Tag Archives: restaurant

Like Moths to a Flame

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul’s night in the East Village doesn’t go as planned

Last night, the anxious crowd queuing down Alphabet City’s East 3rd street outside the Nuyorican Poets Café for a storytelling event was ready to take matters into their own hands.  It looked like we weren’t getting in, and a young woman pointed to a fellow near the front of the line in dreadlocks and shouted.

“They’re not letting him to tell his story.  So he’s going to tell us one outside!  Who wants to hear a story?!”

We all cheered.  The 60-something Puerto Rican doorman with an unruly mustache sprung into action against the storytelling vigilantes.

“There’s no storytelling on the street! This place isn’t like it used to be.  This lady that lives next door will come down here and say, ‘Keep it down! I pay $4,000 to live in these apartments.’  Then she’ll call the cops.”

“That’s just wrong!” called out a disgruntled patron in line.

I wasn’t sure if she meant the infringement of First Amendment storytelling rights in Alphabet City, or the fact that the woman was paying that much to live there.

I had come to my old ‘hood to experience a storytelling night from an organization called The Moth, recently profiled in the New York Times.  What started out as an underground get together of people interested in sharing, well, stories, has turned into another way of meeting agents and producers—scoring an Off-Broadway show or book deal.

And hey, I’m willing to try anything to help get Alphabet City published—and also to keep up my enthusiasm for the project despite the daily onslaught of rejection (from agents, not you dear readers).  This blog is one of the ways I’m trying to escape the isolation of writing—getting it out there for people to read.  A shout out and thank-you to everyone who has commented either here or on Facebook—it means the world to me to get any type of feedback.  Keep it coming!

So, I thought checking out a storytelling night might spur some extra connections or ideas about what to do next—Alphabet City the one-man show or musical, anyone?  My friend Shannon—star of my movie GayTV and one of the KFC Glamour Girls in one of my crazier PR stunts (see Episodes 1-9 and scroll down to bottom for picture)—was the perfect companion for the night.  She had participated in a Moth storytelling event back in the days when people still called the East Village Alphabet City. Continue reading

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Kitchen Knightmares: The Premiere

Today on Alphabet City: Jon Paul’s kitchen challenge ends in disaster.

Last night I had a meltdown over a run-in with rancid pork.  To give my partner Chef Juan Pablo a break from cooking for me constantly, I’ve been attempting to increase my recipe repertoire by whipping up one “easy” meal per week.  My trusted source is Bon Appétit—and this week’s quick fire challenge was Pork Tenderloin Stir-Fry with Tangerines and Chili Sauce.

PorkStirFry

And it looked so good

Everything was going so beautifully until the pork that I bought on Sunday smelled kind of funny by Thursday, but I just shrugged and threw it in the pan.  After all, I don’t each a lot of pork, much less cook with it.  What do I know?  The result looked gorgeous!  But at the table I spit it out and threw a mini-temper tantrum, and bless his heart, Chef Juan Pablo summoned up his best Julia Child, “Never apologize!  Never apologize!”

As sweet as Juan Pablo is, it’s hard living with a chef.  Continue reading

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Tex and the City: DBGB

Today on Alphabet City: A new restaurant in the Bowery confuses Jon Paul’s feelings about his old stomping grounds.

I am always nervous on trips back to Alphabet City—the ‘hood that was the setting for the first ten years of my sitcom life in New York.  I don’t want to miss the vibe of the dirty streets—a funky mix of artistic aspiration and desperation.  I want to feel that the area has grown into something that doesn’t interest anymore that selfishly I can feel better about moving away.  A trip this past Saturday with Juan Pablo (debut Alpha City episode 13) and Susan (debut episode 9) was going according to plan until we walked into the restaurant DBGB.

This week’s episode began with an invitation from an artist friend Aaron Krach to attend an exhibit at his apartment on Rivington.  Aaron not only created the glittering skulls that were on display at last year’s Economist magazine Halloween party that Susan and I planned (and surely the inspiration for Kylie’s recent concert stage set), but he also gave me a fabulous critique on the first draft of Alphabet City.  Susan volunteered to drive us in her Jeep that I one day nicknamed Mahogany (every car should have a theme song) because frankly the commute from Washington Heights to the LES is brutal and it was pouring down rain.

We added on a trip to the NYC Dumpling Festival that had no plans for rain.  So we all got soggy and I wasn’t sure who thought Mexican tamales fit at a dumpling festival.

Juan Pablo next to the giant unappetizing dumpling

Juan Pablo next to the giant unappetizing dumpling

Next we headed to E Village mainstay DBA that supposedly was serving beer made of seasonal fresh hops, something that Juan Pablo had read about in the New York Times.  True to slackerish E Village form, the bar wasn’t open at the advertised 1pm so we headed to Jimmy’s No. 43 mostly because when I called to verify operating hours the guy who answered sported a sexy Aussie accent.  I wouldn’t use “sexy” to describe the underground cave like atmosphere with flies swarming around grotesquely carved pumpkins.  And I don’t think I will run back to try the very bitter tasting fresh hops beer again.  At this point, I didn’t feel like I was missing too much about Alphabet City.

Until we went to lunch.

DBGB Kitchen & Bar should be a place that I hate—the kind of trendy “bistro” headed by a fancy chef like Daniel Boulud that draws uptown outsiders to Alphabet City.  The kind of place that doesn’t respect the East Village, but just trades on the neighborhood’s trendiness.  And it is all those things.  The problem is I love it. Continue reading

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