Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eating Out in Long Valley: Liola’s Portuguese & American Barbeque


(Image taken from: barbecue-party.com)

There’s American Barbeque, with your pulled pork, your chicken wings, and your chicken breasts, and then there’s your Portuguese Barbeque, with your garlic shrimp, your marinated pork chops, and your chorizo. Which one should you get? Decisions, decisions.

Well, in most towns—if they even have barbeque, that is—you have to go out of your way if you want, either or. But guess what, Long Valley residents, you’re in luck, as both can be found under one roof at Liola’s Portuguese and American Barbeque at 38 East Mill Road. It’s a spot like none other in the area, and owner, Joe Belardo, likes it that way.

“I love doing this,” Belardo says, who has been in the business of serving food full time for a little under three months now, “It has its ups and its downs, but [I think this is] a good first experience.”

Belardo was formerly in the steel business, but he lost his job when the industry got slow. But he didn’t lose hope because he always had another passion lingering on the side.

“I went to culinary school,” Belardo says proudly, “And I always had a business on the side [while I was in the steel business]. Pig roasting.”

That pig roasting came in handy when a Portuguese spot came available with the grill already on the premises. Belardo swooped right in and bought it, keeping his American barbeque plans in focus.

“Southern BBQ is my real love,” Belardo says, “But the restaurant had the grill here, and they’re [American and Portuguese BBQ] similar, so that’s why I took over the place.”

And the reception has been quite good so far.

“People have been very accepting,” Belardo says, “There are people who say, ‘I hope you stay around.’”

That said, the building itself is not very large, and while there are tables inside, this is more of a take-out kind of place. But that might change a bit when the summer rolls around.

“We have a big front porch,” Belardo says, who hopes to open it up to people to sit at when the weather improves.

But what about the food itself? While they don’t serve burgers here—yet—they do have a wide assortment of meals that will get you to fall in love with BBQ if you haven’t already.

“We have cheesesteaks, pulled pork, which we sell a lot of,” Belardo says, “grilled vegetables, chicken wings. We get a lot of repeat customers.”

As for the Portuguese portion, he said it’s really not all that much different, but different enough that it’s noticeable.

“You marinate the meat a little more with Portuguese BBQ,” Belardo says, “once you know the basics, you can cook almost anything.”

And cooking anything that the people like to eat seems to be Belardo’s MO.
“I’ve always like to cook a variety of things,” Belardo says.

###

LIOLA’S PORTUGUESE AND AMERICAN BARBEQUE
WHERE: 38 East Mill Road, Long Valley
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-876-0002
HOURS: Mon-Sat: 11:00AM-8:00PM, Closed on Sunday
CUISINE: American and Portuguese Barbeque
PAYMENT: Cash, checks, and all major credit cards except American Express
PRICE RANGE: Pulled Pork: $6.00, Sausage and Frites, 6 in, $5.00, 12 in, $6.50, BBQ Chicken, half, $7.50, whole, $13.00
DRESS: Casual
THE SCENE: The inside is small, but it’s all about the take-out, which thrives in this tiny shop.
ATMOSPHERE: It may be small, but everything here is freshly made in the back, and when the summer comes, it’s going to be nice to sit out on the porch and eat.
PARKING: In the lot
OWNER: Joe Belardo
Website: http://www.liolas.com/

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Nintendo 3DS Makes Me Sick! Literally


(Image taken from: freethegadgets.com)

Wow. Nintendo's new handheld, the Nintendo 3DS, is either going to be really, really big, or a complete and utter disaster. And before you say, well, duh, Rich, that's the same with all new technology, let me clarify. I'm not talking, Nintendo has to get a new wallet to put all the money that they might potentially make with this, success. Or that they might have to make the handheld cheaper because they aren't selling enough units, failure. I'm talking about, they're going to have to open their own bank, success, or, well, Virtual Boy-like failure. And for me, I'm leaning toward the latter rather than the former. But I could be wrong. People might WANT to advance evolution by a thousand years optically, because for me, the 3D aspect kills my eyes after only about 20 minutes. It seriously left me dizzy and groping for a wall once I put it down, which isn't good. In fact, if anything, it actually reminds me of the Virtual Boy when it first came out, and that's not good at all. At least you have the ability to turn off the 3D if you start to feel uncomfortable, but what's the point of that? This is truly a gimmicky product if it's really only meant to be played in 2D, as the 3D is an eyesore. Oh, and the launch titles suck.


(Image taken from: venturebeat.com)

That said, I'm going to try and give you my honest opinion about it. I'm a Nintendo fanboy through and through, so please excuse any bias that might slip through at times. But when a console is bad, it's bad, so I'll try to keep myself as objective as possible. And now, onto my thoughts...

The Hardware

The system itself is a sexy beast very much in line with the DSi, but a little snazzier. There's the new analog circle pad for one thing, which was bound to happen eventually. For the game I played on it, which was Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, it wasn't entirely necessary, as the D-pad worked just fine for me. Then again, I grew up with a D-pad, so I'm used to it. But for all those newbies out there who grew up with Halo, well, you might need it if you're from that X-Box generation. It's definitely appreciated and might work well for future titles, especially for first-person shooters, which are bound to be coming down the pike very soon.

Next, is the dual screen, which is pretty much the same as the DSi's but with one difference. The top screen is now the 3D screen, and the bottom one remains the touch screen. So if you thought that BOTH screens would be in 3D, well, you'd be wrong, as only the top screen supports it. That said, whatever is going on inside the top screen, which is a tad bit bigger than the DSi's, makes these visuals really pop out, even when they're not playing in 3D. Seriously, the graphics for this thing are incredible and look just as good--no lie--as stuff that you might find on the home consoles. And I'm not just talking shitty Wii quality, either, but actual PS3 quality. At least, anyway, for Super Street Fighter, which means that it probably handles cartoon visuals really well. It might not handle realistic looking textures so well, though. It's still too early to say. There aren't enough titles out there right now to tell.

There's also a gyroscope, which allows you to play some motion capture games, like Face Raider, which I'll get back down to below.


(Image taken from: forums.bit-tech.net)

The motion capture works really well. Damn well, actually, much better than it ever has on a handheld device before. So if Nintendo had just added this to the DS, I think that they would have sold like gangbusters. I can see companies taking this a lot of places. It works great.

There's also the new Home button on the console. It's kind of like the Home button on the Wii console, so if you're familiar with that, it's the same damn thing.

On the upper right hand corner of the console's face, different colors will show up, like red, blue, green, and orange. Each color indicates something different, like internet connectivity (Orange) or if the battery is running low (red). It certainly makes things simpler.


(Image taken from: questional.com)

A sort of cradle comes with the system to charge it on, so it can be put in infinite sleep if you want to. It's kind of radical.

The game slot on the back allows you to play both 3DS games and regular DS games. That said, there's no uptick on the graphics for the older games, which was expected, but a little disappointing all the same. Still, no complaints with the backward compatibility. That's fine.

The camera returns, but there are three of them this time. One of them is on the front, so you can take your own picture and put it in some of the games, which is cool. There are also two on the outside, which can take 3D photos, which is also cool. I applaud Nintendo for this. They did well here.

But here's the closer, the 3D Depth Slider. Now, if you're like me, then you're going to have this thing on 2D for most of your play time with it. What's "nice, I guess," about it is that you can change the 3D to 2D on the fly. That said, the depth messes with your eyes so much, that you're going to NEED to keep it on 2D just to even play it. In fact, in Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, it specifically says that the game should only be played in 3D for about 30 minutes before you put it on 2D mode for about 10 minutes. Honestly, though, if you like to travel by car and play games at the same time, don't. At least, not in 3D mode anyway. It spells instant lunch dejection all over your jeans and shoes as this thing will make you sick. Hell, even sitting down in a motionless spot will make you sick while playing it. You can adjust the depth of it, sure, making for less 3D but still keeping it on 3D. But I was getting serious vertigo after awhile in all the different variations of depth, so putting it in 2D mode was necessary. Maybe it's just not for me. But it's definitely for this guy.




(Image taken from: videogamesblogger.com)

AR GAMES


Okay, now I have no idea how to use AR Games, but they have the potential to be amazing. Basically, you have these cards and you take pictures of them and you're supposed to be able to play games with them. Unfortunately, after trying this several times at varying heights, I couldn't get it to work. A whole bunch of cards come with the system with Link, Mario, etc, but I seriously couldn't get them to do anything. I don't know about this feature...

Mii Maker

Make your own Mii's. It's like the Wii. Let's move on.


(Image taken from: forums.bit-tech.com)

Face Raiders

This is a cool little game that comes with the console and is pretty much the equivalent of Wii Sports as it's mainly just there to exhibit the hardware. In it, you take a picture of yourself and then, well, shoot your face with yellow balls. No foolin'. Your face actually comes flying at you and you control your blaster and blow them away until you get to the boss. And according to this video below, if you're in a crowded space, you'll actually collect faces, so if you see some dipshit waving a 3DS at your direction, just know that he's blasting you in the noggin at that point. Prepare to see that a lot in the future if this system is successful.




(Image taken from: 3dsgames.blogspot.com)

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

And now, the main attraction, what you've all been waiting for, a review of an actual game that ISN'T Face Raider.

Now, before I start this off, let me just say that the launch line-up for the system is pathetic. I probably would have bought Super SF IV anyway, just because I'm a fiend for Hadoukens. But I pretty much didn't have much of a choice when my other options were games like Pilotwings Resort or Riiiiiidge Racer 3D. I mean, really? This is what you have to offer on launch day? There are other games like a Madden title or The Sims 3D, but you have seriously got to be kidding me that there are no must-have 1st party releases on launch day. Inexcusable.

But onto Super SF IV.

Well, I can say this. The graphics are amazing. I mentioned it up top, but seriously, the graphics for this thing are sick. It's really top notch. Everything looks as you remember on the big boy console releases, so the fact that they made it look this good on a handheld is simply astounding. I've never seen anything like it.

Besides that though, it's just Super Street Fighter IV. It's a little awkward to play at first but you get used to it fast. It is what it is.


(Image taken from: blogmyway.org)

But the 3D. Gawd, the 3D makes me sick. Looking at it over somebody's shoulder, it isn't bad, and it's actually kind of a cool affect that induces a bit of vertigo, but in a pleasant sort of way, if you can wrap your head around that. But once you have it in front of your own face, oh, boy, you are going to need a barf bag. Now, I know everybody handles 3D differently, so maybe you won't get as sick as I did. But after I put it down after only 20 minutes, I seriously had to sit back down again as the wall was shifting in front of my very eyes. It took me a good 10 minutes to feel back to normal health. I tried it again, and the same thing happened, so it's not just a first time thing, either, but something that I don't think I can deal with ever. Sure, I dialed the 3D down quite a bit, but it was so low that it was like playing it on 2D, which is fine, but what's the point of owning this if I can't even play it in 3D as advertised? It's just a big gimmick, you know. At least to a certain portion of the population it is. It certainly is to me.

Now, I don't even get sick when I watch 3D movies, so if you're just thinking I'm not built for 3D, you're wrong. At least, anyway, when it comes to conventional 3D. But this. This is something else. What the screen seems to do is suck you inward, so the illusion of 3D fully immerses your eyes. It's really something to see. But when you put it down, you're going to have to deal with the consequences, and I don't think I'm willing to make that sacrifice.


(Image taken from: gogamingiant.com)

Now, I know that I probably COULD get used to it, conditioning my eyes switching from 3D to 2D in increments. I could definitely do that. But would I want to? I already have some pretty shitty eyes, as I wear contacts. Do I really want to possibly make them worse in the long run just because of something that very well might be a fad? I know some future Smartphones are going to have these same kind of 3D capabilities to capitalize on what Nintendo has done, but this is one instance where I seriously foresee Nintendo falling on its face after the initial crowd picks it up. This very well could be the Virtual Boy: Part 2. We'll have to wait and see.

Overall, I say wait on getting one. Without any truly necessary games to play right now, I'd say sit it out and wait for a game changer to come along. I might just eat my own words when Ocarina of Time comes out for it, but that's for another day. Another day when I'm willing to sacrifice my eyes for my obsession.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sucker Punch is Balls


(Image taken from: suckerpunchtrailer.net)

Battle: LA sucks. It sucks balls. But so does Sucker Punch, and I'm really trying to decide which one I hated more, as both are fundamentally terrible films that put me to sleep, making each picture essentially an 11 dollar nap.

Now, while Battle: LA was awful, here's what it had going for it in its awfulness. It's a movie about aliens invading Earth. While some may say, well, that's no excuse, I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Aside from the classic sci-fi films of the 50s and 60s where Earth invasions were pretty much messages about whatever the hot topic was at the time, alien invasion movies today are all about what looks good blown up from different angles. So they're pretty much destined to be shitty films with a good one here or there being the exception rather than the rule.

But Sucker Punch was meant to be so much more. Now, I may have a bit of a bias about it since a majority of it takes place in the mind, and I've been writing a book for the past three years that primarily takes place in the mind, so there's definitely that sense of rivalry involved. But Inception, which I was also highly worried about at the time, was also a mind-bender, and that was done really well. Almost, TOO well, even, so I have no problems with a deep film if it really pushes the envelope. But Sucker Punch doesn't push shit but color and loud and obnoxious music your way, making you just want to stand up and shout, BOO-URNS! BOO-URNS! at the screen. Even the people walking out the theater behind me were making fun of how lousy it was, and I went to the late show yesterday. Perhaps if I had gone to the even later show, I would have heard more cheers and beer burps from the attendants who were either too stoned or too dumb to fully grasp just how terrible it is. The visuals were quite nice at times, so I can see how seeing it under the influence might be a bit of a trip. But for all else, it blows. It blows hard.

But you want to know why the movie REALLY sucks? It's because nothing is really at stake in all of this. I'm sure if you're reading this piece, then you must have read one of the various articles about the movie already, and if you have, then I'm sure that you've seen this argument about the movie before. And it's true, as nothing is really at stake at all.



Sure, you can read into the ending a bit more, but even if you do, was anything really at stake for our protagonist, Babydoll? In fact, if we ARE to read into the ending, then why did Babydoll get all of the screen time in the action sequences? Why would somebody else have those thoughts when they would certainly be the center of their own imagination? (People who have seen the movie will understand what I mean. Or not).

All the same, the story sucked and Zack Snyder seemed to have gotten lost in his own world, which can happen, sure, as I've done it as well. But that said, a movie that's flawed like this should NOT be put in the theaters. It should be ironed out beforehand.

Sucker Punch, overall, is a complete and utter mess and is to be avoided at all costs like the plague. Or like Battle: LA. They're pretty much on the same level.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Great Bass Albums in Rock Music

You know what I love? Rock albums. You know what I love even more? Rock albums with throbbing bass lines on them. While there may be a lot of great bass players out there in the Rockosphere (John Doe from X fame, being one of them, Krist Novoselic from Nirvana fame being another), most groups sacrifice the bass players for the general feel of the music, having them provide the steady line that the drums can sync in with so that the lead guitarists can soar. This kind of rock is standard. But even better is when the bass playing on the album is just as, if not more, important that the lead guitarists, and these albums below are examples of that. If you know of any more, please leave them in the comments box below. I'd definitely love to hear them, being a bass listening enthusiast myself.


(Image taken from: uulyrics.com)

XTC-Drums and Wires

Colin Moulding is one sick bass player. You've never heard of him, I know, but he really tears it up on this album. If you never heard of this group before, XTC was a New Wave band from Swindon, England that sounds just as new today as they did back in 1979 when they released this album. And the bass line that never stops walking on this record is the reason for that. Below is just one of the many great examples of great bass playing melding seamlessly with the guitar. You NEED to hear this album if you're a fan of bass playing at all.




(Image taken from:musicsavesyourlife.com)

Anti-Flag-Underground Network

How funny is it that the bassist of this group is named Chris #2 because there was already a Chris in the band in Chris Head? That said, this is a really strong punk album with bass lines interspersed throughout that are as furious and as angry as the lyrics themselves. It really links in well with the music. Try it.




(Image taken from: amazon.com)

Primus-Sailing the Seas of Cheese

Sure, any Primus album could go on this list as Les Claypool is arguably the greatest bass player who ever lived. But this is the first album that I ever heard by them so it goes on this list, so there.




(Image taken from: homepages.nyu.edu)

Descendents-Milo Goes To College

Tony Lombardo sold his soul to the devil. At least, he must have to be able to rip apart those bass lines like he does on this album. There isn't a single moment where the bass isn't audible and powerful on Milo Goes to College. A magnificent debut that was never matched again by the group.




(Image taken from: rustnbones.wordpress.com)

Sublime-Self-titled

Who didn't own this album? Coming out right before Brad's death (By the way, did you know that the original title for the album was "Killin' It"?), Brad is obviously the star, but Eric Wilson definitely destroys it on this album. Three piece bands always seem to have the best bass players. They sort of have to though, right? What with the limited instruments and all.



Well, those are some of my favorite bass albums. What are yours? Leave them below in the comments box below.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wow. Chris Brown Is a Mess. I Hate Him


(Image taken from: justjared.buzznet.com)

Okay, so Chris Brown's career has more life than a cat. After MMA fighting with Rihanna, you'd think that the R&B "heartthrob" would be out of the job of wooing women. But now, just this morning, the newly reformed Chris Brown got mad during an ABC interview where they asked him questions about Rihanna, broke a window, and then, took his shirt off and went storming down the street.

Why?

That last part where he took off his shirt makes about as much sense as that kid who tried sticking a remote control up his butt because his mom cancelled his WOW account. Why'd he do that?



I'm really just sick of this little pisher. His music was never been anything better than tolerable, and now, he thinks that he can do whatever he wants just because a few people forgave him for beating up Rihanna. What a piece of garbage!

I'm sure that some people will still hope that he makes yet another (too) speedy recovery, but I seriously hope that he goes down the path of Bobby Brown and becomes addicted to drugs and loses his teeth. Or better yet, I hope he ends up like Todd Bridges from Diff'rent Strokes and ends up living in a crack house. He truly deserves it. I hate his guts.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Which is Better?

Werewolves on all fours?


(Image taken from: werewolfman.webs.com)

















Or bi-pedal werewolves?


(Image taken from: s467.photobucket.com)

Personally, I'm always preferred upright werewolves to those that were more wolf than man in the way they move. But I've seen a recent trending toward werewolves being on all fours, and it's bothered me. It's bothered my greatly. But what do you prefer? Werewolves walking like men with Scoliosis, all hunched over and creepy, or werewolves running like dogs? I'm actually interested in knowing what you think. Leave comments below. Word.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Which is Bigger? The Cult of Bruce, or the Cult of Nathan?


(Image taken from: sweatpantserection.com--by the way, that's the best name for a website ever)

Bruce Campbell and Nathan Fillion are both pretty much Goliath's in Geekdom territory. Mr. Campbell, the man with the chin that won't quit, has had a long career of being a B-movie actor ever since he was in the cult classic Evil Dead trilogy. Though he's directed a few films here or there and is now a permanent fixture on Burn Notice, he's never really risen beyond B-Movie status, and his fans love him for it. It's why he's awesome. Just watch him here, being Brucey. Only HE could pull this off.



(Image taken from: huffingtonpost.com)

(Image taken from: Huffingtonpost.com)

And then, you have Captain Mal himself, Nathan Fillion, whose rise to fame has been precipitous to say the very least. The head honcho on the immensely popular, if short lived, sci-fi show, Firefly, he's found a new home on Castle, accumulating new fans every week.



But whose cult is bigger?

Now, I'm not saying who has the crazier cult, as both camps have done some pretty crazy things in the names of their heroes. (I saw one woman with Ash tattooed from her fingertips to her shoulder, and let's not forget Mr. Fillion's one million dollar accumulation from fans who heard that he wanted to bring back Firefly if he had the money to do it). Both camps have done some pretty wild things. But let's look at the facts here, broken down side-by-side.

Bruce Campbell


(Image taken from: evildead.wikia.com)

Born in 1958, Bruce's first movie, The Evil Dead came out in 1981. That's before I was even born, man! That said, it means that while he may have only done bit parts or low budget flicks for his entire career, his fanbase spans 30 years. This makes him a recognizable icon in cult territory for decades, similar to Lloyd Kaufman from Troma, or John Waters. So, while not a majority of the population may know who he is, those who do adore him, and he's certainly had enough time to garner a large fanbase.

He also spans different kinds of media. Not only has he done movies, and plenty of them, but he's also done voice work, been on TV, and even has two books, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor and Make Love! The Bruce Campbell Way . He's currently on Burn Notice as Sam Axe, and his popularity keeps growing. His cult is strong. But is it stronger than the voice of over a million browncoats? Let's look and see.



Nathan Fillion


(Image taken from: buffy.wikia.com)

Nathan Fillion is Firefly. His face and the show go hand-in-hand. There are millions of fans, or, "Browncoats" as they're called, and they follow the man like flies to a sugar heap. But his name goes much farther than that. Just recently, he appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, and he's also now pretty big on the show Castle, which is growing in popularity every season. And unlike Bruce, he's actually the lead on a successful TV show now, which is a feat that Bruce Campbell has never accomplished (Even though Jack of all Trades and Brisco County Jr. were awesome shows).

He's also done movies as well, and many of his fans, most of them following him on Twitter, are pretty vocal in their support of him. They've even garnered a million dollars after he, in passing, said that if he ever won the lottery, he'd get Joss Whedon to start up Firefly again. It was a joke, of course, but fans took him very seriously. This guy's cult is huge. But is it bigger than Bruce's?



The Verdict

While Nathan Fillion is definitely on the rise, there's no way he can surpass Bruce's rabid and loyal fanbase. Bruce Campbell has simply been around much longer. And though I have little doubt that Nathan Fillion will one day reach his level, that day is definitely not now and probably won't be for quite some time. He still has some more cheesy roles to take on.

So the winner here is Bruce today. But in ten years time, who knows? Only time, and twitter posts, can tell.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Review: The Fighter [Blu-Ray]


(Image taken from Cinemablend.com)

You can take your King’s Speech, your Social Network, and your Black Swan and go put them in a drawer somewhere. They were all phenomenal films, don’t get me wrong, but for me, The Fighter was the best picture of last year, hands down. No other film evoked the same kind of emotions in me that The Fighter did, and for that, I find it superior to all the rest of the films that were heavily lauded last year. I even liked it better than the original Rocky. And no, I’m not taking that back.

The Movie: Five Stars out of five

A lot of people make the argument that The Fighter is great for its acting but not so much for its storytelling, but I have to disagree. While, yes, the acting in this film is impeccable -- Academy Awards for both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo are proof of that -- but I still think that this film is one of the best movies of the past 10 years. It’s got heart, it’s got humor, and it never slows down, which is rare for a drama these days. The pacing for this movie is incredible.

The story centers around real-life former junior welterweight boxer Micky Ward, back when he was still struggling to make it. His character is played by Mark Wahlberg, who has never been better in anything else in his entire life. Wahlberg manages to make Micky likeable without even trying very hard, which is why he might be so good at it. He’s down on his luck, but he’s talented, and the movie is about his rise to success. Simple enough. But then, something happens. You at first go into this film thinking that this is going to be just like any other boxing movie centered around the boxer -- I mean, it IS called The Fighter, isn’t it? -- only to find out that it’s as much about the people around him as it is about the boxer himself. In fact, it’s probably even more about the people around him, making this one strange beast of a sports movie. A straightforward biopic this ain’t.

Christian Bale, who’s played everybody from a psycho to Batman [What's the difference? -- Ed.], is perfect as Micky’s “junk bag” brother, Dicky Eklund. Dicky was once a boxer himself, and is a local hero for a fight he once had with Sugar Ray Leonard many years ago. But Eklund fell deeply into drugs, and this part of the story is just as important as Micky’s struggle to fame. And this is where the story gets interesting. We really feel for Dicky, and we’re torn between which story we’d rather see -- Micky’s rise to the top, or Dicky kicking the habit. Luckily for us, we’re allowed to see both movies at the same time and watch them intertwine toward the end. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything here by telling you that they both succeed by the closing credits. This may be a different kind of sports movie, but it’s still a sports movie, and in sports movies, people succeed. Nobody would want to go see Seabiscuit if the horse bought the farm at the end.

The females in this film make things even more interesting. Amy Adams plays Micky’s girlfriend, and for the first time ever, I actually found her attractive. And it’s not because she’s beautiful or anything like that, as I’m pretty sure she’s not even wearing make-up in the movie. But it’s how she supports Micky when everybody, including his own mother (Melissa Leo), seems to want to use him for their personal gain. It’s her stand-by-your-man mentality that ultimately makes her sexy. It makes the story even more compelling when all of these different characters combine and fight for Micky. They all try in their own particular way to put him on the path they think is right for him, and it really makes for some stellar moments that almost make the fights in the ring seem unimportant compared to the ones that are going on outside of it.

The Fighter is a first-rate film that really didn’t have to be as good as it is. There were other great movies last year that will probably overshadow this one in year’s time, but for me, there’s nothing better than this. If you like good flicks with a lot of heart and soul, pick this movie up. You’re going to have a hard time finding any better.

The Disc: Four and a half stars out of five

When watching the movie, I often wondered if director David O. Russell went all The Wire style and hired mostly locals to fill in the parts of the general community. The special features prove that he did indeed. And while some of the special features may be a bit long and drawn-out at times, they definitely expand the world of Micky Ward and his brother, Dicky. They also expand the world of Lowell, Massachusetts itself, making every aspect of this disc special if you’re a major fan of the film as I am.

The commentary with the director is phenomenal in a dry sort of way. It’s not like David O. Russell is offering anything mind-blowing about the film, but you can hear the passion and enthusiasm in his voice. It’s like an artist standing back and admiring their work, and David O. Russell is that artist. Most of the time, he spends the commentary talking up his actors and the scenes they had to do. One interesting note is that the crew actually considered calling the film, “Head, body, head,” at one point, which is stupid. But it definitely fits with the film if you watch it. Still, it’s silly to think that it could have sounded like a game of the Hokey-Pokey if they actually went through with the plan.

“The Warrior’s Code: Filming The Fighter” is a painstaking look at all the different factors that went into making the film. It’s interesting to watch the real-life counterparts of Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund discussing how they didn’t think the movie would ever get made, only to see it blossom right in front of their eyes. It’s lengthy, but it’s fascinating. “Keeping the Faith” is about how people actually do idolize Dicky and his famous fight with Sugar Ray Leonard. It really makes all the events in this film seem even more revelatory when it comes to sticking to the facts. Real life is stranger than fiction sometimes, I guess. There are also some deleted scenes on here that, like most home releases, don’t seem all that necessary. The theatrical trailer -- which still looks awful to me, what with its cheesy inspirational music -- is also on here, rounding out the special features.



The Fighter [Blu-Ray] Details
Length: 115 min
Rated: R
Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2011-03-15
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo
Directed by: David O. Russell
Produced by: David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Ryan Kavanaugh, Mark Wahlberg, Dorothy Aufiero, Paul Tamary, and Darren Aronofsky
Written by: Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Hohnson
Visit the The Fighter [Blu-Ray] Official Website

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I Miss Nate Dogg Already


(Image taken from: nahright.com)

Man, there's not a song that I heard Nate Dogg in that I wasn't all like, "Man, I loooove, Nate Dogg," and now, he's gone. Not gone, like, gone into obscurity gone, but gone gone, like, TMZ gets first dibs that you've bought the farm gone. Michael Jackson gone. Yeah, it's sad.

I don't know what it was about his voice, but it sounded like silk being rubbed over whipped cream. It was nice. I mean, just listen to "Regulator."



Did you hear that? No? Let's hear it again.



Wow. That's awesome. There's also another guy on the track, but that guy really HAS fallen into gone into obscurity territory, so nobody really cares him anymore. Besides, this is a memorial to Nate Dogg, the smoothest gangster who just left the planet.

I don't know much about Nate Dogg, or even many of his songs. But the ones I DID hear him in, the aforementioned, "Regulator," and "The Next Episode", are certified classics, and ONLY because Nate Dogg was on them. Just listen to "The Next Episode" below. Forward all the way to 2:16 where the song actually starts to get good.



Man, I loooove, Nate Dogg. And both songs above are the reason why. And even if I don't smoke weed everyday (Or anything more potent than candy cigarettes, for that matter), I still like to frequently blurt out that it's good to do so, and it's all because of THIS man who just passed. It's a shame. I'll pour a juice box on the corner for you, homey. We'll miss you.

Word.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Top Ten Greatest Rap Albums Of All Time Snubs

A good friend of mine by the name of Niiiiick Cicak alerted me to the fact that there were some snubs on my list of the top ten greatest rap albums of all time and I agree. I should have just made it a top 20. That said, here are 10 more of my favorite rap albums. I'm not going to call it numbers 20-11 because that's just stupid and would be going backwards, so just take this as 10 more of my favorite rap albums in no particular order. So...

Big Pun: Capital Punishment


(Image taken from: amazon.com)

Big Pun was better than Biggy. There, I said it. And this album, while not as iconic as Life After Death has better lyrics on it, too. Much better, even. In fact, not only was he bigger, size wise, but his topics and style were bigger than Biggie's as well, overshadowing him in many ways. Too bad, like Biggie, he also died after his second album, which was the far inferior, Yeeeah Baby. We'll never know where Pun could have taken rap, so we'll just have to be left with this classic. Oh, well.



Gang Starr: Moment of Truth


(Image taken from: amazon.com)

True story. After interviewing Guru for an article in XXL and questioning him about what happened to his relationship with Premo, the next day, he called me back and threatened to cut me in the streets if he ever saw me. That said, that still doesn't detract from how excellent this album is. Every track on it has great depth, and the replay value is high. If you've never listened to this album before, then you haven't heard dick.



2Pac's Greatest Hits


(Image taken from: lyricspond.com)

I would never put any of 2Pac's albums on a greatest rap albums list because all of his albums are uneven and never reach greatness. That said, 2Pac had some GREAT singles, and never is that more evident than on this greatest hits album. There are just SO many impeccable tracks on here from his short, albeit, jam packed, career, that it's sickening. My favorite though was actually a new, at the time, at least, posthumous release called, "I Wonder If Heaven's Got a Ghetto". And what added even more greater gravitas to the song was the fact that he would actually be able to find out by the time this song was released. Depressing.



Mobb Deep: Murda Muzik



(Image taken from: northhood.com)

The Infamous Mobb. Now HERE's a group that was once great that fell off the earth completely (Mostly because of Prodigy's imprisonment). While their Infamous album may be more iconic, mostly for its "Shook Ones: Part 2", Murda Muzik was a far better release. The production on this one is their best ever, laced by Havoc and The Alchemist, mostly, and it just has some really, really dark, moments to it, my favorite being "The Realest" featuring veteran, Kool G. Rap. Still a classic, even to this day.



MF Doom: Operation: Doomsday


(Image taken from: doctorokeh.blogspot.com)

I mentioned in the last piece that Operation: Doomsday would have been on my list if not for Mm..Food, and that still stands. OD is a jazzier album, with even more soothing beats and stranger melodies. It has the same off-beat, bizarre rhymes, of course, but that's just Doom. Another masterpiece, and his first as a solo artist away from KMD. A really solid release from the metal faced villain.



The Genius/GZA: Liquid Swords


(Image taken from: xxlmag.com)

I mentioned this album last time, too. Next to Only Built for Cuban Linx, this is definitely the second best early solo Wu release. Rza's production on this one is beautiful in its discordant texture, and the GZA has always been the best rhymer in the group. He may not have the best flow, but his lyrics have always been superior to all the rest of the Clan, even if his songs weren't necessarily better. Brilliant, just as a genius' work SHOULD be.



Hieroglyphics: Third Eye Vision


(Image taken from: jonolivermusic.com)

Yeah, so Del the Funky Homosapien may be the star of the group, and Casual might be a close second, but both give equal mic time to the other members. This is such a classic album because it takes all of their unorthodox styles and blends them together seamlessly. The beats are fresh, the rhymes, of course, are great, and it just has an ebullient feeling to it that you don't find in most rap releases. Oh, you never knew?



De La Soul: 3 Feet High and Rising


(Image taken from: rateyourmusic.com)

Though I'm not as in love with this album as everybody else is, you have to admit, it's a pretty catchy release. Led by Prince Paul's playful production, it's sometimes criticized for being TOO simplistic in its scope, but I think that's the whole point of why it's so special. For the time, it was unique, and even today it sounds strange when put next to other albums. Listen to it if you haven't already. It's...different. And great at the same time.



Killarmy: Dirty Weaponry


(Image taken from: en.academic.ru)

Fine, call me a Wu-tang snob if you must (They were a Wu side project), I don't mind. But this album is crazy. There are VERY few rap albums that I can listen to ALL the way through (Aside from my top ten, of course), but this is one of them. The theme of war lies heavily on this one, and each "soldier," as they call themselves, bounces off each other's line like a full on brigade. They're really sick. As with all great releases, the production is great, but UNLIKE most other stellar productions, it's hard to tell just WHY it's so great. It's simple, sure, but startlingly complex, too, making it a strange listen to. Please, download this album, now.



Jedi Mind Tricks: Servants in Heaven, Kings in Hell


(Image taken from: amazon.com)

Besides having my favorite title for an album ever, this release from Jedi Mind Tricks is most certainly their best. It's a very political album and Vinnie Paz is up for the challenge of not focusing on himself for a change and actually rapping about worldly events at the time. If I had a top 30 list (I"m not even going to get into that) I'd definitely put one of The Coup's or Dead Prez's albums (But no Public Enemy. I'm sorry, but they were overrated) up here, too. But as far as politics and great flows go, this is the one album I can listen to over and over and over again. And I have.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Top Ten Greatest Rap Albums Of All Time

As a 2000 year old reincarnated mummy, I've listened to a lot of rap music in my day. Some of it has been just plain awful (See: Flava Flav's solo album), and some of it has been pretty darn good with its hippin and its hoppin and its bippin and its boppin. But the ten below are better than just pretty darn good, they're out-right classics. You may not agree with all of them, or at least, the placement of some of them, but just remember this--I'm right, and you're wrong. Now, with that disclaimer out of the way...

10. Life After Death by The Notorious B.I.G.


(Image taken from: amazon.ca)

If you asked me to name the greatest rappers who ever did rap, Biggie would not be on my list. Not even close. He was good, but there have been SO many better rappers out there before and since him. Even Big Pun was better, but that's a blog post for another day.

That said, Life After Death is a masterpiece of an album that still holds up today, even after everybody's already forgotten about the east coast/west coast rivalry that made it such a landmark album at the time. Some may say that his first album, Ready to Die was a better release, but no, those people are wrong. The problem with Ready to Die was that it was unfocused. Biggie didn't know at the time if he wanted to be hardcore or commercial, and it lands somewhere in-between, making it good, but not great. But Life After Death is fully realized, and DEFINITELY a commercial album, even if the rhymes are still pretty gritty. The production is air tight and it's a double disc that's actually good on both sides. A classic album that is still just as good as when it was released. I love it.

Best lyric on the album: "Your reign on the top was short like leprechauns/as I crush so-called willies, thugs, and rapper-dons"



9. I Got Next by KRS-ONE


(Image taken from: sf4singapore.blogspot.com)

Now, if you asked me to name the greatest rappers of all time again, KRS-ONE would DEFINITELY be on my list. His flow is just incomprehensibly good and if the government was looking for an ambassador for hip-hop, I have little doubt that KRS-ONE would fill that seat. This album, his third as a solo artist, is definitely his best. The tracks all seamlessly blend together to make an experience that takes it back to the old days, but still stays fresh, even today. There are a lot of great tracks on the album, but I'd be remiss if I didn't put the video to his first single on it, "Step Into a World (Rapture's Delight)" below. That Blondie hook is really insane. Love, love, love this album.

Best lyric on the album: "I'm not saying I'm number one, uht, I'm sorry, I lied/I'm number one, two, three, four, AND five!"



8. Aquemini by OutKast


(Image taken from: amazon.com)

Part Aquarius, part Gemini, Aquemini, the third album from the trend-busting group, OutKast, is their best album ever. Yes, I know, they won a Grammy for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, but that album can't touch this one. That album is segmented into two, whereas this album, again mentioning the combination of Big Boi and Andre 3000's astrological signs, is the perfect mixture of their very diverse sounds. It comes out smelling like roses (Instead of poo poo). There are SO many great tracks on this album, with each one sounding massively different, but "The Art of Storytelling" featuring Slick Rick is definitely my favorite. I sometimes listen to it before I go to sleep.

Best lyric on the album: "Damn, damn, damn, Jaaames"



7. The Chronic by Dr. Dre


(Image taken from: amazon.com)

Sure, you could call me a sucker for 90s rap, and I won't be mad. But seriously, how monumental was Dr. Dre's first solo album when it first came out, and how great is it still today? You can have your Drake, you can have your Nicki Minaj, you can have your 'Lil Wayne (Who's HARDLY the best rapper alive today as long as KRS-ONE is still breathing air), give me Dre, Snoop, and RBX any day over them. All of the tracks on this record are solid, and even the interludes, which I've always hated on rap albums, are pretty funny. Snoop has never been better than he was on this album, and no other album, I think, at least, encapsulates the West Coast more than this one did and still does today. It's so sun drenched, that you can even get a tan while listening to it. It's spectacular.

Best lyric on the album: "And break the white man off something lovely, biddy bye-bye/I don't love dem so dem can't love me"



6. Only Built For Cuban Linx by Raekwon




(Image taken from: en.wikipedia.org)

It was tough choosing between this and Liquid Swords when deciding on which early solo Wu album was better, but this one won out in the end, just because Ghostface makes such a good compliment to the Chef Raekwon. This is when Wu-tang wasn't a joke, and when their name was pretty much THE name in hip-hop at the time. Weaving crime saga tales throughout like only Raekwon could, this is as much his album as it is Ghostface's as the two of them share just about as much mic time together. The album goes from high to low, from quick paced to slow, so much that it's sometimes hard to take it all in in on one listen. And Rza's production has never been better than with this album. He seriously reached his peak on this one. Sigh, this is back when the chef wouldn't be caught DEAD rapping on a Justin Beiber song. And RZA DEFINITELY wouldn't have approved of it.



How times have changed.

Best lyric on the album: "Call me Dough snatcher/just a brother for the rapture/I hang glide/holdin' on strong/hard to capture"



5. Mm..Food by MF Doom


(Image taken from: amazon.com)

MF Doom's (And the MF stands for metal face, which he has since removed from his title, I don't know why) first album, Doomsday is a classic, and if I had a space for more than ten on this list, it'd probably be number 11. But his second album, Mm..Food is a more balanced release with some of the best production for a rap album I've ever heard. If you don't like, or even, don't know, MF Doom, you should. It's nerd rap to the nth degree, and anybody who can rap about Jet Jaguar and cookies, is the rapper for me. There's a whole series of interludes in the middle with a guy who kind of sounds like Dennis Hopper talking about eating in the woods, and on most album, I'd just say cut the crap. But it somehow fits on this album, and it makes it even more interesting. Definitely not for everybody, but that's just because everybody can't be awesome.

Best lyric on the album: "Yuck/is they rhymers or strippin' males/out of work jerks since they shut down Chippendale's"



4. Supreme Clientele by Ghostface Killah


(Image taken from: uulyrics.com)

While I might get some flak for putting this above Only Built For Cuban Linx, I don't care. This album is better, and in my opinion, it's the last great Wu album ever released (As opposed to being just good, which some of the recent ones have been). What makes this one so great is that it has heart. It doesn't weave great stories or have the bizarre sounds of a RZA laced album, but it still has something going for it that makes it a very interesting and introspective album into the very soul of Ghost. This album is all Dennis Coles and you can feel that he might not have even known what a deep album he was making at the time, which makes it all the more startling with how superb it all came out. I'll take this album over any of the other solo Wu albums any day.

Best lyric on the album: "Hey, yo, I sham-punched Ma$e in the face, over some bullshit"



3. The Circle of Tyrants by Necro, Ill Bill, Gortex, and Mr. Hyde


(Image taken from: retardriot.com)

Necro has made some great solo albums, all gore-tastic masterpieces, but none of them ever completely came together as a whole. But this album, which features his brother, Ill Bill, Mr. Hyde, and Gortex, who no longer rolls with the Psychological crew, is his crowning achievement. Now, this isn't like any of the other albums on this list. This album is very graphic, almost like a snuff film, and features, I think, the best lyrics ever put to record. I also know that a LOT of people wouldn't like it, but if they don't, then they just don't like great production and clever lyrics. That's okay. Not everybody does. Again, some people like Drake.

Best lyric on the album: "Cause it matters when you scatter when I shoot the 45th/cause you can get your data splattered out of your computer chip"



2. Enter The 36 Chambers by the Wu-Tang Clan


(Image taken from: amazon.com)

You will not find a grittier album on the planet than in the Wu-tang Clan's first album, Enter the 36 Chambers. It sounds like the movie Taxi Driver looks, gritty, hard, and real. This is the album that got everybody into the group and for good reason, as every member shines on this classic gem. From the kung-fu movie snippets, to the dirty production, to every member's very different flow, it's a wonder how I don't consider this the greatest rap album of all time, but I don't. There's one that's even better.

Best lyric on the album: "Raw/I'ma give it to you/with no trivia/raw like cocaine straight from Bolivia"



1. The Cold Vein by Cannibal Ox


The Cold Vein by CanOx transcends rap in so many ways. Hell, it even transcends music in general. This wouldn't be possible without El-P's production, which is about as spacey as it gets. Vast Aire definitely steals the show here, with lyrics that verge on the point of being so abstract that they don't even make sense when separated with the rest of the song ("Because my name is closer to Thor's than yours"), but Vordul Mega definitely holds his own against the modern poet. From the very beginning of low class ghetto economics, to the rising from the ashes at the end (Scream Phoenix!), The Cold Vein is the greatest rap album ever released and a testament to where rap could be taken if put in the right hands. If you haven't listened to it yet, do so. Do so now.

Best lyric on the album: "If there's crack in a basement/crackheads stand adjacent"

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review: The Next Three Days


(Image taken from: Comingsoon.net)

The Next Three Days should have at least had the success of an action-packed Liam Neeson movie (more on him below). The action is sturdy, the suspense is taut, and the overall story is ridiculous, but fun. So what happened? Well, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part One is what happened. Both movies were released on the same weekend, meaning a lot of people might not have seen this excellent thriller back when it came out. Hopefully, now that it’s out on DVD, it will get the recognition that it deserves.

The Movie: Four stars out of Five


Say what you will about Crash, but Paul Haggis can direct his ass off. I know he’s probably more known in Hollywood circles for his writing credits, as Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, and In the Valley of Elah, which he also directed, were all his babies. But man, if this isn’t a damn good action thriller, then I don’t know what is. That said, it’s not perfect, as the pacing can get a little soggy at times, and some of the characters are underused (I’m looking at you, Liam Neeson), but overall, it’s a first-rate action flick with enough twists and turns to make you bite your nails to the finger.

The story centers around a community college professor named John Brennan (Russell Crowe) whose wife (Elizabeth Banks) gets arrested for murder. This sets off a series of events where Brennan goes on a mission to get her out of jail. Brennan seeks guidance from Damon Pennington (Liam Neeson), a gruff-talking writer who literally wrote the book on breaking out of prison. And it’s from there on out that the stakes continue to rise until the satisfying conclusion. It’s really intense.

Buuuut…back to Liam Neeson. I remember when I saw the trailer for this film back when it was coming out. I got all psyched because I thought I’d see Russell Crowe and Liam Neeson in a take-no-prisoners, whose-dick-is-bigger, action thriller together. But this is not that film. Instead, Neeson is literally only in the movie for one scene, which upset me on the onset. But I got over that fact when the movie started picking up. It’s almost as if his brief cameo is like an OK for the audience to know that, yeah, Neeson is badass, and he gives his approval for us to follow along with his advice to Brennan. And his advice is pretty extreme.

Throughout the film, we see Brennan drawing maps and writing things like “Key” or dollar signs to correspond with what he’s going to do next to make sure his plans go through. I would say it’s all a little bit contrived if not for how tense the scenes that follow it are. For example, in one scene, he’s trying to figure out how to make a key that will unlock a prison door, and he winds up creating this “bump” key, which can apparently fit into any lock if done correctly. But things don’t go quite as planned when he tries to use it at the prison, and what follows is the kind of drama that makes you edge up in your seat. It’s a great scene.

Unfortunately, the entire movie can’t be as good as that scene, and if I have one complaint with the film, it’s that it’s too long. When the action is popping, the story is popping along with it, but when it’s not, the whole thing kind of drags. If this movie was leaner, it would be a lot better. But besides those few moments that crawl, I’d call this a first-rate thriller. Hopefully, it will have its day in the sun on DVD. It deserves it.

The Disc: Four and a half stars out of five

The special features on this disc are almost daunting when you look at how many you get. There’s the “Filmmakers’ Commentary,” where we find out a lot of different things, the most interesting being that the original French film, Pour Elle (Anything for Her), on which this movie is based on was less than an hour and a half long…which this film should have been. There’s “Making The Next Three Days,” where we get to see how tireless Paul Haggis is and how everybody loves that he’s both a writer and a director. Even the Rza, who makes an appearance in this film.

“The Men of The Next Three Days” feature has Haggis talking up Liam Neeson, Brian Dennehy, and Russell Crowe. After he’s done fawning over them, Crowe and Dennehy start talking up each other. “True Escapes for Love” is just that, retellings of stories of people who actually did try to break out of prison, and failed miserably, further driving home the point of just how ridiculous (but fun) this movie is. “Cast Moments” is your standard blooper reel, with some of it actually being really funny. And then you have some “Deleted Scenes,” which aren’t worthy of being watched, and “Extended Scenes,” which were also best left on the cutting-room floor. In fact, if these “Extended” and “Deleted” scenes were actually taken out of the special features, I think I’d give this disc an extra half point, as this is truly an example of addition by subtraction. All of the other features definitely feel like they belong here, but the added scenes just seem like they were stuck on the disc to make the back of the box look more appealing. It’s like, lookie here, commentary AND extra scenes. You better pick this shit up! But no, the extra scenes are worthless and really weigh down the rest of the disc. Pass those up, but the other special features are a good time here. Pick it up.


The Next Three Days Details
Length: 133 min
Rated: PG-13
Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Release Date: 2011-03-08
Starring: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks, Brian Dennehy, Olivia Wilde, and Liam Neeson
Directed by: Paul Haggis
Produced by: Michael Nozik, Olivier Delbosc, Paul Haggis, and Marc Missonnier
Written by: Paul Haggis and Fred Cavaye
Visit the The Next Three Days Official Website

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Video Games That I'm Ashamed to Have Owned At One Point in My Life, Entry Five: Time Lord

You know what Milton Bradley's awesome at? Board games. Battleship, Connect Four, Hungry, Hungry, Hoppos, they're all classic, classic games.

But you know what Milton Bradley sucks at? Video games. And this fact is none more apparent than with the piece of garbage title, Time Lord for the NES. And even though they didn't develop the game (Blame Rare for that, which also made TABOO, which is another game that I'm ashamed to have owned once in my life), they published it. Hell, their name is plastered all over the title screen. Look.


(Image taken from: wikipedia.com)

There is seriously nothing good to say about Time Lord. You collect a certain amount of orbs for each level and then, fight a boss before you teleport to the next era. Sounds cool, right? But no, no it's not. Getting each orb requires some kind of trickery, and as a kid, I really couldn't quite wrap my head around the idea that doing a jump kick in the air in a certain spot could make you levitate. Or, that jumping beneath an orb would make it fall down from the sky so you could grab it. It seriously boggled my mind.



And you might say, well, yeah, as a kid you couldn't beat it, but surely as an adult, you could breeze right through it, right? But no. I really can't. I still get stuck at the western level and can't beat it, even with the video up above. Half of it is the difficulty, and the other half is just sheer boredom. I turn off before I can get any farther.

Jeez, Time Lord, how could you have been so bad. I just want to go back in time and tell my younger self to trade that game in for River City Ransom or something. I would have been a much happier child if I had.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Eating Out in Chester: Bagel Cafe


(Image taken from: thisweekfordinner.com)

There are plenty of bagel shops where you can get other items besides bagels from the menu. But how many of those same bagel shops can you also get a falafel?

“It’s freshly made here,” owner Abby Hassan says, “We have chick peas, and the fresh Tahini sauce, and the fresh pita bread.”

“A lot of customers asked for it,” Hassan continues, “It’s really fresh.”

Expect to hear that word “fresh” a lot here when talking to Mr. Hassan about his shop, as everything here is made fresh on the premises; Especially the bagels.

“Our bagel recipe is unique,” Hassan says, “It’s a very expensive recipe, and we use brown sugar and bake it with whole grain flour right in the bagels.”

One of the most famous of their bagels is the harvest grain, which has some interesting ingredients in it.

“It has whole grain flour with carrots and raisins,” Hassan says.

They also have the pumpernickel, which is made with real pumpernickel flour, and the whole wheat, which is made with real honey.

But as mentioned earlier, bagels aren’t all they sell here. Along with the falafels, they also have a full case of deli meats if you’re hankering for a sandwich.

“We use Boar’s Head meat,” Hassan says, “It practically sells itself.”

They also make great wraps with these meats, such as the California wrap or their balsamic chicken wrap with fresh mozzarella, tomato, lettuce, avocado and grilled balsamic chicken.

And let’s not forget their stellar soups.

“Our famous soups are the lentil soup and the chicken noodle,” Hassan says, “And as for our cream soups, we have the cream of tomato and the cream of tomato leeks.”

Also on hand are their cheeseburgers, mozzarella sticks, and chicken fingers, which they slap right down on their fryers.

“A lot of it is for the kids,” Hassan says.

Also nice is that you don’t even have to come down here if you’re in the area and want to get a lot of different items for groups. They’ll actually come to you.

“We do a lot of catering for offices around us, and we do a lot of churches for bagels on Sundays,” Hassan says, “A lot of offices request us for catering, and if it’s for breakfast, it’s usually bagels with cream cheese. And if it’s lunch, people usually prefer wraps.”

Or falafels, if that’s your sort of thing. At the Bagel Café, you have options. And what could be better than that?

###
BAGEL CAFE
WHERE: 233 US Highway, 206 N, Chester
TELEPHONE NUMBER: 908-879-8988
HOURS: 5:30AM-4:00PM, Monday-Friday, 5:30AM-3:00PM, Saturday and Sunday
CUISINE: Bagels and Deli
PAYMENT: Cash and all major credit cards except Discover
DRESS: Casual
THE SCENE: This bagel shop and deli has nothing but fresh food, and even some falafels, which are hard to come by in the area
ATMOSPHERE: With great bagels, comfortable seating, and a friendly atmosphere, you can’t go wrong with the Bagel Cafe
CATERING: Yes
PARKING: Large lot
OWNER: Abby Hassan

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Which is Better?

Yoda's music career?


(Image taken from: loyalkng.com)



Or Spock's?


(Image taken from: tatiacaldwell.com)



This old woman's neck?


(Image taken from: clunkline.com)















Or a loaf of bread?


(Image taken from: juliemurphee.org)













Time Lord?


(Image taken from: theoldcomputer.com)



Or Time Cop?


(Image taken from: stungunweapon.com)



Sex?


(Image taken from: thenovelblog.wordpress.com)

















Or the McRib Sandwich?


(Image taken from: popdose.com)