Entries from November 1, 2011 - November 30, 2011


November 30, 2011

When Gene and Smoopy of the BBC were here a couple weeks ago, we stopped in for a quick drink at Rolf’s and I noted at the post I was going to come back for an official MAD visit. Tonight’s the night I go out in search of a swizzle stick and I thought that Rolf’s would be the perfect place to go, maybe they even have some sort of a Christmas swizzle! Let’s go see if a holiday miracle happens in the form of a swizzle stick tonight!

It's a rainy, dreary night out, but at least it's not freezing cold, so let's soldier on to Rolf's.

Well, Rolf's certainly can brighten up a dreary-ass night!

A peek inside the front window reveals the blinding Christmas orgy of lights and decorations inside, let's go check it out.

A street sign greets you as you walk in the door to the festive atmosphere.

The bar is crowded for a Tuesday night.

There's no swizzle stick, just a black plastic straw, but that's okay, there's more to see here than a swizzle stick, so let's take a look around.

Here's the back of the bar in all its lit up glory.

Wooden booths line the walls opposite the bar.

And the creepy dolls are still here. Yikes, she's staring at me!

The back dining room is lit up as well. Check out the deer head on the wall, talk about your deer in the headlights!

Here's Santa boozing it up, looks like Rudolph isn't going to be the only one with a red nose tonight.

There's a blowjob joke somewhere here, but I'm not going there.

Here's Johnny who's a waiter at Rolf's.

And another scary doll looking down at me. These doll's are giving me a Twilight Zone Talking Tina flashback.

Let's go back to the bar.

Here's the lovely Milka, who was picking up an order at the bar. Love her smile!

For a nightcap, I got a glass of Rolf's special eggnog, no swizzle stick, but there is a cinnamon stick, so we'll call it an even trade. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

Further reading: Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, 365 Bars and EV Grieve.

Nice to see you, yes...
Oh, Bill Bailey?...
Ah we'll get to that tomorrow night...
Caravan with a drum solo?...
We'll do that!...

(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


November 29, 2011

It was kind of crazy at work today and I’m still going in early because everyone’s taking their vacation time. I’m a little beat and thought I would take my Monday sixpack of photos at Chez Wombacher and match them up with videos I think belong with them. I try to go out every night, but what I like about this blog is the freedom to do it from my apartment now and again, so it’s homeward bound we go!

I'm looking through you, where did you go,
I thought I knew you, what did I know?

Hey everybody, did the news get around,
About a guy named Butcher Pete,
Oh, Pete just flew into this town,
And he's choppin' up all the women's meat.

Believe it or not George isn't at home,
Please leave a message at the beep.
Believe it or not, I’m not home.

Well, the first time I lose I drink whiskey,
Second time I lose I drink gin,
Third time I lose I drink anything,
'cause I think I'm gonna win.

Can you spell ashtray please?

I don’t care if it rains or freezes,
Long as I got my plastic Jesus,
Sittin’ on the dashboard of my car.

Further reading: Wikipedia, Schoolhouse Rock and The Six Show.

When he holds my hand I'm so proud,
'Cos he's not just one of the crowd.

(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


Bonus Photos From Biff!

Biff sent in the following photos of the latest Cardboard Box Man mutation sightings. Here's her report: "I was watching Yard Crashers on HGTV a couple of weeks ago and those fuckers actually BUILT a stony, frightening cousin of CBBM! And then today I was walking Lucy and came across CBBM's super friendly and smiley cousin, Twig Man. I like him way better than all the others." Thanks, Bifferoonie, nice to see a somewhat friendly CBBM mutation!


November 28, 2011

A friend of mine is coming in to town and wants to meet at Penn Station and have a drink or three, so I thought I’d get Sunday dinner on the way there. After last night’s burger fail, I’m in the mood for a decent dinner. There’s a barbecue place on 23rd called RUB and I’ve been meaning to try it for a long time. It’s on the way, so that’s tonight’s destination.

RUB is on 23rd Street, which is just about seven blocks up and two over.

And here we are, nice neon signage out front!

The best BBQ and great beers, just what the doctor ordered, let's go check it out.

There's a nice dining area in the back...

But I felt more at home at the nice marble-topped bar in the front dining area.

And the friendly and cute bartender, Terri was quick to serve up an ice cold bottle of Corona.

They have paper menus, but one has to look no further than the front wall for the smoky selections that are offered.

There's also a large selection of draft and bottled beers available.

This is a really cool 3-D photo of 23rd Street.

Blue ribbons and awards are hung behind the bar alongside BBQ books that you can read as you await dinner.

And speaking of dinner, mine's on the way. Bottles of regular and spicy house made barbecue sauce are placed in front of me. The bottles are warmed up, which is a nice touch.

I started out with the chicken wings, which were really good. Spicy and juicy, we'll call this shot: "Before."

And this one is called: "After." Delicious, probably the best chicken wings I've ever had.

Here's Scott who's the resident Pit Master at Rub, who came out to see how I liked the wings. He told me they're smoked for two hours and are a combination of Buffalo wings and barbecue style.

Tom also stopped by for a photo. The staff here are really friendly and enjoy kidding around. It's a fun place to eat, drink and hang out.

And here's the restaurant's signature dish, which are called "Burnt Ends." They're the tips of the brisket and they're smoked for 18 hours. I just got a quarter of a pound, but they're also available as a full dinner dish with sides (You can find the full menu below on their website.)

These are unbelievable. Smoky, juicy and filled with flavor. One of the staff referred to them as meat candy and it's a perfect description.

Burp. That was a great Sunday dinner, thanks to everyone at RUB for the hospitality and great food! Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

208 West 23rd Street (Between 7th and 8th Ave.)

Further reading: Flavor Profiles, Pig Trip, Immaculate Infatuation and facecrack.

Crash, crash, 48 crash.

(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


Bonus Photo at Penn Station!

And here I am with Gumby and my friend Bob at Penn Station. Bob and I used to work together at a rust removal plant that was owned by a guy named Ron Lucy. Ron was so greedy and despicable, he was arrested for picking his own pockets and nose at the same time. I hadn't seen Bob for over a year and it was a great reunion!


Bonus Cartoon from Jaws!

Jaws sent in this cartoon to compliment his comment above! And the cartoon is available as a t-shirt or coffe mug at his Printfection Store. Thanks, Jaws!


November 27, 2011

Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night Cheeseburger. Tonight’s host is the Burger Joint in the Le Parker Meridien Hotel and featuring the Ready For Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher.

And we're off. It's a nice night out, kind of warm for this time of year.

Down into the subway we go.

And through the miracle of the internet you're spared a subway ride that included sitting across from a pudgy, older woman, with a blue birthmark on the side of her face the size of a swollen half dollar, here we are at the corner of 56th and 6th. It was hard not to stare at it that blue birthmark and I was tempted to go lick it and see if it tasted like blueberry, but l wisely chose to stay put. And now here we are, let's go get a cheeseburger.

I think it's just across the street.

And here it is...

Le Parker Meridien Hotel.

Supposedly the place is here in the lobby, somewhat hidden, kind of like a speakeasy.

I read that it's hidden behind the brown curtains and there's two people headed down a hallway, let's go check it out.

I see a burger sign, this must be it.

Holy shitballs, there's a line at this time of night and it's packed in here. I'd bail out, but I don't know of any other spots in this part of town, so we'll tough it out. Hopefully the burger will be worth it.

The walls are paneled and there's all kinds of posters and pictures hung on them. I like the Ramones poster!

Here's the menu, it's simple and to the point, I don't need it though, as I already know what I want.

She took my order and I spy a seat at a nearby communal table, so I rushed over before someone else got it.

Here's the view from my seat at the crowded table. The line is now out the door, kind of crazy.

Wooden booths line the walls of this tiny place.

It's dark in here with the only light coming from these oversized dangling bulbs.

Along with the pictures and posters, graffiti covers the walls in here. It kind of reminds me of the Mars Bar!

Finally my name is called, which is good, because my claustrophobia is starting to kick in.

Here's the burger, it looks okay, but I was expecting something a little more. The bun's not even toasted and the onions aren't fried.

The fries are a little limp and greasy.

The burger's okay, but a little bland. Not worth waiting in line for and then sitting squashed at a communal table of tourists. Oh well, you can't win them all. See you tomorrow after dark.

My Meal
I got the cheeseburger with onions, french fries and a whole pickle. I was anxious to try the pickle because I had seen a photo of one and it’s a huge pickle. So after waiting in line, squeezing in a seat at a communal table of tourists and then waiting another twenty minutes my name was called. There was my cheeseburger and fries, but no pickle. I told a woman behind the counter I ordered a pickle and she told me I didn’t. By this time, the crowd and the smell of grease in the place was kind of getting to me, so I didn’t argue and went to eat my burger and fries. I had read so many great things about their cheeseburger, I was anxious to try it. After a bite of the burger, I wasn’t too impressed. The bun was a little on the stale side and the burger itself was kind of bland. The mustard they have is a little generic and the fries were kind of greasy and limp. It was okay, but I’ve had better meals, and it’s not the most comfortable place to enjoy a Saturday night dinner.

Cheeseburger Rating
Two Wimpy’s. Maybe I went in with too high of expectations, but it was a little disappointing, not horrible, but nothing spectacular. Maybe I was just there on an off night, but it’s not a place I would recommend, especially if there’s a line there.

Burger Joint
Le Parker Meridien
119 W. 56th St. (Near 6th Ave.)

Further reading: Midtown Lunch, food smackdown and New York Journal.

It's just that demon life has got me in its sway.

(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)

Bonus Chillmaster Photo’s From Shawn Chittle!
Shawn sent in a couple of photos of The Chillmaster and I from Friday’s Chillmaster Dance Party. Great shots, Shawn! Thanks for sending them in.

Bonus Photo from Bobby Williams!
New York photographer and EV Grieve contibutor, Bobby Williams sent in this spectacular shot from Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. Great photo, Bobby, thanks so much!


November 26, 2011

While the rest of the world shopped on Black Friday, we decided to have a Chillmaster Post Thanksgiving Day Dance Party instead and stayed away from the stores. A great time was had by all and it was Eric’s birthday and we surprised him with a cake and Goggla presented brought him a birthday hat and a chocolate Christmas Fish. I’ve got a ton of photos, too many to leave captions with, so I’ll let every picture tell the story. Big thanks, as always, to The Chillmaster for hosting a great party and to everyone for showing up!

Further reading: EV Grieve, The Gog Log, Neither More Nor Less, One More Folded Sunset, Slum Goddess and Single Linds Reflex.

Soul ain’t nothing but a feeling.

(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


November 25, 2011

Okay, today's Thanksgiving and what I'm thankful for is I have nowhere to go. I always feel burned out around this time of year and since I go out so much due to my blog it's nice to take a day and do absolutely nothing. What I plan on doing today is drinking lots of beer, listening and watching videos on YouTube and I thought I'd blog through the whole day. That way we can all spend Thanksgiving together. I can put these posts up and not publish them till tomorrow, so, live, from New York, here's my Thanksgiving! Gobble, gobble, gobble!

This is me trying to open my eyes at the crack of noon. I'm not a morning person and since it's not morning, I guess I'm not an afternoon person either. Okay, I'm going to shower and shave and go out and get my supplies, I'll be back later.

Okay, it's 4:04 PM and I've got all my supplies and don't need to leave the apartment for the rest of the afternoon/evening! I've cracked my first beer, let Thanksgiving begin! Cheers to you all!

I've been listening to Amy Winehouse a lot lately. She has a new CD of songs she recorded before she died coming out in about a week. Usually celebrity deaths don't affect me that much. If you're a fan, you feel bad, but at least in my case I pretty much move on about five minutes later. I found out about her dying in a weird way, I was on Twitter and noticed that Amy Winehouse was at the top of the trending list, meaning tons of people were tweeting about her. I remember immediately thinking, "Fuck, I hope she's not dead," then I went and googled Amy Winehouse and it came up that she had just been discovered dead. It really made me feel sad. I loved her singing and felt she was a person who just couldn't handle fame. I think most people secretly or openly long to be famous, but when you get fame, I don't think it's an easy thing to handle.

I only know this on a super-small level, but in 1986 a friend and I created a satire of Trivial Pursuit called Trivial Trivia and it really blew up. I've written about it before, but in a nutshell, we were on a local radio show, that led to being in the local newspaper, then we were on the local news, then a neighboring town wrote about it and then it was picked up by the U.P.I. wire service and it started the strangest few months of my life. We were written up in newspapers across the country and were interviewed on tons of radio stations. We ended up being flown to New York and were interviewed by Jane Pauley on the Today Show. Pretty much everybody in Peoria watched it and all of a sudden everywhere I went people would stare and point at me and ask me if I was one of the "Trivia guys." I had complete strangers come up to me and ask for an autograph. I'm an outgoing person, but it was embarassing even to me. I stopped going out anywhere and for awhile the only place I felt comfortable was at my best friend and spiritual guru's house, Tim and his wife Tina and all their kids. Eventually it went away, but even that's weird, because in a strange way I kind of missed it. That's embarassing to admit, but it's true.

Amy Winehouse seemed like such a troubled person with lots of demons. That coupled with fame, money and people who won't say no to you is a deadly combination and in the end she got burned. I was really rooting for her to straighten up somewhat and come back with a great CD, but sadly it appears that's going to happen after she's long gone.

I thought for sure she overdosed on drugs, but it turns out she drank herself to death. Which reminds me, I need another beer!

To Amy WInehouse!

Okay, it's time for the firest course of today's Thanksgiving meal. I'm going the non-tradtional route and not having any turkey. For starters, I'm having Genoa salami, Chicken in a Biskit crackers and Sleazy Cheese.

if there's a better snack item to eat with beer, please let me know, because I know there's not and if you say there is, then you're just a complete liar. Okay, more music!

My favorite band as a kid was The Beatles, but running a close second was Herman's Hermits. The first album I ever bought was in 1966 and it was, "Best of Herman's Hermits." I saved money forever to get that album and I'll never forget tearing the cellophane off of it and breathing in the new album smell. It's always been one of my favorite memories. And here they are and you can call him Herman if you like, you cheeky bugger you!

John Mellencamp is a musician I've always respected. I don't like all of his music, but he's a guy who came from  a chickenshit town in the Midwest, got renamed by a record company and pretty much was a cliche in the beginning of his career. He didn't even know they changed his name from John Mellencamp to "Johnny Cougar" until he saw it on his first album. Can you imagine the horror of finding out the record company changed your name to "Johnny Cougar?" He rolled with the punches though and eventually was able to reclaim his name and that's pretty cool. This is a great song and Rickie Lee Jones sings on it too, so how can it not be good?

You can't have a Thanksgiving day video party without including my friends, The Handcuffs. They played here in New York a couple years ago and after the show we were walking along on Houston Street and came upon a fortune cookie factory. No shit, a fortune cookie factory, as that cow Cindy Adams would say: "Only in New York kids, only in New York. Mooo!"

Anyway, we were watching this assembly line of Asian men assembling fortune cookies and Chloe (the lead singer who's married to Brad, the lead drummer) said she'd really like to try one. So I said, no problem, I'll get you one. I marched in and asked if I could buy a fortune cookie from an Asian man on the assembly line who asked me to leave. I told him I had to buy a fortune cookie and this led to him running upstairs, bringing down an Asian man in a dark pinstriped suit and a silk tie who told me I would have to buy a whole case of them and pointed to a box the size of a small storage unit.

"No problem, we'll take the case," I told him in tones of supreme confidence.

"Fifteen dollars," he barked at me.

"A bargain at twice the price," I countered.

"Okay, twenty dollars," he barked back, raising the ante.

I pulled a twenty dollar bill out of my jeans and he surrendered the fortune cookies. I went outside and we all collapsed in laughter over the fact that we now had a case of fortune cookies. Also present at this chance encounter were Emily who plays bass and Ellis who strums a gtibox and jangles a keyboard with The Handcuffs. Alison wasn't present yet because she hadn't joined the band at this point in time. Eventually we ended up handing out the fortune cookies to bewildered passerbys. Oh, and earlier in the evening I proposed marriage to our waitress at a Mexican restaurant, after having drunk 29 margaritas. She accepted so I guess I'm still oficially engaged.

It was one of my favorite nights in New York City. The Handcuffs have a new CD out and you can buy it here: "Waiting For The Robot."

And now for the second course, Totino's Pepperoni Pizza Rolls. Heavily peppered and topped with a dollop of Sleazy Cheese. And speaking of eating...

Eat That Rat!

Okay, time for the third and last course of the evening. By now I've drank enough beer to sink a battleship and here's some mini cheeseburgers from the company that makes, Hot Pockets. I've always loved the name, "Hot Pockets." It makes me think of walking around with pieces of warmed grilled cheese in your blue jeans and that's a heartwarming moment for sure. Here they are all peppered up and ready to eat.

Okay, these were a bit of a disappointment. They taste like a tan albino throwing up beef stew that was marinated in Cheez Whiz. I know that's a bit much to wrap your brain around, but trust me, these weren't too good. So let's end on a musical highlight...

Joan Jett! I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and see you tomorrow after dark!

Further reading: Amy Winehouse, Hot Pockets and Joan Jett.

My mind’s such a sweet thing,
I want to do everything.
Crimson and Clover,
Over and over.

(Surprise link...click on this...I dare you!)


A Bonus Post Thanksgiving Cartoon From Jaws!

Jaws sent in this post Thanksgiving cartoon, great work! Thanks Jaws!


November 24, 2011

Last night I wrote about going to Sardi’s and seeing firsthand that the communal cheesepots were gone. In the comments section both Gene and Al expressed concern over whether Rudy’s Bar in Hell’s Kitchen was still handing out free hotdogs. I’m pretty sure they are, as I think those tight-asses at the DOH are concentrating on food that’s left out in the open on the bar area, but hey, when a member of the BBC and the 365 Bars co-pilot are concerned, I need to spring in to action, so here I go!

Okay, this is going to be a little bit of a lazy-ass post. Tomorrow's a holiday and I feel like taking it easy, so I'm just taking a couple pictures tonight and calling it a night. I just want to relax tomorrow and take it easy.

Here we are, Rudy's bar, let's go in and see what's shaking inside.

Here's the pig that greets you as you enter the hallowed halls of Rudy's.

Inside it's complete madness. You can barely walk because it's so packed and most people are bombed out of their gourd. I'm only taking one flash photo in here...

And that's a photo of the free hotdog's grilling away. There you go, Gene and Al, the dogs are still here. Hopefully the DOH isn't reading this. Okay, time to head home and start my holiday weekend!


Further reading: NYC Dives, Time Out New York and Mitch Broder’s Vintage New York.

I saw you in Rudy's,
You were very high,
You were high. (Thanks to Clacky for poiniting out the Rudy reference way back when!)

(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)


Bonus Thanksgiving Day Art by "Boris!"

A few years ago when I was doing my first blog, The Marty Wombacher Show, which morphed into 365 bars, which in turn led to the very blog you're reading now, "Boris" used to do the daily front page art. This is the Thanksgiving Day piece he did, which still cracks me up. "Boris" is available for freelance artwork if you need website, CD or book art or anything else, just email me and I'll pass the information along to "Boris." And don't forget to listen to "The Secret Weapon," the show he and Gidget put out on Woody Radio. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Gobble, gobble, gobble.


November 23, 2011

Tonight instead of going out in search of a swizzle stick as I usually do on Tuesdays, I’m going out in search for cheese. Last week I read some disturbing news at Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, that the DOH made Sardi’s get rid of their legendary and traditional communal cheese pots and crackers. That’s right, the DOH in all it’s Nazi-like wisdom has forced Sardi’s to cut the cheese (sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

When I first moved here and discovered the cheese pots at Sardi’s I would go there a couple times a month and order a draft beer and make a meal out of the free cheese and crackers.
Reports are mixed on whether the DOH forced them to get rid of them or whether Sardi’s banished them for fear of future fines, but one thing is for sure, they’re gone. Well, not totally, from what I’ve read you can now buy your own pot for three bucks. I thought I’d go check out this cheesy situation at Sardi’s tonight.

It's a rotten, rainy and chilly-ass night out tonight. Sardi's is 14 blocks away, so I decided to walk there instead of hassling with the subway. It's one of those decisions that halfway there I may be sorry I didn't take the train.

I should've taken the fucking train, it's miserable out here.

And the only thing worse than slow-walkers is slow-walkers with umbrellas. Impossible to get around. Fuck.

Finally, here we are at Sardi's. Let's go in and escape the rain.

The bottom bar is open, but it's three deep at the bar...

And so it's upstairs we go.

There's plenty of room up here...

And there's bartender Joseph and Bill, a semi-regular here who's working on a book. Here's Bill's blog: Our Missing News, the book is scheduled to come out next year and from what he told me, it's something you'll want to read. Stay tuned for further word about Bill's book. And now, onto the cheese!

There's quite a void at the bar, but Joseph tells me I can have my own private cheese pot. But it costs three bucks.

This is the future at Sardi's thanks to the DOH. A little cheesepot that's fresh from the fridge and somewhat hard as a rock.

Before (taken one month ago...)

And after.

So what’s the big deal about the free cheese at Sardi’s? For me it’s a lot.

When I first moved here in 1993 I went to Sardi’s to look at all the caricatures on the wall and see a New York bar I had only read about in books and had seen in movies and TV shows. When I discovered the free cheese and Ritz crackers at the bar I was elated. I had cashed in a pension plan to move here and pursue a career as a writer back in those days. A lot of doors had been slammed in my face, but I was getting stuff published, but some weeks my sole income was a 35 dollar check from the Manhattan Spirit newspaper on a wise-ass story I had written about the Hard Rock Cafe. I had bigger paydays from New York Newsday and The NY Daily News, but those choice assignments were fewer and farther between. I mostly toiled at the free weeklies, which was an exercise in poverty.

I’m a nervous person to begin with, but when the outgoing money greatly surpasses your incoming cash, it can grate on your nerves and make you dream about sleeping over a heating grate in front of Penn Station.
Whenever I got something published back in those days it was a cause for celebration. I had a byline in New York and a staff writing job just had to be just around the corner. A lot of times I’d go celebrate at the P&G Bar in my neighborhood and buy bags of potato chips for the regulars slumped around the bar, but other times I’d take the express train to Times Square and go and eat some of the free cheese and Ritz crackers at Sardi’s and think about the day that writing would finally pay the bills and I wouldn’t be sweating rent and bills. I’d always take my latest article with me, because you never knew if you’d meet a tourist of the female persuasion that you could say, “Me? Oh I’m a writer here in New York, in fact here’s my latest piece that just came out.”

After a while I surrendered and got a night job and did my own thing as far as writing goes.
I still am. and if you’re reading this, I thank you. I always loved going into Sardi’s and savoring the free cheese and Ritz crackers and think about the days when a staff writing job appeared to be looming it’s happy head right around the corner. Happy memories of days gone by.

And now the cheese is gone, but at least for me, my dreams live on. There’s some things Mayor Bloomberg and the DOH goons can’t touch. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.

Further reading: NY Times, Eater and The Bovina Bloviator.

Big cheese, make me,
Mine says, go to the office.

(Surprise link...click on it...I dare you!)