Wanting A White Mana Hamburger Right Now

I’m sorry, I just felt that you readers deserved to know that I was instantly made hungry by this single photo of the White Mana Diner in Jersey City this afternoon.  It amused me that I found this image after having shot it about seven months ago while helping a friend move some of their things from an apartment to a storage unit, but here it was – just sitting in a folder of hundreds of shots that I had yet to determine a use for.

I took the photo while riding “shotgun” in my friends car, and I had the little Sony point and shoot camera with me, as I am often apt to have be the case these days and as we hit a red light, I drooled and said “Mmmm burgers”.  Of course she was in a rush to finish moving her stuff so this was all I would see of the place and that bothered me after the fact when I learned it was in fact a historical landmark and is associated with the 1939 World’s Fair. I am not sure that my friend ever tried it but she did make mention that it was well-known and that made me look further into it. Too bad we didn’t have a few extra minutes because stuff like this just gets the curiosity going.

Read all about its interesting history via the Wikipedia entry HERE.

Now the only question I have left is who is up for an adventure out to Jersey City with one of the purposes being to visit and eat something from here? Summer is good exploring time.

Happy 10th Anniversary To Ragtag

Many years ago I pursued the challenging career of working musician and while I did achieve some local notoriety in bands from the region such as Eclipse and eventually Machine after them, I did not stick to the plan proper and remained more of an occasional jam here and there.  Maybe a blog in the future will discuss that bit of adventuring.  One of the dudes from my way back years is Rob Emery and reconnected a number of years ago and since that time I have been supporting his project that is entitled “Ragtag”.  Sometimes the band sports an “NYC” after the name but I have not seen that lately so perhaps it has been omitted for good.

In any event, Ragtag is a three piece Rock/Funk outfit with Robbie singing and playing some serious axe while Alan Chan grooves on the bass and Sinehead Doug locks it down on the drums and 2011 finds the band celebrating being together for ten years.   They play a mixture of originals and covers on any given night. I hit the recent gig at Sullivan Hall in NYC which is a venue I like even though they don’t really do much Metal over there.  It’s a pleasant change of pace and even though I was not “working” my usual role as journalist and photographer, I did use my Panasonic Lumix to snare some video which I am sharing with you all.  I figured this is a fun little side thing to offer readers of the PiercingKen blog, so let’s see how much more comes in the future. The video posted is a performance of their original number “Not Long Ago”.

Congratulations Ragtag on your ten years of making music together. I raise a glass to you my friends. Keep on rocking.

PiercingMetal.com Reaches Its Sixth Year Online :)


Hello there my readers and welcome to another posting on the PiercingKen.com blogsite. From time to time I’m going to be using this site to direct your attention over to something that is brewing with PiercingMetal.com and today that website of mine has reached its sixth year online. My thoughts on reaching this media milestone can be viewed by clicking that number six right below. Doing so will transport you over to the PiercingMetal site and that narrative. See you back here sometime soon with more interesting stories and visuals.

I’ve disabled the comments in this posting since its mostly a traffic sign but you can leave them on the post over there. I’ve also added some of our Social Networking links for you to examine if you’d like. We welcome all participants.

PiercingMetal on Facebook
PiercingMetal on Twitter
PiercingMetal on Tumblr

And So…….Acme Bar & Grill Has Closed :(


“You have to be joking!!!” is what I said to my friend when he said that he had learned that the popular Acme Bar and Grill over at 9 Great Jones Street had closed it’s doors after twenty five years in the location. I cannot tell you how upset that this news makes me. Oh wait, yes I can and I will as that is what the blog is for. With that being the case, the closure of Acme Bar & Grill really bummed me out because it was a place that I had been enjoying for about six years.

A Shuttered Acme

I realize that I had not been coming here as long as some other folks but I sure made good for it over those number of years that I had.  I first ventured into its doors when the band Blackfield was playing at the Bowery Ballroom.  I was hitting that show with Skeleton Pete and he suggested it as a dining choice.  Having enjoyed the Cajun style of food I was totally down for this.  I actually remember what I ordered that day for some odd reason and it was a chicken fried steak, with their mashed potatoes and some black eyed peas.  This would become one of my favorite dishes at the establishment and a fail safe order for me in the event of indecision.

Acme By Night

There was so much good about this place and after that night it became one of my continual picks as a spot to hold media discussions with press friends, enjoy the company of lovely dining companions or just chill out with buddies who were just wanting a good dinner and drink night out.  The food never disappointed us nor did their wall of hot sauce.  I wish I had photos of that in my archives but I never shot images of them because quite honestly I never thought I would be lamenting the restaurant’s having gone away.   The place would start its diners off with an order of freshly made corn bread and while that is not the most calorie conscious kind of thing, it tasted so good that few would argue.



I also enjoyed their house brew which was a red ale of some kind.  It was not too heavy and had a nice bite to it.  Sometimes they would do $2 pints of the beers and that always managed to make for a fun night.  I found the waitstaff for the most part to be friendly and on a number of occasions I met some interesting people in entertainment.  Some were dancers while others musicians or actors and actresses.  A typical New York situation.   The other aspect of the restaurant was that it was also the home to the once called Under Acme Rock club which eventually became Ace Of Clubs.  In my adventures as a music journalist I had covered a few shows at the space and also just went to rock out when the time was open for me to do so.


There was a rumor that Acme was going to reopen after being worked on but that doesn’t seem very likely since I read postings on popular regional blogs that said the whole staff had been terminated and that what all knew and loved as Acme was gone for the foreseeable good.  I will miss the place for sure since it was such a good memory for me and those who enjoyed being here with me.  The upside of being in NYC is that you can always find a new place and they can eventually become a favorite.  That sure doesn’t take away the sadness at this restaurants closure.  Thanks Acme, I will miss you very much.

Foodtastic: Baking Some Brooklyn Pita-za

Growing up in NYC, one of the delicacies that I have almost always found favor in is good old fashioned pizza. In my eyes its one of the truly great pleasures in life and its magic is all based on a very simple recipe with only a few ingredients. I’m located in Brooklyn and have sworn allegiance to no less than ten pizzerias over the course of my life but sadly many of them have gone away due to retirement or even worse after new owners took over and made a mess of the formula that worked best for the establishment. When that becomes the case I always cross my fingers that a new and appetite pleasing place will come along. In a pinch you can opt for either Dominos or Papa John’s but to the conventional Brooklynite, these are not really what we are looking for in pizza. I prefer the quick fix of a traditional pizzeria over them anytime. That leads me to the recipe being discussed in this segment of my “Kitchen With Ken” blogs as it’s a pizza concoction that goes a little outside of the normal process but still comes out good at the end. Well. I like it at least and have made it for years. I felt the best name for it would be “PITA-ZA” since we use pita bread instead of dough but everything else is generally found on “normal pizza”. Let’s begin.

Required Ingredients:
1 medium sized piece of pita bread. You need to go to an authentic Middle Eastern bakery or produce store to find the differently sized ones as opposed to the mass market package of ten that are all perfectly sized and the same (unless you really want those and feel like cooking for a few people).

– 1 section from a garlic clove. I just love fresh garlic so we will be using this puppy.
– 2 or 3 pepperoncini (they often come in a jar of many and look like mini bell peppers but they have a chili pepper kick to them). You can also use plain sliced green, red or yellow peppers if you feel like it. They work out also.
– 2 or 3 decent sized mushrooms. Remember that we are only discussing how to one serving.
– 1 small can of tomato sauce (you will not use the whole can for this).
– 5 or 6 slices of pepperoni (or sausage, meatball, tofu). Slice these things thin.
– Mozarrella cheese.

Tools: A toaster oven and about ten minutes.

First Step:
Take your pita bread and pour some of that tomato sauce on it but not too much since it will likely spread out while its cooking/baking in the toaster oven. I like to sprinkle on some oregano and also the garlic that I mentioned we would need for this. Depending on your taste, don’t overdo the garlic.

This particular recipe was using pepperoni and I think its much better to add this right on top of the sauce and then putting the cheese on top of that with the mushrooms and peppers. It lets those ingredients act as a bit of a blanket to the other stuff. Of course as you can see in the provided photo, for this time around I decided to add the peppers in before the cheese as well.

The Pita, The Sauce, The Pepperoni and the Peppers

The shot above shows our already covered in sauce pita bread since I did not take a lot of pictures of the preparation process.  I didn’t think that it was necessary for this little episode.   I didn’t grate the cheese and instead opted to slice it into smaller chunks and position them accordingly.  It worked for my purposes as you can see in the upcoming pic.

Let There Be Mozzarella Cheese

Second Step: Add the mozzarella cheese. You can also season it up a little more and let it bake with the optional hot pepper or garlic powder.  I mentioned needing some fresh garlic so you can also slice that fine and scatter it about the pita bread.  Not too much of course as you don’t want to breath fire after you eat.

Our Pita-za Is Done. “Well done” actually.

Third and Final Step – Cook ‘Em Up:
Since we’re doing this in the toaster oven as opposed to the larger one in the kitchen we’re also only making one of these at a time. I guess you would fire up the big box if you were making them for company. Having made these for some time I have found that you only need to bake them for about ten minutes at 300 degrees at the most. My toaster oven has a button that let’s you “toast” as well, and if I want the cheese a little crispier I press that but you MUST monitor its progress so you don’t burn it or anything else. This is really a quick dining fix when you add the preparation and cooking time together so don’t get involved in anything while you are making them. This is especially true if using the big oven and making a few of them for guests.

I told you this was a quick one.  It probably takes longer to wash the dishes and make sure everything is put away as opposed to making this.  Bon appetit.

But Ken, I’m A Vegetarian!!!!

Oh yes, you guys 🙂  Well, that is not a problem with the recipes for pita-za that I make, because you can easily substitute any of the meat options with some extra mushrooms (perhaps portabella ones) and the vegan delicacy of choice – tofu. I am sure the stuff would absorb any of the sauces and seasonings and come out rather good in the end.   As you might have noticed I suggested we keep a few mushrooms for this particular cooking adventure but as I started preparing it, I realized I did not have any on hand.  I left it in the recipe of ingredients just the same.

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