Sunday, November 30, 2008


We had friends over yesterday for brunch. That gave me the excuse to make one of my favorite meals- waffles. My father is the family pancake specialist. When I was little he used to pour the batter into "R" shaped pancakes. He still can make "M" and "D" pancakes when the girls come to visit.

While I still love flapjacks, I get the biggest kick out of making waffles. As my legions of loyal readers already know, I'm a big Alton Brown fan, and one of the first episodes I watched was "The Waffle Truth" (usually his titles are a bit better than that).

AB's pointed out that pouring Aunt Jemima mix into a waffle iron is a really bad idea. Pancakes may look a bit brown on the outside, but are light and airy inside- cake. Waffles are crunchy and crisp- you are almost frying them on the hot iron, especially if you coat the iron with PAM. You can check out AB's recipe here, the video is here. Hint- go with a round waffle iron.

Now all I have to do is find some real Maple Syrup that goes for less than $25 a gallon. . .

Saturday, November 22, 2008

No Relation

I have Google Toolbar installed on my browser. It's handy for quick searches and checking my Gmail account. One of the neat little features is that the toolbar makes suggestions as you begin to type your search (Yahoo tried to rip this off- they should have sold out to Microsoft before the crash).

As I started to type Groppe, I came across this suggestion: Groppetti Mastiffs. I have always loved dogs, especially OTHER people's dogs. The kind I don't have to walk at 5 AM-- in the rain.

I'm sure I am in no way related to the Gropetti's. But these dogs are freaking HUGE!! Kudos to anyone who can run a kennel and specialize in these monsters.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

City Island

Debbie and I took the kids to City Island for lunch today. City Island is one of our favorite spots, we almost always head to Johnny's Reef, which is at the very tip of of City Island Ave. It's right on the water and serves great fried clams and shrimp.

You can eat outside on picnic tables 0n the edge of Long Island Sound; the girls love to feed their leftover french fries to the seagulls. Now seagulls are maybe one step above pigeons in the flying rat hierarchy, but they get a kick out of it. I have to admit, I enjoyed getting one to take a fry directly out of my hand.

There are still some party boats based there. City Island has been a recreational fishing spot since at least the early 1900's. Lou Gehrig used to keep a rowboat there, my father rented a skiff more than a few times, though not with The Iron Horse. Back then, nobody had outboard engines, if you wanted to fish you rowed.

I've been meaning to rent a skiff from Jack's Bait and Tackle sometime myself, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. The girls are still a bit young for me to take them out in a boat that small by myself.

City Island is in a great spot if you like NY History (and who doesn't?). Back before the America's Cup boats started to be more complicated than spaceships, The Minneford Boat Yard on City Island used to build most of the ships that defended the Cup. The island was a big bootlegging center during prohibition; I once met a guy who had rowed booze in from ships in LI Sound. That stuff ended when the mob moved in to control the flow of booze; they had their own unique methods of reducing competition.

Just to the East (you can see it from Johnny's Reef) is Hart Island. The ferry to Hart Island leaves from City Island. Hart Island is where the City buries paupers- I think they're now called the indigent. If you don't have a family or friends who will pay for your burial, this is where you go. The City has been burying people there since 1869, more than 750,000 is the number I found on the web, and that means it MUST be true. Anyway, my old Agency, the Department of Correction, actually handles the burials using inmate labor. My grandfather was briefly stationed there at the end of his DOC career, he hated it. Since most of the unclaimed bodies are infants, you can see how it would be a depressing place.

Hart Island was also the setting for one of the WORST movies I have ever seen, Don't Say A Word. I figured out that the loot was stashed inside a coffin on the island about ten minutes in- spent the rest of the movie trying to stay awake.