Sunday’s column hits the highlights of the NYC leg of my vacation, in part by contrasting the big city and the Inland Valley. Above, Woody, a Minion, Elmo and Catwoman pose with tourists in Times Square while Mickey lines up a shot and Captain America watches. So exciting to see celebrities on the street!
Friday’s column breaks some news, as a close reading of this week’s Ontario council agenda, if not the actual proceedings, made clear that QVC is interested in leasing a giant warehouse soon to begin construction, for which the council offered a generous incentive. But QVC hasn’t formally agreed yet, meaning that either I got the jump on the news or we’ll all have to avert our eyes if the deal collapses.
I also have other news from the council meeting and two Culture Corner items, one about a Mexican cookbook, the other about a free screening of “Dr. Strangelove.”
And here are some of the food sights from the New York City leg of my vacation. Above, a slice of pizza from a random spot in the Meatpacking District, which I point out mainly because it’s fun to type “Meatpacking District.” Anyway, it was a treat to walk from the sidewalk into an open storefront and buy a slice of pizza, a very New York thing to do and something that’s hard to pull off in the Inland Valley.
On the Lower East Side, another great place name, friends and I ate at Russ and Daughters, a Jewish deli, getting the Hattie, a platter with, clockwise from lower left, baked salmon, sable, lox and (only partly visible) kippers, and potato salad in the center. I got a chocolate egg cream. The appeal of egg creams is lost on me, but it was as good as any other I’ve had. The platter was delicious and came with a basket of bagels, bialys, pumpernickel and more.
Most surprising sight at Russ and Daughters, and maybe my whole trip, was that among the wall displays over one booth was the scene below, cans of Ontario-made Graber Olives. Huh!
In Washington, D.C., last fall I became acquainted with the East Coast chain Shake Shack, and was happy to have a chance to try them again. This is high-quality fast food.
And I returned to a favorite from my only previous visit, Junior’s in Grand Central Station, where I got chocolate swirl cheesecake.
My last food before blowing town was a doughnut from Dough in Bed-Stuy. (Another place name that it’s fun to casually toss off, like a local.) They had only a few flavors, most unusual. I got hibiscus. Oh, man. Thick, chewy doughnut, with thick, flavorful icing and a few leaves of actual hibiscus. This is the first doughnut I’ve had to rival Donut Man’s strawberry doughnut, and I had to travel across the country to get it.
Sorry you can’t immediately satisfy your cravings for these items, or the ones from St. Louis, but you can always book a trip if so inclined…
In lieu of a Restaurant of the Week post, here’s a report of eats from an exotic land, St. Louis, where I vacationed recently. Above, frozen custard from local favorite Ted Drewes (since 1929); below, the exterior of Crown Candy Kitchen, famous (since 1913) for its ice cream treats, tin ceiling and, more recently, its BLT made with a dozen slices of bacon. Love the brick building and vintage Coke sign.
Toasted ravioli (with a cup of marinara for dipping) is a local innovation, as is St. Louis-style pizza, made with a crisp, cracker-like crust and processed cheese, cut into squares. It’s not to everyone’s taste, and it’s reminiscent of cheese and crackers, served hot. But I like it. (Those are anchovies on the half nearest the camera, by the way.) Both examples are from local chain Imo’s.
Below, pork ribs, brisket, slaw and applesauce from Pappy’s Smokehouse, plus a Fitz’s soda, bottled locally.
Wednesday’s column recaps highlights of my vacation, the Midwest part, and addresses the question of whether St. Louis is worth a visit. While you may be as unlikely to book a flight there as you would to Des Moines or Enid, the unsung city has more to offer than you might think: free museums, a giant park, a great baseball team and more. Plus water, and plenty of it.
While in New York, I made a pilgrimage to — because the Empire State Building is passe — the intersection at which the cover for the Beastie Boys’ “Paul’s Boutique” album cover was shot circa 1989, Rivington and Ludlow on the Lower East Side.
Admittedly, it was a letdown, and I’d have had to have the album itself with me to compare then and now. Even then, the corner was somewhat fictional, as the Paul’s Boutique sign was added for the photo shoot.
Instead of a downscale sportswear shop, the corner now has a wraps place. One nice touch today is a street art mural of the boys on the side of the building, commissioned by a man who lobbied unsuccessfully to have the intersection honored as Beastie Boys Square.
Here’s my 2014 column on the album’s 25th anniversary and its Claremont connection.
I brought a newspaper on my travels for the requisite Daily Bulletin on Vacation photo. Here’s the first of two that were taken in meaningful locations. In this case, at the Manhattan restaurant Upland, where I dined with Rancho Cucamonga expatriate Lesley Tellez and met chef Justin Smillie. Column to come.
By the way, the headline across the top of this Dec. 16, 2014 edition reads “Dave Allen picked for president.” Of the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, but who’s counting?
Sunday’s column has items from Upland, one of which explains the headline, as well as from Rancho Cucamonga and Pomona. The last one’s origin is unknown but it was too weird not to use.
Friday’s column rounds up seven news nuggets from Claremont, alongside a plug for this blog and an item from Upland.