Pete recently hosted a That 70s Tennis Tournament. Due to logistical lack of planning problems, it ended up with Pete and his cohorts inventing a new game. That game was called racquetball. Pete led Team Borg to an inglorious defeat--Team Laver took home both the Play-Doh-esque medallion and the scoreboard--which was actually a record Pete had planned on keeping. But next fucking time we will beat them. Pete has had a perfectly defeated 2009. No wins in soccer, softball, or tennis. Plus, the Mets suck. Oh yeah, Pete made some chicken salad sandwiches for the tourney. Chicken, walnuts, apple, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, and dried orange cranberries. Pete being Pete, he ran out of rye bread so half of them were served on cinnamon raisin bread. Dirty Arnold Palmers were also imbibed by the two-fifth's worth. Lissy provided Nutella for dessert. The whole day was crazy, natch, nuts.
Pete once thought that the world was crazy, everyone was sad and chasing happiness and love and Pete was the only one above it--but then, Pete discovered his two loves: the art of dance and ice cream. After repeated failed auditions to become a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance?, Pete decided to focus on ice cream so he began So You Think You Can Ice Cream? Pete has licked and dripped his way through the summer. Eating ice cream from the Poconos to Paris--sometimes as many as three full cones in a day; sometimes sampling as many as ten in a day--but he has limited the competition to ice creams found in NYC. Also, only the best of a flavor will advance, so while Pete loved both the Strawberry Sweetart and the Strawberry Chocolate Chip from Blue Marble--his favorite ice cream spot overall--only one will move on. Pete also has excluded ice creams that get the majority of their goodness from mix-ins, so the delicious Carrot Cake from Bar Breton will not move on either. Pete also believes the ice cream must exist in the real world so, sadly, Pete's favorite Peanut Butter Banana from Blue Marble has been disqualified as well because Pete found out, sadly, that they are no longer making it due to allergy-contamination concerns. Fucking nuts. Pete now considers PBB the Holy Grail of ice cream. This woman from the Times who took on a similar pursuit as Pete believes she found the Holy Grail of ice cream in the Salted Caramel Pretzel at General Greene, but Pete thinks that finding the Holy Grail is an oxymoronic pursuit--the point of the Holy Grail is that, like true love, it is unattainable. The other thing Pete takes from this article is that there are so many flavors it is impossible to taste them all, and that the point to declaring anything the best is so that you can argue about it with other people who think something else is the best. Pete will declare his favorites shortly and then ask a few followers to join him on a journey into the center of the cone: Taste them all in a single day and declare the ultimate winner.
With a clientele that leans heavily towards the uniform of khaki cargo shorts, flip-flops, the name of their university on their t-shirt, and baseball caps (lots of Boston "Bs")--and the women that love them--the Dram Shop on 9th between Fifth and Sixth is like a microcosm of everything that makes Pete cringe about the "new" Park Slope: Moneyed frat boys that are "living in Brooklyn" for a few years before they become more-moneyed yupsters that move out to Long Island--where Pete grew up so he isn't totally hating--or back to their hometowns. Pete can imagine that this place has one of the highest douche bags per capita ratio in all of Brooklyn once night falls and the shuffleboard starts sliding. Yet... It's one of Pete's favorite spots to front-load--drink on the cheap before heading out to drink somewhere else more expensive later-- on Saturday afternoons before he heads out to Coney for fun in the sun or to the Rockaways to go to a house party and drink pina coladas and almost drown in the riptide and almost die driving back with a crazy Russian who stops at his Ditmas Park townhouse to get his "pill" before going out dancing. But Pete digresses. The two reasons Pete likes are: From noon to 3PM, the Dram Shop's friendly bartenders serve up all of their drafts in a chilled, frosty mug for half price. Pete's current tipple is the Goose Island Honkers Ale. Secondly, the burgers and fries are fantastic. The burgers are like a sloppy grown-up version of a Wendy's double. Two square-shaped patties are browned on the griddle and shoved between a sesame seed bun with American cheese, lettuce, pickles, mustard, onion, and tomato. And the hand-cut fries are crisp but not too crisp and flavorful since they are obviously cooked in meat oil since they are brownish in color.
194 Bleecker Street in the West Village is one of those spaces that is a dark night for restaurants. Over the years restaurants like the Burger Joint--not related to the one in the Le Parker Meridien; it was the second outpost of the one on 20th and 3rd that served $1 sliders and Bosco chocolate sodas, and the guy behind the counter liked to call people "homos"--99 Miles to Philly, and the Indian Bread Company have tried to make it in this spot, and all have failed. It would be a shame if Aamchi Pao suffered the same fate since their "Mumbai Street Food on a New York City Block" is one of Pete's new favorite snack spots. At first, Pete thought that Indian sliders was a classic New York concoction of old and new world; but, it turns out that these cute little sandwiches were invented to feed workers on the go who didn't have time to eat rice dishes--so Pao!: Put classic Indian toppings on a ghee-griddled bun. Pete tasted the three Paos pictured above (from left): Tandoori Achari Paneer with pickle marinade, mint yogurt, roasted peppers, and mango chutney; Spinach Lentil Tikki with tomato mustard chutney, chickpeas, and chili mayo; Parsi Beef Keema with coriander, cumin masala, and tomato. Pete loved the Parsi Beef Keema and the Tandoori Achari Paneer. You can also get your Pao topped with an egg for a buck. The sliders are small--White Castle sized--so Pete headed over to Cones just across 7th on Bleecker for some ice cream afterwards. Pete's Mate--South American green tea--was okay; but Pete's friend's Mascarpone con Frutti di Bosco was the perfect dynamic duo of creamy and fruit and it will be moving on to the next round.
Pete has been preoccupied with planning a 70s tennis tournament, preparing for a dance off, and other ridiculous things so he hasn't been able to keep up with the blogging lately. But there are a lots of entries (and entrees) that Pete is just waiting to post on. Everything from sloppy burgers at the Dram Shop in Park Slope and Bombay-style sliders at Aamchi Pao in the Village to take-away pina coladas with a cherry on top at Connolly's in the Rockaways and Pork and Green hoagies at Shorty's in Hell's Kitchen. But, there is some exciting news in the blogosphere: Solo Basura has joined forces with Pete to offer up culinary anecdotes from LA on Comida con Basura. It's well worth your time.
Pete drizzled a little olive oil on his black olive semolina from the Greenmarket
and then melted thick slices of salted smoked mozzarella over filetti di alici (anchovies in pure olive oil) from Joe's Dairy--located at Sullivan Street just south of Houston. Joe's is an old-school Italian cheese shop/speciality shop that's famous for their smoked mozzarella--it's really fucking good--and it makes you think you are visiting the set of Serpico or Goodfellas. The owners are friendly but don't suffer fools easily; they have classic New York accents and will ask you to leave if you get on your cell phone. Pete had a heavily peppered side salad of red-leaf lettuce, cucumber, and broccolii. Pete also tried three new contestants from Griff's Gelati on Duane Street in Tribeca: gumball, raspberry chocolate chip, and chocolate malted-milk. The gumball tasted like gumball, but is that a good thing?; the chocolate malted-milk was tasty but not exceptional; and the raspberry was not flavorful enough, but the chips were very good. None of the three shall be moving on to the next round of SYTYCIC?