829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Boss at the Meadowlands

This TD pass to Kevin Boss late in the fourth quarter, coupled
with the loudest crowd noise I've encountered to date in Giants
Stadium, sealed the win against Jacksonville today.  We definitely
rattled their QB, and the defense eventually forced a fumble which
the G-men recovered to regain possession and run out the clock.

Oh, and the food was good too. 

Friday, November 26, 2010


I asked my brother to bring his guitar on Thanksgiving.
He brought his banjo instead.  That's cool.  I jokingly
requested the the classic (yawn) "smoke on the water".
My daughter immediately blurted, "I can do that!"
On a banjo?  Hans played the riff from "Lazy" instead. 

The kitchen is always the most crowded room, and yesterday
was no exception.  It's conversation central
and the hub of grub.  The big TV is just off to the right,
so it was easy to keep up on the football scores. 

Patti is non-stop before anyone arrives and still going
when we're all dragging ourselves to bed.  She really
is the consummate host.  How does she
remain looking so marvelous? 

Hors d'Oeuvres include a variety of artisanal cheeses
with assorted crackers, flatbreads and crisps.  There's
yellowfin tuna tartare with wasabi, chicken liver pate,
chunky salsa with scoopy chips, and two different
platters of crudite accompanied by hummus dip and a
ginger-miso dip as well.  Smoked whitefish spread is
available, as is pickled herring with beets, and a 
goat cheese log rolled in chopped nuts. 

Then came the clams casino.

The master of the house.  Mojo carves the first bird with surgical
precision while my father-in-law keeps said bird from slipping off
of the cutting board.  Mojo - he's already missing half a finger, so
be careful, wouldja?

The gravy simmers with giblets, necks, and the onions and herbs
that spent time inside of the turkeys while they roasted.  There is,
however, one secret that makes this gravy stand out from all others.

No rickety card tables here.  And seating assignments are delivered
by Price Waterhouse.  My cousin won't give up his method for
placement, but I can tell you the last time I sat next to my wife
was during the Reagan administration.

Hail, hail, the gang's all here, complete with the mad hurdle
over the coffee table to beat the timer.

From the upper left corner, clockwise:  Slow-cooked kale with
bacon, mashed rutabagas with thyme and clove essence,
 knob salad, cranberry relish, assorted chunks of dark meat (yum),
breast meat, stuffing, gravy, and yams with a pecan-coconut-
brown sugar crust. 

Mom's flaky-crust apple pie, Patti's cinnamon ice cream, and Aunt
Bev's chocolate pie.  Definitely not my plate, cause there's
no punkin pie on it!

Tim and Uncle Mojo on the man-porch.  I intentionally left out
the kids surrounding us who were bumming drags and sips.
We're all going to hell.

Evidence of a day well spent.  But most importantly, we spent it
with one another, like we do every last Thursday in November.
We have certain traditions that define us as a family, and we're
confident that the younger generations will carry those traditions
on. I can't imagine spending Thanksgiving any other way.
They are what keep me looking forward to Our Favorite Day.  

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

 I wish all of my friends a Happy Thanksgiving.  Travel safely
and enjoy being with the people who are most important to you.

Home Sweet Home

Manasquan, Metedeconk, Tenafly, Shabakunk.  That pretty
much covers it.  Brilliant

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Empty Garden

I ran marathons, sweated buckets, schmoozed endlessly, drank
with the best of them, and cooked for masses inside that building
for the past 25 years.  I've spoken with celebrities, educators,
legislators, deal-makers, money-takers, authors, world leaders,
prize-winners, athletes, a multitude of  parents, students, and 
pompous assholes, and mixed in with them all, everyday customers
 who in reality, kept us going for 91 years.  I'm still the dopey,
big, red-headed kid that first walked through the back kitchen
door and started peeling shallots my first day, back in
October 1985.   It's hard to believe there's nobody walking  
through those doors today.

I wasn't ready to leave

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hot Dogs and Pizza

You look like you know that your team is going to lose a fairly close
one when at one point they will be winning after trailing for a long
time, only to fumble and once again let the game slip away. 

Find warmth anywhere, at any cost.

Irregular shape, never-before reached flavor and texture.
A good dinner often accompanies a disappointing game.
I'm ready for a bad dinner.  

Friday, November 19, 2010


Marco Pierre White is undoubtedly one of the world's greatest
chefs.  This oyster preparation is nothing short of sublime.
At age 38, he gave back his 3 Michelin stars (unheard of)
and returned to more humble cooking in smaller, less hoity-
toity settings. He did it for himself, like he did everything else
up to that point. When he felt that he had accomplished what he
set out to do,  he stepped back. His food remains unparalleled,
however, and I would gladly give a limb to experience an
evening of eating it

Did you notice the harmony in the kitchen with his commis
chef swirling around him?  And like my wife often laments,
did they have to use every pot in the kitchen?
The answer is of course, yes.  Not one extra pot, just
enough for every step of the preparation.
 And not a peep from Gordon Ramsay. 
He gets his chance soon enough!  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Feel-good stuff

This is still some of the funniest material I've ever heard.
Simple and innocent to the core, with no profanity.
I played this album over and over again,
if I could get the "South Pacific" soundtrack off of the turntable.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Friends say, let us know what we can do.
Friends say, we're concerned about you.
Friends say, we've got your back,
until you get yourselves back on track.

Friends say, come to eat with us.
Friends say, simple dinner, no fuss.
We've got some cheese we'll eat before,
then sit down and we'll chow some more.

My mom made lasagna,
got some salad and bread.
We'll put on some tunes,
maybe even some Dead.

Friends say, have another glass of wine.
We say no....then okay, fine.
We're really glad you came tonight.
We say good thing our daughter's driving tonight!

Life, it seems, is not always fair,
But it's better if your friends are there.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I, Malgam

Now's the time friends!  Share with me your favorite
 words that you've heard over the years. Everyone
has got a gem or two that need to be mentioned. 

Giant Disappointment

I had hoped to salvage this suck-ass week with a
Giant whomping of the lowly 1-7 Dallas Cowboys.
As soon as analysts and commentators start calling
the Giants the "class" of the NFC, we get our asses
handed to us, without fail, every time.

We should have taken the complete blackout as an
omen.  This photo was taken seconds later when the
emergency lights went on.  "Everyone please stay
seated" we were told over the emergency PA system.
"You will be notified as to whether or not to evacuate".
I get discouraged often, but so early in the third
quarter?  Aren't we jumping the gun just a touch?

Luckily, tailgate parties come first, so they're rarely
spoiled by the sometimes rotten game that follows.
And apparently Dallas doesn't suck that much! 

My better half about to open a lovely Spanish red.
And if we buy the case, a 10% discount is offered.

As much as I adore wine, only the finest beer available
will do in the parking lot.  It's hard to swirl wine in a
red Solo cup and then watch the legs run down the sides.

Nothing goes better with beer and red wine than
pizza, with fresh mozzarella and basil leaves grilled
in the parking lot.  They couldn't make them fast enough.

Surf and turf.  The clams probably came from Raritan
Bay or the surrounding waters off the Atlantic Highlands.
They were sweet and salty at the same time.  And when
the juice drips down and vaporizes on the charcoal,the most
ethereal flavor is created.  The beef is Secaucus Wagyu. 
The cows graze on the salt marshes of the Meadowlands,
are hand-fed Pabst Blue Ribbon beer from baby bottles,
and massaged twice daily by the security guards 
from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority.   

No plates were needed - it was picked from the
cutting board by hand as soon as it was sliced.

Gotta have the sliced kielbasa braised in sauerkraut
and the dry-rubbed ribs.  Again, more finger food,
right out of the pan and off the grill.  I'm really growing
fond of this group of people.

Nine years later and I still have a hard time with the
Empire State Building once again being the tallest
structure in town.  It seems like yesterday.

There's this newfangled high-tech game that's all the
rage while tail-gating.  You have to toss a beanbag
through a hole in a board about fifteen feet away.
Imagine the excitement that ensues! 

Jack Daniel's chocolate bundt cake and Manhattan Special
Espresso Soda (not pictured but incredibly good)
rounded out the day's spread of overwhelmingly
satisfying food.  Once again, we should have
just stayed in the parking lot.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010