Category Archives: Uncategorized

Georgie’s Diner

Georgie’s Diner

During a recent 4 day stay in New Haven, my family’s favorite meal was hands down at Georgie’s Diner. My sister and her husband were excited by the vegan bounty on the Georgie’s menu. She had a seasonal vegan hash made with butternut squash: he had a vegan reuben! The rest of my family had variations of eggs, all cooked to perfection. Cooking eggs isn’t easy!

I would give a sixth star to the staff who are probably the ones giving TLC, food and shelter to a wild cat behind the restaurant, by the train tracks. I wonder if that cat is named Georgie!

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Chetstone

Chetstone

Chetstone is a Gothic Victorian mansion built on the highest ridge of Fairhaven Heights in the mid 19th century. After an almost 2 decades long effort to restore this historic home, it is now in fantastic condition. My family rented this beauty for a 4 day stay in New Haven on Air BnB. The Chetstone is also currently listed on the CT Film Commission, and is used for photography and videography, as well as a workshop and performance space.

As a bed and breakfast, it would be hard to imagine a more amazing home to stay in. The Chetstone has 4 stories: the kitchen and living rooms on the first floor are warm (ambient heat in the kitchen and bathroom floors is awesome) and cozy. Three of the four bedrooms on the second floor come with working sinks! I felt like I was sleeping in a restored, totally livable adjunct to the Mark Twain house (didn’t hurt that I had just recently watched Ken Burns’ fantastic documentary on Twain.)

The magic comes in from all angles with ancient glass refracting the sunlight in beautiful directions. The third floor is unfinished with whimsical rabbit art dating to 1919 exposed on the walls.  The fourth floor is a beautiful lookout over Fairhaven Heights. This neighborhood used to be called “Dragon” because the harbor seals that hung out at the mouth of the Quinnipiac River resembled dragons: on a clear day, you can almost still seem them from the fourth floor.

Thank you to all involved in the restoration of this Connecticut architectural gem!

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Philip R. Smith Elementary School: Thank you for “Avery” thing

Thank you to all the teachers, staff, cafeteria workers, volunteers, parents and everybody who made Philip R. Smith an amazing place to go to elementary school.

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The Lost Weekend with Bull

Yesterday was Bull’s 60th birthday. Ray and Lindsay had a big family party in Old Saybrook and announced they have a baby coming… maybe another Ray or a Rei. It was a ray of sunshine on a day we all missed you so much, man.

In this post I am going back almost a decade, to the weekend I got to spend with Bull in Key West, mano a mano. It was a formative experience, sort of what I imagine spending a weekend with Ernest Hemingway in Key West would have been like.

Joseph Campbell would probably say this was about, “when the boys became no longer their mothers’ sons, but their fathers’ sons.”  Running with the Bull sure made a man out of me!

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Day of Portugal Parade Remix

The parade will start at Portuguese Square (Concord Avenue) in Somerville and work its way down Cambridge Street through Inman Square to its ending location in front of St. Anthony’s Church at the corner of Cambridge Street and Cardinal Medeiros Avenue. The parade will include a variety of colorful floats, bands, and marching groups from various Portuguese communities across Massachusetts. A block party will follow immediately featuring entertainment and vendors selling Portuguese delicacies and other regional products.

[photos from Day of Portugal parade in 2009 and 2010]

Helen, John, Judy and Susan: The Blaskos in the 40’s and 50’s

Over Memorial Day weekend 2018, Raven and I got look thru photos of Bop Bop from the World War 2 days. I captured and edited some of the photos on my iphone. Enjoy the Blasko memories!

 

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Los Surfos

Los Surfos photo archive

Here are many collected photos from the first 2 years of operation at the Chef Rick Bayless restaurants, Leña Brava and Cruz Blanca. They are grouped so as to offer a deeper appreciation of the Mexican fine art from the Bayless’ collection, currently on display at 900 W. Randolph St.  Spend enough time at this archive, and you will learn all about the artists who made them, their inspiration, and much more. Enjoy!

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 Cumbia de Los Surfos film

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFhvZBmmdU0

Feature length “cumbia-mentary” on the first 2 years of Chef Rick Bayless’ restaurants at 900 W. Randolph St., Chicago

Real talk: everybody who worked at 900 over the past 2 years has contributed to making something special. While the speed of life makes it challenging to find the time for reflection, please consider my amateur filmmaking an offering of 1 hour, 43 minutes. All of the staff deserve to feel proud for opening 2 amazing restaurants that will stand the test of time. The efforts put forth have compelled me to believe more than ever before, that anything is possible.” –Arturo La Cago

Watch the movie and celebrate 2 years of the people behind-the-scenes (Los Surfos) bringing to life the restaurants at 900 W. Randolph Street. This feature length cumbia documentary (cumbia-mentary?) is coming in hot… 

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Who are Los Surfos?

Los Surfos, a word meaning “surfers” in the Spanish language, here refers to the staff who worked during the first two years of operation (2016-2018) for the Chef Rick Bayless restaurants, Leña Brava and Cruz Blanca at 900 W. Randolph St. in Chicago. As for the meta-meaning, before I worked for Chef Rick Bayless (2011-2018), I worked for Chef Chris Schlesinger (2005-2011) in Cambridge, MA, at his restaurant, the East Coast Grill & Raw Bar, which centered around wood fire grilling and seafood. The map of the world with flames encircling the dark blue equatorial zone, pictured above, was the brunch menu cover for this restaurant, where I was the brunch captain. Amongst many positive attributes shared between these 2 amazing chefs, I am struck by their like-minded focus on staff education to achieve the best guest experience. And I was only employable in the first place due to the chefs’ joint promotion of an environment within their restaurants where people are allowed to shine by being themselves.

Anyway, back to the meta-meaning of Los Surfos. From what I have learned, Baja California Norte cuisine, is mostly unique amongst Mexican cuisine for its inclusion of ingredients from Asia, from which the region has received many migrants. It has also been called, “Baja Med,” due in part to the climatological synergy with the Mediterranean: hot days, cool nights, great wine-growing conditions.  One day while I was sitting in a staff education class about Baja cuisine taught by Leña Brava chef / San Diego native Stephen Sandoval, it all clicked in my mind. The old brunch menu cover map from the East Coast Grill highlighted regions of the world linked by cuisine that featured cooking with chile peppers. This equatorial region colonized by Mexico’s amazing chile pepper, is also where to find most of the world’s beaches most natural for surfing. Baja cuisine is kind of like a post-modern global-cuisine-conquering chile pepper surfer returning to its native Mexico, rediscovering the old truism, “You can’t go home again.”

In the restaurants opening, the staff shared daily updates on a now long-defunct private Facebook Group, set up to gel the communication and culture by sharing laughter. Many of the funny staff photos in the above archive, as well as the bonus video clips from the second hour of the cumbia-mentary, are from there. We called it Los Surfos: a digital meeting place for all of us surfing the big waves of Chef Rick’s newly opened restaurants at 900 Randolph.

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Hot Sauce Time Machine

Go back in time and have a look at some of the first Rick Bayless web content: mild, medium and spicy!

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Any Major Dude Will Tell You

1981 – Walter’s GF died in his apartment of heroin overdose and a month later he got hit by a car. Steely Dan disbanded. Ship wrecked on the rocks: the lowest point. That’s the kind of moment that i believe this song arrived on. I imagine Walter lashed out at Donald, what do you know about my struggle, you’re just a “major dude” now. And rather than say, “Fuck you” slamming the door forever, a song was written and the door was left open a crack. 


Ten years of heavy drug addiction and depression ended with Walter moving to Maui and becoming an avocado farmer. With enough sunlight and water, the avocado pit of their musical partnership re-sprouted. Donald and Walter’s personal history going back to Bard college, the shared musical vocabulary, the empathy and patience of “major dude” Donald, brought Walter back to that door and he opened it as a mostly demonless man in 1993. Citizen Steely Dan was reborn. The world of Steely Dan studio albums and live shows (including Shane Lucipher Fischler on drums) had come together again, this time forever.


When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone dude dies but TWO AGAINST NATURE survives.

Poolpartyendo

atowelfortuba

Here is a 2.5 hours reggae and cumbia mix for your Q2 session. This is tropical bass making it appropriate soundtrack for summer in general, and poolpartyendo in particular: https://www.mixcloud.com/dondeq2/poolpartyendo/

poolpartyendo1

These images are from the map “A Towel for Tuba,” which is thetowel.bsp and also features several “solariums” in addition to the swimming pool with high dive. No idea who Tuba might be, but let’s get that guy a towel for heaven’s sake.

poolpartyendo2

And heeeeere’s the “meta data” all songs available individually on Soundcloud:

01 El Paso Del Gigante (Ghost X Cesarrodrb Remix)
02 Sonido Satanas – El Paso del Tamal (Original Mix)
03 Mos Def & Djtzinas – Travellin Man (Bruce Missile Blend)
04 DMX – Give It To Ya (Bruce Missile ReRub)
05 Anthony B ‘Dem Can’t Stop We From Talk’ ft Jahdan – Bleepolar’s Bogota Cumbia remix
06 El Muerto_Sonidos Profundos
07 iLLBiLLY HiTEC ft. Longfingah & Cheshire Cat – Reggae Not Dead
08 Beenie Man & Lady Saw – Dancehall Queen (Kevin D Latin Bootleg)
09 Curura (AndresDigitalRemix)
10 RudeboysCumbia (ADRemix)
11 Method Man – Uh Huh (Bruce Missile ReRub)
12 Soltera – ETC!ETC!
13 MESSY- LENTO
14 Cutty Ranks – Limb By Limb (Dungeon Sound RFX _ DCMJr)
15 Controlla (KKing Kong Bootleg)
16 16 Francisco y Madero – poolpartyndo
17 Casi me pierdo en Niuyolk
18 Borchi – Vodu!
19 SADE – LOVE IS STRONGER THAN PRIDE – 6BLOCC RMX
20 Zona Norte – Cumbia Atack
21 DJ CAUTION – MEMORIZA MI LECCION
22 Cumbia disco viejo

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23 Morenita (Sonido Satanas Remix)
24 Made Men ft. Biggie & Sadat X – De Ja Vu (Bruce Missile ReRub)
25 Busta Rhymes – Break Ya Neck (DUTTY Remix)
26 iLLBiLLY HiTEC ft. La Kinky Beat – Barna Mexico Conection_50801427_soundcloud.mp3
27 Ackeejuice Rockers – Murderer (Original Mix)
28 Esclavo Moderno (Sonidos Profundos RMX)_Manuel Alvarez y sus dangers
29 KARDINAL OFFISHALL & BOUNTY KILLER – DANGEROUS SLANG (NARAM Version – DCMJr RFX)
30 1er GAOU Magic System – remixed by FARAON BANTU – Champeta-Man & Sargento Garcia
31 Dub Unit feat Speng Bond – Ganjaman (Alguacil Dubkilla Remix)
32 SUPERSAN – Buscandote
33 ERICK JAIMEZ – ENTRE REJAS
34 iLLBiLLY HiTEC ft. Longfingah & Kinetical MC – Chase
35 Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley – Make It Bun Dem (Bruce Missile`s Stop That, Skrillex Blend)
36 Muevelo duro
37 La Yegros – Viene de Mi (Lascivio Bohemia resabó)
38 Los Tigres -Pasito Tun Tun- Remix
39 Bounty Killer & Djtzinas – Real Killa (Bruce Missile Blend)
40 DDD – Simiolo- Sonidos Profundos Rmx
41 Dengue Dengue Dengue – Guarida (feat. Sara Van) [Branko Remix]
42 Carla Morrison – Disfruto (Edsited Refix)
43 Micropapitas – A que no puedes comer sólo