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  • An old photo, me & my 1940 LaSalle

    Posted on July 8th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    1940-lasalle-chris-pintoI came across this photo today. It’s a picture of me, pre-Tiki days, with my 1940 LaSalle. I was 13, the photo was taken in 1982.

    How does a 13 year old kid get his hands on a then 40+ year old classic car? Well, my old man loved to buy and sell old cars. He’d get them cheap, fix them up, sometimes paint them, and sell them for a profit. Today this would be called being a “automotive enthusiast”. Back then we called it hustling cars for bread.

    The short version of this story is that I had my own side business buying and selling go-karts, minibikes, even 1/4 midget racer and a Model T Ford midget car (like you see clowns drive in parades). In 1982, I traded the Model T for a real 1941 Dodge Luxury Liner sedan. Eventually I made my way into buying this 1940 LaSalle Sedan for $400…a barn find. My buddy Steve and I would pretend to drive it, actually dubbing it the “Air Car”, a car that could go from cruising the country highways of South Jersey to flying above the Pine Barrens. Well, this was before video games and internet so we had to be creative.

    I traded this beauty for a 66 Olds Toronado, and eventually made my way up to the 1974 Caddy Eldorado Convertible I had a few years ago. I sold that and put the money into my 53 Chevy Hot Rod, which I’ve had since 1990.chrischevyatdoor

    The point of all this is that at 42 years old I still feel like the goofy kid in the photo, hanging out with vintage cars and never actually finishing any of them. And apparently I still pose the same way, too.

    -Tiki Chris Reporting from the garage at Tiki Lounge Talk

    53 Chevy in Primer

    53 Chevy in Primer

  • Sabina’s South Philly Macaroni Salad

    Posted on May 29th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 3 comments

    I wanted to post “How to have a great Retro BBQ” this weekend but I got into some other projects…so here’s at least one recipe you can still have for tomorrow! Promise to have the BBQ post up soon!

    Sabina's South Philly Macaroni Salad

    Sabina's South Philly Macaroni Salad

    When I was a  kid, every time we had a BBQ my mother made the macaroni salad and my grandmother made the potato salad. My father and my uncle cooked the burgers and dogs on the grill, my aunt usually helped by making something that you could boil in a plastic bag (her specialty was Nibblits in butter sauce) and my grandfather would play with me while everyone else worked.

    Here’s the recipe for my mother’s (Sabina) macaroni salad. I’ve never had it like this anywhere else, have no idea where she came up with the recipe, but it’s my favorite…it’s easy to make, and is a hell of a lot better than the stuff you get a Publix. This recipe goes way back to at least the 1960’s…and since she probably got it from my grandmother, it likely goes back to the 50’s or earlier. So for a little taste of the past, here’s

    Sabina’s South Philly Macaroni Salad

    1 Medium Red Pepper, diced
    1 Medium Green Pepper, diced
    1 Medium (3” Diameter) Sweet Onion, diced
    1/2 Large Red Onion, diced (Dice the other half to add to taste)
    2 Large Carrots, diced
    2-3 Large Celery Stalks, diced
    About 1/4 cup Bacos (not real bacon bits)
    Mayo (Hellman’s only)
    Salt & Pepper
    2 Lbs. Good Quality Elbo Macaronimacsaladclose1

    • Boil the Macaroni as usual, until al dente…not too soft. Drain and let cool. Don’t rinse.

    • Meanwhile, dice all the vegetables into a large bowl and add the bacon bits. When the macaroni is cool, mix it into the vegetables.

    • Mix in mayo one heaping tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency. You want it to just coat the macaroni. Too much will ruin the salad. I use about 4-5 heaping tablespoons.

    • Add about a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper and mix in. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

    The macaroni will absorb the mayo so you ‘mayo’ need to add more. (Get it?) Add more salt and pepper to taste. You can also add more of the red chopped onion to taste. Just be careful, if the onions are too strong they will overpower the whole thing.

    That’s it! Happy Memorial Day!

  • Guys and Dolls, 1955 for Mod Movie Monday!

    Posted on January 31st, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    guys-and-dolls-movie-posterI figured we’d take a little break this week from Noir Movie Monday and get back to the colorful stuff. And dare ain’t no movie more fulla collah den

    Guys and Dolls

    from 1955, starring Frank Sinatra, Marlin Brando, Jean Simmons and Vivian Blaine.

    Without a doubt this flick ranks in my all-time top favorites. The crazy characters, the oddball accents, the music, the floating craps game, the hats, the dolls…there ain’t nothin’ about this movie I don’t fully enjoy with a capital “E”, see?

    This was one of the first (good) movies to use non-musical talent (Brando, Simmons) in a musical. Surrounded by actual singers (Sinatra, Blaine), the two leads pulled it off pretty well and paved the way for later musicals to star non-musical talent (all the way up to 2002′s Chicago, forcing notes out of Renne Zellweger, Cathrine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere).guysanddolls-frank-vivian

    The story, adapted from Damon Runyon’s original short story, is about a collection of gamblers, showgirls, Salvation Army workers and other fringe characters inhabiting the nights of New York City around 1950. Two gamblers in particular, Nathan Detroit (Sinatra) and Sky Masterson (Brando) are focused upon as Detroit tries to find a new venue for his famous floating craps game. A “chance” meeting over cheesecake has Detroit attempting to con Masterson out of some dough in the hopes of using said dough to bribe a certain garage owner to allow the dice to roll. Masterson, a sharp character, sees through this rouse and tells Nathan no dice. He does however boast to Detroit that he can take any doll, no matter how pretty, to Havana for the weekend. Nathan accepts this challenge and the game is on.

    As usual, I won’t give away any of the fun stuff in case you haven’t seen the flick. Let’s just say that great music, funny lines and people who speak in the vernacular of the above said paragraph are what you will find in this charming and thoroughly swinging film.

    guys-dolls-marlonFood & Booze: These guys are deli-style eaters from the city. Try making these stupendous roast & corned beef sandwiches, nicknamed

    The Runyon Special

    Pile it up in this order:

    • Thick slice pumpernickle/rye swirl bread
    with deli-style spicy mustard
    • Lettuce
    • Munster cheese
    • Thick tomato slices
    • Roast beef
    • Thick slice pumpernickle/rye swirl bread with deli-style spicy mustard on one side,
    Thousand Island dressing on the other
    • Corned beef
    • Sweet chopped coleslaw
    • Swiss cheese
    • Tomato
    • Thick slice pumpernickle/rye swirl bread with Thousand Island dressing

    Cut this triple-decker in half, top with green olives on toothpicks and side with chips, more slaw and kosher pickle. For dessert, cheesecake (or strudel).

    The drink: Dolce de Leche, Cubana style

    (According to Sky Masterson, “Dolce de Leche” means “Sweet of Milk”. It’s a kind of milk shake made with Bacardi…but just enough to act as a preservative. Here’s the modernized version of this classic cocktail)

    1 oz Bacardi Silver
    1/2 oz Godiva Mocha Liquor (or chocolate liquor, or even Kahluha will work)
    1/2 oz sweetened condensed milk

    Shake it all up in a shaker with ice and strain, preferably into a coconut. Top with shaved chocolate and a pinch of cinnamon.

    Here’s the opening sequence with “Can Do”. See you at the races, kids!

    -Chris “Mack the Knife” Pinto reporting from the starting gate. They’re off!

  • MAD MEN Season Five…where are you?

    Posted on January 2nd, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    madmenspreadIt’s Sunday, and as happens every Sunday my Martini alert goes off in my head and I start thinking about Mad Men. So I looked up the schedule for season five on the AMC website…and it’s blank.

    Yeah, blank. A big ole’ gray block of nothing where the schedule should be. That means one of two things: Either my computer is on the fritz and not showing the page right, or AMC hasn’t decided on when they’ll be airing the show. Now, according to the AMC Mad Men blog, Breaking Bad has been pushed off from a Spring, 2011 to a summer premier. That has people speculating that Mad Men won’t be shown until the fall.

    The fall? Aw, man, what a drag that would be, ya dig? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what transpires.

    On that note, I must say I’m a little let down that the series has progressed so quickly in its time frame. Not to say I’m not still digging it, but the mid to late 60s is not nearly as kool an era (to me personally) than the 50s-early 60s. To me, personally, the late 60s is when the whole era of kool really disappeared in favor of acid rock, wide ties and social destruction. Oh, certainly a lot of good came out of the chaos; the true beginning of civil rights for all Americans, the eventual end of the Vietnam war, and the Mod movement…but to me, and probably many of you, that era just doesn’t hold the true swank of the Rat Pack/Cocktail set days. But I’ll still watch the show.

    If any of you kats & kittens hear anything through the pipeline on when Mad Men is going to air, please drop me a line.

    -Tiki Chris P, reporting from the cocktail lounge

  • A Collection of Fun Old Scary Movies for Halloween

    Posted on October 18th, 2010 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    ghost-stories

    The Halloween Season is a very busy one for Ole Tiki Chris P. I’ve been going bananas decorating every day for our big Halloween bash, and have been too beat to lay down some groovy stories. So I’m cheating a little…here’s a kool post from last year with some great movie ideas. Tomorrow I’ll post two new horror flicks and a couple of drink recipes too!

    If you’re into old movies, I don’t have to speil about the wonders of the original Dracula, Frankenstein & Wolfman. You’ve probably seen them, or they’re already on your list. So here’s a few creepy flicks that may have escaped your radar…some you’ve heard of, but maybe never got around to witness. Some you’ve probably never heard of, but take it from this kat, they’re fun to watch and might even give you the heebee-geebees. I’ve included the IMDB link so you can get more info. So here goes, in no particular odor (I mean order. Damned spellchecker.)

    The Haunting (1963) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057129/the_haunting_poster
    One of the first ghost stories I ever saw as a kid, this black & white thriller sets three unsuspecting volunteers in a secluded, creepy mansion with a scientist conducting an experiment on sleep deprivation. Secretly the well-intended scientist believes the mansion to harbor spirits, and his volunteers have been selected for their apparent sensitivity to the spirit world. The spirits come. It’s krazy. A well-crafted movie from a well-written book, you’ll want to watch this one with the lights off and some spiked hot chocolate.

    The Uninvited (1944) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037415/
    Ray Milland leads this Noir thriller centering around a haunted house on the English coast. He and his sister move into the lovely old home only to find there are skeletons lurking in every closet. A well-written and well-acted movie, this one is at the top of my ghost movie list.

    Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081505/
    Jack Nicholson at his craziest/finest. Stephen King may have hated this adaptation, but there’s no denying this is one of the creepiest, scariest, most disturbing movies ever made. From blood pouring out of the elevators to butchered children to eerie music from a not so distant past, The Shining will leave you with chills and craving for more. The sets of the Overlook Hotel are so evil and creepy looking that the hotel itself becomes one of the main characters (as intended). Even the opening credits are scary!

    A Bucket of Blood (1959) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052655/
    Beatniks, jazz, pretty girls and ‘innocently’ unintentional murder for the sake of art. This early Roger Corman film is as dark as dark comedy can get. Creepy, BW & even an actual bucket with blood in it. This is one of those movies where you’ll be saying “They got away with THAT in 1959?”

    House of Wax (1953) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045888/
    No Paris Hilton, but plenty of Vincent Price at his best. Murder, wax and insanity. Need I say more?

    mark_of_devil_posterMark of the Devil (1970) (aka Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0065491/
    Hot 60′s European chicks getting tortured as witches. Amazingly realistic and gory for the time, the plot centers around Inquisitors using their power to satisfy their sadistic lusts. Pretty damned disturbing, actually. The American version is dubbed pretty well, so you don’t have to read subtitles. Lots of torture devices, dirty villagers, and torture of pretty medieval women that borders on a snuff flick. Don’t let the kids near this one.

    Young Frankenstein (1974) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072431/
    It’s not easy to pull off a really great spoof of a really great movie, but they really nailed it with this one. Mel Brooks in his heyday with Harvey Korman, Peter Boyal, Marty Feldman, Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr, Madeline Kahn, a cameo by Gene Hackman and Gene Wilder at the reins. Wilder plays the grandson of Victor von Frankenstein. He refuses to believe his grandfather’s work had any merit until he visits the ‘old country’ and finds his journal. When he decides to try the experiments himself, hilarity ensues. Shot in black and white with the same techniques as movies from the 30′s (and with some of the same sets as the original “Frankenstein”) this flick is timeless, with great gags, great writing, and Teri Garr looking like a real honey.

    The Exorcist (1973) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070047/exorcist_poster
    Speaks for itself. If you ain’t seen it, see it. It’ll blow your mind. Scary, evil, disturbing. Interesting note: Max von Sydow played Father Merrin, the old priest. He was only 43 at the time. He also played the role of Jesus in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and Director Burgess in Minority Report (2002). Talk about a career!

    the-changeling-posterThe Changeling (1980) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080516/
    Probably the best Ghost Story I’ve ever seen on film. George C. Scott stars as John Russell, a music composer who moves to a secluded vintage mansion outside of Seattle, hoping for some peace and quiet. What he gets are strange noises, visions, and visitations. As he unravels the mystery he gets drawn deeper into the web of the strengthening spirit. I don’t want to give anything else away! This has been one of my favorites from when I first saw it as a kid. Even though it was released in 1980, it has that old 60′s-70′s production style that makes it even creepier than any of the newer flicks can go for. Sure, new movies have great effects, but when they’re too slick they just don’t have that gritty creep factor.

    Ghost Story (1981) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0082449/
    What happens when you get Fred Astaire, Melvyn Douglas, Douglas Fairbanks and John Houseman together in their retirement years? A very creepy ghost story, that’s what. Add Patricia Neal, Alice Krige and a 50 year old bloody secret and you’ve got the makings of a very spooky film. 80′s production values are laughable, but if you can get past that it’s a fun flick to watch.

    christine_poster1Christine (1983) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085333/
    “She’s Death On Wheels” was the movie’s slogan. Another Stephen King adaptation, this time by John Carpenter. Nerdy teenager finds a beat to hell ’58 Fury “That’s uglier than he is”, spends all his time fixing it up and driving it, all the time becoming possessed by the demon car. It follows the book fairly well, but the way Carpenter translated the story to the screen has become legend. There’s even a Christine Car Club dedicated to restoring and preserving ’58 Plymouth Fury Christine clones (and a few real movie cars). With no computer graphics to help them, 25 Plymouths were used in the film, with about 15 of them being destroyed (which brought car guys like me to tears). It was later said that many of the destroyed cars were junkyard dogs anyway, didn’t run, didn’t even have engines, and were just painted rustbuckets used for the shots. A little Trivia: When my family and I went to see this in the movies around Christmas, 1983, we drove to the theater in my father’s ’64 Caddy. When we came out, people were pointing at his finned car and yelling, “It’s Christine!”…even though it was powder blue and didn’t look anything like a Fury! A few years later my Dad and I bought a ’59 Plymouth Savoy (with a ’58 front end on it) with the intention of making a Christine Clone. Turns out the motor was shot, and it was too much trouble to do it so we sold it back to the guy we bought it from for the same $200 we paid for it.