Sunday, November 21, 2004

The best sandwich in America?

In September, Maxim magazine named "The Fat Darrell" America's best sandwich. A very prestigious title for the Rutgers University-originated heart-attack-wrapped-in-foil, yes, but as a cynical ex-journalist I had to see for myself if it was deserved. The old journalist's saying is true "If your mother tells you she loves you, confirm it with at least two people first." So in October, I had the chance to finally confirm it.

What is a Fat Darrell you ask? It's a combination of french fries, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers and marinara sauce wrapped up in a bun in all of it's 1200-1600 calories, and 65 grams of fatty glory. Being the health concious person I am, I split it with Mush and man oh man...... it was good. I think I even could have handled a whole one. On the down side, the bun was not toasty and crisp, and there was more french fry than mozzarella stick and chicken fingers than I would have liked. Maybe I would have appreciated it's salty goodness more if I was high, or finishing off a night of drinking. And even though it is not the most "sophisticated" sandwich in America, it can be enjoyed by young and old alike..... even in the cappucino and latte-drinking "blue" states. Overall, I give The Fat Darrell an 8.5 on a scale from 1-10.

But to call it the best sandwich in America? Puh-leeze! Have we forgot about the traditional Philly cheese steak's of Pats and Genos? What about Le Bus's "Delhi" with it's chicken in curried mayo, sprouts and boiled egg sandwiched between two toasted pieces of fresh raisin bread? Am I expecting too much sophistication from the predominantly male, sex-crazed, sports-obsessed, pro-war editors of Maxim magazine? In a recent article, the senior editor of Maxim (a woman) even defended the decision by saying "It just has that element of drunken ingenuity that our readers like." Ok, I'll give her that.... it was a great idea and maybe I am sour because I didn't think of it first. Check out some of the other creative names....

Not to get all "High Fidelity" on you, but.....

Here are my top 5 favorite sandwiches:
1. "The Delhi",
2. "The GG Italiano" (vegan cheese steak with roasted garlic, spinach/broccoli),
3. Cheese Whiz Steak,
4. "The Fat Darrell", R.U. Hungry Grill & Pizza, New Brunswick
5. Buffalo chicken and blue cheese sandwich,

Please post a comment if you want to share YOUR favorite sandwich. Tell us where you can get it and maybe price, service and anything else you want to add.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Mistaken Lyrics

On Friday we did not have any recess because it was cold and rainy outside so we had a dance party in the classroom. I brought in my dad's 70's Preservation Society CD and surprisingly, the kids absolutely LOVED IT. Seeing little kids who randomly spit out rap lyrics getting down to disco was fascinating.

The best part was when "The Hustle" came on, and this one kid confidently danced and sang along "Do the hot sauce! Do the hot sauce!"

My photo just got published!

Tuli copy(bw)
Originally uploaded by devalina.
If you are a person who hates self-promotion STOP READING RIGHT NOW.

When I was in Bangladesh a year ago, I met the sweetest little girl named Tuli. Tuli was 6 years old at the time and worked for a family full-time as a gate keeper. Westerners might call her an "indentured servant" but for many young kids in Bangladesh like Tuli, working in an environment where they don't have to worry about food or shelter is the best option. What I love about this girl is her smile and her hopeful eyes. I guess Tuli for me is like "the Afghan girl" for National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry.

There are some people who you photograph only once in your lifetime, yet their image stays with you forever. I recently read about how 17 years after he took the famous photograph, McCurry searched in the Pakistani refugee camp for the Afghan girl. It was a miracle that he found her alive in such horrible conditions of a war-torn country. That was such an inspiration to me, because for the rest of my life I would like to keep in touch with Tuli too, and make sure she keeps her head up. I guess thats where the comparison stops.... I can't really compare my photo of Tuli with McCurry's of "the Afghan girl" because what made the photo of the Afghan girl so striking is the horror in her eyes, and Tuli's eyes are hopeful.

I am really excited and honored that
published my photo of "The smallest gatekeeper in Bangladesh" in Issue #2.

So right now I am trying to get family, friends (and complete strangers with an interest in South Asian American writing) to subscribe to this magazine. I would be really grateful for your support! Here is how to subscribe.... please mail a check for $15 made out to Catamaran SAAW (for 2 issues) to:

Catamaran Magazine
C/O Shona Ramaya
45 Barbara Jean Street
Grafton, MA 01519

AND, send an email to:
with your name and mailing address.


Sunday, November 07, 2004


Originally uploaded by devalina.
Many friends are really depressed about Bush getting re-elected..... here is what some of them said:

Joel- "Now one thing is definitely clear. This is THEIR country." (Their meaning Evangelical Christians I guess)

Jay- "They aren't the freaks. WE are."

Maybe I am not as upset because I was mentally prepared for Kerry to lose.

So Tuesday morning, I tried to vote before work. From 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. I stood in a long line at the Cassidy Elementary School. I had to leave before I even had the chance to vote because I would have been late for work, and honestly I have never seen a line that long on Election Day and didn't expect it to take that long.

When I got to school, a lot of my kids were wearing Kerry stickers and my mood was optimistic. After work, my mom and I voted together at 6ish, when the line was much shorter.

Around 8 o'clock, while most of America was watching the results on television, Dominika and I decided to spend the time at an Astanga yoga class. It was nice, it got our mind off of stuff.

Then we were gonna meet up with friends at a MOVE ON "Victory Party" but after the yoga class, we quickly glanced at the TVs in the cardio room and saw how Bush was kicking Kerry's ass and decided that the Victory Party would be depressing so we bailed.

I fell asleep around 10 that night and we had our first field trip of the year the next day. When we got back from the Apple Farm, another teacher informed me that Kerry conceded.

A lot of friends have been talking about moving to Canada, or another country. I thought about it too. The cover of this week's City Paper was a guide to living in Canada.

But if all the progressives leave the U.S. doesn't that make the Evangelical Christian movement even stronger? I think what we should do is become more progressive and learn from their grassroots techniques. We should become better informed ourselves, and talk to our neighbors, people on the street and subways, and discuss politics intelligently and not spit out rhetoric.

I don't know about anyone else, but I am here to stay.