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The Big Kahuna in El Barrio

10 Apr

Makana

Lately Hawaii has been on my mind. And I can’t really pinpoint why.  In the past, I’ve really had no desire to visit our 50th State. Despite its obvious attractions, I have always been content to travel to the much closer, more exotic (in my mind) Caribbean than the Hawaiian Islands. Still Hawaii has been on my radar as a place I really should get to at some point in my life.

The closest I’ve come to Hawaii was a few years ago when a screenplay I wrote won a “Gold Kahuna” award at the Honolulu Film Festival. I had to admit, being considered a Kahuna in anything was quite an honor and the festival organizers said there would be a presentation. There was, however, a stipulation. I would have to travel 5,000 miles at my own expense to accept it personally. Even a Kahuna has his limitations and I decided to accept the award via email.

Gold Kahuna

Now I find myself with an itch to see the Islands. Maybe the cold winter finally caught up to me and images of green, lush, volcanic hills, waterfalls, crystal blue waters, and swaying palms has brought on the itch. Maybe that HGTV show Hawaii Life, which I’ve come to watch regularly has enticed me. Or maybe it’s because there is a cuisine particular to Hawaii that I have never tried. I’ve never been to India, Thailand, or Brazil for that matter, yet I have had their food here in New York. But Hawaiian food? Never. New York, it seems, is a Hawaiian food free zone.

Driving up First Avenue in East Harlem,( also known as Spanish Harlem, also known as El Barrio), not long ago, I noticed a sign for a restaurant called Makana that advertised Japanese and Hawaiian BBQ. Here, finally was a chance to lose my Hawaiian food virginity. I looked forward to my first time and despite my Kahuna credentials, hoped the experience would be a gentle one.

Makana

I went into the tiny, take-out mostly, restaurant not knowing what to expect and really not expecting much. The majority of the menu featured Japanese staples including a very long sushi list. I skipped past them and  paid attention to the items with asterisks next to them including Hawaiian BBQ beef, fried mahi mahi (“Hawaii’s favorite fish”), Kalua pork (“Another Hawaiian favorite,”) and “Loco Moco”, hamburger patties with a fried egg and covered with “special” brown gray(“A local Island favorite!”) It was the food with the asterisks I wanted.

BBQ chicken

BBQ chicken

I started with the Hawaiian bbq chicken; chunks of boneless chicken thighs heavily marinated in a sweet soy sauce. The chicken came with sides of salad, cabbage, macaroni salad, and rice with a layer of the same sweet sauce under it. While I ate, I noticed that there was something called “spam musabi;” soy marinated spam wrapped in seaweed, kind of like spam sushi, listed up on the illustrated menu behind the counter. I was tempted, but thought that when and if I ever get to Hawaii, that’s when I’ll take a chance on spam musabi.

Makana

Next I sampled the Kalua pork, pieces of tender, smoky shredded pork mixed with cabbage and lightly seasoned with that sweet soy sauce. I know pork is big in Spanish Harlem and have had my share of lechon including the addictive portions served at Lechonera La Isla ( see Lechonera Encanto). But this pork was different and had me fantasizing of a big pig slow cooked underground, Luau-style.

Kalua pork

Kalua pork

The bbq beef fried noodles, called fried saimin, were described as “Japanese-style” on the menu, but I never had anything like this at a Japanese restaurant before. The noodles, I thought, were more like thin, Chinese noodles—the sauce again of the sweet soy variety, the beef, thin round slices marinated in  the same sauce. I knew the sauce was redundant to all of the dishes I sampled, but I wasn’t complaining. It was what I was coming to identify with whatever this thing called Hawaiian food was.

Bbq beef fried saimin

Bbq beef fried saimin

In the appetizers section of the menu, I noticed ahi poke offered. I’ve never had poke, ahi or otherwise, but I thought it better, like the spam, that I wait until I’m in Honolulu, Maui, or the Big Island and the tuna is fresh out of the warm Pacific waters before I try it. But then again that might be a very long wait.

Makana
2245 1st Avenue
East Harlem

And the Answer is…

7 Jan

On Friday I presented you with multiple photos of a restaurant and challenged you to Name That Place.  To revisit the photos, you can click here: Name That Place, or you can scroll down these pages.

I’m relieved to report that one well traveled eater was able to correctly Name That Place as:

Cafe Edison

 

That’s right, the Cafe Edison, also known as the “Polish Tea Room;” its nickname derived when a patron, of which there were many from the nearby theaters; playwrights, directors,actors,  producers, and stage hands, deemed the decor and food superior to the much more expensive and haughty Russian Tea Room.

Cafe Edison

228 W. 47th Street

See if the you can get goulash and noodles, cup of soup and a beverage for $16.95 at the Russian Tea  Room.

See if the you can get goulash and noodles, cup of soup and a beverage for $16.95 at the Russian Tea Room.

If the matzoh ball soup I had at the Cafe Edison wasn’t the “greatest soup in the history of soup”, as proclaimed by the New York Times, then it was certainly in the top 50.

Cafe Edison

But at the Cafe Edison, those who know don’t flock to it just for the outstanding soup. These sandwiches are pretty good too.

Cafe Edison

I had one on my recent visit but it wasn’t roast beef, corned beef, brisket, salami, or pastrami.  For bonus points, I wondered if any of the food obsessed out there could identify what type of sandwich I ordered. Here’s a look again:

Cafe Edison

Now that you know I was dining at the Cafe Edison, perhaps you will realize that what I was about to enjoy a generously stuffed vegetarian chopped liver sandwich on rye.

That concludes this edition of Name That Place. Be on the lookout for another serious challenge in the near future.

 

 

 

The Happiest of All Hours: Paris Blues

26 Oct

I was taking pictures of the scaffold-shrouded exterior of Paris Blues when a man’s head popped out of the door.

“Come on in,” the man said to me.

“I plan to,” I responded.

And after taking a few more pictures, I walked into the dark bar.

I took a seat and noticed a third person hunched at the end of the bar near the door sleeping comfortably.

It had been several years since I’d been to Paris Blues, but not much had changed inside except for the small stage where, at the time I walked in, another man was fiddling with a drum set.

The stage at Paris Blues

Live music was new—at least to me. The man who had gestured me inside was now behind the bar. He mumbled something about the other man up on the stage with the drum set.

“Taught him everything he knows about drums,” the bartender, who told me his name was Jer, short for Jerry, said.

“You play?” I asked.

“Used to,” he said.

Live music at Paris Blues

The younger man up on the stage snorted and soon their conversation turned to the Jets.

“They lost because they were playing scared,” the younger man said.

“No, they weren’t scared,” Jer said, ‘They lost, that’s all.” And that effectively ended the conversation.

A super-sized television set behind the stage that I knew had not been there when I visited last was on to a late afternoon rerun of  Bonanza.

The beer options, according to Jer, included Budweiser, Corona, “Heiny,” and Sugar Hill. I was in Harlem. I thought it only fitting to choose the latter.

The beer of choice in Harlem

After serving me the beer, Jer moved around the bar and roused the sleeping man who silently got up and went outside.

Paris Blues, Jer told me, had been open for 43 years.

“How many of those have you been working here?” I asked.

“’bout 30 or so,” he answered.

African American icons proudly on display.

I really didn’t know why it had taken me so long to return to Paris Blues. Trombonist Frank Lacey, who I once saw perform with trumpet player, Roy Hargrove on the French Caribbean island of Martinique, was scheduled to perform later that evening.

“You get lots of tourists here?” I asked as I sipped more of my beer.

Jer nodded. “Japanese, Germans, busloads of ‘em. They’ll be in here tonight.”

On the television, a rainmaker had brought rain to the Ponderosa and a little girl was healed of a television sickness. The Cartwright men all smiled at the end and then the familiar theme song played.

Happy hour entertainment.

I finished my beer and thanked Jer.

“Come on back,” he said as I was leaving.

I told him I would.

The man who had been sleeping inside was sitting on a bench outside the bar. I nodded at him and headed down the street. It was beginning to rain in Harlem. After about a block, I turned around.  I could see the man on the bench slowly get up from his seat. I watched for a moment as he walked back into Paris Blues.

Paris Blues
2021 Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Blvd
Harlem

And the Answer is…

26 Mar

On Friday I posted the image below and challenged all of you to Name That Place.

I’m happy to report that I received a number of correct answers.

They knew that at this place, you would also see this magnificent vaulted tiled ceiling.

And that the place is known for these:

Where if you, god forbid, missed your train.

You could happily pass the time, slurping on this.

Oyster pan roast

At the 99-year old, Grand Central Oyster Bar.

Congratulations to all those who guessed correctly.  Stay tuned for another installment of Name That Place next month right here on Fried Neck Bones…and Some Home Fries.

Name That Place

23 Mar

It’s just an old fashioned, bland, Formica covered restaurant counter. Old, in this case is the operative word and the only clue you’ll get. Those in the New York know will have absolutely no difficulty nailing this place. Others might be sidetracked, confused, led astray by the very basic, almost nondescript diner-like image. Any other images of the place besides the one above would immediately blow its cover and I don’t want to insult anyone’s New York City restaurant intelligence by doing that.

Good luck and leave your answers in the comments section below or email them to me at friedneckbones_andsomehomefries@yahoo.com.

The place will be revealed on Monday.

Neckbones’ Rum Diary: The J.M Incident

4 Nov

After boarding the ferry in Dominica, I downed an extra-strength Dramamine. The weather was clear, the waters calm, yet I didn’t want to risk a bout of seasickness before arriving at my destination: the J.M Rum distillery in Martinique.

Keeping my eyes straight ahead and sitting upright, I ignored the young man next to me and the others around me who were retching into plastic bags given out by the ferry’s crew as the boat was pummeled mercilessly in the channel between the two islands, also known, as I found out later as the “Blue Vomit.”

The ferry on the seemingly tranquil “blue vomit.”

With Martinique in sight, I was a bit groggy and wobbly, but my stomach remained intact and, once I exited the ferry onto the streets of Fort-de-France, Martinique’s capital city, a taxi whisked me to the northeast tip of the island to a place known as Macouba. I knew we were close and as the taxi descended down a steep incline, the red copper-tin roofs came into view and I could see the steam from the stills rising from the distillery through the dense greenery of palm fronds.

The distillery in Macouba

As we pulled in front of the old distillery, I smelled the alcohol-tinged cane juice as it was being “cooked” in the stills. Taking a healthy whiff, the vapors immediately restored my equilibrium, still somewhat shaky from the Blue Vomit nightmare.

Passing barrels of rum and ignoring a tour of the facilities, I headed straight to the tasting room/gift shop. A sample of J.M’s velvety white rum improved my situation even further but it wasn’t until I sipped the brand’s  VSOP “rhum vieux”  that I knew I had finally found what I was seeking. The taste was something so pure; so delicately smooth that the horrors of the Blue Vomit were worth the ordeal just to sip this amber nectar.

Stills and barrels of rum

My mission complete, I bought a bottle and returned to Fort-de-France where the next day I was to board a plane to San Juan and then another back to New York.

Keeping my precious cargo close by in my carry on bag, I was instructed by security at the Martinique airport to put the rum in a clear plastic bag. I did as told and was granted access to the plane.

Rushing through San Juan’s Luis Munoz Marin International Airport to make my connection to JFK, I waited on line at security. When it was my turn to pass through the gates, an overzealous customs officer, and most likely a rum aficionado, spied my bottle of J.M.

“You can’t take that on,” he said gruffly.

“But it’s in a clear plastic bag,” I pleaded.

“You could go back and check it in,” he offered, obviously knowing I had no time to do so. “or…I’ll have to take it from you.”

I stared at him. He stared at me and then held out his hand. I had no choice. He took the bottle, hiding a satisfied grin behind his bogus official demeanor.

The shock hit me as I settled into my seat. I was trembling. Once we were in the air and I knew my prized possession was gone, tears came to my eyes.

“Why are you so sad,” the abuela  who was sitting next to me and on her way to visit her daughter and grandchildren in the Bronx,  asked. “Have you left a loved one behind?”

I turned to her, dabbed at my eyes and nodded.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “Time will cure your sorrow. Watch the movie. It’s funny.”

I looked up at the small screen. It was something with Adam Sandler. I didn’t laugh.

Even the comedy of Adam Sandler could not penetrate my sorrow.

The wise abuela was right. Time did heal the deep wound of loss. When I first returned to New York, I frantically searched the many liquor stores looking for the J.M VSOP Rhum Vieux, but with no luck. I abandoned my search and resigned myself to settle for other “old” rums.

But then, one evening when dining at a cacophonous, yet delicious high end eatery downtown, my eyes were drawn to the offering of Rhum J.M VSOP on the restaurant’s cocktail menu. My heart pounded. I looked for my waiter and saw him at another table. I waved. I snapped my fingers. I rudely whistled. People were staring. I didn’t care.  I needed him now.

Seeing my frantic state, he rushed over. “I want that!” I pointed to the listing of the J.M VSOP on the menu.

I tried to control my excitement as I waited at my table. I tapped my foot. I chewed on my lower lip. I stroked my cell phone and then it arrived. The beautiful amber fluid, served with just a twist of lime. I sipped. It was exactly how I remembered it. “Where,” I asked my waiter, “can I buy this?”

Liquid gold

He said he would check with the beverage manager. He returned with the name of the liquor store on a business card. I knew the place. I checked my watch. It wouldn’t be open now. I would have to wait until the next day.

I slept little that night, got up early and headed to the store to wait until they opened. As soon as the gates were pulled and the doors unlocked, I rushed in and found the rum section. There it was. The price was astronomical, at least twice what I paid for in Martinique, but I didn’t care. I bought a bottle that came in decorative box.

The rum now sits in a glass cabinet. I have yet to open it. I tried one evening, but I couldn’t do it. If I opened it, I would begin to drink it and eventually, maybe in a month, maybe more, the bottle would be empty. The thought chilled me to the core.

I’ve come now to accept that I will never open it, yet I do not care. It is mine. I possess it. And no one can take it away again…

Mine. All mine.

Colombian Air in White Plains

25 Oct

Aires de Colombia
64 West Post Rd
White Plains, NY

Zio was behind the wheel, stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on First Avenue. He was muttering and cursing, though clearly not under his breath. We were on our way to White Plains in the middle of rush hour to a destination chosen by none other than the innocent seeming, though truly sadistic Gerry who has tormented us with restaurants in hard to reach and traffic congested locales such as Sheepshead Bay, Valhalla, Jersey City, and Fort Lee, to name just a few. Was his motive in choosing these hard to reach destinations to exact revenge on those of us who live in the New York City environs and take for granted how easy it is, via public transportation, to experience worldly culinary pleasures in the city as opposed to the suburbanite who, with a few exceptions, is a prisoner to his vehicle and must commute to find food nirvana. We weren’t sure, but as we inched along on First Avenue, the conspiracy theories were percolating rapidly.

Rick had already bowed out of this adventure;  a trip from the city to White Plains during rush hour and then back to his money pit in Atlantic Highlands New Jersey, much too stressful on his already commuting-frazzled nerves.

“This better not be like that mother f*****g mariachi place in Yonkers. I couldn’t even eat that s**t,” Zio spat, referring to Gerry’s ill fated Yonkers’ Mexican choice, Plaza Garibaldi.

The venom was flowing from Zio’s rotund frame. It got so bad we seriously considered pulling over and eating at nearby Patsy’s Pizzeria in East Harlem, or, if the traffic continued beyond the entrance to the Bruckner, driving to Hunt’s Point for one of Fratelli’s broccoli rabe “Grandma” pies.

With our intentions now clear, Zio seemed to calm down and once we were able to get onto the Bruckner, the traffic dissipated and we quickly decided to go back to our first option and head on to White Plains. Gerry and Eugene were waiting outside Aires de Colombia on a strip populated by a variety of Latin restaurants.

Trump infested downtown White Plains

Looking at the restaurant, I recalled that when I was living in White Plains, the location of Aires de Colombia was near a bar I frequented back when the drinking age was 18 and I was a bit younger called DePalo’s Dugout. At DePalo’s each night there was a half hour where beer was free. My high school friends and I took full advantage of the offer, taking turns going up to the bar until our table was overflowing with pitchers and almost enough beer to get us through the night.

Back when I was filling up on beer instead of rice, beans, and chicharrones, which I was planning to do at Aires de Colombia, there were no Latin restaurants on this stretch of Post Road. And driving into White Plains with its many gleaming glass towers, I noted that there were no Ritz Carlton’s or Trump Towers either in the disco days of my youth.

Gerry had already visited Aires de Colombia and was disappointed to say that the television near our table and above the bar had been removed. When he visited he was entertained by Colombian dancing girls on the screen which, according to Gerry, only enhanced the dining experience. The bartender who also served as our hostess and waitress spoke little English but enough to say that she had two English language menus while the rest were in Spanish. Neither did me any good because it was much too dark where we sat for me to read any language. The bar crowd was amused at our pathetic attempts to converse with our waitress, which, to me, was a good sign. Our group being a silly spectacle for the establishment’s regulars meant that we had hit upon a truly authentic destination, though the inebriated grin directed toward Gerry from one the bar’s patrons had him slightly unnerved.

Colombian deep fried pork belly

We began with the aforementioned chicharron, a long, deep fried until practically charred, piece of pork belly, the intense saltiness paired beautifully with the cold Aguila beer I was drinking. The chicharron was accompanied by an arepa, Colombian corn bread topped with a heavy sprinkling of cheese. While waiting for our beef empanadas, I excused myself to visit the restrooms. On the way, I passed the half door opening that led to the kitchen and noticed a woman with a head scarf scurrying between the stove and a table where she was rolling out dough for the empanadas. The sight was more than reassuring and I was confident that Aires de Colombia would not be like “that mother f*****g mariachi place in Yonkers.”

Colombian condiments

The empanadas that soon arrived at our table were as good as I’ve had anywhere and remarkably, tasted as if they were hand rolled by a Colombian woman in a head scarf. But the “starters” were not light fare and when they were followed by enormous platters of meat; beef with French fried potatoes and onions known as “lomo saltado,”  rolled, stuffed pork, steak, more chicharrones, and lengua (tongue) described as our waitress in her struggling English as “sweet tongue” and all of the meats accompanied by rice, beans, tostones, maduras, yucca, aquacate (avocado) and a hard, dry round “arepa” that was the only disappointment of the night, it soon became a struggle to eat. There was, apparently, a bottom to our collective bottomless pits. The one exception to all the meat was a platter of shrimp in a creamy garlic sauce that, though tasty, not quite worthy enough to veer from the meat side of the menu.

An empanada, an arepa and more chicharrones.

The dishes soon were cleared except those in front of Mike from Yonkers who was still picking at the “sweet” tongue. The rest of us were glassy-eyed and dazed by the cholesterol onslaught.

“100 crunches every morning,” Eugene droned, patting his ridiculously flat stomach. “And no more junk for breakfast. Fruit. Granola. Oatmeal. .. ” The arrival of our check spared us from having to listen to Eugene anymore and after tallying it up, the result put us a bit above our $20 food budget.  No one complained that we had gone over budget. The hardship of getting to Aires de Colombia was temporarily forgotten in our food-induced stupor.  We gathered our things and went outside to listen a bit to the very noticeable silence on the deserted White Plains’ street before getting in our respective vehicles and driving home.

Unfortunately, we missed the great Oscar D’Leon’s performance at Prophecy.

Linguini and Cape Cod Clams: Manhattan-Style

30 Aug

Nauset Beach Clams

Thanks to the hard work of the very generous owner of the 100-year-old house I rent with my family each summer in Cape Cod, a bucket of freshly dug little neck and cherrystone clams was waiting for us when we returned one day from the beach. I could make chowdah, New England-style with potatoes, milk, onions and bacon. I could just open them up and eat them raw. I could steam them and dip them in butter and broth. Or, considering I had several ripe, in season, tomatoes that I wanted to use before they became overripe, I could make linguini with clam sauce, Manhattan-style (meaning a tomato-based sauce).

Local tomatoes

Given the option at a restaurant between red or white clam sauce, I always prefer the latter; the hearty red tomato sauce usually obscuring the distinct flavor of the clams. White clam sauce works for me. The garlic, olive oil, white wine, some red pepper flakes, and then the broth from the just opened clams makes for the perfect complement to either spaghetti or linguini. It’s easy to make and really, the only danger to screwing it up is to overcook the clams.

But with those ripe tomatoes and the bucket of clams, I decided to take a chance and combine the two over linguini.

This is what I used for the sauce:

4 overly ripe fresh, large tomatoes, diced.

20 clams (Cherrystone and Little Necks combined)

3 cloves of garlic

1/4 cup of chopped white onion

2 tbs of chopped basil

1 ½ pounds of linguini

¼ cup of olive oil

½ teaspoon of hot red pepper flakes

I first diced the tomatoes not bothering with skinning or seeding them and put them in a bowl with a few sprinkles of Kosher salt. While the tomatoes macerated, I rinsed the clams in cold water to remove whatever sand was clinging to them. Once cleaned, I put the clams in a big pot adding about an inch of water to steam them.* Covering the pot and turning the fire on high, I steamed the clams just until their shells opened and then put them aside.

The clams now steamed open.

Using a large skillet, I added the olive oil and softened the onions and garlic sprinkling the red pepper flakes into the pan. When the onions and garlic were cooked, I tossed in the tomatoes adding the broth from the steamed clams and brought it all to a low simmer.

Cooking the tomatoes down

While the tomatoes cooked down, I removed the clams from the shells and roughly chopped them. Chopped clams, in my opinion, should not be uniform in size. I like the surprise of a big, juicy belly along with the tougher tail end of the clam.

The clams chopped.

After chopping the clams, I boiled the water for the linguini. Once the water boiled, I tossed in the pasta, adding salt to the water. Just before the linguini was cooked al dente I folded the chopped clams and the chopped basil into the sauce, keeping it on a fire just hot enough to heat them.

The sauce.

Using tongs, I tossed the linguini in the sauce and then into bowls.

The result was a light, fresh, briny tomato sauce where, in this case, the flavor of the clams and the broth balanced each other perfectly.

Linguini and Cape Cod Clam sauce: Manhattan-Style: As pretty as it gets after too much “limeade.”

*Before I began preparing the meal, I had told myself to save about a half dozen of the smallest of the little necks to steam open directly in the sauce. The clams in their shells would not only look nice, but because of their size, also remain tender. But while preparing the above dish, I began to consume multiple glasses of limeade spiked with vodka and when it came time to steam the clams, dumped them all into the pot including the few I was hoping to reserve.  Once I realized my mistake, it was too late. The little necks were cooked.

Mariachi Blues

26 Jul

Plaza Garibaldi
134 Nepperhan Ave
Yonkers

The Mariachis of Plaza Garibaldi: Mexico City

Named after what is supposed to be a picturesque square in Mexico City where mariachis gather to perform, the Plaza Garibaldi where we were directed to by Gerry was far from picturesque. Located at the bottom of a dark hill lit only by the very bright neon of the next door Kentucky Fried Chicken, Plaza Garibaldi was Gerry’s choice, so we, of course, were in unfamiliar terrain. The destination was alien to most of us with the possible exception of Mike from Yonkers whose home turf we were now on. And despite the unfamiliarity, none of us got Lost in Yonkers except Mike from Yonkers, who, without any worthwhile excuse, arrived almost a half hour later than our designated meeting time. His tardiness did not stop him from devouring the slightly rancid, though highly addictive bowl of chips along with an accompanying lifeless salsa. Even Zio’s proclamation that he “killed a lot of cockroaches” on the street where Plaza Garibaldi was located did not stop us from stuffing our faces with the slowly sickening complimentary chips and salsa.

The Mariachis of Plaza Garibaldi: Yonkers

The large, garish restaurant was already decorated in anticipation of Valentine’s Day with cupids and hearts everywhere. Even the front cover of the colorful menu with a mariachi on horseback serenading a swooning senorita implied romance. But the mariachi stage was bare on this day and, along with the constant presence of the Yonkers’ police force, radios on alert while waiting for take out, put a damper on romance. So much so that the lone seller of roses was having a difficult time making a sale to the few customers in the restaurant. And all it took was one glance at our group and he moved on, taking his roses with him to try his luck at KFC.

Plaza Garibaldi

Plaza Garibaldi was a tip from Gerry’s client and contractor and I think we’ve learned that it can be dangerous to rely on tips from outsiders—the track record has not been good. But the bad chips and salsa aside, the selection of tacos we started with was encouraging. We had pork meat tacos, goat meat tacos, Mexican sausage tacos, beef steak tacos and aged beef tacos—though what made aged beef different from the traditional beef steak was lost on us.

And the KFC next door.

Despite the promising beginning, problems soon began to arise. Rick’s shrimp cocktail came in a tall sundae glass and was almost as sweet as that dessert, while the chicken in mole poblano Gerry ordered, coated thickly in a chocolate brown mole sauce, was like Rick’s shrimp sundae, just too sweet. Eugene did his best with the beef enchilada in green sauce but much of the concoction smothered in cheese and tomatillo salsa remained on his plate as did the “quezidilla” I ordered from the list of specials; this one stuffed with cheese and a mysterious pickled green vegetable. But the absolute proof that Gerry’s client had led us astray was the shock of seeing half of Zio’s chicken burrito untouched. Only Mike from Yonkers, maybe out of loyalty to the town of his moniker, seemed satisfied, deliberately but completely finishing off the enormous plate of “spicy seafood” he ordered. The final insult to injury was the tab—we exceeded our $20 limit though the beers we ordered and Zio’s regular over consumption of diet Cokes could have accounted somewhat for the overflow.

A Selection of Plaza Garibaldi’s offerings.

After our leaden meal, only Rick, possibly because of the ice cream sundae promise that was his shrimp cocktail, entertained the idea of ordering an ice cream or Popsicle advertised from the bright illustrations displayed above one of the restaurant’s counters. But in the end, even he declined.

Name That (Former) Place

8 Jul

The title alone should be enough for all to identify the below place.  I have fond memories of stuffing my face with what was produced at this dearly departed place.  Tell me your answers in the comments section provided here and regale me with your own personal memories. I expect a deluge of responses. And the more the merrier.

What was sold here?

For those who are stumped, the answer will be revealed on Monday.

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