Archives for category: eateries

margaburger

East Bay is Pig Latin for BEAST. I really wanted to find The Beast’s best burger, without having to follow any hipster foodie-type counseling.

I thought about taking on this very important task… but, I’m large. I can’t go around researching the quality of hamburgers while I still intend to fit my fat ass into an affordable compact vehicle.

That said, I believe I found the best hamburger in The Beast by accident.

My son and I met a group of persons that I enjoy on the patio at El Charro in Lafayette. I ordered a kids’ burger for my Prince who is all of three years old. The dish I ordered for myself was a complete abortion. I couldn’t even look down. While he was busy emptying the salt and pepper shakers, I counted 10 Mississippi.

Baby Boy just wasn’t hungry.

I dove in.

I had my very first Hamburgasm. It was the best burger I’ve ever had… (and I don’t care who you are. I’ve eaten more hamburgers than you.)

But, I mean, People… I was really very hungry… and we all know that Hunger is the bestest Chef of all the chefs.

So I went again last night. I watched in sick satisfaction as my little Prince completely ignored his meal. After the check was paid, I put that culinary work of art into my purse and hurriedly hauled my ass home. I waited an eternity for Baby Boy to fall asleep, so that El Charro Kid Burger and I could be alone. By the time that happened the bun was but a sponge, but it didn’t matter… because of that beloved beef patty.

That beef patty was everything.

…I believe the Holy Grail of Hamburgers is right here, in the belly of The Beast.

Have you ever had a tantrum over the closing of a restaurant?

My fat ass threw the mother of all fits when some killjoy told it that florent got bullied out of its lease at 69 Gansevoort Street. Some filthy animal wanted 30 G’s a month to keep the beauty alive.

Revolting.

My answer to this absolute blasphemy was to give the Meat Packing district, in its entirety, the HAND. I refused to grace its greedy blood soaked cobblestones with my adorable adidas EVER again.

(…until about six weeks later when some trick with significant shoulders offered to buy me a black and blue double porterhouse coupled with a bottomless Diet Coke.)

Guys! it was totally Field of Dreams. But so much more watchable.

Imagine:

The cornfield is a neglected parcel of lower Manhattan. Kevin Costner’s almost-as-boring-as-a-baseball-game character is, instead, played by a colorful Frenchman called Florent Morellet. Shoeless Joe Jackson comes, indeed… but he comes to 69 Gansevoort Street, and that barefoot bitch stays for nearly 23 years… in the form of the pinpoint perfect clientele. If every restauranteur could be so lucky; edgy celebrities, drunk drag queens, transgender prostitutes, and a hodge podge of insatiable late night lunatics.

…and the child that chokes herself unconscious on a hot dog?

…that’s my twentysomething ass.

Interpret that as you will, and let your sick mind meander… my floriend.

When I moved into my third floor apartment at 40 Ludlow, I did that shit by myself. And its a good fucking thing I collected books. Once I was able to corral all of that crap inside, I locked the door behind me and left to go check the neighborhood. I needed a restaurant where I could rest my rump and thighs over a cocktail and then eat my face off. But first I needed a New York Post.

When I eat alone, I like to slobber over some Page Six.

There were a lot of 99 cent stores and a lot of laundromats around. An adorable elementary school, a funeral home, and a whole mess of dusty massage parlours.

At Canal and Ludlow I found a French African Brazilian bar/eatery thing called Les Enfants Terribles. This was it. I had found my lair. My deal closer. Shadowy, sexy and small, the bar wrapped all the way around to make a rectangle. The low hanging lamps over the bar were dim and reflected on the copper bar, on the gilded ceiling, and in the floor to ceiling windows. I gave up trying to wrap my mind around the music; world music, hip hop, forgotten 80’s new wave layered with house, and even some Mowtown.

I ordered a cocktail with vodka, a bunch of sugar and smooshed up green grapes. I drank four or five of those before ordering mussels and some Moqueca, a seafood-coconut-milk stew, which was just jammed with shrimp and came with a steaming bowl of white rice. The bartenders were deliciously dismissive and and a perfect D.J. dude with salt and pepper dreadlocks served up some Snoop Dogg and Shirelles. My only gripe was the octagonal shaped bar stool my ass was swallowing. I had to keep standing up and twisting my seat a shade to distribute the the pain and possibility of a puncture wound.

I ate enough food for two of those asses. I burped my way back to 40 Ludlow, up those three flights and slipped into a coma on my old mattress and new floor.

I didn’t go to Les Enfants Terribles every night thereafter.

I went almost every night.

101 Things I Love

I wake up one magnificent Monday morning (1) all spry with the good kind of dirty hair (2) to the adorable sounds of Chinese children (3) singing Red Rover, Red Rover (4) in the schoolyard (5) across the street. I remind myself that I am fortunate enough to be gainfully employed (6); to have the opportunity to meet lots of lunatics (7) and earn boobfuls of cash (8) nightly. I fantasize for a second that my pillow (9) is John Kennedy Jr.’s (10) crotch area (11) and give him a tender good morning kiss. Then I hoist my considerable rear end out of my beloved bed (12), and skip over to the finest greasy spoon in the world, the Cup and Saucer (13) still proudly wearing my jammies (14). Stavros (15), who is seriously sexful, prepares me a special Sanka (16) with a splash of skim in one of those waxy, we are happy to serve you cups (17). I lap that caffeinated deliciousness up walking home along Hester Street (18), but not before making a cameo at the corner laundromat to scoop my freshly folded slutwear (19). New York (20) is so alive today, and all the freaks (21) and geeks (22) are out wearing muu muus (23) and muscle shirts (24) while its menacing teens are chained up in their PS’s (25) learning how to read (26) and write (27). When I return home, I sit all ladylike upon my luxurious toilet seat (28) made of silky synthetic stuffing (29) and priceless pink vinyl (30). I take a very meaningful and meditative crap (31) while i read from my dog eared Dictionary of Serial Killers (32) with a parcel of Charmin (33) tucked between my chins. Feeling accomplished, I call up one of my Bay Area Bitches (34) for an impromptu exchange of evil gossip (35), and then put on a DVD of Jane Fonda (36) burned illegally by my mother (37) who loves me (38). I push confidently through several sets of Donkey Kicks (39). After a 90 minute shower (40) I’m ready to pick up today’s New York Post (41) from Eastern Market (42) on Grand Street (43) on my way to work. I also stop at Jin (44) on Broome Street (45) to power down a bento box (46) while I enjoy reading Page Six (47) and overtip the underpaid darling (48) who serves me. I walk around for a while listening on my ishuffle (49) to Olivia Newton John (50) sing the most beautiful song ever recorded, Please Mr. Please (51)… I discover a newly opened QiGong Tui Na massage parlor (52), pet a puggle pup (53), joke around with a quint of queers (54) who need directions to Katz’s Deli (55) and an old man in a seersucker suit (56), asks me where he can get himself a KNISH (57)… Glorious! I look at the time and quickly catch a coconut curry scented cab (58) and careen up First Avenue. Every light is go go green (59), the windows are down and my hair blows around not even getting stuck in my tawdry red lipstick (60). I parade through the restaurant’s entrance as if it were the runway of a Pat Field (61) fashion show. I breeze past the chicly dressed hostess (62), who is are hard at work (63) organizing tonight’s floorplan. I give that bitch a wink and high-five. My uber industrious Barback, Johnny Pineapples (64) whom I would give my runner-up kidney… calls me Mommy and tells me I’m gorgeous. He gets his face (65) licked liberally, after he does like a true stallion and effortlessly fetches me ice and all other stuff that is heavy, while I savor the gorgeousness of rare filet the kitchen staff (66) has prepared for us as a thank you (67) for all of our hard work. I would kiss the Chef (68) if it wasn’t very busy right now eating very delicious red meat (69). The night starts flawlessly. Everything is in order (70) and the piece I’m currently stalking sends me an onslaught of perverse text messages (71). Everyone at the bar (72) rules in some way; local litigators (73) working late and expensing (74), commuting marrieds (75) medicating themselves before joining their faithful spouses (76) and pubescent kids (77) for dinner, local bartenders (78) getting lit before or after their shifts, local homo (79) and hetero singles (80) perusing for tail. The sliders (81) are new on the menu, so I sell them like hotcakes (82). I am salesgirl extraordinaire. Y Chromosomes wearing suits (83) ask me for my number all night either because I am either fertile (84) or look fierce (85), you tell me… The night flies by like the quintessential Q train (86) and I leave the restaurant with a serious stripperwad (87), and meet my peeps (88) at PJ Clarke’s (89) where Doug (90) serves me a Stinger (91). Hilarious stories from the night abound (92) and I leave, my cheeks hurt from hardy har har’s (93). All of them are all so different, and we are like a gang together… I cherish those dorks and all of our fun times (94). Also I want to have sex (95) with them (96). We all get taxis in different directions and when I arrive home beautifully buzzed, and my apartment (97) is safe, clean and rent stabilized (98). Boozer the bear (99) snuggles me to sleep and I pray to God, that power lesbian (100) in the sky, for this fantastical day. LIfe (101) is good.

101 Things I Hate

I wake up hella hungover (1). I lay in bed for hours rocking back and forth, anticipating in horror, the Saturday night (2) bartending shift awaiting me. Around 2:00 PM, dehydrated and toxic, I am scared to check my salacious sext messages (3) and drunky dials (4) that went out to dudes I’m weak for (5) from last night, which I can’t fully remember (6). On my way to the toilet, I realize I have forgotten to remove my corroded contact lenses (7). As my temples throb, I fumble and forage through dank masses of laundry (8) to find my rancid uniform (9) which has been entirely befouled; steeped in boobsweat, cigarette smoke (10) and just general bar sewage (11). I haphazardly spackle foundation onto my capillaries (12) and into my craters (13). I receive a voicemail (14) from my superior (15) telling me to come in early for a stupid staff meeting (16). Hurried and harried, I gather my gear and head to the bus stop at Canal Street (17). I look for a NY Post along the way but all I can find is the damn Daily News (18). I’m waiting for the M15 bus (19) but all that stops are those detestable double deckers (20). It starts to rain (21). Finally, I board a bus and and there are exactly zero available seats. So I have to stand (22) next to a group of inner city teens (23) scream-singing (24) “Lean On Me” (25). There is parade (26) traffic (27) on First Avenue. I am going to be late (28). Today’s “Family Meal” (29) is complete crap. I refuse to eat this mess, and as a result, start my shift STARVING (30). I have barely collected enough lemons and limes from the uncomfortably cold (31) walk-in refrigerator where I lay my farts, when the dumb door whore (32) who is skinny (33) and pretty (34) escorts a hodgepodge of half-witted tourists (35) furnished with foolish fanny packs (36) to my not-yet-ready bar to have drinks until the dining room is set up for service… KILL. I rush around looking for my embarrassing nametag (37). They ask for a specialty cocktail list (38) and then order an extra sweet Vodka Mojito (39), Virgin Piña Colada (40) with whipped topping (41), herbal tea (42) with honey (43), and, …a “surprise me!” (44), to which I supply a Triple Zombie. I am so frazzled that I butcher my hand on the blue foil of a Grey Goose bottle (45). After twenty minutes of mediocre mixology, I drop their check and they pay with a Traveler’s Check (46). I grunt and spit while they continue to sit and stare (47) for an eternity asking repeatedly for bar nibbles (48). I fling a basket of stale bridge mix (49) at them. They make a massive mess of crumbs (50) and turn a stack of beautiful bevnaps into a swarm of snotrags (51). When they finally haul their asses (52) away, they leave behind greasy glassware (53) rimmed with 90’s lipstick (54) and moistened morsels of pretzel (55). I barf in the sink and then quarantine the area by employing a pair of powdery latex gloves (56) and bleach. Just then, some Saturday night regulars who split checks (57) and modify (58) everything come through the door and bitch relentlessly (59) about the lack of air conditioning while theatrically fanning themselves (60) with oversized menus (61). I ignore them and concentrate on serving a family of Born Agains (62), who are celebrating something stupid (63) by drinking non alcoholic beverages (64). They demand a smörgåsbord of maraschino cherries (65). I’m so cranky I’m coughing flames. A steady stream of amateur party goers (66) ask for ridiculous shots (67) and separate checks (68). Alcoholic divorcées (69) sniff each other’s crotches after starting stupid conversations (70) about their tacky timepieces (71) and hideous handbags (72). Bachelor party types (73) are typical and territorial about what trifling sporting event (74) should be on the TV’s (75). Over styled gold diggers (76) sit with crotchety curmudgeons (77) who wave their arms (78) and/or snap (79) to get service. Various types of other self entitled sociopaths (80) are littered about checking the scene and smelling up the place with their putrid perfumery (81) and ghastly cocaine breath (82). Anemic actor/waiters (85) interrupt me all night with their consistent whining (86); change of a fifty, (87) tastes of obscure grappa (88), sludgy vintage ports (89), and various other superfluous details (90). The piece I’m currently stalking is not responding (91) to my embarrassing texts (92). I’m about to cut myself with a corkscrew. On my way to the toilet to squirt urine and tears, the only waiter I’d even consider naked mentions that I look tired (93). After I threaten to rip his face (94) off, I sit on the toilet splat onto a puddle of pee (95) left by the bridge and tunnel C-U-Next-Tuesday (96) before me. Homicidal, I clench my teeth and return to the bar to clean and close this dump. I am on a fervent mission to go home and drink myself to death. Diabolically depressed, I slap checks in front of whomever deserves them and demand promptness in payment. After everyone (97) has paid, I am so bent on getting out of there that I swear I’m gonna have a stroke. Just then, a group of Yankee enthusiasts, (98) who are somehow VIP’s (99), appear out of nowhere, drink us out of Jaegermeister (100) and then stumble somewhere to have sloppy blackout sex! and I, of course, am going home alone (101)… again!

I clock major miles walking around the city and usually am so starving that I wind up in some dump, receiving paltry service from unwashed Williamsburgers. Well this time I applaud myself for being totally unprepared. The art literati has dubbed the 1950’s and 60’s “Mid Century,”  so says the internet. I love oysters and furniture showrooms, so Bongo is so my spot.

Other positive points to note here are:

1. The cocktail menu smacks late-last-night-at-Kinko’s,,, which leaves you expecting a marginal beverage, so when you are presented with a brilliant, beautimous glass filled with brilliant booze, you will whisper to Jesus begging him for many more humbling life lessons of this type.

2. The owners are people you’d kinda enjoy being stuck in an elevator with.

3. The floor is cleaner than your kitchen counter.

 

The title of this post looks like a list of your latest Scrabble triumphs. But it is a very really thing. We are living in a world of sprouting Doughnut Plants. Roll up at closing time and you might get some freebs. Get coffee somewhere else, though. The owner considers coffee more of an accompaniment than mandatory morning fuel.

Gray’s Papaya is the answer to many of my prayers:

What do I do when the bars close?

Where do I go for urgent salty meat?

What do I do with these nettlesome coins?

Where do I tell my hipster coworker to take his date?

Where can I get a the lightening fast stoke of endorphins?

How do I ease this hangover?

How can I induce a nap?

Where can I go during an afternoon rainstorm?

Where are all of my drunk friends right now?

In addition to being such a mandatory city amenity, they are totally loyal to their original signage, menu and philosophy. With their “Recession Special” and democratic endorsements, they aren’t just an eatery, but a neighborhood institution:

I lived in a dorm called Marlton House on 8th Street and 5th Ave. We used to maraude around the Village in the middle of the night smoking stale menthols and menacing the graveyard servers at French Roast. I was haunted night after night by Gray’s end of day refuse… A recipe of beef scrapple and papaya mulch simmering slowly atop a main subway artery,,, still not enough to keep my fat ass from making that place my personal parlour.

I once dated a man who lived in a loft above the founders of Papaya King, from which Gray’s Papaya was born. It’s not a secret that they get the hot dogs as they are about to expire and turn them around as quick as possible which is how they profit from such inexpensive retail prices. The only concept happening on Earth more ingenious is this.

How great are these:

And… (meat) curtain.

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