The 10 Best Jams of 2014

If we’re being honest with one another, 2014 wasn’t a killer year for music.  Sure, we had some good times – I’m looking at you, ‘Turn Down for What – but there was no ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’ to make us roll down the windows and go, “ahhhh yeahhhh.”  Though on the bright side, we were blessedly spared from a sequel to ‘Blurred Lines.’

But because unnecessary year-end lists must be made anyway, here are the 10 best most popular played songs of 2014, says me…

#10.  “i (Live on SNL)”, Kendrick Lamar

#9.  “Jealous (Gospel Version)”, Nick Jonas 

#8.  “Say You Love Me”, Jessie Ware

#7.  “On The Regular”, Shamir

#6.  “Old Thing Back (Matoma Remix)”, The Notorious BIG ft. Ja Rule

 

#5.  “Can’t Do Without You”, Caribou

#4.  “Stay With Me”, Sam Smith

#3.  “Ghost”, Ella Henderson

#2.  “Stay Together”, Madi Diaz

#1.  “Work Song”, Hozier

Very Honorable Mention:  “On A Tuesday”, ILOVEMAKONNEN ft. Drake

 

 

 

Pour One Out for The Annex

The Annex RIP

Everybody, take a knee.  After more than 30 years of making discount footwear dreams come true, The Annex is dead and gone.

Over the course of the summer, my father – Sneaker King, Larry Mirigliani – documented the demolition.  Brick-by-brick, Nike-by-Nike, it all came crumbling down.  If we’re all lucky, maybe the new owners will plant some sneaker plants along the empty lot.

Let’s look at these photos, remember the good times and have a good cry together.  But in the words of Dorothy Giuli, “I don’t like it, but I guess we have to get used to it”

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Annex Demo 7

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Annex Demo 5

Annex Demo 2

Annex Demo 3
Annex Demo Safe

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Grandma’s Potato Salad

UPDATE:  Upon reviewing this post, Grandma would like it known that she forgot to wear her apron during the making of this particular batch of potato salad.

Everybody’s somebody makes the best _____ you’re ever tasted.  And such is the case with my Grandmother’s potato salad.  She’s been making it since I could say the word mayonnaise and it’s so good that I can’t even feign respect for others’ attempts.

Grandma Potato Salad

Grandma swears that there’s no secret behind the recipe, but nobody believes that.  Magic doesn’t just happen.

So one day I invited myself to stand over her shoulder in the kitchen, take detailed notes and ask entirely too many questions about potatoes to find out what makes it so great.

Now, behold the recipe behind this starchy masterpiece…

INGREDIENTS:

  • 5 lb. bag white potatoes
  • salt
  • 8 or 9 hard boiled eggs
  • 2 full celery hearts + leaves – peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups mayo
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • paprika

Grandma Potato Salad 2Grandma Potato Salad 3 Grandma Potato Salad 4 Grandma Potato Salad 5

DIRECTIONS:

1.  Submerge the eggs in cold water and bring to a boil for 20-25 minutes.  Then immediately shock with cold water.

2.  Submerge the potatoes (skins on) in salted cold water.  Bring to a boil then lower heat to slower rolling boil.

3.  Cook until potatoes can be easily poked through with a knife.  (Begin start checking around 12 minutes.  25 minutes max)

4.  Remove potatoes from water and set aside til they’re cool to the touch.

5.  Peel potatoes with a knife, removing any black spots or imperfections…because there’s no excuse for potato salad to be anything less than perfect.

6.  Cut potatoes into chunks, seasoning liberally with salt and a little pepper as you go.

7.  Peel and dice the eggs.  Slowly incorporate into potatoes.

8.  Ditto for the celery.

9.  Whip mayo and mustard together with spoon.  Then slowly fold in potato/egg mixture.  But be careful not to break the potatoes for Christ’s sake!!

10.  Transfer the mixture to Grandma’s potato salad bowl and sprinkle with paprika.

Cover and refrigerate for a couple hours.  Then you’ll be as happy as this lady…

Grandma Potato Salad Finish

Characters of Times Square: It’s Time To Go Away

ElmoCharactersTimesSquareBZ2

Did everybody get their photo with one of the 25 imitation Elmo’s in Times Square yet?  Cuz it’s high time that weird looking Batman, cross-eyed Mickey and the bizzaro cast of Sesame Street are ushered out through the Lincoln Tunnel to creep people out in some other city.

These characters are a nuisance for many millions of reasons.  Here are but a few…

New York City is not an Amusement Park…nor is it Hollywood Blvd…or a Nick Jr. program…

Tourists are great – seriously, come one! come all! – but this city isn’t a children’s party.  This is New York f***ing City:  the world capital of media, fashion and finance.  Plus, home to the most iconic locations from your favorite movies and TV shows and host to some of the world’s best art, music, architecture and crazy people on the subway.  WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT FROM US?!?  If you’re looking for furries – great.  No judgement, that’s your thing.  But please take your fetish to Disney World or a sex shop.

Don’t kill our vibe.

For better or worse, tourists in NYC spend most of their time in midtown.  And while most residents avoid the city’s midsection like one of those people holding a blue clipboard on the sidewalk, the neighborhood has great sights, activities and restaurants that work towards giving our city it’s great reputation.  But this swath of characters have cast a spray of colossal cheesiness onto a city that’s known around the world for it’s effortless cool.

They’re raping everybody out here.

theyrerapingeverybodyouthere

Just short of pickpocketing, these characters are lying and bullying people for cash tips in exchange for photos…that YOU take yourself…with YOUR camera.  To combat sneakery, the NYPD has been distributing flyers to warn tourists that tipping is optional.

But not to be thwarted, the characters altered their stories by telling people that their tips are being donated to charity.

They’re not even good!

They don’t call it “the greatest city on Earth” for no reason.  So if you’re gonna parade around one of the busiest and most iconic public areas in the world, the LEAST you can do is put a little effort into it.  Case in point…

Dude, put the head on…

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Last checked, Spiderman doesn’t wear a fanny pack.

Spiderman fanny pack

THIS is your Should-Be Song of Summer…

ELLA HENDERSON is a pop singer from the UK.  She was on The X Factor and came in somewhere around 6th place.  Her debut single, GHOST, hit UK radio back in June and debuted at #1.

Ella has recently been getting lots of American attention and had her US television debut on GMA this morning, but where was all the hype back in May, June or July when Iggy Azalea was running away with the SOS title?  

And if this doesn’t sound like a Simon Cowell produced pop track, I don’t know what does.  

 

SOMEBODY PAY ATTENTION TO ME!

There’s this really great YouTube channel that edits all of the jokes out of your favorite sitcoms.  It was also my idea first.  Of course, ideas mean nothing unless you do something with them so if you need me I’ll be pouting quietly in the corner.

Here’s the video…

And here’s the proof of my idea…

Friends no jokes

check that date stamp, mothaf*ckas!  I win.  But really, lose.

Let There Be Ramen

Ivan Ramen

After two years of waiting, tomorrow (Friday, May 9th) marks the opening of Ivan Ramen’s latest restaurant down on Manhattan’s lower east side.

Earlier this week I was invited by some foodie friends in high places to attend a friends and family dinner service at Chef Orkin’s latest location.  And over the course of a couple hours while seated outside on the back patio – which features a huge ramen mosaic – we drank loads of sake and ate nearly every item on the menu.  Ranked by favorite, these are the five best things that went in my belly…

#5.  1000 YEAR OLD DEVILED EGG this combo of hen and duck eggs are stored underground for a long long time, then filled with a tofu-yolk mixture and dusted with tomato powder.

Ivan Ramen Deviled Egg

#4.  LANCASTER OKONOMIYAKI As a born and bread Pennsylvanian, I’m very familiar with scrapple.  Ivan’s is poured into a waffle maker then topped with pickled apples and maple kewpie (whatever that is?)

scrapple

scrapple

#3.  FOUR CHEESE MAZEMEN – it’s like the Italian cacio e pepe, but if you ordered it at a stoner diner in Tokyo.  Pork chasu and whole wheat noodles.  Oh ya, decadent.

Ivan Ramen - FOUR CHEESE MAZEMEN

#2.  TOFU CONEY ISLAND – a truly excellent take on chili cheese fries except there are no potatoes or meat in sight.  Instead, it’s tofu fries and mushroom chili.  And the squirt of French’s yellow mustard is clutch.

Ivan Ramen - TOFU CONEY ISLAND

#1.  BRAISED OX TONGUE – Imagine some extremely tender steak with the most flavorful beef broth you’ve ever sipped, then set off with a schmear of Chinese hot mustard.  Go get this.  Go get it now.

Ivan Ramen - BRAISED OX TONGUE