New York Giveth and New York Taketh

13 10 2009

OK, long time no ROM blog. This is due, in part, to the fact that beloved Persimmon restaurant has gone down in flames and it’s got me down. Well, not literal flames but shortly after I posted, it became, I suppose, yet another victim of the economy. And if it’s not hipsters running back to their wealthy suburban parents then I’m not laughing. Oh Persimmon. I swear, sometimes New Yorkers know dick about food. Why is it that every Saturday I see a line like 30 deep at Clinton Street Bakery? THEY’RE JUST PANCAKES PEOPLE!  I walked in there once looking for a croissant when I lived on Clinton Street in back in 2001. ‘Oh, it’s a sit-down restaurant,’ I thought to myself, ‘why do they call it a bakery?’ Needless to say there were no croissants. Savages. Man, people love to come to New York to wait on lines & go to the next “it” place.

Look at the lemmings

Look at the lemmings

My point is not to shit on Clinton Street bakery. I’ve never eaten there. My point is some New Yorkers would wait on line to get punched in the face if they read it was the new hot shit in New York Times Magazine (because come ON, they’ve got their finger on the pulse). And then great places like Persimmon close down because no one goes there. On the same token, if Persimmon had been crawling with douche bags, beating each other down with their Louis Vuitton bags to get in, I would never have given it a chance. *SIGH* you can’t win.

On a happy note, my beloved bakery Panya that closed down bringing me close to tears is RE-OPENING! Oh, happy day. It looks like the they’re taking over the entire space that used to belong to Around the Clock.  Maybe that’s what the cryptic sign on the door said (well, cryptic to me since I can’t read Japanese). I should have called Dan Brown to decode it, it would have eased the pain.  Panya was the perfect neighborhood place. A lot of people knew about it, it had reasonable prices, the service was friendly and you didn’t have to wait in line with a bunch of jackasses. I hope that it doesn’t get overrun upon it’s re-opening. Although in the meantime I’ve been lucky that cafe Zaiya is close and I can get my red bean buns there in the meantime. Truth be told their spicy tuna bun is better than the one at Panya.

But seriously though? You can’t trust the system.


BOTM of the Barrel

7 05 2009

I was initially going to ignore the NY Times article about the ROM wannabe club complete with their own acronym. But seeing as it’s been on the “most emailed” list online since it was published two days ago I figure I’ll acknowledge it. So, in a nutshell, these dudes have created a club called “Burger of the Month” (BOTM) and get together once a month to sample burgers around the city. Their system is almost the same as ROM’s in that each month a different member chooses the venue and if it sucks, that member takes some heat. I’d like to take this opportunity to point out how much better ROM is as an acronym (or BOM if things go as planned and we have an outdoor barbeque this month) to BOTM. In my book, it’s much cooler to be mistaken for a club that pays tribute to gypsies rather than a rear end or gay personal ad (not that there’s anything wrong with personal ads, gay or otherwise). I like that the BOTM boys (haa!) introduced a rating system, something we have not thought to do, but could be interesting. Props to the dudes for reasonably good taste! Back Forty is their #10 pick. I have shared my love hate relationship with this restaurant before, but they do make one of the few burgers that I find tasty (I just don’t go for burgers in general).

I'd like to point out that each "extra" such as cheese, bacon, and fries costs extra, which I find kinda lame. Just serve it "deluxe" people. Jeez.

Back Forty's Burger: I'd like to point out that each "extra" such as cheese, bacon, and fries costs extra, which is so bush league. Get some class & serve it "deluxe!"

There are photos associated with the article although it’s worth mentioning that the #4 burger on their list from Primehouse looks like a cross between a scab and a bloodclot.  Gore aside, kudos to these dudes for getting it together. As we we ROMers know, the task of getting busy people together once a month can be herculean at times. So I suppose I’ll hang my hater hat up for a moment in order to give these dudes a dash of love. Although reactionary wannabe badass quotes such as this one try my patience:

“Vegetables are to be eaten by rabbits and liberals,” wrote Mr. Weiss, a lawyer who lives on the Upper West Side, “and the only form they should take is the fourth ingredient in a condiment.”

“Crow is to be eaten by wolves and the conservatives who wrecked our economy,” writes Maya, a baller who lives in the East Village, “and the only form they should take is the nouveau poor fleeing the city in the wake of the financial crisis.” But I digress . . . hatery aside, it’s nice to come across articles such as this one. It’s just fact that ROM could kick these guys’ asses.

The K-Taco Truck Phenomenon Grows

25 02 2009
If you're drunk and in LA you may as well eat well!

If you're drunk and in LA you may as well eat well!

I’d actually already heard about this Korean taco truck because I’m obsessed with Korean food. I’m glad the NY Times picked up on this story but at the same time, I can’t help but totally disagree with the opinion they are pushing about K-cuisine:

Korean food has blipped on the radar of culinary trend watchers before, but it never seems to gain momentum. In part, Mr. Benson said: “It is because there is a misconception about Korean food. Japanese food is high protein, low in fat and is this very clean cuisine, where Korean food has reputation as being not healthy. So it has not taken off like it should, but I think it is going to.

Jennifer Steinhauer, the writer of this piece needs to get her mind right. Korean food is an up-and-coming cuisine. It is gaining momentum rather than being “so a few minutes ago” as she’s implying. K food is healthy and flavorful. I think its strength is the way that flavors are balanced: spicy and mild like kimchi and tofu or rich and crisp like meat and lettuce. I expect to see it taking off even more in the next few years.

I do love hearing about phenomena such as the taco truck. Living in New York we know the “melting pot” metaphor is a big lie. It’s more of a “stir fry” in that we pick up on each other’s flavors: we all got the same New York-y sauce going on, but most people stick in their carrot or pepper-like-ness. Also, “fusion” food is so terribly hit or miss as anyone who has had Shrimp Parmesan can attest. However, once in a while cultures come together and just knock it out of the park. What better place than LA for Korean & Mexican cuisine to come together & make sweet love?

Mr. T: Pittying fools for 28 years but neither homophobic nor a gay-basher

26 01 2009

This video was recently brought to my attention. This is probably the first and last time I’ll ever post anything from Bill O’Reilly but it needs a-postin’. In this video, Mr. T responds to the pulling off the air of the UK commercial he made for Snickers that I talk about here.  I find it touching how upset Mr. T is over the implication that he would participate in a homophobic commercial that touts gay-bashing.

I pitty the fools who don’t understand how awesome this man is.

Thanks to Manny for bringing this fantastic video to my attention.


23 01 2009

Businesses are closing left and right in my hood. But with the economy as it is, c’est la vie. I mean seriously, did you really think a high-end lingerie store on Avenue B was viable? Your bad. When I saw Around the Clock on 3rd avenue with a sign out that said “last day” I was a little surprised. I haven’t been there in years but it’s a good place for college students to get their cheap grub on & I’ve never turned my nose up at a cheap restaurant with a full bar (although their bloody mary’s were lacking if I remember correctly). However, when I walked by Panya this morning and saw its shuttered doors, I had to muffle a cry.


Say it ain't so!

Say it ain't so!

This little Japanese bakery was the jam! It had unique reasonably priced goods most of which I had tried and loved. Fresh red bean buns with black sesame on top (chunky & smooth varieties). All kinds of croissants in both whole wheat and regular including chocolate, spinach and cheese, chocolate and banana, almond . . . ok, I’ll stop. But what about the green tea biscotti? Or the green tea tiramisu even? The seasonal favorites filled with pumpkin cream? This is just too much for me in the morning.

Then I came across this which confirmed my greatest fears.

Their coffee wasn’t great but it was cheap. And the BAKED GOODS! Man. If there’s one thing I hate it’s sub-par baked goods. You will never catch me munching on some week-old blueberry muffin at a catered meeting. There’s really nothing worse. And let me tell ya, if the coffee shop you’re going to doesn’t have a bakery, that’s probably what you’re eating. I used to work at one! We’d keep stuff out for weeks! Some are, of course, worse than others but it’s often surprising who the offenders are. Those cute little places with great coffee and friendly servers . . . just use your eyes, if it looks old it prob is. I went to a place I like for coffee, sat at the bar and noticed that fruit flies were swarming under the glass lid that had been put over a plate of brownies. Glad I never ate there. Word to the wise, you’re often better off going to a place like Au Bon Pan for baked goods since at least you know they were made that day. That’s why when a great, independent bakery like Panya goes down, it’s a real tragedy.

Panya, I will dump my latte on the office carpet in your memory.

Ladies & Gentlemen, meet Rev. Joseph Lowery

21 01 2009

In keeping in the spirit of recent events here in these good ole United States, I thought I’d introduce you to someone I became acquainted with via the Barack Obama 2009 Presidential Inauguration: Rev. Joseph Lowery.

I watched from a local pub with some fellow Americans as we ushered in a new president and hopefully a  brighter era. However, aside from our new president’s inaugural address, mine eyes began to glaze over a bit. And since I’d felt I’d met my limit of religulousness for the day had been met after Rick Warren’s Purpose Drive Speech, I was not overly excited by the prospect of yet another religious leader. I was not familiar with Rev. Lowery’s civil rights work nor his rhetorical style. But man, did he hit it out of the park with the closing lines of his speech:

Telling it as it is

Telling it like it is

“Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead man and when white will embrace what is right.”

A Fox News pundit called the speech racist (shocking, I know). I call it hilarious. My personal favorite line is “when the red man can get ahead man” but that’s just me. I’m pleased that Rev. Lowery brought his old school brand of straight talk along to the White House. We’ve become so politically correct that nothing means what it sounds like and you have to sift through layers of BS to get to the real meaning. For example, where did we get “ethnic cleansing” from “genocide?” It sounds like a brand of laundry detergent in use in el barrio. It’s ridiculous. And no one dances around race rhetorically quite like we Americans do.

In any case, I would like to extend a hearty ‘thank you’ to Rev. Lowery for keeping it real. In fact, I’d like to present him with the “keeping it real” award that I just invented. There you have it. Reverend Lowery, you earned it!