- And the Best Place to Get Cajun Food in New York Is . . .
- Legal Trouble: Call 1-800-JESUS-DEFENSE
- PSA: Get Your Scroll Bars Back!
- Boo-day! Also: Lost in Translation — French vs. French
- Even More Talkin’ Funny: Louisiana Style
- Hometown Barbecue Is Good Eats, but …
- Things You Can’t Do Without a Thumb
- Talkin’ Funny: Louisiana Style
- The New E-Book Is Here! The New E-Book Is Here!
- “I Don’t Care What They Think” and Other Lies Writers Tell
- A Healthy Fear of Botulism
- Ace o’ Spades
- Alarming News
- Campaign Trail
- Dawn Summers
- Dorothy Parker Was Being Nice
- Fucked in Park Slope
- I Can Has Cheezburger
- Ireland Adventure
- Jason Primm
- Kendra Cunningham (Blonde Logic)
- Kensington Books
- Lee Greenfeld (Achilles In the Alleyway)
- Lileks: The Bleat
- Luis Alberto Urrea
- My Twitter
- Robert George
- That's What She Said
- The Awl
- The Homesick Texan
- The Nondating Life
- The Subway Chronicles
- This Fish Needs a Bicycle
Actually, we talked a bit about the experience of being Cajun in New York. The first thing Erin Z. Bass asked me to do was to sum up that experience in just a few words. This is typically the sort of question that stops me in my tracks. I have to sit there and think about it for days. Cara once asked me what my favorite movie was. That was four years ago and I’m still working on it.
But then it came to me. The easiest way to sum up being Cajun in New York is the phrase: “No, I’m not from New Orleans.” Most of you from Louisiana — especially all the parts that aren’t New Orleans — will know exactly what I mean. (I do note the irony of this as most people outside of New York automatically assume all New Yorkers are from New York City–and New York is a much bigger state than Louisiana.)
We also talked about food! And where to get it. So go read! (Is this click-bait? You’ll have to click to find out. You won’t believe what happens next.)
Elsewhere, a few sources have read the book and said nice things about it.
This morning so far:
Upon boarding the 4 Train at Nevins Street, I find myself on a car with a subway preacher. But not just any subway preacher. Not the angry old lady shouting at the top of her lungs with righteous fury. I HATE that woman. I don’t go shouting at you first thing in the morning that you’re going to die and then never feel anything, not even regret, so you better make the most of your life while you have it. So don’t go shouting at me that I’m going to burn in hell. When she’s on the train, I will switch cars or dig out my headphones and listen to music — something like Jessie J, because I have it on good authority that subway preachers HATE Jessie J.
No, this guy was dressed for work. In construction. Hard hat and everything.
He was Jamaican. And when I walked onto the train, he was in the middle of a story about a guy going up before the judge for some crime. And the judge wants to throw the book at the criminal, but the judge has a relationship with the defense attorney, who puts in a good word and — well, I wasn’t clear if the guy got off or just had his sentence reduced. But either way, when you die, it apparently really pays to have Jesus as your defense attorney, especially when his Old Man is the judge.
Hi there! Were you recently forced to update your operating system to Lion? Are you annoyed by the fact that your scroll bars disappeared? (Let’s just skip the part about it slowing down your computer and kinda-sorta feeling like a Windows update.)
Guess what! You can get them back.
1. Click on the little Apple in the top left of your screen.
2.Click on System Preferences.
3. Click on General Preferences.
4. In the middle of that General Preference screen, you’ll see “Show scroll bars.”
5. Select “Always.”
There you go. Your scroll bar is back. You’re welcome.
Including, of course, bouder — pronounced boo-day — a word used to this day by Cajuns in all regions and instantly recognizable to even those without a lick of French. Maybe I blocked it out because I heard it so much growing up.
Bouder: to sulk, pout.
I sulked and pouted a lot as a kid. Well, most kids do I guess. The funny thing about the word is that it’s been English-ized. So instead of conjugating it as a French verb, it gets treated as an English one. Bouder, boudering, boudered. Obviously this works better if you spell it phonetically.
He’s boo-daying because I wouldn’t let him have no coffee milk.
She boo-dayed all day long because we ate her pet rabbit.
Speaking of pets:
Mais! Last week, I wrote a little post about some of the ways we talk in South Louisiana. The response was ridiculous. And by ridiculous I mean amazing. That post was passed around like a bottle of Strawberry Hill in a minivan full of high-school girls going to an Opelousas bonfire in 1990. (I need to work on that analogy). The craziest thing is that with all the page views and over 250 comments, everyone — with one exception — was NICE. That doesn’t happen on the internet very much.
Thank yall for all the comments and for being so damn polite.
But I’m not writing a follow-up post in a shameless attempt for more blog traffic. I’m writing a follow-up post because I’m embarrassed by how much I missed — and at least one thing I got wrong.
Perhaps I’m getting old, lazy, spoiled or all three, but my first impression upon walking into Hometown Barbecue in Red Hook was, “Not this bullshit seating situation.”
I know some places in Texas do it. I know Mighty Quinn’s in Manhattan does it. That doesn’t make it okay. And what is it? First you stand in line for 30 minutes or so to get your meat — which I’m perfectly fine with — but then you face the possibility of standing there with a tray of meat hoping someone vacates a table. Not quite as bad as Mighty Quinn’s, but it immediately adds a level of stress to the experience. Or, as one of our party said, after watching people snake tables or sit there for entirely too long, “It makes me think people are dicks. I don’t want to go to a place that makes me think people are dicks.”
I was also a little stressed by the fact that a few people who know from food absolutely raved about this place. I was hoping they were right, that I wouldn’t have to completely re-engineer my opinion of their opinions. As it is, I’m never taking Pete Wells seriously on the subject of barbecue again after I finally ate at Fletchers, which was some of the worst barbecue I’ve had in the city.
Thankfully, my friends aren’t crazy people with deluded taste buds as the product at Hometown is solid. Well, the meat on MY plate was good. All four of us ordered brisket and it wasn’t exactly consistent — some of it moist and delicious, some of it dry and chalky. Brisket, of course, is tough to get right. The pulled pork was excellent. The pork belly was good. The spare ribs were … they were out of spare ribs. Which is fine. This happens at barbecue places. The jerk baby-back ribs, on the other hand, had a nice flavor but also seemed like they’d been drying out in an oven somewhere.
The sauces, which I don’t usually go for, were excellent.
There is no wait service in the traditional sense, but we were definitely taken care of while waiting in line, with a bartender taking drink orders and checking on us from time to time. Nice vibe in the backroom thanks to live country music.
I’d definitely recommend giving it a shot, especially if you happen to be in the neighborhood. It’s better than Dinosaur, Wildwood, Blue Smoke — and I’d probably rank it above Mighty Quinn’s. But if I’m being honest, with Morgan’s a couple blocks from my apartment and a Hill Country in downtown Brooklyn, I’m not sure I’d make a special trip out to Red Hook. Like those other two, it’s a great neighborhood barbecue place — but because of it’s location, it’s a pain in the ass to get to (which, I know, is one of Red Hook’s charms), and I am a lazy person who isn’t a fan of taking two slow buses to get to a place. Of course, you can take a car — it was $11 from Park Slope — which isn’t horrible and the ride was fairly quick.
Meat: Fair to excellent.
Ambiance: Felt like a barbecue joint, but seating situation may stress you out.
That’s my two cents — and I’ll throw in a couple of smoky barbecue burps.
When I need to slice things, I almost always reach for a knife. I’ve spent good money on some very sharp knives and I get a certain joy in using them.
But last week, looking to bake some potato chips on a week night, I thought to myself “Why make things so hard. There’s a mandolin somewhere in this kitchen. Use that.”
So I found the thing, fiddled with it and puzzled over it like a monkey trying to figure out a plastic water bottle, then started slicing. Things were going great and I was wondering why I’d never used it before.