829 Southdrive

829 Southdrive

A New Jersey state of mind

Monday, December 31, 2012

Until Next Year......

Photo Quiz: What is this photo of?

A. The men's room
B. Swamps of Jersey
C. A sight I'll not see for the next seven months

10 pounds of stew beef: $32.50
1 bottle of two-buck Chuck Cabernet: $3.00
Carrots, potatoes, baby corn: $3.00
15 of my closest tailgate friends standing and eating a steaming hot
bowlful of beef stew on a freezing cold day before the last game
of the season: Priceless

Captions anyone?  

Although we ended the season with a win, we left somewhat
disappointed knowing there would be no chance for a playoff
run.  Now begins the winter of my discontent.  I know it's only
a game, but it's a game that makes us happy and I'm stickin
with that.  I'll sign off this year with the hopes that the NY Giants
will represent the National Football Conference in the 2014 
Super Bowl, in this very stadium!  Now wouldn't that be nice?

Happy New Year to all of my blogging friends, authors and readers
alike, who continue to check in to this humble site whether or not
there is anything half worthwhile reading.  Be safe tonight
and see you next year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

If We Are To Go Forward

Miracle in the new Meadowlands. This cannot happen tomorrow.

Okay, here's the scenario for NYG to make the playoffs:

Big Blue must beat the Filthadelphia Eagles in Metlife stadium, 
something they haven't been able to do since our house
opened two years ago.  Go Big Blue.

The Detroit Lions must beat da Bearse.  Mathew Stafford has
the ability and nothing could be finer than defeating the Monsters
of the Midway on Sunday.  Go Detroit.

The Pack need to beat the Vikes, who have enough motivation
with Adrian Peterson closing on the single-season rushing record.
205 yards is no small task.  And if the Pack win, they get a first-
round bye.  Sufficient inspiration for victory.  Go Green Bay.

Last but not least, the Cryboys must beat the RG3s.  This, I think,
may be the biggest task.  These two divisional foes have become
way better as the season has progressed. Winner gets the 
divisional crown.  Go Tony Romo. 

Think of us tomorrow.  And pray for the men from East Rutherford.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I want a Big Blue Christmas

Here we come a waddling

Grandma got run over by a shortboard

Always Runnin At Someone's 'Eel

Wish he were there tonight.  His mates stole the show.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Ziggy and Harry

I absolutely was watching TV when this originally
aired.  I knew at that exact time who the dude was 
with Bing!  He could lick 'em by smiling, he could 
leave 'em to hang. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Crew Trophy or Trophy Crew?

I've still got most of my crew trophies, made from silver, pewter, wood,
cotton, and this one which has actually gotten the most mileage by far.
 It's spent time in my garage, bookshelf, and summers down below in Bay
Rhumb. Sometimes your least conspicuous possessions
carry the most weight, and this piece is no exception.

Dad and I had a few good years, actually a few really good years
racing the Penguin together before I plain just got too big for the
boat.  Here I am, 11 years old and no doubt big for my age but
still shorter than my Dad.  Three years later, I would be almost five
inches taller than him, and a bit heavier.  From 1969 through '72, we 
raced all the BBYRA races, as well as Toms River Fall and Spring
 Series, Bay Head Frostbites, New Years Day on Long Island and 
Staten Island, a few memorial regattas, Downer regattas, 
Metedeconk River Yacht Club Labor Day Handicap Races around 
Herring Island. Gibson Island, Tred Avon, Severn River, Miles River,
 Choptank, Packanack Lake, Carnegie Lake for God's sake, Gobbler 
Bowl, Turkey Bowl, the frickin' Schuylkill (with Carnegie, two of the 
most God-awful places to race sailboats, but the best to row boats),
Cooper River, the Delaware, the Potomac (with a thermos of hot
buttered rum for the skipper)  Region IIs, ACs, Nationals, and one
Internationals in Babylon NY.  A local sailor, Mel Reid, won with
 South American sailors in the next few spots.  I remember being
glad that an American won, and I'll never forget the trophy 
presentation.  Somebody put one of those fake rubber puddles
of vomit in the silver bowl that Mel was presented.  One of my
most vivid memories.  I was 10.  Maybe that explains things.

Gibson Island, home of Penguin legend Len Penso.  I clearly remember
sailing there, but maybe we didn't do so well, hence the generic no 'place'
designation on the 'trophy'.  I chuckle to myself when I think what may have
been the reason that I, as an eight year old, got custody of this ashtray.
It's clear that this trophy has also gotten some serious mileage.
There may have been some foresight involved in the decision.

Following are some of the duties expected of the crew.

The crew must procure the donuts at the registration table he has
 been thinking about since 6 a.m.  Jelly and cream-filled are 
priorities. Arrival time dictates whether
 or not they will be obtained. 

The crew must fend other boats while skipper sails boat without
rudder secured in gudgeons due to the shallow water.

The crew must pull string during tacking to twist the mast so it is 
pointing toward the wind.

The crew must hike in a puff and get the hell down in a lull.

The crew shall be seen and not heard.

The crew shall not point one's finger in any direction, so as not to 
give any trailing boats a hint as to what crew's boat may do next.  

The crew shall make sure no lines are dragging overboard, so as not
to slow the boat down.

The crew shall not drag one's hand in the water as a result of being 
bored to death in light or no-wind races, so as not to 
slow the boat down.

The crew shall not move suddenly or jerkily, so as not to alter the 
course of the boat, or slow the boat down.

The crew shall be seen and not heard.

In my garage.  The two championship banners I grabbed from my
Old Man's house after he died.  The rooster and qualifier flag I got
as well.  These represent the 'cotton' trophies.  I was a part of the
two big banners, the rooster came after I got too big, and the '53
flag came when I was but a twinkle in my Dad's eye.  That one may
have been the very first year he sailed in the BBYRA.  I knew then, 
that may be one worth grabbing. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Another Chance Acquaintance

Sean Wilentz allowed me to snap this photo on one of the last days
of Lahiere's existence.  He, among so many others, made the extra
effort to have one last meal in the place across Nassau Street from
New Jersey's most famous and one of the world's most respected 
institutions of higher learning. He's always been, like several other 
PU personalities who've come down Witherspoon Street to eat,
so gracious, so humble, so interested in hearing what someone like
me was thinking.  He, as well as at least one hundred other guests, 
showed up some nine years earlier on Tuesday evening, 
September 11th, 2001.  I clearly remember standing outside the front
door and rehashing with him the events of that day, and how we lost 
a common acquaintance; his former next door neighbor 
and one of our regular customers.

He brought with him to the restaurant some rather influential beings,
and I will always remember watching some of the VP debate of
2000 in the hallway of our main bar, while Arthur Schlesinger sat
on a wooden wine crate next to me.  Sean and George Will had a 
long lunch one Saturday while sitting at Einstein's table.  And one 
night years ago, he had to rush back to campus to introduce a
guest speaker for one of the lectures he was responsible for 
sponsoring.  Bill Clinton could not be kept waiting.  

The one thing I find most interesting is his friendship and access
to one of America's most well-known musicians, Bob Dylan.
As you may have read, Sean was from very early on exposed
to Dylan's music,  and he managed to penetrate Dylan's inner circle
and write an unparalleled account of the musician's career. 

I'm sure there are a couple of my readers who would be interested
in knowing this, and they would also appreciate this clip. Did you
 remember to bring your foul-weather gear home from the boat?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Fridge Raid

Monday night, about an hour before Sandy came to visit and turned 
out the lights.  We had some mahi mahi, clams, mussels, shrimp,
 zucchini, and mushrooms tossed with pho noodles and a rich shrimp
 broth that I started cooking early that morning, knowing this may 
be the last good meal we'd have until the power went back on.

Ten hours later, the lights returned, and we were of the few who 
barely suffered.  As late as today, there are still thousands who are
 at their wit's end, wondering when they'll be able to resume life as 
they once knew it.  It's unfathomable to me that there are those who
 are yet displaced and unsure of their futures.  We're really lucky. 

Fridge Raid

No quiz as promised.  Honey-maple ham and swiss, rolled 
around half-sour pickles, and topped with beet salad and basil.
A great idea for a holiday party passed hors d'oeuvre.  
Don't forget the napkin.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fridge Raid

Have at it folks.  There are many ingredients involved in this late-
night munchy photo.  See how many you can name before I start 
tossing clues your way.  One of the white-colored components is
a dish taken from  OFD.  Some research may be necessary.

Monday, November 26, 2012

OFD 2012

I write lists.  Lists are essential if anything is going to get done.  And
OFD is no exception.  Had I not put this on the counter under my 
keys, we may never have had mussels in beer-basil butter, or 
skewered shrimp with curry-coconut sauce, or asian-flavored
rib-ends with shiitake mushrooms.  The gravy may not have been
as amazing as it turned out to be (but I'm sure it would have been
awesome regardless), and we would have had two less ice
creams to serve with the assortment of pies.  
But since I woke up way early on Thursday, with thoughts
buzzing in my head about what I was going to serve first once we
got to Mojo's, the list was but a formality.  

Two of my three Baywomen.  Photo taken during our annual visit
to Greenwich Cove, down the road from my cousin's, after hors
d'oeuvres and before dinner.  This whole foreground was well 
under water during Sandy, and at least halfway up the stairway 
to the porch of the house in the background.  I'm surprised
the dinghy racks are still there. 

On the rocks.

"I must say, though, that it is particularly heartwarming to see the 
passion of our next gen for this day that seems to grow even 
stronger by the year.  This flame will be passed along for many, 
many years.  In fact, Patti was saying to me this afternoon that 
even though she never met the man (Grandpop) who started it all,
 she could imagine how proud he would be to see his great 
grandchildren partaking so vigorously in the day's traditions.  
That got me picturing him with us on the manporch, 
puffing contentedly on a Dominican."

That was Mojo's reply to my lamenting email from Friday,
while at work, bumming out about working
 and looking ahead to being at work all weekend.  I'd
mentioned how I am always depressed the day after THXG, 
and how eventually I get over it, only after hours of self-pity.

The Man at the head of the table, who started this tradition.
This may be the earliest documentation of OFD, taken in
my grandparents' summer bungalow on the Metedeconk 
River, in Cedarcroft, NJ, the heart of the Jersey Shore.  
It was a varnished picnic table with a tablecloth, and two 
benches for the grown-ups.  The card table for the kids 
was usually behind the photographer (Uncle Don).  But the 
card table may not have been deployed at this early date;  
highchair trays were probably the platforms for most of us, 
on which the turkey and gravy were smeared.  Following
 is another of Mojo's commentaries:

"This is incredible!  I never knew (or forgot if told long ago) that
both sets of my grandparents dined together for Thanksgiving.
Clockwise, seated to Gigi's left, is the Detroit contingent of
Eleanor (given name Daisy) and Bill (given name Leon) Clarke,
with George next to Bill on the far end.  To his left is Bev, with a 
mystery space (Don, the photog!!), and then Dot and Jim
(nice buzz cut) on the near end.  If it's November '62, I was 4-1/2,
and you were 1-1/2; our clever parents had no doubt already
applied our Port rations, and we were napping soundly on the oval-
shaped cotton rag rug on the floor in front of the fireplace while
they dined.  Or not.  :-))"

Thursday was quite a peaceful day, especially compared to the
torrent that passed through here almost a month ago

Baydog and Mojo.
Mojo, would you move that freakin fat separator? 
And for anybody who was wondering about the item 'glasses'
on my list earlier, there they are hanging from my collar.
I can't do anything any more without them. 
BTW, that was only one of two turkeys that day...

Evidence of a great session on Mojo's manporch.  There were
many incriminating photos associated with this one, and the blogger
decided that it was in our family's best interest to exclude them.

Glass of 2012.  We spent the day in Connecticut, but we visited
France, California, Spain, and Portugal.  
I had severe jet-lag on Friday.

Update:  Doc Haagen Dazs had asked about the Wiener Dog.
The Ween doesn't play nicely with other dogs, even her cousins,
when we're present.  It seems to be a protection/territory issue.
The last two or three OFDs, she's spent the day in a crate in 
Mojo's laundry room, while everyone else milled about 
drinking and eating.  This THXG, she spent the day and night
with about a dozen assorted pooches, at a place that doesn't
have a problem giving insulin injections.  When I drop her off,
they meet us in the driveway so as not to cause a stir with the
rest of the guests, and she trots inside, never looking back.
It's a perfect solution to an otherwise uncomfortable situation.
Their nice back yard was way better than an indoor crate. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Two Be Missed

Me, with Grama and Uncle Don

Mojo sent out an email last week with a link to an article he read
in the New York Times.  In it, Jacques Pepin shared his 
feelings about Thanksgiving:

"I fell in love with Thanksgiving, and it has remained my 
favorite of all holidays- maybe because it makes no explicit
appeal to patriotism, politics, or a particular religion, and it's 
not centered on children, like the egg roll at Easter, or the
Santa Claus tradition, with its largess of Christmas presents.
There are no gifts to bestow on anyone, except the gift of 
being together and sharing nourishment."

For our family, it's also an opportunity to reminisce about
Thanksgivings past, and remember loved ones who are
no longer with us.  It is always a great day, and the one
we call ourfavorite.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The basis by which all gravies are measured should be
the stock used to form the body of the sauce.  You can
 thicken wine with roux and call it gravy, but you're 
missing the point. Gravy needs to possess the flavors 
extracted from the meat that was cooked in the first place.
Usually, you remove the meat from the saute or roasting
pan, and then you de-glaze that pan (remove any 
caramelized bits left from the cooked meat) with some 
kind of wine, vinegar, stock, or even water.  This creates 
the start of the pan-sauce, or gravy.  Once reduced 
somewhat, it's time to add the broth or stock, usually
derived from the same type of animal, although these days
most stocks are interchangeable with their service to the
main course, even with many fish items.  (I love seafood 
with a meat glaze, but that's just me.)  

Then comes the thickening part.  If you're a purist, which
I am most of the time, cooking down, or reducing the sauce,
is the best way to concentrate the flavors.  When you've
used bones in your stock that contain gelatin, you can 
achieve a certain natural glossiness from that stock after
it's been boiled for some time.  The gelatin concentrates 
and naturally makes the stock more viscous, eliminating the 
need for thickening agents.

2 quarts of turkey stock.  Next stop, the Nutmeg State.
The pickins will be the foundation of dinner on Tuesday.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Last Hurrah

#20 Princeton University upset #14 Brown 10-7 today, in the first
round of the CWPA Eastern Championship, being held this 
weekend at Princeton's DeNunzio Pool.  It was the only game I was 
able to attend this fall, and my nephew Tim made sure it was a 
memorable one for me.  The win places Princeton against Bucknell

on Saturday in the semi-finals.  This weekend's champ goes to the
Final Four, and hopefully it will be Princeton's third trip
in four years to that celestial plateau.

Tim has been my connection to P.U. for the past four years, and I
find myself having some separation anxiety just thinking about his
impending graduation and my sudden dis connection from this local
venerable institution. Let's see, which niece, nephew, or daughter
is worthy of carrying on his legacy......

Post-game interview with Tim

Tim grew up in California playing water polo, in the state well-known 
for producing the best water polo players.  To me, he's become the
quintessential collegiate student-athlete.   He visited Princeton
while still a high schooler, and stopped in to the restaurant to see me
and get a free meal. I knew he would choose to play here, and I also
knew that he knew that being so close to us, he'd have the 
opportunity to come visit once in a while for some 
wine and a home-cooked meal.  

It's already November 16th, and he has yet to swing by our place this 
fall. That's okay....Thursday's OFD, and we'll catch up then.  
Meanwhile, go get 'em Tigers tomorrow.  I'll be watching from work.  
Hopefully we can talk about the upcoming Final Four 
on Thursday, over cigars and port.  

Final game for Seniors at Princeton

Update:  After losing in the final minute of the game against Bucknell
7-6, the Tigers bounced back and beat Mercyhurst on Sunday for
the bronze.  A bittersweet moment for Tim and all of us.  We'll still
hash it out on the manporch sometime late Thursday.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Photo Quiz

1.  Who's the Skipper and wife?
2. Where was the photo taken?
3. What class of boat?
4.  What was the hull/sail number?

BTW:  Two years ago today, the Grand Dame of
the Princeton culinary scene closed her doors, after 
ninety-one years of serving the masses the best French
 and American cuisine in Central Jersey. 
Don't think for a second that I forgot about this date.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vino Toscana

I had this one time, and that's all I probably will ever deserve.

Chicken Francaise

Google image.

My image.  After posting that photo of an inviting chicken francaise,
I was inspired and cooked chicken with onions, capers, garlic, basil, 
white wine, lemon juice, and whole butter.  More Piccata than 
Francaise.  I like this one better.  You would too.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What's Next?

And it's still coming down.

I understand there are some locusts coming our way.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Jersey Strong

Some moving pictures are worth a thousand words.  Thanks
Charley, for posting this.  I'm re-posting with your presumed 
approval. Now I need to find the Kleenex tissues again. 

More From The Shore

No more new inlet.  

Peter Hurley came across the bay to survey the damage in the wake 
of Sandy. His Dad's house is but a few blocks south of  Betty Wagner's
 and the Mantoloking bridge.  The footage of Rt. 35 in this clip is
 hard to process; there's never not been a steady flow of traffic
 on this ocean road, as far as I can remember. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Photo Quiz

1. What is this?
2. Where is this?
3. Why was I there?

Sjogin Floats!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Massachusetts High School Futbol

My nephew Alex, tearing it up on the pitch.

A Long Row To Hoe

Not living down here, I won't notice so much the snail's pace at 
which this reconstruction will take place.  As for the residents, it will 
be an agonizing few years until traffic flows smoothly, detour signs 
cease to exist, and a normal groove falls into place in this otherwise
very quiet couple of blocks bordering one of the busiest corridors of
 summer commerce on the entire East Coast of the U.S. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Time For Some Levity

Sailing in control is so overrated.  I just wonder 
what made crew feel as though he needed to tie
his shoe at that particular moment......

My Favorite Boat Yard