Category Archives: Uncategorized

I Dreamed of a Jeep

I had a Jeep. I was in a parking lot somewhere. Lucy, the white poodle, was with me. I got out of the Jeep. I wanted to lock the Jeep, but could not figure out the key fob. There were buttons for everything on there. Lift gate. Headlights. Horn. Even to switch the thing to 4WD. But nothing to lock the Jeep. I could not lock the Jeep.

Also, I was wearing no pants.

A Most Frustrating Brooklyn Barbecue: A Tale

The Command Center

The Command Center

 

It was time again for me to host the annual company barbecue. That meant 30 or more people coming over to the apartment in Brooklyn. That meant pounds and pound of meat. It meant bags and bags of charcoal. It meant hours and hours of work.

All of which is to say I was excited! And agitated. And nervous. A lot could go wrong, starting with the annual prediction of 60% chance of rain. I have a back yard just big enough for 30-some-odd people. I have an apartment that is smaller than the back yard. So, you do the math. But the chance of rain diminished throughout the week until the weather on the day of the actual event looked like it was supposed to be sunshine and lollipops. The day of cooking, on the other hand, looked to be a steady fall of rain.

Oh, yes. This is a two-day cooking affair. Three days if you include shopping. But it was all under control. I’ve done this before. Even if I haven’t mastered my brisket (shut up) just yet, I have the process down to a science.

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And the Best Place to Get Cajun Food in New York Is . . .

Hard to get reservations at this joint.

Hard to get reservations at this joint.

Recently I did an interview with Deep South Magazine. I liked it because we talked less about Sweet as Cane, Salty as Tears and more about my favorite subject: me.
 
 
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.
 

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Legal Trouble: Call 1-800-JESUS-DEFENSE

This morning so far:

Jesus Lawyer

"Judge, this guy is a Dallas Cowboys fan. Hasn't he suffered enough?"

“Judge, this guy is a Dallas Cowboys fan. Hasn’t he suffered enough?”

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.

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PSA: Get Your Scroll Bars Back!

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.

Boo-day! Also: Lost in Translation — French vs. French

Yall don’t bouder! I know I forgot even more words in my previous two talking funny posts (here and here).

Mais! If yall wanna buy my book, yall could do that, yeah. Just click.

Mais! If yall wanna buy my book, yall could do that, yeah. Just click.

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:

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Hometown Barbecue Is Good Eats, but …

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.
Service: Good.
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.