Archive for June, 2014

Restaurant Review: The Smoke Joint (Brooklyn)

Posted in Dining with tags , , , on June 20, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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As we are on the cusp of the 2014 Summer Solstice, the nostalgic signs of summer will begin to resonate within our many sensory points. We will begin to hear the all too familiar sounds of music being played in the streets; we will begin to hear the infectious laughter of children running and playing; and of course, we will begin to have our appetites stimulated by the unforgettable smell of BBQ with each gust of a passing wind. Yes, Will Smith said it best when he said “Summer, Summer, Summertime; Time To Sit-back And Unwind”. And if you are like me and live in a seasonal place like that of New York, you begin to realize that summer tends to fly by quicker than a Gypsy Cab trying to beat the clock. It is because of this precious time, that we have to be both cognizant and precise when making sound judgements on where we choose to spend these precious moments at. Well I’m here to give you a GPS coordinate that will, without question, not waste your time and will also satisfy and appease your palate. The address is 87 Elliott Place, Brooklyn N.Y.. The place in question? The Smoke Joint.

Now I’m extremely particular about BBQ food. In fact I am usually so disappointed in the places that I have gone to, to the point where I rarely select it as a cuisine of choice when contemplating dining out. However in this particular instance, my wife and I just so happened to be in the Brooklyn area and the real hunger games were beginning to take place inside our stomachs. We were searching on the internet for a nearby eatery and it just so happened that The Smoke Joint was in our then current proximity. The Smoke Joint was slightly on my radar of places I wanted to try, as I had seen a segment feature on the Food Network channel about the restaurant. Of course due to my apprehension about eating BBQ, I was dangling on the fence as to whether or not we should go. So I did what any smart husband would do and I deferred to my wife and asked her to decide for both us. As it turns out, not only did I marry her for her beauty, but clearly she is also an extremely intelligent woman as well. The food at The Smoke Joint was out-and-out exceptional.

There is nothing fancy about the decor, as it will kind of remind you of a juke-joint that just so happens to sell some tremendous BBQ food. You are greeted by the host and then casually instructed to find any seat that will accommodate your party size. With every step on top of the squeaky wooden floor planks, you will find yourself being mesmerized by the smell of delicious smoked meats. We perused over the menu and decided on our entrees. My wife chose the pulled pork platter and I chose the smoked pulled chicken platter. Our choice for sides were the smoked, meat-less collard greens and the macaroni and cheese. The turn around time in which you receive your food is damn near startling, as we received our plates within five minutes of ordering. Our waiter instructed us on the sauces that were on our table and from there we proceeded to dive right in. The results? Unbelievably savory. I am a collard greens connoisseur and these were by far the best I have ever eaten out. They are spicy, smokey and vinegary to the point that you will find it hard to believe that they are actually meat-less. The macaroni and cheese was spectacular as well and should never have to take a backseat to anyone else’s rendition. So we move on to the stars of the moment, the pulled pork and the smoked pulled chicken. My wife really enjoyed her pulled pork, but her only critique was that of a personal preference which is she prefers leaner cuts as opposed to any fatty parts of the meat. But her overall take was that it was absolutely tremendous. My smoked pulled chicken platter could do no wrong, as it was smokey, peppery and juicy. Once you squeeze one of the available sauces on-top for additional flavor, it adds tranquility to your mouth upon every delectable bite. The Smoke Joint is one of “Brooklyn’s Finest” and if BBQ is calling and you just so happen to be in Kings County, check this place out. It’s located not far from the newly constructed Barclays Center. Trust me when I say that disappointment is not a dish served on their menu. Bon Appetit!

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San Antonio Spurs: A Lesson In Globalization

Posted in Sports with tags , , , , , , , on June 17, 2014 by geniusscribbleink

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The term globalization is defined as “the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture.” Two of the supposed “basic core aspects” of globalization is said to be the migration and movement of people and the dissemination of knowledge. Acclaimed Sociologists Martin Albrow and Elizabeth King described globalization as: “All those processes by which the peoples of the world are incorporated into a single world society”. Throughout the vast history of the United States, New York City is often thought to be the center of the world and is said to be the quintessential “melting pot” due to the migration of diverse cultures that migrate to this great metropolis in search of a new life, a new hope and ultimately to live out the so-called “American Dream”. What gets often lost in this country, as we seemingly find the topic of immigration being heavily debated amongst politicians and certain sections of the population at large, is the fact that for the most part, this country’s evolution was in large part due to the lack of borders and the acceptance by Native Americans of all who sought refuge on their land. In other words, before the concept designation and construction of Ellis Island, America for the most part was one gigantic, freestanding “Ellis Island” that was immersed in the ideological aspects of globalization. In our current world, we live in a time in which the world has for the most part shrunk due to the World Wide Web and other tele-communicative devises; however the process by which we seek out our dreams remains the same. And as the old adage goes “we must go where our dreams take us”. In this particular instance, globalization will not be about trade transactions or capital investment. This take on globalization in its truest form, is about two things: Basketball and the players from around the world who migrated to play it. Their destination? San Antonio Texas.

I love to ingratiate myself with people from different cultures because it is the easiest way to touch the entire globe without purchasing a plane ticket. Albeit I am a die-hard NY Knicks fan (don’t worry my wife sends me to counseling for this condition of lunacy) I make no qualms in revealing the envious basketball crush I have on the San Antonio Spurs (we are dating they just don’t know it yet). Their franchise has always exhibited the type of class, professionalism and dignity that any fan of any sports team yearns to cheer for. But what enhances their allure that much more is the fact that they also win championships in the process. I am a person who embraces change in most aspects of life, however I hold a certain stubbornness when it comes to basketball and my theory on how the game should be played. I grew up watching arguably the greatest era of basketball during the 1980s and in turn, I had the privilege of watching what most of us deem as the greatest player ever to play during the 1990s. So for me, I know basketball only one way and that is “the right way”. It’s what dynasties have been founded on and what the history of this great game was solidified upon. Now I’m not dead set on the refusal of change. Let’s face it, my High Definition television forbids me to even compartmentalize the black and white television I grew up viewing that reminds of the scene from the movie Poltergeist (I refuse to look back into the gray and black pixels of the light Carol Ann). In fact I love the newfangled gadgetry of this era. I recognize that time evokes a need for change, but overall it’s hard to change ones system of values. My mother taught me a valuable cliche when assessing a movement towards change. She would say “You don’t go from sugar to sh%t”, meaning you make change for the better and not the worse. I’ll admit that I have been a miserable basketball fan for several years now, as I’ve been pining for a glimmer of hope. A hope that someone would please resuscitate the air back into the orange sphere of Spaulding and dribble the damn ball the “right way”. Well sometimes prayers are answered and sometimes there’s an additional windfall that accompanies the prayer. After a seven-year drought, the San Antonio Spurs captured their fifth world championship of basketball on Sunday and they did so by overthrowing the reigning two-time champions (Miami Heat) in what was perhaps the greatest route in NBA Finals history. This win was done by playing sound, fundamental basketball; all within the context of team concepts. This phenomenal feat also marked that of a philosophical change in the NBA, as this idea of five individuals playing together as a one went completely away from the modern-day, standard, norm of featuring supremely gifted individual talents as a focal point instead. I am also one who likes to “wax poetic” from time to time and wanted to also sensationalize another point of emphasis with regards to the changing of the philosophical guard as well. Not only was the San Antonio Spurs a team oriented team; they are also a team that resembles the philosophy of globalization. When peering down their roster, you will find a collection of globally diverse individuals from many different parts of the world. Tim Duncan was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tony Parker and Boris Diaw both hail from France. Manu Ginobli is from Argentina. Patty Mills and Aron Baynes are natives of Australia. Rounding out this United Nations mosaic is Marco Bellinelli of Italy, Tiago Splitter of Brazil, Cory Joseph of Canada and of course Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Austin Daye, Matt Bonner, Jeff Ayers and Damian James of the United States of America. This worldly conglomerate, at the command of head coach Gregg Popovich, all convened in the one of the most unlikely place of destination (San Antonio) because they decided to go where their dreams took them. The dream of course was to capture an NBA Championship. I think what we can draw from this is the fact that when there is a common goal and there is a genuine collective effort being put forth to achieve that goal; that the backgrounds, religious beliefs, cultural rituals and language barriers of the individuals should not be deal breakers, but more so mere hurdles to be jumped over and not to be thwarted by. Sports has commonly been known to bring together people from many different economic classes, ethnicities and genders. It is the one time where everyone roots for the home team and against the common enemy at hand. Not that the issues of society can be solved by a lay-up or a three-point shot, however, somehow teams like the San Antonio Spurs have been able to do what no world leader has been able to do, which is gather nations, set a goal and commit to achieving it. I’m not sure what the solution is for the world problems at large, but I do believe that the leaders of the world may want to take a look into Gregg Popovich’s play book for some answers. Some may dismiss this by saying it’s just a game, well I will offer a rebuttal of that by saying don’t many refer to our existence as the “game of life”? Perhaps I’m wild and zany or perhaps I’m just a dreamer of sorts. But this I do know, San Antonio solved my basketball misery, so it’s not so far-fetched that they just may be able solve other issues as well. As children we are taught to “play nice”; but now we just seem to want to “play evil” instead. If we only knew how to play together, then maybe we can start to “play the right way”. #SA World Champs