18 October 2009

How to Get Attention

To get anything done in this world— especially on the internet— requires the unmitigated, if brief, attention of a network of mostly twenty-somethings with nominal social aptitude. How else do you think Mir-Hossein Mousavi was elected President of Iran? But, if you have loftier goals, such as having people notice how crazy you are, you'll need everyone's full attention, mass media and twitterati alike.

So, if you want people to think, for example, that your son is aboard an experimental aircraft you constructed for no apparent purpose other than looking like a flying saucer, start with a reality television show so everyone has a point of reference, and increase your celebrity profile from there. Then, try some of the following (note, however, that the balloon/experimental aircraft/UFO bit is played out right now and you should give it some time before you attempt it):

  • Fake your own death. Once word gets out that you died (as long as you are or once were important enough for us to care) in a horrifying hovercraft accident or of an undiagnosed, untreatable, extremely rare congenital disorder, everyone will mourn you for probably a solid week. You may, however, be upstaged by a bigger celebrity actually dying, and there's always a chance your cover will be blown when someone notices you leaving a 7-11 with a Big Gulp.
  • Start a charity that does work exactly like the work being done by another charity that already exists. Obviously, the work you're doing to ensure that people associate your face with other people helping the less fortunate is significant enough to be done twice. This is also a good way to spend a bunch of money on marketing, both traditional and viral (i.e. on the internet), and get a sweet tax write-off since it's for charity. Bonus!
  • Go crazy on a talk show or news program. Try a racist tirade, or maybe an "accidental" swear word. You could shout something at the President or a fellow Senator. Jump on a couch. Celebrity is about being decidedly non-normal, and you need to prove that to the world in a way that is modestly memorable and easily translates into a YouTube clip. By the eye of Zolnak, right you guys?
  • Live an unnecessarily public life. This one is not so much a method, but a whole lifestyle. If you want to be a celebrity, you need to believe you are a celebrity, and the universe will turn you into one via a mysterious and suppressed mechanism know only to a few true believers and everyone who watches Oprah. If you're having a divorce, have it publicly. If you're having kids, have like a dozen or so at once. Publicly. Let someone photograph your naughty bits. Do this all the time. People need to know details about your life that they do not remotely want to know. This way, you will be irrevocably seared into their memories forever.
Remember, the most important thing in being famous is getting people to pay attention to you. It doesn't matter what you do to do it, but do it with all your heart. And remember to have fun!

01 October 2009

I Eat Your Cubans

Sandwiches! Sandwiches are the best, and the best kind of sandwich is the Cuban. If you disagree, I will take you into the Sears parking lot after hours and beat you senseless with a reliable and affordable Kenmore appliance.

The Cuban: pork, ham, cheese, pickles, mustard, tasty bread— HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE IT? For the past year, I've sought out the places in Rochester, NY that make Cuban sandwiches. Here's what I've found, worst to the best, with special thanks to RocWiki for the great local links:

Cheesecake Factory
The first Cuban I ever tried, and technically in Rochester (OK, Pittsford), even though it's a chain restaurant. ANYWAY, OK taste, pretty good bread, all the right ingredients, and yellow mustard? Really? Good to know you can grab one at any Cheesecake Factory, but like any chain, the quality degrades thanks to franchising, and overall, kind of a weak sandwich.

Dinosaur Bar-b-Que
The bun (yeah, I said bun) was warm but not toasted or grilled, the pork was overbearing and soaked in barbecue sauce, the pickles were sweetish instead of dill, and THERE WAS NO MUSTARD! The only thing in life I take seriously is condiments. You have failed me, Dino. Still better than Cheesecake Factory, though, because let's be honest, Dinosaur's BBQ is tasty.

Pellegrino's Deli Cafe
Normally a sub shop, so this Cuban comes on a sub roll. All the ingredients are great, even the added shredded lettuce and onions. Sadly, the bread, being a sub roll, is just too doughy. Probably the best per dollar investment though, especially if you get the small sub for $1 when you buy a large sub special, meaning you can get three meals out of it. Ultimately, tasty enough to ensure I always order a Cuban when I'm at Pellegrino's.

Lovin' Cup
Lovin' Cup calls their Cuban a "Santeria," and they don't do us the service of telling us they mean a Cuban. I had to figure that out myself. OK, my friend Nick told me before I ever went there. Again, no mustard, but the so-called "Cuban sauce" is pretty good. Maybe I was there on an off night, but the sandwich was a little cold. It came out quickly enough, which makes me think it was not entirely finished cooking. Not a bad taste, but not everything I hoped for. Kind of like Obama's promise concerning Gitmo.

The least traditional Cuban on the list, this one included cilantro mayo, avocado and salsa. While I miss the mustard, Dorado makes up for it with the great cilantro mayo and amazing bread. The second best roll, which Dorado calls "Portuguese Bread," and the most unique. I'd go back for the taste, even despite being just barely the most expensive sandwich on the list.

Sticky Lips Pit BBQ
My second favorite Cuban on the list, and the most traditional. The bread is sourdough, but it's fresh and it's grilled, so it tastes great. Everything else is spot on. The ham is top-notch and the pork is slow-cooked. The cheese is melty, the mustard is spicy, and the pickles are garlicky. Everything a Cuban ought to be, but sadly, only available on Wednesdays and only until the run out, which they ALWAYS do. I suggest going for lunch.

Tap & Mallet
I love the Tap & Mallet. Go there even if you don't care about Cuban sandwiches, because they have the best beer selection in town. Go there even if you don't like beer, out of respect for their awesomeness. Their Cuban is the most gourmet on the list and matches Dorado for price, but you get more sandwich. Instead of using shredded pork like every other place, they use a full slab, and the ham is easily the tastiest, smokiest and thickest on the list. Also, the best bread. Just, the best. Go there now.

Finally, I know this is not the normal tone of meatiocrity, but "meat" is in the title, so I'm exploiting that tenuous connection to write these reviews. I regret nothing. If you know of other great Cuban sandwiches, leave a message in the comments, and if I can, I'll eat one and review it.

EDIT: Georgie's has the best cubanos. Click here for the review.