Sunday, September 07, 2014

"Tucker," the Phila Flea Market, the Maple Shade Car Show and Street Fair, and more

Eastern State Penitentiary, a museum, threw a wet blanket on this year's big September flea market in Philadelphia by deciding to host a movie crew on Fairmount Avenue that day and not telling the organizer until three days before, so the market was cut down by a fourth. I'm on a mission at these markets to ransom golden-era things from hipsters making fun of them and give them a true home again. Got two ties, one from one of the vendors I call "Gimbels 50 years ago."

I remember commercials for these: "It's tough to put a Muriel doooooown..."

Also spotted: a TV Guide from January '61 with an article about President Kennedy's upcoming inauguration, some listings announcing color broadcasts (which didn't become mainstream until a few years later, at which time my family's BW TV went into the den from the family room), and one for "The Catholic Hour": that week's guest was John Courtney Murray of religious-liberty fame.

Of course somebody is playing up camp.

The first St. Clement's Jr. long before that church's core group became Catholic: St. Andrew's Lithuanian Catholic Church at 19th & Wallace. Scottish architect John Notman's test run before building St. Clement's; the design inside is similar. A rare case where an old American Catholic parish church is in a building not originally Catholic; I think this was Episcopal to begin with like St. C's.

Maple Shade, NJ Car Show and Street Fair: Hello, old friends.

Movie: Tucker: The Man and His Dream. A hero (played by Jeff Bridges), the '40s, and a cool car, one of the first postwar designs, the '48 Tucker "Torpedo," innovative in good ways. A tale of arete. I don't think the Big Three and other big carmakers retooled until the next model year. ('46-'48 for them: retreads of '41 and the few '42s, civilian car production being suspended during the war.)

Dinner: Noodles & Company, near Moorestown, NJ. A chain I'd never heard of: great concept poorly executed. Why not specialize in noodles and offer an easy menu of three columns for them: Italian, Asian, and American? (Spaghetti and meatballs: in the American column, correctly.) Perfect family-restaurant concept; business is good and the service fine. The trouble is the food: I ended up with both mushy and dried-out noodles so the spices were too strong. It was edible but Pei Wei and Al Dente have nothing to fear.


  1. Too bad you had a bad experience at Noodles & Co. They've been in Denver since the turn of the century. I've had scores of meals there and only one Asian dish was subpar.

    1. Mine was Asian too: Indonesian Peanut Sauté (sic); their not knowing how to spell "satay" should have warned me.

      Reminds me: I love the concept and some of the food (their lasagna) at Buca di Beppo; their gone Cherry Hill spot was real to me. Even some real Italians respected their food. Funny thing about that chain, which seems on its way out: most of their restaurants are in places where there are few Italians. Anyway, I laughed when I saw on their site that they mashed Italian and Spanish: "Bienvenuto." Reminds me of cocoliche in Argentina (Buenos Aires Spanish still has an Italian accent; the Pope is 100% Italian, a second-generation Argentine) and "Tampan," which mafiosi in Florida made up as a code; both Spanish-Italian mixes. I know a second-generation American who's a first-language Italian speaker, and that's how he talks to his Mexican workers in his contracting business. He's really speaking Italian but throws in enough Spanish words he's picked up to make it work.

    2. Buca di Beppo was a hoot. However I'm afraid the Denver location (now defunct) contributed to the demise of one of my favorite haunts: Pagliacci's - a joint in my grandparents' neighborhood that lasted from 1947-2012 under the same family. It was the type of place that Buca emulated. Now turned under for a condominium.

    3. That's a sin.

      Buca's food was inconsistent: you'd think they'd ace spaghetti and meatballs but not so much. My local Greek pizzeria is much better at spaghetti sauce.


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