Ithaca Blog

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What's In A Fast Food Name (And Bucket)

Dunkin' Donuts runs commercials on Met games on TV (yes, Met games, it ain't over till it's over), and I notice it isn't "Dunkin' Donuts" anymore, it's just "Dunkin'." I guess donuts are a little declasse, and reminiscent of Homer Simpson, and the company wants to focus on the other, more expensive foods they now sell.

It reminds me of when Kentucky Fried Chicken changed their name to KFC years ago. You probably think it was to get the word "Fried" out of the picture. Maybe, but there's another possibility.

At the time the Colonel made the change, I was a few years out of college, and worked with a younger guy named Johnny who ate KFC for lunch a couple of times a week. As he indulged one day, I mentioned the name change, and how they don't want you to think about the unhealthy fried aspect of their food.

"No," he said patiently, between bites. "It's not about the 'F'. It's about the 'C'."

"About the C?," I said.

"Uh huh," he said, pointing at the bucket. "It's not necessarily chicken."

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Quick One For The Baseball Fans

We're trying to substantiate a rumor we're trying to start, that Al Rodriguez of the NY Yankees baseball club paid that guy to hit him with that pitch in Boston. It turned him from pariah to pet among his teammates and was the best thing to happen to Rodriguez in his career since he started making choices.


The Inquiring Photographer feature in the Ithaca Times this week asked, "What's Something You Want To Do Before The Students Return?" We won't ask, but tell you, something you should do.

Buy a new shower curtain. They'll be a scarce commodity soon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Types Of Talk: NYC And Ithaca

There's a joke among us staff at GreenStar Coop, or a half-joke really, that the store should have red flags to unfurl on shopping carts and baskets for shoppers who want to signal that they are in a hurry and don't want to talk. Most of the time we're glad that people are so extravagantly friendly, but sometimes we see (and sometimes feel) that it can be a problem, too.

The problem is magnified, maybe, for ex-NYC people, such as myself. City people like to talk, but not as a way to pass time; more as a way to show how funny and smart they are. (And, of course, they are. Everyone in New York City thinks they are funnier and smarter than everyone else, and are eager to prove it.)

Thus, talk takes on a different tone. Exhibiting your cleverness takes brevity. Long-windedness is for the dull. So is lack of focus. You want to make your waggish point and walk. So does your interlocutor (at least you hope they do).

It is an art form, and a way of being, and one I haven't been able to shake, in all my years away from the city. It's one of the reasons I love the place so much. You know - I love Grand Central Station, but just partly for the architecture; more for the talk I will hear when I'm there. And for the fact that the funny person talking to me will stop before I want them to, and go.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Belly": Filling Tall Orders At Lot 10

We had a staycation here in Ithaca this week and it turns out a big highlight was a trip last night to the "Belly" food enterprise which inhabits Lot 10 bar on S. Cayuga Street every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Belly is a food truck type enterprise, sans the truck, using Lot 10 as a three-night-weekly outpost. Unfortunately for us, we work those three nights, so when we had a chance to hit it this week, we did.

We wish we could tell you about everything on the menu, because that would mean we had eaten everything on the menu, but we only had one offering, the schnitzel and spaetzle. It was so good that we didn't want anything more. Well, we did, especially when we saw the other choices coming out of the kitchen, but we left great enough alone.

The menu changes weekly, depending on what's good at the market, and the creative impulses of the chef. It is a simple but splendid formula.

Our pal Manny Flores is part of the operation. He is from Queens and has worked at some of the best restaurants in Manhattan, but also has a feel for the fast-moving and hip, the ethnic, funky, and real. This is what Queens is, after all, and Manny represents. He takes your order dressed in crisp clothes, with a quick smile and a gift of gab. You are in the hands of a pro, here, who will make sure you're not only well-fed, but laughing and relaxed, and happy to be there. It's a tall order, maybe, but Belly fills it.

It's a great place to be. Maybe we will take next Friday off, too.