May 2011 Archives

Texas Arizona Version 2.0

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Living here for as long as I have, I basically have formed opinions on all the restaurants and know what I like and what I don't like. Often, I like trying new places that open up and more often than not - they get one chance with me to prove they are better than the rest.

Texas Arizona is a good example of this. It's been open for years and years, and I have probably drank there about fifteen times in my 17 years here. I ate there about two. I always found the food to be very average, and nothing to write home about. It was basic bar food, greasy and "meh".

Last Saturday I found myself walking around the area, because I just got a fantastic 90 minute massage at Body Balance 1 block away. I read something about their recent changes. Texas Arizona redesigned the bar a bit, adding a new "Craft Beer Bar" with taps to a section where there used to just be table seating. It was very impressive. 051611.jpgThey must have 250 new beers on tap or in bottle.

Remind you of anyone? Oh, that's right: Village Pourhouse. Not only did I predict that Village Pourhouse was going to raise the bar, but it appears that I have been vindicated. Texas Arizona gets it. The standard Hoboken bar with the Guinness, Coors Light, Yuengling, Sam Adams, Blue Moon and Stella isn't going to cut it anymore. As a bartender I pleaded with my bar owners to find a niche, to get more off the beaten path beers or put up a "Beer Of The Month" where a new beer is rotated into and out of circulation. There's only so much space a bar has to store beer in kegs or coolers - I get this. But clearly the discerning palate will opt to go to places like Texas Arizona or Village Pourhouse.

And it's not just about beer.

See, having a nice beer list will only get you so far. I decided, reluctantly, to order lunch at Texas Arizona. Now I say "reluctantly" because I have ate here in the past and remembered the food basically sucking. But I figured that they couldn't screw up a grilled chicken BLT too much while I sampled a few IPA's from their list (tried Flying Dog Raging Bitch IPA & Nectar IPA, both were very tasty).

I was served my food in about five minutes. It was Saturday, and there were about 25 people in the bar, but I was a bit shocked at how fast I was served.

To my surprise, the sandwich was quite good. Chicken is chicken. It's hard to screw up grilled chicken. What makes a sandwich, to me, is the roll and what's inside. The roll was soft and flavorful. The lettuce and tomato clearly were fresh, they weren't sitting in a fridge and limply added to the roll. The bacon, crisp, as I love it. The kicker was the chipotle mayo. Really made the sandwich complete. Even as I write this now I want to eat another one.

The bartender, Greg, was there patiently explaining to me the beers that were on tap. He was a bit reserved at first, but I kept pestering him with questions and being the only person at his bar, he started to warm up a bit by the end. He told me that they replaced their chef a few months back, and nodded in agreement that the food, at one time, wasn't very good at the bar (he worked there for six years). Greg also noted that the bar made other internal staffing changes and is very much actively trying to improve themselves.

One lunch won't make me a convert, but it's certainly a good start for a bar that I once written off my list of places to eat. My only concern about Texas is that the menu is a bit...basic. They have the standard burgers, wings, quesadillas, sandwiches, etc...

I told the bartender, Greg, that they found a niche with the beer, they need to find a niche with their menu. If they are "Texas Arizona" shouldn't they do Tex-Mex or BBQ? Name one good BBQ place in all of Hoboken (Joey's BBQ is closing)? You can't. Something to think about if they want to distinguish their bar food over the rest of the bars here in town.

Bottom line is that if you have tried Texas Arizona in the past, you may want to try "Texas Arizona Version 2.0" - it's not the old tired bar it used to be. Looks like not only do they have one of the best locations in town to watch "The Parade", but now they have some of the best beer and food, too.

Thanks Everyone!

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Great job getting back the council majority. It could have been sweeter to sweep out Mason or Castellano. Seems like every election we learn the lesson of the importance of rallying the vote. We have people who post on their Facebook walls "Remember 9/11" or "Remember our fallen soliders" - but those same people don't vote? What do you think our soldiers are dying for - freedom. Freedom to vote. If you didn't vote in the council elections (and could have) I think that's a terrible shame.

If I were in charge i'd do the following four things:

1. Motor Voter registration. You register a drivers license, and are registered to vote.
2. Automatic vote by mail. Everyone who is registered gets the ballot mailed to them.
3. Explore the possibility of changing our voting day to a weekend. In other countries, like France, voting is held on the weekend, when most voters are away from work.
4. Vote over internet. Countries like the UK, France and Switzerland use internet voting.

Politicians are notoriously against changes like this. Why? They claim its about security, but really bank on low voter turnout.

I think the most 'realistic' change for Hoboken is one of two methods:

1. Move the election to the November elections.
2. If we want to keep it separate, move it to the second Saturday in May.

What would you do to increase voter turnout?

Little Did I Know

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Living in Hoboken for 17 years, I often have heard from my friend Billy, "Hoboken politics is like free theater."

It's 100% true.

For a long time I didn't care. I remember when I first voted, I voted for Mayor Russo. I didn't know much about him, but there was a rumor that was floating around that his opponent, then Carol Marsh, wanted to shut down the bars an hour early - at 1am on weeknights and 2am on weekends.

What a horrible thought! We can't have that! At 20-something I registered and happily voted "Russo" to keep the bars open. Little did I know.

In the next election, only a few years later, I voted Roberts. I voted for him because he was going to move things forward and keep taxes down. Unfortunately, I didn't know it involved gimmicks like selling the municipal lots and applying that to our tax bill. Again, little did I know.

The more I started to listen, and read, the more I learned. I started reading a local community blog that was one sided in its commentary. I believed it. I bought into it. Sadly, they probably think they are being honest, when in reality they are just telling half of the story in order to sway opinion. They leave out facts. They don't report ALL the news, just the news they want you to hear. It would be like someone watching only Glenn Beck on FOXNews, and not listening to other news sources. Half-truths, and one sides of the story. Little did I know.

Then I started to read other blogs that started to tell the WHOLE STORY (Mile Square View and Hoboken Patch). That's when my eyes really opened. That's when I realized I was simply being deceived. That's when I knew that there were many Hoboken politicians and their handlers who were like the wolves in sheep's clothing.

Folks, I can't stress enough how this election is really about good versus evil. Voter apathy is rampant in Hoboken elections - and sometimes the bad guys win. Most people don't see the difference of one vote. These local elections are decided by around 100 votes. If you are registered, I would ask you to please take 5 minutes of your life and vote tomorrow. FIND YOUR POLLING PLACE HERE.

Vote for the reform of Hoboken. Sweep out the people who want to send Hoboken back to the old days of back room deals and shady politics.

Please vote for the future of our City by voting for:

Eric Kurta - 1st Ward
Tom Greaney - 2nd Ward
Greg Lincoln - 3rd Ward
Rami Pinchevsky - 4th Ward
Peter Cunningham - 5th Ward
Jen Giattino - 6th Ward

Every vote counts. Polls are open from 6am until 8pm.

Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer

I was briefly out for the Festival and snapped some pictures of The Baseball Project playing & Ian Hunter, too. I have to say that over the years this festival just gets better and better. Its probably one of the best reasons to live in Hoboken.

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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