Monday, September 14, 2015

Ghost Signs II: The Return of Ghost Signs

Since my first post about ghost signs was such a big hit, I figured I'd do the Hollywood thing and make a sequel!

Starting in the South End, we find this great wall-sized ad on Pacific St.

This laundromat on Shippan Avenue has a nice, big Coca-Cola sign on the side.

A few weeks later, the "laundromat" sign broke, revealing that this used to be Vic's Cycles.  Was Vic's a motorcycle shop?

I'm sad that Chinese Mirch is gone, but the demolition of its building on Atlantic Street revealed this classic sign for a long-gone antiques store.

Continuing the demolition theme, I'll never again get to enjoy Plateau's lacy Malaysian crepes, but the site of its former home revealed another subtle ghost sign.

Any clues on where that arrow used to lead?

Up above the Plateau site on the side of the Montana for Men building, you'll find this large, faded ad.  If you squint, it looks like it says "(something) stores and hamsters."  That can't be right.

On the other (west) side of the building, all the way at the top, you'll find another sign that's impossible to make out.

This sign is at street level on the same wall.  It might be the same logo or name, but it's been painted over, too.  COM-something?

On the other side of the BarBQ/McFadden's building, all the way at the top, you can just make out a sign with "Martin" in script below "ANK."  Any guesses?

On Main Street near Bobby V's, you'll find this awesome sign inside the front door of an apartment building.  It's doubly awesome that the building owner kept this sign intact.  I'd love to find out what restaurant was advertising its blue plate dinner.

I found this barely legible sign on Summer Street in the alley next to Barcelona.  Any clues as to what it said?  It looks like a jumble of letters painted over each other.  I want to believe that it said "The A-Team Parking Only."

I don't think this sign on Washington Boulevard is that old since Seasons Too is still around, but it still counts!

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, some old signs saw the light of day for the first time in probably decades.  Here are a few on West Broad Street near Matthew's Bakery.

Sandy also uncovered this "Veterans" sign on Cove Road, across from Pat's Hubba Hubba.  Was this a VFW hall back in the day?

While they aren't ghost ads, these old signs on the First County Bank building next to the Stamford Town Center are cool.

Over in Glenbrook, some old train or trolley tracks have poked their way out from under Taylor Reed Place.

I saw this old-school classic in the Wall Street section of Norwalk.  It looks like it had lights on it at some point.  I'm sure the American Pickers guys would try to buy it.  The best part is that Norwalk Luggage is still around!  As a side note, I'm fascinated by the Wall Street area in Norwalk.  I'll write a dedicated post about it soon.

Port Chester has a few ghost ads as well.  Here's one that says "RANGES HEATERS".

Here's another one for a product that undoes something.  Maybe it was some kind of correction fluid or adhesive remover.

I saw this massive building from the train many times before I finally walked around all sides of it and figured out what it was.  It used to be the Embassy Theater, a classic vaudeville and movie theater - heck, a movie palace.

Here's a link to some photos of the once-magnificent interior of this historic theater: After the Final Curtain: Embassy Theatre.  I hope the Embassy gets the restoration it deserves, much like its neighbor The Capitol Theatre did.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this round of ghost ads and other urban artifacts.  If you see anything else that looks old and cool, drop me a line and I'll check it out!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Eats of Stamford: Paloma

Despite our three wonderful beaches and priceless views of Long Island, it's easy to forget that Stamford is, in fact, a coastal city.  This is partly because much of our waterfront has been used for industrial purposes until recently.  With the wave of development at Harbor Point and elsewhere, it seems like we'll get to enjoy more and more of our coastline.  If you can't wait until Cummings Beach resembles 1940s Havana, a great place for waterfront dining is Paloma, from world-renowned chef and Food Network star Aarón Sánchez.

This thick tome is just the drink menu.  Seriously!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of dining at Paloma with a veritable plethora of fellow bloggers from CT Bites, Food Dudes, Talk-a-Vino, Hamlet Hub, Savory Sweet Eats, CT Lifestyles, Home Place Blog, Fairfield County Foodie,, Hey Stamford!, and Connecticut Magazine.  What a crowd!

Paloma's menu offers a variety of Latin-inspired dishes that will scratch any itch you may have.  Like chicken?  Try the Cuban marinated roasted chicken.  Ribs?  Braised short ribs.  Seafood?  You get the picture.  Enough of my blathering - let's go to the photographic evidence.

First up were the appetizers, starting with Lobster Ceviche in a passion fruit habanero sauce.  It was sweet, spicy, and delicious.

Next was Tai Tiradito - raw snapper in a spicy sauce.  I love sushi beyond words, so give me raw fish and I'm happy.  Add some spice to the mix and I'm even happier.

Continuing the app parade were shrimp tempura (top) and crab (bottom) tostadas.  Perfect little finger foods!

This little skillet of joy is Queso Fundido.  It's got huitlacoche, wild mushrooms, and jalapeños.  Yeah, it was awesome.

Albóndigas are meatballs (obviously), and these bad boys were rich and delicious.  They came in a chipotle broth with mint and queso cotija on top.  The astute reader will have noticed that all of these appetizers had some kind of spicy ingredients; Chef Aarón is known for his love of everything picante.  Heck, he even has a show called Heat Seekers, where he suffers and sweats through insanely spicy dishes for our entertainment!

Mexican Street Corn comes topped with chipotle crema and queso cotija.  I'm pretty sure I ate that entire plate.

OK, enough foreplay - on to the entrees!

These braised short ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender.  The veggies were delicious, as was the horseradish gemolata.  10/10; would eat again.

Cuban-Style Chicken is marinated roasted chicken served with a pickled salad and tamarind chicken fried rice.  Yummmmm.

This is Garganelli Pasta, and the sauce is ground chorizo, cauliflower, and grilled escarole in a tamarind reduction.  Another clean plate for me.

These jumbo shrimp might be the illegitimate offspring of Godzilla.  Seriously, they were HUGE.  They came with chile de arbol butter, which is buttery and spicy - two of my favorite words!

For a brief intermission so you can digest, here's a shot of the awesome wood-fired grill where the magic happens.

OK, that's enough of a break.  It's time for dessert!

Believe it or not, these are churros!  These little round balls of deliciousness are filled with dulce de leche and served with agave-vanilla crema on the side.  They were warm and sugary and amazing.

Not to be outdone, here's cheesecake in a jar!  It's got salted caramel (oh yeah), crumble, and whipped cream, with a cherry chunk cookie on the side.  Leave room, yo.

Almost as good as the food at Paloma is the atmosphere.  If you can, I highly recommend eating outside on the patio.  You're right on the water, surrounded by the sights and sounds of Harbor Point.

 Man, just writing this post made me hungry again.  Meet me at Paloma!