Food Porn: DeFranko’s Subs

I’m no Trooper York (who is?) but even in my current ascetic state, I do occasionally indulge. And, of course, when I do, we’re not talking a Big Mac or a footlong from the Subway. No.

No, no.

I prefer to patronize local establishments. While some are quite bad, the good ones are gems: Not much more expensive (if at all) than a fast food place and in the category of real food that doesn’t make you feel bad after you eat it.

The sub sandwich and I have a long history, it being one of the food we’d go out to eat for when I was a kid. (We almost never went out to eat; remember those days?) They were, of course, way too strong for my palette–capicola, or even just a regular Italian salami–but I’d power through.

Finding a good, big sandwich isn’t that hard, but finding a good Italian is very difficult. And what’s more, even if the insides of the sandwich are Boar’s Head, a lot of sandwich shops will stuff them into a crappy roll.

Enough talk, let me show you a picture:
This is from DeFranko’s in Van Nuys. It’s a little shack a block south of the Flyaway. Piles o’ meat topped with diced pickles, tomatoes and onions, stuffed into a roll baked that morning at the owner’s bakery. They default to a hard, chewy roll, but you can get a soft one, too, and whole wheat until they run out.

A lot of my pals love the pastrami, and I do, too, but it’s a lot (even for me). Plus, I can get a good pastrami a lot of places. The meatball subs are great and I’ve been known to just have a cheese sub (when I’m off meat) which is almost as good as one of the more traditional offerings.

Right now they’re selling fresh basil plants on the counter, but you never know what you’ll find there, except you know it’ll be fresh (like a fresh baked brownie or cookie).

The people are friendly, fast and hyper-competent. It’s actually a marvel to watch one of these things put together–but don’t blink. Even so, they can get behind during the lunch hour when the line often goes out the door. I’ve waited 20 minutes or more for a sandwich. It is so worth it. You might get it fast, but it ain’t fast food. (So if you’re in a hurry call ahead.)

My mom’s been buying subs there since the ‘70s. I hope my kids are buying subs there in the 2030s.

Exciting News in the Blog World!

Lots of things happening for our little Althouse-offshoot community. In alphabetical order!

Chicken Little has a blog! A little light on the posts, just yet.
Darcy has a blog! Also a little light on the posts, yet. Darcy gets more space here, though, ‘cause she’s a hot blond sports chick. I’d hit on her but: a) Don’t know nothin’ ’bout sports; b) she could easily beat me up.
Hector has changed his blog’s name! If Rain in the Doorway (the title of a lesser known Thorne Smith novel) wasn’t obscure enough for you, he’s now called “Kiarian Lunch” which refers to certain characters in the novel. And if you don’t know Thorne Smith, Google. His books are available online for free reading (outside the US, sigh), and well worth the time.
Micheal H has a blog! Right now, it’s empty, but not too long ago it had a very nice post of a speecch Mr. H made.
Last, and not least, not only does Pogo have a blog, it’s marvelously idiosyncratic and he’s posting up a whirlwind. Fun to read! Lots of pictures!! Weirdly named “The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”.
And, as always check out Trooper York, the, uh, glue that holds us all together.
PS: And don’t a dope like me forgetting to link Ruth Anne Adams’s blog; the woman with the puns of steel.
PPS: And Kelly’s back at Loaded Questions, too. Kelly never, ever, ever comes to visit me here, but I’m a good friend so I pimp her site when she bothers to put up stuff. Check it out: She has her own dot-com, too. Hi-falutin’.

More Trooper York Fan Service

TCM and I have a Twitter relationship now. (It was inevitable.)

So when I followed this tweet, I thought of Trooper York: TCM’s five favorite bathtub scenes! Er, no, five favorite movies with bathtub scenes. (There’s a difference, I’m sure.)

  1. SPARTACUS (1960)
  2. PILLOW TALK (1959)
  3. PRETTY WOMAN (1990)
  2. THE WOMEN (1939)

Not bad. I think I would’ve picked–er, excluding the late night Cinemax movies which often have some stirring bathtub scenes–some Westerns. When I think of baths in movies (before considering actual titles), I think of Westerns, movies set in Ancient Greece or Rome, or maybe Japan.

I’ve having trouble thinking of specific titles right at the moment. The Cheyenne Social Club? I think Fonda and/or Stewart bathe in that one. Clint Eastwood was always taking a bath, it seemed like. Even in Gran Torino! Caligula had a lot of scenes in and around a bath….

OK, here’s one: My Neighbor Totoro. Great kids/family movie. Bathing is significant in that one. Though not as significant as in Spirited Away, which takes place in a bath house that services “demons”. Both Hayao Miyazaki.

Nightmare on Elm Street. Great horror bath scene. David Cronenberg’s Shivers (aka They Came From Within) had a horrifying bathtub scene used in some of the movie posters.

Actually, the more I think about it, the more horror bathtub scenes I can think of: The Shining, the absolutely horrifying drowning scene in The Changeling, Final Destination. Geeze, between Psycho for showers and these movies, it’s amazing anyone ever gets clean.

Fan Service

I asked, Trooper York answered. What this blog needs, apparently, is more pointy breasts. For those who don’t know, by sheer whimsy, the Bit Maelstrom ended up #3 on a search for “pointy breasts” in Google. (Below and above the urban dictionary.) And for most of 2008, visitors came to this site looking for cheesecake. Since I’ve not posted any real breasts since November, we’ve slipped a bit, and are now drooping at #13.

I’ve nothing against breasts, mind you; I’ve developed no aversion to the fairer sex. It’s just a matter of integrity. Or something. I just haven’t been watching the right sorts of ‘50s movies to provide examples. And now that Troop has his own blog, I feel a little like a pretender before his cheesecake-posting grandeur.

Nonetheless, since he made the request, I submit for your approval, one Kim Novak.

More perky than pointy, really.

I love Novak because at 21, she played opposite a 36-year-old William Holden (Picnic), and a 25 she played opposite a 50-year-old Jimmy Stewart (twice, once in Vertigo and once in Bell, Book and Candle), and did it with a gravitas that made it all seem plausible and not creepy.

Scarlett? Natalie? Either Jessica? Lovely and fine though they are, could they carry a Vertigo? Even with broad-shouldered help from a Stewart or Holden? I don’t think so.

My Preoccupation…

You guys have left some great comments, much appreciated. I hope to address them in a bit when I catch up on things.

Unlike some quitters, though, I’m not going to be running away to worship God. (He pretty much told me he needs me on the front lines. I think I’m supposed to be fodder.)

It’s crunch time, diet-wise for The Boy. The doctor has reduced his meat intake dramatically, so he has little choice but to eat veggies or starve. (And starving’s not an option.) I’m showing my solidarity here, so I’m also downing the rabbit chow.

I’ll have a review of I Love You, Man soon. (Executive summary: Romantic comedy where the principles are straight males. Surprisingly charming and female friendly.)

Also, the refrigerator broke, distilling water is more complicated than it seems, the pilot light on the water heater keeps going out, and (on the positive side) I’ve apparently won Darcy.

No, don’t tell me it was April Fool’s Day. I don’t wanna know.

Bit Maelstrom: The “Spring Is Sprung” All Sex Issue

Over at Trooper York’s House of Ill Repute, he often posts pictures of saucy wenches in various stages of partial dress and posed provocatively, which in one particular instance prompted this from Freeman Hunt:

All the crawling or arching around in these “aren’t I sexy?” poses, knowing that the pictures are being taken for the explicit purpose of allowing strangers to better have mental fantasies about them…well, like I said, it cracks me up.

Well, yeah. Let’s be honest: Sex is a pretty absurd thing. Around this mechanical, repetitive act which lasts (according to some) 3-5 minutes on average, we build a huge mythology, several industries, and ruin our lives for!

Pogo commented

I have never seen a woman do that pose anywhere in my whole life. Just photos and music videos. Where does it come from?

And I was reminded of a bit Dennis Miller did about sex with his wife, where she (at least in her act) licks her own breast–and then gave him a look that said if you ever tell anyone…so, of course he puts it in his act.

But sex is sort of like dancing, in that you can’t be too worried about how you might appear to others. Your concern is your partner (or partners, if that’s the way you swing, baby!) and sometimes that means doing things that, out of context would look silly.

As Freeman is fond of pointing out, the women of (e.g.) Playboy are not fat, even if they’re on the larger side of normal compared to fashion models–because that’s what guys like. Same could be said for the various poses used. And while men are more visually oriented (the experts are fond of pointing out), women too have their own aesthetics as far as how men should be and act.

I’ve always thought of sex as a sort of closed circuit/feedback loop: While sex is a very simple thing, eroticism is entirely the agreement of the people involved–and that can be as elaborate as anything. Everyone has to feel comfortable expressing one way or another that notion of “Aren’t I sexy?” I mean, really: How good is sex going to be if the parties involved are diffident or concerned about looking cool?

I note, of course, that Freeman specifically mentions strangers, and Pogo said he’d never seen them–but not that he’d never done them. Heh.

Well, it’s an odd assortment of posts with the tag “blake says he knows that pose”, but I suppose it’s no worse than the chop-busting I get under the category of “blake says he knows her”. That one prompted me to write the massive list of famous people I’ve encountered–none of whom I know well, or who could pick me out of a lineup consisting of me and the corpse of Herve Villechaize–but I never posted it (and since then, I remembered a half-dozen more people I’d forgotten to put in there).

And, of course, it’s all a big distraction from the fact that Troop’s sex life is a far-ranging and storied one that would put Wilt Chamberlain (or at least John Holmes) to shame.

Trooper York and the Golden Idol

Troop is doing his American Idol shtick again, which cracks me up even though I’ve never seen the show.

I feel a little empathy for Paula Abdul in that picture, though. I have to go back 30 years to find a picture I don’t look completely drunk in. (And my experience with intoxicants is limited to caffeine and–on two occasions, I confess–ibuprofen.

Just Ourselves And All Eternity

Trooper York shows a different side over on his blog.

I suppose it’s a cliché that we become increasingly aware of our mortality as we age. I remember lying in bed at the age of five and feeling my mortality acutely, a feeling that used to visit me periodically, and now sits beside me like a municipal road repair crew with all the time in the world.

And I remember having my car spin out on the 101 at 50 mph–I remembered to turn into the skid–and thinking, “So, this is it. This is how I die.” An entirely different experience of mortality, akin to being tossed about by strong waves at the beach: You already made the choice that set you on that path and now it’s out of your hands.

And when I feel a mysterious pain, or I notice some loss of vision or agility, the Man With The Scythe is there, looking at his watch. But again, that’s a different experience. Troop talks about that a bit.

Another experience of mortality comes from thinking about my children. I don’t really think of death as being able to hurt me directly, as odd as that may sound. Death pretty much ends those concerns. But my death would harm my family, which creates an entirely different concern.

Ah, but the sort of mortality Troop mostly talks about is that of the missing person. They don’t even need to be dead, just gone from your life. Change itself is a reminder of a the sort of mortality that is inescapable.

You’ll never be that person again. You’ll never know those people you knew. The family that raised you is long gone, and you’re filling that role with a new generation.

I’m sure that’s behind the static concept of Heaven that a lot of people have. They remember a moment from childhood, with their mom or their grandmother, or some other person filling a role relative to themselves, and they remember a particular feeling that they identify as being perfect. (Richard Matheson actually manages to create a concept of Heaven in What Dreams May Come that allows both for change and a Heaven where you meet up with your dog.)

On the other hand, maybe this is why you be wary of late night walks in the cold autumn air while listening to classic rock radio stations.