Easter weekend as a homeowner (or is that condo-owner?)...

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I closed on my condo Thursday, and I now own my own property for the first time in my life.

People have been asking me, "So are you excited?"

I wrote about it before, I love a lot of things about the condo, and its potentional, but right now it isn't a HOME. Yet. I have a lot of work I need to sink into it. I have minor construction to complete. I have to paint the place (notice that the word "PAIN" is in "PAINT"). I have my appliances on order, and I should get them in about 2 weeks. I have to move, and today I made arrangements for a U-Haul truck and boxes. I'm going to have to cash in my chips with one or two friends to see if they can help me move. Matt, I'm looking at you, buddy.

I think once I am done with everything, the condo will be gorgeous. I just hope I have enough money to cover everything. I have a budget, and have to pick and choose what gets priority in upgrades.

Hey, funny thing happened Thursday. I was mid way through signing my life away, and entering the wonderful world of debt when my lawyer and I started to talk about Hoboken. 040807d.jpg
I was telling him everything that I loved and hated about Hoboken, and he mentioned how he was running for office in the 6th ward...

Hey, I live in the 6th Ward?

Oops. My lawyer is Thomas Foley. For whatever reason, I didn't make the connection between all the great information from Hoboken411 and the fucking emails I have been getting from him for the last 3 weeks. Yes, I can be dense. Want to know how dense I am?

I told him I wasn't voting for him.

Sorry, I explained, but Bill Noonan is my guy. Known him for years. Trust the guy to run this town in a fair and honest way. Isn't connected with the "Old Boys Network" of Hudson County. I know he will do what is right for his ward and what is right for Hoboken. I told Tom Foley this, to his face, simply explaining that I don't turn my backs on my friends. Thomas was gracious and cordial about it, and I immediately felt bad for being so blunt with him. Then again, I did give Thomas well over 1,000 reasons why I could be honest with him, since he was working for me.

I sincerely hope either Thomas or Bill win. Thomas presents some great ideas also and I already like the guy. I wish that Bill and Thomas just weren't running against each other in the same ward against Angelo “Nino” Giacchi. Nino is well entrenched in the 6th ward, and I hope either Thomas or Bill just consolidate their effort to overthrow the Hudson County Political Machine.

I finished signing about 100 documents and left the office to check out my new pad. I bought a 6 pack of Yuengling, sat in my empty apartment and drank a few beers in celebration. I started to sketch my kitchen with a Home Depot kitchen kit, which has graph paper and cabinents to pick out. Man, I suck at that. I must have measured each wall about 10 times (no, it wasn't the beer) and then would add up the size of the appliances and counter top and got different numbers. It was frustrating. My friend called me, and we decided to have dinner at Four L's.

Four L's was previously known as Favia. I never went into Favia before, but I knew of their menu which had light dishes and pizza for a calorie conscious consumer. They completely renovated the restaurant, and truth be told it looks a lot like Mikie Squared! Here's a shot I took of it on Hoboken St. Patty's Day:

We sat down at a high top table for two, and ordered some drinks. They have a good wine list and lots of drink specials each day. On Thursday, select wines were $5, and we were there during happy hour which had discounts on martinis and beers. I ordered a glass of red wine, and my friend ordered a martini.

We tried the crustini appetizer, which is toasted italian bread, topped with meatballs and smoked mozzarella. The bread was entirely too hard, and nearly impossible to chew without breaking a tooth. I even showed the waitress how difficult they were even to cut with a knife. We ate 3 out of 5 of them and just didn't want to try to down the last two. I was disappointed in it, and in some ways I was hoping they would have comped us the appetizer. We did our best to eat it, but the bread was either stale and then toasted, or fresh and over-toasted. It was edible, but it was like a battle to down.

But my disappointment turned to pleasure when I got my burger. It was topped with mozzarella and roasted peppers. I added some A1 steak sauce, and it was heaven. Cooked to a perfect medium rare, I devored it. The french fries were ok, but not as good as Mikie's sweet potato string fries. I only ate a few of them. My friend got lobster ravioli, and also said they were delicious. I was going to order that dish if she didn't order it, but I have a thing about both people ordering the same dish at a new restaurant. I want to either try or hear from others as much as I can about a new place, to find out if it is worth my "restaurant rotation".

Do you have a "restaurant rotation"? I do. I have certain places that I will eat at in Hoboken on a regular basis. Here's what I usually eat at:

Indian - Karma Cafe. Usually I get this delivered, rather than eating there alone. Karma is pricey, but love that Lamb Korma with naan bread.
American - Court Street. Great place to sit at the bar, read a Hoboken Reporter, and eat.
Sushi - Maru, of course. Go to the liquor store a few doors down, grab a silver 20 oz can of Sapporo for $3.50 and prepare yourself for the best fish in Hoboken (sorry Sushi House, Sushi Lounge and Robongi - I have tried your restaurants multiple times and Maru is consistently superior).
Chinese - Precious. Again, I rarely go there alone, and usually get it delivered.
Steak - none exist. I go into the city and eat at Strip House, which is heavenly. I'd go to Peter Lugers, but going to Brooklyn is far too annoying for me. I heard good things about Frankie and Johnnies, and in my 13 years I was there once, was disappointed, and didn't return.
Italian Deli - Ok, I know it isn't a restaurant, but I have to say that Vito's is great, but I have a strong feeling that I won't be walking 8 blocks at my new condo to get a Vito's hero. Anyone know if Luca Brasi's is good? It is a few blocks from my new place, and looks like my kind of italian deli.

That's just a sampling of the places I frequent? What are your favorite Indian, Chinese, Sushi and American restaurants?

On Friday morning I first met with Chris, the painter. He owns the Art Gallery on 9th street, and I have known him for about 10 years because of common friends from Farside and Moran's. He worked with me at Dipper's for a bit, too. Chris and I went over the place, some of the spackle repair work he would do, along with the painting. He quoted me a reasonable price, and I just have to get the inventory and he will begin next week.

Chris left and I met afterwards with Sammy the Contractor. Sammy was recommended to me by my realtor from Century 21, Steve Miller who operates Hobokenhomes.com. Steve also buys and builds properties in Hoboken, so he had someone who could help me with the cabinent work and odd jobs I wanted to do in my apartment.

Sammy impressed me. We talked about what I wanted to do, and he measured my kitchen as we talked. We considered using Home Depot, but he dissuaded me from using them. Said he could get me far superior quality cabinents at about the same cost.

Now, I am always self-effacing on his blog. I don't try to act like an expert when i'm not. I certainly felt the "bullshit meter" jumping here. I don't know the guy. He could suck, for all I know. I could go out there quote 5 different contractors, get the best price and it still could suck. Or it could be great. Bottom line is that after working with Steve Miller over the last 3 weeks, I trust the guy. I trusted him even when the square footage gaff was revealed. Maybe i'm more trusting with people. Steve knew I ran this blog. I told him when we spoke that I'd write about him here, and he was cool with it. He knows I could blast him, and not that it would put a dent into his successful business, he assured me that Sammy was very good at what he did - since Sammy also worked on jobs for him.

Sammy is going to fix the master bedroom closet/ The closet, currently is 6 feet long and 2 feet wide, with two old, crusty blue painted (the same color as the room, and looks terrible) bi-fold doors. He is cutting away part of the wall, to open the closet to the full 6 feet of length. He will add two new white pine closet doors, hangars and shelving. He will move the water heater access from the master closet, and turn it around, adding a hidden door, so it opens from the master bedroom, not the closet. This will give us more room in the closet to work with, since it is about 6 feet long by 2 feet wide.

The hallway closet is about 10 feet long and 2 feet wide. What we are doing here is closing off 3 feet of the closet, near the end at the kitchen, to create a pantry. He will create a bifold door access to the pantry, and then open up the rest of the 7 feet of closet, with new white pine bi-fold doors (again, the doors were painted for whatever reason by the old owner) and shelving and hangars.

The kitchen will get all new cabinents, and new granite countertop. I'm going to stick to a one-basin stainless steel sink. I know that two-basins sink are the more contemporary pick, but I like a nice big sink that I can clean pots and pans by hand or put an entire collander of pasta in, without hitting the other sink. We are doing a granite backsplash, along with making a granite window shelf. We are doing new tile floors, too.

Sammy will also be removing the 16 foot glass mirror wall, and replacing whatever is behind there with sheet rock.

The cost of all this was in my budget. Work should begin this week.

Later that afternoon I went to the Sears auto center to get a new battery for my car. I haven't been using it enough during the last two winters and the battery would recharge on a long drive and last a few weeks until it died. My current parking situation is tandem parking, so I promised the girl that i'm parked in front of that i'd replace the battery. While I was at it, I went to Jiffy Lube and replaced the oil and flushed the radiator. The waiting list was long at Jiffy Lube and I went into the Newport Mall to watch a movie.

Been to the Newport Mall lately? I have been here about 5-6 times over the last 12 years. Each time I go, I always tell myself when I leave that I will never go back. This experience wasn't as bad as previous ones, but I seriously felt like the whitest guy on the planet in that mall. They don't even dress Hip Hop - they dress BADLY. I'm looking at people like they are on another fucking planet from me. I really wish I could take pictures of them, but I was seriously scared for my life at certain moments. It was like the game "Where's Waldo" became "Where's Whitey". Look, i'm sure some of you are thinking "Oh, that RACIST!", but I swear I was looking for my fellow caucasians I didn't see ONE. What's up with the backwards baseball cap, off to the side? There were moms pushing strollers, and THE MOMS were wearing this. What the fuck? Dude, i'm sorry but Western Civilization came to an abrupt halt when I entered that fucking Twilight Zone. I did get to see The 300. Very good, but not excellent. A good popcorn movie on a Friday afternoon that I got for the matinee fee ($7.50). I was lucky enough to watch it without people screaming at the screen, "No, Leo! Don't talk to the Persian Ru Paul!"

I did like the parallelism between The 300 and The Iraqi War. Just a thought...do you think WE are the Spartans or the Persians? The obvious choice would think we are the Spartans with all their talk of "Freedom"...but I think USA is really the Persians here, with their overwhelming force that is trying to dominate the world...but I did like the line, "Freedom isn't Free". Nothing is truer than that.

Saturday night I bartended, and the night was dead, but I got to meet some new people at the bar. There was a point at the night where 10 of 12 people sitting at the bar were regulars and I love those kind of nights. It may not have been busy, but chatting with regulars and serving them made up for it.

Sunday I woke up and went to Lepore's. Bought my mother dark chocolate pretzels, and caramels for Easter. Have you been to Lepore's? 040807b.JPGI love that place. I go there at least once a month to grab a few milk chocolate pretzels for myself. The people there are really friendly, and even though it is owned by a certain someone we got to know last summer, I have yet to see him there. I sort of worry one day I will walk through the door and see Ed there and he will point his gnarled finger at me and say, "SCUMBAG!"

I drove to Philly, and spent the afternoon with my entire family. It was really nice to see everyone, and it is weekends like this that I regret bartending on Saturday nights. I couldn't have taken off, because I already did so for St. Patty's Day three weeks ago, and was off last Saturday because I was sick. I only work one shift at the bar, and it isn't good form to keep skipping them. In retrospect I probably should have chose Friday nights to work, rather than Saturday.

I would show pictures here of my family, but my brothers and sisters are against it, so I respect their privacy (and if anyone ever saw a picture up here of them that they would want me to remove, I would probably do that also, provided it wasn't taken in a public setting like a bar or the street). But I can put up a picture of this adorable guy...


His name is Cooper! He is an ENGLISH Yellow Labrador. I didn't know there were English ones. Apparently they are a bit smaller and stockier than American Labs. He is without a doubt one of the most mellow, happy go lucky puppies I know. Take Laya, for example. She's a great, great dog. Happy, but hyper, about 80% of the time unless you walk/play with her enough.

Cooper was just chillin'. Would wag his tail and lick my face or hands, but wasn't like your typical lab that jumps up on you when you approach. I asked my sister if he was always like this, and he was. I have a strong, strong feeling that I am going to take a good hard look at English Labrador Retrievers when I choose a dog in the future.

Yes, Sugar, you read right. I will be getting a dog...someday. Not 100% sure if it is in the near term or long term future, but i'd happily take Cooper in the next time my sister and brother-in-law go to Europe. Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, dawg.

Dinner was great. Mom made my favorite, spiral ham. Can't get enough of that stuff, I was eating leftovers while I drove home to Hoboken. Yea, i'm classy.

Got back to my new parking lot on Newark, and shaved 15 minutes by taking the SECRET ENTRANCE. I'm so looking forward to living in my condo, with my car directly across the street from where I live.

And that, is my long weekend, with a special long blog post.


Regarding restaurants--
I agree with you 100% on Maru and Frankie & Johnny's. Maru is always delicious, and F&J is not a NY steakhouse no matter how hard they try. I was just at F&J for my birthday last week and their steak is good, not Del Frisco's great, but good. Their mashed potatoes are bleh, and their soup was SALTY. I had French Onion soup that left me needing a quart a water per bite. Don't get me wrong, I like salt for flavoring, but I don't like to feel like I'm drinking from the Ocean with every bite.

Great Italian in Hoboken is next to impossible to find ever since Trattoria Saporito went into the toilet a year or so ago. I used to frequent Da Vinci, but they're gone too now. The place that is under 14th street used to be good Italian, but now it's Irish. I guess 3A's would get my vote for best Italian (but their menu is not just Italian).

My favorite Chinese delivery is Hoboken Cottage (fast, cheap and pretty good).

Ted & Joe's is an excellent choice for a variety meal, and I love most of the menu at 3A's. Gaslight also has a decent selection.

All this talk of food makes me want breakfast. Speaking of, my favorite brunch menu is Court Street.

Luca Brasi is good people -- I live about two blocks from there and eat there at least a few times per month. Biancamano is probably the best in Hoboken, but it's quite a walk from downtown. Regardless, Luca won't let you down.

Agreed on Luca Brasi's. I've never been disappointed with the sandwiches there. Also gotta give a shout out to Filippo's on First which is right around the corner from you. I love the pizza, but the rest Italian dishes on the menu are fantastic. Gotta give it a try.

Agreed on Lucas and Filippos on first (great GREAT strombolis). But I was talking more of a sit down Italian place. I feel like they're all pretty mediocre in Hoboken.

That's fair. I agree the Italian restaurants in this town are mediocre at best, and most aren't worth going to at all, which is odd considering the bevy of Italian culture that floats around this quaint hamlet of ours.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on April 8, 2007 10:52 PM.

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