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September 29, 2007

National Toast to Michael Jackson

The National Toast to Michael Jackson is tomorrow, September 30 at 9:00 PM EST (search Upcoming for “MJBeerHunter” to find the location nearest you). Proceeds from most of these toasts benefit the National Parkinson Foundation. I have wanted to go to the Standard Tap for quite some time, so this seems like the perfect reason. I am planning to head down there for one of their famous burgers and to participate in the toast.

September 28, 2007

Lobster Roll Updates [nanoblog]

Even though we didn’t get to Maine this year (*sob*), I did manage to hit a few places closer to home in September. Had my first lobster rolls in two new states (New Jersey and Rhode Island) and added three new places in Connecticut (Sea View Snack Bar in Mystic, and Sono Seaport Seafood and Sono Brewhouse, both in Norwalk) as well as a quality-control visit to Bill’s Seafood in Westbrook (they passed with flying colors). Rhode Island has a lot of places, but I just don’t get there much.


I'll be going to Rhode Island in a few months. I'll see if I can try out a couple of places.

Brick Alley is where I had mine-- overfilled with lobster to the point where I did need a fork initially, and slightly more mayo than I like, but the buttered bun was delicious!

Yoko, thanks for reporting back after your trip to Rhode Island! I have added Brick Alley to my list. Despite your reservations (which I share), it sounds like one I would like to try.

This is an update to the Philadelphia report on the lobster roll at the Philadelphia Fish & Co. You, and local food writers, and I (a local resident, lobster-roll afficianado living several blocks from Phila. Fish & Co.) had all agreed that the "Fish Co. served a good lobster roll. I would go there every couple months for my lobster roll fix. Well, when I went there about a month ago, what a horrible surprise. What I got was a gooey mess of mayonnaise-infused lobster (probably it was actually lobster SALAD) in the same good, grilled and buttered hot dog bun, and with the same wonderful fries. But the lobster roll was just totally AWFUL. The manager denied any change in the recipe, but it sure was NOT a lobster roll in the proper sense of the name.

Dwight, Thanks for the report. I am really sorry to hear that the lobster roll has gone downhill. I wish I could suggest an alternative place.

Curious...where was the place in NJ? I'd like to try it tks

Don, That was referring to Jackson Mountain Cafe in Cape May, my first roll in New Jersey. It was decent, although served on a croissant. I believe they still have it on the menu. Since then, I’ve been to Pat’s Lunch and Quahog’s Seafood Shack, both in Stone Harbor. The best overall/most authentic was Pat’s Lunch (1105 Stone Harbor Boulevard). Reviews of these places (and some other places to try in New Jersey) on this page:

September 25, 2007

Pleasant Evening Buzz

SEPTA has been running a program to try to curb what I guess they feel is rampant cell phone usage. Little posters in every car urge everyone to use their “inside voice” (what the heck is that?) on the phone. I guess it’s a problem sometimes, but it depends on the circumstances.

The morning train is dominated by a grim, funereal, almost oppressive silence so any conversation stands out. For example, one morning recently I was dimly aware that someone was droning on and on (I was concentrating on writing a post), and I didn’t really notice it until someone called them on it (the complainer was trying to concentrate on a crossword). In that case a single conversation can be hard to tune out.

Contrast that to the dynamic of the afternoon when most people are heading home. It’s practically happy hour by comparison—there’s a pleasant conversational buzz, the mood is lighter, and there are a lot of younger students on the train. If you’re really trying to concentrate, I find it’s much easier to tune out the buzz than a single conversation. Whether I am concentrating or not, I really prefer the buzz. Tonight for example, I was heading home from dinner at Gullifty’s in Rosemont, and the R5 was especially lively and pleasant. Check it out. [1.5MB mp3 1:36]


Rogue Amoeba released new software that—in a way—I’ve been using for almost two years. It’s something called Radioshift, which lets you record radio shows in a variety of formats for playback later. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time and it’s the reason I bought Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack back in early 2006. I use it like Radioshift to record about a half-dozen shows a week, usually in conjunction with VLC. Audio Hijack can even record up to three shows at once (using VLC, iTunes, and QuickTime Player), something it isn’t clear that Radioshift can do (although I’m sure it must).

Regardless, it’s the station guide that sets Radioshift apart: “The Guide has over 50,000 listings for radio stations and programs to which you can listen, and it's fully-searchable.” Yikes, that should keep you busy. That’s just great, but I’m not really looking for more shows; I’m looking for more time.

Although Rogue Amoeba has had a teaser page up for some time, I actually found out about the final release via Daring Fireball. It is “TiVo for radio” indeed.

September 21, 2007

Teresa’s Next Door

Finally made it to Teresa’s Next Door in Wayne, after a company party at the always-excellent Christopher’s. Wow, do they have a lot of beer here. Twenty-four taps, half of which were Belgian and two hand pumps (currently dispensing Yards ESA and Troegs HopBack Amber). In addition, they also offer about 250 beers in bottles, at least 150 of which were Belgian. (Is Belgium that big a country?) I was only there for half an hour and my head was spinning from all the choices. I finally decided on Brewer’s Art Resurrection (an Abbey-style dubbel). Very good. I really need to brush up on my “Belgian.”


Impressive! Thanks for the tip. I seldom get out to Wayne but now I have an excellent reason. Cheers.

September 20, 2007

Anthony Lane on the Cult of Leica

Two people emailed me about an article in the New Yorker on Leica cameras. As if I had any interest in Leicas. :-) After reading it, I have to say: You can't pay for this kind of press. Cult indeed. Unfortunately, it did not inspire me to run out and purchase a new Leica, something that would actually benefit their struggling enterprise. If anything, I would rather snag an old M3 or a classic lens, but such a purchase is simply out of the question, so I settled for a surreptitious fondling of my trusty M4, which turned 40 years young this year (it has both a new shutter and rangefinder, so it’s practically brand new).

You can read Anthony Lane’s article if you’re interested in a rosy and romantic assessment of the Leica rangefinder. For a contrasting opinion, however, I highly recommend reading Paul Ross’s view; it always makes me smile. Not that I am that forthright myself about the Leica’s limitations. I not only drank the Kool-Aid, but I always keep a full pitcher in the fridge for guests.

Oddly, the first mention I saw of the New Yorker article was on Daring Fireball. Who knew John Gruber was interested in antiques.

September 19, 2007

Ludwigs Garten Closing? [nanoblog]

So says phillyskyline. And I’ve never even been there.


i can't believe it! their beer is always fresh, their food wonderful, their curvy women in lederhosen fun to look at.

i'll have to get there before it closes shop.

just what we need more of in CC, overpriced condos.

September 14, 2007

The Bridges of Philadelphia County

We headed down to Cape May earlier this week which got us talking about bridges and their names. Anne wondered aloud what a commodore was (a computer? Lionel Ritchie’s first band?) and why it was so important that the bridge was named Commodore Barry instead of just plain John Barry in the manner of all the other bridges. Maybe it would make more sense if the other bridges were renamed to honor their namesake’s achievements.

“Hmm, what’s the best way? Should we take the Poet Whitman Bridge or the Statesman Franklin Bridge?”

“You know, that Tacony-Palmyra bridge is kind of narrow. I always liked the Seamstress Ross Bridge better.”


Wait, Commodore Barry is two words? I always thought that I was taking the commadoorbarry.

The strange name makes for strange signs on I-295 - how is someone not from this area supposed to know what a "Com Bar Br" is?

September 13, 2007

Face Time: My First Wet Shave

The first day of “wet shaving” went pretty well. The first shave wasn’t really any closer or smoother, but it was a lot more fun. I have a low-maintenance face and never had any problems with irritation or ingrown hairs, so I can’t report that wet shaving will cure any issues you might have. I would like to mention, however, that I learned that I have always been shaving the wrong way. Like everything else, it’s more about the technique than the equipment.

Merkur Hefty Classic razor and Vulfix shaving brush

Merkur Hefty Classic razor with Merkur blade and Vulfix shaving brush loaded with Truefitt and Hill Ultimate Comfort Shaving Cream lather.

If I had to pick one item from the classic shaving toolset (shaving cream, brush, double-edge razor) that most improved my shave, it would be the cream. The lather you make from this stuff is significantly more hydrated than the canned foam or even what I used to use, Edge gel. I think it’s the lather that makes the razor (any razor) work so well. The other factor is technique.

Among the wealth of information I found online was a series of videos on YouTube illustrating the technique of making lather and shaving with a double-edged razor. (Even if you don’t care about shaving, the videos are short, entertaining, and just generally well-made.) The principle I learned was to never shave unlathered skin. In contrast what I have always done is make an initial pass, which cut whiskers, of course, but also removed all the lather, and then scrape over the same now-dry area to get any missed spots. The right way is to make one pass over each area and move on. Finish your whole face and then if necessary lather and repeat. The second pass will likely go very fast.


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Waiting for your message.

The secret to wet-shaving is getting yourself a good double-edge Merkur razor, shaving soap or cream and a shaving brush. Different people prefer different razors and with time you will find the one that works best for you. For starters a medium size, moderately priced, new razor will do the job.

Peter, I guess you couldn’t be bothered to actually read the post before commenting, but I did get a Merkur Hefty Classic and have been using it happily for two years now. That’s mine in the picture above.

I apologize for I overlooked the photo. Always have a great shave day! Visit also my blog if you have time.

Okay, so the original post has some age on it. But most modern-day double egde shaving guys are not too fond of the Merkur blades. The razors are favored, but the blades just don't "cut it." Iridium Supers or Gillette 7 O'Clock SharpEdge are excellent and sharp. Everything else is right on.

Roger, Totally agree. I started with a sample pack from West Coast Shaving (Merkur, Feather, Crystal, Derby Extra, and Personna) and the Merkur was clearly the worst. I liked the Derby best because it was the only blade I never cut myself with. See this related post ( about blades. After two years I am still using Derby Extra and Nancy Boy Signature cream. I'll have to give the Iridium Supers and Gillette SharpEdges a try, though, when the Derbys run out. Thanks!

looks like an old school razor! :)

September 3, 2007

Michael Jackson Dies

I’ve been away for two days and just beginning to catch up with the outpouring of tributes and reminiscences following “Beer Hunter” Michael Jackson’s death on August 30. I came to beer very late in life, and in fact, I had never even heard of Michael Jackson until earlier this year when he arrived in Philadelphia to host his annual dinner and beer tasting at Penn’s University Museum. His Beer Hunter site now redirects to that features some memorial posts and links to other tributes. The most surprising thing I learned is the existence of the British Guild of Beer Writers. I had no idea there were enough beer writers in the UK to form a guild, but judging from the size of the membership, there certainly are.

Farewell to a titan. Local luminary Lew Bryson’s post is a good place to start.

September 1, 2007

Independents Hall Grand Opening Party

Second only to BlogPhiladelphia in scope, today’s the day of what promises to be the biggest gathering of Philly’s Web 2.0 indie talent (if that’s a fair although inadequate description) that I had planned to attend this year. Except that I can't go. Waaaah!

I’m talking about the Independents Hall Grand Opening party. (Indy Hall is a coworking space in Old City founded by web developer/entrepreneur Alex Hillman.) Celebrity appearances include Scott and Marisa from, Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV, and Jay Graves of BarDiver. More info at Upcoming. Looks like over 50 people have committed to attending. No pressure, Alex. :-) It will be a blast, I’m sure.


And it was a blast but I still wish you could have made it. Waaaah!