Saturday, May 16, 2015

hot off the press

With Obama opening up to our neighbor down south, we can expect a lot more beautiful Cubans in our future.

But I’m talking about the sandwich.

A sumptuous and salty combination of pork two ways, dill pickles, yellow mustard and melted swiss, most believe the “Cuban” originated as lunch for workers in the 1880’s when the cigar industry left Havana for south Florida.

Traditionalists want real Cuban bread, but the closest I could find was a very good (Italian) Ciabatta from Eric Kayser.

And you are gonna need a pork chop.

Smear your bread with yellow mustard, stack the pickles, thin sliced ham and juicy pork.

A sandwich press called a plancha both heats and compresses it, so we improvised at home.

Melt some butter.

And place a pot lid smaller than your pan on top of the sandwiches, then add something really heavy to the lid.

The heat and compression thins out and toasts the crusty bread.
Flip ‘em over and do a few minutes more on the other side.

And that’s it!
The bright and spicy top notes of the yellow mustard and the pickle contrast beautifully with the savory meat and molten swiss, all wrapped up in a toasty crunch.

If you can’t travel to Cuba this Summer 
bring a beautiful Cuban home instead.

(The sandwich.)

Friday, May 15, 2015

lounge lizard

Imagine moving to New York City from Pennsylvania farmland, setting up shop on west 13th Street and walking down the block to see an iguana on the roof.

A freakin’ huuuge iguana.
That was New York in the 1970’s, 
when you didn’t need psychedelics to see lizards in the street.

It wasn’t always so.

Schrafft’s was a candy company founded in 1861 that expanded into NYC restaurants. 

By 1938 they had one at 61 Fifth, a fancy place for the ladies who lunched at the corner of Fifth Avenue and 13th Street.

Time flew, the chain folded and by 1976 the building had been transformed into the Lone Star Cafe, a Texas style honky tonk with cold beer, hot women and bad behavior by the mile.

I was thrilled to live right down the block.

But the best part was IGGY, the giant lizard on the roof; a 40 foot wire mesh and spray foam monstrosity posh Fifth Avenue just did not care for.

Folks like Willie Nelson and Andy Warhol and John Belushi hung out on the Lone Star roof. 

Acts like Roy Orbison and James Brown played inside.

According to the New York Times:

But it never made much money and by 1989 
the Lone Star had closed its doors. 
Soon, the building fell into ruin.

There was a fire in 2006.

They demolished the building entirely in 2009.

Today IGGY is in the Fort Worth Zoo.

And this expensive condo took his place.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

39 years ago this month

One of the greatest karaoke songs of all time, 
Elvin Bishop’s “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” 
peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in 
May 1976, the month I arrived in New York City.

It’s like an anthem from the 1970’s, 
going gold on June 23rd of that same year.

Less well known is the fact that Bishop plays the guitar but doesn’t actually sing on this legendary track.

He left that to Mickey Thomas, 
a back up singer in his band.

When asked “Why?”... Elvin said,

Turn it up. Way up.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

still Sobro

You were great stormy.

October, 2013
But I love you still.

last Thursday

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

no bull

Folks have had enough of this, and are making their disgust known.

But if you’re a fan of deBlasio ending stop and frisk, 
you might consider this news too.
Now that they have their gunz back, 
they are re-forming into gangs.

Some are within a few hundred meters of our ClockTower.

Police commissioners serve at the pleasure of their boss,
 the mayor.

Guns were confiscated the last time Bratton was NYPD Chief because under pressure, William Bratton was a bull.

But not today.

Today we get the Wild Mexican’s.

And the Mott Haven Gunnaz.

And a key component, noticeably missing from 
William Bratton.