Nunu is new chocolate in Brooklyn

Last Saturday we headed out to Brooklyn for the opening party for Nunu Chocolates in Brooklyn. I was introduced to Andy and Justine Pringle’s fine nuggets of dark caramel salted goodness via friends during Christmas and picked up a few boxes for family-friends at their Union Square holiday booth.

So unlike many Manhattanites, we actually crossed the bridge to Atlantic ave for the newly opened shop; sadly it’s not made of chocolate. however, we were greeted with wine and chocolates none the less. The space is set up like a chocolate den with a long farm house table for working via wifi, swilling hot chocolate and noshing on their absinthe tinged chocolates (among others cocca goodness). Check it!

NuNu Chocolates [529 Atlantic Ave. between Third and Fourth avenues in Boerum Hill, (917) 776-7102]

Exhausted from Travel

I’m just getting back to normal here. I’ve been in Columbus, OH and Toronto, ON Canada with lots of work follow up in between, I’ll throw down a few updates through the weekend and get back to my daily commitment. Lot’s to talk about.

Ain’t that the truth!

Hot and Cold in LA

A friend of mine sent me this pic of LA. It’s 75 degrees and still got powder up in the mountains. It’s weather like this that only makes me miss California. I can never complain about my residential location but this hot n cold business needs to stabilize.

Katy Perry- Hot N’ Cold (LMFAO Remix)

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Auto Gratuity is the latest way NY Restaurants are ripping you off

I’ve spend almost 10 years in the service industry working almost every hotel and restaurant position from buser, bartender, front desk to manager. I’ve seen the best and worst tippers and as a server could pick out the cheapskates before they even sat down. Working 8+ hours for dirt wages dealing with assholes and disgusting food (even in the nicest restaurants, you still don’t want to see some of the things that go on in the back kitchen) is only worth it when you get that wad of cash at the end of the night.

In NYC, food servers make more than most desk jobs when you factor in how little of that cash is actually reported to the IRS and if they’re making $200+ a night. The growing standard in NYC is a 20% tip on any service that’s not ridiculously bad, which is usually what I’m putting down (in cash) on most evenings out. Even when the service is terrible, they fuck up the food, they ignore you, or are complete assholes, I’ll still leave something.

A couple weeks back I went to Negril for some Jamaican food, specifically some jerk chicken and curry goat stew. There was three of us and we all ordered starters, liquor and entrees. The restaurant was not very busy yet the food still took forever. Some of the sides were noticeably canned or reheated but the mains were good including the chicken wings. The bar and waitstaff we’re laid back and we asked for the check after another round.

And what did I get for all the red gold and green comfort, and reggae rhitums? The check came loaded with an automatic 15% service charge on top!

No where on the menu or within the service did they state we were going to get this charge, and rather than argue the tip amount I’ve noted the practice and will take this into account in heading to Negril again. Additionally, the restaurant has just done a disservice for the waitress as we would have tipped closer to 20% and I assume now that it’s on the check, she’ll now have to claim more of her tips to the IRS.

The law in new york is all added gratuity must be clearly stated on the menu or somewhere for the customers – which in this case it was not – and this is usually only done for parties of 6 and up. The post had recently reported this practice is becoming a trend in NY, especially at restaurants with high tourist traffic. I’ve known plenty of Europeans, and they ALL know the tipping customs when coming to new countries, those that don’t are out right liars. So when you have Euros tipping 5% because “oh they didn’t know” is bull shit.

Regardless, I’m not a fan of the force tip, and next time, I’ll request the tip removed, pay what’s appropriate for the meal serviced and if not, won’t return to the restaurant. In tough economic times, no restaurant should be choosy.

Bloody Hot Dog wars in NYC

I’ve been asked many times by tourists and friends from California about the Hot Dogs in NY and which is the best. I’ll tell them first, the worst dogs to try are the dirty water dogs from any street vendor cart in the city. These are the ones that made the NY hot dog famous but they could be soaking in rat urine for weeks for all I know. If a vendor is not grilling the scum off them, they aren’t for me.

My favorite late night dogs in New York, because the only time I actually eat hot dogs are at someone’s bbq or when I’ve had a few pints in me, are the Crif Dogs on St. Marks between 1st and A. These guys are a late night establishment, more so since the LES Dash Dogs went down. They’re famous in my mind for wrapping their dogs in bacon and adding some great tasting toppings (eggs, salsa, avacado, sour cream, cole slaw, chili, Fritos etc.) Recently they’ve lost their liquor license so you can’t get PBRs with your “meal, but they will allow BYOB (liquor store is around the corner on A!). All I have to say is Good Morning and the Chihuahua with salsa baby!

So the NY classic street food wars are usually reserved for halal carts, taco stands, juice joints, and even Belgian waffles. NY’s hot dog history started with Nathan’s famous (Guidespot has a good review of many of the spots) but for my generation the dog wars started with the Papaya theme dog joints, and which spot is the best has been an on going debate for years.

There’s Papaya King (the original), Gray’s Papaya, Papaya Dog, and Chelsea Papaya (which apparently just shuttered with one of the King’s spots). I’ve later found out that all the joints (including Katz which has good dogs too) receive the same Sabrett dogs so it’s really comes down to how they cook it, the bun and toppings. I’ll say the King has the better papaya drink but Gray’s still takes the dog (and corn dogs!) of the four. Other than the Crif, I’ll take a Gray’s Papaya but I’m not one to go out of my way for hot dogs so I’m usually settling for a Papaya Dog, my 4th choice because of the stumbling convenience to my apt. Also Gray’s on 6th and W4th is stumbling blocks from my apt so it’s an apt spot to get off the A/C/C for a quick bite before turning in.

The filler above is lead-in for a story I wrote close to one year ago today but never posted it. Rather then back date this one, I thought it’d make for a good read:

It’s around 3:30 am. I know this because I got a missed text from a friend just 10 minutes earlier when checking to see if I was still in the bar. I’m a habitual Irish Goodbye type of person, so these are common late night.

I’m standing restless in a ridiculous line of hamburger fiends at my local hot dog stand, Papaya Dog. It’s inevitable some the line fills with drunks, and tonight’s no exception as two drunk goofs sashay in behind me.

I’m fiendishly waiting to yell out my order of recession special with onions as these two scoff at the bars they went to and excuse their own failures with women they can’t hook up with as “too many skanks” or “dumb bitches”. They wonder aloud, as I do in my head, when this line is going to move forward, faster…

Half way to the counter a black woman walks past us in a bright red leather Michael Jackson jacket from bad gear. She’s got a shaved head except for a black dyed mohawk, and it fans the grill chef as she spins her head around to make sure her order of more mustard for the dogs she bought earlier is all her friends need.

These two duchebags start making comments about monkeys and how a woman like that scored some kind of upgrade from the jungle attire she’s accustom too.

At first, I’m complacent with my silence. I just want to get my meat in tubes and bounce home.

In between their own complaints of not having a good bagels and cream cheese spot local, I start to notice the nuances of these two Jewish fuck’s comments about the locals around me. Their obviously not from the city limits but somewhere out on the Island.

One is obviously hammered by the sight of him, but his words seal that visual as each bitter jab come slurring out with spit, tongue and accent. The normally private conversation between the two, is obviously loud enough to be heard by the punk mustard chick, but I’m surprised she’s not reacting to the continued slurs of negra, monkey and hefty (like the trash bag).

I’m sick, not from the alcohol I’ve ingested all evening but now from these two fucks that think no one is obvious to them, yet they may be, it’s not like we are all sober and coherent here.

As we inch closer to the counter, my annoyance grows with my dog anticipation to the point I can’t take it any more and SNAP!!

“Oh fuck!”

“What the fuck!”


And they both run out with the yelling of “Fuck you!”…

I’m not sure if it was intentional or involuntary, but I had spun around quickly to tell these fucks to STFU when my elbow met one of them face high. Apparently at the same time I decided to spin, the drunker one was bending over to tie a shoe or eat some crumbs of the floor when the kinked point of my elbow smacked him full on in the face. Hard enough to to knock him back on his ass.

Now, it’s been over 10 years since I’ve been in a fight but and I’ve been much closer to fists than this, but my guard is up now. I did say anything except my exclamation but both somehow knew why I was reacting. It was like they were blabbing on, waiting for such a response but didn’t know what to do now that they got more than expected.

Apparently I popped this one’s nose and blood started gushing everywhere. On his shirt, shoes, the tile, his friends pants and hands… every where but on me. The more sober of the two started yelling and picked his friend up and kept walking out the door.

What a fucker… He deserved more but pussed out. I was prepared with shots of whiskey and pints of Stella to deal with his friend. As these two painted the floor red on the way out, I wanted to yell back, but just didn’t feel the need to rub it into their retreat.

I fucking hate racist assholes, especially those that feel they are entitled to their stature because of money, birth right or name…

Now. Where’s my Recession Special with onions!

Peeler Peddler Passes at 75: Joe Ades

When my fiance used to work in Union Square and I at home, I would walk through Washington square park to Union square and hang in the park or at the local Green market scoping for those elusive home made Apple donuts. There were many times I see this old cat, crouched over some cutting boards give his pitch for these $5 Swiss-made vegetable peelers in $1000 suits and a light British accent.

At first I was questionable of this man’s sanity and the more I saw his pitch and the rake in from it, I was amazed. This guy was out with a simple and friendly message for “the best peeler in the world” and “buy 4…. if you have friends unlike me”. He had a sense of accomplishment on his face, every time I saw him, as you would think any millionaire ceo would have. What I later learned is this guy has money, a Park Ave apartment, full 3 page article about him in Vanity Fair and goes out to all the nice restaurants in the upper west side. He survived his 4th wife and has put all his kids through college slanging vegetable peelers (or some product) for 60 years. He’s definitely a only in NYC type of character and will be missed by the community.

Here’s video of the pitch:

Here’s a bit done by NBC’s Today Show where Ades puts his wisdom in words, “Never underestimate a small amount of money gathered by hand for 60 years.”

Amazing Bowl XLII

It might as well be. This year’s Superbowl is right up there with the finish of last years Giant’s win over the 18-0 Patriots. I’m not going to argue with NYer’s or Steelers fans as to which was more significant because it’s just a football game, however, this was definitely a fun finale to the season to watch.

You have the underdog Cardinals, captained by the seasoned Kurt Warner who over came a fantastic game against the Carolina Panthers to be here. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers who clawed ugly game after ugly game up the mountain to get to the bowl game.

The spread was +6.5 favoring Pitt and after a disappointing 3-0 first half, I was thinking this one was going to be a bust.

This was historic for many reasons, Mike Tomlin is now the youngest coach in history to reach the Superbowl.

Then you have the longest play in Superbowl history with the interception at the goal line returned 100 yeards for a defensive touchdown by the Steelers James Harrison.

You have Larry Fitzgerald with 127 scratched out yards and two touch downs that brought Arizona back in the game for what seemed like a game winning drive in the bottom of the 4th quarter.

You have a historic, less than 3 minute, last ditch drive by the Steelers. Santonio Holmes capped a 8 play, 78 yard drive to win the game with 18 seconds left on the clock (click the video link above).

The Steelers have now won a record 6 Superbowls which makes them now the longest standing hated team.

Lastly, Club Jenna watchers in Arizona were interrupted by some football game. Talk about Bonus Coverage!

ESPN compared the two drives of this and the last bowl game in their similarity to yardage, timing and end result. I would argue you still have to say NY has the more amazing result in that NY was the underdog in last year’s game, and that the Steelers were just taking back their rightful spot from the hungry rookies. Regardless of the ridiculous lack of sportsmanship of the Steelers (kicking players when they are down, late hits, clipping and fights on the sidelines) they earned this amazing game for the record.

However, because of the economy no one would pony up to my pool so I didn’t have a shot at winning some funds this year. Next year guys…. Next year

UPDATE: 43 is now the most watched game ever according to Nielson Ratings.

Way out East

Last night I met up with friends to catch some Bosa Nova jazz at Zinc and then we hit Sulli Room again. This time our friends Sleepy and Boo were putting on a gig with Jody Wisternoff spinning. Jody is half the famed duo Way out West.

The crowd filled the room this evening, as compared to last nights, however, there still was an intensity missing. Jody’s deck skills are much more on point, however, I still prefer Nick Warren’s (the other half) style much better.

I got a chance to chat with Jody for a bit, and he seemed like a cocky brit but I’m sure he’s used to much larger, sold out shows than this cave. The Gift was one of the first “progressive” tracks that got me into buying this style in 95 – early 96. It’s too bad he didn’t play up some more funk, still it was worth our admission price.