Archive for November, 2006

Why Not Brian Leonard?

November 30, 2006

I’m working on something about Christmas. Something that’s been bothering me but it needs more time to perculate. In the meantime check out this piece by Montclair’s own Peter King over at Sports Illustrated.

He makes a compelling argument that Rutgers’ fullback should be named SI’s sportsman of the year and even officially tossed the kid’s name  into the hat for consideration.

Just like RU’s chance for a national title, it won’t happen but it’ll make for an entertaining ride.

JC 

Priests On The Run

November 29, 2006

There’s a criminal element lurking in our Jersey cities and something needs to be done about it. Bloods, Crips, no try priests.

The Jersey Journal has an, ahem, interesting story about a priest who after leaving his parish allegedly took a few mementos with him, including religious relics and icons.

“In addition, all the records at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church on Summit Avenue maintained during the 131/2-year tenure of the Very Rev. Kyrillos Markopoulos – marriage licenses, baptismal certificates, receipt books for donations, even the church’s property deed – are missing.”

Markopoulos is apparently somewhere in Greece and there are a lot of angry parishioners who’d probably pay a fair amount for his whereabouts.

According to the Journal, Chris Paskalides, president of the St. Demetrios church council, said archdiocese officials characterized Markopoulos as “one of those priests who slipped through the cracks.”

You think?

On the bright side, apparently no young boys were harmed during this religious incident.

JC

Zune Suit Riot

November 28, 2006

ZuneSlow day today so I took a gander over at Wired and there’s a fairly positive review of Microsoft’s Zune mp3 player. Eliot Van Buskirk and Sean Michaels basically say that yeah there are some flaws with the Zune but you know the iPod ain’t that great either.

I have sort of a love-hate affair with my iPod.  I think I like the  idea of the iPod if only I could get it to work. That’s not entirely fair. After a rocky start, my current iPod has worked pretty much flawlessly as I creep up on the one-year anniversary.

I’d be willing to give the Zune a try if it would play all the tunes I bought from Apple over the last year, which is another big complaint I have about all of these proprietary systems. However, I’ve developed tough skin over the years and I’ve come to expect big media treating me like a big, fat, money-filled teat.

 JC 

Jersey Girl In Line For Big Things

November 28, 2006

Nice piece on the CBS evening news Web site about Parsippany’s Jessica Lyn Goldyn, a 20-year old actress with limited experience who landed the role of Val in the Broadway revival of “A Chorus Line”

We here at Jersey Cool love it when people come out of the blue to make it big. Gives us hope.

JC

Couscous Just So-So at Montclair’s Marrakech

November 26, 2006

MarrakechMarrakech
708 Bloomfield Avenue

Montclair, NJ 07042-2203

http://www.marrakech-restaurant.net/

Montclair’s booming restaurant scene has it’s fill of ethnic eateries. Mexican, got it. Cuban, got it. Sushi, it’s like little Tokyo out there on Bloomfield Ave. Conspicuously missing was a solid Moroccan restaurant so I was thoroughly excited when I saw the sign for Marrakech going up along the western slope of Bloomfield Ave. a few months ago.

While Lalazar and Addiwan Café make an honest attempt at middle eastern fare, serving Turkish and Lebanese food respectively, there really isn’t a place in town to get a decent Couscous fix. Well, at least we haven’t found it so C and I decided to try Marrakech post Thanksgiving. The results were mixed.

For starters the place is small and the décor is excellent. We felt a bit like we were in Casablanca (or at least a movie version of Casablanca) with the sconces throwing shadows and light across the tiny café. JerseyCool will even bestow this eatery as the early favorite for menu design of the year with it’s embossed, solid menu that feels substantial in the hand.

Now, where Marrakech started to slip was in table design. These tables are low and can be a bit uncomfortable if you’re here for awhile. Traditionally, middle eastern restaurants serve food to guests seated on the floor so it’s as if Marrakech decided to shoot for a middle point here and failed miserably. We really wish they would have had the balls to throw a bunch of cushions on the floor and had diners sit barefoot and cross-legged but there’s drawbacks to that approach as well.

Marrakech also stumbled a bit with our pet peeve, the dreaded bench table seating along the side. Yeah it gets more seats into the joint but it pretty much guarantees that at least once during your meal you’ll get a dose of either ass or crotch as someone squirts past.

Where Marrakech started to pick up its game is during the meal, which is most important. Both the scallop appetizer and the lentil salad were excellent. The scallops had a hint of salt which leads us to believe they were fresh. The lentils tasted more like a dip and worked well with the flatbread on the table. For dinner, C’s lamb Tagine was also very good, combined with prunes it was very flavorful. Unfortunately, the main star of the evening and what we came there for in the first place was a disappointment. There really is no other way to describe Marrakech’s lamb couscous as anything other than bland and for a Moroccan place it’s all about the couscous. The lamb under the couscous was OK but we really wish there was something more adventurous on top than carrots and squash.

We didn’t try dessert but the Moroccan tea was excellent and let’s give a little love to Marrakech for offering free tea if you download a coupon from its Web site. JerseyCool just loves it when restaurants get all jiggy with their Web sites.

Service was good though Marrakech suffers from slow check disease but I suppose it’s a place where people linger and we’re willing to toss that slip to growing pains. As for the couscous, it’s tough to get past that one but we’re willing to give these folks another go’round. As long time fans of Cassablanca in Jersey City, where couscous is state of mind, we’re rooting for Marrakesh to make a go of it over on Bloomfield Ave.

JC

Read more about Marrakech at eGullet.  

Oh, Goya

November 21, 2006

Paris… Rome… the Riviera… Newark…all hotspots in the rough and tumble world of art thieves. Wait a minute. What doesn’t belong here.

It seems as if a painting stolen from a truck in Pennsylvania en route to the Guggenheim in New York was found somewhere in central, NJ.

Apparently, the thieves had no idea what they were stealing and some police theorize that they thought they had hijacked a bunch of Playstation 3s. Personally, I think they were taking a giant can of beand. Har!Har!Har

 JC

Sopranos: Good News, Bad News

November 21, 2006

He giveth, He taketh away. Alan Sepinwall over on NJ.com writes that there will be an eighth bonus episode of the Sopranos. Always welcome news considering a bad episode of the Sopranos, and there have been some stinkers, is better than 90 percent of what passes for TV out there.

The bad.

The final season is delayed, yet again, until April 8.  For me, this means more waiting time to catch Tierney’s Tavern in its first cameo appearance.  

JC

Village People

November 20, 2006

The Giants did not play yesterday so C got to spend a Sunday with me. The first one in awhile. We decided to make the out yearly pilgrimage to New Hope, PA for some lunch and a bit of shopping.

On the way home we stopped off at the Bridgewater Commons since my partner in crime wanted to get a gift at Crate and Barrel and I heard the opened one up there. I began to get the willies when we pulled into the lot and I saw a sign for “The Village at Bridgewater Commons.” Aside from the images of bad M. Night Shyamalan movies running in my head, I had the sneaky suspicion that finding C&B might prove to be harder than I had anticipated.

I’ve come to accept that whatever move we make it will be the wrong one so I wasn’t surprised when we walked halfway through the Bridgewater Commons to find out that C&B is located in the Village, which is to the East of the Commons proper. How did we  know the Village was East? Was there a sign telling us that there was another mall? A mall jus outside the mall so to speak? No. We saw it from the window on the commons food court.

Now, I used to work for a marketing paper so I understand the whole branding concepts but somewhere can there be a sign telling people that the Village isn’t in the Commons.

Memo to Bridgewater Commons management:  I don’t think people really care where “the Village” is? I’m really just looking for Crate and Barrel or maybe one of the  two or  three other stores in the second mall that the Commons people built.

And my understanding of the word village is that people have homes in a village. What the Commons people built is a mall. There’s nothing wrong with calling it a mall. That’s its name. Call it a mall and put a sign that takes me there. I’m a man of very simple needs.

JC
 

RU for Real?

November 16, 2006

I never thought I would say (write) this but I’m actually looking forward to Rutgers-Cinncinatti on Saturday more than the Giants-Jaguars game Monday night.

This doesn’t mean I’m bleeding red instead of blue…hey wait a minute. I digress. The point is that up until last Thursday night I don’t think I ever really got college football. I went to a few of games up at FDU, the alma mater, and I’ve even made it to a few Rutgers’ homecoming. Fairly sober I might add. But I have never seen anything like last Thursday’s game with 40,000 screaming fans dressed in red and white. For a second there, it looked like South Bend, Ind, not Piscataway, NJ. And how strange will that be if the Scarlet Knights continue to win and recruit with the best programs in the country. Will we have to start calling Piscataway something cute like Pcat? It’s gonna be fun to watch shake out.

Anyway, if you want to test your fandom there’s a pretty good poll over on NJ.com  today. I don’t think I’d do too well. I’m a pround bandwagon rider on this one. I do think that if RU stubs its toe it will be this week. Cincinnati is pretty tough at home.  

Even if that does come to pass it’s been a great story this year and a lot of fun to watch.  Much better than the Major Tom Coughlin return to Jacksonville on Monday night. I mean is  therea blander coach in the NFL and has there been a blander MNF storyline this year?

I’m bettin’ by halftime on Monday you’ll be craving those Dancing With the Stars clips of Emmit Smith you know ESPN is going to show.   

When the !@$^% Are They Open?

November 15, 2006

Every now and then words and wisdom can be found in the NY Times. Take this to heart all you restaurant owners with flashy Web sites. Put those business hours up on the front page. Read on How to make Your Web Site Sing for You  

JC