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Tell the Bartender Episode 50: Filing Solo

January 4, 2015

Listen to Episode 50: Filing Solo

Download From iTunes Here

In this Episode:

Frankie joins The Bartender to talk about when she first realized that maybe you shouldn’t answer the door when you live alone. Even if it’s the lead paint inspector. Then Liz tells a very touching story about what she learned from her first love. It also involves a filing cabinet.

PLUS listener shout outs and news about the next Tell The Bartender LIVE! Like the show? Tip The Bartender! Or give it 5 stars!

Frankie Mace is an incredible sommelier, restaurant manager and person. Here she is showing off some sweet skills in a photo for the Wall Street Journal:



Liz Miele is an amazing comedian, writer, tweeter, and has a new comedy album you all should buy here, here and here. This is her just hanging out being awesome:

Standing outside


Watch some of her comedy here!


Music Credits:

“Setting Sun” by Chris Powers

“Intergalactic” by Beastie Boys

“She’s So High” by Blur

“Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken” by Camera Obscura

“Deceptacon” by Le Tigre 

“Bottled in Cork” by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists


Source: Tell The Bartender

From the Web

Cocktails, Wine

Last Minute Holiday Spirit: A Wine and Spirits Gift Guide

December 19, 2014

We all have tricky recipients on our list, and time is running out. Here are some gift ideas to help you wrap up (no pun intended!) and relax into the festivities:

Your roomie
Think strategically here. A bar stocker is something that is best shared with friends.

Our pick: Martini In A Box, a bottle each of Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Imbue Bittersweet Vermouth.

Your big client

Listen, your business needs happy clients so don’t scrimp on this one. Go for something special that isn’t available just anywhere: a gift set of locally distilled whiskeys and bourbons.

Our pick: Kings County Gift Pack, a 3-bottle pack including Brooklyn-local Moonshine, Bourbon and Chocolate Whiskey.

Your kid’s teacher
A sparkling rosé. Trust us on this one— this person does not need more soap or chocolate.

Our pick: Raventos i Blanc “De Nit” Rose Cava 2011, one of our favorite cavas with layer upon layer of red fruit.

Your office mate
A bright and complex Chardonnay, something light and easy that you can open to kick off happy hour the next time you’re both working late.

Our pick: Chateau Fuisse Pouilly-Fuissé Tête De Cru 2011, a parfait of peaches, pears and honey.

Your boss lady
You cannot go wrong with a chocolatey Syrah or a jammy red Zinfandel.

Our pick: Bella Vineyards Lily Hill Estate Zinfandel 2010, a perfectly balanced, textured, sleek and smooth red.

Father in-law (Because you know you need help with this one)

Choose a bourbon or whiskey—or, better yet, one of each. With any luck, he’ll share.

Our pick: Koval Single Barrel Bourbon, organic, small batch and single barrel. Sip, savor and enjoy.

Your trainer
Even fitness buffs have cheat days, and frankly, a bit of booze is better than a burger. A smoky Mezcal is an unexpected, versatile departure from the norm.

Our pick: El Buho Mezcal, so smoky with slightly sweet and earthy undertones.

Your super
Your super is one of the most important people in your life. A warming bourbon is the perfect way to cap off a day of shoveling snow or fixing broken heaters.

Our pick: Bulleit Bourbon, with gentle spice and sweet tones of toffee and nutmeg, this is a toasty bottle.

Your doorman
In addition to the annual holiday bonus, go the extra mile and splurge on a California Cabernet—big, zesty and festive.

Our pick: Flora Springs Trilogy 2010, all big blackberries and cherries in this Napa Valley Cabernet.

Yankee Gift Swap
The holiday season means holiday parties and games. Bring something everyone can use (hello, Bubbly!) and don’t be surprised if your gift ends up the coveted item that players scheme to “steal” from each other.

Our pick: Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial Champagne, an effervescent nectar that’s rich with vanilla notes and slightly sweet tropical bubbles.

Julie Bausch is a freelance writer who moonlights for Tipsy, a wine and spirits shop in Brooklyn, where you can find all these bottles and more. Visit us at the corner of Myrtle and Classon or online at

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Tell the Bartender Episode 49: Politics, Facebook and Friendship

December 17, 2014

Listen to Episode 49: Politics, Facebook and Friendship

Download From iTunes Here

In this Episode:

Shawn joins The Bartender to talk about political discourse in the age of social media, “Racebook”, and how he handles situations when the police are involved.

Then Korde tells a story about a funny coincidence that happened when he first moved to New York. It’s kind of beautiful, you guys.

PLUS listener shout outs and The Bartender needs your help! Like the show? Tip The Bartender! Or give it 5 stars!

Shawn is a VO artist, actor and baseball aficionado. Here he is rocking his team uniform:


Korde Tuttle is an incredible playwright, poet and all around awesome person. Here he is in what I’m told is a totally candid shot and I’m jealous:10518620_10202993305579214_6522821483810202941_o

Music Credits:

“Setting Sun” by Chris Powers

“Blue Lines” by Massive Attack

“The Impossible” by Monster Movie

“Forest” by Bran Van 3000

“Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues

“Bottled in Cork” by Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

Source: Tell The Bartender

From the Web


"The Plunge": Coney Island Brewing’s winter seasonal.

December 7, 2014

The Coney Island Brewing Company’s winter seasonal offering is called “The Plunge”, after the Polar Bear Club’s winter swims at Coney Island. With a name like that it should be, well, bracing.

The label says “Belgian-Style Ale with Ginger, Orange Peel and Fennel Seed.” As I’ve mentioned before, I’m leery of brews with additives. To riff on The Lovin’ Spoonful, “All I want is malt, yeast, water, and hops just to set my soul on fire.” Still, despite initial strong doubts, I liked Coney’s summer brew, Tunnel of Love Watermelon Wheat. I found their autumn offering, Freaktoberfest, less pleasing. Pumpkin is not one of my favorite flavors, although the espresso beans added an interesting note.

So, here are my notes on “The Plunge”, which I had with a spicy take out from Curry Heights:

Color: vivid amber (see photo).

Head: ample, but not over-the-top (ditto).

Aroma: fruit and spices, hint of licorice (thanks to the fennel).

Taste: a rich mix of fruit, spice, malt, and a muted hop finish, with a touch of licorice. As the meal progressed and the ale warmed in the glass, the fennel accent became more pronounced, and malt carried through to the finish.

The Plunge went well with the spicy curry, its own spiciness complementing rather than amplifying or fighting that of the food. All in all, a pleasant drink, and one I’ll enjoy again. Would I compare it to a swim in frigid water? To me, it was more of a sitting in front of a fire on a winter’s night kind of beverage. At 6.9 percent ABV, it will warm you up. Technical details are here.

Source: Self-Absorbed Boomer

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Brooklyn Bugle Book Club: “Barracuda” A Novel by Christos Tsiolkas

December 5, 2014

Find your passion, we’re told, and set a goal in life. What can happen if you don’t reach that goal is the theme that Christos Tsiolkas sets out to explore in his compelling and occasionally disturbing new novel “Barracuda.” Danny Kelly is a teenaged swimming champion in Melbourne, Australia, so good that a private school in a rich suburb offers him a full scholarship for so he can train and compete, and get an education. Danny is completely dedicated to nurturing his talent, training four hours a day before and after school, but comes from a working class family – his father is a truck driver, his mother a hairdresser – and feels out of place. Danny also has two other areas of difference – his mother is Greek, and he has inherited some of her dark coloring, and she comes from a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses – her family has virtually disowned her since she left the religion to marry Danny’s father.

Danny struggles with school work, and he struggles with his relationships: at the new school, he is able to maintain some of his old friendships, but they are strained. His new ones are based on intimidation and hard work – but the qualities that serve him well in the pool do not work so well out of it. School, parents, coach: everyone is proud of his successes, and Danny is able to skimp on his schoolwork for a while, and his time in the pool and traveling to swim meets means that it doesn’t matter that his relationships with his family deteriorate. Danny feels unsupported by his father, who resents all the time Danny’s training demands, and Danny grows apart from his younger sister, Regan, and brother, Theo. But when success doesn’t happen Danny falls apart quite publicly.

Much of the story is told from Danny’s viewpoint – Tsiolkas switches in and out of a first person narrative – and Danny’s inner life is richly detailed, both in the pool and out of it. Danny grows and changes and eventually figures out two things that he knows he should have learned in school: the importance of words, and the importance in life of structure. The book is not all about Danny – Tsiolkas uses Danny’s very bitter reaction to explore a variety of themes, including Australia’s isolation from much of the rest of the world, its history both as colonized and colonizer, its issues of class and color, and its occasional complacency. These come to a head when Sydney hosts the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, long after Danny’s swimming days are done. Danny’s crushing sense of failure because he does not represent his country at those games meets the rest of the country’s joy that it has performed well on the world stage.

There are many ways to read this book. Danny’s surname hints at an allegory about rebellion during Australia’s growth and development. There’s a story of growth and redemption in two generations. What do you think you’ll remember best? Let us know in the comments.

Have a book you want me to know about? Email me at I also blog about metrics at

From the Web


Struggle Bus Episode 5: Awful People from Your Past, Struggle Buddies, and Wanderlust on a Budget

November 21, 2014

Listen To Episode 5

Subscribe On iTunes

In this episode Kate and Sally respond to a listener’s question about what to do when an awful person from her past is internet-famous for being a great guy. Plus: Don’t ride the struggle bus alone! Use #strugglepodbuds to find other listeners who want a struggle buddy. And finally, how to deal with an overwhelming desire to travel and an underwhelming amount of money with which to do it. BONUS: Kate tells us all about how she recently shamed a street harasser…with an inspired, tear-jerking performance.

Have a question? Tweet at Kate and Sally!

Theme song by Marty Scanlon and song of the week by Eytan and The Embassy! Video here:


Source: The Struggle Bus

From the Web

Arts and Entertainment, Brooklyn Bugle, Music, News, Opinion

The Kinks: The Beatles of Outsiders

November 21, 2014

Do you know what a “Familiar” is?  A Familiar is an object or entity that appears in varying guises to assist you or accompany you on your travels.

We likely all have artists or bands that are our Familiars, even if we’ve never quite identified them like that.  These are artists who “follow” us through every stage of life, whose work we continually turn to for inspiration, comfort, and distraction.

These Familiars generally won’t be someone hugely obvious, because there has to be something about them that belong just to us. At the same time, they can’t be so obscure, because the Familiar also has to be a device by which we find friends and like-minded tribe members.   For instance, the ubiquity of the Beatles precludes them having that kind of “special” attachment to our inner life and self-definition.  Likewise, the Familiar must be an artist who has stood the test of time; there are certain artists who may have flared briefly as obsessions, and who served as utile social conduits, but later seemed irrelevant. For instance, I may have been deeply attached to Elvis Costello when I was 15 and 16 and virtually obsessed with the Jam when I was 16 to18, but the work of neither artist seemed to carry much power with me as I moved on in life.

Since the age of 13 or so, the Kinks have been my Familiar.

Strangely, I wouldn’t say they were my favorite band – that would probably be the Damned, or Neu!, or the Stranglers, or the Who, or Hawkwind.  But they have been the band that has always been with me; they have a song, a creative period, an album, for every stage of my life. They are the doorframe I measured my height alongside.

The Kinks likely became my Familiar because I believe that they were The Beatles For Outsiders (for a certain age group, that is; this notion really only applies to listeners who came of age between, say, 1970 and 1980).  To be The Beatles For Outsiders, you had to be popular enough to form a clique, but underground enough to form a cult; also, you had to generate enough pop memes to promote relatively easy proselytization, but have enough musical quirks to be a beautiful secret to share. And you had to carry with you some aura of sexual mystery or ambiguity (in the 1970s, before punk became an “easy” totem to distinguish separation from the mainstream, flaunting some degree of ambiguity about your sexual associations was an extremely utile way to announce that you were not like everybody else).

In the Beatles for Outsiders category, really only Bowie was in the same league as the Kinks.  And the Kinks were a group, so they won, by default.

My own first awareness of the Kinks probably came from one or two sources:  at some point I saw a deliciously sloppy, almost shambolic appearance on a TV show that seemed so absolutely antithetical to the precise mewling we usually saw on network TV that it was a virtual call to arms.  And at another time, not to far removed from this TV exposure, I heard “You Really Got Me,” and it was immediately one of those handful of songs that seemed to have always been there, always waiting for you; do you know what I am talking about?  There are a few, very few songs, that when you hear them for the first time, they seem to speak to some need in you, seem to announce “There is something in this song that personifies a crucial and lasting aspect of your creative and cultural identity.”  It is almost as if these songs represent transmigrated memes from a previous life.  I can name very, very few of these “instant” friends:  The Velvets’ “I’m Waiting for the Man,” “Hallogallo” by Neu!, and the Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.”

These first entry points – the absolutely adorable brutality and shocking simplicity of “You Really Got Me” and the dissolute, dirty, honking TV performance — made me instantly seek out everything I could find about the Kinks.  The somewhat spotty early albums and the harder-to-find mid-period records didn’t quite do the trick, so I ended up playing three albums over and over and over again:  Kinks Kronikles, which remains perhaps the greatest band compilation album of all time; Lola Vs. Powerman; and the newly-released Sleepwalker.  Now, Kronikles works – really works – because it was not at all shy of including oddities, and in the late ‘60s and very early 1970s, the Kinks’ oddities – unreleased tracks like “Berkeley Mews,” B-sides like “Polly,” “She’s Got Everything,” and “Susannah’s Still Alive” — were superb, a complete career unto themselves.  As for the Lola Vs. Powerman album, it was (and is) in many ways the Kinks’ most complete album, and virtually alone amongst the Kinks’ catalog, it could be played unapologetically to mainstream-loving friends you wanted to convert without needing any explanation regarding the British political and cultural memes that saturated so much of the Kinks work.  And Sleepwalker was solid, full of crisp FM sounds, Kinks-branded riffs, and just a touch of textual weirdness.  Personally, I think it’s the last great Kinks album, and it’s still one of my favorites.

As time goes on – and it has been a desperately long time since then, a child born on the day Sleepwalker was released would be nearly 38 now – my appreciation for the Kinks has evolved:  For instance, today my favorite Kinks’ albums are the deeply blue and earth-toned Muswell Hillbillies and the sad painted-smile British music hall-via-New Orleans sighs of Everybody’s In Showbiz. But the Kinks are still very much my Familiar.  They’ve aged with me as no other band has, and I always return to them, again and again, unearthing new treasures and finding a song that seems to be speak to me, even as “me” has changed and changed.

Why was I inspired to write this, now?  Well, obviously, there’s a fiftieth anniversary mishegas, and some controversy about whether Ray and Dave and Mick can bury their long-honed hatchets long enough to tour; but I have virtually zero interest in seeing a renascent Kinks; my memories of raucous, spitting, leaping, surprising shows at the Palladium in the 1970s is plenty enough for me.  But there are two new releases worthy of note:  The Essential Kinks is very worthwhile 2-disc compilation, and even if it omits the quirks of Kronikles, it’s probably the best inclusive career retrospective out there, especially keeping in mind that getting the early hits and the mid-60s heart-scratchers and the highlights of the ‘70s concept albums plus the best of the late ‘70s/’80s “mainstream” period ALL ON ONE RECORD is virtually impossible; but The Essential Kinks does a pretty good job assembling an overview for a band whose creative/cultural diversity (not to mention competing label association) has so far created a situation that largely defies reliable compilation. Oh, and it’s also good to hear some first-rate mastering on this stuff (though, to be frank, the Ray Davies-production style of the mid/late ‘60s and early 1970s was so high-end unfriendly as to almost make good mastering a negative).  WOW this sounds like a REAL record review!

The other new Kinks-related release worthy of note is Dave Davies’ delicious, sensitive, rousing, and surprising new album, Rippin’ Up Time.  These days, Dave seems to do the slice-of-life observation thing better than Ray does; when you add to this the fact that with age, Dave’s voice, once notably higher in range than Ray’s, has dropped into precisely Ray’s classic wheelhouse (at times he sounds exactly like Ray, and that’s never happened before), and then bring in the fact that Dave has an acute ear for song-arrangement that seems to hearken back to the Kinks’ Face To Face/Something Else/Village Green peaks, what you have here is the album you wish Ray would make.  Now, add to this the fact that Dave Davies has a willingness to experiment musically and go on emotional and creative limbs that Ray hasn’t dared to go on in nearly forty years, and you have a small treasure of an album with Rippin’ Up Time, which threatens, in places, to become a much larger treasure.

The simplest way to end an article would be to write “God Save the Kinks.”  But that’s implied, isn’t it?  The Kinks, along with, perhaps, R.E.M. – are the bands of my life, the logo stickers on my permanent school-locker.  So let me just conclude by saying “Sting is a tool.”

From the Web


Brooklyn Bugle Book Club: Graphics Pleasures: “Legends of the Tour” by Jan Cleijne and “Pen and Ink: Tattoos & the Stories Behind Them” by Isaac Fitzgerald and Wendy MacNaughton

November 14, 2014

Image via iTunes-books

It’s one of the world’s glorious sporting events, followed, literally, by many thousands, and in news reports by many more. Because it runs down small side roads (mostly) it’s quite accessible, despite a complicated team and points structure. It’s been run for over a hundred years, and the Lance Armstrong cheating scandal is,well, not the first. Jan Cleijne’s beautifully drawn graphic history, translated by Laura Watkinson and Michele Hutchinson, provides a wonderful and enlightening introduction to the Tour de France.

First run in 1903, the inaugural tour, devised by a newspaper publisher to boost sales of a sports newspaper, was won by Maurice Garin; his lead of 2 hours 59 minutes is still the largest margin of victory in Tour history. Cleijne describes the first day:

On 1 July . . . fifty-nine cyclists set off on the very first stage of the very first Tour de France, from Paris to Lyon, a distance of 467 kilometers. The winner finished the following day. It had taken him 17 hours and 45 minutes. His average speed was 26 kilometers per hour on a bike that weighed twenty kilos with no gears, no brakes, no escort, no soigneurs, and no spare bikes.

After three weeks, ten thousand spectators watched the final stage, then as now, into Paris. In subsequent years, riders cheated; spectators interfered; gears, mountains, and intermediate sprints were added; and the yellow jersey decorated the Tour leader. The book is illustrated with fantastic pen and ink drawings that start in sepia tones – particularly appropriate for the years around 1914-1918 when, Cleijne writes, many cyclists were called up but never returned. Two frames tell the story: in the first, a soldier looks back at his bike, leaning against a tree. In the next, the frame is empty of people, the bike snow-covered. Cleijne adds color slowly, but the final frames – the book concludes with the 2013 tour – are full color. Whether you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, or already follow the race, “Legends of the Tour” is a terrific portrait of what has been, let’s face it, an often ignoble but immensely human event.

“Pen & Ink” also has a story to tell, or rather, a lot of stories. I need hardly tell you that tattoos are popular now (according to the HuffPo, as many as a third of millennials have tattoos). Every tattoo, it appears has a story, and “Pen & Ink” has collected some of them.

They are stories of memory – Andrea de Francisco, a cafe owner, has an RV tattooed on the inside of her arm:

She belonged to my Aunt, Uncle and two cousins, Sam and Nica. Together they explored the country every chance they got . . . It was in Canada on July 22, 2011 that the were hit by an oncoming semi-trailer . . . A fourth of my family was gone.

They are stories of self-acceptance. Roxane Gay says:

I hardly remember not hating my body. I got most of my seven arm tattoos when I was nineteen. I wanted to be able to look at my body and see something I didn’t loathe, that was part of my body by my choosing entirely. Really, that’s all I ever wanted.

The rest of the stories are equally interesting, or moving. The tattoos, themselves, oddly enough, are not nearly as compelling (though they are often quirky) as the stories. Tell us what your tattoo means, or the best tattoo story you’ve heard, in the comments.

Have a book you want me to know about? Email me at I also blog about metrics at

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