Christmas in New York

Balance/Transitions for 2020

KC Jayhawk used to talk about transition all the time before he and Mrs. Jayhawk were heading down to Belize. He would post two pictures side by side. (hang on I am going to go find it on his FB page, give me a minute) and talk about how he needed to transition from the one on the left to the right to keep him balanced.

I am assuming, the pic on the left was from his work and well, I kinda recognize that pic on the right. I think this dock bit it a couple years ago but I always like it. Man I think I went through every one of his pictures looking for this. He must be telling me something.

I am a big believer in balance. It wasn’t till I moved up here to New York did I really start to take stock in how important balance is. I am not talking about standing up and able to walk around. That part is pretty easy as long as you haven’t been talking to Uncle Tito. I am referring to balance in your life spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physical and keeping it in check.

2020 is going to be a big year for me as I will have circled the Sun 50 times and I am still around to talk about it. I also will be closing out the past decade that was a roller coaster for not only me but for Geranium. I went to visit my Internist/GP doctor early this week and I was relieved to hear that my previous doctor has left the group. He had really big hands and he kept on how he wanted to check my prostate. My new doctor mentioned to me about my weight, my liver enzymes, oh and my Cholesterol was a tad high.

I actually told Doc that I chose to come in on Christmas Eve for my physical and get my labs run. I told her that I was planning on being somewhat of a hot mess since I just finished up a fairly stressful peak shipping season. Add to that on the Saturday prior I was at a restaurant on the 4th floor next door called Per Se. Fuck I expected my labs to be high, the bill was high. I told Doc that I now have 90 days to clean my shit up (No pun intended) and get this 50 year old machine moving in a better direction.

Relax Andi, Margo, Taylor, Stephanie and all my other bartenders/liquor store owners – I am not going away forever. I am just going to moderate what I am doing for a while. Regarding my diet (right now Geranium is watching a cooking show) I got to do something. Sorry S(Squared) and Don but I am going to be eating a little better at our Cuban refuge on 45th street. I am not a big sweets fan so that is a blessing I guess but gone are those killer rolls at LPQ.

So what is it you are going to do better in 2020?

The Fat Kid Bunch and I were just talking how we hardly eat Fast Food. This was a necessity on the day before Per Se. I had a fairly good hangover going.
It lived up to all the Hype Again!
This is where it went bad Post Per Se – How many Tito/Soda’s can one person drink in 3 hours? Mr 3 First Names, Landlord and I tried to see.
Come to Brunch they said….It will be low key……and your hangover will be fine they said….. Friggin Drag Bruch at Chelsea Market with a Stage 5 Hangover. I may be smiling but trust me I was fucking scared!

I am going to do better, nobody wants to see a 50 year old short fat kid. Notice I didn’t say much about cigars or booze – Hey you have to have balance…..

Per Se 4.0

Hello, my name is Carbunkle Trumpet. I am one of those Food Snobs that you read about who travel the world eating endangered or banned species. Relax Francis…we weren’t eating the banned French Ortolans like they ate on the show Billions. Confession – I may have enjoyed the fuck out of my Fois Gras but was still legal to consume as of the 22nd of December. What makes the last Saturday before Christmas so great? The service, the wine pairings, the food, and the overall experience are top notch but it is the company that sits at the table that makes it so special.

Back story – if you are just stumbling on this blog and the Per Se part of it let me recap for you. Homeless Tim and a group of barristers about 12 years ago started having an annual dinner at Thomas Keller’s 3 Micheline Star restaurant on Columbus Circle named Per Se. Keller also has French Laundry on the west coast and TAK Room here in Hudson Yards but Per Se is considered one of the pillars of gastronomical dining here in New York. When we moved her we got the chance to dine at Le Bernardin with Baby Fine Hair and her mother the first month of living here. Mr. 3 First Names and Lady Barrister inquired if we like fine dining. We told them yes and they said they would see if they could extend an invite to us for their Christmas dinner group. We didn’t’ really think much about it as this conversation was going on over drinks in Lower Manhattan and as you can guess…..alcohol was being consumed.

So in December of 2015 we attended our first Per Se Dinner along with Asian Fireman and V.Q. (She gets the full title retired since we didn’t have a repeat this year) and a cast of others. We attended every year except for 2 years back due to a scheduling issue but it wasn’t until this year that I really took stock in the table.

The crux of the Christmas Dinner Cast are; Homeless Tim who is the scheduling /’knows the guy’ to get us the primo table. Mr. 3 First Names and Lady Barrister, you may have heard me speak of them before. Then you have the Asian Fireman/Grey Suit guy and his wife V.P.. But let’s not forget Bobcat (another barrister) and her husband the Professor. Then you throw in Geranium and myself and you have a unique dinner experience. Oh we had some dessert guests joining us later but more on that later.

This year we were celebrating not only Christmas but we were celebrating someone who kicked the shit out of cancer. As we were siting there, by the way, this dinner took 6 hours from start to finish. I really enjoyed the conversation and what I call “peeling the onion” with the different cast of characters at the table. I could try to explain but I know I can’t do it justice.

Put it this way; how can you explain the conversation dynamics of the table with someone who is a high School history teacher, a person who has been sober for 25 years and yet still enjoys our conversation while we get loose tonged during the course of the night. There is a couple who have 3 knuckleheads at home, meanwhile the other 3 couples only have 4 legged kids at their homes and don’t know what it means to have kids banging on their heads with a Stage 4 Hangover. And then there is that guy who hates white wine.

Again, I am going to stop and put up some pictures so Iuka Mississippi’s own can shame me for posting food pictures.

I mean we get our own menu for this gig.
Total Menu with the different courses and supplements.
Grey Suit Guy didn’t have any white wines on his list
Oysters and Pearls – If Keller ever takes it off the menu….. Travesty
Egg and Black Truffle Ragu. It is a labor of love to make this dish that you consume in less than 5 minutes.
Per Se’s General Manager, Sandra Schaeuffele, one year brought out the egg topping machine and raw egg for us to try to whack off the top. Bobcat got to do it last year but this year was my time. No pressure at all. By the way that was a great Sherry they were serving me for the next course. Notice the attention to detail that they do while my fumbling ass is about to make scrambled eggs.
I did ok! Carbunkle for the Win! Thanks Sandra for the pre-cut egg!
No lies were being told at the table.
You know what Bill – F you! I am going to have Fois Gras after your silly ban! This was the Fois course but notice the casing for the forced goose liver.
And I wondered why my Sodium was sky high on the following Tuesday.
Entrée Course
You can’t steal them either!
Chocolate Course – I went with the Dark & Stormy They are made in house
But now I know how they can tell what is what.
Pastry Chef Anna Bolz made this for our dinner. English Fruit Cake but all of that on top was edible.
I am always interested in what quote is on “The Pass” in the kitchen.

Like I said, the meal, the wine, the service is over the top but the folks at the table make it all the better. Honestly – I would be ok if Homeless Tim one day called and said that he got our Christmas Dinner at Waffle House. Sure I would be disappointed but knowing the cast of folks at the table and I would be ok with that.

Again, Thank you to Tim, Jess & Dan for the invite.

Pictures of the Week – Its beginning to look a lot like Festivus

Busy time here in Gotham. The Double Decker Tour Bus business is blowing and going and all of us Ticket Sellers are busy and are ready for the madness to slow down a tad. Geranium is done with her traveling and she is going to be Brooklyn bound for a couple of weeks. I hope we make it, this could be tough for us. ūüôā

We are going to stay in New York for Christmas this year since Christmas is on a Wednesday and we are not really wishing to spend over 1500 to fly home for a couple of hours. We were home for Thanksgiving and it was really a lot of fun seeing everyone and we didn’t really have to rush that much.

Anyway with that here are the pictures of the week and a couple from 2 weeks back.

So great to see Windy City Pool Buddy when she came into town.
We Decorated for the Holidays!
And we have a Tree too!
Carbunkle Cares!
Happy Birthday Ba! Thank you to all those who helped Text her and wish her a Happy 70th. Even you one sick bastard who said she deserves lots of wine for having me as a son. That shit ain’t funny Former Neighbor.
Seasoned Greetings!
The Tree at The Lott Hotel
Happy Hanukkah RAB and S(Squared) By the way it starts on Sunday at Sundown.
Rest in Peace Chuy. We will miss you!
Got us a plant that we don’t have to water and apparently it will grow on its’ own. We will kill it, I bet it!
Sister Cathy taught me 8th Grade Religion. That was 35 years ago. And she is still Rocking and a Rolling.
I know that everyone is bashing the Peloton girl but wait till Geranium opens this on Christmas Morning!

I will probably post a couple more next week so hang in there folks.

Second Installment for Tiger Nation Fans visiting New York/Brooklyn 2/2

So are you Tiger Nation fans getting excited yet? I have to say that the city does get a little bit of a special charge during the holidays. The Rockefeller tree will be covered in Scaffolding because they have to get it ready for the official lighting ceremony in early December. Not to worry there are tons of other stuff already up to get pictures taken for those Christmas Cards. G(Squared), I saw that they were putting lights on those chicken feet down in Chinatown. I did see a Miller Light Truck on Canal Street so you should be good to go.

Previously we spoke about some of the tips for you visitors, here are the second half of them. But this list will be fun stuff. So without further adeau;

  • Underground is the best way to get around the city – They deliver 1.5 million packages in the city of Manhattan a day. Add to that Yellow Taxis, Ubers, Tour Buses and the city gets a tad…..gridlocked. They once timed a car going from 1st Ave Crosstown to 12 Ave and it took almost 52 minutes. That being said using the subway is your best friend. Again use Google Maps. Those maps they have in the subway stations are good but do you know which lines are not running on the weekend? If you use Google Maps and The Pigeon App and you will have a ease free commute. I say get Metro Card and put 20.00 on it and then refill it when necessary.
  • Subway 101 Hints – Take off your backpack and go to the center of the cab if it is packed. Let the elderly and pregnant women sit down. If you see a subway car that is empty when others are packed it is empty for a reason. Trust me you can’t hold your breath between subway stops so don’t go there. Oh when you are leaving the subway area and see someone standing there sliding his hand like he has a credit card through his other hand do them a solid. Swipe them in the Subway on your card. Pay it forward.
  • Staying in an Air BnB? – Download the Fresh Direct App and have your beer, wine, bottled water, snacks and drunk munchies food delivered to your door. I say order your stuff the day before you arrive and you can schedule your delivery day and time. You will have to be there when the stuff is delivered but trust me schleping (that is Yiddish for carrying) groceries to your apartment sucks.
  • Speaking of Apps download the Seamless app. This is 24 hour room service for the area restaurants. It is New York’s version of Uber Eats and it kicks ass. Bagel delivery guys are the best. Make sure you tip them cash. Another App you need is the Pigeon app. It is Waze but for New York Subways and gives you real-time delays and issues.
  • Cost of Beers and Food – Now brace yourself you Max’s Sports Bar regulars the cost of beer isn’t going to be the same as in 38103. I don’t want to hear it, I have been here for 4 years and have accepted paying north of $5.00 for Bud Light and $8.50 for Titos and soda. Are there cheaper places? Sure there are but here is my suggestion. Sit at the bar, be nice, be respectful and maybe the bartender may give you a “Buy Back” where they give you a drink on the house. Also it wouldn’t be a bad idea to stash a couple C-notes in your wallet. A lot of Brooklyn bars are Cash Only. Those are pretty easy as you just leave your money on the counter and the bartender will take the funds needed for drinks out of your pot. Trust me, they aren’t going to screw you.
  • Bars and places to eat around The Barclays’ Center – plenty of great places on 5th Avenue to grab some food and drink before and after the game. In the interest of some of those establishments that I frequent on 5th Avenue I am not going to name them here. You are also just steps away from the Subway station and can get into Manhattan fairly quickly.
  • Sightseeing in the City – Want to see the Bitch in the Harbor? Jump on the Staten Island Ferry (it is free) and you will boat right by it to take a picture. The also sell beer on board (ANG MT just saw that and it peaked his interest) and you get to see that 5th borough that Mr. 3 First Names despises. When you are down in Fidi swing by the Stock Exchange, Bull, Fearless Girl, Hamilton’s grave. Then walk over to the footprints at the 9/11 memorial.
  • Food Places you have to have – First off there is no good Memphis BBQ here in New York. Don’t try it, you are wasting your time and money. I equate it to trying to find a NYC bagel in Memphis. It ain’t happening. Do your homework and try to eat a couple slices at the Best that NYC has to offer. Want to eat at Katz’s or one of the big named places – be first on line when they open. Swing by the south east corner of Avenue of Americas and W53th for some World Famous Halal Guys. Go easy on the White Sauce and get extra napkins. Again – Get Reservations NOW!
  • Food Suggestions – People always ask me this and believe it or not I am just as unfamiliar with places as you are. I have heard you can eat Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner at a different place for each meal for a year and not have a repeat. My normal saying is that if it is still in business then they must be doing something right. The margin of error for restaurants is so very tight and if you have a bad showing you are done. I also use Zagats, Yelp and Google Searches for the best places. If you want a Dive Bar list let me know. I have a killer one!
  • Clothing and Shoes – I get it, you ladies want to look good in your wedges and or heels but who are you kidding. It is going to be cold and possibly will rain. Comfort is your key and make sure that you have good shoes because you will be walking a ton! Regarding the George Costanza Puffy Coat, you can bring it but with going in and out of places, the subway you may want to layer and wear a scarf. If you plan on going to the Parade bring everything but your kitchen sink. Also the winds up here can be a bitch. My wool top coat is great about half of the time but if we are to have snow or a light rain I am breaking out my North Face coat. Bring a hat too!
  • Shopping – I use Amazon and order eCommerce so you are on your own. I do recommend that you check out Century 21 downtown. They have some good stuff.
Pro Tip – Use the Name or Number don’t call it “Taking the Red Line” #RoboCares
The Pigeon App – As sure as I-240 gets backed up so do the Subways. Get this app and check it before you journey out for the day.
Think of this as Room Service for your hotel/Air BnB. Be Careful though, you can run up a pretty large tab with those drunk munchies!
Fresh Direct App – Trust Me lugging those cases of beer or bottled water sucks. And they can deliver wine and drunk food too! Make sure you order and reserve your day/time because it will get busy before Thanksgiving.
So Good but make sure you get extra napkins because your elbow may get juicy!
They don’t call it the Bible for nothing!
Is that Gore Tex?

Enjoy your time in New York and Brooklyn, be nice to people, support local, tip your bartenders and stay safe. We leave out on Turkey Day for the weekend but give me a shout if you are in town early.

Trip to XNA

Sorry that I was not posting last week much. We had a trip to Northwest Arkansas for Family Christmas and to catch up with our family and we were busy last week.. This year we decided to fly Non-Rev and boy aren’t we glad that we did. The first flight from LGA to XNA were a whopping 8 people on the flight. I guess the first full week back in 2019 not a lot of business trips to Walmart or that part of the country.

The visit was great, we got to see some of the cousins that we normally don’t see and catch up with lovebug and her mother. Later after a rousing round of Ugly Santa we headed to the Razorback LSU basketball game. That part kind of sucked as the Hogs came back but missed free throws are always a killer.

It is nice flying in Comfort Plus. And having your own row. And pretty much getting personal service by the flight attendants.
Uncle Adrian is not sure what to think of the gifts that Mary Louise gave him
Bud Walton before Tip
Just a Dad and his son taking the game in!
Glad to see the Lady Killer with his classic No-Smile

It was great seeing everyone.

Pictures of the Week

Man I took some serious hell from some of you guys for having a fancy dinner last weekend. Guess I need to step up my game and have dinner at Eleven Madison Park and REALLY piss you off. Anyway here are some pictures from last week.

This is Hockey – They play it here in the North East
Had to break out the warm coat last week
Merry Christmas Chloe! Hope you have a wonderful Holiday!
If anyone is missing a Nose Ring it was on the G Train
Love you too Nova! Fun going down Memory (Front Street) in Belize
Mary Louise is now Boujie when she sits in the First Class seats
Got me a burger on Thursday!
Nunchucks are legal in New York City. Who wants some?
Maya is ready for Mary Louise to come home

Next week we will be busy with travels to Memphis and then back.

Ashley B is about to have a $hit Fit

Many Many moons ago one evening Mary Louise, Ashley “The Pride of Iuka” B. and I were having dinner at South of Beale. Long Story short AB brings out the camera and takes a picture of the burger. Needless to say I have always referenced anytime that I take a picture of a plate of food I am about the “AB the shit out of this” blog post. Today’s post is going to one of those.¬†

This year we were lucky enough to be invited to the 11th annual Christmas dinner at a small little restaurant on Columbus Circle. Homeless Tim, Bobcat, The Professor, Bobcat’s sister and husband, Mr 3 First Names, The Landlord, Asian Fireman, The Vaping Queen, Mary Louise and I assembled at 6:30 to partake in the 11 course meal with a wine pairing. I really should have put a napkin over my head so that God did not see the decadent meal that I enjoyed.

Ok enough with the words, here are my “Pride of Iuka’s” barrage of pictures;

The Amuse Bouche РSalmon Tartare with Creme Fraiche (Not pictured Pimento Cheese Cracker) 
Hen Egg Custard with Black Truffle Ragout 
It was good and I didn’t break the egg shell (trying to lick the inside of it clean)¬†
Oysters and Pearls – a Thomas Keller Classic
Hudson Valley Moulard Duck Foie Gras
According to Jake the guy who shook me down for stolen silverware – Foie Gras is best with Rock Salt
Rouget 
“There once was a man from” Nantucket Sea Scallops
The Bread and Butter Course (aka fancy Fruit Cake)
Here is Scooter’s offering in the way of butter
Chicken Course
Wait for it…..
Whats up with all the Dirt on the plate there VQ? It was divine and oh so good! 
Venison Course with Parsnip Cream
Some old ass Steak that Mary Louise got
Cheese Course 
Baked Alaska for the 11th Annual Celebration
Dessert Course – Chocolate
Dessert Course – Citrus Cake
The Baked Alaskan
Cappuccino and Donuts 
Went with the Double Espresso
Chocolate Course – I went with the Mint Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cup

Like I said. If you are still with me, I apologize for the Photo Overload. At least I didn’t take pictures of each of the glasses of wine. Then again I was sitting between the VQ and MLG…

Random Pictures on The Phone

Been busy for us during Christmas Season here in the big city. With the holidays rapidly approaching we have been busy getting gifts and naturally sending them to Memphis wrapped. Note to self – when sending a box to your mothers house and she has moved it may be a good idea to get the correct address. Thankfully FedEx was able to correct the address and the customer service agent didn’t laugh at me too bad. 

This week we are busy with Holiday parties (Mary Louise’s old work peeps) and we have some other events to attend this weekend. Mary Louise heads back to Seattle on Tuesday so it will be just me and the dog for the week. I will keep you posted. Anyway here are some pictures that I have had for the past couple of weeks. 

Broke Out the 3 Piece Suit the other day since it was Ball Shrinking Cold

The Nephew was trying to get a little too Cute with Uncle CBT and Aunt Mary Louise on his Christmas List

Caught the Griz Nets Game a couple weeks back with Vivian and Stone

Forgot about this one. Has it really been 7 years Muppet? Now look at you! See you and Tink (who is celebrating her birthday today 12.12)  next fall! 

Mr. 3 First Names and Asian Fireman tell me this is a Hazmat/Rescue/Engine that T.O.D.D. used to work on. 

Maya likes it when Mary Louise works from Home. 

Sent this to St. Aloysius the other day on his birthday. 

I will have something better I promise. 

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade 2018

We had some friends in town from Crime-Free Memphis and they had requested to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Do you recall back when we went to the Parade in 2015 as a guest of the Asian Fireman?¬† They were forecasting that it would be a cold Thanksgiving Day. Actually it was a record breaking cold day 19 Degrees Fahrenheit (-7 for you Celsius folks) and nothing sucks more than standing out in the cold with no bathroom. Oh, on the day we saw the parade back in 2015?¬† I think it was like 40 degrees so that was perfect. Thanks to Z(Squared) we were able to procure a proper viewing spot from his office to watch the parade.¬†

Trust me when you see the parade from that vantage point I assure you that unless I am on a mudder fucking float with the fat man himself there isn’t any going back. I did get a little warm in the conference room overlooking the Avenue of America’s but having that bathroom is what is really is all about. Thank you to Z(Squared) for the hospitality. We will have you over for the Fireworks on July 4th. 


Parade walks off at 9PM and by the time they get here it is about 9:45AM. These poor folks have probably been on line since 6AM
Always start with Thanksgiving Floats 
See the Lamp Post in the middle of the float? They had all the floats down low this year because of the winds
Ole Pillsbury Still Makes The Cut
Ok Here Is The Green Giant – It is Thanksgiving And the Creator Of The Green Bean Casserole Died This Fall. 

 

Not A Fucking Clue

 

Here Is RAB’s Favorite Float. What is your hatred of Him? What did he ever do to you? 
Olaf (There were some kids in the conference room and they told me) 
Diana Ross – I hope she played better than she did at Live At The Garden


Hey Santa – I will hit you up later on my wish list
Current Position – Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Float Carrier. I carry the Star that says “Believe.” 
5 Minutes after the Fat Man Went By They Crowd is Gone! I don’t blame them, it was cold on Thursday.

Again A HUGE THANK YOU to Z(Squared) for the sweet vantage point. I know that our guests loved it and we did too!