( #MeanJoe, #Espositos )
Here is a holiday treat Lombardi style. My Mom found this article and scanned it. For those people who are fans of my dad and his “alias” Joe Knit, check this out…
( @drinkingmadeeasy, #HendricksGin )
Drinking Made Easy posted an article I wrote about Hendricks Gin and making G&Ts for my dad. Give it a read!
Update: It looks like DME’s website upgrade broke the links, so here is the whole article.
With Father’s Day approaching and the weather heating up, I have been thinking about gin. When I was a kid, my old man used to ask me to make him gin and tonics when he got home from work or after he mowed the lawn. I started adding little dashes of cranberry juice for color which earned me a compliment or two. This encouragement led to a long running tradition of playing bartender at parties, which stands to this day.
I don’t always drink mixed cocktails, but if I do, it is almost always a gin and tonic. Tonic water and gin do nothing for me independently, but by their powers combined, they form pure boozy magic. It is the perfect combination of bitter and sweet flavors. A few weeks ago, I was talking to a well versed friend (the same guy that recommended Zing Zang in my Bloody Mary article) about my love of G&Ts; he recommend Hendrick’s Gin. After telling me about it, he brought a bottle over and it blew my mind.
Hendrick’s gin was established in 1999. The whole origin of the company and its 150-year-old still can be found on their website. The story confirms what my mouth has already told me – this gin is really smooth. It was so good that I felt bad mixing it with tonic water. I loathe martinis, but a spritz of vermouth and slice of cucumber radically changed my position on the drink and gin (independent of tonic water) in general. When I finally did overcome my hesitation about mixing it, I was blown away by the difference in quality and flavor. Simply put, this puts my father’s nasty ass bottle of Beefeater to shame.
If you are looking for a nice gift for your father, you can’t go wrong with Hendricks gin. It’s delicious and the bottle is unique (it looks olde-timey and medicinal), hell, you can even get it with an attractive carrying case. I purchased a bottle for my father because I can’t mock his Beefeater without providing a superior replacement (plus I get bragging rights for finding something better). As we all celebrate our dads this Sunday, just focus on the fact that if they didn’t have a favorite drink, we might not be walking around today.
( #JoeKnit, #FathersDay )
Image Credit: Somebody in my family
A few weeks ago I came across this post about great father’s day gifts and I read through to see if there were any good suggestions for my old man. If you are a frequent reader you know my father is a popular topic due to his unique personality. If you are not into Mean Joe stories—move on to another post. If you enjoy them or have a father that is a total pain in the ass to buy gifts for—keep reading.
I am not going to overly complicate things, I am just going to list Mike’s (the author) suggestions and state why they won’t work for my dad:
1. Omaha Steaks: My dad is butcher, thats not happening.
2. Golf Accessories: My dad doesn’t like to play golf, although for a short period he did like to sneak onto courses to take walks and nap.
3. Sports Tickets: He could care less about any form of sports or team cooperation.
4. Remote Control: This is not a bad idea on paper, but any of the new remotes that have LCD screens will piss him off and be relegated to a drawer before he even tries it.
5. Fishing Equipment: I have never seen the man take an interest in fish in my entire life (besides eating them).
6. Camcorder: Technology = No.
7. Pocket Watch: He doesn’t care what time it is. He is where he needs to be until he doesn’t want to be there.
8. Restaurant Gift Cards: He’d rather cook for himself.
9. Magazine Subscription: No interest in reading anything outside of a very few select topics (mostly health related, but not the Men’s Health kind of articles).
10. Movie Gift Cards (Netflix, Blockbuster, AMC Theaters): Has lost the attention and desire to sit through an entire movie.
11. Camping Trip: Depends on what you mean by camping. If you suggest a hotel room, jacuzzi, and quality steaks – he might go assuming the right company is involved (not his family).
12. Custom T-Shirt/Polo Shirt: It would have to be the right material and proper color blue or it will sit in his closet for all of eternity.
13. Swim Trunks: This is a man who mows the lawn in meat-stained white t-shirts, old jeans that are held up by string. STRING. He would look at the netting inside the trunks and punch them so hard the little Chinese kid that made them would feel it.
14. Anything from Sharper Image or Brookstone: See #6.
15. Accessories for the Barbecue Grill: Besides his bare hands on the open flame? No.
16. Massage: This actually could be feasible if there was no spa music. Actually, he has an acute hatred for perfumes and sweet smells so he probably would not step foot inside a massage parlor.
17. Shaving Accessories: See #13 – this is a man that does not care about appearances (unless he wants to prove how pretty he is).
18. Wine/Beer of the Month: Does not drink fermented alcohol anymore.
19. A Tie: No
20. A Home Cooked Meal: See #8.
As you can see, he is a pretty difficult person to shop for. Do you have a father or relative like this? Or do you have a suggestion for my old man? Share your stories here. Good luck finding your dad a good gift!
( #JoeKnit, #CBS3 )
Image Credit: CBS Philly
CBS Philly covered the Italian Market’s weekend festival and did an “interview” with my father. I put interview in quotes because we know my old man does really talk. Either way, it amuses me greatly that the focus was on his sausage. The best part is, I think the girl who wrote the article is kind of making the same joke.
Anyway… here is the article:
CBS Philly: Philadelphia Meat Shop Celebrates 100 Years With 100 Foot Sausage
PS: Mean Joe goes by Joe Knit at the Italian Market. I have heard a few reasons why and I will save them all for another day and another post.
Click Here to read more about Mean Joe.
( #Askabutcher, #SouthPhilly )
A little bit of background: A few months ago, I pitched this concept to one of the other blogs that I write for. My editors kindly said go for it. Scheduling the shoot had a series of set-backs, but eventually I got over to Espositos (in the Italian Market, South Philadelphia) to film. When I cut the episode, the editors had some suggestions to make it more applicable to their audience. A re-shoot was not in the cards for a while, so the footage sat.
I decided to re-cut the original material for my own audience and opted to keep this content exclusive to JoeyLombardi.com moving forward. So I proudly present to you the first (and hopefully not the last) installment of Ask A Butcher.
If you liked the Episode and want to ask Joe Knit questions, you can do so on my contact form. Just put “Ask a Butcher” in the subject line.
Thanks for watching and please spread the word about this one (share on facebook, twitter, etc). Because it takes coordination (getting in the way at a busy store), I want to be sure people are watching and enjoying this series before I ask to go back.
( #Lefty, #JerseyShore )
NOTE: This story is being republished and reformatted from another section of my website. It was originally written in 2006. Thanks to idiots who don’t know how to enjoy things, the names have been changed to protect the not-innocent. The story takes place in the summer of 2001. My friends and I were still in college.
It was supposed to be a perfect day and in some ways it was. My friend Republicaster and I had decided to drive down to the beach to see my friend Jack and his band play. My father was in the habit of taking my car to work on Saturdays, so I took his (relatively new car) to the shore (I thought it was fair trade). We opted to go early and spend the day on the beach.
We arrived late in the morning and everything was just…fantastic. Republicaster and I swam for a few hours and introduced the term “Super Wave Crusher” into our collective vocabularies. After we had our way with the ocean, we decided to break for lunch. At this point, I should mention that we brought another guy with us. He wasn’t a big part of the story except that when stood in line at the deli, I ran into a girl that I worked with (and she was with a group of attractive friends). I quickly said hello and goodbye as I could see “he-who-shall-not-be-named” assessing his odds of getting a phone number (my mental math said no chance in hell). My friend had very poor social skills and I didn’t want to be embarrassed, so I pushed him out the door. Back to the story…
After lunch we walked around Sea Isle. There were plenty of girls to be ogled and we didn’t pass up any opportunity. By 4 PM we decided to go to the bar Jack was playing at and get ourselves camped out. The bartender informed us that Bud was $1. Neither of us drank the stuff, but that changed.
We ordered food and a round of our usual favorites (Coke and a brown booze). I remember I had about $40 bucks cash on me and that’s when we both decided to switch to beer. Around 6 PM, Jack showed up. He sat down and had a few drinks with us while the other band played. By 8ish Jack was getting ready to play. Republicaster and I helped them set up. We spent the next three hours rocking our faces off Lefty style.
I noticed something that would become a trademark of Republicaster’s that night: walking around drinking, making friends, getting drunk, being playful and then getting mean. Jack noticed first (from his own experience) as Republicaster was trying to help move their equipment. Jack skillfully jedi mind-tricked him into sitting down. Republicaster continued to drink. For records, at 6 PM he started drinking dollar Buds, but 9 PM he was asking me for money. The $40 bucks I had left was dwindled to $10 and I stopped drinking for the most part. Which meant Republicaster drank anywhere from 15-20 beers in a few hours.
Jack packed up and left. Republicaster was teetering and I knew we had to get him to the car. He did another now famous move – yelled at people while walking. Republicaster started insulting the locals sitting on their porches and screaming (it was now close to midnight). We finally got him in the backseat and started on our way home. 10 minutes into the trip he started playing with the windows. Then he started sticking his head out the window (the back windows only went half-way down). We reached a desolate, wooded section of the road. It was quiet except for the one car directly behind us. His head had been out the window for a good minute and I looked back and noticed a pink mist shining in the headlights of the bar behind me. The car started to swerve. Republicaster’s head was still out the window.
The fine vomit mist lasted a solid 5-6 minutes. I will compliment Republicaster and say, not one drop of puke got INSIDE my father’s car. As for the outside, I had my concerns. Republicaster fell asleep for the remainder for the trip, which was a blessing on every level. When we pulled up to my parent’s house, my father was sitting outside. It must have been 2 or 3 in the morning. Republicaster knew that my father would not react well to his car being coated in vomit. The old man being outside certainly put a crimp in my plan to wash it off. Republicaster started to do cartwheels on my lawn. My father looked at him, and then me and just walked into the house. I hastily hosed the car off.
The other guy drove Republicaster home and I went to bed. The next morning my car was gone again leaving me more time to inspect Republicaster’s art project. My cleaning efforts the night before got most of Republicaster’s mess, but he managed to coat the back bumper too. It looked like pink insulation foam all over the back. I gave my father’s car a total wash and called Republicaster to curse him out—he just chuckled with self-satisfaction.
Flash forward a few years (winter 2004), a mutual friend had invited us out to have dinner and drinks at a club he was associated with. We all had an early dinner, but then our friend suggested we go to some of the other bars in the area and come back later when the club picked up. We both ended up drinking way too much.
By the time we got back to our friend’s club we were not functioning on any rational level… so our friend broke out a bottle of Johnny Walker Black. I hazily remember dancing with lots of pretty girls. I sort of remember a circle of said girls around Republicaster. Rushing through the long narrow hallway leading to the bathrooms comes to mind. I clearly remember throwing up in the bathroom and NOT making a mess (I was afraid I would get my friend in trouble). The world was brought into focus.
As I walked out. The doors to the club were closed but the patrons that remained inside were allowed a last call. The pretty circle of girls surrounding Republicaster were no longer pretty (perhaps they never were or the attractive ones left for another adventure). Republicaster paid no attention as he was still in his altered state.
My friend looked at me and noticed I was suddenly lucid. He allowed/forced me to stay until he was sure I coherent to leave. As we walked out, Republicaster said he wanted to drive and then got into the back seat of my new car. He started playing with the windows on the bridge and I told him if he needed to throw up, I would pull over. Minutes later on 42, the pink mist I was so familiar with was dusting cars. I just kept driving. When we got back to my house, I was amazed that there was no vomit on my car. The white salt mix crusted on the side of my car seemed to show no sign of Republicaster’s own brand of insulation.
A few weeks later as it warmed up, I took my car to car wash around the corner from my office. It went through the automated assembly line, but when it came out there was a spot that didn’t come out. A small Hispanic man ran over with a solvent to clean it off and then started vomiting. He asked me if anyone had thrown up on my car and I immediately knew Republicaster’s night of drinking had made it on to my car, but the saline solution locked in the flavor.
Bravo my friend, Bravo.
( #KidRock, #Thanksgiving )
On Thanksgiving, recovering from eating to much at my parents house, I am half passed out on my parents couch and not paying attention to the television. I notice the football game is on and could care less. It is half time….
Out of the blue, my old man says “Thats Kid Rock right?” This is coming from a man who doesn’t watch TV, read magazines, surf the internet, and doesn’t listen to the radio… how the hell does he know who Kid Rock is? To put this in further perspective – Bonnie Raitt is the last artist to be added to his sparse musical collection – like 15 years ago.
This might not mean much to you my readers, but that little interaction blew my mind. Just giving you a little family insight, Lombardi-style.
Further Mean Joe Reading:
NOTE: People seemed to love yesterday’s story which got me thinking of a specific ride that had much more of an impact on me as a child. I hope you read it with the humor it is intended to have, but I think you need to know my father to fully appreciate it.
It was the summer of 1990, Philadelphia was typically hot, sweaty, and a little smelly for mid-July. Since it was the middle of the summer, my old man decided we should go on vacation. My family was hit and miss with vacation; Sometimes my father would take a week off, sometimes it would be a few days, sometimes not at all. If we did go on vacation, we ALWAYS went to the Jersey Shore (Southern Shore – Wildwood). That summer, I was nine years old and my sister had just turned 11 – my father announced to us that we were going to the Catskill Mountains for a few days and my head started spinning.
I had never heard of the Catskills Mountains. This was a massive break from the routine and was outside my “comfort zone” of South Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey. Reflecting on my youth, I developed a philosophy about the typical South Philadelphia upbringing: it is very insular – “the world outside South Philadelphia does not exist”. Once the shock of change wore off, I started seeking information about our summer destination. My first source was my mother; she was trying to hide her own lack of enthusiasm, but managed to inform me that at one point in it’s illustrious history, the Catskill Mountains was a hotbed for stand up comedy. This had me excited until someone told me that the good comedians don’t go there anymore and was now a place that old people go to – I was not pleased.
As we packed our things into my father’s 1983 Buick Regal, I wondered what this vacation would be like… I should have been wondering “how long is the car ride?”
To understand this situation, let us begin with a brief description of my father: He is a man of medium height and average weight. He works in the food industry (you may even catch him on TV sometimes) and doesn’t talk. Let me repeat – He doesn’t talk – unless you have managed to do something wrong. Over the years I have come to admire and appreciate his silent nature: most people can’t shut up, but you can’t get a word out of my old man. In addition to his own quiet nature, at the time, he enjoyed complete silence around him. This meant no radio (which he has since changed his mind about) and of course, no conversations in the car besides basic questions.
Having been around the man my entire life, I was used to his “modus operandi”; However, I was not prepared to be in a car in complete silence for 4 hours. Nobody told me this trip would take 4 hours as I would have most definitely stayed with a relative. Remember: This is before iPods and DVD players in the back seat of the car. You know what our back seat had? A big rotting hole in the car’s floor – it was like that for months – I lost countless toys to that hole. He placed a metal plate to the floor before the trip to prevent any potentially fatal slippage. I was not a complete moron – I did have a walkman (with tapes) but of course after 2 hours – the battery ran out and the extras were in the trunk. At one point we stopped for refreshments and gas. My old man got me a Snapple Iced Tea. I remember this because after I finished the iced tea I was mindlessly clicking the cap until my father asked if he could see the cap. Out the window it went.
People have their own way with dealing with silence – I tend to get lost in my head which I managed to do successfully for a few hours, but not everyone takes that approach. My sister kept it under control for a few hours but then she started to get bored. As children, my sister was very much the alpha personality and I was much more passive (that has probably flip-flopped at least outwardly). She also takes after my father a little bit in the fact that she can hold a grudge and she can be a world class ball-buster (I mean comic villain ball-buster, it’s pretty admirable when you aren’t on the receiving end). By the third hour my sister was ready to enact revenge for some past transgression. Make no bones, my sister was an expert at setting traps to get me in trouble. She knew exactly how to push my buttons to make me lose it. I don’t remember what she did exactly, but her move was to always ask a seemingly innocent question to my father which would highlight a recent screw-up on my part. I would immediately attempt to defend myself which of course would break the silent harmony that my father craved. She managed to replicate this trap and like an idiot I fell for it every time. Looking back I think my father knew exactly what was going on and was playing his part to entertain himself for 4 hours.
My sister’s traps ate up the remaining time and when we finally pulled into the parking lot of the “resort” I almost kissed the ground. That is until I noticed that this place had obviously seen better days. Rusting fence around the tennis courts, buildings in need of paint, and of course the rooms had a medicinal smell similar to a hospital (“Of Course!” I thought – “Old People”). My father was more silent than normal. He would usually be making some comment how he was going to spend his time. He was just walking around eye-balling the place. My parents friends met us in the lobby and it was then that I discovered where my father got this bright idea – his buddy. His friend reminded me of Jack Tripper’s neighbor Larry (from Three’s Company). While his friend went on about how great this place was with the tennis, the golf, and the streams, my father walked around with a disgusted look. That disgusted look remained during dinner (which was infested with the elderly). When we got back to the room, he made the announcement: “Pack up your things, we are getting the hell out of here tomorrow”. And that is exactly what we did. We hopped in the car the next morning and drove the 4+ hours in silence to… The Jersey Shore.
After indulging in too much beer and Vietnamese food last night, I went to sleep. At some point in the night, dream sequences began to take over and while I forgot most of them, this one particular dream managed to stay with me…
The setting was formal, like it was a wedding or a charity event. People were walking around in tuxes and fancy dresses with wine glasses in hand (with those fancy little plate clips so they can snack too). My attention is focused on a group of four men: my father of course being one, Michael Stipe and Peter Buck from R.E.M and I think my dad’s friend Lee.
They are sitting in four red chairs, two on each side with a round table between them. My father and his friend are eating. Peter Buck seems very interested in talking to my father and is going on about a local Athens, Georgia act that he is currently producing (if my mind came up with a name, I don’t remember it). My father, as in real life, has no fucking clue who these people are and no idea what they are saying… but, he is being polite. As he shoves veal medallions into his mouth and nodding in his head in some semblance of agreement, I can see my father trying to figure out how to get the hell away from Michael Stipe and Peter Buck. His friend Lee just gets up and bolts as Peter is talking about the acoustics of an old church (something I would have loved to talk about). As my father is about to make his break…
… my wife wakes me up.
This dream is odd to me because I wouldn’t consider myself a crazed R.E.M. fan and haven’t listened to any of their stuff in months. I didn’t hear any R.E.M. songs yesterday, and I sure as shit wasn’t thinking about Peter Buck. The mind is a strange and beautiful thing.
Here is a little R.E.M. for those who, like my father, don’t know who the hell they are (be ashamed if you don’t)