What’s for dinner?

A few years back, I accepted a freelance assignment to interview the three kings of the Detroit restaurant scene. Two of them ran trendy fine-dining establishments, the third a chain of mid- to upper-middle Italian places.

Five or six years later, no one talks about them at all anymore. One went broke, the other reorganized, and the chain is still chugging along. The last time I ate at one I swore I would never spend another penny there, because life is too damn short, and their dedication to serving mediocre food just pisses me off these days.

I think I’ve mentioned before that my biggest disappointment after moving here was the surprisingly lousy restaurant scene. Whenever I mentioned this, people would say, oh you need to try this place out in West Exurbia. It was named restaurant of the year by six magazines and three newspapers! We ate there last month and it was surprisingly reasonable — we got out for under $300.

I don’t want to eat at those places, at least not more often than annually. I want decent, moderately priced places you can drop in on, that won’t cost a fortune. I want a burger place, a pasta place, a Mexican place, a Middle Eastern place, a steak place, a fish place, a few surprises. (I don’t care if I never eat another coney for the rest of my goddamn life, by the way. That’s one burden I’ve been spared, not being a native.) And it’s taken me a while, but little by little, I’ve filled most of these slots. And I’ve found most of them in recently opened places in Detroit.

Last night Alan and I met for dinner at Green Dot Stables, typical of the new sort of place popping up around here. It’s a former Teamsters hangout, and doesn’t seem to have been redecorated under the new regime. No reservations required, just show up. They serve sliders, fries, simple sides and salads — all in tapas-size portions, all served in cardboard trays. The waitress circulates frequently and the menus stay on the table, so if you find yourself still hungry after your initial order, you can throw another $3 slider on the tab, no problem. Drinks come in what looks to be the old Teamsters glassware, only the last time I ordered a summer soda, made with cucumber- and lemon-infused syrup, the chef’s own concoction, something I doubt the union boys were into. It was delicious.

We got out — three sliders, soup for Alan, salad for me, an order of truffle fries later, couple of local craft beers — for $30 on the nose.

The transformation of the local food scene in the last few years has been remarkable. The explosion of urban farms, and the sorts of people who tend them, has led to a new kind of restaurateur, not interested in fine dining so much as good food. There’s a little imitation French bistro we discovered last year, after I sampled the chef’s ratatouille at a cooking demo at the Eastern Market. We pulled up in front and Alan said, “This can’t be right. This place looks like a methadone clinic.” Around back, a little kitchen garden had been scratched out of the ground, and inside they were serving crepes, quiche and the aforementioned ratatouille. You can carry in your own wine, with no corkage fee. Now when I want to go there, Alan says, “Oh, I had lunch there twice last week.” Well, it is near his office.

That’s Le Petit Zinc, if you’re taking notes. Have I mentioned Supino pizzeria, the best thin-crust pie I’ve had in my whole damn life? And even the Park Bar, a place I started patronizing on Kate’s music nights last year, has a Romanian family handling the food, in the Bucharest Grill off in the corner. Try the schwarma. I like the falafel too, but the best in town is the Harmonie Grill, near Wayne State. Ground chickpeas are very cheap; you can almost always feed yourself to bursting for under $10.

I think about those restaurant guys I wrote about, and they seem almost silly now, with their river views and white tablecloths and oh did I mention? Stevie Wonder dropped in last weekend. All I want out of the world these days is something good to eat. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to find it.

So, bloggage?

I try not to overlink to the NYTimes; I know some of you don’t have subscriptions. But this is a blog post from yesterday, remembering the Chase Manhattan bank robbery that became the basis for “Dog Day Afternoon.” Many fascinating details on many levels; do not miss the slide show. Attica! Attica! Attica!

I found this cringeworthy: Dax Shepherd plays the Michigan game. When newspapers try to be fun and playful, it almost always ends up this way. But maybe you’ll like it.

Posted at 12:45 am in Current events, Detroit life |

74 responses to “What’s for dinner?”

  1. Rana said on August 23, 2012 at 3:42 am

    I hear you on the quiet torment that is living in a place without good restaurants. Or even one that’s got a couple, but which you’ve been to so often you’ve pretty much memorized the menus. The first place in Indiana we lived, we got in the habit of driving an hour out of town to one of the nearby bigger cities, just for something to eat that wasn’t a hamburger or soggy aimed-at-drunk-undergraduates pizza. The last place in Indiana we lived was better, but it was still a half-hour’s drive to anything more interesting than chain Mexican and buffet Chinese.

    Now we’re in a neighborhood where there is a Thai restaurant in every direction you can think of (last tally, there were at least 8 within a one-mile radius of us, and it’s not anything resembling an “ethnic” neighborhood – if it once was, it was a German one), several Japanese restaurants, Indian, Moroccan, several gastropubs, an English-style pub, one of the city’s oldest Korean restaurants, some Chinese restaurants dating back to the mid-century, a Cuban place, a Dominican place, several local-gourmet places of the type you describe, innumerable coffee shops, Greek, Italian, German… and all within a 15-20 minute’s walk of us. It’s beyond surreal; I’ve never lived anywhere like it.

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  2. James said on August 23, 2012 at 7:42 am

    During our brief sojourn to Indianapolis (1999-2002), referred to around here as “the forgotten years,” we would do anything for food that had any character to it, particularly spice. Most food there was just… Bland.

    There was that one Mexican place in Irvington that was fair, and an Asian noodle place in another corner of town, but generally I started cooking fake ethnic foods at home, just so I could up the spice quotient.

    Add to that the fact that most restaurants weren’t open later on Sunday evening, and you find yourself in a dining desert.

    The weird thing was that when you went to a “fancy” restaurant there, you could sense that the chefs had eaten somewhere out of town and imported the cuisine back to Indy, charging outrageous fees, but not getting the food right. I swear that restaurant food in Atlanta is more reasonably priced than there.

    So happy to be back in Atlanta.

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  3. coozledad said on August 23, 2012 at 9:36 am

    James: Is Honto still open?

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  4. Dexter said on August 23, 2012 at 9:49 am

    If you have used up your few NYT few free links, I linked to the Dog Day Afternoon story from The Daily News a few days ago here.


    Living in a small town , if I want anything good I have to cook it myself, except if we want Mexican, we have an excellent Mexican joint here.

    I have not had falafel for years; when I was following the Cleveland Indians back in the 1990s and making trips to Cleveland on all home weekends, I would have a pre-game lunch from a stand on 6th street , which served the best falafel I ever had, and all I had ever had before was from a few places in New York City.

    Nance, can you recommend a really good cheapo falafel place in A2? Sometime in the next three weeks we are going there to goof around. If not, I’ll Yelp it.

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  5. Dexter said on August 23, 2012 at 9:53 am

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  6. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Now it turns out that Ayn Ryan is a Twisted Sister fan, and Dee Snyder is less amused than he was by Tipper Gore:


    Maybe it’s just me, but GOP expropriation of music by musicians who obviously can’t stand anything about them reminds me of the hypocrisy of the GOP’s supporting the Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sands fields even though it requires seizure by eminent domain of land from American farmers and ranchers for the benefit of a Canadian company and Chinese diesel consumers. Stunning lack of principle. Or…not.

    For me, any sentence that begins with “Dax Shepard” is cringeworthy. The guy’s “I crack myself up” hipster act is more projectile-vomiting-inducing than cringeworthy.

    Dee Snyder should gather the band and shadow Ryan’s campaign appearances in full dress. See how them Teabanger’s like them rouged apple cheeks. And buttless leather pants.

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  7. BigHank53 said on August 23, 2012 at 10:18 am

    The food is pretty much the only thing I really miss about living in the DC area. Wheaton, MD is full of ratty-looking strip malls filled with places selling the best food you’ve never heard of. I found my way to El Pollo Rico (Peruvian chicken, but gone now) by following the smell. The line out the door was a good sign, too…

    The competition (and enough native customers so that you can’t fake it) keep the prices low and the quality high. The scenery is nicer here along the Blue Ridge…but if you want something much fancier than a burger you’re making it yourself. Our local farmers’ market is delivering ingredients that are absolutely top-shelf. Duck eggs last week, and the Indian Cling peaches are just coming in…

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  8. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Tonight I am dining, unfortunately, at the Olive Garden. It’s a large group and I didn’t have any choice, but I like the people too much to stay away. The last time we ate there it was only because I’d been given a gift card and it was dreadful. Anyone been there lately? Is there anything decent on the menu?

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  9. nancy said on August 23, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I have a lot of work to do today, so I’m going to pop in with this and then skedaddle:

    What I find cringeworthy about the Dax Shepherd-plays-the-Michigan-game clip is its wallowing in the worst thing about cities like Detroit (and, to a lesser extent, Fort Wayne): Its self-indulgence in poisonous nostalgia.

    For those who don’t have the time to click, the pop culture writer for the Freep throws a bunch of this-or-that questions at him: Faygo or Vernor’s? Iggy Pop or Alice Cooper? Coney with onions, or no onions? If you’re under 40, you have zero frame of reference here. Faygo, a local soda pop, was sold years ago. Vernor’s, ditto, is now made by the Dr Pepper people. Iggy and Alice are both senior citizens. And so on. But probably a week doesn’t go by without the Freep or some other geriatric rag fanning out the standard go-local-team deck of Camaros, Better Made potato chips, Faygo, etc. It drives me insane, especially as the city finally, finally seems to be moving forward again, albeit in an entirely unexpected direction. But as long as there are old men to drive in the Dream Cruise and wallow in the good ol’ days, this mindset will continue to flourish.

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  10. alex said on August 23, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Julie, I was given an Olive Garden gift card last Christmas and the givers insisted that we make a date with them there. Needless to say, it’s the end of August already and I still don’t have the stomach for it.

    For a podunky place, Fort Wayne has some pretty good eatin’, which is why it’s so hard for me to go to one of these middle-class ripoffs. Cheddar’s, Chili’s, Red Lobster — I almost get the dry heaves just thinking about any of them. Don’t people have any tastebuds in their damn fool heads?

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  11. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

    Faygo died when it stopped making Very Cherry Cola.

    Meanwhile, it’s so fitting that the GOP convention is in Tampa, home base and birthplace of Hooters. It’s all about the boobs:


    Well, I guess Hooters parbly moved to Atlanta, but it is essentially Tampa. Embarrassing, almost mediocre, and tacky as Velvet Elvis.

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  12. Sue said on August 23, 2012 at 10:37 am

    ‘for $30 on the nose’
    With tip?
    And I lovelovelove Prospero’s idea of having Dee Snyder & co. following Ryan around. They can get in line behind the nuns on the bus.

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  13. Sue said on August 23, 2012 at 10:42 am


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  14. Colleen said on August 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

    A friend and I meet at Olive Garden for lunch periodically. It’s ok. I like the chicken scampi, and their salads aren’t bad. For local Italian I prefer Ziano’s, even over the Casa chain. The Fort has good Mexican choices….there’s one practically up the street from us, so why bother with Bandido’s or other chains for that….

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  15. Joe K said on August 23, 2012 at 10:53 am

    While on the road I try to eat at more local places, today iam in Owensboro KY. Heading over to moonlight barbecue will let you know. Talking about food that isn’t around anymore, Pokagon soda made in Angola is missed, used to stop by the marina on lake Gage, they had a big cooler filled with ice water so cold it hurt to reach in and drag out a orange soda, can still taste it.
    Pilot Joe

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  16. alex said on August 23, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Joe, I hear they’re opening a Mad Anthony Tap Room/Munchie Emporium at Bledsoe’s Beach.

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  17. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Another post-racism GOPer. Nobody projects victimhood like an Anglo Saxon fool like Steve King.

    How long until Ayn Ryan breaks out Black Flag? Or Dead Kennedy’s (named after a GOPer wetdream)?


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  18. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 11:39 am

    And here’s a perfect song for Todd Akin’s campaign rallies:


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  19. Deborah said on August 23, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I always wonder how a Taco Bell can stay in business in Santa Fe, but it indeed it does. There are actually a few of them there.

    Great post today Nancy.

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  20. churchlady said on August 23, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    My wife and I would like to find a few good cheap restaurants. We have a favorite Mexican restaurant (Plaza Mexico) and Chinese (Golden Chopsticks) but general American food, not so much. One restaurant I liked burned down and the owners have been slow to rebuild. One place, more in the moderately expensive side that impressed us was Zyette’s Garage on Woodward north of Nine Mile. The owners took an old garage, hosed down the worst of the grease and oil and outfitted the place as a restaurant. They make a baked mac and cheese that’s awesome.

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  21. paddyo' said on August 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    On the additional-bloggage front today, a nice excerpt from forthcoming posthumous collection of final days-weeks-months scribblings by Christopher Hitchens:

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  22. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    RMoney/Ayn Ryan, foreign policy advisors: certifiably psychopathic PNAC loonies, John Bolton and Elliot Abrams (how is this ahole not in jail for aiding and abetting death squads?). Neither of these guys knows dick about foreign policy, and this is who they are getting advice from? And Abrams says Congress should just go ahead and get that annoying little detail about blowing up Iran approved right now:


    Somehow, I’ve made it to 61 and never had food from Taco Bell. Could be a causal relationship, I suppose.

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  23. Jeff Borden said on August 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    One of the finest things about living in Chicago is the ability to never step through the door of a chain restaurant. Ever. We love the BYOB joints –our bar and wine tab often exceeds the entree at other places– and they are abundant in just about every neighborhood and cuisine. And. . .we’re finally getting food trucks, big time. This doesn’t mean much to my now retired wife and me, who no longer works downtown, but it’s a fine thing overall. I am lucky to possess a metabolism that still lets me eat pretty much what I want without gaining weight even at age 61. And all your talk of bland food has me thinking tonight might be Indian food on Devon, where you can close your eyes, throw a rock and will hit some interesting and quite spicy eatery.

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  24. basset said on August 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Joe, the Moonlight is indeed quite good, particularly the burgoo (local equivalent of gumbo, stew with pretty much everything in it) and the BBQ mutton… Owensboro native here at work says the Old Hickory BBQ is better though, 25th & Frederica next to Kroger.

    Churchlady, here in Nashville we have an actual working gas station with a Detroit-style coney stand and twelve-packs of Vernor’s and Faygo stacked all over in what used to be the office.

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  25. Dexter said on August 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    At least Taco Bell is trying. I was in a hurry last week one night and I tried something from the new Cantina menu. I had a steak burrito, lots of guac, and it was put together nicely…Mrs. Dexter had a Cantina bowl…also very good.

    Last week I heard that many McDonalds are going to begin serving breakfast around the clock, to catch the after-bar-hours crowd.

    We used to have a diner here called Lester’s. They were open 24 hours…until one night some drunks were in there after the bars had closed, and they grabbed some trays of raw eggs and had an egg fight. That just DID it…never again…the place began closing at 8:30 PM. Some people just have to ruin it for everyone else.

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  26. Dexter said on August 23, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    My Polish friend, Mr. Topolewski, says he used to love this place when he lived in Toledo and ventured into Detroit.

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  27. Joe K said on August 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Moonlight was good but a little pricey,great staff, had a sassy waitress, plan on trying old hickory next time. Alex I heard the same thing, that will be one expensive piece of property.

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  28. Little Bird said on August 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    What has me baffled is why Ryan would use “We’re Not Gonna Take It” at all? What isn’t he gonna take? Aren’t he and Romney the poster boys for entitlement?

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  29. coozledad said on August 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Romney’s bullshit will go public whether he wants it or not.

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  30. coozledad said on August 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Little bird: They’re not going to take not having absolute power anymore. They’re not having any of that “elections” shit, either.

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  31. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Greatest moment I’ve ever seen from the Little League World Series:


    When SI does it’s Sportsman of the Year cover, it should honor every kid on both these teams.

    I just got a CD copy of Waiting for Columbus in the mail. One layer celophane shrinkwrap. Attractive cardboard sleeve. More shrinkwrap on jewel case. tape on jewel case. Damn, I really hate that tape.

    Little Bird: Are these tools so clueless they thought Dee Snider of all people wouldn’t be likely to burn ’em a new one? I’m thinking maybe they should try a Hasil Adkins standard. Seems to fit their voter demographic:


    Maybe gg allin, in memoriam.

    What they aren’t going to take is a dark-skinned President, when there are so many serviceable milky bloated jellyfish GOPers around.

    And how ’bout that obviously RMoney-voting mom that dressed her beaty contest kid as Dolly Parton, with fake boobs? Also received a book by Charles Pierce called Idiot America, with the subtitle How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. Has a picture of G. Washington riding a T Rex on the cover.

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  32. Catherine said on August 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Cooz @29, oh, he is gonna have some splainin to do. Can’t wait to read it in detail.

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  33. Charlotte said on August 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Oh Prospero — there seems to be something in my eye! The Ugandan coach, picking up the Oregon player like a trophy! and the photo afterwards … really great. Go boys …

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  34. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Charlotte, the cynical part of me was wondering how that video would play at the convention in Tampa. And the catch for the final out by the Ugandan pitcher was a thing of great beauty. The sportsmanship of all of the participants is extremely affecting.

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  35. Jakash said on August 23, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    Since NN has linked to an NYT article today and alluded to their limit for free articles, I’m gonna ask this again, since I’ve not seen it addressed.

    The NYT Digital FAQ states:
    “When you visit an NYTimes.com article from social media sites (such as Facebook and Twitter), blogs, NYTimes e-mail newsletters or our E-Mail This tool, it counts toward your monthly limit of 10 free articles. You will still be able to view these articles, even if you’ve already reached the monthly limit.”

    Doesn’t this mean that one would always be able to read an article posted here, whether you’ve reached the limit, or not? Or is there a distinction between “view these articles” and “read” the articles that I’m not getting?

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  36. Jolene said on August 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Jakash, it does mean that there’s no limit on the number of NYT articles you can access through social media. But they’re also telling you that those articles count toward your ten. So, there’s no limit on reading NYT articles via social media, but you could “use up” your monthly limit, reducing the possibility of reading reading NYT articles w/o going through Facebook, Twitter, or whatever.

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  37. Scout said on August 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Had to endure the OG last night for my granddaughter’s birthday, her choice. In her defense, she turned 13. I had the portobello ravioli. It was edible.

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  38. Sherri said on August 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    The NYTimes has a very porous paywall. I’ve discovered that the plugin I use to block trackers and other obnoxious privacy invading widgets (Ghostery) also blocks the NYTimes paywall.

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  39. Jolene said on August 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Sweet baseball video, Pros. Thanks for posting it. I linked it to my Facebook wall.

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  40. Jolene said on August 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Some important new blog and magazine pieces out today. First, there’s what the author, Jonathan Cohn, calls The Definitive Guide to the Medicare Debate on The New Republic web site. It’s a longish piece, but clearly written. Cohn has been chronicling the health care debates for several years, and is both very knowledgeable and a good communicator. Also, there’s a summary table at the end that captures the major differences. Important ammo to use in arguing against conservative friends and relatives who believe the Romney/Ryan claim that Obama is raiding Medicare to fund Obamacare.

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  41. Deborah said on August 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Prospero, that was a cute video. Great sportsmanship, so good to see.

    Also, you’ll like Pierce’s Idiot America.

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  42. coozledad said on August 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Shorter sweaty chicken sandwich tub Mike Huckabee:
    The only thing the Republicans ain’t done to Todd Akin is strung him to a tree and turned my boy loose on him with a sack of rocks!

    From the spotlights of political offices and media perches, it may appear that the demand for Akin’s head is universal in the party. I assure you it is not. There is a vast, but mostly quiet army of people who have an innate sense of fairness and don’t like to see a fellow political pilgrim bullied. If Todd Akin loses the Senate seat, I will not blame Todd Akin. He made his mistake, but was man enough to admit it and apologize. I’m waiting for the apology from whoever the genius was on the high pedestals of our party who thought it wise to not only shoot our wounded, but run over him with tanks and trucks and then feed his body to the liberal wolves.

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  43. Sue said on August 23, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    I can think of at least five nice ladies in my church who would have taken this project on without a qualm:
    They would be working on this while their husbands were ‘fixing up’ the electrical work over in the kitchen.

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  44. coozledad said on August 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Sue: I can’t conceive how they let that happen. Especially when professional “restorers” have fucked up so many works of art. If people want to see how something looked when it was new, there are hosts of skilled artists who can copy a work with period supports and pigments. And it’s cheaper than turning an idiot loose on a masterwork.

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  45. Jolene said on August 23, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I meant to put this in the previous post, but, oh well . . . since edits sometimes take a while to appear, will start again.

    So, second is the new issue of The Atlantic. Jim Fallows gives an overview here, with links to an important article on Obama and race in America, a commentary on Romney and Obama as debaters. On the page where his article begins, there’s a short video that gives a sense of the kind of nuance he considers as a debate analyst.

    Note that, at thend of the overview, there’s a link to an areticle about why the women on Fox News wear so much makeup.

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  46. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    GOPer convention theme: We built it. Uh, no you didn’t you self-righteous, deluded aholes. And Ayn Ryan’s dad’s business? All government contracts. Shouldn’t there be a Lying Your Ass Off tipping point.

    Jakash: My question has been, since I pay for home delivery of the paper on Sundays, why shouldn’t anybody I provide the link to be able to read it free? Same link I used. I mean, why shouldn’t a mirror in front of my face be as clear as a bell despite the distance to the object of my vision?

    Jolene: Obamacare would have been Medicare for everybody if GOPers were not such intransigent obstructionists, and if there were a statistically significant sample of Americans capable of understanding anything mor complex than Howard Stern and Honey BooBoo and toddlers in FLA painted lady makeup, that Medicare exigesis would make me feel better. But sadly, no. It’s interesting that people that know what they are talking about say Ayn Ryan’s plan incorporates the Obamacare savings, and if it doesn’t, he’ll cause an immediate $7bill hike in the deficit.

    I’ve had drinks with Charles Pierce on more than one occasion. When he came to Boston to work for the legendary Boston Phoenix, he inevitably became friends with the immortal one-eyed sportswriter George Kimball, and they occasionally drank the Eliot Lounge close to dry. My ex and our friends and I spent a lot of time there and predictably got into animated sports “discussions” with the unseemly pair. It turned out when the wife and I moved to the South End to bring our perfect child into the world, we lived around the corner from a wonderful Irish dive called Matt Talbott’s after a famous Irish man martyred by the scummy Brits. Those two ruffians would frequently show up to watch sporting events on Matt’s TV, so I’d park the dog I was walking (Morgan, leashed to a parking meter) and go in for a coupla pints and expert commentary. I came across this appreciation of an old friend by Pierce recently, and I think it’s a mighty good example of the guy at his best. These two were a ramblin’ gamblin’ comedy team with a decidedly dangerous edge, and seriously entertaining drinking companions:


    I pity the fool that attempted editing either of those guys.

    Deborah: I’m not big on camraderie, but the respect and good feeling among those kids is clearly authentic.

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  47. Jolene said on August 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    The other piece–by Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of our favorites–deals with what being black has meant for Obama’s presidency. I’m just getting into it, but it promises to offer some of the insights that Rana wrote about last week from a ver different perspective. There is, again, a video introducing the piece on the page where it begins, and there’s an excerpt that gives something of the flavor of the piece, along with a few words from Coates.

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  48. Rana said on August 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    James @2 – I’d forgotten (blotted from memory, more like) the way that restaurants in Indiana like to roll up the sidewalks at 9pm. We tend to keep Spanish hours in this household, so we ran afoul of that nightly deadline more than once. Here, on the other hand, things stay open late, but a lot of restaurants in our area close entirely on Tuesday (or sometimes Monday), which requires some mental juggling of options if we’re too tired to cook on one of those nights.

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  49. Rana said on August 23, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Jolene – that is indeed an amazing piece. It’s long (oh, the internet, that I need to warn people about things that are long), but well worth the effort.

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  50. Jakash said on August 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for the replies, Jolene and Sherri. Yes, I guess I wasn’t considering the implication of using up all your articles from blogs, etc., and then not being able to access one from the e-mail or homepage.

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  51. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    This is embarrassing, but for years of reading Ta-Nehisi Coates, I always pictured somebody that looked like Angela Davis.



    (Sorry Dexter, lost that tiny.url link.)Fine writer though.

    Wow. We are listening to Goodbye Columbus, which I haven’t heard whole in about 30 years. Spectacular band, Little Feat, and responsible for one of the greatest album titles ever devised: Feats Don’t Fail Me Now. Sorry if that offends Danny’s black brotha sensibility. But he can always find solace in the peyote from the Indian Bro at Fort Stinkin’ Desert.

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  52. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Not to restart any unpleasantness, but GOPer apologists being offended for Blappeople over something Biden said is so obnoxious it beggars belief.

    And if I had anything to do with creating an acrimonious atmosphere, I offer the GOP apology. If I offended anybody, I sure didn’t mean to if they can vote. We live in a world class destination resort, where money is no object, and beachfront houses are a dime (nudge,nudge) a dozen. You’d think we’d have good restaurants. But, noooohhhh. Some fine locals no visitor will ever hear about.

    Of course, the Halliburton mini-golf is burdensome:


    Deregulate carnys. That is the American way.

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  53. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    Rana, it is easily rendered in shorter speak What the GOPers say about Medicare is massive lies. I don’t need their lying shit explained, I understand the numbers in the firsever took place.

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  54. Prospero said on August 23, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    Seriously? What some dumbass believes anything RMoney says is true? Good lord, what bullshit.

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  55. ROGirl said on August 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    A good book about the food industrial complex is “The American Way of Eating” by Tracie McMillan.

    I hope Akin stays in the race till the bitter end. The only people I’ve heard saying he should bow out are Republicans. The Onion captured his message best:


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  56. Deborah said on August 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    ROGirl while looking at that Onion link I found this one too http://www.theonion.com/articles/pregnant-woman-relieved-to-learn-her-rape-was-ille,29258/

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  57. LAMary said on August 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    I know this is weird but whenever I read that you are eating something called a coney I think you’re eating a rabbit. Coney Island was named that from the Dutch word for rabbit and that’s the word we used for rabbits around our house when I was a kid.

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  58. Jolene said on August 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Whatever the quality of the local restaurants, it’s the time of year when the local corn is almost always good. Mark Bittman has a dozen ideas for things to do with corn, other than cook it in the cob. They all look terrific. Would be happy to serve as a taster for anyone who tries these recipes.

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  59. churchlady said on August 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Oddly I never thought about Coney Island being named for the rabbits, even though I’ve heard that rabbits are sometimes called coneys. It adds a new, gross, dimension to that question, ‘do you want onions on your coney?’

    Maybe if Pat Boone were to sing a version of “we’re not going to take it” the Republicans could use it instead. In fact there could be a big market in covering rock classics by people friendly to Republicans.

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  60. basset said on August 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    What the hell kind of a name is “Ta-Nehisi,” anyway?

    We have recently been microwaving corn on the cob… two or three ears for 6 1/2 minutes, cut the big end off, squeeze the cob out and the silk stays with the shucks. Then you can boil it a little longer if you like, not really necessary though.

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  61. Kaye said on August 23, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Anyone else tried the microwave method Bassett mentioned? I’ve tried it twice. The easy husk/silk removal is fantastic but both times the corn was overcooked which is unacceptable. Will try Bassett timing over the weekend.

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  62. MichaelG said on August 23, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Where do you live, Rana? What you wrote reminds me of when we used to live in San Francisco. Usually to go out to eat we’d just walk up the street past dozens of places for a block or two or three until we saw one that touched our fancy. Those were the days. Thai places? God, I remember one where we could get great food and a couple of Singhas and get out for less than $10. That was a couple of years ago. Well, more than a couple.

    We didn’t drive anymore than we had to because parking places were few and far between. If we had a crappy one, three or four blocks away we would be more inclined to drive somewhere. If we had a great one out front we were more reluctant to give it up.

    Rabbit isn’t gross, it’s good. Just beware of the bones which are brittle as hell.

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  63. Deborah said on August 23, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    Michael G, San Francisco is the city with the best food in this country. Of course Italy is the best in the world, pick any city there. And food just tastes better in New Mexico than in the Midwest, even the exact same food made at home. Why is that?

    Did someone recently say winter is coming? Not soon enough for me, it’s going to be in the 90s here in Chicago the next few days. Groan.

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  64. basset said on August 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    The recipe, or rather YouTube video, I saw for that corn did indeed call for too long in the microwave – individual ears for seven minutes each. Even with this season’s smaller ears, three at a time for six and a half works for us.

    Squirrel season starts Saturday, and we have some stone-ground cornmeal on hand… time to eat like my ancestors, squirrel and cornbread.

    And, again, what the hell kind of a name is “Ta-Nehisi”?

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  65. nancy said on August 23, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is a youngish man whose father had been a Black Panther, so my guess is, it’s an African of some sort, but I can’t nail it down more than that.

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  66. coozledad said on August 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    Swahili. It’s the language villagers use to speak to lions to tell them to leave their cattle alone. And it works.

    EDIT: Wrong again. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted Althouse.
    It’s archaic Egyptian for “Nubia”.

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  67. Julie Robinson said on August 23, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    Well, Olive Garden was not near as bad as I anticipated, although I think you can get better breadsticks at Fazoli’s. I had lasagna and two hours with seven great friends, which was the best part.

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  68. Jolene said on August 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    Cooz is right. Here’s an interview in which he explains the origin of his name.


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  69. basset said on August 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Maybe so, still seems contrived to me. That, and the wire-rim glasses.

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  70. Jakash said on August 23, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    “We didn’t drive anymore than we had to because parking places were few and far between. If we had a crappy one, three or four blocks away we would be more inclined to drive somewhere. If we had a great one out front we were more reluctant to give it up.”

    Thumbs up, MichaelG. I can certainly identify with that comment. The distance from our abode is not the only feature involved, but if we’ve got a good spot (several variables involved there), it is not an insignificant factor in deciding whether we’ll drive out of our parking-deprived neighborhood in Chicago.

    Edit: Which reminds me of “Tepper Isn’t Going Out”, an amusing novel by Calvin Trillin. “Murray Tepper would say that he is an ordinary New Yorker who is simply trying to read the newspaper in peace. But he reads while sitting behind the wheel of his parked car, and his car always seems to be in a particularly desirable parking spot. Not surprisingly, he is regularly interrupted by drivers who want to know if he is going out.
    Tepper isn’t going out. Why not? His explanations tend to be rather literal—the indisputable fact, for instance, that he has twenty minutes left on the meter.”


    In addition to this curious volume, as Trillin noted in the New York Times, “in 1964 I was the founding co-editor of Beautiful Spot: A Magazine of Parking, which I’ve seen referred to as a one-issue publication even though we prefer to say that the second issue hasn’t come out yet. (We’ve had some production difficulties.) If I were asked to name my talent — talent, that is, in the way the Miss America pageant uses the word talent, as in “Miss West Virginia will now do her talent” — I would say ‘parallel parking.'”

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  71. Rana said on August 23, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    MichaelG @62 – We’re currently on the north side of Chicago. Never having lived in a gen-yoo-wine city before (I’m a kid of suburbs and Western sprawl-metropolises) I find it both incredibly convenient and strangely bewildering.

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  72. Jakash said on August 23, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Or, both incredibly convenient and incredibly INconvenient, depending on what you want to do, Rana.

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  73. MichaelG said on August 23, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Chicago’s North Side is a wonderful place, Rana.

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  74. Catherine said on August 24, 2012 at 1:27 am

    OK, it’s not Swahili. But still. Swahili is one of the more widely-used languages in the world (I just did a bunch of research on this for a client interested in what to translate their content into). Just because it sounds funny to your ear doesn’t make it pretentious.

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