Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

The Penny Palate

I recently started a new blog called the Penny Palate, dedicated to eating and drinking cheap in New York City, at restaurants and bars and at home. In our current economy, it’s a classy site for the unabashedly stingy. Here’s a full description of the site from its about page:

from The Penny Palate

picture-11Please, sir, may I hear some more?

We know you’ve heard it before. “You have to be rich to do anything in New York.” Whether it’s a skeptical suburbanite or your I-banker friend who’s happy to drop the equivalent of your entire paycheck at swanky bars, there’s a pervasive sense that there’s no fun to be had in this city without paying a steep price. We don’t buy it.

The Penny Palate is devoted to rooting out the cheap food and drink that skeptics are too lazy to find. As Wall Street swirls deeper and deeper into the toilet, cheap restaurants are flourishing and more and more establishments are getting in on the action with “recession specials.” The heady days of the extravagant spender are past, and the hour of the penny pincher is here.

Our daily postings will tell you where to grab lunch when your wallet’s light, what bar serves up cheap drinks and free grub at happy hour, and even how to cook dinner and entertain without breaking your piggy bank. We’ll include special categories like a “Happy Hour of the Week;” “Tuck for a Buck,” which points you to great food for only a dollar; and our favorite, “The Circular Jerk,” epic journeys in food shopping and cooking led by the treasure map that is the circular.

We’re not talking Frank Bruni’s “cheap” $65 sushi special here. We’ll never recommend anything over $10, so when we say cheap, we mean it. So let’s raise a 2-for-1 pint to the thrifty New Yorker. This site’s for you.

As Old as the Blues

from the Playboy Blog, 11/13/08

edwardsA 93-year-old doesn’t take the stage the way most musicians do. It takes a lot longer, and may require spotters on either flank. So when David “Honeyboy” Edwards made the trek to center stage at the B.B. King Blues Club & Grill and settled ever so slowly into his chair, I had to wonder, does he still have it?

Born in 1915, Honeyboy is one of the last original Delta bluesmen still walking the earth. He’s a contemporary of the legendary Robert Johnson, and actually wrote some of the songs that Johnson made famous, including “Sweet Home Chicago.” But despite his age, Honeyboy put on an energetic show. His voice, a bit deeper and gruffer than Johnson’s, was still strong, his lyrics as unintelligible as ever. Honeyboy’s guitar rhythms were a bit more lax than they were in the old days, but his accompanists, Michael Frank on Harmonica and Rocky Lawrence on second guitar, followed his lead smoothly. And when it came to soloing, Honeyboy showed that his fingers and creative mind were still impressively nimble. He raised his eyebrows at the crowd whenever he hit a particularly mischievous twang, and Lawrence contributed delighted cackles and howls at Honeyboy’s most impressive riffs. But the band never stopped to soak up the love from the crowd, chugging relentlessly from one song to the next without rest.

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Beerfest, Part II

beerfest

from the Playboy Blog, 11/7/08

After my thorough drenching at the NY Brewfest, I was happy to see that the Brewtopia Great World Beer Festival was being held indoors at Pier 92. Of course, Mother Nature responded with a gorgeous fall day. It also wasn’t particularly fortunate that I was hitting up the festival the morning after Halloween. This meant a long subway ride with a hangover vicious enough to make me question my will to live, and miss my stop. But once I meandered over to the Hudson, it took just a few sips before I was floating once more, and ready to get down to the business of picking a favorite.

Best beer: Tröeg’s Troegenator Double Bock

The Troegenator was a pleasant surprise: rich, warm, and malty but not overly sweet, a common failing that leads me to avoid double bock in general. It was also quite smooth for its 8.2% abv. The brew was a perfect complement to a tasty (though regrettably $8) bratwurst sandwich from Helmut’s Brats & Pretzels.

Worst Beer: Schmaltz Brewing Jewbelation 12

Mix one part Hershey’s chocolate syrup and one part Dubra vodka. Shake. I imagine Schmaltz’s recipe is a bit more nuanced, but the effect is about the same. The 12% abv is a plus, though.

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