About 95% of my belongings are in boxes right now, and I’m hoping that a couple of grand makes its way from my saving account at one bank to my checking account at another so that my payment to the moving company (I’m using ‘moving pods’ – if the experience is good, the company will appear in this column next month) goes through. So with all the packing and moving and stressing, it’s a little harder to remember what it is that I’m loving at this moment in time.
But I promised you guys a monthly respite from my general negativity, cynicism and sarcasm. That mean every first Tuesday of the month will see me extolling some positive things in my life, from the mundane and boring to the profound. Hopefully I’ll turn you on to something new and interesting, or remind you of things that you love every day too. So here goes, the things I am loving for July:
What I’m loving in pizza: Grimaldi’s under the Brooklyn Bridge. I went out with some friends for a farewell lunch yesterday, and we ate at Grimaldi’s. It’s often touted as the best pizza in New York City, and I think that makes it the best pizza in the whole world. The place is right under the Brooklyn Bridge, and as you walk to it you get an amazing view of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, and the Brooklyn waterfront – a view so nice that I found myself wondering if moving wasn’t a big goddamn mistake. When you get to Grimaldi’s you’re going to wait in a line, but it’s worth it to get into the no slices, cash only pizzeria. The crust of the pizza is so divine that it alone would be a satisfying meal. Chowing down on a garlic pizza I found myself almost moved to the point of saying grace – this is the kind of food that convinced people to thank God in the first place.
What I’m loving in breakfast: Tom’s Restaurant. It’s not the one Suzanne Vega sang about, but it should be. This greasy spoon around the corner from my apartment has food that’s so good there’s a line around the block on Saturday morning for brunch (Gus, the owner (Tom was his dad – the restaurant has been there since the 30s) is a religious man and won’t open his place on Sundays, despite how much business he must lose). I tend to go on weekdays before getting on the web and seeing what news is out there. Tom’s does something that not enough places do – when you order pancakes or waffles you get multiple flavors of butter; the cinnamon butter alone is reason enough to make a trek out to this part of Brooklyn for breakfast.
What I’m loving on TV: Flight of the Conchords. The advertising for this HBO show was omnipresent in New York City, to the point where I was so sick of these two Kiwi goons that I turned down press opportunities with them. Ooops! Turns out that the show is really close to brilliant; the first and third episodes have been incredible and have tons of replay value while the second is flawed but still great. The two leads, Brett and Gemaine, are endlessly likable, despite their deadpans and general stupidity, and the songs are often inspired. “You’re so beautiful/You could be a waitress” indeed! Good choice on having The Humans Are Dead on the first episode, since it’s just the kind of thing that becomes a viral phenomenon. In fact, here I am doing my part. Watch it Sunday nights at 10:30, where it beats the stuffing out of Entourage.
What I’m loving in puzzles: The New York Times Will Shortz Presents Crosswords for 365 Days: A Year of Easy to Hard Puzzles. I used to think I was a big crossword puzzle fan before I saw Wordplay; I soon realized I wasn’t even an amateur. I was like a baby let loose with a pencil and some good guesses. But I still love solving crosswords, and for the last couple of weeks this book has been always at my side, keeping me busy on subways and while waiting for screenings to start. The best thing about the book is that it has the weeks in order – in The New York Times the puzzles start easy on Monday, end up impossible on Saturday and become huge on Sunday – which allows me to jump around and find a puzzle that fits my current brain activity. Sadly, I spent a couple of minutes today stumped on ‘The creator of Gulliver’; how is it possible that Jonathan Swift should be so far from the tip of my tongue? These puzzles are certainly showing me what a lifetime of substance abuse hath wrought. Good thing the answers are in the back.
What I’m loving in music: Mossy Pine. This local Brooklyn band is part of the new weird country/folk/soft rock scene that I find myself loving. Think Gram Parsons meets that one incredible Mike Nesmith album nobody knows about meets meets some The Band meets some… well you get the idea. Their album is pretty great, and it’s been on repeat on my CD player for the last two weeks. Sadly, their next live show is just after I leave New York, but since they recorded the record in LA, I’m hoping they’ll make their way out there sometime. By the way, one of the guys in the band turned me on to the other bit of music that I’ve been loving, an almost forgotten album from 1969, John Phillips’ John (The Wolf King of LA). Definitely check that out if you’re into the laidback folk and country rock with a heroin edge of desperation. Check out songs on Mossy Pine’s MySpace page right here.
Next month I hope to have new Los Angeles styled things to love. See you in August.