Tag Archives: NYC

Long live “The King”

Didn’t get to celebrate “The King’s” passing like we normally do yesterday, but that doesn’t mean that Mr. Elvis Presley was not in our thoughts. And then, we saw this super cool billboard in Times Square and we knew that it was a sign, um, you know, like a spiritual sign…from beyond and everything.

Anyway, it made Greta and I smile. Long live “The King”! Oh yeah, and if you’re interested in reading SAHD-centric, semi-real time updates of our adventures in NYC this week, click here.

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Odd Obsession Movie Rentals, Chicago

In case you hadn’t noticed, I started up another blog recently, but that doesn’t mean I love this one any less. On the contrary, I have been itching to share some of our recent adventures in Chicago (where we were in May) and Portland, OR (where we were in July) before launching into a whole other round of adventures we’re bound to experience in NYC, where we will be next week.

Trust me, it sounds a lot more glamorous than it really is. Hell, anyone who has traveled with a two-year-old can tell you that the going can get pretty damn rough sometimes. And that’s why you need the mellow, “let’s casually explore the city” kind of days in between the sightseeing.

It was on one of those days this past May, when we encountered the staggeringly-well-stocked, totally old-school video store known as Odd Obsession Movie Rentals in Chicago.

Located in the gritty heart of the suddenly-trendy Bucktown/Wicker Park area, Odd Obsession is the kind of classic, deep-catalog video store every great city should have. You know, the type of place you can call up with just a vague notion of the obscure DVD title you’re looking for, and not only do they know the movie, but they carry it too! So cool…

And I swear to God, walking inside that joint was like stepping into a time machine. They don’t carry many actual VHS titles anymore, but, the whole place smelled, looked like, and even felt like your favorite, musty childhood video store. I say felt because those shelves were so packed with super cool titles that you could hardly turn around without bumping into something amazing. Literally. Next time I go, I’m leaving the stroller outside.

We didn’t rent anything, of course, but, just being there and sensing the true love of movies inside every nook and cranny of that place really filled my heart with glee. I’m not kidding, it was like church for film geeks, and best of all, they even had a store cat. You know, the big old, fat kind that sits on the register when you’re trying to pay. I didn’t ask, but, I’ll bet he’s named “Rosebud”.

Anyway, someday very soon (like, next week) video stores will be a thing of the past, something we joke about: “OMG, remember when you used to have to leave your house to rent movies?” and when that day comes, I’ll be glad to know I visited one of the greatest video stores ever…and took lots of cool pictures.

Rock on, Odd Obsession Movie Rentals, rock on!

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The Elvis Sandwich @ Peanut Butter & Co., NYC

Last Saturday would have been Elvis Presley’s 76th birthday, and though we didn’t get to celebrate his big day like we usually do, we did ring in Elvis’ 75th birthday in high style last year. So, let’s just consider this post my 2011 birthday tribute to the King. Happy birthday, dude!

Last January 8th, Christine, Greta and I had just arrived in New York City for a friend’s wedding. There was snow on the ground and a definite chill in the air, but, it was Elvis’ birthday and we were determined to try the Elvis sandwich at Greenwich Village’s legendary Peanut Butter & Co..

I mean, sure, we’d had peanut butter and banana sandwiches before (at Graceland no less!) but the fine folks at Peanut Butter and Co. add two key ingredients which really set that freaking sandwich on fire: honey and bacon. It sounds kinda weird, I know, but, trust me when I tell you that this tasty-ass sandwich is a thing of rare beauty, amigos. Incredible!

Washing the whole thing down with a truly decadent Fluffernutter Shake — which consisted of peanut butter, milk and Marshmallow Fluff! — we scooped up a few jars of dark chocolate and honey-infused peanut butter to go, wished the King a happy birthday and set about touring Manhattan.

And when it came time for our last meal in NYC a few days later, guess where we headed? You guessed it, right back down the street to Peanut Butter & Co. for more of their savory/sweet Elvis-y goodness.

Now, if book-ending your first big family trip to New York City with Elvis sandwiches doesn’t spell true fan devotion, well, I don’t know what does.

Happy birthday, EP. We love you!

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Blake Edwards (1922-2010)

I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but, it’s raining cats and dogs here and on a day like today I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the late, great Blake Edwards, than snuggling up with the ones you love and watching his classic film version of Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Edwards directed dozens of awesome films — I lived for the original “Pink Panther” movies when I was a kid and “Victor/Victoria”, “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Experiment in Terror” were all instant classics — but for me, his most memorable flick will always be the perfect little gem of a movie that it “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

Great cast, lushly-beautiful locations — both the real-life and backlot NYC locales look gorgeous! — and that swinging Henry Mancini score…wow…watching “Tiffany’s” is like eating giant strawberries dipped in really great chocolate. Mmmm…sheer cinematic yumminess all around.

Ironically enough, I just recently sat Greta down and made her watch “Tiffany’s” in all its widescreen DVD glory (she loved the music and any scenes with “Cat” the best!) and lemme tell ya, it holds up beautifully.

So, rest in peace, Mr. Blake Edwards. Thanks to you, I have an instant, tried-and-true cure for the “mean reds” for years to come…

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Strawberry Fields, NYC

Had he not been so suddenly and violently taken from us at the age of 40, the late, great John Lennon would have turned seventy years old last month. That’s right, seven-zero. Crazy, huh?

In honor of John’s 70th, Christine and I wanted to post some pics we took last summer during our visit to Strawberry Fields, the Lennon memorial in New York City’s Central Park. Located on 2.5 acres of sprawling parkland just across the street from the legendary Dakota apartment building where Lennon lived, and died, Strawberry Fields can only be described as peaceful.

I’m not saying the rest of the park isn’t peaceful, because…wow…Central Park in August is all kinds of breathtakingly peaceful, but, Strawberry Fields just felt almost magical in its stillness.

A designated quiet zone — Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono still lives in the Dakota and apparently grew weary of the singing of the fans in the park — Strawberry Fields has a serenity that truly sets it apart from the rest of the park.

Sure, there were tons of fans milling about, and the crowd taking pictures around the stunning “Imagine” mosaic that serves as the areas centerpiece was pretty intense, but, despite the sheer volume of people there, Strawberry Fields was a very chill place to spend the afternoon.

And though I was a bit disappointed to discover that there were no actual strawberry plants in Strawberry Fields (I know, I’m lame, but, it would have been nice) I gotta tell ya, I haven’t been that moved by a memorial since our 2007 visit to Graceland.

It’s like John’s aura was all around you, and though there was none of his actual music playing anywhere (designated quiet zone, remember?) you didn’t need to hear it to know that it was there, in our hearts. I know that sounds hopelessly cheesy, but, it’s how we felt.

So, happy birthday, John. Seventy years on, you continue to rock the world…

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Ben & Jerry’s newest flavor: Imagine Whirled Peace

Christine has always favored Ben & Jerry’s over all other ice creams, and even though I must admit to being much more of a Baskin Robbins man myself, I do love me some sweet, socially-conscious Ben & Jerry’s sometimes too.

Their Chunky Monkey kind of slays me…it’s amazing. And Christine actually fought a woman to the death for the last pint of Cherry Garcia at Vons one time. Yeah, um…we don’t talk about that much…

The thing I dig most about Ben & Jerry’s is that they make great gourmet ice cream for a cause, several of them in fact, and yet despite the often serious nature of the causes they morph into flavors, the company maintains a cool, cheeky sense of humor. Who else but those crazy hippies from Vermont could take a cause as noble as ONE.org’s campaign to “make poverty history” and make it into ONE Cheesecake Brownie?

Haven’t tried that one yet, but man, that is just hilarious. So when we heard that Ben & Jerry’s were creating a new flavor to honor John Lennon’s lifelong commitment to the peace movement, we were all over that shit!

Launched in Times Square on May 27th, Imagine Whirled Peace is caramel and sweet cream ice cream swirled with fudge peace signs and toffee cookie pieces. And, man alive, is it delicious!

Even cooler than the ice cream is the way it was introduced to the world. Staging a recreation of Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous “bed-ins for Peace” with super cool actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, B&J’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield and Jeremy Gilley, founder of Peace One Day, Imagine Whirled Peace was literally launched from bed. How cool is that?

As always, a portion of the profits go towards the Peace One Day foundation, which was started by Gilley to keep the peace movement alive in today’s crazy world. Peace One Day events are celebrated annually on September 21st.

And while she wasn’t there in person to launch the flavor, Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono did provide a statement for the event that supposedly brought down the house…er, bedroom. “Make peace — a dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” Wow, almost me wanna run out and buy more some ice cream…nicely put Yoko!

And while I gotta admit that I was not initially turned on by the actual ingredients in the flavor, one bite of that toffee cookie dough goodness changed my mind immediately. Imagine Whirled Peace is straight-up fantastic! And though I usually find large chunks of chocolate in ice cream to be too hard, those tasty little peace signs literally melt in your mouth. Must be the fudge factor.

So even if you don’t eat it in bed, I urge you to check out the links above, help make a difference and most of all, as Lennon famously encouraged us to do with peace, give this flavor a change, baby. You’ll love it!

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Mud – NYC’s Best Street Coffee

When our friends Mike and Patty returned from a recent trip back east, they came home with tons of cool pictures, mouth-watering tales of the finest sub sandwich in Jersey, and best of all…a pound of dark roast Mud Coffee as a belated birthday gift for me. Yeah!

Being a lifelong West Coaster, I had never heard the legend of the bright orange Mudtrucks of New York’s East Village, but after trying some of this rocking coffee…I can’t wait to check it out in person sometime!

And not only is the coffee the best earthy, hippie brew you ever had — Mud actually sells a Hippie Blend, but my pound was the darker roast, Mudtruck Blend — but the packaging is so cool you almost wanna frame it!

According to their super fly website, the Mudtruck’s journey began in 2001, when newlywed co-founders Nina Berott (a former ad exec) and Greg Northrop (a former musician) parked their first bright orange Mudtruck just a few feet from the 6 train stop in Astor.

Surrounded by green-logo-ed corporate coffee chains on all sides, the odds of this funky, converted lunch truck making it were slim, but the coffee was good, the tunes from the boombox rocked and the vibe was just right. So, almost overnight a caffeinated legend was born…

Seven years later, Mud coffee is sold in hipster haunts all over the city and as well as adding another Mudtruck to the fleet, there is also a bricks and mortar locale dubbed the Mudspot on East 9th Street between First and Second Avenue.

Mmm…something else to look forward to sampling when Christine and I finally make the trek out to NYC.

For now, I guess I’ll have take comfort in my last few cups of this delicious Mudtruck blend and hope that someday soon, those rocking orange Mudtrucks make their way to my neck of the woods…

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