Ithaca Blog

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is foremost among holidays at withstanding commercialization. Funny, as it is the prototypical American holiday, and commercialization is practically our national hobby.

Last week in Ithaca a Native American man speaking about the history of Thanksgiving said he sure does celebrate the holiday, as it was originally half his peoples', and its intent is to celebrate peace.

It can be a particularly peaceful day, or at least quiet, as it is a secular holiday, so almost everyone observes it, and almost no one works. We remember a Thanksgiving morning a few years ago with a light snow on the ground at about 9 a.m., and absolutely no tire tracks on downtown streets. None. That is a quiet morning.

We wish you a happy day, with a full table in a full house, and a heart full of peace.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

All 3 Ithaca P&C's To Close?

News came this morning that the parent company of P&C supermarkets is bankrupt, and will close its three Ithaca stores.

Apparently there is a possibility that a store, or stores, could re-open; but the parent company is in the middle of, not beginning, bankruptcy proceedings, so from outside it seems unlikely.

It is hard to imagine that the East Hill branch does not make money, with its favorable geographic and demographic location. But it might be more valuable to the company to sell than operate.

We are sorry for P&C's workers, who number over 100 in Ithaca.

Certainly, P&C has a legacy in Ithaca. But, among other factors, the arrival of Wegman's signaled a new era of high standards among food markets here.

For the sake of its workers, and the community at large, we hope the management of Tops is thinking hard.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Review Preview: Wildfire Lounge

Ithaca Blog has been getting copious hits by people searching for info on Wildfire Lounge, the new restaurant in the old space of the Lost Dog Cafe, on S. Cayuga St.

We will have a chance to provide knowledge and insights after tomorrow, when we will visit the place, not only to meal up, but also to see a show created by Natasha Pickowicz, the talented writer and energetic promoter who apparently will soon leave Ithaca.

Natasha's niche has been presenting emerging musicians in appreciative settings for not much admittance fee, reflecting her own DIY sensibility, enthusiasm, and knowledge and love of music.

The headliners tomorrow are actually pretty much emerged. Richie Stearns will grace the stage, playing, we gather, experimental and new rather than old-timey stuff. Matt Valentine and Erika Elder, who have worked and toured nationally with acts such as Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth, purvey what Ms. Pickowicz describes as rural blues/psych rock/free folk. The duo has an affinity for Michael Hurley, which is enough for us.

Admittance is $5. Doors open at 8 and the show is scheduled for 9.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Gimme Coffee Opens On Green Street

Gimme Coffee has opened a new shop on Green St., in a space leased from TCAT.

TCAT solicited a coffee shop to accommodate bus patrons at its Green Street terminus, where every bus starts, stops, or passes.

Until now, there was no inside space accommodating commuters at Green Street.

The coffeeshop is located between the library and Urban Outfitters, across the street from the new Cinemapolis.

Hours are 7 am - 9 pm.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gas Drilling Rally & Hearing, Thursday 19 November

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation holds a hearing tonight on proposals for chemical drilling for gas deposits in our region.

The hearing is at the State Theater, at 7 pm.

Doors open at 6 pm for persons who wish to sign up to speak.

Organizations against the drilling urge citizens to arrive early, claiming that industry representatives have packed other hearings, to keep opponents out.

Shaleshock, a local grassroots group opposing the drilling, will hold a rally on the Commons before the hearing. The rally starts at 4:30 pm.

Stephen Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ithaca Hours on Local TV News Tonight

News 10 Now is scheduled to air a segment on Ithaca Hours, the local currency, tonight.

The first showing is at 6 pm. It repeats throughout the night, on a schedule we are not quite aware of.

It was quite a blow to Ithaca when channel 10 became a regional news show rather than local. These days there is a lot more about Syracuse, Binghamton, and even Watertown than us. So we like to alert people when we know of an Ithaca segment.

Of course, we generally only know of them when we appear in them. Part of tonight's segment on Hours was shot here at Small World Music, physical home of Ithaca Blog, and an Ithaca Hours business.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ithaca Weekend, Nov. 13 - 15

Fri. 13 Nov.: A band named Hee Haw Nightmare doesn't figure to be scared of Friday the 13th. Neither does eternally intrepid Ani DiFranco. They are at Felicia's at 5:30. She is at the State at 8.

CDs by both these performers are available at Small World Music, in the basement of Autumn Leaves Books, on the Commons.

* * *

Sat. 14 Nov.: 17th Annual Tibetan Cultural Day. Tibetan food, art, and performance. 10:30 - 3:30, St. Paul's Methodist Church, 402 N. Aurora St. For tickets, call 273-0739 or 351-6257.

* * *

Sun. 15 Nov.: Celebration of African and African-American Art. Johnson Museum, Cornell, 1-4 pm. Free.

Enter the Haggis. Off-kilter Celtic, at Castaways, 8 pm.

have fun -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Gimme Coffee, Mott Street

We recently spent a week in New York City and in order to show off our provincial pride in Ithaca we took our Manhattan hosts to Mott Street, to the Gimme Coffee outpost there.

Gimme's first foray into NYC was a branch in Williamsburg, the first stop in Brooklyn on the L train from Manhattan. It didn't take long for the accolades to come. Entry into Manhattan might not have been inevitable, but must have beckoned big the while.

The Mott Street location is small, like half a subway car. The block is stylish, which means a lot of stores selling expensive things no one needs; the good coffee at Gimme is the exception.

Inside, it looks like Ithaca, with familiar Gimme accoutrements and design, including the fonts on the menu board.

It felt funny to be inside a seeming slice of Ithaca within Manhattan, as if a Wizard of Oz type tornado had swept the place up and plunked it down, far off.

Even the swirl on top of the froth was familiar. Of course, the coffee was great.

Will you go? If you do, we have something else on Mott Street to recommend: the Buddha Bodai restaurant.

The Buddha Bodai is one of those only-in-NY type places: Chinese, vegan, and kosher. A true, and unique, triple threat.

It is all the way down Mott Street, at #5, near the street's southern end. It's a pleasant walk through Chinatown, which burgeons in earnest south of Canal Street.

The restaurant is bright and spotless. The menu is simple, with vegan takes on American-style Chinese food. The food is fresh and delicious. The prices are too low.

We had lunch specials that were so filling, fine and cheap that I don't recall exactly what they included or cost. I just remember great plates of food, excellent hot and sour soup, fortifying tea, and an easy, light exit.

Mott Street also has a bunch of bakeries with pastries that average about a dollar a pop. There is nothing refined about them but the sugar. They are great and we bought what amounted to a few pounds worth for less than a saw.

Mott Street has character and centuries of history that you can feel. We congratulate the Gimme crew on joining it.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca Blog

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Three Seatings for Benefit Latin Dinner on Tues. 10 Nov.

Mary Anne Grady of La Cocina Latina was at Farmers Market this morning buying more garlic for her catering gig this Tuesday.

La Cocina Latina is cooking for a benefit dinner sponsored by CUSLAR (the Committee on U.S. - Latin American Relations)to close the School of the Americas.

The School of the Americas, in Fort Benning, Georgia, is a taxpayer-funded military facility that trains right-wing Latin American forces implicated in brutal killings of civilians - including religious workers, and U.S. citizens.

The annual Convergence on Fort Benning is November 20 - 22. Proceeds from the dinner benefit the action.

Mary Anne Grady is a well-known peace activist - and Latin American cook. Her black beans and chicken are renowned around town. Not to mention her flan.

There are 3 seatings for the dinner: 6, 7:30, and 9 pm. Tickets are $12, or $25 for families, or call Mary Anne at 273-7437 for sliding scale rates. The location is the Oasis Dance Club (formerly the Common Ground), 1230 Danby Road.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

We Like That Samurai Sushi, Toaster Oven Or Not

$2.95 sushis make a pretty resplendent lunch, and that's what we had today, as posted earlier.

We will remark upon the salmon skin sushi. We like to try new things, and liked it well enough, though we noticed that a toaster oven was involved in its preparation, which seemed strange. Isn't sushi raw?

We didn't ask, because we didn't want to start anything, plus what do we know? The first time we ever prepared guacamole, we included the skin of the avocado, because the recipe didn't say not to. (We were only 19, but, and figured out the mistake pretty fast.)

on the culinary forefronts,
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

More Sushi

Okay. The name of the sushi restaurant on the Commons, next door to us here at Small World Music/Angry Mom Records/Autumn Leaves Books, is Samurai.

We could probably even have guessed that, rather than keep readers waiting after our semi-pro review of the place here last month, where we wrote favorably of this place without knowing its name. It's Samurai. Like a lot of pizza places are Vesuvio.

The timely update today is that Samurai has Wednesday lunchtime specials. About half a dozen menu items are at half-price.

We put in an order for California roll, which we're familiar with, and Salmon Skin roll, which we're not. We didn't even know salmon had skin. But we figured we'd try something new, at $2.95.

we'll let you know -
Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog