Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Food Journey: Sakura in Park Slope

Welcome to Sakura, on 388 Fifth Avenue, near Sixth St, in lovely Park Slope, the jewel of Brooklyn (it's the neighborhood that's the jewel, though the restaurant was a delight..)

Warm squares of sumptuous tofu...

A trio of savory seaweeds...

Like snow to the Eskimos and chili peppers to the Mexicans, the Japanese must have several dozen words for pickle...

I love this sake decanter with thin primary color stripes...

Now this was VERY special. It's a spring roll of cooked pork, papaya, flavored veggies and sauce, wrapped in a paper-thin casing, to be dipped in the swwet orange-red sauce to the left, and the soy sea of sesame right below it...

I believe this desert, with textures of fruit and Jello, had an almond flavor. I liked it, and I'm no friend of Jello...

Our nearly all vegetarian bacchanalia included this unusual roll of pickled goodies with a touch of horseradish. Pesach roll? : - )

Cartoon du Jour:

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Friday, May 30, 2008

As promised Wednesday, the conclusion to the 'Mothers In Law' 'locked up in Los Angeles'

Nice Day For A... White Wedding...

Scenes from Jon and Oriyan's wedding.. the chupah, canopy of traditional Jewish weddings, literally glowed in the later afternoon sun...

It's the groom, my friend Jonathan, left, with our friend and former co-worker Pedro, whose eyes are actually blue, not red...

Here's the bride, Oriyan, with Jon and his niece, sitting on a loveseat as their friends and family folk-dance around them..

The wedding venue was the lovely Carlyle in Farmingdale, which is actually part of Bethpage State Park. It's owned by the same people as the Carltun in Eisenhower Park, where my sister and her husband married in 1988.

And here I am....

Cartoon du Jour:

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

This is lovely. Thank you, Spoon

The Taco Truck, The Colombia Bus

It only comes out in the evening, and it vanishes with the morning light. It's the Taco Truck, God bless it, parked on W 14th St just east of 8th Avenue, providing excellent, natural, spicy and nutritious snacks for the young, the restless, the club-addled, and the work-stressed...


As you can see these taste treats are yours for just $2 each - two of them is an ample meal on the run. Very much like their Mexico City counterparts, these tacos are served in soft tortillas. The available fillings that define each taco range from chicken to sausage to tongue, lamb, and skirt steak. What are you waiting for, New York? It's the Taco Truck!

I'm no stranger to the Taco Trunk, but the Colombia Bus remains a mystery to me...
I spotted it in Park Slope on Friday, and was intrigued by its neon-decoration and festive goings-on. But where it comes from, I do not know. I did not ask...

My only clue: Toury Chivas of Colombia Inc, 718-267-7764. I'll perhaps investigate this over the weekend when I have more energy.. Unless my loyal readership resolves to clarify the conundrum before then...

Feel its festive Colombian colors, the red, yellow, and blue of its flag....

And away it goes...... a float in search of a parade?

Cartoon du Jour:

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

This is classic and hilarious.... Conclusion on Friday...

Flower Power

I've made no secret of my fondness for flowers. Lately I've been treating myself to fresh flowers weekly...

I'm not even sure what these are called, I just love looking at them and enjoying their pleasant aroma.... Again, I used the interesting technique of photographing them in pitch blackness using a flash, for effect....

My holiday weekend was mostly great - splendid weather, nice balance of activities/company and rest/solitude. The wedding Sunday evening was intense - I felt vicarious joy in the couple's happiness and their adoring families, fascination identification with Hebrew language and lore....

The food at the reception was lovely and tasteful, but I think that a rich chocolate-raspberry concotion disagreed with me, and this disagreement carried over well into the following day... So Monday I was 'illin - I thought I'd be sick yesterday, too, but woke up in fine form...

Cartoon du Jour:

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Northern Exposure Part 2: In The Other Heights

In late April I spent a blustery spring day with Fernando wandering around North of 125ths St 'In The Heights..' Not the Washington Heights, subject of a current Broadway musical, since W.H. extends from 155th St all the way up to Inwood and the Bronx. But rather Hamilton Heights, which runs from 135th to 155th.

Hamilton Heights includes the elegant Sugar Hill rectangle in its northern section, which during the Harlem Renaissance was home to Duke Ellington and Thurgood Marshall...

'Sugar Hill,' for many fortysomethings, evokes their first exposure to a rap song back in 1979, the Sugar Hill Gang's Rappers' Delight...

Before we get to my Hamilton Heights photos, here's some highlights from the aforementioned musical about those other heights...

Inlaid statue at City College.. He/she seems to be carrying dynamite and a spice container.. What could it all mean?

City College is the intersection of Ivy League splendor and the workaday grey grid of Manhattan... I love the arched, gated entrance way... across a street....
DSC03586< In a neighborhood of elegant brownstones and timeless brick, these boarded-up dwellings are a rarity...

Mishkin's pharmacy is 108 years old, a time capsule on a corner....

Cartoon du Jour:

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Monday, May 26, 2008


Jon & Oriyan were married yesterday before hundreds of loving eyes in a shining sea of good karma. The ceremony & reception were both joyously traditional and uniquely personal. Here the happy couple's first dance to the silky strains of 'I Second That Emotion...'

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Quit Your Day Job!

What a glorious valentine to 60s pop - imagine Dusty Springfield in Motown produced by Phil Spector.

I'm in love with the surprise treat that is 'Volume One,' the luminous, shimmering debut from She & Him, who provide today's SOTW, 'Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?. David gave me this album a month ago and it's slowly won me over, song by song.

This masterpiece serves some of its gems in a wall of sound, and others with near-acoustic intimacy, a cheerful musical phone call that you know is long distance but sounds like it's in the same room as you....

Anybody who sings, performs, and writes music this well probably shouldn't waste much time acting, in my humble opinion.

She & Him are actress Zooey Deschanel and M. (Matt) Ward, her pal from their native Portland OR - Zooey sings and plays piano and banjo while Matt provides guitar and production.

Two album tracks are lovely unplugged honky-tonk remakes of 60s classics, the Beatles' 'I Should Have Known Better' and Smokey Robinson's 'You Really Got A Hold On Me.'

Of course, I haven't seen any major screen work of Zooey Deschanel, the 'She' in 'She & Him,' and don't remember her celebrated bit parts in either 'Mumford' or 'Almost Famous.' But below, after the video clips, are some excerpts of her screen work...

No video clips from this group yet... but here's a fan clip of irresistible single 'Sweet Darlin'... this song feels like 4-year-old Aaron riding in the back of his parents' car... It was co-written by fellow actor/musician Jason Schwartzman

But here are She & Him performing 'Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?' live backed by the legendary Yo La Tengo..

Here's Zooey acting in 'Winter Passing.' She's not bad...

Here's Zooey in 'Live Free Or Die:'

Cartoon du Jour:

Engrish du Jour: Menu - Incomprehensible

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Spring cleaning, the gym, some audiobook-reading, and now off to Jon's wedding...

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Happy Birthday, Pat!

It's always a pleasure to birthday-salute a great friend - I just wish I were a better portrait photographer. I've known Pat Stumpp since the first day of my 26-year career, which means that of all my friends only my family's known me longer...
I've always admired Pat greatly for many reasons - she's been a role model for me of sorts, for both her consummate professionalism and her intense loyalty to her family, through thick and thin. We both grew up in Nassau County, grandchildren of immigrants, in the great post-war suburban splendor... So many memories...

Fiery Volcano Lava

Add a little glamour, and that's how I would describe the Long Blondes' vocalist, Kate Jackson, whose vocal timber and cutting intensity recall a young Chrissie Hynde... But before we get to last week's Long Blondes concert, here's a REAL volcano eruption from Southern Chile - the Llaima (Yahy-ma) erupted on back on New Year's Day.. Here it is in glorious living color, from LiveLeak.com...

Yes, Long Blondes modernize the Pretenders' taut and lean tough-girl new wave, but they're gloriously inventive in doing so.. Here's the lovely rock lament of 'Weekend Without Makeup'

This decent-sized clip of 'You Could Have Both' cuts right through, with energy, grit, and bared truth to spare...

My photos are farm from perfect, but they do prove that I was there : - )


Cartoon du Jour:

Engrish du Jour: We Have To Get At The Root Causes of Horniness...

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

My arms aching from three intense hours of kayaking on Hackensack River with Sundance mid-day, I'm off to see a summer blockbuster, 'Iron Man,' across the street...

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The Food Journey: My Fantastic Four

One food journey I've made frequently of late leads to the juicy goodness of fresh vegetable and fruit drinks from Pita City on 180 Seventh Avenue, between 20th and 21st streets..

They offer four awesome set recipes, but will also mix and match as you desire. I frequently order all four juices, to be home delivered and savored over a few days. Here are the four combinations...

From left to right:

1. Carrot - Beet - Celery - Ginger
2. Apple - Pineapple - Orange - Ginger
3. Cucumber - Lemon - Celery - Ginger
4. Orange - Carrot - Beet - Ginger.

I really dig ginger. It's good for you, you know..

Cartoon du Jour:

Engrish du Jour: Get Up Off Your Excellency Seat...

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Palisades Then and Now

Last Saturday's hike to Palisades/Great Stairs (see Tuesday post) was quite a workout. More pictures today, and a video clip shot during our picnic lunch on the giant boulders on that sun-drenched day. But, first, my first memory of the name 'Palisades,', from an late-1960s TV commercial for the late, great amusement park.. 'Come... on... over...'

My video masterpiece on the Giant Stairs...

More highlights...
Here's one of many waterfalls we encountered..


Aaron experiments with cool photographic effects..

Funky shore plants...

It was a complex climb, with loose, slippery rocks and branches of varying reliability. I have the scrapes, scratches, and bruises to show for it

Boulders, up close and personal...

Cartoon du Jour:

Engrish du Jour: Worst Brand Name Of The Year

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