resto oh oh, spirit possession

Do Note That I Have Corrected “Urethra” to the Plural “Urethrae.”

Heck the fuck yeah.


I wrote a review of the new Bier Markt for CULT MTL, who insist on giving my articles irritating titles but are otherwise apparently willing to let me do whatever I want, because no one attempted to impose a single sentence break on this piece of self-indulgent claptrap:

The space is cavernous, two-tiered (apparently three. I looked it up. The third one is perhaps hidden), and conspicuously gaudy — slick with the rapidly congealing afterbirth of a newly installed chain restaurant attempting to conjure the mythic grace of the (or perhaps any) old country, its brass and pounded tin crying out for the patina that they shall never accrete, or at any rate, likely shall never be allowed to accrete, and so is destined to reside in perpetuity as a Belgian beer hall chez Disney, its looming Mannekin Pis (the famous naked pissing toddler of Belgium, aka le Petit Julien) mutely proclaiming their aridity by dint of the absence of anything to piss or anywhere in which to piss save the arriving clientele, those mounting the stairs, or anyone else who happens to turn around and find themselves faced with the yawning urethrae of the many eight-foot stone children that populate the building.

At which I guffawed uproariously while drunkenly writing, naturally. It does now occur to me that almost every time I sit down to write a restaurant review I devote the first 3/4 of the piece to talking about how terrible the place is, then inevitably conclude with “Ah, just go anyway, what do I care?” I choose to view this as the triumph of the populist in me.

But seriously, it’s worth going (to Bier Markt) if only for the Rodenbach Grand Cru and dollar oyster 5à7.

of a literary bent

The Way You’d Smell a Rose, or a Shot of Brandy.


it is inconceivable that i have not posted this before:

Once, in a Hartford barroom, a trembly fellow in his seventies turned to Mr Flood and said “Flood, I had a birthday last week. i’m getting on. I’m not long for this world.”

Mr Flood snorted angrily. “Well by God, am,” he said. “I just got started.”

The trembly fellow sighed and said, “I’m all out of whack. I’m going uptown to see my doctor.”

Mr Flood snorted again. “Oh shut up,” he said. “Damn your doctor! I tell you what you do. You get right out of here and go over to Libby’s oyster house and tell the man you want to eat some of his big oysters. Don’t sit down. Stand up at that fine marble bar they got over there, where you can watch the man knife them open. And tell him you intend to drink the oyster liquor; he’ll knife them on the cup shell, so the liquor won’t spill. And be sure you get the big ones. Get them so big you’ll have to rear back to swallow, the size that most restaurants use for fries and stews; God forgive them, they don’t know any better. Ask for Robbins Islands, Mattitucks, Cape Cods, or Saddle Rocks. And don’t put any of that red sauce on them, that cocktail sauce, that mess, that gurry. Ask the man for half a lemon, poke it a time or two to free the juice, and squeeze it over the oysters. And the first one he knifes, pick it up and smell it, the way you’d smell a rose, or a shot of brandy. That briny, seaweedy fragrance will clear your head; it’ll make your blood run faster. And don’t eat just six; take your time and eat a dozen, eat two dozen, eat three dozen, eat four dozen. And then leave the man a generous tip and go buy yourself a fifty-cent cigar and put your hat on the side of your heard and take a walk down to Bowling Green. Look at the sky! Isn’t it blue? And look at the girls a-tap-tap-tapping past on their pretty little feet! Aren’t they just the finest girls you ever saw, the bounciest, the rumpiest, the laughingest? Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for even thinking about spending money on a damned doctor?And along about here, you better be careful. You’re apt to feel so bucked-up you’ll slap strangers on the back, or kick a window in, or fight a cop, or jump on the tailboard of a truck and steal a ride.”  

               – Joseph Mitchell, “Old Mr. Flood” (1948)

more on this later.
product review, resto oh oh, Uncategorized

“A Collage of Unaccounted-For Brush Strokes”


Stockard Channing’s next-to-last lines from Six Degrees of Separation were yesterday feeling distressingly and urgently sympathetic to me, as i hauled my charcoal-dusted and BBQ-soaked carcass out of a tent after 4 hours of sleep in order to catch a plane to Reno so i could interview some scientists, from there to hop on a bus to San Francisco so i could eat a million burritos and drink a million microbrews. less directly concerned with (although no doubt overshadowed by) such existential cramps, my other thoughts for the day as i saw fit to record them were as follow:

1. this Gavino and Weinfeld airport croissant tastes like it was made with movie theatre butter, but unfortunately i can’t say that makes it the worst i’ve ever had. not by a long shot.

these are the things i know about Cleveland:
Bone Thugs N Harmony.
Drew Carey?
in the last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after Sunnydale has sunk into an abyss and they’re like, “we’ve closed the Hellmouth now, at least it’s over, right?” Giles is like “well, there’s another on in Cleveland, actually.”

remember when they were talking about doing a spinoff of Buffy where Giles is back in England solving paranormal mysteries aided by the ghost of Miss Calendar, his murdered cyber-pagan-gypsy computer teacher/lover? no? i would have watched that.

3. Cleveland airport seems pretty nice, but 19$ crab cake nice? i think not, but that may just be the hangover thinking. Continue reading