Carmine eats his way through El Caribe’s cocktail hour

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I’m madder than Popeye the sailor after Blutto or Brutus or whatever his name is picked a fight with him at the wrong time — two minutes after the bell rang ending at a cocktail hour he attended at the El Caribe in Mill Basin, when he was so stuffed with delicious, non-spinach appetizers that he couldn’t get his needed leafy dose into his gut at the necessary time, and subsequently took the beating of his life.

Look, you all know that for weeks on end I’ve been touting my civic group BWECC!’s annual awards dinner at the aforementioned country club, and you may all be thinking to yourself, “Hey, this guy Carmine sure is swell for feting all these people,” and also “Hey? How can I get feted by the Screecher?” All of these are reasonable things to think and question.

But if you think for a second that this event is about making other people feel good, you’ve got another thing coming. Sure, I want everybody to be happy and excited, and I want to make sure my neighbors that do right by the community get the attention they deserve. But the real reason we throw Brooklyn’s best shindig every year is to make sure I get my fill at the illustrious cocktail hour so I can maintain my perfectly round physique.

And with just 60 precious minutes to get as much bite-sized bites from the wall-to-wall-to-wall-to-wall stations into me as unhumanly possible, I have no time for anybody that comes up to me to chit-chat (which is something that is really tough to do when I have my mouth stuffed with food, wine, and that coffee soda I love so much).

Instead, I put a small table on the handle bars of Tornado and get right to work, setting a timer on my MePhone to keep me up to date on how much time I have left before we have to go inside and eat the real dinner.

So it should be no surprise to you that I blew off Parent of the Year Linda Dalton when she wanted to say “Hello,” instead savoring every bite of the mixed organic field salad tossed with sliced apples and walnuts in homemade balsamic vinaigrette along the delicious penne ala vodka and a heaping portion of the sautéed onions simmered with plum tomatoes and baby peas in a fresh cream sauce.

And Man of the Year Sid Schatzman couldn’t get a word in edgewise while I shoveled down the boneless chicken balsamico alongside two giant eggplant rollatini, a dish that wouldn’t be complete without a side of Szechuan flavored country-style spare ribs!

Then, I said “Talk to the fork” when our Couple of the Year Nydia and Joe Corace tried to chew my ear off, chewsing instead to chew on some stewed tripe with peas, a giant spoonfull of braciolettini, and a heap of il manzo tuscano!

Of course, our Humanitarian of the Year Brian Gotlieb wanted to personally thank me, but, as the seconds to the cocktail hour’s end ticked off, I was focused on the mussels oreganata, the linguini aglio e olio, and a massive pile of deep-fried calamari (that’s fried squid for those of youse who don’t know how to pronounce it!).

I was about halfway home when I saw Educator of the Year Neal Opromalla coming my way, so I put Tornado into high gear and headed for the carving table, where I insisted on trying every piece of meat known to man, including the pan-roasted leg of lamb, the roasted turkey, the corned beef, the Romanian pastrami and the delectable spiral ham!

Slap on top of that the speciality breads, the classic pasta dishes, and the traditional Mediterranean home-style antipasti, and I was one full Screecher when my alarm went off.

And then it was time to really eat! Our full-course dinner had six entrees to choose from, including chicken marsala, vealal caprese, sole oreganata, Norwegian salmon, grilled vegetable medley, and my favorite, prime rib au jus served bloody rare!

The revelers were then able to dance off their non-requited calories until 11 pm, thanks to the Salvatore Spatola’s music.

Needless to say everyone was well fed, pampered, and happy on a night that was a total success!

I would be remiss in not thanking all the elected officials that sent citations and proclamations to the honorees and me. Borough President Markowitz, who has attended most of our galas, gave his last State of Brooklyn message at the Barclays Center and almost everyone was there. But he did send proclamations to the honorees. State Sena. Diane Savino sent citations with Olga Fiore, My old boss, Assemblyman William Colton, was the only elected official to come and stayed to present his citations to the honorees. There were Citations from Councilmen Domenick M. Recchia Jr, Vincent Gentile, and state Sen. Marty Golden.

On behalf of all the honorees and myself, I thank you all!

Congratulations to all the honorees, and, as always, screech at you next week!

Read Carmine's screech every Saturday on E-mail him at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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