Secretly Unstable

I have been told I am crazy, funny, a good cook, and a decent blogger. These are the expectations I am trying to live up to. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Best I Ever Ate: Pizza

Recently the neighborhood group KWT, that I subscribe to on Facebook had a 90+ (and counting) comment thread about the best pizza in the neighborhood. The discussion about who has and where to get the best pizza has got to be the long running and most heated debate in this country ever... Forget politics, religion, child rearing philosophies - people what to talk about their opinions on pizza. Even my 4 year old daughter weighs in on the debate, I note her favorite below. Some people will even spend their time debating whether or not there is such a thing as "bad pizza" and that all pizza is inherently good. I don't know if I agree with that - if there is a good, there is a bad - it is the law of nature.

So here is my list of the best pizza I am ever eaten... I have tagged some folks who I believe are pizza experts and people who live in various parts of the city and the country because I would like to hear where your favorite pizza is from... It is very important that you give me your favorites- last month when I wrote the note about burgers the crowd suggested that I try Minetta Tavern's burger. Yesterday I did - and it was delicious. I would like you to tell me what pizza I am missing out on! (If I did not tag you, you were missed by accident, I just quickly tagged - please weigh in!)

Best Neighborhood (KWT) Slice: Korner Pizza (Ruby's Pick)
In the KWT group Korner Pizza got slammed for high prices. I totally agree that the price of a slice is ridick. But I think it is the best that the neighborhood has to offer - taste wise. The others in the neighborhood fall short on the dough - too thin or tasteless, the sauce - tasteless, or the cheese - not stringy and tasteless. Korner pizza is also the closest to us, and proximity and ease of acquirement is very very important when it comes to pizza. If I have to travel or wait too long for pizza it defeats the purpose of pizza. I also enjoy their fountain soda. Which is a key accompaniment to any pizza lunch. I will slam them on price for their slice, we usually get a pie cause it is a much better deal.

Best Square: L&B Spumoni Gardens
I heard someone say it is overrated - I immediately wanted to punch this person in the face. If you think this pizza sucks, you are one of those people that is just a hater - you hate just to hate, you are contrary just to be contrary (aka you are an asshole.) Every time I have had L&B I have sat and spoke poetically about the marriage of the sauce (I want to rub it on my face), the cheeses (absolute perfection) and the crust (crispy with just the right amount of grease.) It is the perfect square pie in creation. Bonus: the Spumoni, double bonus: the pumpkin ice cream in the fall. I eat L&B and thank Jesus that I live in Brooklyn. And not to be forgotten, L&B always has a pie (1/2 or full tray) waiting for you. You will be served in under 2 minutes if you want a square pie. That is genius! No wait! That is a hungry girl's dream.

Best Coal Oven: Lombardi's
So it is a tourist trap. So what? The pizza is damn good, and the service is fast. Bonus: their calzone is sick. Derek told me that coal ovens in NYC are illegal, and that the only places that have them were "grandfathered in" after the ordinance was established. And like most things that are outlawed, it is awesome. Something about the coal and their ingredients just makes it damn good. I have been to a couple of the other coal oven pizza joints in the city, and while they are less touristy, I think the product at Lombardi's is great. If you show up right at noon, you don't even have to deal with the crowds.

Best Slice Manhattan, 1998-2002: Famous Ben's Pizza in Soho
It is not very good anymore, but I had to give the place a shot out for the time period when I worked at Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners across the street. Best slice for its time, best foundation soda I ever had to got with it. It was the quintessential NYC pizza joint. Antoinette: your Dad made a damn good pizza!

Best Pizza Queens: Singa's
Queens in my motherland. Born and raised. I have since defected to Brooklyn. And I will say that Brooklyn overall has the best pizza of all of the boroughs. But growing up my Mom would take us to Singa's - and it is not traditional, but it is damn good. I think there is something about the small pies that appeal to kids. As a kid I loved it, and my Mom brought Ruby and I there recently and she loved it. It might be more about the nostalgia then the pizza itself, but there will always be a place in my heart for those little pies. It is a franchise now, with locations every where, but as a kid I went to the one in Elmhurst, bring the kids.

Best Fancy Pizza: Franny's
As a Filipino it is in my DNA to believe that if you put an egg on it, it will be 100% better. Franny's has a pizza with an egg on it. This appeals to me. Pizza really should not be fancy, maybe it is more of "flatbread" if it is, but I enjoy what Franny's has to offer. Nice bottle of wine, fancy pizza. I like.

The places I have above, will probably not spark much controversy. I think most folks would agree with my picks. But I think I will get call out for not mentioning Da Fara's and Grimaldi's. Here's why I didn't mention them - they are both a hassle. Pizza should be easy. I shouldn't have to wait 60 minutes on line outside or wait 90 minutes in my car for a hand made pie. They are delicious, I get it. But WAIT is a four letter word for me. And I am not pretty when I am hungry and have to wait. Pizza should be fast. If you disagree, well you have a lot more patience than I do.

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Best I Ever Ate: Burgers

I posted a picture recently of something wonderful I ate, and I declared it one of top ten things I ever consumed. I don't think that I "spoke" too soon, but I do think that I had to take a step back and really think about what the other awesome things I ate. And I've eaten a lot of really good food. I am blessed with an adventurous palate, a job that comes with a decent amount of free lunches, a little talent for cooking myself, and good people around me that can also rock a kitchen. So here is the first of many a "list," the best I ever ate: Burgers.

1. In N Out's Double Double- I would go Mormon for the opportunity to open my own In N Out in NYC, it is seriously the one thing we are missing. I've had In N Out in Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson - and to quote my favorite eating partner, Derek "It is not called In N Out cause it is fast, it is called In N Out cause it is like sex." So so so true. It is the a great quality burger - but I swear that there is something about the bun, the bun is like special.

2. Shake Shack's Double Burger - We don't have In N Out, but we are blessed with a close second. Unfortunately you have to wait like 2 hours for one on average, (gotta love New York, we have the best lines). Is it worth the wait. Yes. If In N Out has the perfect bun, Shake Shack has the perfect grease. The grease is good. I knew I was my Mother's daughter when we took her to Shake Shack for the first time and she could not stop saying, "Oh this is worth it." She said it like 15X. Their peanut butter milkshake is also sick. Sitting there with a burger and peanut butter milkshake - I mean kill me now, cause it doesn't get any better.

3. DB Bistro Moderne's DB Burger - The priciest burger I ever ate (but didn't pay for, thank you Conde Nast.) DB Burger is stuffed with truffle-and-foie gras-laced short ribs. I mean holy shit. Absolutely delicious. I don't care that foie gras is cruel, stuff those damn ducks, top of the food chain!!! The fancy fries that is comes with is damn good too. (Plus when you go with Bon Appetit magazine they send you all kinds of other food off the menu to taste... I mean media planning is a sucky job in general, but it does have it perks.)

4. Breslin Bar's Lamb Burger - Now lamb is like a crazy meat, people love, people hate, people don't know they are eating it. In general I don't think burger when I think lamb, but the Breslin Bar totally helped changed my thinking. I now crave the taste of a lamb burger. Breslin's lamb burger has a big chuck of feta cheese on it and this cumin mayo that is outrageous. (Thank you WSJ for this eye-opener.) I highly suggest checking it out!

5. Rare Bar and Grill's Classic with a fried egg on top - I am Filipino, I don't know this for certain, but I am pretty sure that Filipinos came up with putting a fried egg on top of greasy meat to make it that much dangerous and delicious. There are a couple of good burgers on their menu, but I go for the egg.

So that is my top five - I have not been to the Parker Meridian burger joint, I will have to try it soon. And there are some notable runner ups - Dumont Burger - But I am not the biggest Williamsburg fan. Jackson Hole has some good big ass burgers. And I am a Five Guys fan - I like all of the toppings and easy access.

List to come: sushi, hot dogs, BBQ, pasta, tacos, and sandwiches

I tagged some folks who I would like to hear their favorite burgers... and go! (But please if you happen to read this and want to share and I didn't tag you PLEASE SHARE. I tagged folks that have posted about burgers and commented on the photo that sparked my list writing.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

So now that we know we are having a girl we have to think  about names. Ruby is the name of our 3 year old daughter, and a big challenge is naming #2 a name that is on par with #1....

So how about names inspired by gemstones:
  • Amber
  • Amethyst
  • Beryl
  • Crystal
  • Diamond
  • Emerald
  • Garnet
  • Jacinda/Jacinth
  • Jade
  • Jewel
  • Opal
  • Pearl
  • Sapphire
  • Topaz
  • Turquoise
These names are probably too "matchy matchy" to Ruby......
The search continues.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Rally for the cause... of making rich people richer...

I am no financial analyst. I can hardly manage my family's finances and I think any letter about my 401K is written in Spanish. So I might not know the real reason why the stock market today closed at 2.1% increase and has been rallying for the last couple of weeks - but I have a theory....

My theory is that in the past 1-2 years companies (small and large) have improved their profits by laying off people. People who maybe have been working for 25+ years and making big salaries. People who have been working for a couple of years and were considered expendable. Companies have also not been hiring and there are salary freezes across the board. So there is a huge saving for companies since their payrolls and the benefits that they have to pay out have been shrinking. The lost of these workers haven't impacted there business in any short term way because the workers that remain are so scared of losing their jobs that they take on the responsibilities of those who have been laid off. And they do so without complaining or (god forbid) asking for more money. Those of us who still have jobs and strong work ethics say "thank you sir, can I have another." No demands, no requests, no back talk.

Sure lay off the assistant, lay off the manager, leave the mid-level worker who will step it up (and step it down if need be) and work more hours, work harder, get more stressed out, and have no hope for relief. If the company is functioning without the extra staff, well... why should it ever hire more people?

Wall Street may have recovered, but Main Street has not. Wall Street makes money for the same people who are making money on the back's of the working and middle class. Their companies grow, their portfolios grow. Then they groan when the idea of taxing them more comes up. Meanwhile the employees that are left behind to pick up the slack and take over for where their less fortunate collegues left off are unhappy, under appreciated, and eventually they are going to burn out. They are hardly making enough to get by, to pay the bills. They aren't getting raises "because of the economy." But their cost of living continues to increase. So they aren't uping their consumer spending. And the people who are unemployed and staying unemployed because companies won't hire since "they are doing just fine" aren't spending money either.

Unfortunately this blog is only good for pointing out a theory I got, no solutions know here... Part of me thinks that the only way out of this slump, is to work even harder--- make even more money for the company--- then maybe, just maybe they will hire more help. But then we will still be dividing up more work among fewer people. Greed is a bitch.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Prove It

Why have mosques become so contraversial? They are places of worship. Like churches, synaguoes, temples, etc. Prove one instance of a mosque in America promoting violence and terrorism and I will eat my words and get on the picket line with these fools. Prove that a mosque in America is recruiting terrorists, or training terrorists, or is in fact causing any harm to the communities that they are established in. Such a case does not exist, because it is not happening.

When did it become ok in this country, founded on the concept of freedom of religion to restrict where someone can worship? After 9/11? Well not right after, right after we appeared to be a country unified. Why in 2010 are we seeing protests across this country where mosques are set to be built or expanded? Are people looking to blame their troubles on our 21st century bad guy Muslim?

At the end of the day I think that what it comes down to is that our society has made it acceptable to hate and discrimate against Muslim people. Plenty, I even dare to stay the majority, of people in this country are racist to a certain degree. But society frowns upon n-words, Asian jokes, Jewish stereotypes - you know your basic racism 101. So most people save those feelings for private conversations. In the past couple of years it has become fine to associate Muslims with terrorists, and therefore it is fine to hate an entire religion. So that means we can stand up in line with signs of protest the building of a mosque.

This country has to be reminded that face of terrorism is not solely a Muslim face. England consider American Revolutionaries terrorists. In modern times the Irish blew up each other. Even in this country, Timothy McVeigh was the face of terrorism when he killed hundreds in Oklahoma City. 9/11 will forever remain, for me, the biggest tragedy that I have lived through. But Muslims, Jews, Hindi, Christians, Atheists.... were all murdered that day. The Muslim religion did not cause 9/11. Fanaticism and hate did.

I would hope that this country and the people protesting the building and expansion of mosques throughout the US wake up and realize that by not allowing people to worship freely they are the ones that are killing this country. They are the one stomping and kicking aside what makes this Nation great. They are taking away our freedoms and giving into the fear - and in the end that is how the terrorists, no matter what color they are, win.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weekend of Twos

Looking back on a very fun weekend I realized something that happened by accident, we had a weekend of "twos."

Friday Ruby and I went to Kasey and Jackson's house for an afternoon playdate. Ava and Amalia came over to play too. That is two sets of twins (also twos by definition.)

Saturday we went to the Queens zoo in the morning and then on the carousel. In the afternoon we went to the Prospect Park Carousel and then to the zoo. That is two zoos and two carousels.

Sunday we went to Carroll Gardens purchased two pounds of Italian cookies. In the afternoon we went to two BBQs, one in backyard, one in a front yard. Ruby ate two hot dogs and two cookies.

Our weekend of twos is done, time 2 go 2 bed.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


I have much love for Arizona. It is a beautiful place, filled with beautiful people. Some of them I love dearly. But the passing of SB1070 making my bleeding liberal heart cry. 

Arizona's immigration law SB1070 is wrong for many reasons. I think that its biggest fault is that it opens up a can of worms that once unleashed this country will be less than what it can be. It is just another tactic in the "smoke and mirrors" that is our nation's security measures.

First, as an American I am personally distressed that someone can ask me if I have the right to legally be here. Sure I can prove that I am an citizen by pulling out identification, but the fact that it is questioning that is allowed if I am pulled over for running a red light is insulting. And do not insult anyone's intelligence about how "racial profiling" is not allowed. I doubt that a white cowboy or an upper class white lady will be asked for their proof of citizenship. So as a non-white American I am also distressed and fear that I could be harassed just because I don't look like my friendly state trooper.

Second, Arizona's reasons that illegal immigrants commit crimes and steal jobs is dangerous terrority to want to lock up and deport every illegal immigrant. What would happen to Arizona's economy if every illegal immigrant got kicked out? Would landlords lose renters? Would retail sales drop? Would the price of services sky rocket? Yes, to all of the above. These things will cause more Americans to actually lose their jobs. Less people shopping at Walmart, less need for cashiers, stockboys, etc. It criminalizes every illegal alien. The majority are not criminals. If that was true, then it wouldn't be safe to leave your home in Arizona. The majority are people's neighbors, friends, employees. They take care of people's children so family's can have two incomes. Their children are the classmates of our children. They do the work that most Americans won't do. Work for tips, or even less.

Third, it is not a solution to a problem, it is only a punishment. A solution means there are real positive outcomes. Crime isn't going to disappear. The job market is not going to open up. The only thing that is going to happen is that it will cost tax payers more to process these new "criminals." And illegal immigrants will see police as the enemy. They will not assist in investigations, they will not report crimes. Children will be separated from their parents. And nothing is better at creating criminals then a lack of parental support. A solution with positive outcomes would be to 1. Fine illegals, 2. document, 3. allow them to apply for legal status, 4. require that they learn English, 5. make them legal and tax them. Arizona would benefit from a larger tax base, you would have documented workers. You would be able to identify them if they do commit a crime.

Fourth, illegal immigrants do not have a monopoly on crime, and they have not been responsible for acts of terror in the USA. Kicking out illegals as a way to reduce crime is a false promise. It smoke and mirrors. It makes people think that the government is busy protecting people. Doing their job. But it is a false sense of security. Citizens and legal immigrants alike commit crimes. All of the 9/11 terrorists, McVeigh, and the alleged Times Sq bomber arrested today were here in this country legally. Terrorists aren't sneaking in our borders. They are arriving on planes. Being issued visas, getting their work documents.

Fifth, we are acting like America is some hot commodity right now. Irish immigrants have been returning to Ireland for lucrative job opportunities. Folks are moving to Canada for socialized healthcare. Americans are learning Chinese to better prepare for a economy run by the Chinese. India is the fastest growing technological hot beds in the world. We are not all we think we are. We are lucky that people want to live and work here. We are lucky that some people still believe in the American dream. Most of the Americans I know do not. A law that can criminalize wanting to provide and make a better life for you and your family in America is wrong. Give people the opportunity to become legal. If they take it great. If not, goodbye. But without a real chance to make their wrong (living/working in the US illegally) a right, it is not a fair law.

Lastly, I find it humorous that Arizona finally comes around to criticize the federal government for its inaction to protect its borders when there is not a Republican in the White House. McCain's good buddy President Bush ran the show for 8 years. Why not call out that administration in the 8 years that this became a problem? Why create stupid legislation now? Are they finally fed up? Or is this just the opportunity to blame someone else for the problem? President Obama himself says that the federal government failed Arizona, but two wrongs never make a right.

I hope Arizona has a change of heart. Right now this is a big pimple of the face of a state that I really do think is beautiful.