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Pershing Square Cafe

One of my first post-college roommates Bruse Loyd texted asking if I wanted to meet for lunch while he was in NYC this week. After some internal debate, I accepted hoping to finally get reimbursed for the October 1994 cable bill. No such luck, but at least I enjoyed the visit with Nick and Reese, who took me to Pershing Square Cafe located directly across 42nd St from Grand Central Station.

Pershing Square Cafe

My first job out of college was in sales with Xerox Corporation.  I’m pretty sure having that much fun on a job is not allowed anymore.  The job introduced me to corporate comedy as I used to write sketches and emcee the sales conferences.   Sales is an outstanding place to start a career as it forces you to learn the art of communication and negotiation quickly.

Pershing Square, NYC

After each copier sale, we were required to spend two hours training the customer on how to use the equipment.  Here’s a clip of my buddy Bruse :

And approximately 80% of our sales leads came from this commercial:

About the Cheeseburger & Comedy blog series.

Backstage with the Rockettes

Saturday our family went to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.   One of my friends from the improv community Stacey, is in the show.  We performed together in a troupe at Magnet Theater, and after our shows we’d grab a cheeseburger at the  Triple Crown Ale House, an improv hangout.   It was always a blast to be in a scene with Stacey — she’s a brilliant improviser, and if I remember correctly, she had the best high kicks in our troupe.

It’s hard to find the right adjective to describe the Christmas Spectacular.

Radio City Christmas Show - Rockettes-2photo: Bob Jagendorf

The “Missouri Rockets” were founded in St. Louis in 1925, long before the very first Christmas.    They opened at  Radio City Music Hall in 1932, followed a few years later by Conan O’Brien.

Nativity

We had such a blast watching our kids light up.  We did too.  Stacey took us backstage after the show to see all the props and costumes, and the camel’s dressing room, who is a bit of a diva and constantly demanding Evian.

Backstage with the Rockettes

Stacey couldn’t join us for lunch as she had to get ready for her second performance (on some days, she dances in four shows.)  We headed out to Petite Abeille to tackle the Banana Split Brussels Waffle, as seen on the Travel Channel’s “Breakfast Paradise.”   No celebrity sightings, but the last time my daughter and I dined there, we sat close enough to Aaron Eckhart to eavesdrop on his script writing session for his next feature.

Yelp gives Triple Crown 3 out of 5 stars.

About the Cheeseburger & Comedy series.

Chicago Cheeseburger Classics

What must have happened is when I entered Chicago airspace, my Lose It! iPhone calorie counter was scrambled.  Oh, well.  I gained a few pounds during my week in the windy city as I managed to visit three cheeseburger joints. My buddy Kurt told me about the Billy Goat Tavern, which inspired the classic SNL sketch “Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger.” Kurt warned me, “you don’t go there for the cheeseburgers.” He was right, but it was a blast to dine in the icon.
Billy Goat Tavern

I always check in with Hamburger America author/filmmaker George Motz when I’m traveling for advice on joints I shouldn’t miss.  (Thanks Sean Amore for the intro).  He noted three, including M Burger, next to the hospital, which is frequented by doctors — mostly cardiologists.  I’m not sure, but the guy hiding next to me behind a dyed beard may have well been Dr. Richard Kimble.

M Burger

Finally, I visited Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse and grabbed a burger in the bar.  Holy Cow.
Harry Caray's Steakhouse

But hands-down, the best meal I’ve had in recent memory was at Hugo’s Frog Bar & Fish House. No cheeseburger here, I went for the fish.  Outstanding, and almost justifies a trip back to Chicago, for the goat cheese appetizer.  Don’t miss this if you’re in town!

About the Cheeseburger & Comedy blog series.

Mr. Bartley’s @ Harvard Square

When you’re at Harvard, you have to make smart decisions, and mine was to never again order a cheeseburger with barbecue sauce.  I arrived at that decision after eating at Mr. Bartley’s, a venue the Boston Herald describes as “Boston’s best burger, in cheerfully, post-hippie dorm surroundings.”   I got into the barbecue sauce-on-cheeseburger habit back in my high school days, ordering the Rojo Burger at Chili’s.  I thought it was a classy move, but not everyone agreed, including my prom date. (btw, “Rojo” is the Spanish word for “impossible to get out of Taffeta”).

Bartley's Harvard Square

This place has a fun student vibe,  and I kept thinking I’d see Will Hunting sitting in the corner solving word problems.

Bartley's

I was on campus to speak about using comedy in social media to help put a face on the corporation.  Below is a short clip of my PowerPoint disaster.  And check our this review of Bartley’s from Billy Idol:

Yelp gives it 4.5 stars

Mr. Bartley’s

1246 Massachusetts Ave

Cambridge, MA

(617) 354-6559
About the Cheeseburger & Comedy series.

Conan O’Brien and Burger Joint

Behind a velvet curtain that reaches from the lobby floor up to the ceiling of the swankyLe Parker Meridien Hotel hides one of the best burger joints in Manhattan.  And it’s completely unmarked,  except for a neon sign of a burger.  So I had to save this spot for a special night — when Ian and I went to the Team Coco Tour at Radio City Music Hall.
Team Coco Tour

Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridien Hotel

Complimenting this juicy burger was a glass of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon available in Manhattan in a box.
Burger Joint

Here’s one of Ian’s recent productions. My favorite line in here (that Ian wrote on the spot) is “Violate: the color intermediate between red and blue.”

God Smacked
www.thedailyshow.com

Yelp gives it 4 out of 5 stars.
118 W 57th St, between 6th/7th Ave

About the Cheeseburger & Comedy series.

Comedy & Cheeseburger blog series

My doctor told me to cut back on dairy and red meat, which in layman’s terms means “write a blog about cheeseburgers.”  I’m no food critic, and a pretty simple man in general, so most burgers will score a 10.  This purpose of the series is not to offer useful information on where to find the best patty in NYC.  It’s to provide a structure for sharing stories about the pursuit of comedy in Gotham, and  a justification for the increased dining-out expense.  My wife is a former Deloitte accountant, so I get audited every fiscal quarter.

I’ll date back to the New York Comedy Festival to mark the official birth of this series, giving me an excuse  to re-post my photo with Ricky Gervais.   Before the show, Ian Berger, producer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and I grabbed dinner at the Redeye Grill.  The venue is not on my list, but Ian picked it for proximity  as it’s directly across 7th Ave from Carnegie Hall.  about a 60 second commute.  Or approximately 90 secs in traffic.  It was a little on the swanky side for my liking, but the burger was very good.

Ricky Gervais backstage at Carnegie Hall

After a hilarious one-hour set which included an Elmo cameo, we went backstage to give Ricky a few notes on his Noah bit; chatted with the opener  Todd Barry, also Janeane Garofalo, then headed off to the afterparty at the Empire Hotel rooftop bar, where they served some amazing Kobe beef mini-burgers that tasted even better than our dinner.

After much internal debate  over the burger critique, I decided to give the Redeye Grill  a 10.

Redeye Grill
890 Seventh Ave. @  56th St.
(212) 541-9000

See reviews from Zagat and Yelp

NYCF Afterparty at Empire Hotel Rooftop bar

Here’s one of Ian’s field pieces, “Borderline Cops”

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Borderline Cops
www.thedailyshow.com