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Eating In + Eating Out: How to re-invent the lobster roll, clubby lunch on 101st floor

When I ran out of leftover fresh lobster salad, I made a Lobster Roll Plus: Lobster salad dressed with Dijon mustard and non-fat Greek y...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

I am looking forward to a vacation from all of the lies, insanity of Trump presidency

Cartoonists Milt Priggee, above, and Dave Granlund, below, on President Trump's endorsement of white supremacist groups.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

After the nuclear confrontation with North Korea, the deaths in Charlottesville, Va.; President Trump's defense of white nationalist groups, and the exit of the despicable Steve Bannon, our European vacation couldn't come at a better time.

As far as I know, our destination isn't among the countries Trump has trashed, and I'll be able to watch the news in a language that is totally foreign to me.

Coverage of Trump's failing presidency has been scathing:

On Tuesday, The New York Times Editorial Board thundered:

"Mr. Trump makes a spectacle of himself"

President Trump "simply can't help himself -- especially when cornered," The Times said, adding: 

"Given one more chance to forcefully condemn the neo-Nazis and white supremacists whose rally in Charlottesville, Va., end in violence and a counterprotester's death, Mr. Trump angrily insisted, as he had suggested on Saturday, that both sides were equally to blame -- a false equivalency that not just his critics but also an increasing number of his supporters have urged him to abandon."

Times Columnist Paul Krugman angrily labeled the president as "Un-American" after Trump's first statements blamed both sides for what happened.

'No place in America'

U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance, a New Jersey Republican, scolded Trump on Twitter, the president's favorite forum:

"Mr. President, there is only one side: AGAINST white supremacists, neo-Nazis, anti-Semites & KKK. They have no place in America or GOP."

Meanwhile, The Washington Post's Fact Checker examined Trump's claim about the U.S. nuclear arsenal:

"As part of his saber-rattling with North Korea ..., President Trump said: 'My first order as President was to renovate and modernize our nuclear arsenal. It is now far stronger and more powerful than ever before.'"

The Post awarded Four Pinocchios to Trump, saying, "No, President Trump, you did not modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal in six month." 


In this cartoon from Ingrid Rice, hate groups crawl out from under a rock resembling Trump's head, likely the one he'll want added to Mount Rushmore.


New media

On Friday, The Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia published an investigation, based on interviews with participants:

How the Charlottesville disaster unfolded

The news media also have been busy interviewing people who voted for Trump to see if they still have his back.

That's a colossal waste of time. Who cares?

The voters they should be interviewing are the millions of Democrats who stayed home last Nov. 8, either because they believed polls predicting a victory for Hillary Clinton or swallowed GOP propaganda about the Democratic candidate.

These non-voting Democrats should be ashamed of themselves in view of the Trump scourge that has been visited on us. 

Charlottesville also introduced new and old phrases framing the violence.

"Antifa" is short for anti-fascists and "emulates historic anti-fascist actors in Europe," The Associated Press reported.

The "alt-right movement," supported by Bannon, "has been described as a mix of racism, white nationalism, populism and anti-Semiticism," The AP said.

"It emphasizes preserving and protecting the white race in the United States."

The Record

At my local daily newspaper, The Record of Woodland Park, the lead story today is the departure of Bannon, the adviser who was the inspiration for Trump's attempts to ban all Muslim immigration to the United States.

The clunky headline:


"BANNON GONE AT WHITE HOUSE"

Any good copy editor knows using "at White House" is totally unnecessary in a Bannon headline, but I guess the Gannett editor couldn't figure out a better head for what is supposed to be the premier page of the paper.

Also on Page 1 today is a teaser promising a recap of "the week that was" in Sunday's paper. 

"COMING SUNDAY"

"From 'fire and fury' to exit of key Trump adviser Steve Bannon, we recap the week that was."

But why wait? Newspapers traditionally consider today as the last day of the week; why isn't the recap running today in the print edition?


Cartoonist Sean Delonas, formerly of the New York Post, invokes Trump's blaming "both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville, Va., comments that generated a firestorm of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans.


Robert E. Lee

The focus of the protests and counterprotests in Charlottesville, Va., was removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee, a slaveholder who was the top Confederate general during the Civil War.

One historian justified the removal of Lee monuments, noting the general committed what he called armed treason against the United States.

But at The Record, Columnist Mike Kelly had a better idea than writing about Lee or protester Heather Heyer, the woman killed by a car during violent clashes with Ku Klux Klan members and neo-Nazis; or Trump's mixed messages about the hate groups that have been emboldened by his election.

Kelly's front page column on Thursday was about a New Jersey monument totally unrelated to the controversy over the removal of Confederate statues in New Orleans, Charlottesville and other cities.

This monument was erected by the U.S. government in 1910 to memorialize 2,436 Confederate soldiers captured at the bloody Gettysburg battle who died of dysentery, typhoid, malaria and malnutrition in a prisoner-of-war camp.

Readers searching for the "nut graph" -- journalism jargon for the paragraph that provides context for the column -- came upon this on the continuation page:

"An 85-foot granite obelisk offers a nuanced twist on the national debate over whether to tear down Confederate monuments."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Eating In + Eating Out: How to re-invent the lobster roll, clubby lunch on 101st floor

When I ran out of leftover fresh lobster salad, I made a Lobster Roll Plus: Lobster salad dressed with Dijon mustard and non-fat Greek yogurt, instead of mayonnaise and butter; smoked wild sockeye salmon and hard boiled egg -- all on a toasted whole-grain roll spread with pesto and a yogurt sauce.
I had plenty of leftover fresh lobster salad for our first Lobster Roll, which I split with my wife. I spread basil pesto on the toasted halves of a whole-grain roll, piled lobster on organic spring mix; and topped it with homemade tzatziki, a non-fat Greek yogurt sauce with shredded cucumber, garlic, extra-virgin olive, lemon juice and dill.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Who doesn't love lobster? Especially now during the August bounty, when retail prices drop, then dip some more.

The lobster roll? 

Not so much, because I can do without all of that saturated fat in the mayonnaise-and-butter dressing, and I'm no fan of stuffing lobster salad in a pedestrian hot dog bun.

In fact, I'm happy with a splash of fresh lemon juice over the meat from a whole lobster.

But when making lobster salad, I've come up with a delicious dressing I also use on canned fish salad (tuna, salmon and sardines), and Alaskan King Crab legs:

Dijon mustard, non-fat Greek yogurt, fresh lemon juice, Organic No-Salt Seasoning (from Costco Wholesale) and cumin, all to taste.

I also add diced sweet peppers and shallots or scallions; and fresh mint, basil and oregano from my garden.

To make the sandwiches, I sliced and toasted Whole-Grain Burger Buns from Balthazar Bakery at 214 S. Dean St. in Englewood.

The Basil Pesto also came from Costco.

To make the lobster salad last Sunday, I picked up three live lobsters from ShopRite, Forest Avenue and Route 4 in Paramus, for $5.99 a pound with a store card. 

This Sunday, the price dips to $5.77 a pound at the Paramus store and other ShopRites.

They are called "new shell" lobsters, because they shed their old shells in order to grow, the ShopRite fishmonger said.

We enjoyed the same low prices on lobster last August: Coaxing sweet lobster out of their shells


Where the lobsters are in the Paramus ShopRite.
Last Sunday, I cooked the three 1.5-pound lobsters in boiling water in a large covered pot for 14 minutes, as the ShopRite cooking guide suggested, and the new shells cracked easily.
The lobsters, which weighed a total of 4.5 pounds, yielded 1 pound of lobster salad, above, including the portion I had for dinner, below.


Lunch on the 101st floor

The fine-dining restaurant on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center is likely the only one in Manhattan where you have to pay a hefty cover charge to get in.

One Dine, as the restaurant is called, isn't a club.

Instead, it is part of One World Observatory, and you can't eat there unless you pay for admission to the venue on the highest floors of the skyscraper, which tops out at 1,776 feet.

On Tuesday, an overcast day with rain in the early afternoon, that was $34 for adults and $32 for seniors. I had to buy tickets in advance for a specific day and time.

There are two other food options, One Mix with "handcrafted" small plates and cocktails; and One Cafe with soup, salads and sandwiches eaten standing up at high tables.

The restaurant, bar and cafe seem like an afterthought.

One Dine doesn't come close to the size or the grandeur of Windows on the World, the fine-dining restaurant on the 107th floor of the original World Trade Center, which was destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attack. 

I had lunch at One Dine on Tuesday with my wife and son, and we enjoyed our food, which is priced on par with other fine-dining restaurants in the city.

However, One Dine wasn't taking part in Manhattan's Summer Restaurant Week promotion (3-course lunches for $29, plus tax and tip).

Plus, an 18% gratuity is automatically added to all One Dine bills.


I loved a lunch special at One Dine on Tuesday, this wonderful Seafood Bouillabaisse (shrimp, bay scallops and swordfish) with Summer Vegetables ($32), but the swordfish was hard to detect. When I asked a server, she said it was a small piece of swordfish that probably "cooked away."
My wife enjoyed the OWO Burger with Applewood Smoked Bacon, America Cheese, OWO Sauce and Fries ($26). My son's Steak & Frites came with Sauce Bearnaise and Oven-Dried Tomatoes ($28).
My wife and son shared an appetizer of Spiced Chicken Wings with Hawaiian Pineapple Glaze ($16), but we sent back the first batch when she found blood near the bone of one of the wings.
One Dine on an overcast day. On Tuesday, we saw Robin Roberts, anchor of ABC's Good Morning America, seated at table with a half-dozen other people, enjoying a long lunch with champagne and wine.
The dining room of Windows on the World in photos by Wayne Eastep, above, and New York Magazine, below.


If you go ...

We took an express bus to midtown Manhattan from northern New Jersey, where we live, then switched to the subway (E train to the last stop, World Trade Center).

The subway is connected to the incredible World Trade Center Transportation Hub, capped by the "Oculus," and you can enter the skyscraper without going outside, which I don't recommend.

You have to see the building from the street to really appreciate the experience of racing to the top in a high-speed elevator, and emerging on the observatory floors.

One of the best parts are movie-like images with sound on three sides of the elevator's interior that change rapidly, showing lower Manhattan from the 1500s (ground floor) to the present (102nd floor).

See: YouTube video


Details

One World Observatory at One World Trade Center, 285 Fulton St., New York, N.Y.; 1-844-696-1776. 

Web site: See Forever (if it's not raining)



The transportation hub, which connects the PATH commuter railroad to the New York City subway system, also is a shopping mall with restaurants. At 800,000 square feet, the structure is only the third largest transportation center in the city, according to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The Oculus, as seen from One World Observatory, was designed to resemble a dove (a symbol of peace) spreading its wings.
The mighty Hudson River.
An odd-looking apartment tower in lower Manhattan.
The Statue of Liberty, left, and Ellis Island.
The Jersey City waterfront.
The official Port Authority photo of One World Trade Center.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Demolition under way to kick start biggest renewal project in downtown Hackensack

About half of the building that once housed Rainbow Castle Preschool on Main Street in Hackensack has been knocked down. What will replace it isn't known.
The Home Discount Center across the street has gone out of business.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

The Rainbow Castle Preschool building damaged by a pile-driving rig working on Hackensack's biggest downtown renewal project is coming down.

Once the site is cleared, work is expected to resume on the 14-story apartment and retail building at Main and Mercer streets, still basically a big hole with steel beams protruding from the ground.

City officials ordered an evacuation of the preschool building in late July 2016, and also halted work on the project next door.



The Rainbow Castle Preschool building at 142-48 Main St., Hackensack, in January 2017.
When completed, 150-70 Main St. will have 382 apartments and 7,500 square feet of new retail space on Main and Mercer streets, according to Alkova Cos., the developer. The building was expected to be completed in 24 months to 30 months, but now is more than a year behind schedule.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Gannett, ignoring Trump-Putin love affair, tells readers: We will always have football

To drive home the point that President Trump's Twitter tirades have spared only Russian dictator Vladimir Putin, political satirist Bill Maher posted this doctored vacation photo of the Terrible Twins on his HBO show Friday night.
Maher also urges Republicans to adopt the troll as the symbol of the party that can't get anything done. He said trolls are "people who get off on provoking other people who are trying to have a adult conversation."

Trump doesn't blame 'white supremacists'
 for violence, death in Virginia


-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

On Friday, the United States and North Korea appeared to be on the brink of nuclear war.

But in northern New Jersey, Gannett editors at The Record of Woodland Park just managed to squeeze a story on the "crisis" onto Saturday's front page.

More than half of Page 1 was devoted to "FOOTBALL FRENZY" -- the kickoff of the NFL's pre-season.

To drive home Editor-cum-Hatchet Man Richard A. Green's priorities, a huge swath of the Local news front today discusses how MetLife Stadium is changed from Giants' blue to Jets' green in less than 24 hours.

The main headline appears aimed at stadium staff, not readers:


"You have less than 24 hours
 to flip MetLife Stadium."

"GO."

How's that?

There is news supposedly related to President Trump at the top of the same page, but readers might be confused by contradictory information in the first and sixth paragraphs (1L).

In the lead paragraph, Jose Estrada Lopez of Fairview is identified as a Guatemalan immigrant "ordered deported under the Trump administration's crackdown on illegal immigrants."

But just five paragraphs later, readers are told Estrada Lopez has been fighting to stay in the country "for nearly four years" -- meaning he was a target of President Obama's crackdown on illegals, not Trump's.

Trump-Putin

The New York Times reported:

"The U.S.-Russia relationship took a baffling turn when Mr. Trump thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for ordering the U.S. Embassy to slash personnel, a move made in retaliation for sanctions imposed because of Russia's election meddling.

"I'm very thankful he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll," The Times quoted Trump as saying.

How bizarre. 

Instead of coming down on Putin, Trump attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to pass a health care repeal bill.

See related posts:




Charlottesville

This afternoon, the White House condemned "white supremacists" for inciting the violence that led to one death in Charlottesville, Va.

The statement, attributed to an unnamed spokesman, was issued more than 36 hours after the protests began, The Times reported. 

It was not attributed directly to the president, who "often uses Twitter to comment directly on controversial topics," the newspaper said, or to trash McConnell and others.

The White House was under siege after racist Trump blamed "many sides" for the violence.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Eating Out + Eating In: Twin lobster deal, Chinese delivery, a fish medley and more

CLAWS: The Twin Lobster Special, served on Mondays and Tuesdays at Meson Madrid in Palisades Park, includes soup or salad, yellow rice and addictive house-made potato chips.
CORAL: The split tails of both of my lobsters contained the roe or eggs, also called "coral," which some consider a gourmet treat.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Yes. The price has gone up about 20% for one of the great lobster deals.

But the crustaceans three of us got last Tuesday night at Meson Madrid seemed bigger, and our meal included house-made potato chips loved even by people like me who never eat the over-salted ones from bags.

You also get a romaine lettuce salad or soup (Caldo gallego, made with pork), and as much yellow rice and chips as you can eat, all for $23.95, up from $19.95.

Other specials on Mondays and Tuesdays are Double Lobster Tails or Sirloin Steak with a Lobster Tail, both with all the trimmings for $21.95 each (we ordered the steak-lobster tail to go for a family member who stayed home).

A minor complaint: Lobsters are easiest to eat when the shells are hard and crack open immediately, but the kitchen at Meson Madrid pre-cooks them to handle an anticipated rush in orders for the $23.95 special, resulting in softer claw and knuckle shells that are difficult to open. 

The traditional Spanish restaurant also serves tapas, a 3-pound Certified Black Angus Steak, Filet of Sole stuffed with jumbo shrimp and many other dishes.


VIVA! A glass of delicious red wine from Bodegas Sonsierra in the Rioja region of Spain was $9.
SIDES: We asked for and received a second plate of the house-made chips.
SALAD: The salad comes with French dressing in a boat, but I could have done without the hard, bland tomato wedges.
BREAD: Meson Madrid serves bread better suited for making Cuban sandwiches, but the doughy loaf was hot and the crust crispy. You can ask for olive oil for dipping.
DETAILS: Meson Madrid Restaurant is at 343 Bergen Boulevard, Palisades Park; 201-947-1038. Open 7 days for lunch and dinner, free parking in lot. All the Monday and Tuesday specials are available at lunch or dinner.
DELIVERY FROM LOTUS CAFE: Luckily, we live within the 3-mile free delivery area of Lotus Cafe, 450 Hackensack Ave., in the Home Depot Shopping Center, Hackensack; 201-488-7070. Our order included Filet of Sole with Scallion and Ginger ($17.95), above; Chinese Broccoli sauteed with fresh garlic ($10.95), below; and Zar Jiang Mein, a dish of fat noodles in what the menu says is a "Xanadu meat sauce, Marco Polo's favorite" ($8.45).

BAKED COD MEDLEY: Fresh wild Atlantic cod from Iceland ($7.99 a pound at Costco Wholesale in Teterboro) peeking out from a coating of Asian Indian spices. I served it over a homemade tzatziki, a non-fat Greek yogurt sauce with shredded cucumbers, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and dill.
HOW TO PREPARE: Fresh spinach goes into the pan first, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil; then serving pieces of cod, organic diced tomatoes, black olives, capers, fresh lemon juice and grated cheese. The fish is ready after 15 minutes in a pre-heated 400-degree oven, which toasted the chopped fresh mint I added to the pan last.
LEFTOVERS: I used leftover organic diced tomatoes from the cod dish in an egg-white omelet with smoked wild salmon and reduced-fat Swiss cheese, all from Costco Wholesale. I served part of the omelet with garlic smashed yams. I boiled whole peeled garlic cloves and skin-on yam sections until soft, then drained and mashed them with extra-virgin olive oil and seasonings, including cinnamon and curry powder.
TRADER JOE'S: On Thursday, I found some of my favorite items missing during a late-afternoon visit to the Paramus Trader Joe's, 404 Route 17 north, including Trader Giotto's Puttanesca Sauce. So I settled for Tomato Basil Marinara, which contains no added sugar ($1.79 for a 26-ounce jar).
NOT READY: Despite what the box says ("Ready to Eat"), my 4 pounds of Nectarines from Trader Joe's ($5.99) are still ripening on my kitchen counter two days after I brought them home. I also bought uncured hot dogs, antibiotic- and nitrate-free bacon, and sliced Black Forest Ham for sandwiches.
NATURAL SUGAR: Today, I baked 3 pounds of organic sweet potatoes from Trader Joe's ($4.49) until they were soft and the natural sugar oozed out of them on the parchment paper I place over the oven rack (I pierce them with a fork halfway through cooking). At 350 degrees, they take from 40 minutes to an hour or more, depending on the size of the sweet potato.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Will Trump-North Korea war of words be 9th time we have averted nuclear disaster?

Here is cartoonist Dave Granlund's take on the crisis facing the United States as President Trump ratchets up the rhetoric over North Korea's nuclear weapons.
Cartoonist Adam Zyglis of The Buffalo News comments on Trump's "working vacation" at his New Jersey golf resort.

-- HACKENSACK, N.J.

By VICTOR E. SASSON
EDITOR

Thanks to President Trump's war of words with North Korea, Americans from Glen Cove to Guam are shitting in their pants over the possibility of a nuclear war.

"They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen," Trump tweeted on Tuesday after the rogue regime threatened to strike Guam, the U.S. territory where American citizens can't vote for president.

On Thursday, Trump "doubled down" on his threats, USA Today reported.

And today, a breaking news alert from The New York Times said Trump again warned in a Twitter post:

"Military solutions are now in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely."

It was the third time in a week Trump suggested he is ready to strike "the small, isolated Asian country that has been developing nuclear weapons capable of reaching the United States," The Times said. 

When he declared the opioid crisis a national emergency, also on Thursday, Trump called it "a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had."

I'll tell you what "the world has never seen" and the world has "never had."

It's a U.S. president who lied, exaggerated and conned his way into office -- to the delight of the news media, which breathlessly described him as an "outsider" and political "novice" tilting at the Washington establishment.

Now, many observers call his comments about North Korea "reckless."

See the Huffington Post review of the eight times the world was on the brink of a potential nuclear disaster before this latest confrontation:


Made-up news

Even after The Record of Woodland Park published an editorial stepping back from the paper's prediction of a "Summer of Hell" for rail commuters to Manhattan, reporters continue to use the phrase.

On Tuesday's front page, transportation reporter Curtis Tate claimed the Port Authority's PATH system has provided relief for NJ Transit riders facing a cutback in service during major track replacement work in New York's Penn Station.

Tate used the phrase "Summer of Hell" to describe the delays that weren't.

The PATH rail system doesn't extend into Bergen, Passaic or Morris counties, and is useless to the vast majority of NJ Transit rail commuters who live there.

Garden State

Only absentee owners like the Gannett Co. could run a front-page story in The Record declaring that "Garden State" is officially the state slogan now that Governor Christie signed a bill saying so (Tuesday's 1A).

New Jerseyans and the newspapers they read have used the phrase for decades to describe a state blessed with the Pinelands, the shore, hundreds of farms and, yes, the Garden State Parkway, one of the most beautiful highways in America.

Bad headline

Gannett editors know a good way to attract readers and draw them into a long story or column is to write a catchy headline -- even if it isn't accurate or true.

That was the case last month with Staff Writer Christopher Maag's Garden State of Mind column about a shoemaker in the city of Passaic. 

The headline, which appeared online and in the print edtion, said:

"Savvy, quiet and free, 
a Passaic cobbler goes his own way."

The headline was based on a sentence in the story about Reynaldo Acuna, a Peruvian immigrant in a city filled with them: 

"He uses time to mold his business in his own image: relaxed, savvy, quiet, free."

But the word "free" is never used again or explained. Acuna certainly doesn't work for "free;" he "accepts payments only in cash," Maag says.

Is the reporter saying Acuna is "free"? So are hundreds of millions of other Americans.

Really confusing.