Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chinese / Mexican Take Out, or Something

By the way, last evening, having survived some type of stomach illness I had since Thanksgiving, I decided to celebrate by opening up my extensive binder of Forest Hills takeout menus and ordering from that unique eatery most dear to the heart of all of us New Yorkers - the "no-name Mexican/Chinese food takeout place!" You know, the place that somehow manages to give you a lot of food and the check always comes out to about $2 somehow?

I ordered nachos with everything on it and two hard shell chicken tacos.

I have to say, in a still Chipotless Forest Hills, or shall I say, pre-Chipotle Forest Hills? Whatever... that Chinese/Mexican place is just what the doctor ordered!!! (The one on Austin anyway. Can't vouch for the one on Queens Blvd. Even I am not that crazy.)


Wow there's shit on TV these days, isn't there?

By the way, there's a lot of hype about this new show on NBC, Revolution. I've been watching it and I don't exactly know why I continue to except that there is so little on TV to watch, and I am soooo starved for anything like sci-fi that I still watch it. But honestly, here's the show in a nutshell: They get cornered, fight their way out, get cornered again, fight their way out, get cornered, fight their way out... pretty much it. Oh wait. They get cornered AND threatened by someone who looks scary, fight their way out...Oh, wait, they get cornered again, threatened by someone scary, shot at by someone who has just terrible aim or is maybe partially blind and hits the wall instead, and then they fight their way out.... repeat...

I have been really, really liking the new webisodes of the Battlestar Galactica spinoff prequel, Blood & Chrome, that has been showing on Youtube. Now that's some awesome shit. Here's the first episode for ya'all...

Oh, and I was either dreaming or I actually read somewhere that NBC is planning a new TV drama about, drumroll please, George Washington, to debut sometime next year I think. WHAAAT??? Now that is an amazing idea if I ever heard one. I've been waiting for them to do an historical drama of some type. Seems like we haven't had it on network TV like, I don't know, maybe since I was born?? I think AMC is also readying some other period dramas as well that look really interesting... So, I guess TV sucks big-time now, but maybe thinks are picking up...
Oh, and there's always The Walking Dead. That show continues to kick ass. I also always have my DVD collection of the entire Star Trek TNG series. That always comes in handy in a pinch. Engage!

Jack & Nellie's

Here's some vittles from my visit to Jack & Nellie's, our new restaurant/night spot over on Ascan. These were taken quite a few weeks ago, and I was just about to post them then and then Hurricane Sandy struck.

Overall, I like Jack & Nellie's. My friends and I agreed it's not really a place for dinner, unless you have a fat wallet and are willing to fill up on a lot of small plates. The food we had, and the wine, was very good. But it's more of a place you go with friends for some light snacks/dinner, drinks and good conversation in a very nice, laid back atmosphere.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Inside Forest Hills' Chipotle

This is going into the space where Martha's Country Bakery and Ariana's pizza used to be ...

Mr. Vino's Cucina Sign

Eagerly awaiting this new gourmet food shop on Austin. They put the sign up within the past few days...

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving !

Just wanted to wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

With my recent trip out of town and now preparations for the holiday, I haven't had that much time to post very much. Things should settle down after Thanksgiving. Enjoy the holiday!

(By the way, I am in an especially good holiday mood this year. I don't quite know why. Some years I am kind of blah about the holidays, others I get really excited. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that a very snowy holiday season is forecast for us. That certainly can only help put us in the mood—if it indeed pans out. Lord knows they've been wrong before.)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Green Market's Winter Break

12:30 p.m. Update: I just found out the Green Market has been extended until December 23rd!!

If I'm recalling correctly, the much-loved Forest Hills Green Market goes on winter break after today, returning in the Spring. It will be greatly missed. I, for one, will be paying it a visit shortly to stock up on as many of their delicious apples as I can carry. They are so much better than any I can find in the local stores.

It was so great to see how our Green Market was embraced by the neighborhood, especially after the failed attempt a couple of years ago to start it up down on Metropolitan Ave. If there was ever a case of "location, location, location," this was it. Simply moving it to the front of the post office, where the vast majority of Forest Hills residents now have easy access to it, made all the difference in the world.

It was also so nice to see how it gradually built on itself, going from several vendors selling mostly veggies that first weekend, to vendors selling everything from fruit to bread to meats and wines to dairy. I loved that weekend where there was even a local musician playing there as well.

And last weekend saw it start to expand to housewares, with this charming new Lavender vendor. What a great addition to our neighborhood the Forest Hills Green Market has been.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Death Spiral

A depressing headline! Deal with it!

So, Hurricane/Nor 'Easter Sandy destroyed thousands of trees. Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen (the latter of which we thank them kindly for, since we humans breathe that). Oh, and then we humans produce too much carbon dioxide by our cars and stuff, which in turn is warming the planet, which in turn creates humongous storms like Sandy, which in turn destroys thousands of trees which are no longer there to breathe in the extra carbon dioxide (and give us oxygen to breathe), and all that extra carbon dioxide which these nice trees are no longer there to breathe in creates the global warming which creates the humongous storms which destroys more trees...(rinse and repeat)

From The NY Times:
Sandy Uprooted Trees by the Thousands in NY, NJ They fell by the thousands, like soldiers in some vast battle of giants, dropping to the earth in submission to a greater force.
Freakin' fast zombies! I don't know what the hell is happening here, but it looks great!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

At Least We Don't Have One of These... Yet

This has got to be the worst restaurant review I have ever read in my entire life...

As Not Seen on TV
What the food and service at Guy Fieri’s Times Square establishment conjure is pure bafflement, among other things.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Salad Days

Salads! You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em. Actually, yes you can. Whatever. But this post is about salads in Forest Hills. I was talking with a friend over the weekend who enthusiastically declared that the chicken salad at 5 Burros has rapidly become one of his staples. I agree -- it is indeed an awesome salad.

All that salad talk must've made an impression on me, because on Sunday, I took a leap of faith and tried the Nicoise Salad from La Boulangerie. Of their three salads: Garden, Chicken and Nicoise, this had been the only one I still hadn't tried. While I am a big fan of the other two, you can only have the same salad for so long before you need a change.

I remember the friendly, helpful owner of La Boulangerie had once suggested I try the Nicoise salad. If only he hadn't asked me: "Do you like anchovies?" Just so happens anchovies are one of the few foods I have not only disliked, but actually feared. Along with these little fish, the Nicoise Salad contains hard boiled egg, roasted potatoes, tuna, string beans, onions, tomatos, lettuce and topping it all off a house vinaigrette dressing.

But feeling adventurous on Sunday, I took the Nicoise Salad plunge. I decided 'what the hell? What's the worst that can happen?'

I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was this salad exceptionally delicious, but I even conquered my fear, actually eating it with most of the anchovies. And I'm really glad I did. All the ingredients come together perfectly to make for one of the more memorable salad-eating experiences I have ever had. Special kudos for their perfectly-flavored vinaigrette dressing which really serves to unite the flavors of all the ingredients, complementing them all without overwhelming them.

As an extra bonus, I felt pretty full for much of the rest of the day and realized this is one of those rare meals that is pretty healthy, and filling, at the same time.

I look forward to my next Salad Nicoise from Boulangerie. Magnifique!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Snow on Sandy Damage

A friend of mine sent this from last night of snow on damage from Sandy in the Gardens...

Follow by Email

You'll notice I added a spot where you can enter your email address so you can be notified when this blog is updated (when one reader requests something, I always assume there are others who also want it!). However, I have heard that it doesn't always work. So... if you want to, give it a whirl and then let me know if it is working for you. Thanks!

Latest on Old Vienna

According to a commenter on this blog a week or so ago, in case you missed it (kinda got buried in the storm coverage):

Old Vienna Cafe on Queens Blvd is turning into an Irish bar/ restaurant in a few weeks. Same owners as lately. The "new owners" in the window.

Very Much Looking Forward To This...

From The NY Times Review today of Lincoln:
Go see this movie. Take your children, even though they may occasionally be confused or fidgety. Boredom and confusion are also part of democracy, after all. “Lincoln” is a rough and noble democratic masterpiece — an omen, perhaps, that movies for the people shall not perish from the earth.

What Happened to the Aquarium?

I had been wondering about this, a favorite of mine since I was a kid...

Hurricane Filled New York Aquarium With Dangerous Substance: Water
The New York Aquarium faced the biggest crisis in its history when Hurricane Sandy hit.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Morning After

Wow! There's so much to say about the election that it will have to be spread out over the coming weeks and months. But the strongest feeling I have is one of overwhelming pride in our country. It's amazing that a nation as enormous as ours is is able to go to the polls by the millions in just one day (although in some places, as the President pointed out last night at 2 a.m., that has to be improved on) and then by 11 p.m. the same night we are able to know who has been elected President. The Founding Fathers would be thrilled!

As I wrote about in my recent post, I think our democracy is working just fine. And yesterday was more proof of that. It will be very interesting to see what impact President Obama's reelection now has on the gridlock in Washington. Will the Republicans finally now try to cooperate with the President on all of his initiatives? Should be interesting to watch how much progress is made in the coming months on all of the things the President had been pushing for in his first term.

And, it should be interesting to watch in the coming weeks and months if a full-fledged civil war breaks out in the Republican Party amongst the moderates and the extreme right-wing (Tea Party). With the so-called "Tea Party" completely responsible for the Republican Party's loss yesterday, it should be interesting to see if they are finally called out by the more mainstream Republicans as the irresponsible fanatics that they are. The behavior of those people has been absolutely reprehensible—the very worst example of America. In just a few years they managed to alienate virtually every group of Americans except perhaps rich white people. I haven't seen more despicable behavior in modern-day American history. Kicking handicapped people on the sidewalk, booing our soldiers, screaming for sick people to die! Stomach turning.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pictures from Belle Harbor

Our Democracy Is Working Just Fine

Firstly, just want to ask everyone to please remember all of those affected by Hurricane Sandy. I have noticed many storefronts on Austin St. have put signs in their windows telling people how they can help. There has been a wonderful outpouring of support for the victims of this storm. Visit this blog's Facebook page for more information on where to help. Readers have been posting information there...

Now onto some comment about the upcoming Presidential election this Tuesday. I thought I would just offer a different opinion to what is a common refrain we often hear today: "Our Democracy is not working." "The gridlock in Washington is proof of this." "The gridlock in Washington is bad." These points of view have never sat well with me and the reason is because I think they are just short-term observations. And we need to look at the long-term, macro political environment in the United States today to truly understand what our country is experiencing.

What we have been going through, probably since Reagan was president, is a protracted conflict in our nation's politics where the right wing has been moving slowly more and more to the right, while the left wing slowly moves more and more to the center. If you take things from a long-term approach you will see that Washington is actually working just as it should be today.

What I am saying is that not all political conflicts are resolved in one or two Presidential elections. Sometimes it takes several such elections, and several decades, to resolve them. The battle between an increasingly right wing Republican Party and the Democratic Party is just such a conflict. It has been going on since the 1980's and it is still going on. Look at the election on Tuesday as just one battle in a long-term, protracted struggle.

There are many different things that have happened to the Republican Party over the past few decades, but I think the most important one is that the Republican Party has been hijacked by religious fundamentalists. That is what has been guiding most of its platforms. That is what has been guiding most of its extremist views.

So, you have a protracted struggle pitting religious fundamentalists who want to impose their way of life on everybody else, against a mostly secular, moderate Democratic Party. Sure, some people are Republicans today more because of their economic views or for other reasons and they reluctantly accept the fundamentalist nature of their party. That doesn't change the fact that it is this religious extremism that has been having the most impact on the Republican Party since the 1980's.

So if you hear someone say over the next couple of days something to the effect of: "It's really not important to vote. Nothing will change in Washington. It's just gridlock there. Washington doesn't work anymore." Remember to look at things from a long-term point of view. We are in the middle of a decades-long struggle for this country. No one ever said all political struggles in America can be resolved in one or two presidential elections. Some struggles take decades to resolve.

If President Obama is reelected on Tuesday it will be a victory of the secular moderates over religious extremists. It will be a vitally important victory. But it will be just one BATTLE won in an ongoing war that may take several more elections to resolve. If the Republicans lose, they may not finally accept the message that most Americans do not want the government prying into their personal lives. (Remember Terry Schiavo? Remember the ban under Bush on stem cell research? I can go on and on...) It may take a few more elections for them to get that message. But at least it will be a victory that holds that off for now, and quite possibly, leads to an end to this ongoing political struggle. And may, just may, soon result in the end of the gridlock as Republicans finally moderate and decide that the best way forward is to compromise with President Obama.

Our democracy is working just fine. Every so often in our nation's history there should arise opposing forces that generate both long-term and short-term conflicts. Some may call that gridlock. And that is just fine in my eyes. That is where our country apparently needs to be right now. Hopefully, this battle on Tuesday in this long-term conflict between the religious right and the secular moderates will be won by the tolerant Democratic party over the intolerant Republican one.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Gas Shortages

This is what it looked like in Jamaica this morning as cars, and people, lined up for gas:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

70th Avenue Destruction

This is what Sandy wrought on 70th Avenue between Metropolitan Ave. and Sybilla St. The reader who sent these in said there was no damage to her house, but they were without electricity: