Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Perfect Boiled Egg (in an Instant Pot)

InstantPot

A quick note: If you came here via search, you don’t need four thousand words about how and why I came to own an Instant Pot and how fucking amazing it is (it’s amazing). You also don’t need three thousand words on the history or science behind boiling eggs.

No.

You a) have an Instant Pot and b) are sick as hell of boiled eggs that are undercooked, overcooked or — worst of all — shredding to pieces when you peel them. You’ve tried every “hack” there is in a regular pot. Screw that. Try this once and you’ll never “boil” eggs any other way ever again (well, until the power grid is destroyed).

How to boil eggs in your Instant Pot:

  • Get your Instant Pot
  • Get some eggs
  • Get a vegetable steamer insert or the trivet that came with the Instant Pot
  • Get a cup or cup and a half of water
  • Put the water in the pot
  • Put the steamer insert or trivet in the pot
  • Put as many eggs as you want in the pot
  • Put the lid on the pot
  • Set the pot to Manual for 5 Minutes (if you have an older one that allows you to set the pressure, set it to high)
  • Let it do its thing. You go do something else with your time. Wash the dishes or something
  • When it’s done, use a quick release
  • Put the eggs in an ice bath to stop cooking
  • ENJOY YOUR EASY-TO-PEEL EGGS

There you go. Was that so hard?

 

Iceland: Went There, Did Some Things

IMG_5987It was on the second day in Iceland that I realized I should have been careful about over-excursion. Oh, sure, there was a small element of over-exertion. But as our Extreme Iceland van was still half an hour from Reykjavik at 8:45 p.m. and most restaurants in town — particularly those around our hotel — closed at 10, I thought maybe I had over-scheduled us.

We’d arrived at 7 a.m. the previous morning and blew through Customs (they’d get us on the way out), snagged an early check-in, went out for a two-hour walking tour of Reykjavik, then a couple more hours on our own. After dinner that evening, we went on a Northern Lights excursion that had us out until 1 in the morning (more on that later, or in a different post). And then we were up at 6:30 to grab breakfast and, at 9 a.m., head out for 11 hours of sight-seeing and something called a glacier hike. The next day, a tour of the Golden Circle. The day after that, Blue Lagoon and a snorkeling trip.

Would I do it differently? Maybe. I’m pretty sure Cara would. I’d likely move things around some and add another day just to kick around Reykjavik at leisure. It would have been nice to check out some of the museums. I definitely regret not getting to the Icelandic Phallological Museum (yes, it’s a penis museum). I don’t feel any pangs about missing the opportunity to get drunk at the bars on the tourist strip. And this wasn’t a culinary vacation. We weren’t interested in the most unique aspects of Icelandic cuisine. As much as I like to stick new types of animal flesh in my face, it isn’t clear if the whale and puffin served at some places is actually sustainable now that tourists are chowing down on it. And I’ve got an admittedly irrational aversion to horse, even if it is on the menu at some restaurants. Sheep and cow, no problem. Horse? Nope.

There's a perfectly fine sheep over there.

How you gonna eat this face?

As far as the infamous fermented shark, the locals don’t eat it much anymore and seem to view it mostly as a funny prank to play on visitors. I watched an episode of “No Reservations” once in which Anthony Bourdain said it was too much for him. And if it’s too much for a guy like that … no thank you.

Iceland is a beautiful country with stark landscapes. That’s what we wanted to experience. Maybe we crammed too much stuff in, but we went in thinking, “We might only do this once.” I came out thinking, “We need to come back during the summer and see the whole island.”

THE TRIP
Sometimes I think it’s as much fun planning and researching a trip like this as it is actually going on the trip. You get your copy of Lonely Planet, you spend a hundred hours on Trip Advisor (half of that laughing at German reviewers bitching about misaligned tiles in the hotel bathroom and particularly stupid Americans blaming the hotel for the weather) and you scour the web for “secret” tips. One website that proved invaluable in terms of a starting point, was I Heart Reykjavik. In particular, the post “How to Spend Four Days in Iceland in Winter (Without Renting a Car)” was tailor made for my needs on this particular trip. You can actually book trips through the site (though we ended up booking pretty much everything through Extreme Iceland).

THE HOTEL
We stayed at Icelandair’s Reykjavik Marina. You’ll never guess where it is. It’s near the marina! We wanted something that was cool, perhaps a little different, and that wasn’t on the tourist strip (but was serviced by excursion companies). It’s hard to judge walking distances with Google Maps sometimes, but the hotel was a five-to-ten-minute walk to the central part of town — and that’s taking into consideration ice-slicked sidewalks after the country was hit by a record snowfall.

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Plain exterior hides a vibrant interior.

Marina fits squarely in the hipstery boutique space — but without all the dirty hipsters. The lobby housed loads of great common areas, including Slippbarinn (a well-liked restaurant and cocktail bar), a library, gym, theater, lounge and a cafe. A few fire places made it a great place to return to after a long day freezing your tail off.

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View from room’s balcony.

The room was small, but adequate and even had a balcony. If it was the sort of trip where we spent more time at the hotel it might have proved problematic, but it served our needs. It had the sort of queen bed created by throwing two twin mattresses on a box spring, which is sort of perfect for couples who are well beyond the cuddling stage (or who might toss and turn a lot).

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Marina at morning, out back of hotel.

But fair warning to new couples. There are bigger rooms in this hotel, but I’m going to assume the bathroom situation is the same in all of them. The bathroom — a sink, a toilet and a shower (no tub) — is separated from the room by a very thin sliding glass door. If you’re not yet at the “I’m comfortable with those horrible noises/smells my true love makes” stage in your relationship, you might want to consider another hotel.

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My drinking buddy.

The Slippbarinn. If you’re going to Iceland, guidebooks, websites and friends are going to tell you to go there. Conveniently enough, we were staying right above it. It is a trendy, happening place and hopping on weekend nights. That said, I wasn’t blown away by its cocktails, some of which had up to seven ingredients. The food echoed the cocktails, some of the dishes going for experimental whether the dish came together or not. The gratinated cheese with honey was the standout of our meal there. It’s basically Icelandic queso. And you can’t go wrong with queso.

The Exit. I was going to do one master post, but I’m too long-winded for that. So I’ll include Day One here and then get to the other days after. But before doing that, a word about leaving Iceland. While there are evening flights out of the country that give you another day of sight seeing or floating in the Blue Lagoon (and thanks to time zones, get you home at a reasonable hour), we booked a morning flight out. I get too antsy about departure times and all that to really enjoy a half day and Cara wanted a full day at home to just relax before going back to work.

I know this sounds completely anal, but you really need to leave Reykjavik at least three hours before departure. The flights, it seems, depart in clusters, meaning everyone gets to the airport at the same time. And while getting into Iceland was a breeze, getting out of Iceland was a pain in the ass. I’m not sure if they honestly think there are terrorists trying to sneak into the U.S. via Iceland or if it’s part of their employ-every-person program, but

  • the kiosks might give you a boarding pass, but they won’t let you check bags
  • while in the bag-check line, all passengers were stopped and questioned by security (the same questions the kiosk would usually ask)
  • after getting through security and before boarding the plane, the same security guards stop and ask the same passengers the same questions
  • bonus: Cara got pulled over at the gate for special screening

To say this slowed things down would be an understatement. As a point of reference, I went to Jamaica last week and they barely even looked at me as I went through security. I’m not saying that’s a GOOD thing, but it was odd that Iceland, which seems so efficient and hospitable about everything else, made leaving such a pain in the ass.

And if you ARE taking a morning flight, I’d suggest saving up some cash for a cab ride to the airport. While a Flybus van can and will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the main bus terminal, the airport buses leave every hour on the half hour, which may force you to wake up even earlier or get to the airport with under two hours to spare. Also, depending on the time of day, the main bus terminal can be a bit insane. It’s the staging ground for all the major big-tour companies. We only went through it once on the a trip to the Blue Lagoon and it looked and felt like a Nordic version of the fall of Saigon, as hundreds of people in winter clothes ran through snow and puddles trying to find the right tour bus at the right time. I don’t need that excitement before the sun comes up, so taxi it was.

And, yes, for a 45-minute ride from Reykjavik to the airport, it did end up costing around $200 U.S.

DAY 1: The War on Naps

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The flight to Iceland from New York on Delta was an overnight flight that arrived at 7:30 in the morning. We took a bus from the airport to the hotel. It was either a $28-per-person bus ticket or $200 taxi ride. I figured we’d try the bus to the hotel and consider a cab for the return trip since we’d be leaving so early. The Flybus Airport Shuttle is a fine, clean, luxurious bus, complete with WiFi. The $28 price gets you a transfer to a van and they’ll take you directly to your hotel. You can also arrange to be dropped off at the Blue Lagoon and then go to your hotel later.

Iceland is four or five hours ahead of Eastern Time depending on the time of the year. The time difference combined with an overnight flight means one thing for the experienced traveler: YOU MUST NOT NAP. OH MY GOD, WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T FALL ASLEEP! Apparently overnight international travel is the same as suffering a concussion.

I get it. I get it. You suffer on the first day to get on schedule with the new environs. Sometimes this is helped out by a hotel that won’t let you check in until 3 p.m. The Marina hotel, however, had our room ready. Still, we resisted the siren call of the comfy bed and the down comforters, threw on a couple more layers and headed out into the streets.

We’d scheduled a two-hour walking tour with CityWalk at noon, so had some time to kill. A short walk through some slippery streets found us at the Stofan Cafe, a lovely place just on the outer edge of the tourist area that served up big breakfasts and hot coffee (and beer) at reasonable-for-Iceland prices. Put another way, two breakfasts and coffee ran us $37 U.S.

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The Parliament building.

Nothing is cheap in Iceland with the exception of stunning views and glacier water. Oh, and the CityWalk walking tour. It’s free! Sort of. It’s billed as free, but participants are encouraged to make a donation after the tour based on what they thought it was worth. Suggested donations on sites like TripAdvisor range wildly, so we went with $40 a person. (You literally put your money in a bag while the guide isn’t looking, so if you’re a cheapskate prone to peer pressure, you can definitely get away with less.)

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Was it worth $40? I’d argue yes. Marteinn, our guide for the day, gave us quite a bit of history and trivia, as well as a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and a few jokes you likely wouldn’t get away with in the states. He was also prepared to answer questions regarding the economy (including the 2008 collapse), where to eat, and the gender makeup of parliament. Fun fact learned from the walk: You graduate high school in Iceland at age 20 with four languages under your belt. Icelandic kids speak Icelandic (or Viking as I like to call it), start learning English upon entry to school, start learning Danish in sixth grade and then must choose another language in high school. Most American students, of course, struggle with English.

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Anyway, the two-hour walk is not strenuous under normal circumstances, but was a little treacherous due to ice patches and piled up snow. We did get to walk out onto a frozen lake. Also, here’s a work of art in the town hall. Yes. It is a vagina. They take their gender equality seriously in Iceland.

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After the tour, Cara and I walked the town a little bit more and found ourselves at the most prominent feature of Reykjavik’s skyline, the Hallgrimskirkja Lutheran church. If you’re there, check it out. Be sure to go to the top. The line moved fairly quickly and the views are great.

We made our way back to the hotel, might have taken a tiny little nap, and then headed to dinner at Icelandic Fish and Chips, which was perfectly adequate, even if the chips weren’t actually chips (i.e., french fries) and rather were roasted potatoes. Before anyone starts in with, “You went all the way to Iceland and ate fish and chips,” just shut it. Fish and chips is practically one of the national dishes.

And then it was time for …

THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

The good folks at Extreme Iceland were scheduled to pick us up between 9 and 9:30 p.m. This pick-up window led to a little anxiety on our parts for most of our time there. Imagine a group of tourists who’ve all booked trips but with different excursion companies milling around a waiting area, checking their watches, wondering if they’re standing in the wrong area or if the tour guide forgot about them. Yes, it very much resembled a bunch of dogs waiting for their owner to get home. Every time another van rolled up, ears perked up, eyes got big and someone ran in a circle.

Why did we book almost everything through Extreme Iceland? BECAUSE WE’RE EXTREME! I don’t know. A mixture of excursions we wanted, smaller tours and an easy-to-use website. I can’t compare it to other companies of the same size, but I most definitely want the casino-bus experience, 150 people older, cranky people worried more about their feeding schedule and discounts at the gift shop rather than what’s around them. All of our Extreme Iceland guides were great and the buses and vans even had WiFi (sometimes it was spotty, but free WiFi on your tour van is pretty cool).

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And they stopped to let us pee.

We picked the Magical Auroras Evening Tour. Here’s the thing about auroras, magical or otherwise. They don’t much care that you’re in Iceland looking for them. They don’t care if seeing them is on your bucket list or that it’s the main reason you came to the country and you only have three nights to see them. There are apps that try to predict aurora action, but they’re not necessarily reliable. And if it’s partly cloudy, the folks at Extreme Iceland will drive you around the southern part of the country looking for better viewing.

In one respect, we were lucky. Since it was a perfectly clear night over the entirety of southern Iceland, we only had to drive 15 minutes out Reykjavik and set up shop. On top of this, there’d been spectacular aurora action earlier that same week. While the northern lights typically start dancing between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., they’d been seen as early as 8:30 p.m. that week. In fact, the night we were going out, the city shut down all of its street lights for 45 minutes on the Friday night we set out.

But it wasn’t long before it seemed our luck had only taken us so far. After an hour of standing outside in 20-degree weather, we’d seen not a hint of lights. And while we were layered up from head to toe, there’s only so long you can stand in one spot before the extremities start to complain. Still, as the bulk of our group returned to the van to warm up, Cara and I held our ground, staring at the sky so hard at times that you convinced yourself that you were seeing something. One van took off for another vantage point, just because a couple of its occupants were carping to try a new location. Our guide and another were shaking their heads over the aurora apps, which now seemed to be in agreement that we were out of luck.

Then, at around 11:30 p.m., on the horizon there was something. You had to squint to see it. And it looked kind of like a hazy plume of smoke. But we were told it was, indeed, a weak bit of aurora magic. On the one hand, at least we saw something, certainly enough to tell people we saw it. On the other … uh, that was it? The other folks in the group piled out of the van to be mildly disappointed and we climbed in to warm up again.

Twenty minutes later, the guide said something was happening again, so out of the van we went. Once again, we were blessed with the presence of a hazy smudge. “Well, it’s something,” we said and after a bit went back into the van, our toes and fingers screaming.

Then, at 12:30 or so, the guide hustled us out of the van one more time. And lo and behold, the show was on. This time, thank Odin, the auroras were extremely magical. Green globs danced across the sky morphing into shimmering curtains that made an undulating wall from east to west. The relief among the tourists and guides was palpable — for some folks, it was their only night in town — and quickly gave way to a giddy euphoria. Our guide actually came over and hugged me, he was so happy.

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I call this one Slimer.

I was a little bummed that the neither the iPhone camera nor the Nikon CoolPix were equipped to take shots of it, but I was also happy about it. It forced me to stop dicking around with equipment and just enjoy the moment without a screen between the lights and me.

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Worth the wait. Even if the picture doesn’t do it justice.

A brief diversion: I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the northern lights before. Freshman year in college, a bunch of of us were driving from Long Island to Rochester when the sky went a little nuts. I don’t think we’d been drinking and I know we weren’t tripping. But the unreliability of memory (especially the farther out you get) combined with the slim chances of seeing the lights so far south have always made me doubt that this actually happened. (If Vicky or Michelle or Erv or whoever else was piled into that Pathfinder is reading this, let me know!)

So our luck held out after all. In fact, it more than held out. While the tour companies will reschedule your excursion if you don’t see the lights, I figure that first smudge counted enough that they might have put up resistance. Besides which, while the lights were spotted the following night, Sunday excursions were canceled completely due to cloud cover and Monday didn’t seem much better.

Coming soon …

DAY TWO: Waterfalls, Glaciers and Black Sand Beaches

DAY THREE: The Golden Circle

DAY FOUR: The Blue Lagoon and Snorkeling.

 

 

 

 

 

A Taste of Success in NYC Poboy Hunt

cheekypoboys

After making like a stunted tree and throwing a tiny bit of shade at the New York City poboy scene in the last post, I was told by Lisa “The Homesick Texan” Fain to get myself to Cheeky Sandwiches on the Lower East Side.

Ugh. Manhattan. Double Ugh. The Lower East Side. I spent enough time getting drunk off a shitty beer and watching hipsters do blow in skeevy bathrooms when I was younger. Also, it always strikes me as a pain in the ass to get to. And for what? To be disappointed? Again?

But Cara and I happened to be in Manhattan. And Lisa, though a Texan, knows enough about Louisiana food (and has had enough of mine) for me to trust her. (Later this year, she’s dropping an entire book of recipes for queso.)

Still, we kept our hopes extremely low. We’ve been burned before, yall.

Like many places on the LES, Cheeky is a hole in the wall — one table and the rest of the seating consists of stools along the counter with a direct view into the cooking operation.

We ordered a shrimp poboy and a fried-chicken-and-biscuit sandwich.

To be clear, the SEAFOOD Sandwich is the only pure poboy option on the limited menu. You have a choice between fried shrimp, fried oyster or a half-and-half, that last choice instantly recognizable to anyone who’s ever eaten in a legitimate Louisiana poboy shop.

Interestingly, Cheeky’s poboy is smaller than a traditional Louisiana poboy and even smaller than some New York versions we’ve had. The shrimp itself was also on the dry side.

BUT.

The bread was perfect, the shrimp’s batter was seasoned just right — use some salt and black pepper, people! — and the sandwich was completed with dressing, lettuce, tomato and just a tiny bit of pickle that brought it all home. This might sound crazy that I’m giving dry shrimp a pass, but believe me when I say that all of the other parts pulled together to compensate for a slightly subpar performance by the star.

Well, the star of that particular sandwich. Because while we went looking for a shrimp poboy, we both loved the fried chicken on a biscuit. The chicken was fried to perfection, crispy and juicy — which is hard to pull off with white meat. And the biscuit was a big crumbly delight. (I’m not going to get into biscuit debates, because I’m sure there are other Southerners who would take issue with this biscuit just based on its size). This sandwich was tied together with purple-cabbage slaw.

After we were done, the fellows behind the counter gave us an order of beignets. They were a little on the doughy side compared to a Cafe du Monde air pillow — the beignets, not the fellows behind the counter. The server was a skinny thing and the cook looked like he’d just finished working out for eight hours straight and could kill you by just flexing a bicep. At any rate, I’m not going to knock fried dough covered in sugar unless you turned it into a grease ball.

Anyhoo. I’d recommend the joint to New Yorkers AND to Louisiana folks. Louisiana folks just need to know you’re not going to get a footlong sandwich. But it’s a good sandwich. And it’s technically not a poboy shop since the SEAFOOD is the only poboy on the menu. Other sandwiches are served on other types of bread. (I’ve got my eye on the beef short rib sandwich for next time.)

You also won’t get beer or booze or french fries, which is fine. You don’t need the extra calories. There are Zapp’s potato chips, including the Crawtator and Voodoo varieties.

On top of all this, Cheeky Sandwiches is just a couple of blocks from the D Train, so it’s not even that hard for us to get to from Bay Ridge. (This is likely not relevant to you, but if you see us creeping around the LES, now you’ll know why.)

Gumbo Bros: Good Enough for New Yorkers

Short Version: If you’re a New Yorker or otherwise not from or familiar with South Louisiana food, go. You’ll like it. If you are from South Louisiana, you’ve been warned.

The Gumbo Bros: 224 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn

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I’d recently received a number of suggestions from New Yorkers to go check out a new place in Brooklyn called Gumbo Bros., a small shop that serves gumbo and poboys.

To my knowledge, New York has never had a legitimate Cajun restaurant. It’s 2017 and that hasn’t changed. The closest thing to legit Cajun offerings at the moment are some of the menu items at a barbecue joint. That’s because Blue Smoke Executive Chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois is from Thibodaux, Louisiana. Now until Mardi Gras, he’s offering a special Cajun menu.

The lack of Cajun food in New York is annoying. But that’s okay. I know how to cook. What gets frustrating is this weird combination of a) the total ignorance of what Cajun food actually is with b) the assumption by many New Yorkers that they actually know what it is. This coming from people who think New Orleans is Cajun and the capital of Louisiana.

I’m not going to flog that particular horse at the moment. I’ve done it enough.

But a couple of things.

First: Ordering gumbo in New York is just plain silly. You never know what you’re going to get, but you can almost always bet it’s not going to be actual gumbo. It won’t be made with roux or there will be at least one wrong vegetable in there, whether it be corn or lima beans or tomatoes. This sort of nonsense helped radicalize me into a writer. 

Second: A poboy isn’t necessarily a Cajun thing. It’s a Louisiana thing, born in New Orleans. But that’s still South Louisiana (which is important) and Cajuns love them.

I’ve written before about the sorry quest for a decent poboy in this city. The shrimp poboy, in particular, is the Holy Grail. But due to many factors, almost all of them have been fails. The wrong bread. Not enough shrimp. Soggy batter. Shrimp are expensive in New York. They’re not expensive in Louisiana. This becomes a huge problem for restaurants in New York trying to recreate a Louisiana experience.

The almost good news is that Gumbo Bros. almost delivers. If you’re a New Yorker who doesn’t know any better — or even if you’re one of those New Yorkers who thinks you know better — Gumbo Bros. poboys and gumbo are close enough to the real thing to give you an idea of what these things are supposed to be.

The Cajun potato salad? A perfectly fine potato salad with a little bit of kick. But there’s nothing Cajun about it. In Cajun country, potato salad typically consists of potatoes, eggs, mayo, mustard (and other optional vegetables). It’s often close to yellow in color and many times the potatoes are pretty much mashed. This wasn’t that. But, this was a bit of menu marketing, so no harm, no foul.

The gumbo? It certainly was pretty to look at. Dark and on the thick side, it didn’t have tomatoes or any other crazy things in it. The sausage was good. Overall, it tasted like something you might find in the French Quarter. I’ve actually had worse in the French Quarter. Also, I ate it despite the presence of trace amounts of okra. I have strong anti-okra feelings.

The poboy? We tried really hard to keep our expectations low. When it was served, the expectations shot up. It was the right size and seemed to have enough shrimp. The shrimp were of decent size and covered with golden batter. And the bread, which is shipped every day from New Orleans, was spot on.

But. You probably knew that was coming. The batter for the shrimp wasn’t seasoned enough — or at all. Contrary to the belief held by many outside of the state, Louisiana food shouldn’t take the roof of your mouth off. When I say seasoning, I mean the addition of something as simple as salt would have improved the batter.

More important, the shrimp seemed to have been cooked twice. They looked and tasted like frozen (cooked) cocktail shrimp that had been battered and fried. This resulted in a dry, overly chewy shrimp.

If it sounds like I’m nitpicking, I am. This is what happens when you’re a subject-matter expert. (Or think you are, at any rate.) The older I get, the more I want to give people a chance. I try not to point out every mistake The New York Times makes when it writes about Louisiana — I’ll save all my ire for their use of crayfish instead of crawfish. And I don’t want to be indirectly responsible for screwing up a business that at least tries to get it right. But a) people have been asking what I thought and b) other folks from South Louisiana that I know might like a heads up.

If you’re from New York, the place is worth a visit. If you’re from anywhere outside of South Louisiana, you might like it. Hell, I don’t know what they consider gumbo in North Louisiana and Alabama — where the founders are from — so if you’re from there, give it a shot, too. It might actually taste like home.

But if you’re from South Louisiana (or have eaten at my house), the gumbo is likely going to leave you wanting. The shrimp poboy might frustrate you. If you absolutely have to have a poboy and don’t have a trip home scheduled any time soon, give it a shot. But if you have a hard-core craving for something fried and crispy that will remind you of home, there’s a Popeyes a block away.

By the way, you can find a gumbo recipe in the back of my first novel, The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival. Or you can get the recipe for free here. I know there will be something there for Louisiana people to argue with. Check out my other novels while you’re at it.

 

No Stars for You: Confessions of a Super-Bowl Ad Critic

PuppyMonkeyBabyThe Super Bowl is weird this year. It’s not that I couldn’t care any less about the Atlanta Falcons vs the New England Patriots. I watched the Panthers vs the Patriots in 2004, so I guess I’ll watch this.

But this is the first time in 16 years that I haven’t spent the three weeks leading up to the Super Bowl hyperventilating about the Super Bowl commercials. You see, I used to review Super Bowl ads. Some critics review movies and books. I reviewed incredibly expensive commercials.

Until December of last year, I worked at Advertising Age, the trade magazine that serves as the bible of the industry. It’s a pretty godless industry, but one of the High Holy Days is the Super Bowl. Companies across the spectrum, from beer to super glue to floor mats for cars, pay the hosting network insane amounts of money to run ads during the most-watched thing on TV. This year, Fox was raking in $5 million for 30 seconds of air time. That cost doesn’t include production of ads larded with special effects, CGI animals, celebrities and “humor.” Continue reading

Rules (and Fines) to Regulate New York City’s Idiots

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A rare photo of a jack-ass-free New York street.

New York, New York. Big city. Lots of people. Many of these people are inconsiderate jerks. And I’m not just talking about the tourists gumming up Times Square. Those people are, for the most part, easy to avoid.

My biggest issue are the people who live here, the ones who should know better. But they don’t. So I’m proposing the following regulations and fines. Feel free to play along!

Use of golf umbrella: $100 fine. Beaten with said umbrella until it breaks.

Use of cellphone on subway stairs: $100. Phone tossed onto track. Guilty party must watch train run over phone.

Holding a conversation in front of revolving doors: $250. Forced to stand inside sealed-off section of revolving door until the glass fogs up.

Stopping short to text: $150. Revocation of sidewalk privileges. Forced to walk in bus lane for six months.

Bicycle on the sidewalk: Wait. There’s already a fine for this, jackass, because it’s already illegal!

Raising a stink about gluten at a non-specialty bagel shop: $100. Forced to produce doctor’s note proving gluten intolerance and/or forced to eat contents of toaster’s crumb tray.

Asking for vegan options at a barbecue restaurant: $150. Forced to sit at a table piled with sizzling bacon for two hours.

Asking for meat at a vegan restaurant: $200. Forced to admit you came in here and did that just to be a dick.

Going on and on and on about dim sum: $150. Forced to subsist on diet of chicken feet for one month.

Defending Chicago pizza: $200. Forced to admit you were just being THAT GUY. You know THAT GUY. There’s always one.

Being a food snob, yet being the first in line anytime some fast-food or grocery chain from your home town opens: $300. Forced, for six months, to do all your grocery shopping at that bodega with all the dusty canned goods and the almost-expired milk.

Sitting on subway stairs: $200. Boot to the head. Guilty party must lick article of clothing that was resting on said stairs.

Stopping in front of a turnstile to dig through your purse to find your Metrocard: $500. Purse privileges revoked. Forced to wear hot pink fanny pack with important items easily at hand.

Not knowing what you want even after standing in a food/coffee line for five minutes: $100. Hot dogs shoved down your shirt. Coffee poured on your lap.

Using an elevator to travel one floor: $100 and one hour on a Stairmaster.

Vaping on a subway train: $100 and having to live with the fact that you vape.

Smoking a cigarette on subway: Death. Forfeiture of all property to the American Cancer Society.

Telling people what to do, how to live their lives: $50. Forced to write blog listicles for the rest of your days.

One more:

Suggesting people who read your blog post go and buy one of your books:  Hours of pleasure. FOR YOU, DEAR READER!

Just Thinking of Boss Hogg for No Reason

Screen Shot 2017-01-30 at 3.59.49 PM.pngI was struggling to write something absolutely hilarious about how and why Jefferson Davis “Boss” Hogg came to be commissioner of Hazzard County in the first place. After all, someone had to elect him, right? Or maybe he was appointed. I don’t know the ins and outs of Hazzard’s election laws.

But then I stumbled across the Wikipedia page for Boss Hogg and found myself laughing at that.

There’s this:

the extent of just what was and wasn’t within Boss’s powers often seemed to vary from episode to episode. However, this can be countermanded slightly, as Boss would often bend the law and make up rules to suit himself.

And regarding his enemies (the Dukes in this case), Boss always accused them:

of spying on him, robbing or planning to rob him, and other supposedly nefarious actions as he believes they are generally out to get him.

Oh, and this was my favorite part:

Creator Gy Waldron said he wanted the character to be the personification of the seven deadly sins.

For those of you who are as unfamiliar with the bible as someone else whose initials include the letters J and D, those seven deadly sins are: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

Have a nice day!