Tag Archives: review


I am reeling from the second half of my cheesesteak sandwich from Chutzpah deli, a large hero sandwich with slices of beef, melted american cheese, green peppers, banana peppers and onions.  It is delicious, and it is also slathered in ketchup which is apparently a Bronx thing.  Earlier in the day, I contemplated ordering a matzo brei and possibly eating it with ketchup.  Josh pointed out that’s a very typical way of eating it for anyone who grew up in the Bronx.

Seeing as how I grew up in Chula Vista, I think that’s great.  One condiment to rule them all, and in the stomach bind them.

I ate the first half, hot and also slathered with ketchup earlier in the day.  Accompanying it was a chocolate egg cream.  Accompanying that was Josh and Lori explaining anything on the menu that I had questions about.

And all of that together, really hit the spot.  After the blizzard kept us in our homes, a day of socializing with food was more than welcome.

Maybe we were all hungry after the long trip to Fairfax, but I don’t doubt that the food was delicious.  The egg cream was rich and chocolaty, and didn’t last very long.  It was made in the traditional manner with Fox’s U-bet Chocolate syrup.  It had a really amazing head of frothed milk that I’ve never been able to replicate at home.

Next time, I’m ordering a matzo brei, maybe some kasha varnishka.  Probably not celery soda though.

Awkward moment of the meal:  I notice a pirate flag when we enter, and I joke that maybe it’s pirate day.  Two seconds later, Lori points out that one of the servers may be wearing an eyepatch for medical reasons.  Oops.

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Ping Pong Dim Sum

Ping Pong Dim Sum: Dumpling Course


I’m snacking on a veggie puff pastry after a cold Yuengling and a sake based bloody mary, when I think to myself, “This wasn’t what I expected.”

I’m at Ping Pong dim sum, a few blocks Northish of the Friendship Gate in Chinatown , and I’m eating what I can only call upscale non traditional dim sum.  Dim sum tapas is an accurate descriptor of this self created niche.

Thankfully, this niche is delicious.

My first experience with Ping Pong was actually the day before, I had spent some time there and I felt it warranted a return trip.

Ping Pong Dim Sum Lychee Rose martini

Lychee Rose martini

It’s a Monday evening, and it’s quiet.  It’s six o’clock and the after work crowd hasn’t come in yet for happy hour, which is four to seven.  Five dollar cocktails, all of which are exotic takes of traditional bar offerings.  For instance, the amaretto sour has wasabi paste in it, and the bloody mary is sake based.  Both were tasty.  I also had a passionfruit amaretto based cocktail which was also delicious.  Also good was the lychee and rose martini.  For the record, I didn’t drink all of these at once.

Elise, our waitress from Sunday is off duty, but hanging out and she recognizes me as I step up to the bar.  She tells me to order the wasabi amaretto sour that I didn’t order on Sunday.

My second cocktail is something with passionfruit and almond in a tall glass.  Sip by sip, Monday is fading.  It’s a new beginning for the evening.

The ramp up from quiet bar to happy hour “spot” is fast, and dare I say, furious.  Bartenders have moved into full production mode, and more than once I’m the target of an over eager muddling of lemongrass, lime, or lychee.

My bar fare arrives, hotter than I’m expecting, so  I sip on my drink to pass the time.

There are actually two bars, but one is actually just a seating area in front of the kitchen where you can watch the food being prepared.  I haven’t sat down there yet, but it does look interesting.

I’ll be coming back.

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Ballerinas in space: Dead Space Part II

For a long time, Resident Evil been considered the king of the survival horror genre.

For a long time, the control has made absolutely no sense to me.

Left stick moves.  Stand still to aim and shoot.  No sidestepping.

Dead Space controls make sense to me.  Left stick moves, right stick is the camera and aiming.  Not much to say about it, however there are a lot of comments being thrown about regarding the Resident Evil 5 control scheme and how it adds to the tension of the game.  The main contention here is that you cannot strafe while aiming.  I am not a big fan of this particular design decision.  I have played the demo and Chris Redfield is incapable of sidestepping while aiming a weapon.  This means he cannot ready a weapon while turning around a corner.

This is a weakness not only in the gameplay design, but in the writing.  What they are telling me, with their icy, necrotic grip on an outdated control scheme, is the following:

Chris Redfield is a paramilitary special agent who cannot aim a weapon down a corridor whilst turning and walking to go down it.

By comparison, Isaac Clarke is a communications engineer in a space suit wearing grav boots who can.

An engineer. Continue reading

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Small World: Dead Space Review, Part I

So. I have two pieces of a triptych hanging in my bedroom. It’s a small piece, something I really enjoy. It’s blue, mainly and it goes well with the wall color.  This has something to do with Dead Space.


I’ve finished Dead Space and I’m on my second playthrough, and while I’m doing that, I’m thinking about how it does a lot of things right, how it brings innovation to a stale genre, and how the survival horror experience can be enhanced as a social activity.

First the game is fun.  There are a lot of elements to this, but first and foremost, the game is a good time.  It grabbed me from the beginning with the cold opener, with Isaac and the crew of the Kellion quickly realizing the straightforward repair mission is turning into something bad. The story, while nothing groundbreaking or thought provoking, is on par with a good science fiction suspense movie.

The UI.  I don’t really talk about the user interface in games.  Mainly I’m a happy person if the UI is out of the way, or subtle in some fashion so it doesn’t detract from the gameplay or the immersion of the title.  I’m going to say this now, when I saw that they were telling the story through the user interface, that was the moment when I decided I was going to purchase Dead Space.  It’s a singular moment, early on in the game where one of your fellow crewmembers contacts you over the radio.  In typical sci fi fashion, this is a video call.  In atypical video game fashion, it’s part of the UI.

Isaac is wearing a RIG, which simply, is a “space suit.”  The RIG has a holographic UI, so whenever Isaac needs to access anything in game, it projects a hologram into the world so he can see it.  This is hard to explain, but is incredibly awesome once you see it in action.  An innovation in storytelling immersion that really only works here in the space horror genre, but very well done and executed in Dead Space.

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PS3 SingStar

SingStar PS3, in my experience, is the distillation of uproarious hilarity in a video scrapbook form.  Your mileage may vary of course, but with the right friends, the right frame of mind and the proper setup—it is comedy gold.

I picked it up for the toys r us buy two get one free sale, and then put it away and didn’t give it a second thought.

Until last night.

Wow. Continue reading

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