Carnegie Deli: Attack of the Monster Reuben (+ Matzo Ball Soup)

Yes, it’s a Manhattan tourist attraction, but Carnegie Deli is still one of my favorite places to eat in New York City. Their monstrous reuben sandwich is simply glorious — it’s served open face, with the bread on the bottom of the plate, more than a pound of corned beef on top of that, a layer of sauerkraut over it, and the whole thing smothered with cheese. It’s a mountainous sandwich that kind of looks like Pizza the Hut from Spaceballs. Here are a bunch of photos of the reuben, the matzo ball soup, and a roast beef sandwich.

New Year’s Yamcha in Queens

My family went back to the old neighborhood in Queens for New Year’s Day yamcha (yes, I know it’s yum cha, but Yamcha is funnier for Dragon Ball fans). Here are some photos, including one I snapped for my friends Jaime and Lorie — it’s the Wendy’s that served as “McDowell’s” in Coming to America. “Oha!!! Prepare the royal baggage!”

What did you ladies and gents do on New Year’s Day?

NY Food!

As some of you know, I’m in New York for the holidays. Although I love so many things about California, there are a few things I miss about NY. On my way from JFK to my parents’ house, my brother and I stopped by for some pizza. This was entirely necessary. The pizza in California is…kind of a joke. A slice of sausage and a spinach/ricotta slice totally hit the spot after a cross-country flight.

Whether you’re visiting family or staying home, let me know what holiday food you’re enjoying. Later on this week I plan on challenging Carnegie Deli’s mountain of a reuben. It’s so awesome. Until then, here’s a bonus shot of an awesome chicken parmigiana hero!

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Random Rants: The Four Biggest Problems with Boxing

Saturday’s fight between Paul Williams and Sergio Martinez was one of 2009’s best. It was a highly competitive scrap between two amazingly skilled pugilists. I scored the bout 115-113 for Martinez, but there were enough close rounds that I could easily see a close decision going to Williams. I had no problems with Lynne Carter scoring it 115-113 for Williams and Julie Lederman scoring the fight a 114-114 draw. The third official judge, Pierre Benoist, scored the fight 119-110 for Williams — that’s just some pathetic scoring right there. According to Benoist, Martinez only won one round the entire fight, which is laughable to anyone that actually saw the contest. While the overall scoring wasn’t as bad as Ali Funeka getting jobbed out of a title the previous Saturday, Benoist’s scorecard illustrates one of boxing’s biggest problems. Let’s take a look a the four major reasons boxing isn’t as prominent as it was in the ’70s and ’80s.

Three Blind Mice

1) Inept and/or Corrupt Judges — Boxing is one of the few sports where an athlete can put on a superior performance and lose. Using the recent Ali Funeka vs. Joan Guzman fight as an example, it was pretty clear that Funeka beat the crap out of Guzman for 75 percent of the fight. For some reason, the bout was scored a majority draw. Fights like that are such a turnoff to fans. Why would you want to watch someone put forth the effort of a lifetime only to have it decimated by three blind judges? Sadly, this is probably the least of boxing’s problems.

2) Sanctioning Bodies — The WBC, WBA, WBO, and IBF are generally recognized as the four major sanctioning bodies in boxing. Each group has its own champion and rankings. For the most part, each organization sucks. All too often these groups post questionable rankings and declare unworthy mandatory contenders for their champions. Sometimes they’ll create “super” champions, recognizing a title holder that has also won a belt from another group; this means that a weight division can have two champions — a “super” champion and a regular champion. Ultimately, it’s just a lame ploy to extract more sanctioning fees from more boxers.

Adding even more confusion is that fact that many people recognize Ring Magazine’s champions as the legitimate ones. So yeah, the sanctioning bodies or so inept and corrupt that a magazine has to sort through the muck to tell the people which boxers are really the best. That’s more than a bit ridiculous…but wait, there’s more!

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Raymond’s Random Rants

– Last night’s fight between Ali Funeka and Joan Guzman was fantastic…until the decision was announced. While Guzman boxed excellently for two and a half rounds, Funeka pretty much dominated the rest of the fight. Inexplicably, two of the judges scored the fight a draw. This was the worst decision I’ve seen in 2009, by far. It’s sad that Funeka traveled all the way from South Africa to America to get jobbed. Whether the judges were inept or corrupt, bad decisions are way too common in boxing and one of the big reasons the sport is no longer as popular as it was.

Blackest Night

– I picked up the two Sinestro Corps War trade paperbacks for my first September Tokyo trip. They totally got me back into Green Lantern. While they weren’t quite as good as the Sinestro Corps Wars, I enjoyed Rage of the Red Lanterns and Agent Orange too. My expectations were low for Sins of the Star Sapphire, but I picked it up anyway so that I could get all the info leading up to Blackest Night. I was shocked (in a good way) by how graphic it was. There’s some really messed up sh*t in there! [Spoilers ahead!]

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Raymond’s Random Rants

– I watched my Star Trek Blu-ray last night. It’s such a great movie. Unfortunately, I missed it when it was still showing in theaters and only saw it in September on my way to Tokyo. I guess it doesn’t matter though, since I enjoyed the characterization and dialogue more than the special effects. It’s definitely one of my favorite movies of 2009, but I have to wonder how it plays to younger people that haven’t seen the old shows and movies.

Dolph Ziggler

– It’s such an interesting time in the WWE right now. Established headliners like Shawn Michaels, The Undertaker, and Triple H only have a few years left. This leaves the younger main-event players like Edge and Randy Orton waiting for some new dance partners. The WWE has been pushing The Miz, John Morrison, Dolph Ziggler, and Kofi Kingston successfully. Seamus and Drew McIntyre have been getting decent pushes as well. I’m especially high on Ziggler and Morrison. Do any of these guys stand out to you? Do you see any of them headlining WrestleMania in 2015?

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Raymond’s Random Rants

– I received the Wrestlemania 24and Wrestlemania 25 Blu-ray discs. Between videogames and the World Series, I won’t have time to watch the entire cards, but I sure as hell am going to watch the Shawn Michaels matches from each event. HBK/Flair was a brilliant, emotional match that excelled in the storytelling department. HBK/Undertaker was one of the best matches I’ve seen in the last decade.

WrestleMania 24

– Speaking of HBK, what a remarkable career he’s had — especially the second half. I never bought into the “boyhood dream” and I only started really enjoying his matches just before his first hiatus. Since his comeback from back surgery, it’s crazy how good he has been. While he can’t do some of things he used to in his younger days, his storytelling and psychology are the best they’ve ever been. Plus, nobody sells moves as good as Shawn does these days.

– I’m still wondering why the hell R-Truth is on the cover of the WrestleMania 25 box. What’s up?

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