Tuesday, March 30, 2010



Saturday, March 27, 2010


Stacey and I spent a little more then 24 hours in New York not long ago, this is what we did.

We walked across the Brooklyn bridge. We ate at a new place named BAO HAUS. We drank at Nurse Betty . We ate at a true Tapas Bar. We had some really good street food and walked the High Line.

BOA HAUS, in the lower east side, serves authentic Taiwanese Gau Boa, or Steamed Buns. These buns have a distinct texture. It's a thick, floury feel. These buns are filled with you choice of either pork or steak. Topped with crushed peanuts, cilantro, Haus relish and Taiwanese red sugar. Oh yeah, the meat is all Niman Ranch. The buns are $4-4.50 each. About the size of a mans fist. A good deal and delicious.

BOA HAUS is a tiny place with very limited seating, just around the corner is Nurse Bettie. Nurse Bettie was just the spot for us to consume our gua boa's and have some beer and tequila. Nurse Bettie is a tiny little bar with a couple of great paintings of 50's style pin up girls. They had no problem with us eating in their bar while enjoying their booze.

We also ate at Tia Pol on Tenth Ave. between 22 and 23rd. I had read about this place a couple different times and then all the sudden we happened to walk right by the place. That might be because there is no sign out front. We were not all that hungry , but hell we had to try something. It is supposed to be a really good Spanish tapas bar. And it was. It had a small, but good wine list. The food was what you might find in Spain. Jamon folded around manchego cheese and artichoke hearts, potato's roasted in a thick garlic aoili and what Stacey claimed to be a delicious roasted cauliflower soup with chorizo. The last dish we tried was Chorizo with Chocolate. That was a thin slice of aged chorizo on a toast point with a smear of dark, bitter chocolate. Not bad, kinda mole if you will.

We also walked the High Line. The High Line is located on Manhattan's West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues. Section 1 of the High Line, which is the only part open now, runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. The High Line is a very cool park. That's what it is, a park. The High Line was originally constructed in the 1930s, to route dangerous freight trains above Manhattan's streets. Today it is a really cool, large footpath on an elevated rail line. It's very user friendly and has a great view of the East River. There are also quite a few places to sit, relax and eat lunch.

Coming off the High Line at 14th street in the Meatpacking District we found a food truck pushing Aisian Hotdogs. This truck offered 4 dogs. They had a Vietnamese banh-mi style:aioli + pate + cucumbers + pickledcarrot and daikon + cilantro + jalapeno. That was my favorite. I also tried the dog with asian BBQ pork bellies and grilled onion relish. They also offered a Thai style dog with mango relish + cucumber + red onion +cilantro + crushed peanuts + fish sauce and a Japanese dog with kinchi apples. We decided to save those for next time.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010


A table.

I haven't always been this way. I have been used in many different ways over the years.
Once, way back when, it has to be over 200 years ago, parts of me were a tree. Well, the top of me is over 200 years old. The other pieces of lumber I am made from are not that old. My legs are really old, maybe not two hundred years old, but old. Now my apron is my youngest feature.

After my tabletops life as a tree it was milled into lumber of various sizes . The four pieces that make up my top were milled to 3" thick and 12" wide. Also these 4 boards were cut into 16' lengths. These 4 boards must have been used for the floor joists of a warehouse building or a really large house in Mobile, Alabama. I know it was Mobile, Alabama. because the carpenter who built me salvaged those 4 pieces of lumber from Mobile. I know floor joists because there are tons of nails on one edge of the board, left over from the floor being nailed down and no nails on the other edge.

The carpenter salvaged this lumber from a Mardi Gras float which was being rebuilt. Someone had salvaged that lumber before to be used for the Mardi Gras float. The carpenter was given the flooring from the Mardi Gras float that was being rebuilt, when he saw what that flooring was nailed down to. It was nailed to those floor joists. It was love at first sight. My god! 16' long, 12" wide, 200 years old. How often does a wood salvager come across finds like that? The carpenter got the wood back to his shop in Atlanta, Georgia. Where it sat for over a year before the perfect application came along for these beautiful boards.

How ya like my legs? Nice aren't they? This lumber came from a building on Luckie Street in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. This building sits near the corner of Cone Street. It is as old as the other buildings in the area which would make it over 100 years old. The buildings owner replaced some of the the support system from the basement of his building and the carpenter purchased a truck load of beams from him. These beams were various sizes, anywhere from 6" square to 14" square. They were all about 10' long. The carpenter used the 6" beams for my legs.
The carpenter salvaged the wood for my apron from his own house. The carpenters house was a Sears and Roebuck catalog house built in 1917. The wood had been the door trim in the master suite until the carpenters wife decided she wanted to renovate. The trim around the doors and windows in the carpenters house were larger than the wood used in a house today. These boards were less then 100 years old, new lumber compared to my other parts.

So, like I said, some of me is really old, some not so old. Some of me is a lot harder then other parts of me. The older, the harder. I overheard the carpenter tell the guy he was building me for, that my top might not be heart pine, but it was not far from it. He said heart pine is from trees growing at least 300 years ago. He said there are two sources for heart pine today. Salvaged from old buildings or "sinkers". Sinkers are logs at the bottom of the waterways that were used to float trees to a mill long ago. There are four primary differences between antique heart pine and new pine. Those are color, hardness/durability, cost, and environmental impact. And although heart pine starts out a yellow color when it is first milled, it turns red after exposure to natural light. The high resin content enables the wood to change to this red color without using chemicals. The abundance resin also provides the ability to repel water and insects

So here I am today. After being cut and sanded, rubbed and caressed. Hammered, nailed, screwed and stained, this is how I turned out. A big, fat, farmhouse table. I live in a quaint little house in East Atlanta. I live with a chef and his wife so I expect to be used often.

Friday, March 19, 2010

where will the asians go to the bathroom?

This is why I love this guy. He sent this "transmission" today, I had to share.

Hey T,

I don't know about you, but I myself can feel the pressure building as the impending vote on health care reform creeps closer. It feels like the Super Bowl of politics. I grew up with parents who were always working for the Lions Club or the church or volunteering at the PTA. I had this sense of civic duty implanted in me since birth. I feel compelled to write here as a citizen and not as a party member. My citizenship is God-given - I had no choice in the matter. Its like your parents - they may not be perfect, but its all you got. You didn't have a choice in the matter. Most everything else in life you can choose. You can choose your job, your house, your friends, your spouse, your dog. But you can't choose your citizenship - you were born into it. Its not a perfect analogy, but if I had been there, I could imagine myself going through the same emotions as the Civil Rights Act of 1968was being debated. "Will it pass?", "What if it doesn't, then what?","Look how long we have been working towards this!" Let me ask you something. Would it seem normal to have a restroom for blacks and a restroom for whites today? Where would the Asians go to the bathroom? I guess my point here is that political progression is messy and it can get ugly. Please forgive the cliche, but I thinketh that we are quite clearly standing on the cusp of history. Now I am socially liberal but fiscally conservative. You might ask, "How can a bill that costs 900billion over 10 years reduce deficit spending?" Quite simple: If I find cable for 30 bucks a month whereas I was paying 40, I now have 10 buck shop pay towards my credit card debt. I'm still paying for cable but I have more discretionary income. If you don't understand how that applies to federal budgeting for health care, call me. I'm at404-313-0059.


-- John E. Duke quetico@mailcan.com

Thursday, March 18, 2010

True That

Just finished the rather long biography on Truman Capote. It was written or finished I should say in 1988 by Gerald Clarke. I say finished because it reads like this guy Clarke spent the last few years of Capote's life listening to him talk. And talk and talk and talk. I get the idea that Capote was long winded and he was his own favorite subject. That is probably a good thing when it comes to a biography.
The book covers his life completely. From being born in New Orleans to being left in Monroeville, Alabama. with his aunts and uncle. The book follows him around the world, right up to the day he died.
I have never read much of Capote's work other than In Cold Blood, probably his most famous work, along with Breakfast at Tiffany's. In Cold Blood was also the work/book that drove him insane and really it is what killed him.
After reading this tome I plan on getting my hands on and reading a bunch of his stories. The Glass Harp, Other voices other rooms, Miriam are just some of his short stories from his early days of writing. Capote also wrote in just about every other genre there is. He wrote plays, movies, he wrote for t.v., fiction and nonfiction. Travel stories for magazines, he did it all.
To start out Capote is a force to be reckoned with and steam rolls his way into New York City. Right away he gets a job with the New Yorker and from there he he spends the next 20 years or so writing his way to the top of his profession. Early in the book I thought he was pure genius. In the end not so much. This seemed to be a really through study of Capote. Actually it seems as if this writer, Clarke, spent a few years listening to and reporting everything Capote had to say, about himself or anyone else, while laying on a couch eating pills and drinking himself to death.
In the end it's a really sad book about a sad, sad little man.
But, it's a great read about a true Southerner.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


The only thing southern about this recipe is that I'm in my kitchen, in Atlanta cooking this dish and I'm a southerner.

put the following in a pot, bring to boil, turn off and let rest for 5 miutes.
17oz can of coconut water
3/4 cup water
4 table sp soy sauce
4 table sp fresh ginger crushed
teaspoon fennel seed
after that boils and rests for 5 minutes strain and boil again
cook enough pasta for 3 in the broth you just returned to a boil , calls for wheat pasta
in mean time heat 2-3" oil in fry pan
while cooking pasta fry green onions that have been julienned in 2" strips, 2 large green onions will do
take onions from oil after about 3-4 minutes, drain and set aside
finish pasta and drain
fry 2 eggs together, you know 2 eggs, 2 pans, timing, it's all about timing, get all the eggs ready at same time
put pasta in 2 bowls, put 2 eggs on each, split onions on each
attack with knife, fork and mouth

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This is a chapel we visited this weekend. It is in Garvan Woodland Gardens. GWG is in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is a 210 acre botanical garden. It is operated by the University of Arkansas.
Earlier, somewhere in this blog, I wrote about two chapels in Northwest Arkansas which were designed by Fay Jones. Fay Jones was an Arkansas native who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright. The Anthony Chapel looks a lot like those two chapels, Thorncrown and Cooper Memorial Chapel. That's because the Anthony Chapel was designed by the two Architects who now operate the firm founded by Jones.

The Anthony Chapel cost $5.8 million and took two years to build. The chapel is 138' long and 60' tall. There are 1,230 sq. ft. of glass skylights. 5,300 flagstones were laid for the floor and sidewalk. There are 4,800 sq. ft. of stone walls and 62,500 sq. ft. of southern yellow pine lumber used in the construction. The roof covers 11,000 sq. ft.

This chapel was a sight to behold, like the other two it soared up into the trees surrounding it. Right off one can see the structural design of the Anthony Chapel is much more complex than the others. You can see the detail in this photo taken from behind the alter looking toward the front doors.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

E. O. Wilson

I'm not sure where I first read about E. O. Wilson, but I'm sure it was his connection to Mobile, Al. which made me take a second look. The second look lead me to the New Yorker Magazine online and a piece of fiction written by Mr. Wilson. The piece in the New Yorker is part of his first novel "Anthill". It is a very clever piece of fiction.

Mr. Wilson is a biologist specializing in the study of ants. He has won a Pulitzer prize, twice. He was born in 1929 in Birmingham, Al. and grew up in Mobile. His first novel is about to be released. The novel is described as "a large framing story, which involves humans and then a novella within the novel, which is told entirely from the point of view of ants".

Click on link below to read the piece in the New Yorker and like me, I bet you will want to read the rest of the book when released.