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for February 20, 2002

Zagat To Get You Into My Life
by Your Diva, Robin Pastorio-Newman

Your Darling, Your Diva, Your One True Love, keen observer of things accidentally hilarious, enjoys few more than a really tasty meal prepared by complete strangers. Appetizers arrive in delicate portions. Salad is crisp and fresh. EntreÚs appear more carefully organized than post-mortem Chicago voters. Dessert, if one manages a bite, proves the portions were miniscule and therefore trendy. The things that bring a nice dinner together are conversation and ambience because - face it - you're from New Jersey and you can eat a rare hamburger with extra onions standing next to the Fresh Kills Landfill.

Who surveys New Brunswick eateries for the quality of their musical offerings? Zagat's neglects this significant source of music-related entertainment, so we set out on a week-long journey of self-sacrifice and stunning choices. By "we", Your Little Black Rain Cloud means herself and Paulie Gonzalez, lounge lizard and cognoscento of Vegas punk rock culture.


Meara: I claim the "B Vitamin Amnesia".

Stiller: March of the Green Berets? Did that really happen? You're sexy when you're eating sashimi.

Meara: Ballad, darling, and yes it did. Those witty people producing Muzak slay me.

Panda House

Lucy: No music. Sounds of teenagers smooching. Noise of traveling rhinoviruses.

Ricky: You crazy redhead! That was us smooching like teenagers.

Lucy: Well then, let's not talk about the Mariachi band.


Lucretia Borgia: Strange, strange mix of crazy-ultra-smooth men's voices and women in toe-curling registers.

Victor Borge: I'm sure I heard the influence of Pat Boone meets Diamanda Galas meets Michael Jackson. We need to be more careful about our exports.

The Old Bay

Gretel: Instead of music, we were treated to scintilating dialogue. Witness:

Diva: Today's Monday. That means Mardi Gras is tomorrow.
Waiter: It's the whole week.
Diva: Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday.
Waiter: That is (pause) tomorrow, isn't it?

Hansel: Jackass busboy. Hey, do you think we could of talked the waitress into a treesome?

Gretel: A treesome? You're a bad, bad man. I like that in a person.

Doll's Place

Minnie: My favorite place to hear a jukebox play the Vapors and Johnny Cash covering Steve Goodman tunes.

Mickey: My favorite place to read porn with the girls and mock the bartenders.

The Green Grotto

Imelda: Reggae, reggae, reggae. Weren't we giggling about Luther Vandross songs when the waiter asked if I wanted to take home sorbet?

Ferdinand: The only guy to talk us into dessert. He was too nice to be sincere. Can we go back and mace him?

Aranka's Hungarian Restaurant

Bonnie: Dahhhhhhhlings, the food was so tasty we could almost overlook canned piano music, until we heard "Hava Nagila" and waited for the pogrom.

Clyde: Good pork dish. The music was too f---ing weird. I felt like I was in a David Lynch film. You playing the evil temptress of course.

Bonnie: Of course. If we're not in a David Lynch film, put down that dwarf.

Sunny Palace

Jeannette McDonald: Do you recall musical noises over the screams of my friends giving each other lap-dances?

Nelson Eddy: Music? I was so drunk I held a conversation with the hula girl tiki cup. Until I spilled it all over you. I'm not sitting at the adult table next time. FWIW, your Mom seems like a nice person.

Jeannette McDonald: That was a tiki cup, too. But with lovely manners!

Marita's Cantina

Ginger: A band was setting up. I was discouraged by their well-scrubbed faces and dirty knit caps. We ate our quesadillas and skedaddled for the Bad Karma show at the Court Tavern. It wasn't exaaaaaaactly fleeing, but...

Fred: You were wearing that little baby doll shirt and fishnets. You looked like a red-headed Jayne Mansfield. When we got to the bar you almost started a riot. It was like releasing the rabbit at a dog race. You need to be careful with your goods, Toots.

Ginger: That's positively the last time I get a pork-roll-and-cheese-massage at the spa.

©2002 Robin Pastorio-Newman

All material ©2001-2014 Sean Carolan, except as noted.


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