Category Archives: Uncategorized

The nerve!

I can’t think of anything more inconsiderate. Here in Journal Square, where my office is located, there’s a Western Union (among other knick-knack shops and fast food establishments). Twice in the past two weeks, I’ve walked by at 9am, and the door has been closed, and the lights off with a sign on the door that says
Mon – Friday: 8am – 6pm
Sat: 10am – 6pm
Sun: 12pm – 4pm

This means that it’s an hour late in opening. I can’t think of a more important place to require being open than a western union — “The fastest way to send money.” Today, it struck me as particularly depressing, as I noticed a man peering into the windows, seemlingly very frustrated. Imagine, you need money for x, y, or z reason and your family member wires you $500 and you can’t get it because someone at the Western Union decided not to show up for their shift (or is an hour late in arriving to work). How inconsiderate!

I think of the time(s) when I was in France and was in desperate need for some extra money for whatever reason, and my mother was so kind as to make a deposit into my account. This would take a few hours for it to get there, but, imagine if she was unable to make the deposit because the bank was closed before she went to work because someone overslept? Or if one of my other Franco-American friends needed some money, fast, so that they could get a deposit down on their ACOBHA? Or if an airline happened to lose one of these Franco-American’s luggage, and the person needed some fast cash from the family to be able to afford a short-term clothing/toiletry solution — and the Western Union was closed for an unexplicable reason. Uncalled for.

Once, while working at Best Cellars, my manager (who would open and unlock the store) was 45 minutes late. Granted, this is for a wine shop and who is DESPERATELY looking to buy wine at 9am. Things happen, I agree. I’ve overslept, my girlfriend has overslept, it happens. But when you are the only person scheduled to work the opening shift of a Western Union — you’d better show up.

Whew. Glad to have that out of my system.

Staples are just so hard to find

Living in Somerville, Massachusetts I took two amazing establishments very much for granted — and didn’t actually realize it until I moved to New Jersey. I had an inkling of the first, and a warning of the second — but I didn’t really pay much attention. The first is the much loved Anna’s Taqueria, that I ended up writing about much earlier this year. The second is Diva.

Living in Porter Square, I was less than one block away from Anna’s which provided a nutrititious meal on so many evenings for $5.25 (with a Strawberry-Banana Jumex Juice). For just about a year, Wednesday’s nights were nicknamed “Anna’s Nights.” Many of my co-workers knew of my weekly obsession and would bid me farewell with the words “Have fun with Anna tonight.. I hope she was just as good as last week!” And I knew I could count on Anna. She always was just as good as she was the last time I was there. It made for a great place to go, grab a quick, cheap and [relatively] healthy dinner. It often proved much more cost-effective to grab Anna’s for dinner than to go to Star (which was just as close), purchase some fixin’s and make up a meal at home.

I miss the way they rushed you through the line, yelling “NEXT!” while there were already 3 people waiitng for their burrito’s or quesadilla’s to be made, causing quite a commotion around the steaming machine. I miss the way they would haphazardly slop your beans and rice onto the tortilla, throwing ingredients to and fro as they concocted your meal before right before your very eyes.

Since I’ve moved here to Hoboken, I’ve yet to find a suitable substitute. Neither for a good, inexpensive, casual meal nor a great burrito. As I mentioned previously Anna’s definitely was the best burrito place in Boston. My only choice here is Mr. Wraps (A favorite of the Captain and his beauty), and Qdoba. We’re all very well familiar with my thoughts on Qdoba, and Mr. Wraps is no Anna’s — let me tell you. So, unfortunately, for now we’re burrito free in Hoboken.

The second, and probably nearly as depressing loss, is that of Diva. Diva was an Indian Bistro located in Davis Square. Just about a 10 minute walk from my house, but always provided a great meal. Diva isn’t overly expensive (usually dinner was usually about $30 for Miss Possible and I) and it had a great atmosphere. The minute you walked in the door, you fell in love with the place. The scents of Indian Curries and spices were so thick in the air, that you hated to leave the place because regular air just didn’t make you feel the same.

Miss Possible became obsessed with Diva, and we’d always get the exact same thing. She’d order the Shahi Navratan Korma, while I’d order the Lamb or Beef Vindaloo (the chicken was soaked in Yogurt, so that was out), and we’d get a side of Peshwary Naan. It was just too good to stray from our favorites, because I tried once — and I regretted it for days.

I can remember nights where we’d not feel like going out, and MP would say to me in that quasi-desperate, weak, hungary voice “I need Diva.” Whereupon I would order takeout and go pick it up for us to come back home, and make a nice spread on my bedroom floor and indulge ourselves with the Indian Delicacies from the comfort of my Somerville Abode.

Once we took my father and sister to eat there, and my father was amazed. “The Best Indian Restaurant I’ve ever eatan at” he told me. And he often compares other restaurants to Diva, when we speak of Indian. I didn’t pay any attention, as I figured how many good Indian restaurants can they possibly have in the tiny New Jersey town that he resides.

But, alas, as we’re coming to find — it might be true. Diva may be a one-of-a-kind. Not that Hoboken has the best restaurants, but we’ve been to two different Indian places — both of which were extremely disappointing. There’s a third that we still need to try, before we’ve exhausted the possibilities. But tonight we ventured into Little India in New York, to try to get something more on the same level as Diva.

I can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it was closer. Dinner was much better, and they did have Peshwary Naan (which is a huge plus), but it just didn’t taste nearly as good. Better, in that we weren’t totally disappointed, but it just wasn’t the same. .

Maybe we’ll never find a suitable replacement for these two places, or who knows — maybe we’ll find two new staples that we just can’t live without.

Punkin Ale

Been kinda quiet around these parts lately, so I thought I’d spice it up with some fall goodies (seeing that it’s labor day and all).

After a day of relaxing, miss possible and I decided to head into the city to go out for dinner and catch a movie. Our destination was Union Square — an area that we’d been to on previous visits to New York, but not since our relocation to the lovely state of NJ. Our choice of restaurants for dinner, was a place that Miss Possible had seen from the bus several times called “Heartland Brewery.” She’d seen the Midtown location, but we figured we’d check out one of their other locations in Manhattan.

This brings me to my topic.. Pumpkin Ale. There’s nothing that reminds me more of fall than this fantastic beverage. I was at the store a few weeks ago, and I got my first sighting of the season — Saranac’s version, I believe. Towards the end of August the last thing you want to admit is that the summer is coming to an end — and by purchasing Pumpkin ale before it’s time makes you guilty of doing so.

Considering that Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer, I felt it was acceptable to indulge myself and enjoy a Pumpkin ale at this fine establishment.

I feel as though I’ve become quite a connoisseur of this variety of ale. Last year (during The Red Sox’s road to the World Series) I believe my roommates and I tried every type of Pumpkin Ale available at the two stores in Somerville. Over the course of the few months, we must’ve tried 8 or 9 different kinds. It’s tough to make a good one, and I think that my favorite would have to be Blue Moon’s. Too much pumpkin spice, and it will taste out of sorts. Too little, and it’s Bud Light. Blue Moon does it just right (or at least they have in the past). Heartland’s was fantastic. Perhaps even better than Blue Moon, as it was a tad milder, but not so much that it tasted watery.

So, I guess I have given in. I’ve accepted the inevitable, in that fall is coming – and summer is over. It is Labor Day afterall, isn’t it? Next to summer, fall is probably my second favorite seaon. Fall means football, post-season baseball, Halloween (my favorite holiday of them all), and so many other great things. It’s the winter that we all dread, and knowing that fall is here brings the throes winter that much closer to our doorsteps. But, to all those who are with me in welcoming in the next season. Raise your glasses of Pumpkin Ale, and let us all say Slainte.

All the way from Novi Sad

Just recently, I found a cool tool that looks at the last 20 visitors to the site, and puts it on a Google Map (Link). You can also access this link by clicking on the “Where the readers are link” in the right rail of the site.

Looking at this, someone came to the site from Novi Sad, Vojvodina (Part of Serbia / Montenegro). I know we’ve been worldwide, but.. that’s crazy. I thought it I’d share this great service, with some of our loyal readers — as it’s definitely a cool service.

Oh New York? What part?

When I first started making friends at Northeastern, a large number of people that I met were from the New York City area. I always would get frustrated by the fact that “EVERYONE” lived in New York City, but nobody technically lived in New York City. It’s ironic that I live in this area now, because I struggle to come to grips with my physical location, and how I disclose this information to other people. A remember several conversations in college that went like this:

Me: “Hey, where are you from?”
Them: “New York”
Me: “Oh, me too.. where abouts? I’m from Rochester”

Them: “Oh, I’m down by the city.”
Me: “That’s cool.. Must’ve been fun growing up in the city.”
Them: “Well, technically it’s [New Jersey, Connecticut, Long Island, insert other surrounding area here], but it might as well be New York.”
Me: “So, you’re not from New York then, you’re from [insert surrounding area].”
Them: “Technically, yes.. but it’s New York.”

This bugged me. The fact that so many people that did not live in New York, claimed they did, even though they lived in another state, or dozens of miles away from the actual city. A lot of my friends at the time also felt the same way, you have to call a spade a spade. If you live in NJ, you live in NJ — not New York City.

But, this is where my conflict comes in. Residing in Hoboken, NJ, I live less than 4 miles (driving) from Times Square — probably less as the crow flies. But, I do still live in New Jersey — not New York. So, when asked, I tell people that I live in New Jersey. I feel somewhat dirty about that though — less so, than if I said I lived in New York City — but Jersey has just such a bad rap. But, when I come home from work every day, and walking up to my apartment I can see the Empire State Building just over the river, it reminds me that I don’t just live in New Jersey.. It’s New York.

When you say “I live in Hoboken, just across the river from NYC” — it doesn’t really resonanate with them how close you really are. You get the same “Oh, so you’re not in the city” type of response, but.. it’s SO close. I can almost touch it.

Oh well, until Hoboken becomes the 6th Burrough, I live in New Jersey. I guess I’ll have to try to come to grips with that.