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johnny dollar's vault

retro pop culture and various local observations and ramblings.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
johnny dollar's vault resides in the basement of stately dollar maisonTM, amongst the wine cellar, tiki bar, and finicky electrical panel. from time to time i will unearth various artifacts from either there or from the random crevices of my mind.

please visit the new and improved pig cookin' post!

NOTE: this blog will NOT deal with any recent pop culture (i.e. since about 1990) or topical issues, so if you're looking for discussion about britney baracko jacko flacco, look elsewhere, lol

Sunday, February 04, 2007

chinese restaurant matchbooks - so cool

alright so maybe i'm on a jag about chinese [american] restaurants. whatevah. these rock. some of these were inherited to me by my grandpaw, who was... kind of a collector of ephemera. sound like anyone we know?

charlie low's forbidden city. DARN CLEVER THESE CHINESE! lol. classic ~ that chop suey font is so universal... where does it come from? of course they didn't call if font back in tha day.

shanghai inn. OO SOUP!!!1

china doll is a beautiful cover. i think i bought this in pennsylvania. note the lack of area code - it's ci - 5 - 8981. new york's only chinese nite club!!! i bet there was some hardcore dragon lady bizniss goin on.

rice bowl shangri-la is my favorite vintage chinese restuarant matchbook. the inside is supreme ~ my very cautious grandpaw snipped off the flammacious parts, and in the process axed some of the entrees etc. listed on each individual match *sigh*... check it out: "VEAL & LAMB CHOP" - "[SOUT]HERN FRIED CHICKEN" - "[CHAR?]COAL STEAKS" - "[?] FOODS" - "[?] MIGNON SHEE" - "[?] SUAN YUK" - "[?] DIP HAR" - "[MOO] GOO GAI PAN" - "[CHO]W MEINS" - "[CHO]P SUEYS" - "[CAN]TONISE DISHES" - "[MIX]ED DRINKS" - "[COC]KTAILS" - "[POL]YNESIAN DRINKS." have you ever seen a matchbook with such loving detail? i needs me that time machine to go drink me a scorpion at rice bowl shangri-la.

tres cool, i got a link on the wired blog. i'm eccentric! sweet!
also a shout on mr bali hai!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff Mr Dollar. I noticed you are from Baltimore, What do you think of the HBO show The Wire?
My second question is where is the best place in Baltimore to get one of those pit beef sandwiches?

Great Blog BTW

12:34 PM  
Blogger johnny dollar said...

thanks fritzdecat! this post has gotten mega hits since being linked to from wired and mr. bali hai...

re: the wire. never seen it! don't got hbo. but i have seen portions of it filmed around town. there is a fake mayor's office in highlandtown, i know that for a fact... and they often store the police cars for the show at a high school near my house...

re: pit beef: i only get it when at street festivals like flower mart or artscape ~ i've never gotten it at a roadside stand or a restaurant. i've found it pretty consistently tasty at the festival stands. i think the one at flower mart was sunshine's catering of hollywood. that was way tasty! big al's got city paper's best pit beef.

thanks for the kind words!

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I only get to watch the HBO shows when they make it to DVD and I can rent them. The first two seasons of the show are out now. I highly recommend it. It is more than what you would expect it to be.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Table of Malcontents has linked to me before, so someone on their blogging team is a regular Goof reader. I like how they labeled your collection "eccentric".

I'd love to see more examples of vintage Chinese Exotica, since I think it goes hand-in-hand with Tiki.

11:07 AM  
Blogger johnny dollar said...

thx bali hai, i got traffic out the roof resulting from your link.

i love vintage chinese restaurants, the best are those found in old little towns, that have neon signs and interiors from the 1940's...

will keep on the lookout for more junk!

9:38 AM  
Blogger Ken Zheng said...

Cool stuff JD! Interesting question about the chop suey font - I suspect it came from Chinese calligraphy - if you use a traditional Chinese brush pen, it's not too hard to produce strokes with wide heads and thin tails. Cheers!

1:09 PM  
Blogger johnny dollar said...

indeed ken ~ i am really curious about when the first western manifestation of a quasi asian font is... i would figure it would come with the first major wave of chinese immigrants in the 19th century?

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may also enjoy the Matchbook Museum over at James Lileks's site: http://www.lileks.com/match/index.html

with "dozens of vintage matchbooks, artfully arranged and overanalyzed." New entry added every Monday.

2:53 AM  
Blogger johnny dollar said...

thanks marilyn terrell, that mr. lileks puts my collection to shame...

12:07 PM  

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