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?
Pete hit the 31st annual Crab Feast (Pete tried to turn it into a Crabfest, but the regulars were having none of that) in the swampland that is the Baltimore-D.C. area--the outdoor thermometer was clocking in at around 102 degrees, and it felt hotter. But despite the unpleasant heat, Pete felt like he was in the land of pleasant living--sadly Natty Bo's brother, Mr. Pringles, could not attend the event due to a previous engagement making people fat all over the country. (Pete also thinks that Pringles may be a gateway drug to crack, but he has no scientific evidence to back this claim up--at this time.) Crab Feast consisted of more crabs than a frat house (yes, crab jokes were just as plentiful as the real thing)--the crabs were steamed in custom-made beer kegs that had the tops sawed off and ovens attached to the bottom (fucking cool). Pete thinks that from a strictly food consumption point of view, it is more work than reward to get at the actual crab meat, but if you look at it as a social event, i.e. sitting down for hours and banging a mallet and ripping things apart with your hands while eating and talking, then it's worth it. (Pete's one-liner of the day came after being told that the yellow stuff was shit, Pete said: "Pete don't eat shit, Pete talks shit.") There were also mussels, lobster, shrimp, scallops, ten different salads, fried chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, and a bake-sale variety of desserts. There was also The Deep-Fried Turkey, and the fries cooked in the deep-fried turkey oil. Pete is at a loss as to why you would cook turkey any other way--or make fries in non-meat-soaked oil. It takes less than an hour to deep fry a turkey and the skin is crisp and the turkey comes out super juicy; one of the best turkeys Pete's ever had. Oh, and there was this thing called beer, lots of that thing. Not to mention many other potables like sangria and cocktails and even things for the recovering alcoholics, of whom there were plenty. Pete will update with actual photos from the event if he ever finds the time to download photos.
Pete lunched on an old school grilled cheese with tomatoes and onions, and a bowl of gazpacho at the Blind Tiger on Bleecker Street with the West Coast chapter of his fan club--Solo Basura and Fernando Valenzuela--plus Spaceman and Piper Steampunk the Third. Spaceman, Solo, and Piper got the roasted bacon, Granny Smith apple, red onion, and cheddar melt and Fernando got the always delicious bahn mi. In terms of bars that serve food, as opposed to restaurants that have beer, the Tiger is one of NYC's best and their beer selection is vast and outstanding. So, Pete, in honor of Saturday's Red Hook Pub Crawl that will begin at Six Point's brewery, exploded two Six Point Brownestone Ales into his face. The highlight of lunch--outside of catching up with good friends and cracking a funny or three--was that Solo coined the catch phrase for the back of the coming-soon LaCock tees: I likes me some LaCock... Because, really, who doesn't like a little--or even a lot--LaCock from time to time. And just because there is a lot of LaCock to go around, Pete would like to share the location of the single greatest outdoor beer garden in NYC: The Manhattan Bridge. Pete's preferred pick-up spot is Juan's Bodega on Forsyth and Rivington where for $2.50 you can get two 16-ounce PBR cans.