Delawarean BBQ

_MG_1885I love venturing south of the Mason-Dixon line… Mainly because there are takeout BBQ places down there like Bootsie’s Barbecue.  Is Delaware the South technically?  Judging by the BBQ at Bootsie’s I’m inclined to say YES!

I surmise that the Southern-style road-stand is the most common street food vendor of the greater United States.  I think that in most rural areas you will encounter some kind of roadside food that will blow your taste-buds out of the solar system.

_MG_1953The pulled pork at Bootsie’s was super-amazing, but the BBQ Chicken was the BOMB.  Astonishingly juicy, really flavorful, and just oozing deliciousness.

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Check out the skin on the outside!  So crispy!  Booya.

Bootie’s is located way the heck down from NY/NJ going south on Route 1 in Delaware… and than make a right on Atlantic Avenue.  If you are ever on a road trip to see the Orioles play or like me just down there to hit up the shore, I recommend stopping on by!  Proof.

Bee Week NYC

Did you know that it is Pollinator’s Week in NYC?

Many local restaurants are offering honey-infused suppers and treats, including meade (fermented honey), which is the favorite drink of Robin Hood and Beowulf.  Be aware that if you have more than a few of these you will incur the worst hangover of your life.  I highly recommend diluting it with some ginger ale.

Check out these bee links for more info!

Hoagie Haven, Princeton NJ

Princeton, New Jersey is renowned for its quaintness, its university, its cool record store (the Princeton Record Exchange), fun-loving Skull and Bones type social clubs, and its proximity to New York City via mass transit.  However I also was cued into the fact that this burgh boasted a terrific hoagie Shop named Hoagie Haven (242 Nassau Street, Princeton NJ).

A Big Disappointment

A Big Disappointment

After taking the NJ transit train to the Princeton stop I disembarked and first perused a few vinyls at the record store.  After grabbing a Clash import that I had never seen before I was on a total high.  Adding to this feeling of euphoria was that this town was merely just a stop-over on my way to Philadelphia to catch a game of professional base-balling.

I needed to check out the hoagie spot before heading to the game because there is nothing better than going to the ballpark with a huge hero underneath your arm that forces everyone else in the stands to salivate and stare at your grinder with extreme envy.

As I approached 242 Nassau, I noticed that there was a large crowd both inside and out of the shop, also that the shop itself didn’t appear to have any seats or tables.  The crowd consisted of mostly college kids and a few teens fueling up before football practice.  This seemed like a good sign…  The menu was quite large.  It boasted cheesesteaks, meatball parmigiana, gyros, all kinds of hoagies, roast beef, turkey, Italian subs… the usual fare for a hoagie shop.  Whilst on line I noticed the first red flag: NO SOPRASATTA ON THE MENU!  Yikes.  Get real folks.  I thought we were in Jersey, what gives?

A Huge Letdown

A Huge Letdown

Okay, so I ordered an Italian sandwich: capicola (pronounced gabba-ghoul here in Brooklyn) provolone cheese, ham, and salami.  The man behind the counter asked if I wanted “everything on it” naturally I said yes.  To my chagrin, I noticed that he did not add any hot peppers, salt, pepper, or oregano.  When I told him to please do so, he seemed slightly perturbed, as if I was asking him to give me his first-born child.  Listen turkey, when I order a sandwich don’t give me back-talk.  Just do your friggin job and throw some oregano on my sub… CAPICHE?!?

How was the sandwich?  At first appearance, it looked pretty good.  It was well larger than my newly-purchased LP, and came amazingly in the same paper bag that a loaf of freshly baked Italian bread would come in… Well apparently judge this book by its cover!  If you like a huge loaf of bread, with a few 2nd rate cold cuts strewn atop it (completely flat, which was also reminiscent of the taste), be my guest.  I’d rather go to any corner deli in NYC, NJ, or Philly and get the real thing instead.

Negative Proof!  That’s all she wrote for you Hoagie Haven.

Greenpoint Candy Store

Slodycze Wedel, 772 Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint Brooklyn is a great Polish candy store that boasts an astonishing assortment of imported treats that you normally don’t see this side of the Elbe.

Here are a few pix:

This place really gives an interesting vibe.  You really feel like you are in Europe.  If anyone has been to any Northern or Central European country you tend to notice a candy culture that doesn’t seem to exist as much in the ole’ USA.  They take their chocolatiering quite seriously.  Here at Slodycze Wedel lots of rum and brandy filled chocolates fill these baskets in colorful and eye-catching foil wrappers.  Wafer cookies abound, also large and very artistic boxes of chocolates that seem like they were made for the court of the now-defunct Hapsburg dynasty in Vienna.  I’m going to go back and purchase the beautiful portrait-sized box of chocolates for next year’s mother’s day.  Proof.

Chocolate Covered Bacon

A Well-Oiled Machine

A Well-Oiled Machine

 They say when you die you see a white light…….But what do you taste?  My friends–I think I have found the answer.  CHOCOLATE COVERED BACON.    A savvy friend, aware of the Machine’s love of bacon happened to pick some of this up at his local gourmet supermarket. 

I imagine some of you are aghast at this seemingly blasphemous combination…and you are not alone.  Observers who waited for my first bite proclaimed “Gross!” “EWW!”  “THAT AIN’T RIGHT!”

But RIGHT it BE folks.  As my friend prepared me for my taste of glory, he explained he was so moved that he had to drop to one knee.  And he was right.  This stuff is seriously good.  The key is the balance.  You have the fantastic salty sweet combination.  Then, you have the soft melt of the chocolate surrounding the satisfying crispiness of the bacon.  It’s a perfect marriage. 

My apologies for the inferior nature of the photo.  Quite like Bigfoot, chocolate covered bacon does not last long in the wild.

So get out there and find some.  The Machine is planning on making some home made choco-baco when I get the right shipment from the BMOC.  Stay tuned.

Phish Food

Shakedown Street

Shakedown Street

What do hippies eat?  We have all pondered this question.    Apparently, it’s pretty diverse and tasty stuff.  I brought a digital SLR camera to the 2009 Jones Beach Phish show last Tuesday, and I must say that I was pretty impressed by the offerings of the vendors on Shakedown Street.  What does that mean you might ask?  Shakedown Street means (for those not in the know) the main drag at any proper U.S. hippie festival or concert where you can barter, buy, or exchange wares of any sort.  Usually it is in the middle of the main parking lot, with a lot of tented pavilions and people traffic occurring.  Also apparently it is the name of a Grateful Dead song and the album it appears in.

Tune in tomorrow for the much more descriptive photo gallery!

Reinheitsgebot

I'll Have A Cold One Please

I'll Have A Cold One Please

Germany invented purity laws for it’s beer production in 1516 called “Der Reinheitsgebot.” I gotta respect that.  The main premise is this, only water, hops, and barley were allowed in the production of beer.  Notice this makes no provision for wheat… which to me makes a lot of sense, wheat beers are for poseurs and Carneys.  Luckily it did lead to the prevalence of the delicious Pilsner style beers that are all the rage with the major German Breweries.

The reason why I decided to check this out, is because there I was, happily drinking an icy cold Kronenbourg when I discovered TO MY HORROR that they did NOT abide by the Reinheitsgebot.  For shame Kronenbourg!  What are you adding to your beers?  Why did you go against the elder wise men of the German beer brewing tradition?  I know you are technically in France, but Alsace/Lorraine is as German as France gets!  You should at least follow the one thing that the Germans seem to know how to do better than French people, and that’s brew tasty lagers and Pilsners (and bratwursts and pretzels). 

Consider yourself banned from my fridge Kronenbourg.  I’m walking out the door to pick up a Beck’s instead.

Hamburger America

Here are a few clips from a great documentary called Hambuger America.  It explores different kinds of amazing hamburger joints in different states of the Union.  This documentary originally appeared on the Sundance channel a few years back, and I highly recommend giving it a view on DVD.

This clip is about a restaurant called the “Bobcat Bite” in New Mexico. I have never craved a chile cheeseburger (green chiles that is) more in my life than after watching this:

This video is about a hamburger joint called Ted’s Restaurant in Connecticut where they steam their burgers (White Castle also uses a steaming method to cook their bellybombs). The cheddar cheese on top looks amazing, kind of the same consistency you would get in a mac and cheese dish.

Pick up the DVD to watch more amazing videos. I recommend checking out the “Butter Burger” from a restaurant in Wisconsin. They look like a life-affirming experience.