Hell up here in Harlem

Thank you for calling Rao’s in East Harlem. Currently reservations for the rest of 2017 and all of 2018 are closed. Thanks for calling……

Are you kidding me? You mean to tell me that a restaurant is booked for all of 2018? I mean I could probably get a table at Per Se or that Fish joint on 51st street if I asked nicely, aka….greased the reservation clerk. How in the world can a joint be booked? Welcome to New York and the “Who’s Who” of New York.  Now if you are scratching your heads wondering what I am talking about let me give you a back story.

According to their website Rao’s New York is a culinary national treasure. Widely acclaimed for its authentic, southern Neapolitan Italian cooking and its home-style family ambiance. Rao’s was honored with a Pinnacle Three Stars from New York Times Restaurant Critic Mimi Sheraton describing the cuisine as “exquisitely simple Italian cooking.”

The Joint opened in 1896 and is one of the countries oldest family owned and operated restaurant running in its original location. Handing down cherished Pellegrino and Rao Traditions as its main ingredients.

The list of regulars reads like the “who’s who” of New York cognoscenti, including Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, Rob Reiner, Nicholas Pileggi and Danny Aiello. Legions of politicians, sports figures and matinee idols have jockeyed for a reservation. There, dining at Rao’s is a legendary experience so beloved that getting a seat is only possible if you are a regular and have, “table rights,” or if you’re lucky enough to be invited as a guest by someone who does. In Las Vegas, you are lucky enough to be our guest. From our family to yours, we invite you to sit back and relax while filling yourself with more than food. Cheers!

Sorry I hate to cut and paste so much I didn’t’ want to miss anything. What all that means is what the title of this worthless dribble of a post says – You ain’t getting in there for dinner. That is what is so funny about this place. It is only open Monday through Friday and is closed on the weekends. Who does that? Who can not be open on the weekends and still stay in business? Obviously the Pellegrino family is doing something right.

Now there are those who have gotten tables there. My cousin posted that she had dinner in this 10 table shoebox and I would love to hear the story. Even one of my fellow tour bus ticket sellers has boasted a bet with one of my contemporaries. Yep Amanda Astoria has made it clear that she will get a table (remember – we go in half for a table and I got the wine bill) when she found out that her main squeeze Jimmy Fallon has dined in one of the famous booths.

The guest list of those who “own” tables is pretty remarkable and I won’t spread rumors since you can GTS (Google That Shit) on your own. So who wants to go have drinks at the bar and see if we can get a table?

IMG_0884As you can see the place is very small and quaint. There is only one ‘deuce’ and the rest are either booths or larger tables.

IMG_0886Prosciutto and Peas – This is the dish that Frank and Ina cooked on her show one day. I can’t think of a better marriage.

IMG_0887Frank Pellegrino standing outside his namesake. Sadly Frank passed away this year but the business still runs under family ownership.

IMG_2287Snapped a pic the day I was up in that part of the world. Trust me when I say it is small.

So Muphranks – When are we going?

So you really like it up there?

I was on the phone this weekend with RJ. I had asked RJ to do me a favor. I wanted him to squarely kick me in the balls the next time that he sees me. After he does that and while I am lying on the ground in pain I also asked him to tell me “You deserve that for what you did on Saturday, December 3rd!” I am sure that my 6 readers are wondering what it was that I did this past Saturday. This past Saturday, I ventured into Midtown Manhattan on a Saturday during Christmas Season. Oh did I mention that my destination “not by choice” was Tiffany’s at the corner of 67th and 5th Avenue? Do you know what else is at that famous corner…..Trump M’effin Tower! And guess who was also in town on Saturday, yep you guessed it. The President Elect himself! The reason I was venturing into this area was that I was asked by LZ to confirm a potential Christmas gift for FZ and she wanted my advice. It wasn’t that bad and my upper lip didn’t start to twitch till we made it to the bottom floor of Tiffany & Co. It was fine and I hope that FZ doesn’t freak out too bad when he opens the box and sees the baby rattle. *shots fired from Hell’s Kitchen towards the UES* Anyway, back to the subject at hand.

While I was making my way into midtown RJ and I were catching up and discussing holiday travel plans. He and I were talking and I inquired how X was doing. He told me good and that this person asked him “So when are the Trumpets moving back to Memphis?” RJ, who has been up here a bunch of times and whom I speak to regularly on the phone told this person “I don’t that the Trumpets are going to move back anytime soon.” RJ understands us, he knows that we will ‘Never say Never’ but right now the Big Apple is where we call home and we don’t have plans on moving back to Memphis for at least another 8 years…. well at least Mrs. Trumpet. Mrs. Trumpet has a pretty good deal going on with her work emptying bedpans. This conversation with RJ reminded me of a phone call I had earlier in the week.

I had to call into HQ this week to help a client who was having trouble getting their double decker tour bus tickets. HQ, as luck would have it, is in Memphis so while we were waiting on the slow ass computer in Memphis, the agent and I were making chit chat.

Agent – “Your last name is Trumpet?”
Me – “Yes sir, had it all my life.”
A- “That is ironic, we have a bunch of Trumpet’s here in Memphis. They own a bar/restaurant, used to have a grocery store, I know they had a liquor store on Poplar, and I think one of them was a big football player for Memphis State.”
M – “Yeah, I know them all, I am originally from Memphis and now living in New York. You could say that the Trumpet’s have a corner on the food and beverage service industry.”
A – “If you don’t mind me asking, what the hell are you doing in New York? I bet you are counting down the days till you can move back right?”
M – “Nah, I am good man, think we may stay a while.”

Now let me dispel any rumors or preconceived notions that you may be harboring – I am not and in NO WAY bashing Memphis or the many friends that we have there. Do we miss our friends and family in Memphis and surrounding areas? Your damn right. But (and this may not come across like I want it to in my words) you are comparing an apple an orange when you are talking about Memphis and New York. We live in 535 square feet, my Yeti cooler is living in Woodlawn because it doesn’t have a spot here on 1st Avenue. It takes me an hour by train to take the dogs to the vet when it was a 5 minute ride in the Jeep. To have drinks with the Murphranks, Asian Fireman, Z-Squared, The Russian, Maria and or any of the St. John’s crew it takes planning and at least one of us to travel some distance if not meeting in the middle. Does it drive me crazy with all of these inconveniences? Not really, sure it took some getting used to but what does a person really need to live in the city that never sleeps?

Let’s put the shoe on the other foot shall we? I have spoken to some fellow double decker ticket sellers about living in Memphis. The first place they talk about is living in Colliervegas or past the Parkways. I try to bite my tongue and casually bring up living in South Main or possibly the Core. Don’t get me wrong, we had the 2200 square foot house in South Bluffs, we paid out the nose for some rotten wood and it pissed us off. Then we downsized into a condo in the core and then this whole NYC thing happened. Anyway who the hell wants to go to Home Depot on the weekend to get supplies for house chores? I was that ‘that guy’ way back when we had 595 but do you know how liberating it is now going to have an espresso and reading the NY Times watching all the dads push strollers?  Sure having all that space is great but who the feck is going to mow that ish? And let’s don’t even talk about the liquor stores not being open on Sunday……Aw Hell NO!

So in closing, we plan on sticking it out here for a couple more winters. But with my job I certainly will never say never. I mean we still have our condo in the core. We still have tons of family and friends in Memphis. We don’t have a car anymore but who likes to drive anyway. The thing is, we like it here, sure we can’t find a decent Cajun restaurant but that is ok with us. I don’t miss fast food. Incidentally the Chick-Fil-A located on 6th and 37th is packed each and every day with tourists. If I am feeling homesick for the southern accent, I walk by the line and try to pick what state people are from. FOR GODSAKE! GO GET A BAGEL OR EGG AND CHEESE ON A ROLL! So lay off asking if we will be back, some of you jokers still haven’t even come up to see us! We do have a couch and blow up bed.

map-of-memphisStill my favorite map of Memphis.

130807122628-seersucker-0807-horizontal-large-galleryMy Director would probably foam at the mouth if I came rolling into a sales meeting wearing this. He is a ultra conservative Dark Suit and White shirt kind of a guy.

you-guysI don’t get nailed for this as much as one would think. My momma when she was living in Arizona took some grief for saying “You Guys.” I think this one has run it’s course.

3688512c046fbf5b68f86b0d0382a753I still don’t understand what the big deal is. Scoop can you teach me what is so great about flavored club soda? If I am drinking a club soda, it better have Vodka in it!

img_2636Other than the traffic, this city does offer some really killer looks and views.

Happy Wednesday!

Welcome to Woodlawn – 1 year anniversary!

We made it! Albeit this Friday 8/5/16 will be one full year of living in Manhattan we can consider our first night at the Asian Fireman residence on 8/4/15 in the Bronx as close enough.   Regardless, we made it! One year in a day of living on this rock called Manhattan and we didn’t get squashed by a crosstown bus! For those of you who took the under…. GFY baby because we made it! By my estimation we probably have 90% of the Upper East Side speaking Southern and soon we take on Midtown East, Murray Hill and Gramercy next. This will be a 2-part series because I don’t want to make this too long of a blog entry. I do realize that 2 of my 6 readers don’t like it when I get longwinded with the run-on-sentences. Anyway in one year we have done a lot of stuff. Allow me to recap if I can.
I am going to break this down into 8 subtopics. They are in no particular order;

  • Shit we found out on our own from living here in Manhattan
  • Shit we found pretty difficult to do here as compared to living in Memphis
  • Great experiences/cool shit we saw this year
  • Food we ate this year (Sorry AT, you may want to skip over this one
  • Famous people we saw
  • Great Friends we made/rekindled
  • Recommendations for visitors to NYC that is not on a top 10 “must-do” list
  • Stuff we still have yet to do and or see or eat (again skip this one A.T.)

Shit we found out on our own from living here in Manhattan –

  • Man this was an eye opener. Number one on the list was using the grocery, booze, and amazon delivery service to our building. This is a lifesaver if you ask me.
  • Those stupid plastic bumpers that New Yorkers put on the rear bumper of their cars.
  • That New Yorkers aren’t as mean as the stereotype that is painted of them.
  • Those Steam Vent’s and Nitrogen tanks on the streets are for fiber optics.

Great Experiences/Cool Shit we saw this year (Even my boss said we did more than most New Yorkers)

Unbelievable Restaurants and Foodie Mecca’s that we ate at this past year. (Shout out to Murphranks, Homeless Tim, and MC for the invitation into the club)

  • This is where A.T. is going to start cursing me. But let us go big balls and start with a French Seafood joint named Le Bernardin
  • To make the LVD happy I have to mention a certain meat in tube form joint in the UES called Papaya King.
  • When I was slinging bags for the man, I grabbed some lunch at a Puerto Rican joint at 125th Street that still to this day makes my mouth water. I need to get back up there.
  • During the Christmas season we put veils over our heads so that the man upstairs could not see our faces because we dined on fancy butter and had great company too!
  • We also dined at Red Rooster in Harlem not once but 3 times, ate over in Brooklyn at a steak joint called Peter Lugar and celebrated our 19th anniversary at another steak joint downtown called Delmonico.
  • To finish out the fancy meals we made a trip to Tarrytown to eat a bunch of veggies, drink some wine, but most of all have great company at Blue Hill

Great Friends we have met/relationships rekindled

  • I would be remiss if I didn’t open that with our move to NYC we got the Three Musketeers back together. The Musketeers would be Mrs. CBT, Myself and our NYC Consigliore Maria. If you read this worthless dribble you notice that I use funny nicknames or initials when I refer to people other than the two of us. I do it for a number of reasons in that I try to protect the innocent but that it may detract from the story. Maria on the other hand, she gets full billing.  Anyway one thing that we both were excited about in this move that we would get to spend more time with her. Oh and once we get some stuff handled, look out Belize!  If you forgot how we know Maria and some of the others that I mention by names here is a post to catch up.
  • We got to see some old friends and got to meet some new ones over in Long Island this past July.
  • Mrs. Trumpet joined a wine club that I am not sure if there is much discussion of wine going on but she likes it. We need to start a Cigar and Good Booze club on the nights that the ladies get together.
  • I will close with this famous saying. They say that you can measure a person’s wealth by the number of good friends that they have. If that is the case then Mrs. Trumpet and myself are some Rich Mudda Feckers.

See you on Friday!



“Is it Hot Enough for You?”

That phrase is synonymous with anyone who wants a good ole punch in the throat. They say it in the South, they also say it here in the North. I walk into a building up here with my shirt sticking to me, my silk tie is moist (S/O to Kaylee & Lana but they don’t love me anymore) and the security guard asks me that question. Sure I want to smack him upside his head but I need to go see a customer that I don’t have an appointment so I play along with his stupid question.

Be careful out there folks, check on the elderly (Hell check on the 46 year old wearing a pinstripe suit who will be in the financial district today) and stay hydrated.

IMG_5097Nipped this off of my good friend DR who took posted this picture yesterday. No that isn’t in Vegas or the desert. That is in Crime-Free Memphis TN!!! I bet our former admin who moved to Memphis from NYC is starting to question why she moved to the 3rd ring of hell. This my folks is what we call “Hotter than 2 rats screwing in a wool sock!”

Have a good weekend.

You want to go up to Harlem to hear a Jazz show?

Ok, I have to admit that living in this city is pretty effin cool. We can do as little or as much as we want. You do figure out very quickly that even if you run wide arse open you still can’t do it all. Case in point, Maria texted us back in October if we wanted to go see Jazz musician Lea DeLaria preform at Ginny’s Supper Club up in Harlem.  Not sure who Lea DeLaria is do you? Have you ever seen the Netflix show Orange Is The New Black? You may know her as the rather butch looking lesbian inmate on the show that is known as ‘Boo.’ Who knew that she was a Jazz singer! I did a search on her bio and according to Wikipedia her father was a Jazz Pianist and Social Worker so that makes sense. We headed up to 125th Street to Ginny’s Supper Club this past Sunday. Because of the show we missed The No-Pants Subway Ride so maybe next year we will ride the 7 train in our BVD’s.

Ginny’s Supper Club is in the basement of Red Rooster which is becoming a frequently visited joint of ours and enjoyed the buffet of soul food and biscuits. The show started and first impression was that Lea is tiny; I mean she comes up to my armpit.  After watching the show I guess the camera really does add 20 pounds because she is 100 pounds soaking wet. The show was great and she really has a good time up on stage. After the show she came by each table and thanked us for attending before she fixed herself a plate. She did ask that if someone wanted a picture or autograph to please wait till after she ate because as she stated “you do not want to get in-between a fat dyke and her food!” Ironically her latest album is entitled “House of David” where she does David Bowie covers. Imagine the “whoa, that is freaky” feeling when we heard that David Bowie died Sunday evening Monday morning.

IMG_0128My Brunch Dates! FYI – They have good spicy Bloody Mary’s

IMG_0130Lea is tiny and she puts on a great show

IMG_0131Bad Picture but she was friendly, thanked everyone  for coming and posed for all the pictures

This weekend we don’t have a Jazz Show but we do have LM, AB, & SO heading to town!


Pictures from the Week

Note, we are heading back to 38103 next weekend so you better be good or you will end up on the Naughty list of the Pic of the Week.

Have a good weekend!

Black Friday Shopping in Spanish Harlem

Over the Thanksgiving holiday Mrs. Trumpet was going to have a Tamale festival (2 to 3 days of making Tamales from scratch) and she put me in charge of getting the Masa (Tamale Glue for you gringo’s) and Corn Husks. “Sure I said, I will just head to………oh shit, I am not in Memphis anymore.” I conferred with my NYC Consigliore and she told me that she gets the husks from Amazon and the Masa can be acquired at any bodega in Spanish Harlem. Well it was Wednesday night, the night before Thanksgiving so I was screwed. I would have to venture up to E110th street.

On Black Friday while American’s were making jackasses out of themselves, I headed uptown to 103rd street at Lexington as I found a Spanish Market that carried the previously mentioned items. They were closed for the Holiday – FECK. As I stand on the street looking a tad out of place (white face in Spanish Harlem) I see a bodega that was written in Mexican. I venture in and ask the store clerk if they carry Masa and Corn husks, she “Yo no hablo imbécil Inglés.” Same goes for the other stock person, the lady buying a 2X4 of Modello Light and the cashier. I am about to walk out when a 6 year old girl comes from the back of the store and asks me in perfect English what I am looking for. Seriously I feel like Indiana Jones talking to Short Round as the little girl yells at her older sister that I needed Masa and corn husks. She wondered if I was running a Tamale sweatshop since I needed 5 pounds of Masa and 3 bags of Corn Husks. I told her that my wife was mean and she laughed. I paid, checked to see if my change was in US dollars and not Mexcian Pesos and headed home.

I get home and naturally I didn’t get the normal brand of Masa but as I informed Mrs. Trumpet “I had to take a donkey across the border to find this stuff, deal with it!” I venture down the street for a celebratory Cigar with my Persian Jewish Buddies and to watch some football.


Locked Up Tighter Than Dick’ Hatband


Hey Look, I can see the Mayan Ruins from here!


God Bless the Daughter of the Owner who helped me out. I figured that they were jacking with me but wait till I bring my favorite Illegal Alien from Chicago up here! There will be hell to pay!


They are serious up here in Spanish Harlem, they buried someone in a shallow grave in the subway!

*Editors Note- I am poking fun as the experience was pleasurable, granted we did have a language problem but that is just proof that I need to work on my conversational Spanish. LS come on up and I can take you to my favorite Puerto Rican pork store for lunch.

The Mean Streets of NYC – “Hey buddy you need some bike parts?”

Given that Mrs. Trumpet and I are now slaves to Mass Transit since we are sold our cars, we had many of our friends mention to us that we get bikes to get around town. In Memphis actually we had two bikes, they collected dust so we sold them before we moved up here. And to be completely honest, the thought of riding a bike in Manhattan scares the complete shit out of me. If we need a bike we can always grab one of those shiny Citi Bikes (right now Maria is shaking the finger at me) if we really want to take our lives into our own hands. Even if we did want to have a bike we don’t have any room in our condo to park that joker. Remember the bike in Jerry Seinfeld’s apartment? Did you ever see him ride that thing and did it ever come off the wall?

Oh park it on the street you say, it will be fine……sure and I have a bridge to sell you. The bike thievery up here is something fierce. Walk around the streets and you will find many bike skeletons still locked to bike stand. To be honest, I don’t understand the need for a tire and rim unless they are selling them to recycling centers for money but who the Feck needs a bike tire? We were having drinks with Maria one night and she was telling us how some Brooklyn hipsters chained their bike to a newly planted tree and  thieves cut the tree in half to get the bike and fancy Kryptonite lock. Wait till I get my golf cart up here, then NYC will love me!

IMG_9560I will just ride these till I become Mayor and outlaw them

IMG_9550Bike Messenger guys park their bikes in packs, makes it harder to steal I guess

IMG_9559They use the serious locks and serious chains up here

IMG_9551Damn, they went medieval on that one

IMG_9561I mean who the Feck needs a front tire?

StolenSomeone hit the Bike Lottery.  Looks like they got 4 bikes since there are 4 chains still there

bike-thief-sata-01_jpg_650x0_q70_crop-smartFound this image on The Google when I was looking for my cover picture. I think this is from Chicago hence the Wicker Park comment but it is funny.

Have a good one.

Don’t venture past the first page

Back when I was a regular at The Monday Club we would try different joints each and every week. On occasion we would hit up a Vietnamese or an Asian cuisine restaurant to break things up from eating burgers or Mexican food. One of the groups favorite was a Pho joint on Poplar near the U of M campus. One of our visits my friend R.J. warns me “um CBT, stay on the first two pages of the menu.” I inquired why and he told me on previous visit that he ‘went exotic’ and ordered Pho from the back page. To properly quote him “there was an eyeball looking at me and I swear it had zip ties in the broth! Stay on the first two pages because those menu items are for us white folk.” I did pay ombridge.

New York if you haven’t noticed, has many different cultures living up here so naturally you have many different restaurants offering authentic cuisines. On a visit up to Spanish Harlem a couple weeks back I found a meat pie vendor similar to what I used to get in Belize. I don’t think the vendor was Belizean perchance but for 2 bucks he had a pretty tasty product and I didn’t get ‘boinked’! The term ‘boink’ was a term we used when we would order something against the beaten path (Zip Tie Pho for example) and it didn’t turn out well. Naturally the percentage of me getting boinked is going to be higher living up here but in my opinion, “life is too short to not try a new cusine or drink cheap wine!”

During my bus layover up at 125th and 2nd Avenue there is a Puerto Rican joint that has a line out the door each and every day. I have always been taught “you know you have a good ethnic food joint when the majority of customers are from their own heritage.” I had some time to kill on Monday since the busses were on holiday schedule so I ventured in. You recall in the movie “My Cousin Vinny” where they had ‘breakfast’ and ordered blind not knowing what they were getting into? Well at La Lechonera, they don’t speak a stich of English, or they were seriously fecking with me. I had to resort to the old “point and pray” so I picked some pork, rice and agreed to some type of a sauce that wasn’t too hot or too sweet.

The verdict? It was good, it was damn good! Seriously this stuff, I am a smoked pork snob, was off the fecking hook! I do realize that I may have nailed one Puerto Rican dish so it doesn’t that doesn’t mean we will be cooking up a whole hog on a Caja China roaster in Woodlawn anytime soon. Well not this season at least! So if you find yourself at the corner of 125 and 2nd avenue please give my amigos at La Lechonera a shout and tell them that pale faced gringo sent you.

Got to love the pig neon!

*points to what I think is pork, rice and pigeon peas and a fried dough thing*

I am such a Latin American foodie!

This was good!

I guess if you wanted a gluten free, vegetarian, Kosher meal they could give you a plate of ice…..