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Eat Me – Shameless Family Promotion

Eat Me: The food and philosophy of Kenny Shopsin

If you’ve ever clicked on the links at the bottom of the sidebar on the left, you’ve probably realized that a) my last name is Shopsin, and b) my family owns a restaurant in New York City called, you guessed it, Shopsin’s. The restaurant has been a fixture in my life since the day I was born. Literally. I’ve lived in a number of apartments and houses, but the restaurant (now in it’s third location) has always been the place I called home.

Our restaurant is very hard to explain, though that doesn’t keep people from trying. Google it and I’m sure you’ll find a ton of people that love it, hate it, are disgusted by it, are shocked and awed by it, or just plain like eating there. One thing I think people will agree on is that the menu is huge, incredibly varied and incredibly weird. The two things I’ve seen people ordering the most of lately are Macaroni and Cheese Pancakes, which sound weird, but are truly awesome, and the Gallant sandwich (warm turkey, bacon, avocado, cranberry mayo, ciabatta) which almost sounds normal and again, is quite delicious.

You can look at the full menu here (pdf). A warning: When I was still living at home, before going off to college and my stay on the west coast, I used to design the menu for my dad. My designs were not particularly inspired, but they were relatively readable and consistent. When I left for college I gave my dad a copy of Quark Express and a brief tutorial on how to use it. And use it he did. I haven’t studied Claude Shannon’s work on information theory as much as I’d have liked, but I’m pretty sure his menu design is approaching some sort of maximal information density limit.

Anyway, the reason for this post is that my father recently released a cookbook/philosophical tract/memoir called “Eat Me: The Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin”. I’m obviously quite biased, but I think it is the most entertaining cookbook I’ve ever read. It’s a combination cook book and memoir, with about 100 recipes and a bunch of essays detailing my father’s approach to food, cooking, family, the restaurant business, and much more. Not to mention a picture of me bathing in a sink. You can read it like a cookbook, just going to the recipes that interest you, but I think most people will just end up reading it cover to cover like a normal book.

The book is designed by my sister Tamara and the photographs were taken by her husband Jason.

Once my scanner gets here and I get everything set up I’m going to post a couple of excerpts on the site, but really, why wait? You should just buy a copy 🙂

Amazon Page for Eat Me

Publisher’s Page for Eat Me
Shopsin’s Website
Shopsin’s Menu
Amazon Page for I Like Killing Flies , a 2002 documentary about the restaurant.

Modern Mechanix now in NYC

Sorry for the lack of posts for the last few days. I was in the process of moving from California to my new place in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. My magazine collection, all 47 boxes of it is currently making its way across the country via the very economical, but pokey USPS media mail service. (Don’t tell them that. Technically, you can’t send anything containing advertising via media mail. Even if it is a 70 year old ad for a defunct product from a defunct company, go figure.) My computer and scanners are also on the way but should be here much sooner. None of this actually matters until I buy a few little things like a desk, chair, bed, etc but, I’ll try to start posting some stuff this weekend.

The only immediate change you should see is that the blog has now been moved to Eastern Standard Time. I think you’ll all manage to cope. In the future we should have some great new stuff coming. I’ll be bringing in some help to add some more editorial and narrative commentary to the site. Plus, the move forced me to actually go through all of the magazines I have and in the process I discovered a bunch of really great stuff I’d forgotten I had, so look out for some new content from magazines you’ve never heard of.

This close…

Well, my soon-to-be roommate and I almost got a place today. But as we were filling out the application the broker called the owner to tell him we were applying and he said he’d already rented the place. Drat. I really like the neighborhood (Carroll Gardens / Cobble Hill / Boerum Hill), and I’m confident we will find something, but damn. We’ve now looked at something like 10 apartments in the last two days and I’m tired. 10’x6′ does not a bedroom make.

I actually had expected to post before now, but I’ve been ridiculously busy apartment hunting, and hanging out with my family. Plus the AT&T 3g wireless card I got to give me connectivity has really, really, truly sucked. Basically useless. I blame all the iPhone 3g users (myself included) for saturating the local network. Interesting fact: my iPhone downloads content five times faster in San Diego than New York. (average of 2-300 kbps down in NYC, 1200-1500 kbps in SD). Damn hipsters.

Thanks for all the tips and responses to my previous post, and I’m sorry I haven’t gotten a chance to respond to any of you. I will try to do so over the next few days.

Here’s some stuff from a really great new issue of MM I just finished editing. Be sure to click on the cover and check it out, it’s awesome. Definitely one of the oddest juxtapositions I’ve seen on a MM cover.

Vacation, Moving, Light Posting and Volunteers Wanted

I’m not sure I’ve ever posted about this, but grew up in Greenwich Village in NYC. While all of my family still lives in the city, I’ve been on the west coast for the last ten years or so and I’m kind of tired of it. I miss my family and I miss the city, so I’ve decided to move back, which I’ll be doing in the middle of September. For the next two weeks I’m going to be in NYC on a combination vacation/apartment hunting trip and I’m probably not going to have a chance to post as much as I usually do.  So if the posting seems a little sporadic and light over the next few weeks, now you know why.

If anybody is interested in doing some guest posts while I’m out of town,  send me an email. I’d love to see other people get more involved in the site.

If you live in the New York area and happen to know of any good apartments that are available , or just want to meet up for a drink or something, please drop me a line.

Now all I have to do is figure out the best way to pack and move a few thousand magazines without totally destroying both the magazines them selves and the considerable effort I’ve put into organizing them.

WordPress 2.6 Upgrade – RSS Feed Broken, Fixed, Still Slightly Broken

I upgraded the blog to WordPress 2.6 this weekend and everything seemed to go fine. Until this morning I got an email from a reader letting me know that the rss feed was broken. (thanks Rutger!) Really broken. As in PHP was dying in the middle of generating it. And Feed Burner was flipping out.

After a few false starts I tracked it down to a plugin that just doesn’t seem like the new WP version. It’s alright, I don’t use that plugin for much anyway.

The feed is now working again. However, the items in the feed do not currently have the date appended to the end of the title. e.g.: (Mar, 1922). This is because I accomplished that in my template by just adding the code to print the date right after the title in the template. Of course, taking this approach means I also had to add it to all of the pages that generate feeds (rss, rdf, atom, rss2). This means I also have to update those pages every time I upgrade wordpress. This time I forgot. I’m going to try to find a better way to hook the tile and append the date before the page gets rendered. So, hopefully, the dates on rss feeds should be back in the next day or so.

If any of our readers know a good way to modify the title of a post right before it’s rendered and wants to spare me a few hours of wading through the codex, I’d appreciate it. I don’t want to append the date to the post title then save it to the database. The date is contained in a custom field and I’d like to keep the two separate.

Looking for a CSS/HTML Coder

If you’re skilled in css and html please do me a favor and look at the css file for this site. Then look at the source of this page.

Did you have to fight the urge to cry, throw up or punch something? Do you feel sullied? If so you’re just the person I’m looking for. While I can be completely OCD about scanning, straightening, OCRing images and whatnot, css just drives me mad. I’m awful at it and it makes my brain hurt. The template of this site is basically a mashup of an older template and a newer design, retrofitted to work on the YUI-Grid framework and hacked on by your’s truly until it seemed to look decent for most of the people, most of the time. It looks alright, but under the covers it’s a complete mess.

Lately this has become a problem because I’ve been wanting to add some new features to the site via some wordpress plugins. However, they all seem to expect some sort of rational styles, and thus look completely messed up when I try them out.

I’m looking for someone to help me clean up and recode the css and some of the html on the site. You don’t need to redesign anything, though if you want to, I’d certainly be open to it.

I’ll be happy to give you a big plug, and permanent credit on the site, which actually has a surprisingly decent amount of traffic. I can even pay you in either a moderate amount of cold, hard cash, or a large quantity of old magazines (I have lots of duplicates), or some mix of the two.

If you’re interested, please email me, or leave a comment on this post.

By the way, if anyone is interested in the features I’m planning on adding, here’s my list, everyone please let me know which of these you’d like most, and any others you think I should add:

  • Better comments system possibly coComment, or Intense Debate but at least something that allows users to edit their comments, use gravatars, have profiles and has better threading and spam control.
  • Post view counts, ratings, favorites, etc so you can get lists of the most popular posts
  • Forums, for discussions that don’t regard a specific post
  • User contributed content, either through custom software, image galleries, or the forums. Not sure which.
  • Better ways to navigate and explore the content on this site. This one is all me, but it would be a lot easier with a decent template to work with. I want to add browsing by year, topic, article length, etc.
  • User tagging. I’ve started tagging some posts as you’ve probably noticed, but there are another three or four thousand that are untagged and that I’ll never get the time to do myself. It would be nice if users could help contribute to this process. Actually, this I could probably do now, so if any of my regular readers would like to help, drop me a line.
“heaps older but still hot!”

Ok, so here’s my question. Is this some weird new kind of spam, or are teenage school girls in Australia actually using my site as a chat room to get around a firewall?

Maker Faire

I’m going up to the bay area this weekend to attend Maker Faire. I went last year and I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was one of the best events I’ve ever been to. If you’re in the area, do your self a favor and check it out.

If any of you are going to be at the faire and would like to meet up, just drop me an email, or comment on this post.

The Power of Dear Abby

I was looking at my site stats this morning and I noticed that something like 5,000 people viewed this page and that all of them were coming from search engines after having searched for “Divorce Ring” or “Divorce Rings“, making them the #1 and #2 search terms on my site by a big margin. So I checked out the search myself and it turns out that this weekend Dear Abby wrote a column about, you guessed it, divorce rings. I think this is the first time I’ve actually seen a big traffic surge to a page that is not actually linked to by another site. Abby must have a hell of a big readership for that many people to search then click through to my site.

Site Outage

Sorry everyone, the site has been down since about 3 am PST. I’m not exactly sure what happened. Something in the database was corrupted and I had to restore from yesterdays back up. I’m going to try to restore todays posts as soon as possible.