Live, from New York, it’s Cheeseburger Saturday Night. Starring Veselka, with special guest stars, Britta and Tom and featuring the Ready For Prime Beef Player, Marty Wombacher. And now, in the heart of the East Village, please welcome, Britta, Tom and Veselka!
Here's the special guest stars, Tom and Britta enjoying the beers that I've been saving for them. Britta's Sol beer is courtesy of the BBC!
After a couple beers and some snacks it's off into the night in search of a cheeseburger.
And our travels led us to Veselka, a legendary East Village Ukrainian restaurant.
These two friendly fellows welcomed us as we entered the restaurant.
And before you can blink your eyes, we were seated at our table and enjoying a beer.
Veselka is love. Nice!
This baby scares me a little, let's just walk away from it slowly.
Here's the main dining area in Veselka.
Some of the homemade pastries and cakes in a display window.
Chanel was up by the front register and was getting something to go.
And when I returned to our table soup and bread were waiting. What's better than that?
The view from our window.
And now the main courses arrive. Tom got the Reuben.
Britta got the lamb burger.
And I got the turkey burger with cheddar cheese and grilled onions. I slathered mustard on it, much to Britta's horror.
A delicious burger!
And then it was out the door for dessert and a nightcap.
We thought we'd stop by Ray's for a chocolate egg cream for dessert.
And we ran into MAD pal and ace photographer, Bob Arihood outside of Ray's who was chatting with his friend Chrissy.
Inside Ray points to a photo from a month ago when he became a citizen. Glad to have Ray aboard as a fellow American! HooRAY!
Here's Ray making us our egg creams. The were great as always. Okay, off for a nightcap.
Tom and Britta enjoy Handsome Dick Manitoba's radio show on Sirius, so we thought we'd stop by there for a final drink.
And here we are with the man himself, Handsome Dick Manitoba and Gumby even gets in on the action. Handsome Dick regaled us with some great rock 'n' roll tales and it was a great ending to a super fun night. Goodnight everybody and see you tomorrow after dark.
Three Wimpy's. A very good burger!
144 Second Ave. (@9th Street)
99 Ave. B (Near 6th St.)
Further reading: New York Magazine, Bionic Bites, Time Out New York and Shecky’s.
You Might Also Like: The Honeybees, The Honey Bees and Honey.
September 11th Bonus Story
Ten years ago I was writing a humor column for a website called “Toast.” When September 11th went down, my editor, Hap Mansfield said if I didn’t want to write anything, she’d understand and they’d just rerun an older column of mine. There was a lot of artists and writers involved with Toast, but I was the only one from New York and wanted to say something about the day. So this is what I wrote. Hard to believe that this is ten years old, but it is. Fun really does fly when your having thyme.
My Good Friend Mr. Booze
When a bunch of maniacs brutally hijacked and then flew two planeloads of innocent people suicide-style into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11th the news hit us all hard. And if you live in New York City, it really hit you in a most horrible and furious manner. I live about a mile away and shortly after I saw the horrific images on my TV, I found myself walking towards the rubble that was once the World Trade Center. It was a strange feeling to walk from my neighborhood, which was untouched, into a surreal, third world-like war zone. Traffic was all sealed off, but the streets were full of people who had wandered down to witness the carnage firsthand. As I looked around and saw the giant brown mushroom cloud in the sky, people crying, a dazed looking woman in her early twenties wondering, “Why?” out loud to no one in particular, policemen trying to keep order in the midst of chaos, buzzing helicopters, news reporters on every corner jabbering in front of hand-held cameras, sirens and dust and debris everywhere, I felt as though I had just walked into a real-life nightmare. And there was a smell in the air. Not just the smoke and dust, but a foul, acrid odor. “Jesus,” I said to a man who had white powder flecking his dark blue suit coat standing next to me, “what’s that smell?” With a face stupid with shock he replied in a tired voice, “It’s burning flesh and hair. I heard there could be 10,000 people buried over there.”
All of a sudden I wished I hadn’t walked down there and found myself shuffling away as my mind started processing too many grim thoughts per minute. I wandered aimlessly and ended up in a deli about a half a mile away. The deli was full of people, but nobody was speaking. The TV in the corner was tuned to CNN and everyone’s eyes were glued to the screen watching the never-ending updates, the rising body count and the gut-wrenching footage of those two planes crashing into the World Trade Center. As I stood there and looked slowly around the deli, it was then that I saw him. Housed behind a glass door in a cooler, was my good friend Mr. Booze.
Mr. Booze stayed with me throughout a two hour stretch in the deli. Without regard for his own feelings or well-being he comforted not only myself, but most everyone else sitting around. After a couple hours I felt the need to take a walk. Thoughtlessly I abandoned Mr. Booze and walked the streets of downtown Manhattan and watched a shocked city trying to cope with a situation that was beyond even the most fertile imagination. I was tired, but I didn’t want to go home and sit alone. I took refuge in a neighborhood bar called the Stoned Crow and as I sat down at the bar, once again I spied my good friend Mr. Booze. I was afraid he’d be mad at me for ditching him at the deli, but Mr. Booze harbored no ill will. In fact he was even more comforting than before. Hours passed and Mr. Booze tirelessly soothed my shattered nerves. He never left my side until I decided it was time to go home and try and get some sleep. Once inside my apartment I turned on the TV and watched for the umpteenth time the nauseating film clip of the World Trade Center collapsing. My head felt like it was caving in as I opened my refrigerator door to get some water to chase down four Advil tablets. I swung the door open and much to my amazement, there he was: my good friend Mr. Booze.
With the help of Mr. Booze I settled down and tried to get some much-needed sleep. It was to be a fitful night of waking up from nightmares, but like a doctor on an unending house call, Mr. Booze was there every time I woke up in a pool of sweat. He’d help me back to sleep and then an hour later he’d repeat the process, never complaining, never thinking of himself.
I finally drifted off for a few hours straight, but a loud noise outside my apartment caused me to awaken at 9:05 in the morning. I bolted out of my bed and looked out the window and saw that no bomb’s were bursting outside. Feeling both a sense of relief and embarrassment I rubbed my aching head and thought that maybe Mr. Booze had finally left. But as I opened my refrigerator door I found I was wrong. There standing guard at his usual spot, was my good friend Mr. Booze.
Mr. Booze stayed with me through the day and managed to lift my spirits just a little. That evening a few friends came over. We all shared stories of where we were when it happened, talked about the photos in the paper of the people who jumped from the buildings and how the once lively and circus-like atmosphere of Manhattan had turned into one giant miserable wake. The mood in the room was depressing to say the least. Until Mr. Booze showed up. In typical Mr. Booze fashion, he livened up the party and reminded us that even in the most tragic of times you have to keep living. Mr. Booze even got all of us relaxed enough to where we started laughing at jokes and each other for the first time since Tuesday morning. Mr. Booze accompanied us to the Stoned Crow bar and then to another, which for some reason the name escapes me. When it was time to go home, Mr. Booze helped me find the way and once again his calming company helped me get to sleep.
A few weeks have passed since the tragedy and with the help of Mr. Booze I felt like I was back on track. I even decided to sit down and write my column for Toast. It was then that I encountered the worst case of writer’s block in my life. I couldn’t think of anything to write about. I was petrified. I thought maybe all the grotesque images I had seen in the past few weeks had stripped my ability to do what I love most. Hours passed as I stared at my blank computer screen as depression set in. Just when I was ready to call it quits, I happened to look to the right of my keyboard. And there he was. My good friend Mr. Booze. I knew then and there what the subject matter for this column would be.
And so ladies and gentlemen, in closing I would like to ask...no, beg you to join me as I stand up and salute my good friend...Mr. Booze!