Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Joe Knows Sandwiches

Joe Doe has been one of my favorite restaurants from day one. Joe Dobias' "Aggressive American" cooking won me over instantly. The creativity he shows and liberties he takes with classic "American" fare is always good and never boring. Imagine Popeye coming home after years of sailing the globe, downing a can of spinach and deciding to become a chef.  His decision to rework the classic Passover Seder made me a disciple. Any one that can work magic with boxed matzo must have been touched by the Hand of God.

The Choir of Angels that sang one night when I was walking down 1st Avenue only confirmed it. I saw a heavenly glow coming from across the avenue. I crossed over to see from whence the celestial light was emanating. As the Angels reached a crescendo I saw the two heavenly words. Sandwich Shop. 

Joe Dough is the new sandwich shop from the Joe Doe team. OK, it is not the pearly gates, but it is good and it will put a smile on your face. Situated on 1st Avenue between Stromboli's Pizza and This Little Piggy (St. Marks and 9th Street), Joe Dough takes sandwich classics and gets them ready for a fight.

Roast Beef Sandwich?  "The Almighty Brisket" with brisket, cheddar, horseradish mayo and fried onions on a brioche bun. 

French Dip? "L.E.S French Dip" with griddled tongue instead of Roast Beef. 

Club Sandwich? "Chicken Avocado Club" with tomatillo chicken and bacon on challah.

Other sandwiches include the "JoseDoe Cubano," "Stoners Delight" (grilled cheese) and a welcome return of a sandwich they used to offer at JoeDoe, "The Conflicted Jew" (challah, chicken liver, bacon, onions, goosebumps, Lipitor).

All the Sandwiches are 10 bucks, 14 with drink and chips. Drinks include house made Celery Soda and Lime in da Coconut, Manhattan Espresso Soda as well as the usual sodas. 

Joe Dough is a welcome addition and a bright spot in the proliferation of Subways that have been popping up all over the L.E.S. Forget "Eat Fresh." Eat Strong! Way to go, Joe.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bringing back the Austro-Hungarian Empire one bite, and beer, at a time.

There are those times when you just need to get your German (or Austrian) on. Thankfully, NYC is having a bit of a German (and Austrian) moment. Beer Gardens (or Bier Gartens) are popping up all over the place  and a few new restaurants are joining the scene as well.

One of the new restaurants catering to your inner Otto Von Bismarck is Edi and The Wolf. Across the street from Zum Schneider on Avenue C and 8th street, the restaurant looks like an overgrown industrial Black Forest with a bit of shipyard decor thrown in. It works. As for the food, it is spot on. Traditional without being dated or boring.

Start with the best Landjager (a dried hunters sausage) I have had outside of Zingerman's. Rich, creamy Spatzel. Yes. Weiner Schnitzel, light, perfectly done with Lingonberry Jam, classic cucumber salad and a wonderful spicy, mustardy potato salad. Check. Crisp, meaty duck breast? You got it. Roasted brussel sprouts with bacon and apples. Are you kidding? Top it off with a drink from their well curated beer and wine lists and you have an evening that will have you humming Strauss waltzes, singing German Beer Hall songs and ordering that Bayern Munich jersey you have had your eye on.

Gute Nacht!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I wish you all a happy, healthy and relaxing Thanksgiving. I hope the day finds you surrounded by plentiful food, good friends and loving family. And as you contemplate getting that third helping today, just remember these wise words of the great Howlin' Wolf:

"I'm built for comfort baby. I ain't built for speed."

Go for it. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Pizza Test

I don't want to get political here, but I do have to address Herman Cain. This is not about his gaffs, personal flaws, etc. I am judging him by the true standard any New Yorker should. The Pizza Test.

As we know, another Republican hopeful, Donald Trump (really holding my tongue here) sealed his fate when he took Sarah Palin for a slice in Times Square and ate it with a fork. It just confirmed for the nation what we here in in NYC have always known about Donald. And now we have Herman Cain.

Mr Cain's claim to fame is that he was the head of Godfather's pizza, the 8th largest pizza chain in the US. And there, folks, is the reason he can't be President. Mr Cain's highest accomplishment is passing off crappy pizza as real NY pizza to the unsuspecting masses west of the Hudson River. And at a chain called it "Godfather's" no less to give it an air of New York "authenticity".

Godfather's is behind Pizza Hut, Sbarro's and Little Ceaser's for crying out loud. Have you ever eaten their pizza? It is awful. So imagine a pizza chain that can't even beat those guys. No thanks.

Herman Cain may not have a grasp of foreign policy, the tax code or collective bargining, but his his true fault lies in not having a grasp on how to make a good Margarita pie.

Monday, November 14, 2011


On my way down to Maharlika (more on that later) I saw a new sign lighting up the night on 1st Avenue. It read "Sandwich Shop." Of course I crossed the avenue to check it out. To my great delight, it was the store front for Joe Dough. This is the new sandwich shop from the folks at one of my favorite restaurants, Joe Doe. Jill Schulster, GM, host, mixoligist and muse of Joe Doe was out front and promised it was opening very soon. Hopefully within the week. I will be walking by daily, ready to consume. I wonder if Joe Doe's fried matzo will make an appearance.

Also, it looks like another Bao spin is coming soon the the neighborhood. BaoBQ in under construction. The store front is done and the interior is coming together. Wonder when it will open and when they will suddenly close it for no reason. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy National Metal Day

Firstly, of course, a shout out to all Veterans and those serving now in our military. God Bless you all. VH1 Classic is doing the best tribute with National Metal Day. As we all know, our men and women in uniform love their metal. So enjoy not one but two Iron Maiden live documentaries. Also highlights from the Big 4 tour, Megadeth Behind The Music and the new show that looks great, Metal Evolution. Death to false metal!!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Alabama Shakes coming back!

Dates are on sale now for Alabama Shakes at Brooklyn Bowl on December 8 and Mercury Lounge on December 9. Leaning toward Brooklyn Bowl but may have to do both. Hit me if you are hitting one of these shows.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Reflections on Halloween

As I (still) recover from Halloween, I am reflecting on the differences between the Halloween kids experience today versus when I was a kid in the 70s. There are the obvious differences. The costumes today aren't a cheap plastic mask and vinyl to transform you into Frankenstein's monster or Ace Frehley. Kids (and parents, really) bring it with serious home made or store bought costumes.

As for Trick or Treating, a lot of places now have major Halloween Carnivals to supplement or, in a lot of places, replace the traditional door to door begging for candy. Where I live, we have both. The carnival followed by Trick or Treating in our building and buildings in the neighborhood. The kids make off like bandits. This picture is the pile one of my kids came home with. Hot Damn.

The major difference between now and then is the complete lack of fear we, and our children, have on Halloween. Is today really safer or have we been lulled into a false sense of security?

This was the scene in the 70s:

Mom - "Don't you eat one piece of candy until you come home and your father and I can go through it all. Do you understand me?

Us kids - "Yes Mom."

So, why did mom and dad need to go through the candy? To make sure no one had put pins, needles, razor blades or broken glass in them. Seriously. We went on the hunt for candy, hoping to score serious chocolate but afraid one bite could gut us from the inside. Nice innocent fun.

Those days are long gone. Even if I wanted to go through all my kids candy, it would take me a day. And the reality is we don't let our kids go at it with that candy bag like our parents did. We dole it out, one piece at a time. They will never eat it all. I will probably eat more of it than they do.

But as I stood in awe of that staggering amount of candy my kids brought home, I realized that those people who want to do harm to my children have figured out a much more subtle and insidious way to achieve their goals. Instead of pins and needles and razor blades, they have corn syrup, caffeine and Red Dye 40. They are taking the slow, patient route. But I am onto them and I am willing to sacrifice myself for their safety. I think I will start with a Butterfinger.

The "real" Dream Team update

I tried to drop by Prima for lunch on Friday. Despite all the notices that they were up and running it was still in soft opening phase. Dinner only, no breakfast or lunch for a while. Table saw in front of the joint was a giveaway.

If Prima is as good as the sum of it's parts, 1st Street is going to be on the top of my list for food blocks. It is right next door to Prune and across the street from Joe Doe. Prima could make it a trifecta. Here's hopin'.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The "Real" Dream Team

Principles in three of my favorite places, covering three of life essentials (pizza, cocktails and great coffee) are joining forces. The folks from Motorino (pizza), Summit Bar (cocktails) and Ninth Street Espresso (coffee) and opening Prima on 1st and 1st tomorrow. I will be there. Please, please be good. Please.