Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It Takes Two to Taco: Partner's

Hans and Mendez woke and found themselves to be victim to a vicious prank. Someone posing as Hans and Mendez on their favorite Linda McMahon fan page posted a public appearance of Hans and Mendez promoting vodka at Partner's, New Haven premier gay bar. In outrage, Mendez snapped his ipad mini in half. "Now's not the time for vodka; its hot toddy season!"

Like many bar-goers in New Haven, Hans and Mendez had never stepped foot into Partners on Crown Street, which is arguably the most talked about, but least visited bar in New Haven. Their reasoning is not out of homophobia, but simply out of optimism. Sitting around with a bunch of dudes on week nights is to be expected, not anticipated.

Word reached Hans that this night Partners was hosting a Taco Party where free tacos were to be handed out and and several guest dj's would be performing. Before the words, ''cover free," reached the bloggers' ears, they had already changed into their dancing slacks, boogie shoes, and matching, "this is NOT a spin-free-zone" t-shirts. Mendez thought about wearing his leather pants, pinched his blogger belly and thought otherwise. Hans, who after several meat loaf specials from the Anchor (for research purposes only) just barely made it into his "Officially worn by Jim Morrison and that guy from INXS," leather trousers, but just as soon as he buckled the last strap, realized that leather night is on Tuesday. Not wanting to look ridiculous, he shimmied out of the pants. Readers rejoice: the rash has gone away. Outfits in order, wallets emptied of cash and the hair grease settled, the only thing that the bloggers forgot to bring were note pads and pens.

The Taco Party was held on the second floor of Partner's as if to keep the young men in girls pants out of the view of older men. There was a line for taco's and the bloggers sampled the two offerings of black bean and an indescribable meat. The young lady serving the taco's denied them being a home recipe and was perplexed as to their origin. She served them gracefully to the throngs of hungry people who milled about.

Their lack of writing equipment, which to a food bloggers is as crucial to his craft as a fork and knife (perhaps even more so since a pen can be used for an eating utensil in a pinch), left Hans and Mendez at a severe disadvantage. "The tacos taste like hot dogs," Mendez said, reaching in his pocket for a pad and pen. "Pardon my French, but lightly salted roasted nuts, I forgot my pen in my other (leather) pants! I will never remember the finer points of this salsa cruda!"

In a tizzy Mendez's left foot started to shake. Hans immediately spotted the nervous tick, he had seen it many times before. It came out during Mendez's first attempt at the blogger bar exam, when McDonald's changed four nuggets and fries from the number seven to the number three. The source of this condition can be dated back to when he and Hans had snuck into the "girls only" portion of "the talk" they received during a junior high gym class.

"I'm really n-n-n-nervous," he said. The twitch moved from his foot to his knee, his knee to his buttocks. Get me out of here!" Hans took Mendez by the waist and lead him past chatting people to a quiet area. Then the lights dimmed and D.J. had started to perform. A video artist in the corner flicked to life a projector. The images pulsated. Disorientated by the the flashing projector and the taco crumbs on his glasses, Hans realized he accidentally lead Mendez to the dance floor. Mendez opened his eyes, which were closed to prevent nausea brought upon by what looked like girls from his graduating high school class. "They're just hipsters," Hans said rubbing Mendez's back which began to convulse. "They might look the same, but they aren't."

"No, she cut me in the lunch line, and that one, she tore apart my essay on duck sauce." He soon fell to the ground, his entire body twitching in a syncopated 4/4 time.

"Hey, that guys doing to monkey-fish!" a man (?) shouted from the sidelines.

"No, its the New-York-Frankenstein-Gorilla!" The speaker was quickly and loudly corrected by their partner that the the dance was called the New-York-Frankenstein-Gorilla" named so due to the tenacity of...

As Mendez "danced" Hans found opportunity to sample more tacos. "I can see where he's getting the hot dog flavor from," Hans thought to himself. "If only I had a pen. I could write in blood, but I remember the last time that happened... a bar napkin..." He soon found himself leaving his friend and fellow blogger Mendez on the dance floor, who had become some what of a demi-god/ court jester. He walked done the stairs from the dance/ taco party to the main room of Partners itself. The decor is bland and beat up. Nothing flashy, nothing "fabulous", or "fierce". The euro-synth beat and "Absolute-Pride" advertisements were the only factors which differentiated the barroom from any other dive in which men congregate. That and the dull colored paintings of men stroking their erections.

Hans returned to see Mendez in full glory. The guest dj of the Taco Party, Ian Svenoius spun 45's of some real happening garage pop and soul music. Unfortunately the bloggers were unable to prevent the inevitable. While Hans was gone and Mendez, fueled by a fever and somewhat in a trance muttering "You're my miss Washington D.C" to anyone who listened, was taken advantage of. Someone had inadvertently given Mendez a vodka bottle to hold onto and pictures were taken. Foiled twice. The bloggers don't know who took them but any information you loyal readers can give is welcomed.

The Taco Party hosted by Taco Zone was a great success in the blogger's eyes. Although, as typical of many functions in their beloved New Haven, Hans and Mendez do not see why their contemporaries don't dance. Some people are just prone to bringing a knife to a gun fight. The bloggers sympathize with you, young hearts, just remember: Be free tonight.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Behold! The Anchor Restaurant

If a bar napkin could be worthy of sympathy, this napkin in particular: saturated and mangled, would be a candidate for warm words and long hugs. Mendez rested his first, second, third and last Old Fashioned on this napkin, which like Mendez became more and more saturated with Bourbon as the night went on. Hans glanced at him. "Stop staring, for crying out loud, blink," He snapped, but it was no use.

The Mermaid Room, our beloved Anchor's weekend basement dry bar, is a great place to enjoy a cocktail responsibly or otherwise. The cocktail of choice that evening was a forgotten "old peoples" drink, mixed perfectly by the Mermaid Rooms bartender/ manager/ disc-jockey/ and creative director Ben Zemke. Most recently known as the manager of the late great Blue Peal, he brings with him the je ne sais quoi and mighty cocktails which have built his reputation. Hans and Mendez predict and are in serious anticipation for a Mermaid Room cocktail list to be drafted, but as of now this is only speculation and desire of the sincerest design. The Old Fashioned was both smooth and spicy from the angostura bitters, potent from the hundred proof Old Granddad bourbon, with just the right amount of carbonation to lighten the load of this very flavorful libation.

Friends, countrymen, barflies- while we wish to praise the magical hands of Ben Zemke (found Friday and Saturday nights!) we've come to praise the Anchor as a whole. Heck, Eric who works upstairs can serve a mean cocktail as well. We like to think of the Mermaid Room as like a woman's hand; soft and lovely, but nothing without the rest of the body which it belongs too. The woman's beauty, of course, making the hand so desirable.

The Anchor's strange charm is hard to rival in New Haven. The booths are beaten, the jukebox barely functional, and the bathrooms are handicap inaccessible. For the bloggers it is their home away from cave. The food hits the spot, and is more delicious as the night rages on.

The Anchor is where the blogger's celebrated all sorts of great occasions: 21st birthdays, brisses, Groundhog's Day, etc. For others of the public, it is a place to celebrate living. Any point of the day, at least before 7, single men line the bar calling for shots watching talk shows. At night the same men watch baseball playoffs. During the afternoon God's gift to men, Janet, serves and entertains with her sailor's mouth. The bloggers are fans of both her humor and enthusiasm for Jameson shots.

The Anchor's kitchen is open until midnight. The food is typical bar fare and averages around nine dollars. There are club sandwiches and other deep fried specialties. The exception is their meatloaf plate. As named on the menu it is, "The Best Meatloaf." We agree. Lean and served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, it is the kind of homemade meal that can make a dreary Monday feel like the best day ever, or a boozy night waiting on a friend feel like Christmas. Disco fries can also be ordered for the adventurous or natives of New Jersey and Canada.

Hans and Mendez may even go so far as to say The Anchor is the most New Haven of bars. Yalie and Southern student, church organist and motorcyclist, Yankees fan and Red Sox enthusiast sit side by side. We can only hope that you enjoy the Anchor as much as we have over the years.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Use Your Illusion: FroYo World

New Haven has finally, after years of impatience, received their first pour your own frozen yogurt business. Froyo World is an expanding San Fransisco import who has chosen New Haven as their second home. Their business on High Street is riot gear popular. Since Froyo first opened its doors a little over a month ago it has seen nothing, but lines out the door and a packed store. Hans and Mendez visited Froyo World armed with a microphone and rubber bullets to ask an alarming question. Knowing what they know about the pandemonium spurring popularity of Froyo World it had to be asked: Is this the death of ice cream?

Froyo's audience is for a select group of undergraduates. Our fellow patrons were too young to meet friends at bars. It seems as if Yale, er, New Haven imported Froyo to get the Freshmen Fifteen over in two weeks. We can't see undergraduates at Southern or Albertus traveling this far for Frozen Yogurt. Nor can Hans and Mendez see why a health conscious adult would venture into this business.

As we said, this is a West coast model. Like other frozen yogurt hubs in America there is a station set up for the yogurt. At Froyo world this section is labeled "Swirl It." There are three machines, with three spouts. This allows you to select either Dutch Chocolate and Vanilla Bean, or, combine the two. A roped off area leads one to the toppings, "Top It" and a station set up for paying. Oddly enough parting with your money is called "Indulge It."

The toppings are everything you would want when walking on "High" Street. Cap'n Crunch, Oreo's, Gummy Bears, M & M's, and Kit Kats. The topping area is key to the Froyo experience. You will find after a few spoons, that the yogurt doesn't have much going for it in terms of flavor. The yogurt is pleasant and soothing, but for some reason needs a little more kick. Load on the Cap'n and make the taste happen.

For 49 cents an ounce, Hans and Mendez were surprised how much they did spend. The cups can snuggly fit a softball. The three figure number they faced was a little much, and maybe not worth it. Our eyes being larger than our stomachs, a fluke resulting from stomach stapling, we caution future Froyo visitors to measure carefully.

We interviewed a young man who said that he was a Med student. He had visited Froyo World two dozen times since its grand opening in August, which he attended. What was it that kept him coming back? We tried the yogurt and it was as good as frozen yogurt gets. We went a little crazy at the toppings stand later learning that gummy bears and breakfast cereals don't mix. Or are we just so New England that our stomachs can only digest the most creamy and fulfilling of deserts: Ice Cream.

Mendez: What's this white thing? Not the coconut.

FroYo Med: Mochi

Mendez:What's Mochi?

FroYo Med: Its a Japanese starch thing, they use to, like it's a Japanese islander thing, I don't know. I discovered it through FroYo.

Mendez: Is this the death of Ice Cream?

FroYo Med: Its the death of the Liberry, over there.

Mendez: Liberry seemed like it was on its way out. What does it have to offer to the people? Nothing.

FroYo Med: Definitely not the death of ice cream though. I had some Ben and Jerry's Smores. I like that it has more fat. Ashley's not going anywhere.

Mendez: Well, Ashely's is a New Haven institution.

An hour or so later on Chapel Street, the bloated bloggers noticed a group of twenty students sprinting down the street. Much like deer, they were ignorant of traffic with their eager bounce. Hans jokingly suggested that the students were most likely trying to beat Froyo's hours. Mendez's eye lit up and he jogged to join the students. They did indeed fill the small store for a sweet snack before bedtime.

New Haven Eats It is not a thumbs up, thumbs down type of publication. It is a melting of both fiction and nonfiction, reporting and shooting the bull. What is interesting about Froyo World isn't what Froyo World does, or the product they sell. Everything about screams prefabricated West Coast decoy. What is interesting about Froyo World is the reaction received from their specific target audience. We will not judge Froyo world, but we will watch it: Waiting either for its fall, or for its total domination.