Wednesday, February 23, 2005

old man, don't lay so still

happy birthday to my sometimes grumpy, sometimes sweetie pie of a husband, who turns the delightful age of 32 today! i hope this embarasses you as much as you embarassed me in front of jim and beth last night!



p.s. weasel, this photo was taken at the 30th birthday surprise that Mondale ruined.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Park Slope Gastronome #9 - The Return of the Pig

Don't worry, I have been stuffing my face like I always do, just not writing about it. Anyway, last night's dinner experience has motivated me to write about 3 places I have recently dined at. Let's start with the most recent.

DeMarco's Pizzeria
So last night, the Listmaker (my huband, for any of you bibimbop newbies) had dinner at DeMarco's Pizzeria. DeMarco's is sort of an offshoot of the legendary DiFara's. I think some of DiFara's children or in-laws are the proprieters of DeMarcos but other than that, the two restaurants are not related. I'm sure Slice can give you the skinny.

There are actually two parts to DeMarco's - one is smaller and used for take-away orders, while the building on the corner is a sit-down restaurant. We chose the sit-down option and although the pasta offerings were tempting, we of course had to opt for a pie. The first sign of trouble was the price - DeMarco's charges $18.50 for a round pie of 8 slices. The second sign of trouble was when we got our pepperoni pie. While we approved of the type of pepperoni (smaller, thicker coins that curl up into little cups - favored by the best coal-oven joints), we were disappointed to see no more than 20 or so slices on the entire pie. That comes out to less than 3 pieces per slice. There was even a slice that was pepperoni-less. Unacceptable! The restaurant was not busy - we were the first diners to sit at a proper table, so it's not like the kitchen was busy throwing one pie after another. When we entered the restaurant, there were a couple diners eating at the bar and for a second I thought they were employees having their staff dinner. It prompted me to ask, "Uh, are you guys open?" and have my question go unanswered.

Both Listmaker and I were less than impressed with our $21.50 pie (most toppings are $3). While the sauce was tangy and the grated hard cheese sprinkled atop a nice touch, we both found the crust to be way too hard. When I first picked up a slice, I was struck by how firm it was. It amazingly didn't bend or sag. After the first slice, eating the crust became a chore and hurt my jaw. There was no chewiness to it. The final nail through the coffin was when we got the bill. The bottle of Peroni consumed by Listmaker cost $7! We could only laugh it off and promise to never come back to DeMarco's ever again.

We wonder how long this establishment will last with its mediocre food served at outlandish prices and poor layout of tables. As Listmaker remarked, a restaurant shouldn't feel cramped when you're the only customers.

I was amused by the party of three sitting at the table next to us (2 Japanese women, and a British man) erroneously talking about how this place was written up in the Mug Newsletter with pictures of the tops and bottom of the slices.

Food: C
Service: I'm going to stop grading service. If it sucks, I'll just write about how awful it is.

Kenka
Let's just say I only spent $20 and got stuffed on the following:
- glass of shochu
- pint of Asahi
- bowl of beef curry and rice
- plate of Japanese pickled vegetables
- half an okonomiyaki (shared with margie j.)
- third of an ear of sweet and salty corn cob
- miso covered grilled rice ball
For dessert, they present you with a little plastic cup of granulated sugar. By the entrance there is a cotton candy machine. Self-serve fairy floss! Brilliant! That day's flavor was grape.
Food: A- (didn't love the pickled vegetables. it was not the variety of oshinko i was expecting)

Stone Park Cafe
This is the foofy resaturant that recently opened up at the end of our block. Listmaker and I have hemmed and hawed about eating dinner there a bunch of times, but it wasn't until they started servicing brunch that we became fully motivated. While Stone Park's dinner menu is a bit on the pricey side, the brunch is rather reasonable. We've been there 3 times in the last 3 weeks - twice during one weekend, even! Each visit has been very satisfying, which is a positive sign, since despite all the restaurants in the area, a good brunch remains elusive. It was the first visit that really knocked our socks off. FIrst off, we liked the music - while we were there we heard Elliott Smith and Low. Second, it was not baby carriage central. As you all know, I love love love the children, but sometimes when you dine in Park Slope, you just get so overwhelmed by the fleet of Bugaboos and scent of baby powder. Third, the wait staff was pleasant. We both opted for omelets and we each got to choose up to 4 fillings! Listmaker chose garlic, jack cheese, sausage and one more filling which I can not remember. I chose garlic, house-smoked bacon, mushrooms and bleu cheese. Choosing garlic was a bold move, but one that proved to be out of this world. I'm equally in love with the bacon at Stone Park Cafe. It's thick and has a full smokey flavor. The omelet was really perfectly done, with all the fillings portioned out equally throughout. Nothing worse than starting on one end of an omelet and realizing halfway through, you've eaten all the mushrooms and only have tomatoes left or something like that. The eggs were served with chewy sourdough toast and delicious roast potatoes with sauteed onions. Coffee was included in the $11 price. The one minus I would say is that I really wanted a bloody mary but did not want o pay $9 for one. That's just ridiculous. Anyway, having Stone Park Cafe just a few steps from our front door is a very welcome addition. Now we can be even lazier on the weekends!
Food: A (for the first visit)

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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Bacon Shipment #2

co-worker blake just handed me a box with bacon of the month club shipment #2. what could it be? it's Father's Hickory Smoked Cinnamon-Sugar Country Bacon! listmaker is going to be a happy listmaker. a picture of Father is on the bacon packaging.

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Tuesday, February 15, 2005

where you lead, i will follow

i am half drunk on some cabernet sauvignon that margie j and fleck gave us for christmas. and while i am half drunk and still abuzz from watching this week's episode of gilmore girls, let me take this opportunity to extol this show. now we all know last year sucked. the producers were all in a tizz cause they didn't know if there was a renewall in the future. and i think most of us will agree that rory gilmore played by the anemic alexis bledel is the show's main weak point. but rory's still got part of the story line and her hair is worse than ever. so why is this show so good this season? i've gone from a big fan to just plain obsessed this season. much of that can be of course attributed to luke and lorelei finally fornicating it. i mean anyone who's watched the show for more than a season has been waiting for the big moment and when it finally came at the end of last year, it just heightened my anticipation for season five. tonight's episode was so sad and i almost cried, but i held it together lest i get made fun of by dear listmaker. as full of suckiness that lorelei is, how could you not feel her pain? and dumbass taylor passing out those dumb ribbons? what was up with that. how come they didn't show whose side kirk was on. he loves lorelei with puppy dog eyes but he considers luke his best friend! and what about babette and ms. patti and morty? oh dumb lorelei, you really blew it! how could you be so stupid and treat luke so poorly. why did you take advice from your dumb 20 year old daughter with dumb curls in her hair and who lets dumb boys dump on her? you should have told luke that you did tequila body shots with pathetic christopher! you totally blew it. i love this show. p.s. don't you think they should get luke a new jacket? he's been wearing that already too thin army jacket through 5 seasons now. he must get cold, but then again during the winter in stars hollow you can wear scoop neck shirts and no scarfs and totally be fine.

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Saturday, February 05, 2005

sorry, hot tub

would you throw beer cans and blocks of cheese at this woman?

apparently if you're a sports fan in philly, you would. my hero, the one and only sonya thomas, failed to defend her wing bowl crown last night much to the delight of the portly sports fans who had gathered at the wachovia center to watch the annual event. when she entered the event floor, she and her crew were greeted with a shower of boos and beer cans.

thomas shocked the crowd last year by outeating local favorite (and multiple past champion), el wingador. by the way, this local fave is not even from philadelphia, but from south jersey. it would have been one thing if thomas emerged wearing a patriots jersey which another contestant did and which also elicited edible offerings from the rowdy spectators. anyone who follows competitive eating knows that sonya thomas is one of the most classy and gracious competitors around. thomas has not forgotten the humble beginnings from from which she has risen to become the #2 competitive eater in the world. she is not showy, nor is she boastful. she is confident with the accolades to back that up. i thought philly was supposed to be the city that loved the underdog. who in the world of competitive eating is more of an underdog than a 99lb woman who grew up dirt poor in korea, i ask?

cheer on your "native son," of course, but shame on you philadelphia for condemning a true winner you had the privelege to witness. i'll still be rooting for your football team tomorrow, because i actually do pull for the underdog.

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Thursday, February 03, 2005

cantankerous sores

my 2004 movie list is up on balgavy. go check it out to discover just how angered i got by most of the movies i saw.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

r.i.p. bar 81

i just found out my favorite college bar has closed down. there are not many things about my college years that i am sentimental for, but bar 81 is definitely one if them. some people preferred the blue and gold bar just next door and i couldn't understand why. bar 81 was way cozier and it had like a dozen names. we usually called it the ukraine, short for the ukrainian bar, but it was also referred to as bar 81 and the verkhovyna. the drinks were cheap and the jukebox was stocked with favorites old and new. i must have spent hundreds of quarters picking the same songs by pavement, frank sinatra, elvis presly, elvis costello and the pixies over and over. my favorite bartender was charlie. he was a sharply dressed older guy who if you told him the bathroom was out of toilet paper, would give you a free drink. since moving to brooklyn, i really hadn't gone in a while. i'm sorry we didn't keep up a long distance relationship! goodbye bar 81, verkhovyna, the ukraine, you will be missed.