An upswing in production jobs? Riots on South Street? Naked babies dancing on Frankford Ave at 1 in the morning?
It must be Spring!
And my contribution to the blossoming destruction of our beloved city is this blog. Titled “Backyard Grillin”.
Showcasing the disheveled meat rubbing, delicious mishaps and charred victories of Cooking in the House of Grommet.
Let us begin this series with a dish from the orient. The fish plucked from the Perfume River of Vietnam. The rice harvested with the tiniest of fingers from the Guangdong Province of China. And the Bock Choy cut by the angriest Mongolians north of the Gobi desert.
PRE GRILL CHECKLIST:
Shovel out grill from under 3 feet of snow: CHECK.
Leftover charcoal and wood matches: CHECK.
An unjustified culinary sense of papal infallibility: CHECK.
I am now prepared to fight fire…with meat!
The Sides: Bock Choy and Sticky Rice provided by the Larsen Project (ask her how she did it @ firstname.lastname@example.org)
The fish had a beautiful grill flavor without being too charred. The Bock Choy had just enough salt and the store bought Kimchi had some heat to it. I call this episode a SUCCESS.
Aww yeah. AMS is bringin’ it back to ’96 while the infernal combustion engine sputters out some of the old demonic web-crud, emerges from its hibernation in a junkyard gateway to hell (greeting Spring with a lungful of the black smoke), spews funny-smelling motor oil all over and starts an inferno with rock.
We’re still talking about the engine here. The hellish, demonoid, anthropomorphized… engine. But that’s how they done did back in ’96. I know of it, for I was there.
So, here is my “Best of 2009” movie list. Why? Because I haven’t worked since Thanksgiving and I’ve been banned, blocked or shunned from most of the major pornographic sites on the intro-web.
Best of 2009
1. Let the Right One In (released on DVD in March ’09)
Holy hell! LTROI (see what I did there?) is without a doubt the best horror film of the year, but is it one of the best horror films of the decade/of all time? The answer to that question is…”the pool scene” (the FUCKING pool scene!)
2. Black Dynamite
If you love movies, love the manic joy they can bring, love that so much hard work, professionalism and intelligence can go into creating something so silly (SO SILLY), then you will love this movie.
3. Inglourious Basterds
The best scene in ANY movie this year was almost a half hour long and had 6 people sitting at a table in a bar, talking. 5 chapters told in 5 different genres is what makes this so re-watchable. BTW, Did QT actually have a theme to one of his films: a statement about mankind’s civility just being a ruse? Or, With ALL the words in ALL the languages of the world you can’t talk your way out of a comeuppance? Nah!
4. Anvil: The Story of Anvil
Metal is good.
5. District 9
Filmmakers (and studios) that make big budget spectacles, but aren’t total pussies are also very good. i.e Overblown sci fi epics that are R rated, weird, saying something about our species, but still deliver the “fuck yes” moments.
Same as number 5, but really fucking long!
Why is the best adventure film with the fullest drawn characters, greatest sense of wonder, awe and heart a fucking cartoon? Modern day filmmakers, you suck! Spielberg, Jackson, Cameron, Lucas; you should be fucking ashamed of yourselves! PIXAR is king.
Groundbreaking in almost every way; except in telling an original story. We can claim a victory with this film just by the fact the biggest movie of the year has such a negative look at our country, Cameron just didn’t see these ideas to their fullest potential. He needed to guarantee a return on his $300 million dollar investment.
9. Star Trek
New Kirk and Spock = amazing, spot on! Old Spock along with blowing up Planet Vulcan just to make the plot, (now its) personal = not so amazing, downright bad.
10. Not Quite Hollywood
Ozploitation! I queued 20 films after seeing this doc.
- Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
- The Lovely Bones
- Law Abiding Citizen
- Midnight Meat Train (released on DVD in February ’09)
Worst Movie of 2009:
- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
The only movie I fell asleep while watching in 2009 (in the theater). 45 minutes for a robot to climb a pyramid WTF!
The Road (!); Hurt Locker (!); A Serious Man; Antichrist (!); Public Enemies; Brothers; Thirst; The Box; Funny People; Moon; Where the Wild Things Are (!); Up in the Air; Fantastic Mr. Fox; House of the Devil (!); Invictus; Men Who Stare at Goats; Big Fan (!)
“I think the kissing of the baby will be pretty extreme. When he French-kisses the baby.”
And lo, the GGC 2k9 has come and gone, and while it was an unprecedented success, to say it went off without a hitch would be a lie.
Perhaps we were blinded by our insatiable food-lust, or maybe we were blindsided by the cruel and vengeful god that runs this sector of the universe, but when Aggressive Marketing Strategies & associates landed at George’s Roast Pork this fateful Monday, we were shocked and dismayed to find the lunch counter closed! It had been some time since any of us had regularly frequented George’s, but the establishment’s new days of business — Tuesday to Friday only — smacked of twisted irony. Perhaps George, fearing the sudden onslaught of power-eaters, shuttered his window like an old west saloon at high noon. Which is fucked up because, y’know, I thought we were cool…
Had this only been a convergence of Aggros we could have easily walked away (probably to the bar) and lightly chastised ourselves for lack of foresight — but fuck that, our reputation was on the line! Our hungry and expectant group had passed the point of no return. We splintered into recon units and scoured the Italian Market for a suitable replacement, though none was to be found. The other George’s, located just south of Washington and known for their inferior sandwiches, was also closed. We even considered southern-style pulled pork from Bebe’s, but that too was shut for the day.
The curse of the Italian Market Monday was upon us. Like our beloved Phillies, we were down 3-1, but we would prevail. Oh yes — we would prevail.
With a can-do attitude and a fuck-you stride, our Clockwork Orange-esque gang marched down 9th St straight to our final destination, Geno’s All American Rock’n’Roll Christopher Columbus Cheesesteak Emporium. We were prepared to do the unthinkable — stuff a Geno’s roast pork into a Geno’s cheesesteak. — an unholy example of sandwich incest, to be sure, a hail mary pass in the face of all things decent, and our last best hope at sandwich domination. Were we to rate every roast pork outfit in town, I doubt Geno’s would even crack the Top 10, but AMS was SOL and the stakes were too high to back down. Our six sandwich-warriors — Donald Pinkis, Grommett Starp and Eustacious Rorstein, plus newcomers Andy Winston, Calvin Okunoye and Zach Quemore — placed our orders, picked our battlefield and proceeded to devour our newest creation, the G-SQUARED.
I must stop myself here to say, without question, this was NOT an official, honest-to-goodness Geor-Geno’s. The rich, buttery George’s pork was inadequately replaced by Geno’s dry, sub-par pork sandwich… But despite the inauthenticity of the final product, what was borne this day was even more unholy and challenging, which is why the events of the day shall be included in the AMS Hall of Records, which is housed in one of the many libraries in Philadelphia that was shut down this year. We found that the doubling-up of Geno’s sandwiches — both too alike in texture to truly create the type of master-race sandwich we were expecting — made this compound sandwich our greatest challenge yet.
Despite the gristly, dry meat, chewy bread and just-passable cheese, along with our concoctions’ almost sentient resistance to digestion, our savage heroes smashed through the nigh-impossible challenge, each human vacuum proving themselves to be fearless in the face of adversity. New records were set, vomiting almost happened, and a new pantheon of gods was borne.
Let us now turn to the comments of my fellow champions, who shall regale you with tales of honor, endurance and gluttony…
Just a friendly reminder that the double-header to end all double-headers is T-minus 24-hours away. Lo, though it has been too long since last we battled the demonic (but delicious) GEOR-GENO’S CHALLENGE, we have stayed vigilant, knowing that this evil beast could return at any time, and that it is up to us to slay eat this monstrosity.
For the uninitiated, the GEOR-GENO’S CHALLENGE (henceforth, GGC) is a sandwich event borne from the minds (and, later, the colons) of your Aggro-heroes. It was 2005 (or 2006, who can recall?) that the spark of invention, the same spark that graced Philadelphia luminaries such as Benjamin Franklin and Gary Heidnik (both honorary Aggros) shot down from the tumultuous heavens and inspired us to ask the question, “Where is the sandwich made for ME?” Sure, the traditional Philly cheesesteak was a delicious and regularly enjoyed, despite our mutual feelings that the roast-pork sandwich should really hold the title of Philly food mascot, but it failed to “hit the spot” as it were, much like a .22 calibre bullet when compared to a neutron bomb. Indeed, if we were to ingest the sandwich of our dreams, we ourselves would have to design it.
Make it bigger, fatter, stronger.
Now, this is where we Aggro-luminaries differ from, nay exceed, our similarly “foodie” brethren. Whereas they may head to the kitchen and concoct a sandwich nightmare, something we too enjoy at times, we knew there was a solution to be had on the streets of the Italian Market. We spent days and nights wandering the streets, minds confused and stomachs rumbling. We eschewed sleep, warmed ourselves by fiery drums, examined our chemistry and checked our math. And the we stopped bullshitting and make the umpossible possible.
The journey started at George’s Roast Pork, a little window-shop conveniently located (yet somehow hidden from the masses) at the corner of 9th and Christian. This place, let me tell you my friends, this place makes the best damned roast pork sandwich in the world (John’s on Snyder is a close 2nd, Tony Luke — as usual — brings up the rear). The pork is rich and buttery, the prov sharp, with broccoli raab proving the bite and foliage needed to pass this meat-strosity. And the bread — uggggggggghhhh. Soaked in pig grease, dripping thru the paper bag before you can even bring sandwich to face. Yes, this sandwich was damn fine, like a sexy woman, a Lamborghini and a shotgun all rolled up in one. BUT. It was not the ultimate, more like a cruel temptress that lulls you into a food coma before the hunt could really begin. To complete this sand-bitch, we would have to hold out on hunger and trek further down 9th St.
Straight to Geno’s cheesesteaks then. While some folks may cite Joey Vento on his harsh politics, hatred of immigrants and love of neon, they are wrong in their judgements. They should be giving him crap for his chewy bread and gristly meats, but despite the digestive horror these funk-bombs generally perpetrate, it was these exact qualities that drew us there that fateful day. 2 sandwiches, both delicious though complete opposites in texture, taste and consistency, would be joined in unholy food-sex to create the ultimate in sandwich technology, the GGC.
Nobody knew quite what to expect when we cracked open those first Geno’s steaks, laden wit onions, wiz and Geno’s bitchin’ hot sauce, then crammed in our soggy-with-grease-but-still-steaming George’s pork, wrapped the crusty/chewy Geno’s roll around the whole shebang and proceeded to devour. What we got exceeded our wildest dreams. A 5-lb monstrosity, a sandwich containing every wonderful quality any sandwich we had ever eaten possessed. A powerful mouth-bomb, savory and sweet. Verily, the ultimate sandwich.
When we woke up from our food comas 2 weeks later, we knew we had succeeded in creating the ultimate Philly sandwich jawn. Though one would risk life and limb to attempt this sandwich too regularly (much like a sandwich-stoned Syd Barrett), we ventured to devour this beast semi-annually. As of late our pilgrimages have grown further and further apart, but this Monday AMS returns to its former glory by staging what should be the largest gathering of GGC-devotees evar.
Thus I implore you, oh reader, to please join myself, Dr. Cristophus Fear and Grommitt Starp (current holder of the GGC time trials, at an astounding 9 minutes) as we climb Everest one more time. Some may not return, but those sacrificed in the name of deliciousness will not be forgotten.
Kick-off starts at George’s Roast Pork, 9th & Christian, at 1:30pm sharp on Monday. All are welcome, except for those weak-willed souls who utter such disgraceful things like “I don’t think I can finish this.” Trust me, you’re gonna eat that fucker one way or another.
And you’ll never be the same.
Dracula wants to remind us that technology is our friend. We should invite our electronic brethren to join our army of the unholy, and partner with them to do things like rule the world, and drink lots of blood.