Do you relive that after breathing of Air, Water, Food, Clothing, and Shelter, Coffee is the single most important thing and one of life’s necessities to millions. Take it away, you’ll survive but you won’t be happy. You want it, you love, you need it. Coffee!
Late October 2012, Hurricane Sandy, aka “Frankenstorm” Hits New York and a much of the East Coast and inflicts quite a bit of devastation. A large part of New York City loses electricity including Lower Manhattan below 26th Street, the rest of the lucky SOBs above 26th had power. Now we’re in our apartments no Electricity, No Heat, No Hot Water, No TV, No Internet, No Power !!!
We lost power at about 9 PM at night. I went downstairs and hung out with Giovanni and the boys at Bar Pitti . They lost their electricity, but their Emergency Lights were on. We sat around, drank some good Italian Wine, at Salami and talked about the Storm. Frankestorm as it would come to be known.
So I had some batteries for my portable Radio and knew they had electrical power above 26th Street .. So I hung out at Bar Pitti until their emergency lights batteries went dead, th lights went off, Giovanni closed down the restaurant and we all went home. Me to a dark apartment, no girlfriend, no lights, no TV, no nothing. I listened to the Radio and fell asleep about 1 in the morning.
I awoke about 9, turned on the radio, went to the bathroom, boiled some water to take a bath, took a bath, got dressed and left the house on what would become my FrankenStorm Odyssey. I left the house (apartment) about 10, walk around the hood to see what was up. I saw my buddy Jimmy B and Charlie outside on Cornelia Street .. We chatted for about 15 minutes and I told them I was heading up to Midtown. I needed some Coffee and was looking to charge my Cel Phone and Laptop Batteries and looking to see if I could get some Internet Access. I told them their was electricity up there and I was going to go to a Starbucks, get a Coffee and see if I could charge-up and get on The Net … So I walked a half block from Jimmy’s place to Sixth Avenue and I was on my way up 6th, to Midtown in Search of Electricity and Coffee. I thought for sure I’d find them at Starbucks. As I turned out I couldn’t have been more wrong …
Anyway I walked up 6th Ave which about 40 years ago the city tried naming Avenue of The America’s. It never caught on. New Yorkers wouldn’t have it. They wouldn’t call it that, but continued calling it 6th Avenue and the city was forced to keep it at that. That’s New Yorkers. And during and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers just like they have many times, on 9/11 and other tough times, we’d show what we were made of. We’re “Tough,” we’re Strong, we pull together and are at our Best when the going gets tough.
I’m walking up Sixth Avenue and at this new little cafe were Joe Jr.’s Diner and Burger Joint used to be (now sadly GONE), the cafe was open for business and people were in there hanging out and drinking stuff, and of course talking about the storm, being without power and what not. So I go in. They have hot Tea, bottled juice, and mineral water, but no coffee. I get a bottle of juice, sit down, relax, and convert with others around me. I hung for about 15 minutes, then took-off, it was back up 6th ave. I decided to head over to the Ace Hotel on 29th Street and Broadway .. I often go there for some Stumptown Coffee and to hang out in the lobby banging stuff out on my laptop. I got there, and plenty of people were outside, but the hotel which is always quite cordial, were not letting and outsiders in and the lobby was just for guest of the hotel and no-one else could hang out in the what would now be a Paradise in the midst of a Blackout, a bi g spacious hotel lobby that had Electricity, Coffee, tables and chairs. Couldn’t get in. Hey, I don’t really blame them, they have to take care of their guest and it would have been a mob seen if anyone was aloud in. On my way to The Ace I passed a Starbucks at 1140 Broadway. They had electrical power here but Starbucks was closed. I walked past 2 other Starbucks as I continued walking around Midtown in search of coffee, power, and open Starbucks, but there were none to be found. There were Starbucks, they had power, but none were open for business. Now I’m no idiot, and I relive we are in the middle of a crisis and that although these Starbucks have power, the people that work at them, many might like in the boroughs of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, the Subways are shut-down (“Oh I forgot to mention that! That’s why I’m walking!”) and “most” people can’t get to work. That’s most, “but not all.” There’s like 100 Starbucks around. I realize that they wouldn’t be able to open all of them. But I just don’t believe that every single one is closed, that not even a few are open. Those SOB’s at Starbucks let us Down! We needed Coffee more than ever, there was not a Starbucks open anywhere insight. “They let New Yorkers down.” BIG TIME! I do not believe that they could not muster opening a fraction of their many Starbucks Shops with Skeleton Crews. Impossible! There were McDonalds and other businesses open, but “No Starbuck!” No Coffee when New Yorkers needed Coffee and Starbucks most, Starbucks let New Yorkers down. They are not New Yorkers! They don’t have the New York Spirit, the company, otherwise they would have had a few places open, serving New Yorkers Coffee, Wifi, and a bit of charging. They let New York down during Sandy and for this, i will never forgive them, “Starbucks Sucks!”
I never really liked them. I’m a New Yorker, “I hate chain corporate places.” I love cafes and go to independent ones, not Starbucks, not often anyway. I only use them rarely and out of convenience when I’m in a neighborhood other than my own and I need to get to a cafe for coffee to sit down and get on the laptop, if there is no other place around, I’ll go to Starbucks, then and only then, I don’t really care for Starbucks.
Anyway, I’ve gone on and on. The point is Starbucks Sucks. They let New York City and New Yorkers down in the time we “Needed” them most, Starbucks was not there for us, and I find this unforgivable.
During my Hurricane Sandy Midtown Odyssey that lasted 14 hours from the time I left my apartment in Greenwich Village at 10 AM and got home right at the stroke of Mid-Night 14 hours later, i went to the little Cafe on 6th Ave & 12th Street, walked around looking for Starbucks (never found 1 open though I passed about 20), I went in the Benjamin Hotel used their bathroom then hung in the lobby for about 30 minutes. I then went across the street to the Waldorf Astoria Hotel where I sat down on the rug, plugged in my Cel Phone and Laptop and hung out for 2 and half hours. “Thank You Waldorf.” I then started to walk towards Times Square and found a McDonalds open on I believe it was East 46th Street between Madison and 5th Avenue. I sat down, got a Angus Burger with Cheese, Fries and a large coffee, “McDonalds did not let New Yorkers down as those SOBS from Starbucks.” I was at McDonalds eating my Burger and Fries for about 30 minutes. I then went to the nice atrium next door with half of my McDonalds large coffee, and hung out their with my laptop and their Wifi for about 20 minutes. I then decided to walk over to Times Square. I walked over to Times Square, nothing much was happening and I had an idea.
I love the Algonquin Hotel and decided to go over, have a couple cocktails and hang in the beautiful lobby for a while. It was great there. I sat down at a nice table and ordered a Bourbon Old Fashion. The service there is great, I was welcomed and well taken care of. There were electrical outlets and I charged my Cel Battery and my laptop and settled in, writing, sipping my Old Fashion and just having a grand time. I ordered a couple more drinks, I had a Turkey Club Sandwich and a couple pots of Tea. I was at the Algonquin for 3 and a half hours and had an absolutely wonderful time. The service was impeccable.
At 11:15 PM I decided it was time to go home. I left the Algonquin, walked down over to Broadway and walked down Broadway past Macy’s and The Empire State Building, the lights were on, but when I got into the high 20s I could see darkness below. I continued walking down Broadway and when I got to 26th Street, there was Electricity and lights-on on the North Side of 26th Street, but just a few feet away on the Southern Side of East 26th Street at Broadway there was no Electricity, no lights and i could see down south to what looked like a dark abyss, and I was walking down into it. I walked down Broadway and made a right on23red Street. It was pitch black.
I walked across the dark of 23rd Street and made a left onto 6th Avenue and down 6th to my building on 6ht Avenue and Bleecker. It was exactly 12 Midnight when I walked into the Pitch-Black of the hallway of my building and up the stairs with my little flashlight. My Odyssey was over. I got Coffee but not at a Starbucks. I got on my Computer and Charged my batteries, not at Starbucks but at The Waldorf, The Algonquin, and McDonalds.
“Hey did I tell you, Starbucks Sucks!”
YES STARBCKS SUCKS !!!
And So Does KANYE WEST
An ABNOXIOUS A-HOLE with a BIG DUMB STUPID ASS MOUTH and SHITTY MUSIC
The GRAMMYS Will SUCK TONIGHT !!! Wanna Know Why ??? THE MUSIC SUCKS !especially with “SO-CALLED” musical artist like the A-HOLE KNAYE WEST !!! They Don’t Make any good Music anymore, JUST CRAP that would NEVER Have made it back in the 50s 60 70s or even 80s .. KANYE WEST SUCKS !! BEYONCE is just SO SO as is JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE .. There are only a VERY FEW GOOD Artist these days, like : ALICIA KEYS, Celo Green, and not many other. Old timers like STEVEN TYLER are AWESOME as is ELTON JOHN, but all the NEW ACTS SUCK so BAD it isn’t even funny. IT’s SAD to SEE WHAT HAS HAPPENED to MUSIC. THE GOOD STUFF Has DIED. Thank god we’ve got Recordings of SINATRA, THE ROLLING STONES, all The GREAT R&B Artist of the 50s & 60’s, POP and ROCK music of those times.
THE MUSIC TODAY SUCKS !!! and So Does The GRAMMYS Thar A – HOLE KANYES WEST couldn’t SHINE The SHOES of anyone from the 60s or 70s. KEEP DREAMING KANYE !!!
This Guy is ONE of The Biggest ASSHOLES Ever in the ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS
If he was around trying to make it in the music business back in the 60s and 70s when there were Great Musical Acts like HAROLD MELVIN & THE BLUE NOTES, THE STYLISTICS, THE CHIFFONS, THE ROLLING STONES, FRANK SINATRA (still around then), DIANNA ROOS & The SUPREMES, The MAMMAS & THE PAPAS and so many more the list goes on and on. KANYE would have never made it in the music business and would have had to work for a living instead of making MILLIONS of DOLLARS a Year for making SHITTY MUSIC that people with HORRIBLE Taste buy and support as a large Majority of the public of the United States has such CRAPPY TATSTE in MUSIC and other things like SHITTY TV SITCOM SHOWS and what-not ..
It is so very sad to see what has happened to MUSIC in the PAST 20 YEARS or so, that it SUCKS So BAD, it’s PITIFUL … Well as I’ve said, myself and those who do have GOOD TATSTE are able to listen to The Sounds of SINATRA, POP, R*B, and ROCK Music from the 60s, 70s and 80s. All I can say is thank God for all those great Musical Artist as they don’t Make ANY GOOD MUSIC ANYMORE … JUST SHIT Like KANYE and all The HORRIBLE RAP and so-called alternative Rock and all the other SHIT whatever it’s called. It’s so very sad …
This article was originally written and published by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke on January 16, 2012
Yes Boys and girls, we’ve got a Steak’n Shake. In new York that is. Not that very many of you have ever been yearning or heard of it. The popular Mid-West Burger (Not Steaks) and Shake Joint. Well I guess they must be thousands of native Mid-Westerners living in New York who’ve been dying for one, I’m sure at least 98% of New Yorker’s ever heard of these guys. Until I saw them featured on a Food Show once, I’d never heard of them.
Anyway, they opened on Broadway and 53rd Street the other day. Went up there today to check them out. Was checking out SeriousEats Burgers when I saw the piece and was reminded of them. Since I was just about to finish up my ritualistic Sunday Morning Coffee at Once Upon a Tarte and was thinking about what I was going to do for lunch, here it was. I’d jump on the 1 Train and take it up to 50th Street and try me one of those Steak’n Shake Burgers. A Original Double’n Fires to be exact, as I read in the SeriousEats piece that this was one the thing to get, and for just $3.99, a nice Double Patty Cheeseburger with Lettuce Tomato and onions, along with some Hand-Cut Fries. Got a Coke to go with that. I’ll try a Shake on the next visit, along with their other signature Burger the 6 oz. Organic Beef Burger with Fries.
So I get to the Steak’n Shake and I’m happy to see there is no line, and not crowded. Just 1 customer ahead of me. I get to the counter and am greater by a tall Pretty Girl. Wonder if she’s a Mid-Westerner? Well, she sure is pretty, and friendly to boot. I order my “Original” Double’n Fries and a Coke, and it comes to just a little over 6 Bucks. Not too bad for a Double Cheesebuger with Fies and a Coca-Cola to boot. And how will it taste. They say they’re good. I believe them, and I’ll find out soon enough. My buzzer lites up and vibrates, signaling that my order is ready. I get it.
Pull it out of the bag. It looks pretty good. Guess what? It is, pretty Dam Good that is. I like it. Not the best in the World, but very good. The Fries are excellent, Fresh, Crispy, seasoned properly, cooked just right. Yummm, I love em. And as for the comparison to my own top, New York’s Best Burger (my Opinion and personal preference), it’s the other Shake in the name Burger Joint that for me is new York’s Best, and that’s Shake Shack. Well, Shake Shack’s # 1 Spot is intact. That’s my top spot. Hold on now, stop your yelling and screaming. That’s my own personal preference. I’m not saying they are the Best in New York, though for me they are the Best, and give me a minute and I’ll tell you why. I know some will say Minetta’s Black Label Burger get’s the Top Nod (I like the Minetta Burger BETTER), some might say The Luger Burger at Peter Luger is Best and I love this one as well, New York’s Best Burgers are many, but although I love the Burgers at Peter Luger, Minetta Tavern, The Spotted Pig, even The Corner Bistro now and then, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I really like McDonalds now and then. Yes I do. Hey i have the Balls to admit, they’re actually better than many a “So-Called” renowned Burger of much higher prices and supposed High-Quality and Goodness. “Not!”
Now as to why I choose The Shake Shack Cheeseburger as New York’s Best, # 1, First Prize, Champ, and I know I’m gonna get flack, hey this is my personal choice. But I’ll tell you one thing about Me and Burgers, and this is fact. I know a hell of a lot more than most about this great American Invention. For one, I’m a food professional and former Chef. I have not recently jumped on the Burger Bandwagon in the past few years or so. I’ve been eating these bad boys for forty years and along with Sunday Sauce and Cannolis, I was weened on these things. My Dad took us to Diners Hot-Dog and Burger Joints all over the North East Coast of the United States chopping on Cheeseburgers and Dogs all along the way.
Now, let me tell you what, without question thee Best Burgers around are 4-6 ounce Patty’s 1/2 to 3/4 inch think, no more, can be less. Big Fat-Ass 8, 9, 10 ounce Burgers are over done and plain just don’t taste as good as a ones made of 4-6 ounce patties and no thicker then 3/4 of an inch. Also, they must “Cook in Their Own Fat” on a Flat-Top Grill, not a grated grill that lets the fat get lost and creates hard unappetizing grill marks. These Burgers that are usually about 4-5 ounce (can be 6) and that are cooked in their own fat on a Flat-Top Grill and served on a soft either Sesame Seed or Potato Bun, or regular seedless soft bun with White or Yellow American Cheese are tops and these kind of Burgers are known as Diner Burgers. Forget those Thick-Ass 12 and 12 oz. burgers cooked medium-rare. They are too thick and too much rare ground beef just doesn’t taste good, and especially if the meat is Dry Aged Ground Beef. Do you know what Dry Aged Beef is Actually? It’s meat that is slowly under control deteriorating, and this kind of meat just doesn’t taste good in ground form cooked rare or medium rare. Thick Burgers that are under cooked, do not have near the great taste of thinner burgers cooked through or close to thoroughly cooked at medium-well. Reason being that thinner burgers have a high ration of browned-meat to the whole total some of meat, and this is where the great flavor comes in, the two outside sides of a burgers patty that is browned, 90% of the flavor is here, and the thicker the burger the smaller the good ratio of browned meat to not-browned is, thus making for a less tasty burger, a half inch to 3/4 of an inch is best for the Tastiest Burger possible. These are just facts people, not opinions. This is the reason why a Shake Shack Burger taste better than a Black Label Burger at Minetta Tavern. For what a Burger is (Ground Beef) and for the BEST way to cook it for Best Tastiest results, the burger should not be too thick, and it should be cooked on a Flat Top Grill to at least Medium or Medium-Well, not rare or medium rare. So there you have it, The Shake Shack Burger is the Best in Town, and the TASTIEST BURGERS all across America are these types of Burgers, about 4-5 ounces, not too thick and cooked on a flat top grill. Basta.
Oh, what about the burgers at Steak’n Shake. Well, they get high marks. They are very tasty, good quality beef, cooked on a flat top grill. Get em.
Daniel Bellino Zwicke
BEST BURGER in TOWN …. SHAKE SHACK BURGER
“SORRY BLACK LABEL ….IT’S NOT YOU”