken me so long to return here (Several years ago was my first and only visit). It must have gotten better as the years progressed. I tend to shy away from trendy or popular spots, but the food seems too good for me to remain a stranger.

Amy Ruth's
113 W 116th St. between Lenox Ave. and Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. (7th Ave.)
New York, NY 10026
(212) 280-8779
Subway- 2/3 to 116th Street- walk 50 feet westbound, or B/C to 116th and walk almost 2 blocks eastbound
Mon- 11:30am - 11pm
Tue - Thu- 8:30am - 11pm
Fri- 8:30am - 5:30am
Sat- 7:30am - 5:30am
Sun- 7:30am - 11pm