Archive for December, 2006

JerseyCool New Year’s Eve Excitables

December 29, 2006

There’s only one thing to get excited about this year and that’s saying goodbye to 2006 on Sunday night and shaking hands with 2007 Monday morning. JerseyCool will be in Times Square blogging live…..OK, we won’t be anywhere near the Big Apple but we have a couple of parties to attend, which will be fun but not crazy. If you’re still looking for something to do NJ.com has some ideas on its site today.

Other things we’re looking forward to:

1) DVDs. Lots of DVDs landed under the tree for Christmas and this weekend we finally have some time to take a look at them, including the second season of Lost, the fourth season of the Sopranos and Rocky, the original.

2) Not to be outdone, we’re in the middle of Manhunt, James L. Swanson’s superb retelling of the Lincoln assassination and the hunt for his killer.

3) Best of Lists: It’s that time of year when reporters have nothing to do but reflect upon the year that was. Lists are popping up all over the place and personally we’re interested in movies, books and music. Gonna go out on a limb and say that Britney Spears will make a few of these and it won’t be for best music or anything like that. Just kidding. We love you Britney, life wouldn’t be the same without you.

4) College Bowl games — Now, that Rutgers won it’s first bowl game last night. It only took 150 years. It’s on to the rest of them. Chances are if you’re a college football fan you can watch a game at almost any hour this weekend. We’re not kidding. With 32 bowl games there’s a lot of teams in action this weekend. The championship game is Jan. 8 but there’s still some great match-ups this weekend with the best probably being USC-Michigan on New Year’s Day.

JC

RU Ready?

December 28, 2006

The bloom is a bit off the rose for the Scarlet Knights who play in their second straight bowl game tonight. It’s not the Orange Bowl that people had hoped for, the inaugural Texas Bowl will have to do. How silly is this? There are 32 bowl games being played over this weekend. Rutger’s opponent, Kansas State, is barely over .500 at 7-5. In fact, we’re thinking of starting the JerseyCool bowl next season.

Regardless, the team had a great year and things look promising for next season. If you’re looking to get psyched up for the game NJ.com has a page devoted to the bowl game and an RU blog.

JC

Tuptim Too Hot to Handle

December 28, 2006

Tuptim
600 Bloomfield Ave.
Montclair, NJ, 07042
973-783-3800
http://www.tuptimthaicuisine.com


Let’s say you order a traditional spicy dish and the waitress asks how you would like that? You decide you want a little kick but you don’t want to burn a whole through your intestines so you ask them to make it medium. Now, most of us would expect medium means that your lips won’t turn numb and the candle on the table won’t melt from your breath.

At Montclair’s Tuptim, you would be wrong.

There’s an ongoing debate about the best Thai food in Montclair with lines split pretty evenly between Tuptim and quasi-chain Thai Chef. Tuptim for my two cents is the lesser of the two when it comes to noddles and is a bit more hit and miss. It’s good but the great shakes are few and far between. We think of it more as out Thai take out place when we want something quick and easy but the other night we decided to actually walk in for a sit down.

Tuptim

We visited on Christmas Eve eve with the thought being we wanted something not fish, not pasta. Most of Montclair had left for the holiday so it was a rare 8 p.m. Saturday night meal where we weren’t squeezed in elbow to elbow with other patrons.

The meal started out well with the steamed dumplings for an appetizer but then things got interesting.

My better half went with a special: a noodle sampler consisting of pad thai, Laad Nar and noodles in soup. This was excellent and someone should lobby Tuptim to make this part of their regular menu. A family size portion of this dish would give Tuptim a much needed shot in the arm in the competitive Montclair eats scene.

The issues began with the Pad Gra Pow. Now, in all fairness the dish, made of string beans,hot chili paste, basil and your choice of chicken, beef and pork is noted as spicy on the menu. My issue is that if you’re going to ask me to adjust the spice then you need to actually adjust the spice. About half way through my dinner, I needed to call a doctor to reattach my lower lip to my face since it had drooped down onto the table.

If this isn’t the affect you’re looking for we suggest you ask for mild not medium or better yet skip the Pad Gra Pow altogether. In fact avoid anything on the menu with a little chili next to it.
JC

Clerks II Rings Up Holiday Cheer

December 27, 2006

One of the flicks we ventured out to see in the theater’s this year was Clerks II, which came out this summer during the onslaught of big budget special effects movies. After a slow start, we found the Jersey-based comedy a worthy successor to Jersey boy Kevin Smith’s original, released more than a decade ago. It’s crass, it’s low brow and it’s incrediblyClerks 2 entertaining.

The reason I bring this up now is that the Clerks II DVD, which came out a few weeks ago, made it under JerseyCool’s Christmas Tree this year and we took a second look at the film last night. JC is glad to report that the film holds up on second viewing and we laughed just as hard at Smith’s troupe of foul-mouthed misfits as we did in the theater. If there was a least likely pick for movie sequel, Clerks II was probably it. The first Clerks was a self contained entity. A day in the life of store clerks, the folks most of us see every day for a few minutes as we get our coffee, rolls, candy and smokes on the way into work. Most people don’t give these folks a second thought but they are intimately entwined into our Jersey landscape and seem to hold a special place in Smith’s heart.

JerseyCool is an admitted Kevin Smith fan. There’s a link to his viewaskew.com web site in out blogroll and, heck, we even liked Jersey Girls. With Clerks II, Smith has firmly entrenched himself on the right of Bruce Springsteen as ambassador for the Garden State. This is more clear on the Clerks II DVD as Dante Hicks, Smith’s main character and alter ego, struggles with his decision to leave NJ for sunny Florida where his fiance’s father has set him up with a job running a car wash.

“We’re surrounded by idiots here,” his fiance complains and one wonders how this is different in the wastelands of Florida.

This is a common conundrum among Jersey’s younger folk. The desire to set out and leave Jersey for something else is strong here. Perhaps because the state is so adamantly suburban. High taxes, home prices and traffic aren’t helping ths situation and we’re sure Smith has struggled this in his own life as a Hollywood-Jersey based film maker.

I don’t want to give away the movie’s ending, which is predictable in it’s own perverted way, but Smith is saying something about the value of home and roots, family and friendship. He’s saying it while poking fun at Lord of the Rings geeks and in between a stream of dick and fart jokes but the message is there nonetheless.

If you missed it in the theaters or dismissed the flick as some sort of heresy, Clerks II is worthy of a look-see. It’s a potty movie with a heart of gold.

JC

Blow Up Santa’s Make the News

December 22, 2006

Following JerseyCool’s lede, the New York Times has a piece about blow-up Christmas lawn decorations, or blow up lawn crap as we’ve taken to calling it.

Seems there are more than a few of us annoyed with these things.

Read on.

JC

This Weekend’s Excitables, Dec. 22 Edition

December 22, 2006

This is our inaugural excitables segment. Basically, the things JerseyCool is looking forward to for this weekend. What’s gettin’ our juices flowing out here in the Garden State. So, in no particular order of importance:

1) Christmas Eve — Sunday night. We open presents on my side of the family Christmas Eve and then travel to C’s family Christmas Day. Looking forward to opening some goodies, getting the holiday season over with and enjoying the time off from work.

2) Good Shepherd — JerseyCool readers know my attachment to this film since I was an integral part of its production. Read here. Anyway, might actually travel to a theater for this one.

3) Rocky Balboa — Actually never thought this would happen but it has. Hey, the reviews don’t seem to be all that bad. Won’t take it in this weekend but pretty curious to see what the box office is like next week.

4) NY Giants vs. New Orleans Saints — It’s do or die for Big Blue on Christmas Eve. Don’t believe this bunk about getting into the playoffs as a 7-9 team. The Giants have to win out to get in. BTW, if you’re looking for something to do early Christmas Eve  day there are loads, and we mean loads, of tickets available on StubHub for the game. There are lively debates going on about whether the large number of available tickets have to do with the team’s performance or the holiday.

Happy Christmahkakwanza to you all,

JC

Lilly’s Home Lost in Fire

December 21, 2006

Hmmm, less than a week after JerseyCool took the Golden Globes to task for nominating Lost’s Evangeline Lilly as best actress in a drama her house in Hawaii burns down. Coincidence? We’re leaning that Evengeline Lilly way. Hard to think there are “others” that upset by her nomination and, as we’ve mentioned before, we love EL as a hottie and TV superstar but as a thespian not so much.

Anyway, glad no one was hurt in the blaze as Lilly and her two roommates were not home at the time of the fire. This brings us to the most interesting part of the story: roommates? Evangeline Lilly has roommates? What kind of dough are they paying actors on Lost anyway? Wonder if they argue over the cable bill?

JC

Explaining the Unexplainable

December 20, 2006

Kids and apparently people say the darnedest things. It’s that time of year again when we are barraged by best, top, ultimate lists for 2006. Everyone loves a list and the best I’ve seen so far (I know, it’s early) Slate’s Explainer column lists the questions they decided they could not or would not answer.

You can vote for the one you want them to answer. Personally, I think you should be able to vote for the one not to answer as well.

To Shop or Not to Shop

December 20, 2006

That appears to be the question for resident’s in Paramus, NJ. Home to two major malls, several giant box stores and possibly the most congested holiday roads in the state.

It’s a devilish barter the residents of Paramus have made, according to an article in today’s NY Times. Some of the lowest property taxes in the state, and certainly in northern NJ, exist in Paramus but so do some of the most congested roads as well.

Food Fit For a King, A Canine King

December 20, 2006

JerseyCool gets e-mail from time to time and coming across the tangled world wide web last week was an alert about a new cookbook from Maplewood author Linda Eckhardt. JC usually doesn’t get too jazzed up about cookbooks. Yeah, we have them at home. In fact there’s a whole shelf of them and favorite recipes are marked off, but we don’t sit around read ing them

What caught our eye last week was the title of said cookbook: “The Dog Ate It: Cooking for Yourself and Your Four-Legged Friends.” Yep, it’s a cookbook for you and your four legged friends.

Jerseycool has not read this book so we can’t comment on its virtues or vices but the fact it exists just adds another level to the wacky relationship Americans have with their dogs. Now, there are legitimate reasons to cook for your pet. Eckhardt apparently was concerned about diseases in the industrial animal food chain and decided she wouldn’t feed her pet commercial dog food anymore.

Some examples:

  • Bowser’s Birthday Pawty Cake
  • Party Pup Cakes with Apple and Cheddar
  • Profiteroles sprinkled with powdered sugar, and authentically caramelized Tarte Tatin
  • Simple Sushi Hand Rolls

In terms of dog pampering this isn’t the worst JC has seen. Personally, we get a little miffed whenever we see people stepping over the homeless on their way to doggie daycare or to the pet groomer. JC worked in Soho for a number of years so we saw this quite a bit.

Faithful reader, lest you think we are not fans of the canine, we are. My mother in fact often cooked for Barney, our family dog. Barney didn’t get Sushi. He had to settle for hot dogs, meatballs and pasta for most of his 16 years and he seemed to be pretty happy about that.

The point here is that we don’t treat dogs as dogs anymore. This came up during a recent dinner conversation when a friend pointed out that you don’t see dogs named King, Rex or even Spike anymore. People choose more human names now. Top five puppy names for male dogs: Max, Jake, Buddy, Bailey and Sam. Girls: Maggie, Molly, Lady, Sadie and Lucy.

I suppose if you’re going to start humanizing dogs why not cook a meal for them and why not have a book about it as well.

JC