Category Archives: Red Hook

In Which I Give the McRib a Fair Shake

It’s fair to say that the McRib is almost universally reviled, isn’t it?

And there’s still a part of me that longs to fit in with the cool kids, so I am reluctant to admit this and presumably face public scorn (much like T said he would never volunteer to do the Volkswagen Shoot-Out at Madison Square Garden because he wouldn’t want to be booed by an arena full of Rangers fans). But, as I discovered on Consumerist, the Web makes people braver and/or meaner, so I suppose I can cower behind my laptop as I say this: I used to really like the McRib.

And whenever McDonald’s brings it back, jokes abound and I hold fast to my secret shame and pray no one asks, “Have you ever tried it?”

But it’s been YEARS…and I was admittedly curious whether my tastes had changed or if – horror of horrors – I still secretly liked the McRib.

And I wasn’t actually going to even *do* it until I came home from work the day after mentioning this fleeting thought and T said, “I have a surprise for you!”

So…I’ll say this – there are definitely worse things out there, even on the McDonald’s menu itself. (Namely, anything with American cheese and/or eggs. Like, say, an Egg McMuffin. Shudder.)

And, call me Snooki, but…I really liked the pickles – it could have been my imagination, but I think they were more substantial than the usual McD pickles.

I think the slab of meat is a little weird – especially for something that is supposed to emulate its namesake. And that hunk of faux rib meat may be what gets everyone in a tizzy. But, at the same time, I don’t think it’s all that much different – read: grosser — than the hamburger patties that everyone gobbles up – it’s just a slightly different shape. The texture’s comparable, folks.

And I don’t know if I agree with McDonald’s claim that it is “tangy temptation” – I don’t think it was particularly tangy…or even overly BBQy. It was almost – dare I say it — somewhat bland.

And it would have been a lot better if the onions had been, say, caramelized instead of served raw.

In short? I think the McRib gets an overly bad rap. It’s not the best sandwich on the menu…and it’s certainly not as good as, say, the Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger…but, for those of us on the eastern half of the country, it may be as close as we get for now.

Image via DrPizza/Flickr

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Filed under cheese, eggs, pickles, Red Hook

Proverbial Cojones…

I can’t say I ever watched “Ugly Betty” with any regularity…which I suppose makes me partially to blame for the show’s demise. But I always found it reliably enjoyable if I happened to catch it.

And that’s precisely what happened the other night for the big finale…and…I thought it was really sweet and poignant and wrapped everything up perfectly…(although I’m not sure about that hint of a Betty-Daniel romance…)

A couple of years ago, I was shopping with my mom and aunt and cousin…and my cousin said I reminded her of Ugly Betty — which I’m pretty sure she meant in a nice way, although my mom sort of jokingly gave her a hard time about it. And I returned to work shortly thereafter and told some colleagues about it and one said, “Well…you *do* have a firm moral center.”

And, I mean, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that particular assessment…(Plus, I would be the most obnoxious person ever if I came online to tout my morality, wouldn’t I?) but I do feel — especially after “working” at various magazines — a certain affinity with Ms. Suarez. (I don’t have braces and a Guadalajara poncho…but there’s a certain shared black-sheep-ism, I think…)

And…the whole making-a-life-for-yourself theme hits close to home. (Plus, it’s New York. Plus, it’s a glossy.)

So…Spoiler Alert…

I’m really glad Betty went to London. And not just because I have a soft spot in my heart for all things English. I know how hard it is to make a big move on your own. (And I can’t even imagine how hard it would be if you had family nearby and had lived in ONE SINGLE PLACE your entire life…although I suppose that’s why it was so important that she actually made the big move.

So I watched Betty wave goodbye to her family and head to London alone…and knew *exactly* what she was feeling in the back of that car. I’ve made that precise move on my own. (In fact, I woke up that first day by myself in a foreign [albeit English-speaking] country and thought, “[Expletive!] What have I done??”) And it wasn’t even the first time I’d done something like that — two years prior, I’d moved to LA on my own…(and, subsequently, [obviously] I moved to New York by myself.) I guess I was always paranoid about missing out on some sort of life-changing experience and wanted to make sure I didn’t look back and wish I had done something I had avoided simply because it was too scary and didn’t want to leave the ol’ comfort zone. But, at the same time, those moves are really, really scary! (Which is also why I really liked Wilhelmina Slater’s “You’ve got big balls, Betty Suarez”-comment. [And Betty’s acknowledgment: “That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me…”)

I also really liked the flash of just “Betty” at the end…a nice nod to her transformation. (Even though it perhaps takes *slightly* longer than four seasons to scale an actual, real life masthead…)

The universe hasn’t thrown any big, scary moves at me in a long time. And maybe it never will again. Maybe I’m meant to be in New York forever. I haven’t figured that out yet. And, while I like feeling like I have a home again, there’s still a certain appeal and excitement to starting over and discovering new things in a new place…but, as noted, nothing has presented itself yet, so…I guess I have to be patient until some big editor guy comes up to me and tells me that he’s starting a new publication and that I’d be perfect for it…

(PS: I knew Glee’s Emma looked familiar…but I only *just* made the connection that she was Henry’s rival love interest…)

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This City Will Eat You Alive…

I was watching the Woody Allen flick, “Whatever Works,” last night…and sort of laughed to myself in the beginning when Larry David’s Boris Yellnikoff tells the ingenue transplant Melodie St. Ann Celestine that she should go back to Mississippi because she’ll never make it in New York.

Evan Rachel Wood and I have very little in common, but when *I* first moved here, my roommate’s parents told him that this city was going to “eat (*me*) alive,” too. So…I guess I felt a little pride when I realized that they made that comment almost — wait for it — seven years ago…and I’m still standing. I’ve heard you have to live in New York for ten years before you’re officially a New Yorker…so, I mean, I’m practically one of the gang by now. And I won’t beat a dead horse with my existential crises as of late…but, in the grand scheme of things, I’ve supported myself…I’ve hustled…and while everything’s really uncertain right NOW, there’s movement and I’m certainly not stuck in a rut. (Hey — look! — the glass *is* half full!) And it’s a nice feeling when anyone underestimates you and you prove them wrong…

…which got me thinking — I still need a book title. And perhaps some riff on “This City Will Eat You Alive,” is my answer. I sort of wish my name started with a “B” and I could do some sort of alliterative eponymous something-or-rather with Baking…(which is not to say I don’t love the name Lisa Lacy…because — believe me — I love the name Lisa Lacy…)…but…it just seems like it must have been sooo easy for Julie Powell! Why couldn’t I know someone or like to do something that starts with “L”??

There are so many themes in my book — career/quest for fulfillment, relationships/man-crap, baking/therapy… — that it seems nearly impossible to sum it all up with some sort of pithy phrase.

I tried to brainstorm with a friend this weekend…and really came up with a whole lot of nothing. A few favorites: “I Ate, I Drank, I Messed Around,” and “Brooklyn, Baking and Love-Making” (even though neither one of us can stand the phrase “make love.” It seems vaguely creepy to me…and like an unnecessary distinction…and I don’t think I could take anyone serious who used it colloquially. Although…come to think of it, I don’t have any friends that do. Guess we’re a crass bunch.).

But…”This City Will Eat You Alive” — while not perfect in and of itself — contains two major themes: the urban landscape and food(-ish)…which might work with a few minor tweaks. And then I started thinking about my “evolution” over the last seven years…which obviously brings to mind Darwin…but I think it would be a little much to call my first book, “On the Origin of Lisa Lacy.”

And that in and of itself is sort of stream of consciousness…which is not unlike my style…but there’s little you can do with “Stream of Consciousness,” and, as much as I heart Modernism, I can’t very well draw any direct comparisons to Virginia Woolf…in good, ahem, conscience.

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Heckuva Headline

Root beer cake will have you floating on cloud 9.

And for good measure: Getting pie-triotic.

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I’ve been terrible lately — I know — but things are settling down after graduation, Alaska, kitten and Martha…so here I go, easing back into the blog.

Just in time for Father’s Day, Tony Micelli himself brings us this: Tony Danza’s the Boss in the Kitchen with New Cookbook. (Jackie Collins likes his meatballs??)

Also noteworthy: How Long is a Coney Island Minute? I’ve never actually seen the contest, but the Mermaid Parade is next weekend…which is always a good excuse to actually *go* to Coney Island. Maybe I should make it two weekends in a row??

And…in honor of Carmen, who I haven’t seen in almost a MONTH: A Fruit Shake, Then Shaking to the Beat of Cumbia. Perhaps *this* is where you’ll find us next week…

And, finally, after five long years, Ikea will open in Red Hook this week. It’s one of the things they told me was going to happen when I first moved here, so I’m feeling more nostalgic about *that* than excitement about cheap furniture within walking distance…but, nevertheless, I’ve enjoyed the efforts of NY press to keep the story fresh and relevant. Such as: 15 Ikea Must-Haves for New Yorkers.

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Granted, the food connection is a *bit* of a stretch…

…but I saw these ladies LIVE way back when at a Red Hook haunt, Lillie’s, that sadly exists no more.

I can’t remember the name of the band or how we found them in the first place. (Perhaps from Lillie herself? My roommate was a big fan.) But as soon as we heard the description, we had to go. I wanna say there were accordions? And she made her own costumes with a Bedazzler?

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The Saga of Engine 279/Ladder 131 Continues…

Aww…my buddies in Red Hook are defying orders to change their nickname

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Why Did it Cross the Road?

I won’t bore you with what little I know about New York City and alternative food economies (although I *can* sound remarkably confident in my own abilities when I write…)…but I thought it was worth noting that I attended a Slow Food NYC event the other night for a story I’m writing for a class.

The subject? “The Urban Chicken and the City Bee.”

It just so happened that one of the panelists, an Irish chicken farmer who lives in Red Hook, was the subject of a NYT story way back when: In the Land of Co-ops, Coops.

This evening also doubled as a wine-tasting event…and served biodynamic cheese…which was kind of, err, crumbly.

(…but I don’t want to give away anything else as I still haven’t turned in my story…)

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In Loving Memory of My Fatty

I used to hate having cat hair on my clothes. I felt like it was an unmistakable sign to coworkers and people on the street that I was a tragic spinster who lived for her cat and who therefore subsisted on Lean Cuisine, the half-empty bottle of merlot that perpetually existed on her kitchen counter and her prized Sex in the City DVD collection

Now I find cat hair on my clothes and I gently remove each hair, knowing that someday soon there won’t be any more reminders like this of the dear sweet boy I loved for so long.

On January 24, I had to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do and put my cat to sleep. He was very sick…and he was ready. He wouldn’t even let me hold him on the last day — he kept kicking me, so I put him down and he just went under a table in the corner with his back turned to me. And I guess that was a good thing because they told me I could hold him for as long as I wanted…and if he had just been with me and purring, I don’t know how I could have ever let him go.

He was the best cat I could have ever asked for and I loved him so much. I don’t know if it’s possible to have a pet soul mate…but if it is, he was mine. And he just has such a huge part of my heart. We were sort of like lost souls who found each other…

I had moved back in with my parents in Alaska after college and was working at a bank and wondering what had gone wrong in my life…when I saw an ad in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner about a cat that was up for adoption. Fat Boy was his name. The ad said, “He has as much personality as he does bulk.” I was sold.

He had a brother named Bacon…and the adoption sheet his former owner left behind said they were expecting a baby and just couldn’t afford to keep the cats. I could only take one…and so I took Fat Boy.

He was so sick when I first brought him home…he had picked up something at the pound. It was so hard to get him to come out from under my bed…and we had to give him eye drops and nose drops and ear drops. We also had to shove pills down his throat. And I wasn’t sure what his personality was going to be like…and I was worried that maybe he and I wouldn’t be a good fit. But it was when I shoved pills down his throat and he purred the whole time that I realized I had a really good cat. (When I took him to the vet and the vet told me he was substantially older than they had told me at the pound, I said, “No! He can’t be old! I have already fallen in love with him!”)

He was just such a happy cat. In fact, there’s a phrase in England — “happy as Larry” — and so I briefly contemplated changing his name to Larry in a subtle nod to my recent English roots. But then I was worried that I’d do irreparable psychological harm if I changed his name and so I left it as-is. (Several years later, I had a roommate who had dated a woman who worked at an animal shelter and who told me they just slap any ol‘ name on animals at the pound and so I probably *could* have changed it. But…I sort of did anyway. A roommate before that roommate used to sing the Morrissey song, “You’re the one for me, Fatty,” to him and so eventually we shortened “Fat Boy” to “Fatty.”)

He flew out with me to New York when I first moved here…and it wasn’t until I sent him off in his gigantic blue carrier (he was too big to carry on the plane) that I started to cry at the airport in Fairbanks — it hit me that I was really moving across the country and I didn’t know what was going to happen, etc., etc. And I was worried about my boy. But Alaska Airlines is nice and gives you a little tag once you are seated that says, “I’m on board, too!” so I knew he was on his way as well…and it even inspired conversation with some of my seatmates. (As in, “What’s that for?” My response? “Oh, I have a cat!” [A sad little side note: I was on the Subway last night when a woman with a knit cap that looked like a mouse got on board and an old man said to her, “Is that a mouse?” and she said, “Yes, it is,” and he said, “Watch out for cats!” and she said, “Yes, I know…I have cats at home,” and I thought, “I don’t have a cat at home anymore…”])

He used to curl up his paws under this chest when he was sleeping…and it was so sad at the vet last week — he had an IV in one arm and he kept trying to curl his paw under, but he couldn’t.

He used to also drink water out of his paw. My mom loved that.

He used to freak out in the mornings when I was getting ready for work or school. He’d literally stand in my bathroom doorway and just meow and meow and meow. It used to really drive me crazy. And every morning, I’d pick him up and say, “Oh, Fatty, we go through this every day. I have to get ready.” And I’d hug him tight and say, “Be a good boy and sit here…” and put him down on the toilet. And it wasn’t until I turned on the hair dryer that he’d ever calm down. (I used to joke that I needed to get a BabyBjorn to keep my hands free while I was getting ready.)

And every morning when I left, I’d check the coffee pot to make sure it was off and check my hair straightener to make sure it was off and then say to him, “Bye, Fatty…you be a good boy. I’ll see you tonight.” And now I have no one to say anything to when I leave. It’s a strange feeling when I walk out the door. Sometimes I even think I can hear his paws treading across the kitchen floor when I’m in the bathroom as if he’s about to stand in the doorway and meow at me. And the other morning, I rolled over and expected him to be at my head because he usually moved up by my pillow sometime in the course of the night…

I also miss his meows when I open the front door. Now there’s no one to greet me when I get home.

And the next time I use a can opener, I’m going to be really sad. He used to freak out with can openers, too. His former owners must have fed him wet food and it left an indelible impression…

About a year ago, the vet had me put him on wet food to try to help him lose weight. She said it was like putting him on Atkin’s. And that was around the same time that I noticed he was incredibly staticky. So…I had this harebrained theory that it was because of the wet food…and then one of my friends said, “You idiot! It’s the weather!” Oops.

My mom suggested I put away all of his stuff as soon as possible as it would just be too hard to do later…but I got to his tray and I couldn’t anymore. He was such a messy eater, so I went to the Fred Meyer in Fairbanks to get him a tray right after I adopted him. I was looking for something sort of masculine, but the best I could find was one with periwinkle stripes. And that was his tray the whole time I had him. (I also haven’t had the heart to put away his litter box yet.)

He didn’t like catnip. I’d never seen a cat before that didn’t go crazy for catnip…but then a friend suggested that perhaps he was so big, he needed an inordinate amount to get a fix…

Another friend told me I’d have a special place in heaven for adopting an obese child…

I was almost surprised the last time I took him to the vet and he only weighed 22 pounds…

I used to live in Red Hook, Brooklyn…and the thing about Red Hook is that it is kind of remote, but a few years back it seemed on the verge of really taking off (I don’t know if there’s still any hope with the Ikea?)…and so a few stores opened up here and there on one particular street. I had a friend who was a food writer and who heard about a new bakery in Red Hook (“It’s Red Hook! It’s baked goods! It’s like the ultimate Lisa experience!” she said.) and so I went with her to check things out.

On this very same street there was also a pet shop and a wine store. And it was pretty close to Valentine’s Day…and so I guess they were trying to incorporate all three businesses because there were fliers at the bakery about a Valentine’s Day singles mixer in which you were supposed to bring your pet to the bakery to drink wine. I thought it sounded kind of weird…but it wasn’t until I got home and was holding Fatty and caught sight of myself in the mirror that I realized he took up my whole torso and so there was just no way I could possibly carry him around a bakery all night should I ever be compelled to go to some wacky singles mixer…and I sort of had a little laugh to myself.

Shortly thereafter I was on a “date” and the guy told me a story about his dog. So…I thought I’d counter with this tale of my cat…but afterward, he said, “Oh, right. A single girl with a cat. You’d *really* stand out.” And then he added, “Do you knit? Oh, that’s right. You bake.”

And here we are almost several Valentine’s Days later…

The vet said he tried to ruffle Fatty’s fur to make him mad because sometimes agitating them will make them eat. But it didn’t work…and I said, “Yeah, it takes an awful lot to phase him.”

He was just such a sweet boy…


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Also Local…

All I know is that the food these vendors sell is really, really good: Health Department Crackdown on Red Hook Vendors Now Has Teeth.

Also interesting…”A Tree Grows in Red Hook”:

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