Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Around Town-The White Manna Diner from The 1939 Worlds Fair

Fun fact about my state of residence: New Jersey has the most diners of any state in the union.

Being a vintage lover I naturally adore diners and delight in this factoid.  While my favorite local diner, continues to be Tops in Newark (I went there for my 38th birthday) I am also quite fond of a genuine relic the White Manna Diner in Jersey City.   This Diner made its debut at the 1939 World's Fair where it was billed as the "diner of the future."

In 1946 the Diner of the future, with its distinctive saucer shaped exterior, moved across the river where it remains to this day.  It's easily recognizable as a mid century relic  on a ugly stretch of high way.

And the 1939 World's Fair logo is still prominently displayed:

(If you are an X-Files fan you might recognize the logo from the season 2 episode Aubrey, I did and its how I first noticed the Diner).

Inside, the Diner does not dissapoint.  Its simple and I image much the same as it was in 1939.  It's very small, no frillos, with a circular seating area around the grill and a few tables.

The menu also hasn't changed much.  

Burgers, cheese burgers, fries, onion rings, the New Jersey classic Taylor Ham and the like.  The prices are also low, low, low and the food is tasty.   I like the small cheese burgers, which come with plenty of pickles, and the cheese fries. 

The portions are small, as they would have been in the 1940s.  

If you are in the area I definitely recommend the White Manna Diner for a casual vintage dining experience.

Here is a video from Serious Eats of the White Manna Burgers getting cooked up on the grill:


Monday, June 27, 2016

Vintage Recipes-It Came From The 70s Addition Kitchen Sink Cookies

I was born in 1978 so I have no memory of one of America's more turbulent, and certainly kitschiest decades, and for years despite my love of vintage I had no interest in the 70s.   I think this may be because it is the decade I was born in and that most vintage lovers tend to reach farther back to decades before their birth.  However, there are some 1970s things I do love.  Here are two brief examples:

The hilarious and strangely existential educational short What is Nothing?

and the decades high point, in my opinion, Ricardo Montalban's Chrysler Cordoba commercial:
(If I ever win the lottery I don't want a fancy sports car, I want a Chrysler Cordoba)

I also love the cookies that are the subject of this post .    They are the first things I ever baked as a child and they come from the 1971 cook book Diet For A Small Planet 

It is a hippie dippie vegetarian tome that I found languishing in my mother's kitchen.  It has a number of recipes in it and argues that a meat free diet is the  solution to world hunger.   I can't remember my self or my mother ever making any of the recipes besides these cookies, but they are delicious, and loaded with the kind of crunchy health food store ingredients that I  imagine where very popular in the 70s.  While they are certainly not low calorie they do offer more protein and nutrients then the average cookie.   Most importantly they are really, really, really tasty.  They are also, despite the long list of ingredients, very easy to make.  Personally I like to eat them for breakfast,  but they'd be good any time of day.  So without further ado here is the recipe one of the best things to come out of the 1970s, in my opinion anyway:

Kitchen Sink Cookies from Diet for A Small Planet 

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup soy flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup milk powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. each ground nutmeg and cloves (we go a little easier on the cloves)
2/3 cup raisins

3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut 
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped 
1/4 cup sunflower seeds 
2/3 cup chocolate chips
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup oil or melted butter (I use oil)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses 

Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat the eggs, add oil, honey and molasses in a small bowl by hand. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and stir till moistened. If mixture is too dry, mine usually is, add a few drops of milk and mix again until the dough coms toether   Drop by spoonfuls onto unoiled cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, watch closely they cook quickly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Vintage Outfit Post-1940s Mexican Playsuit Set for A Trip to Coney Island

About once a year when the weather turns warm I like to make the girls in the silent film clip below (from 1905!) and visit Coney Island.

Coney Island is a bit of a trip from our home, about an hour and 45 minutes  with walking and train time, and there our closer beaches in NJ but even though it has sadly been updated Coney Island still has some vestiges of vintage charm that keep me coming back year after year.

This year we went on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend and it was the first time the weather was really warm enough for summer clothes, so I wore my  1940s Style Mexican Playsuit from Kim Clark.  I nabbed it when she put it up for sale in the 1930s and 40s clothing exchange facebook group and it is really fabulous, and way, way out there.  There is no fading into the back ground in this get up.  Plus I love  that it has a jacket.  I don't like to get too much sun or show too much skin so a play suit with a big jacket is right up my alley.

The fabric in both the jacket and the play suit is really light and very comfortable.

I paired the play suit set with a big 1940s Mexian tourist hat.  I actually had the hat first and when I saw the play suit I knew they where made for each other.

I carried the Mexican theme through the outfit by adding a Mrs. Polly's Lucite brooch of a little man in a sombrero.  Isn't he cute:

Sadly, as I said before most of Coney Island has been distressingly modernized and Hurricane Sandy certainly didn't help. 

 Still if you look close there are some remnants of the old Coney Island.   

Nathan's Hot Dogs has been there for a 100 years.  The day before we visited they where selling hots dogs for 5 cents, the price from when they openned in 1916.

We also saw a shooting gallery that had been there since 1940:

We always finish our Coney Island trips with lunch at L & B Spumoni Gardens a restaurant that has been open since 1939.  They serve the best Sicilian style pizza and Spumoni I've ever had.

Where do you like to go when the weather gets warm?

Outfit Details:

1940s style Play Suit and Jacket-Kim Clark 
1940s style sandals Remix vintage shoes
1940s Mexican sun hat Dixiefried
1940s style novelty brooch-Mrs Polly's Lucite

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Gotcha Day Spot!

Last year on father's day we got a little surprise.

My husband, the world's best cat and dog father, found a little white kitten up a tree in our yard.  After a few days walking around the neighborhood knocking on doors and calling the local shelters and vets offices with no results we decided to keep him.   

Thus Spot, named after Lt. Comander Data's cat on Star Trek the next generation, became our 4th cat.   (It's good he was named after Data's spot and not the spots on his head because those faded to white over time.)

Of course all our pets are equally special but I think Spot has the best "gotcha" story, after all he found us!   I'm so glad he did because Spot is a wonderful cat.  He's very comfortable hanging out with our dogs, as the video below demonstrates:

and he even gets on OK with our older, crankier cats, Baby, Scooter and Ernie who are 15, 14, and 12.  They all spend alot of time on the dining room table, which is not a table for eating on but rather an area where we keep cat toys and food and water so the felines have a dog free space.  

Scooter isn't in this picture so here he is below:

  (To be entirely truthful there are occasional cat spats but then that has always been the case)

We celebrated Spot's one year anniversary with us with a tuna fish cake:

Spot had a typical finicky feline reaction to the cake, he could have cared less!  Despite the fact that in the past he has seemed to like Tuna.  Luckily his older brother Scooter seemed to like it.

For his gift Spot got a Catit wellness grooming center, we have a lot of catit toys and I really like them, 

I think his favorite part was the box it came in:

  Ernie however seems to love the grooming center:

At least Spot enjoyed his other toy, his catnip Little Red Riding Hood 

Happy Gotcha day Spot!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Pug Club of New York at The Alice Austen House

This past Sunday was one of my favorite events of the year,   The Pug Dog Club of Greater New York's yearly meetup at the Alice Austen house on Staten Island.  Alice Austen was one of America's first female photographers and a pug lover.  

Alice with her pug Punch
Alice's devotion to the breed is the reason the club holds the yearly event at her home.  I first learned about it last year through Fry's breeder who is a member of the club.  It's amazing to see a crowd of pugs, and their owners, take over the lovely victorian property.

This year we brought Ping, Fry, Weasley and Mr. Tuvok (who was not the only non-pug dog in attendance.) I dressed them in their festive neck scrunchies from Deb of pug possessed and they looked great.  I'm biased but I think they where the cutest does there.

The weather was really nice and we spent most of the morning sitting on lawn chairs or the lawn and watching the dogs.

The lawn at the house is quite large for an urban area and the garden is really pretty. 

The house is right by the water, you can see Manhattan, so it stays pretty cool.

Pugs get hot though so there where lots of baby pools about.

None of our guys will go in them though.   

They did have lots of fun meeting other dogs and people.  I was particularly pleased to see Mr. Tuvok showing alot of confidence and having a great time.  Sometimes he can be a bit shy, or maybe he just seems that way next to super outgoing overly social pugs.

I was particularly happy to see Fry's breeder and she had his relatives with her.  The black pug is Fry's father and one of the fawns is his mom, I forgot which.

A lot of Fry's other relations where there since many of the attendees where dogs from his breeder.

It was a lovely and perfect day and I can;t wait to return next year.

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