Rosa Blanca – Cuban Diner in heart of former Philadelphia Financial District

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ˈkuβa ˈliβɾe

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Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.43.18 PMIN THE mid-50s, men still wore suspenders. One man with vision, thinking belt sales would eventually far exceed those of suspenders, had just sold his suspenders company and was walking along Chestnut Street near 8th, thinking. He was in the heart of Philadelphia’s vibrant Financial District, and he had a pocket full of money.

He’s offered a business deal in a chance encounter with an acquaintance, the purchase of a cable company in Tupelo, Mississippi. Knowing nothing about cable TV, he nevertheless purchased the company. His name is Ralph Roberts and his company became Comcast.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.44.11 PMThe Financial District is long gone, along with it’s NewYork-style diners. Change comes to everything, however. Renaissance is striking even this area of Philly.  We are graced with a new eatery which makes an authentic Cubano Sandwich for nine bucks [comes with plantain chips]. Clean and shiny,  visiting Rosa Blanca @ 707 Chestnut will be a pleasant and memorable experience.

Something a little more hearty? Try the Masitas de Puerco, a bowl of fried pork shoulder and other very tasty stuff.  The side salad is strongly recommended. Fantastic blending of flavors!

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 1.44.28 PMDesert? How about a fruity shake? Morir Sonando Batido is an Orange-Vanilla smoothie well worth five bucks.

It will be very east to over-order in this place. On a date? Stick with one entry and one sandwich and share.  You may still need a take-away box.

SF12-BB • Box of 12 SureFire 123A Lithium Batteries

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In honor of President’s Day,

Surefire offers free ground shipping this weekend.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 8.32.17 AMRemember the American Toolbox post about a great headlamp?  The batteries that it uses, the CR123, can be bought this weekend direct from the manufacturer with free shipping. A great value just made better! 10-year shelf-life. Made in U.S.A.

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18″ Arctic Blast Aluminum Snow Shovel

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την σκαφην σκαφην λεγοντας

artic blast aluminum jsergIN 1925, a builder constructed a row of attached brick homes on farmland outside Philadelphia, across from a new high school.  In time, sidewalks were added.  Travel forward to the year 2014.  I am standing on the same sidewalk, in front of my home, contemplating the approaching nor’easter.  10″ of snow is due to begin falling at midnight.  My neighbor’s shovel, borrowed by me since time immemorial, was stolen off his front porch a week ago.  A hanging crime in these parts.

griddlebones the cat jsergWith reluctance, I visit the big box home center, expecting end-of-season flimsy imported garbage.  And what greets me at the door?  Giant boxes stuffed with excellent domestic-production snow shovels!

Selected was a mid-level product, suitable for home owners and perhaps even contractors.  18″ wide, all aluminum, heavy-duty riveted steel wear strip.  Roomy handle for gloved hands.  About $20 at The Home Depot.

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Mid-Century Revere Ware

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Soup’s On!

B2HSbWHAT American kitchen has not been graced by the 3 quart Revere Ware pot with lid? Everyone I’ve spoken with remembers at least one of these iconic copper-bottomed pots, pans, or skillets on the stove top every dinner, usually the 3 quart pot. The perfect size for soup, mashed potatoes,  boiled or steamed vegetables & eggs, even popcorn!

o76MsIt is no wonder so many people bought Revere  cookware. In 1929, Revere Copper and Brass Corporation was the largest copper manufacturer in the US. Before teflon, Revere Ware would have been your first serious set of cookware. First pot you’d buy when starting out on your own. A gift or purchase that was meant to last from one generation to the next.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 12.39.04 PMAlthough the company has long since been sold, broken up, bankrupted, and humiliated upon the machines of corporate profits, good deals in sturdy, second-hand Revere Ware persist to this day. My most recent Revere acquisitions were rescued from a house clean-out. Saved from the Dumpster®, these will be stored among the basement joists until a friend or relative starts their first house-keeping.

Bitterroot leather guitar strap

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NOTHING adopts a personality of owner as nicely as decent leather wear. Your first thought is a pair of  shoes or a belt, perhaps. But today we’re talking about a guitar strap from Bitterroot Guitars!

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 11.47.56 AMYep, who would have thought! Usually one purchases a padded nylon fake-embroidered strap to go with their new guitar. What else does the music store stock, anyway? It’s all economics, and Jake the Snake doesn’t want to tie up his  crisp Yankee dollars on a display rack.

After playing my new acoustic for a few months, it became clear a guitar strap was necessary to keep up with my bluegrass buddies. I wanted leather. I wanted USA production. ADSCF2716 little post-internet investigation turned up a great online seller, Bitterroot Guitars.

The strap was promptly delivered, smelling tannery-fresh! Perfect execution! At the time of purchase, the year 2013, the cost was about $17 delivered. Bargain to boot!

Smoked Bluefish Paté

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Delish!

PHILIP R Craig, I’ve never met. Yet I feel a kindred, a bond, with one of Craig’s best buddies. Craig was an American writer who, among other accomplishments, produced 20 mystery novels set on Martha’s Vineyard. The star of the series was J.W. Jackson, retired cop-turned-fisherman, who lived a simple life but got caught up in some complicated situations. I’ve lived vicariously through Phil’s writings, for which I will be forever grateful.

J.W. loved to fish. What he didn’t sell or give to the needy, he ate or smoked to eat later. J.W.Unknown made, and consumed daily, his own smoked bluefish paté, on sandwiches and among cocktail nibbles up on the balcony.

J.W.’s recipe was reproduced on the flap of one of the books, and, I’m told, is listed within the collection of J.W. Jackson’s recipes in the book Delish, by Shirley Prada Craig.

Smoked Bluefish Paté 

5-6 ounces shredded smoked bluefish *
8 ounces whipped cream cheese **
½ tablespoon finely diced red onion (more, please)
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Dash of Worcestershire sauce if desired

* Trout works fine. Bet any good smoked fish would do.
** Package of cream cheese, softened, in the mixer with a little milk or sour cream.

Craftsman All Rubber Garden Hose 5/8 In. x 50 Ft.

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When it’s time for a scrubby

WE HAD a quick nip above freezing today, up to 44˚F. Since it is headed to 8˚ tonight and firmly nestled below freezing temperatures all week, what could be more constructive this balmy afternoon than to hose off the craftsman garden hose detail
vehicles! Goodbye winter road grime, slush, & dried de-icer.

Out back, I dug my faithful Craftsman hose out of the snow. She came willingly, eager to once again bend her supple curves across the pavement. After a bit of ice pushed forth from the nickel-plated brass end coupling, I had full water flow from the generous 5/8″ inside diameter hose. Once again, the hose had performed perfectly. And well it better!

Although the cost is a bit more than most hoses, the diameter is larger, the rubber does not crush and kink as easily, and it has a lifetime warranty from a company that will probably outlast the hose’s eventual demise under a lawn-mower blade. Ever have grand landscaping plans dashed after finding your skinny green hose kinked, flattened, and beyond the best medical attention? Doesn’t happen with the premium Craftsman hose. Restless from anemic water flow from a cheap hose? You’ll get professional, problem-solving volumes of water from the Craftsman! And for play, you’ll want a second mortgage to pay your water bill if your kids get unlimited use of this hose!craftsman 50 ft all rubber garden hose

This garden hose works best with unreduced water flow. Have your plumber cut a 3/4″ tee right after the meter, pipe it to a 3/4″ full port ball shut-off valve in the basement, and through the wall to another full-port ball valve with hose adapter. You’ll be playing with the big boys, with water flow like that!

Not all Craftsman tools are made alike, a sad commentary to profit and globalization. But this hose has been made in the U.S.A. since I’ve been buying them for business and pleasure.