While I’ve Been Away

Had a delicious dinner on Sunday night with my grandmother at the Jackson Diner. It isn’t really a diner, however. Instead, what you get is delicious Indian food. The Murg Tikka Palakwala (chicken mixed with tomato, spinach, ginger, and cumin seeds) was spectacular, and the lamb rogan josh wasn’t bad either. Well worth the minor hassle we faced in trying to find a parking spot near by. Note to self: take mass transit next time you visit Jackson Heights.

Aside from that, and the usual gym/sports/etc. routine, I am doing some work for a company in lower Manhattan on weekday afternoons. So far so good, and we’ll see what happens from there.

I’ll clean out the notebook a little more tomorrow. I promise.

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For the Umptimillionth Time…

You get a review of the new Yankee Stadium on the blogosphere. I had a chance to check it out on Friday night. I bought tickets on the spur of the moment- and got a pretty good price on seats with a great view. All I can really say is beautiful. What an absolutely gorgeous ballpark. In the old stadium, the field was about the only pretty thing about it. The inside of the stadium was ugly, cramped, and on hot days, almost felt like it could suffocate you.

In the new ballpark, the open concourses mean you don’t have to miss much of the action when going to get food. Not surprisingly, many fans chose to watch bits and pieces of the game from the concourse walkways, just to see how close a view they could obtain. Most of the seats seem closer to the action; since the backstop is closer to home plate and the upper deck is much less steep, they probably are. The gigantic scoreboard actually didn’t look out of place upon viewing it in person. Oh, and I don’t think I had much of a wait in a bathroom at all. For a fan, this place is absolutely an upgrade, and the designers did a terrific job on it.

I would say that I looked over towards the obstructed view seats by the batter’s eye in centerfield. While they are pretty cheap at $5 or so, I probably wouldn’t buy those tickets myself and depend on a television screen to ensure that I saw everything. But there are some pretty good ticket values in the rest of the stadium too. I was in the Main Level between first base and the right field foul pole, which cost me $45 on Stubhub (about what season-ticket holders paid, so presumably someone was trying to dump his/her ticket); day-of-game is more but still seemed okay. From eyeballing the rest of the Main Level and the upper deck, you probably couldn’t go wrong with anything except seats right near the top, and none of them will cost you $1250; most not even $100.

Later in the summer, I hope to get there early enough to check out the new Monument Park and team museum, and maybe even try the Lobel’s steak sandwich. Despite costing $15, no concession stand had as long a line when I went to look at the food court. I stuck to some pulled pork from Brother Jimmy’s and an orange, which was okay but not special. Yes, you can actually buy fresh fruit if you want to! I just wish it was a bit more conspicuously placed and nicely presented, which this blogger seemed to agree with me about. Having little tables with views of the field to put food trays on is a nice touch in case you don’t want to carry things all the way back to your seat.

All in all, despite a 7-3 loss to the Phillies, it was a good night out (made even better by meeting up with some friends in midtown afterward, as well as by seeing LeBron’s unbelievable shot, video of which is posted below). If you have a chance to attend a game, do it!

After this weekend, Yankee Stadium has yielded 87 homers in 23 games, a new MLB record. I got to see seven of them on Friday night, most of which were no-doubt dingers on contact. Hey, if pitchers make mistakes at the big league level, hitters will make them pay in almost any ballpark. Jimmy Rollins homered on the first pitch; it was a case of blink and you just saw it landing several rows deep in the bleachers, 1-0 Phillies just like that. Anyway, I do think the Yankees can win a championship in their new home at some point. The Phillies proved last year that you can win playing most of your games in a hitter-friendly yard; your pitchers just have to hit their spots.

I saw a lot of servicemen and women at the ballpark and around New York for the annual Fleet Week festivities, which once again leads into Memorial Day. So I would be remiss if I didn’t wish everyone a great holiday, especially to those who have and continue to selflessly volunteer for our nation. Today is for all of you.

Mother’s Day

A very happy one to mine, and all others out there. Mom was really pleased with the flowers and card we got her. Dinner with both grandmothers and some of my relatives was fine as far as the food goes. Unfortunately, the length of the dinner wasn’t so great. We got to the restaurant in time for a 5:30 reservation. Well, they were running an hour or so behind because of massive crowds. Coupled with the place’s leisurely pace (which we’ve come to expect), we didn’t get home until about 9:00. The waiting didn’t bother me too much, but I’m not sure that my opinion was shared by most others in our party! In the future, mom says she wants to stick to barbecuing on Mother’s Day. That sounds like a good idea, because she can really cook up a storm- can’t wait for the summer grilling season to really kick in!

Anyway, thanks to mom for all she’s done to make me who I am today.

Quick Hitters

Not much time for a long blog post, so just a few things. First, check out NYC Food Guy’s review of Citi Field’s cuisine. Looks great! We already know about the new Yankee Stadium’s sports bar, Hard Rock Cafe (opened by Bernie Williams), and steakhouse, but hopefully the remaining offerings are likewise spectacular. Sure seems like the other aspects of the stadium will be. The fans and players already like it.

Next, a bit of humor I saw on the train home tonight and a quick reaction to the Jay Cutler trade.

A belated April Fools joke from my old paper. Can any Colgate student or alum honestly imagine life without the Old Stone Jug (or as I sometimes termed it, “the place which shall not be named.”)? I mean, yes, it actually needs some renovating and an expansion in size, as some nights I remember it being a small miracle if anyone could move a foot. If you weren’t right at the bar or on the dance floor, you might have to wait a while. And you could say plenty of other not-so-kind things about it. But what would life at Colgate be without it? I really don’t think many people want to find out, because there has never been too much else to do at night…

As for Cutler, I didn’t expect him to be dealt so quickly, or that the Bears would get him. While the Bears did probably need an upgrade over Kyle Orton at quarterback, the players liked and fought hard for the incumbent, who was sent to Denver as part of the trade. Cutler’s ability to work with others is questionable. In fairness though, the Bears say that one of their scouts got to know Cutler while he was in college and was comfortable with him both on and off the field. Plus, the Bears defense is certainly better than anything Cutler had supporting him in Denver, so if he continues to put up big passing numbers, he could win a lot more games. And while Chicago had to give up two first-round draft picks (including #18 overall this year), they weren’t likely to be in position to get anyone with the potential to be much better. So this could definitely pay off for the Bears, especially in a division lacking a powerhouse team. They also signed Orlando Pace to help protect Cutler.

Maybe I Spoke Too Soon

That Syracuse-UConn game last night was pretty good, huh? Yeah, I did watch almost all of it at the expense of quite a bit of sleep. You wonder if Jonny Flynn could play himself out of college as a high draft-pick to be. Not only is he playing out of his mind, he’s getting almost absurd minutes too- I think one of ESPN’s analysts said Flynn’s had less than five minutes of game play off over the past two nights. Then North Carolina survived what was basically a classic against Virginia Tech, who have had so many opportunities to knock off the big boys and make the Dance but couldn’t seal the deal.

And we’ve still got two days worth of championships from the power conferences to come. Fun for us at home, not so much for the selection committee putting the bracket together, or the bubble teams who don’t have any more games left, just hoping that they made the cut.

Oh yeah, and the WBC’s second-round games start up. Plus Man U-Liverpool on Saturday morning.

And above all that, of course, it’s the weekend. Catch you later. I already started off nicely with a delicious sole oreganata from one of Ayhan’s ubiquitous restaurants on Long Island. Hopefully you all make it a pleasant one as well.

Couldn’t Resist Forever

My mother and sister were in Atlanta this weekend. They just came home tonight and brought with them cinnamon rolls from Mary Mac’s Tea Room. Delicious (and fortunately they weren’t jumbo-sized and I power-walked on the treadmill earlier tonight)!

The Soul of Southern Comfort Food

Southern Comfort Food, Defined

Both photos are from a review on Roadtrip.com. The second picture includes dishes that my mother and sister had- and loved.

Someday, I will make a trip down to Atlanta myself. There are plenty of other famous Atlanta attractions, like Stone Mountain, the Acquarium, World of Coke (which I saw as a little kid but has replaced by a new venue since then), and tons of sporting events. As long as Mary Mac’s is around, it will be a definite on my itinerary too.

That’s all for tonight. Let me know what you think of the new layout!

Underrated?

Indian food might just be in that category. Had it for dinner tonight with my grandmother in Queens (conveniently located down Union Turnpike from my gym). For starters, we shared a Masala Dosa (thin crepe with potatoes/onions/peas/nuts). Then a goat mixed with spinach and some herbs plus a Shahjahani Biryani (saffron rice dish of chicken, shrimp, and lamb mixed together with a few vegetables). Delicious (and plenty to bring home for leftovers). Plus, the side sauces were flavorful and none of the food was too spicy. We asked for everything to come mild, but even that is probably spicier than what you could get at lots of other restaurants. Dessert was a little unconventional, two balls of cottage cheese in condensed milk (and flavored with rose water). That might have been the weak link in the meal, but still worth trying.

All in all, an excellent meal. I will have to go again sometime down the road. Coincidentally, I saw Slumdog Millionaire the previous night in NYC, which was enjoyable and fully deserves the accolades it has received.

The other underrated of the day is Nate Robinson. How he dunks a basketball like he did tonight in the annual Slam Dunk Contest is beyond me and probably everyone else on the planet. I’m not a Knicks fan, but that was impressive. As noted in the link to his bio, we are talking about someone who is not even 5 feet 9 inches but has a vertical leap of about 43 inches. I wonder what Muggsy Bogues might be thinking right now.

I hope everyone had a terrific Valentine’s Day.