Angelos

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Susie and I are not the kind of people that eat out a lot, and when we do eat out, we tend to go to familiar places. I know that lots of our friends are all for experimentation, but for us, familiar settings, with folks that we know, and guaranteed food we like is more the way we eat out. (Not saying we don’t go to new places…just not that frequently!) In the 31 years we lived in Mineola, we developed this pattern, and on any given night of eating out, you’d probably find us at one of 4 or 5 places. Some people might call us boring, but we really liked the familiar surroundings of a known quantity.

That’s kind of the way our life has shaken out in Ocean City too. After years of vacationing here, before it became our permanent home in November of 2017, we’d eaten at many places, and several of them are still on our list of places we enjoy going to occasionally, but are not part of our weekly routine. Most weeks, our dining out is limited to three nights. On Saturday night we’re usually someplace with our regular OC Family group. Of the 3, this is the night that we are at different places and as close as we get to experimenting. On Tuesday night, most weeks, you can find us at the back bar at Charlies in Somers Point, eating and drinking with our good friend Sue, who bartends there on Tuesday night. Originally that was about it, but this past year, we’ve added another regular night to our week. On most Thursday nights, you can find us at Angelos Fairmont Tavern in Atlantic City, first having a martini with Michael at the bar, and then enjoying some good old fashioned, red sauce, neighborhood Italian food in one of this historic AC restaurant’s several dining rooms!

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Located on the corner of Fairmont Avenue and North Mississippi Avenue in the Ducktown section of Atlantic City, Angelos has been a fixture on that corner since Angelo Sr. and Isabella Mancuso bought a small bar with an even smaller dining room in 1935. Since then, for 4 generations of the Mancuso Family, Angelos has been a way of life!

The story goes that in the beginning, they sold two items…Fried Shrimp and Spaghetti with Meatballs. Over the years, the restaurant and the menu grew, and now you can find many of your favorite Italian American dishes, and your order will probably be cooked and served by someone in the Mancuso Family! Yes, this indeed is a Family Restaurant, for those dining there, and for the staff serving you. Since 1935, due to the ability to purchase adjacent buildings when they became available, the original small footprint of the restaurant has grown like topsy. There are now six dining rooms, but because of the nature of the expansion, they are all small and intimate and each has its own personality. They also have several large banquet rooms, and now the bar is larger than it was in the early days!

Speaking of the bar, as you sit at the L Shaped Bar, you will enjoy going back in time to old Atlantic City. There are pictures of pop celebrities of old, like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, Sports figures like Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, a whole wall of “Who’s Who” from the Godfather movies, and Mancuso Family memories. There are also “wine” taps and beer taps, directly from the cold room! The bar is a cozy place to wait for the rest of your party, or to have a drink before dinner. Oh and as you sit at the bar, if you look down you’ll notice the tiled trough at your feet. Rumor has it that in the early days, when women wouldn’t be caught dead sitting at the bar, and it was strictly a male domain, there was no need to head to the men’s room if you needed to relieve yourself. I’d like to believe that’s true, but true or not, it makes a great story! Speaking of the Men’s room, the bar also holds probably one of Atlantic City’s smallest Men’s Rooms, but trust me, it’s better than using the trough!

The bar is also the gateway to Angelos. As you walk in the front door on the corner of Fairmont and North Mississippi, the bartender, who may also be making a martini, pouring wine for a waitress, and serving food to a bar patron, will call out to you, “Hey Folks…how many for dinner?” You see, Angelos only takes reservations for parties of 8 or more, so be you a corporate mogul or a vacationer from Brooklyn, you will give your name, the number in your party, and he’ll write it down on the clipboard and give you an idea of about how long you’ll be waiting! Find a seat at the bar, order one of their very reasonably priced drinks, and feast on the old AC atmosphere! Bars like this aren’t designed, they grow!

When your table is ready, the bartender will direct you to head through the door into the restaurant proper. Here you will be met by the hostess, and shown to your table, which may be in any one of their six dining rooms. From small rooms with about 6 tables, to larger rooms with family sized tables, from the Baseball Room, to the Fireplace Room (without a fireplace), each room is a little different, and has a unique atmosphere.

What isn’t different is the menu you’ll be ordering from. It is extensive, and exactly the Italian-American experience you desire.Take a look at their menu, and tell me if I’m wrong!

http://angelosfairmounttavern.com/menu.html

So let me tell you about one of our typical Thursday nights at Angelos. If Michael is bartending, he knows exactly what we want, but if it’s Dom or Gina or somebody else, we tell them we’re going to have a drink before dinner, and order our Grey Goose Martinis! We enjoy them, and love to soak in the atmosphere and people watch! The bar at Angelos is the perfect place to people watch!

When it’s our turn, we go up the steps and through the door and are surprised on what room we’ll be eating in! Last week, Megan stopped by and asked how our diet was going (yes…they tolerate us being no-carb in this decidedly carb intensive environment), Theresa, her Aunt, was our waitress and wanted to hear about my knee replacement. Victor started to bring us a basket of bread, till he realized it was us, and Patty, Megan’s Mom, stopped by to say hello. Do I love that…you know I do, but what I really love about Angelos, is be they Mancusos or not, this is a family, with the same staff year in and year out! That to me makes the experience just that more special!

Oh..so what do we, two no-carb folks eat in this wonderful restaurant? Well, without a doubt, we always start with the Angelo’s Cold Antipasto Salad for One (years ago, when we first tried to order this for two, our waitress..I think it might have been Rhonda, told us one was enough for two. Boy was she right!). Take a look at the attached pictures and tell me that doesn’t look wonderful! That really is enough for the two of us to eat for dinner, but we usually will splurge and have one or two (and that’s pushing it) appetizers for our dinner! Love their Eggplant Parmesan appetizer and the Shrimp Jammers are to die for!!

Another fascinating thing to look at when you’re at Angelos, is the numerous stain glass windows all over.

So that’s how we spend our Thursday nights. We head to AC and we dine with the Mancusos! Thanks for allowing us to be a member of the family, even if it’s just for a couple of hours once a week. We’re customers for life!!

Enjoy some old Mancuso Family pictures from their menu.

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Kristen Anne D’Elia

 

 

 

As a parent, it seems that the years just pass too fast.  You turn around, and that little girl who was just learning to walk, is driving.  Then she’s going to college, and then to graduate school.  Then she’s moving out of her teenage bedroom and into her own apartment.  Then she meets a guy she likes, and the next thing you know, she’s getting married!  Yep, life just flies by!

In just a week, our little Krissi, all grown up and now an administrator at Weill-Cornell Medical Center, will officially change her last name from D’Elia to Mikowicz, as she and Mike tie the knot!  Susie and I are so very proud of what our little girl has made of her life, and thrilled by her choice of Michael Joshua Mikowicz as her life partner!  These are two great kids (excuse me…adults), and we are so happy to have Mike, and the Maryland Mikowicz Family join together with our family!

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Twins Krissi and Kenny and older brother Bill

Krissi is our “middle child”, the two minute older sibling of her twin brother Kenny, and the 4 year younger sister of big brother Bill.  Right from the start, these twins couldn’t have been any more different.  Well, the obvious is, of course, him being a boy and she being a girl, but they were 6 weeks premature, and basically that’s because Krissi wanted to get out and see the world, while Kenny would have been happy to bake a little bit more in Susie.  Because of that, she was out of the NICU in only 18 days, while Kenny needed 28 days to get to 5 pounds.  As they grew up, Kenny was the one more likely to take a risk, while Krissi liked the safer side of the street.  Kenny was also one to cut people off quicker, while Krissi was in for the long hall!

 

As Krissi grew, it became obvious that she cared greatly for people and their welfare.  She was the girl to sign up for a cause!  When her brother Kenny came out to all of us, she was his staunchest defender when kids at high school would give him a hard time.  When you have Krissi on your side, you’ve really got all you need!!

When she went off to college, we were a bit worried about how she’d take being away from her twin brother.  The day we dropped her off at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., I’m not sure who was crying more…our daughter or her Mom!  But quickly we realized we had nothing to worry about.  She made friends (most of which she still has to this day), attacked her studies with passion, and got involved in extracurricular events.  She graduated with dual majors, a ton of friends, and a nice resume of achievements, many having to do with the welfare of Clark students and the residents of Worcester!  Then she came home.

A couple of pictures of the “Original Five” first at Brother Bill’s Wedding and then in Atlantic City!!

 

 

As hard as that was for any college kid, this girl had direction.  She wanted to help people, so she got herself an intern position with the NYC Human Rights Council.  She loved the work, the causes, and the people she worked with, and wondered if this could be a career.  She decided that perhaps getting a Masters of Public Administration degree might be a good first step, so she applied to several graduate schools. She also decided that she needed some money of her own, so she set out to get a job.

Getting accepted to several graduate programs, she decided to go to my Alma Mater, LIU Post, and for money, she got a part-time job at a local cardiologist’s office.  Once school started, she was working several days in NYC, several more at LI Heart near the Mineola Train Station, and traveling nightly from Mineola to Greenvale.   She was one busy young lady!  She originally was hired at LI Heart to digitize medical records, but pretty soon her work ethic brought her to the attention of the folks who ran the place and forced her to make a decision.  They wanted her to work there full-time, but that would mean giving up her internship.  She loved her intern work, but realized that taking the full-time job was the smarter move on her part!  She was great at getting the job done and at customer service, which I always credited on her three summers working at Bed Bath and Beyond. 

Working at LI Heart, she realized that there were many people she could help working in the medical profession, so she tailored her MPA degree more towards Medical than Non-Profit.  The girl had found what she wanted to do, and knew how to get there!  She continued to work at LI Heart, continued to excel in her graduate studies, and continued living at home.  

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Mom, twin brother Kenny, and Dad celebrate with the new MPA

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Her Weill-Cornell Office

Once she got her MPA Degree, she moved to Astoria, but continued working at Long Island Heart and commuted every day from Astoria to Mineola.  They were hot to keep her at LI Heart, but she knew that to really grow, she had to find a position in a bigger organization, and sent out resumes and went to many job interviews, till she was finally offered an entry level position at Weill-Cornell.  Foot in the door, our girl excelled, as usual, and as they say, the rest is history!

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At brother Kenny’s Wedding last October

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Nail Night w/ Dennis

She met Mike through on-line dating, and being the cautious person she is, didn’t saying anything to Mom and Dad for several months.  When she finally spilled the beans, they were well on their way to having a meaningful relationship. Mike joined us one Wednesday for “Nail Night” at the St. James, and after the first night, we were sold on him.  There were more nail nights with Mike, and pretty soon we felt like he was part of the family!  He went to the bathroom one night and I told Krissi, “If you break up with him, we’re keeping him!”  They didn’t and we’re thrilled!

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Their Astoria Roof

So on Saturday, June 15th, Kristen Anne D’Elia and Michael Joshua Mikowicz, on the rooftop of their Astoria Apartment Building, will become one.  It will be a small private ceremony with just parents and siblings, because that’s what they want.  Later in the day, there will be a party for their New York Family and friends at an Astoria Wine Bar.  In July, there will be a gathering at his sister Sara’s house in Maryland for Mike’s Maryland family and friends, and in the fall, there will be another gathering down here at the shore for family and friends.

Susie and I couldn’t be any prouder of these two.  They care about people, they are smart, they are fun, they are financially responsible (Krissi has already paid off her graduate school loans), and they are perfect together!  Mike makes Krissi laugh at herself, take chances, and to be an all around happy person!  I wish she didn’t work as hard and long as she does, but perhaps we can blame that on Bed Bath and Beyond too!  Just like with Susie and me, we think this match was made in heaven, and we could not be happier!!

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To Mike’s Mom Paula and Dad Jerry, his sister Sara and her husband Gabe, and their kids Maddy and Ethan, welcome to the Family…but then I think you know you were part of our family already!  Saturday just makes it legal!

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Cheers to the new Krissi and Michael Mikowicz!!  Mom and I love you both so much and couldn’t be happier!!!  

Three kids, three weddings, I think we’re done!

 

 

The Bees Knees

CA8A59AE-110F-4EF2-AC7C-B884A782D232According to statistics, approximately 700,000 knee replacement procedures are performed annually in the US.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, says that “total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine.”  They also say, “the most common reason for knee replacement in the United States is severe osteoarthritis of the knees.  Osteoarthritis is an age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis. The cartilage that cushions the bones of the knee softens and wears away. The bones then rub against one another, causing knee pain and stiffness.”

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, “knee replacement surgery was first performed in 1968” and that “more than 90% of people who have total knee replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction of knee pain and a significant improvement in the ability to perform common activities of daily living.” And in case you were thinking otherwise, they warn you that,  “total knee replacement will not allow you to do more than you could before you developed arthritis.”  (good to know)

They also warn that, “Excessive activity may speed up normal wear and may cause the knee replacement to loosen and become painful. Therefore, most surgeons advise against high-impact activities such as running, jogging, jumping, or other high-impact sports for the rest of your life after surgery.” (Damn!  Oh well, guess those activities are out!)

Hmmm.  So I’m sure you’re wondering why I would choose to write a blog post that I begin by sighting all kinds of research statistics about knee arthroplasty (a knee replacements technical name)? Yea, some might find it interesting, but really, so what?  Well, the so what is because I am about to join those 700,000 folks in the US and have one or both knees replaced in 2019!  

This procedure started many years ago for me, when back in 2008  I had a right knee arthroscopy to repair a torn meniscus.   At that time, the Orthopedic Doctor warned that this was just going to be a bandaid procedure, and that eventually a knee replacement (or replacements) would be in my future.  A number of years later, when I figured the pain was such that it was time to talk about the next stage, I called to make an appointment with this same Doctor, only to be told that the poor man had died.  As you might imagine, that was somewhat of a road block in my effort to move to the next level.  Time to find another Doctor!

I did, and although I almost even scheduled surgery after I retired from ABC, I just didn’t go any farther with it on Long Island.  In November of 2017, we officially moved down to Ocean City, and it was time to start the procedure over again.  One day, Susie and I gave our neighbor Doie (97 year old Marine veteran of World War Two) a ride to her Orthopedic Doctor in Somers Point, and I found my new Orthopedic Doctor!

49E85164-ACC3-4C5C-89F9-2AB472DA0E5EDr Zabinski is a NYU Medical School trained Orthopedic Surgeon, who practices out of Shore Orthopeadic.  He’s an adrenaline junky (he’s off on vacation now for 3 weeks climbing mountains in Alaska), and a very nice guy and someone I have total trust in.  A couple of bad discoveries though when I first started to see him.  3B3D2BBD-DD9B-4FF4-A1F6-FB517508DEB1#1 I have apparently lost 2 inches in height, measuring out at 5 foot 6  (he says I will gain most of that back after surgery….but does that mean I’ll limp after having just one knee done?), and  #2 He wouldn’t do surgery on me till I lost some weight and took my BMI down to a level he was comfortable with.  

In case you wondered why Susie and I have been on a low/No Carb diet since right after the Christmas/New Year holidays, now you know.   I want to get back to being able to walk the boardwalk of Ocean City without pain, meaning I want these old tired knees replaced!  Several months ago, I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Zabinski for the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.  New X-rays were to be taken, and I was to be weighed in.  If I’d done my job, we’d talk surgery.  If not, well, it would be back to a waiting game for me.

Not to keep anybody in suspense, I did good!  While he’d still like me to lose more weight, what I’d lost is enough to bring my BMI to a level that he’s comfortable with moving forward.  One surprise…after years of thinking the right knee was worse, we’re starting with the left knee!  He said I’ll be driving 10 days after the surgery!

So the process has started, and after I got a call from Gina, Dr. Zabinski’s surgery scheduling person, I know it’s official.  I’m scheduled for Thursday morning, July 11th, as I start on my path to new knees!!  Wish me luck!