Zoli’s New York Style

Try driving across a city when you are hungry – you will notice that there is a pizza joint on every corner. There is pizza everywhere.

Plus, the simple word pizza means something different to different people – there are so many varieties. Most people have a favorite and will defend their choice of crust – from crackerlike to deep dish – to the death. Then there are toppings – from traditional Margherita to fried eggs or squid ink. The place can vary from a corner take-out dive all the way up to a sit-down formal experience with wines to match the toppings and everything in between. A family owned local hangout to a massive international corporate chain.

Whatever you like.

I’m not a very good judge. My opinion is that pizza is like sex – when it is good, it’s great and when it is bad – it’s still pretty good.

Everyone has to have their go-to pizza joint. Ours is Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum (Pizza Napoletana with its famous “tip sag”) – I like to sit at the bar and watch the pies go into the giant wood burning dome of an oven, where they cook for only a few seconds (a close second is Urban Crust in old downtown Plano).

I stumbled across a list of 16 Iconic Pizzerias Across the Metroplex. I’ve been to about half of these (Eno’s and Mama’s are two more favorites) – and probably won’t make too much of an attempt to add more. The city is simply too spread out and there are too many good ones too close. Cane Rosso did make the grade, which is not a surprise. Campisi’s Egyption Lounge is on the list more for its history than its food, IMHO.

We were in Bishop Arts this weekend, looking for something to eat in a place that wasn’t too smoky and I remembered that Cane Rosso had opened a branch up there in the old Bee Enchilada location (shame it closed) called Zoli’s. They promised “New York Style Pizza” and that sounded good.

Here’s a useful graphic that outlines the difference in the various styles of pizza sold at the two spots. Zoli’s uses metal ovens instead of the giant domed wood-burner at Cane Rosso, plus it offers three styles – New York, Grandma, and Sicilian.

(click to enlarge)

Photo Courtesy Cane Rosso and Zoli's (click to enlarge)

Photo Courtesy Cane Rosso and Zoli’s
(click to enlarge)

Good stuff.

Zoli's, Dallas, Texas

Zoli’s, Dallas, Texas

Lunch special at Zoli's - Ceaser Salad, Slice, Knot of Garlic Bread

Lunch special at Zoli’s – Ceaser Salad, Slice, Knot of Garlic Bread

So, was Zoli’s great or was it merely good. I liked it a lot, but I was very hungry. You’ll have to go try it for yourself.

What I learned this week, January 31, 2014

Bob Mankoff picks his 11 favorite New Yorker cartoons ever


Not from the New Yorker:

you-may-be-a-wiener

(Not Quite Their Sense of Humor)
This was from an ad (a blow-in card to be exact) for the National Lampoon, back in the mid-70′s. I’m not sure why, but at the time I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I still sorta think it is.


I was thrashing around late last night in a fit of mountain cedar allergy related insomnia and turned the television on for distraction. I caught the end credits for some movie and was reminded that there is an actress named Imogen Poots.

Imogen Poots! What a great name. It seems to be her real, given name, too. I wish she wasn’t real, beacuse I’d love to use that as a character name.

Now I can’t.


Paleo-Powered Breakfast: Eggs Baked in Avocado


Paste Magazine has been going state to state, listing up and coming bands. They finally get to Texas.

12 Texas Bands You Should Listen To Now

Now! Dammit!

Dallas bands Fox and the Bird, and Mystery Skulls (though they are now in LA) are listed, plus Metroplex Music Quaker City Night Hawks (Fort Worth), and Bonnie Whitmore (Denton).


This Is the Williamsburg of Your City: A Map of Hip America


Cleaning your DSLR Sensor: Tips and Advice


7 Things You Must Carry in Your Car This Winter
Every car should have an emergency kit that includes supplies such as jumper cables and first-aid supplies. But there are some essential winter items you need to carry once the temperature drops. Plus: Why you should buy those winter tires.


The Barber of Seville Simulcast at the Cowboys Stadium

Another opera at the Death Star. B there or B []


The opposite of Paranoia isn’t Sanity, it’s Ignorance.


Dat Dog and Freret

If you have the open mind, patience, and spirit of exploration there are few things as fun as watching a city bloom. It doesn’t happen everywhere, all at once, but springs from many tiny seeds – all over the place – especially where you least expect it.

All these cool places spring up. I’ve been watching it here in Dallas for years. Sometimes it’s in a spot where I remember fast times from long ago and sadly watched fade until a miraculous Renaissance appears – places like Deep Ellum or Lower Greenville. Or maybe its an area that has never been hip – or at least has been forgotten for generations – like Bishop Arts, or The Cedars. It may be an area conceived in high places and supported by big money like the Dallas Arts District or Uptown. Or it may be someplace bootstraping itself up out of a blasted industrial wasteland like Trinity Groves or the Design District.

Use your internet connection and your feet and your bicycle and get to know these places… before they are too hip and unaffordable. It’s a roller coaster ride and you need to get off before the crash… but in the meantime – it can be a fun ride.

All cities go through ups and downs – but nowhere has higher ups or lower downs than New Orleans. It, more than anywhere else is a city of unique neighborhoods – every one worth exploring, learning, and immersing.

One little new stretch of entertaining street is near where my son lives – it’s a district called Freret.

From an article on Gadling.com:

Freret began as a commercial area for people who were left out of New Orleans’ most powerful social groups: the French Creoles, who governed old society, and the wealthy “English” traders and business owners, who dominated the CBD and built their homes in the Garden District. Instead, the neighborhood, named for brothers William and James Freret, became a refuge for Italian and Jewish residents, who shared the commercial district.

But population shifts took place in the 1950s, driving middle class residents to the suburbs, and by the 1980s, when bakery owner Bill Long was shot and killed in the doorway of his store, Freret was disintegrating.

Help came in 2001 when the National Trust for Historic Preservation adopted Freret Street under its Main Street program. Yet, the neighborhood took a body blow from Katrina, whose damage can still be seen, and its comeback never seemed farther away.

But seven years after the storm, Freret is a symbol of the New New Orleans, where a handful of business pioneers and long time stall warts provided the nucleus for its growth to take place. Bars, restaurants, businesses, and a monthly fair have popped up in a few short years, and the sounds of construction resonate as cars and pedestrians ply the bumpy street between Tulane and Loyola Universities.

Lee was working and I needed to find some place to eat… and I had seen on Thrillist that a hot dog place called Dat Dog was listed as one of the “Coolest Restaurants in Town.” So I rode my bike down there.

It is a special, cool little stretch of street – it stands out in variety and quality even in a city as full of options like New Orleans. Restaurants, bars, specialty shops – even a couple of small theater spaces… Every night there was a young, hip crowd spilling out onto the sidewalks… and even filling overhead balconies with mirth and conversation.

Unfortunately, I had to settle for an excellent hot dog (local spicy dog, with bacon and sauerkraut – next time I need to be more adventurous on the toppings) before it was time to head back. But if you are looking to get out of the French Quarter (and you should be) Freret might be a place to look for.

Dat Dog, Freret Street, New Orleans (click to enlarge)

Dat Dog, Freret Street, New Orleans
(click to enlarge)

Freret Street, New Orleans (click to enlarge)

Freret Street, New Orleans
(click to enlarge)

Freret Street, New Orleans (click to enlarge)

Freret Street, New Orleans
(click to enlarge)

Sushi and Georgia O’Keeffe

Crazy Fish Sushi and a book of Georgia O'Keeffe paintings (Click to Enlarge)

Crazy Fish Sushi and a book of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings
(Click to Enlarge)

It was way too hot. The mercury was rising well past the century mark and the Texas sun was beating down, roasting the world with its searing incandescence – still, I wanted to get out and do a bike ride – get some mobile urban photography done – for fun and fodder for blog entries. I packed up, rode to the station, took the DART train downtown and started wandering around.

The night before I had ridden some similar streets with a lot of other folks – the Critical Mass Dallas last-friday-of-the-month ride. I had a blast. We rode from Main Street Garden Park, through downtown, past the Hyatt Regency and across into Oak Cliff, down to Bishop Arts, and then on to a Cuban-Themed party on a rooftop along Jefferson Street (a few doors down from the Texas Theater).

A lot of cool folks, a good time. We rode back across the Jefferson Street Viaduct bike lane – which was spectacular at night. I’m going to have to repeat some of that ride with a camera and a bit of time.

At any rate – one nice thing about a night ride is the cool air.

By noon the next day – cool air was only found inside.

I locked up my bike in Deep Ellum and started walking around, but the heat was getting to me. I was feeling dizzy and my mind was fuzzing up like an old slice of bread. So I thought about bailing and heading home to flop around in the air conditioning, but I had brought two liters of iced water in the cooler that straps to the back of my commuter bike. I’ve learned that I can take the heat pretty well as long as I keep moving and drink as much cold water as possible.

I drank some water, rode a bit, drank some more, found some shade… and felt a lot better.

A week ago, I had been in Klyde Warren park, killing a few minutes, and had thumbed through a book of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings that was set out in the reading room in the park. One quote from the book was still rattling around in my head – but I couldn’t remember it exactly and without the exact words couldn’t find it on the Internet. I wanted to use the quotation for a bit of writing/photography. The mystery quote was bothering me like an unscratched itch so I decided to ride back there and take another look at the book.

While I was there I bought a sushi roll from the Crazy Fish Truck (plus more cold water and a diet coke ). Then I was able to get a little green table in some dappled shade and sit down with the paintings and my food and hang.

Oh, I did misremember the quote a little bit. I am happy to set the record straight – but I’m thinking that my misremembered version might be… if not better, more useful for my purposes.

Crazy Fish Sushi Roll, and a Georgia O'Keeffe

Crazy Fish Sushi Roll, and a Georgia O’Keeffe

Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

“‘Twas in another lifetime
One of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue
The road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness
A creature void of form
Come in she said I’ll give ya
Shelter from the storm.”
—- Bob Dylan, Shelter From The Storm

A week ago, we found that there was a party honoring the Lakewood Brewing Company‘s one year anniversary – held at the Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House in East Dallas. This was a must-go. Lakewood has great beers and there would be music. Every hour they would be tapping special kegs and casks.

We arrived at about one-thirty, only a half-hour after the festivities started, and found the place already more than packed. It was tough to get to the bar for a beer – it took almost an hour for our first fill. But it was worth the wait – they had a small keg of the French Quarter Temptress on tap. I had tried this before – it’s the great Lakewood Temptress, “cask conditioned with chicory root and bourbon soaked Noble Coyote Papau New Guinea coffee.” I love that beer.

Temptress – black as death, thick as sin, sweet as tomorrow morning’s regret…. the French Quarter Temptress is all that… plus coffee and bourbon.

Then, wonder of wonders, we were able to snag half of a table right in front of the band. The first group was packing it up and the second starting to bring in their instruments. I should have been prepared… copied down a list of the music for the afternoon, and, especially, a list of the hourly tappings. But I didn’t… and that was cool too. I didn’t really want anything other than that French Quarter Temptress and it was fine to not know what music was on the way.

As the band set up I recognized Chad Stockslager. He plays in several local bands and I had seen him with Chris Holt as Holt and Stockslager… a Simon and Garfunkel tribute band, three times – first at the Patio Sessions in the Arts District, then at the Foundry and the Dallas Zoo. They put on a great show – a really fun and mellow evening. I recognized a couple other local musicians, but couldn’t place the lead singer… though he looked familiar and his voice, especially, I knew I had heard before.

Then they started playing and we discovered that the band was The Buick 6, a Bob Dylan tribute band. The singer was Mike Rhyner, best known as a DJ on 1310 The Ticket. No wonder his voice was familiar.

Mike Rhyner singing with The Buick 6

Mike Rhyner singing with The Buick 6

We really enjoyed the show. Afterward, we talked to Billy Bones, one of the guitar players, and he said they would be at Lee Harvey’s in The Cedars that upcoming Friday. Lee Harvey’s is a great place – a combination beer garden and dive bar – a great place to hear music. It’s a dog-friendly place and Candy loves that so many people bring their mutts along.

Billy Bones with The Buick 6

Billy Bones with The Buick 6

Chad Stockslager playing keyboards with The Buick 6

Chad Stockslager playing keyboards with The Buick 6

“You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out

Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging
for your next meal.”
—-Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone

I had an awfully tough week at work and when Friday came along it was really difficult for me to drag myself up and out and drive down for the show. I didn’t want to go – but I knew I would change my mind once I was actually there. I didn’t even have the energy to change clothes – so it was right in the car and out and down through the big evil city to the Southside.

It was a late show and we wanted to get there early so we could get something to eat. The fish tacos were great, and we settled in and waited for the festivities.

Storms were predicted – lightning shattered the horizon, someone held up a smartphone with an app that predicted heavy rainfall, but we didn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Lee Harvey's

Lee Harvey’s

Lee Harvey’s always has an amazing diverse crowd. A lot of different folks are there. Some are mathematicians, some are carpenter’s wives. A lot of pooches. The ages are all over – hipsters – college kids – some families with children…. all the way to people teetering on geezerdom.

Still a little stunned from the week I did manage to enjoy the music. A little food, a little beer, and I felt better. The Buick 6 do a great show. One nice touch is that they don’t try too hard to be absolutely accurate – staying in the spirit of Dylan more than the slavishly correct. A nice setlist selection too – there is so much to choose from. I guess it’s not surprising that the tune I liked the most had some sweet fiddle playing (Hurricane).

Everyone has their favorite Dylan tune – and there are so many of them. When faced with an oeuvre as vast as his it’s important to simply relax and let the band play what they want. Near the end of the second set, some young drunk blonde stumbled up to the stage and demanded the band play, “some of their own music.” I guess she doesn’t understand the idea of a tribute band… or much of anything else. Then her boyfriend loudly requested “Lay Lady Lay” – which is, I guess, a good enough song – but not… well, simply not a good idea. At least the two of them seemed well-matched.

Well, she don’t make me nervous, she don’t talk too much
She walks like Bo Diddley and she don’t need no crutch
She keeps this four-ten all loaded with lead
Well, if I go down dyin’ you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed.
—-Bob Dylan, From A Buick 6

So, despite my worn-out and beaten-down state that evening, we made it through the late set and, after petting the yellow Labrador Retriever sitting next to us one last time, headed for home. It was fun.

The festival was over and the boys were all planning for a fall
The cabaret was quiet except for the drilling in the wall
The curfew had been lifted and the gambling wheel shut down
Anyone with any sense had already left town
He was standing in the doorway looking like the Jack of Hearts.
—- Bob Dylan, “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts”

Mike Rhyner also has a Tom Petty tribute band, Petty Theft. They will be at Lee Harvey’s next Friday. I think I’ll be there. No matter how worn out I am.

“Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.”
—-Bob Dylan, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’

Across the street from Lee Harvey's

Across the street from Lee Harvey’s

“And she takes just like a woman
And she aches just like a woman
And she wakes just like a woman
Yeah, but she breaks just like a little girl.”
—-Bob Dylan, Just Like A Woman

Oh, if you were wondering what my favorite Bob Dylan song is – it’s “Isis”, from Desire. The band didn’t play it – which is cool, because it isn’t really that kind of tune. I like it because it tells a story – and I’m all about story. It’s also about redemption and I’m a sucker for redemption. Most importantly, I bought that album (on Vinyl, of course) right after I graduated from college and started my first real job – and would listen to it in the evenings until is sank in… and it’s still in there. I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

She was there in the meadow where the creek used to rise
Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed
I came in from the East with the sun in my eyes
I cursed her one time then I rode on ahead.

She said “Where ya been ?” I said “No place special ?”
She said “You look different” I said “Well I guess”
She said “You been gone” I said “That’s only natural”
She said “You gonna stay ?” I said “If you want me to, Yeah “.

Isis oh Isis you mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzling rain.
—-Bob Dylan, Isis

Taco Talk

This weekend we were at the North Texas Taco Festival in Deep Ellum. It’s a continuation of the events associated with the Deep Ellum Market (such as the Filipino Fest last year) and the most successful so far. There were a lot of people there. Unfortunately, more people than tacos and the lines were too long (I’ll talk more about that later).

But still, it was a beautiful day and a fun time. At the side of the street, next to the Curtain Club, I saw a sign that said, Taco Talk – 1 PM. Looking at my phone, it was about ten after, so we went in.

Inside was a lecture put on by three taco experts. It was sort of fun being a couple minutes late because we didn’t hear the introductions and had to figure out who they were by inference.

John Cuellar, Anastacia Quinones, and Alejandro Escalante - the panellists at the Taco Talk.

John Cuellar, Anastacia Quinones, and Alejandro Escalante – the panellists at the Taco Talk.

First was a man that kept referring to his “family restaurant.” He was the supporter of Tex-Mex among the three experts and knew a lot about the history of that branch of the Mexican food tree. He said, “When we needed to revamp a menu, we would go to California, Mexico City, or San Antonio. Each place has such a unique take on the history and style of Mexican Food, you could find something new to bring home and adapt.”

I realized that his was John Cuellar, of the El Chico founding family. His family sold their chain and now he is responsible for a restaurant in Oak Cliff, El Corazon de Tejas – a place we will have to check out. I’ll let you know about it.

Next to him was a woman that graduated from the CIA and was the representative of the expert culinary aspects of the humble taco – elevated to gourmet heights. She was Anastacia Quiñones, the chef at Komali. After the talk, we spoke to her for a few moments and she gave us a card and a free appetizer – so… well, another place to go and report.

She talked about the wonderful taste of fresh nixtamal. Most tortillas are made from commercial ground cornmeal or processed mix. She said her restaurant was the first in the city to make fresh nixtamal – whole kernel corn processed with lime (like hominy) and then ground fine on a metate each day. All three experts said that fresh nixtamal produces tortillas with a unique and wonderful taste and must not be missed.

Well, there you go then.

The third panelist was an expert on all things taco. He was Alejandro Escalante – the author of the book, Tacopedia. He talked passionately about the wide variety of tacos available throughout Mexico and all the variables in tortilla, meat, and salsa that can be used. The depth of his knowledge and the obvious love he had for the form made his contribution something to be enjoyed and savored.

One interesting point they made was when they were asked about Mexican Fast Food – about Taco Bell and Chipotle. These are Taco Experts and passionate about quality food and you would expect them to rant and complain about the bland and poor quality of fast food. They did not, however. Mr. Escalante pointed out that Mexican Food, tacos and nixtamal in particular, are an acquired taste and Taco Bell helps people become accustomed to the food style. Ms. Quiñones agreed and Mr. Cuellar used the phrase that occurred to me immediately – that Chipotle is the “Gateway Drug” to real Mexican Food. I thought their attitude to be refreshing and honest.

They all three spoke about their first memories of eating tacos and about their “Desert Island Tacos” – what they could not live without. In high school, in Nicaragua, there weren’t really any tacos, so my first real memories of great tacos were from Hutchinson, with flour tortillas filled with ground beef, sealed with toothpicks, and then fried crispy. You would crack them open and fill with lettuce, tomato, and salsa right before eating.

They talked about what makes a taco (who knows?) and the close relatives of enchiladas and tamales. I thought about the Nicaraguan Nacatamles – giant savory concoctions layered with masa and served in steaming packets of banana leaves – and how I can’t get them anywhere (although the Salvadoran tamal served in local pupuserias does come close).

They talked about the future, about lengua, cabeza, and authentic barbacoa, and about how far can the form be taken. I thought about the Ssahm Food Truck here in Dallas and their wonderful Korean style Kimchi tacos.

They even mentioned puff tacos – which were really popular when I first moved to Dallas in the 1980′s. That’s when you take a disk of masa and drop it in oil… and it puffs up crispy, so it can be cracked open and filled. John Cuellar said there was an art to getting everything, temperature, moisture, oil, just right and if you had a sixty percent success rate, you were doing good.

It was a very fun and interesting talk. We spoke to the folks for a minute afterward, but they had to get set up for the judging of a taco contest. We walked out the side door where a handful of local chefs were preparing their contest entries – they looked wonderful.

A long ways from Taco Bell – the gateway drug.

Professional competition Tacos

Professional competition Tacos

tacotalk3

PHOTOS: Inaugural North Texas Taco Festival draws huge crowds

Yum! Chocolate fruit, zen pork tacos highlight North Texas Taco Festival in Deep Ellum

The First North Texas Taco Festival (Photos)

The Day Tacos Ruled Deep Ellum: Recapping the North Texas Taco Festival

Recap: How the North Texas Taco Festival Stole Deep Ellum’s Heart

Photos: Omar Flores of Driftwood won throwdown at DFW’s first taco festival

Happy Chefsgiving: Anastacia Quinones


El Corazon de Tejas in Oak Cliff opens softly, with seductive mole on menu

Amazon – La tacopedia. Enciclopedia del taco (Spanish Edition) [Paperback]


Read: It’s Finally Here… La Tacopedia

Bike to Coffee

I am working on trying to minimize my reliance on the automobile here in the most car-centric of cities and have wanted an independent (aka not Starbucks) Coffee shop that is a good bike ride from my house for a long time. My wish finally came true. There is an excellent place down on Henderson, The Pearl Cup, that I have frequented and enjoyed… but it is a long and difficult drive from my house (and no train station nearby).

Almost a year ago they announced they were building a new location in Richardson. I began plotting a bicycle route to the place. It’s on the other side of a giant highway from where I live, in a more upscale neighborhood, but I was able to find a route with a good highway crossing (underneath) and that had most of the way on trails or dedicated bike lanes, with the only remaining roads low traffic.

It’s a hair under seven miles – about the perfect distance. Not too far, but fourteen miles round trip is a good workout.

This weekend was a beautiful warm day, so I was able to make to ride out. It’s a really nice route across Richardson, with some varied scenery along the way.

Bike trail along the creek near my house.

Bike trail along the creek near my house.

The first bit is down the Huffhines branch of Duck Creek on the last few yards of the Glenville trail. One of the reasons we bought our house was that they had planned and funded the trail in the creek behind us. We never thought it would take six years to get the thing finally built… but now it is.

Duck Creek Linear Park

Duck Creek Linear Park

Then the route crosses the neighborhood on the Duck Creek Linear Park.

Owens Bike Trail under the power lines.

Owens Bike Trail under the power lines.

And then north under the powerlines on the Owens Trail. A lot of bike routes in the Metroplex are through powerline right of way. It’s not very scenic, but gets the job done.

Spring Creek Natural Area.

Spring Creek Natural Area.

The nicest park of the ride is through the thick creekbottom woods of the Spring Creek Nature Area.

Under the Highway

Under the Highway

Then under Highway 75 along a creek bridge. The city is working on bicycle/pedestrian crossings of the highway, with success in the northern part of the city.

Along Highway 75

Along Highway 75

Up the highway on the east side, then down busy Renner road. A lot of fast cyclists use the road, but I’m slow and lazy and poke along the trail.

Bike Lanes on Custer Road

Bike Lanes on Custer Road

The last little bit is down a dedicated bike lane on Custer. These dedicated lanes have been popular and are cropping up all over the city. The only problem is that there is often parking in these lanes which forces the bikes through the “door zone” – so riders have to go slow and careful, looking into each parked car as you go by.

The Pearl Cup's Outdoor Patio and Shady's Burger Joint.

The Pearl Cup’s Outdoor Patio and Shady’s Burger Joint.

And finally, the coffee shop. A great place for some Java and maybe a book or some writing. Next door they opened up a burger place, Shady’s. Candy met me there for lunch. They had a nice selection of craft beers – Dogfish Head, Devil’s Backbone, and a couple others – but no local beers. We talked to the owner and suggested he get some Deep Ellum or Lakewood on tap.

So it was a nice lunch, and a nice ride – one I hope to be making a few more times.

What I learned this week, March 08, 2013

The True-Life Horror that Inspired Moby-Dick

Kindle

Call Me Ishmael


What’s on Tap: Proposed laws good for beer – and Texas

blonde1

 


10 biggest fast food failures

I remember looking at a bag of potato chips and seeing the warning “May cause anal leakage.” Yeah, right.



 11 Foods You Can’t Buy Anywhere Anymore

and not alltogether a bad thing.


Could the ancient Romans have built a digital computer?


The 10 best restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth

The 10 Best Gift Shops in Dallas
I would add La Mariposa to the list.

The 5 Best Theater Companies in Dallas



Stuff I want:

Titanium Escape Ring Packs a Shim and a Saw

Cube 3D Home Printer


Lucky Dogs

From the wonderful book, A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole. In the story, Ignatius J. Reilly discovers and ends up working for a famous New Orleans Hot Dog Vendor. In the book, it’s Seven Paradise Vendors… in real life, Lucky Dogs.

Seven Paradise Vendors, Incorporated, was housed in what had formerly been an automobile repair shop, the dark ground floor of an otherwise unoccupied commercial building on Poydras Street. The garage doors were usually open, giving the passerby an acrid nos-trilful of boiling hot dogs and mustard and also of cement soaked over many years by automobile lubricants and motor oils that had dripped and drained from Harmons and Hupmobiles. The powerful stench of Paradise Vendors, Incorporated, sometimes led the overwhelmed and perplexed stroller to glance through the open door into the darkness of the garage. There his eye fell upon a fleet of large tin hot dogs mounted on bicycle tires. It was hardly an imposing vehicular collection. Several of the mobile hot dogs were badly dented. One crumpled frankfurter lay on its side, its one wheel horizontally above it, a traffic fatality. Among the afternoon pedestrians who hurried past Paradise Vendors, Incorporated, one formidable figure waddled slowly along. It was Ignatius. Stopping before the narrow garage, he sniffed the fumes from Paradise with great sensory pleasure, the protruding hairs in his nostrils analyzing, cataloging, categorizing, and classifying the distinct odors of hot dog, mustard, and lubricant. Breathing deeply, he wondered whether he also detected the more delicate odor, the fragile scent of hot dog buns. He looked at the white-gloved hands of his Mickey Mouse wristwatch and noticed that he had eaten lunch only an hour before. Still the intriguing aromas were making him salivate actively. He stepped into the garage and looked around. In a corner an old man was boiling hot dogs in a large institutional pot whose size dwarfed the gas range upon which it rested. “Pardon me, sir,” Ignatius called. “Do you retail here?” The man’s watering eyes turned toward the large visitor. “What do you want?”

“I would like to buy one of your hot dogs. They smell rather tasty. I was wondering if I could buy just one.”

Lucky Dogs cart - Bourbon Street, French Quarter, New Orleans

Lucky Dogs cart – Bourbon Street, French Quarter, New Orleans

“May I select my own?” Ignatius asked, peering down over the top of the pot. In the boiling water the frankfurters swished and lashed like artificially colored and magnified paramecia. Ignatius filled his lungs with the pungent, sour aroma. “I shall pretend that I am in a smart restaurant and that this is the lobster pond.”

“Here, take this fork,” the man said, handing Ignatius a bent and corroded semblance of a spear. “Try to keep your hands out of the water. It’s like acid. Look what it’s done to the fork.”

“My,” Ignatius said to the old man after having taken his first bite. “These are rather strong. What are the ingredients in these.”

“Rubber, cereal, tripe. Who knows? I wouldn’t touch one of them myself.”

“They’re curiously appealing,” Ignatius said, clearing his throat. “I thought that the vibrissae about my nostrils detected something unique while I was outside.”

Ignatius J. Reilly

Ignatius J. Reilly, sculpture on Canal Street.

Ignatius is such a fan of the Paradise Hot Dog, he is able to get a job as a vendor, setting out on the streets of his beloved New Orleans, pushing a heavy cart.

This does not turn out well.

George, who was wandering up Carondelet with an armload of packages wrapped in plain brown paper, heard.the cry and went up to the gargantuan vendor. “Hey, stop. Gimme one of these.”

Ignatius looked sternly at the young boy who had placed himself in the wagon’s path. His valve protested against the pimples, the surly face that seemed to hang from the long well-lubricated hair, the cigarette behind the ear, the aquamarine jacket, the delicate boots, the tight trousers that bulged offensively in the crotch in violation of all rules of theology and geometry.

“I am sorry,” Ignatius snorted. “I have only a few frankfurters left, and I must save them. Please get out of my way.”

“Save them? Who for?”

“That is none of your business, you waif. Why aren’t you in school? Kindly stop molesting me. Anyway, I have no change.”

“I got a quarter,” the thin white lips sneered. “I cannot sell you a frank, sir. Is that clear?” “Whatsa matter with you, friend?”

“What’s the matter with me? What’s the matter with you? Are you unnatural enough to want a hot dog this early in the afternoon? My conscience will not let me sell you one. Just look at your loathsome complexion. You are a growing boy whose system needs to be surfeited with vegetables and orange juice and whole wheat bread and spinach and such. I, for one, will not contribute to the debauchery of a minor.”

“Whadda you talking about? Sell me one of them hot dogs. I’m hungry. I ain’t had no lunch.”

“No!” Ignatius screamed so furiously that the pas-sersby stared. “Now get away from me before I run over you with this cart.”

George pulled open the lid of the bun compartment and said, “Hey, you got plenty stuff in here. Fix me a weenie.”

“Help!” Ignatius screamed, suddenly remembering the old man’s warnings about robberies. “Someone is stealing my buns! Police!”

My son, Lee in front of a cart.

My son, Lee in front of a cart.