April 27, 2009

Upcoming Events

Aside from a few food posts I still need to write, there hasn't been much blog-worthy activity in my life recently. The event horizon is jam packed, however, so I figured I'd post what the future of this blog will tackle in the coming months. Have any ideas of other shows/food events I should attend in the greater NYC area this summer? Hit me up in the comments.

5.8 - Bjork with the Dirty Projectors
??? - MB's Bday Dinner @ Candle 79
5.22 - Dinner @ Gramercy Tavern
5.30 - Tortoise
6.7 - Dosh
6.8 David Byrne
6.11-6.14 - Bonnaroo
6.18 - Anniversary Dinner, potentially @ Modern
6.19 - Phoenix
6.20 - Passion Pit
7.8 - Juana Molina
7.13 - Wilco
7.31-8.2 - APW Festival
8.4 - Depeche Mode
8.7 Casiokids
8.16 - Phish Read Full Entry

April 19, 2009

Trimming the Fat

For some reason, every year I forget how much easier it is to eat well once it's nice outside. Walking to the market is much easier, grilling is once again a viable option and fresh produce abounds. After months of being lazy and ordering in or eating out on a near nightly basis, MB and I have completely switched gears and in just 2 days, I feel like a different person.

Yesterday, with the temperature clearing 70 for the first time this year, MB and I walked down to Union Market to grab food for the week. Our mantra lately has been lots of whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and nuts. Other than an occasional cheese plate or ridiculous hamburger, we're what we like to consider part-time vegans.

Although our house is stocked to the brim, we still wanted to visit the new Le Bagel Delight's, conveniently located just down two avenues down 7th street from our apartment. But rather than grab a pair of bagel's covered in cream cheese, we decided to get a fresh whole wheat bagel and bring it home to make a panini using avocado, vine-ripened tomatoes and Oaxacan cheese. The result? A delicious bagel without the food coma.

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April 14, 2009

Choice Downloads - March

It's time once again for some delectable downloads from yours truly. This month, I sorted through 14.3 hours of music, or 186 songs, to bring you 23 tunes for your listening pleasure. At first, I wasn't as happy with this month's collection as I was with last month, but after listening to the playlist for the past 2 weeks, I think they're on par with February.

As usual, most of the set is comprised of brand new music but there are a few older goodies as well. If you're a fan of Rodrigo y Gabriela (and how could you not be), check out the live version of Diablo Rojo. I've seen them twice, once at Bonnaroo and once in the rain at APW; it's mind bending how well two individuals with acoustic instruments can command the stage. I also really like Bob Dylan's latest, Beyond Here Lies Nothin', probably because it reminds me of Tom Waits' Way Down in the Hole which was used as the theme song for The Wire.

Gabriela at APW 2008

After lots of people told me they liked the Passion Pit song, Sleepyhead, from last month's list, I decided to include a remix of the song. I also posted another Emiliana Torrini tune to coincide with my blog post earlier this month. The rest is an eclectic mix ranging from country to house to hip hop to indie (whatever the hell that even means). After you take a listen, drop a comment and let me know what you like and what you hate.

Like last month, I'm going to post songs on drop.io. I was going to zip everything together but I realized you can listen to the songs directly from the site before you decide whether or not you want to download. I'd also be interested to hear if you take advantage of that feature or if you'd rather just download everything in a bundle.

Happy listening!

Lakeside - Blk Jks
Diablo Rojo - Rodrigo y Gabriela
Cupid - Amy WInehouse
Beyond Here Lies Nothin' - Bob Dylan
Proper Rock - The Chap
Turn Cold - Cut Off Your Hands
The Angst - DJ Hell
Mirador - Efterklang
Me and Armini - Emiliana Torrini
Welcome, Ghosts - Explosions in the Sky
Automobile - The Fumes
My Beach - Human Highway
Seven-Mile Island - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Day 'N' Nite (Crookers Remix) - Kid Cudi
Volume - Libretto
Your Love - Pacha Massive
Golden Phone - Micachu
Sleepyhead (Wallpaper, Dio Remix) - Passion Pit
Tracy's Waters - Patrick Watson
Slow Club - Slow Club
Drumming, Pt. 4 - Steve Reisch/So Percussion
Bag of Hammers - Thao With The Get Down Stay Down
On a Neck, On a Spit - Grizzly Bear
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April 9, 2009

Pan Fried Wild Arctic Char with Asparagus and Three-Bean Salad

Like everyone else in the city, I'm ready for spring to stop putzing around and arrive already. Every time I think I'm going to get the ol' grill out, we get hit with another cold snap. When my sister-in-law came over to use my copy of TurboTax last Wednesday, I had visions of cooking a meal like the main course I served my mother on her birthday last July but Mother Nature had other plans. Desperate for food with a char (no pun intended), I pulled the grill pan out and flooded our apartment with smoke.

The meal was really straightforward but it still took me about an hour to prepare. For the bean salad, I grilled a few ears of corn and some red peppers and combined them with diced red onion, vine-ripened tomatoes and canned cannellini, black and garbanzo beans, over which I drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Once the salad was finished, I threw the asparagus in the grill pan and pan fried the arctic char. Once the fish was cooked, I threw together a simple white wine sauce with oso onion, garlic, lemon and butter. I used too much onion and garlic so the "sauce" came out a little chunky but it was still a tasty topping for the fish. Read Full Entry

April 7, 2009

Brunch @ Sidecar

When MB and I woke up last Sunday, we knew we wanted brunch but we couldn't decide where we should go. After rattling through the regular suspects - Sette, Miracle Grill, 12th Street Bar and Grill, Stone Park Cafe, Little D's, Applewood - we decided to take a walk and see if we could find something new. After enjoying a long walk down 7th Ave towards Greenwood Cemetery, we headed down to 5th Ave. By the time we reached 6th Ave, we were starving so we headed to Sidecar, hoping they served brunch. Lucky for us, they do.

The last time we dined at this local eatery was back in August, under completely different circumstances. As we walked in, we saw my former coworker, Trevor, who was just finishing his meal. Trevor lives right around the corner on 15th between 3rd and 4th and according to him, Sidecar only recently began serving brunch. It was actually his first time eating there too but he strongly recommended the migas and the home fries.

Rather than sit in a booth, MB and I ponied up to the bar. I couldn't decide what I wanted to drink but as soon as our bartender, Joe, mixed a Bloody Mary, I knew I had to have one. Their mix is decidedly cajun which, in addition to the horseradish vodka, really brings the heat. Even the garnish was out of the ordinary; celery and olives were replaced by a pickled green bean and a cherry pepper.

As we sucked down our drinks, we focused on the menu and put together a ridiculous mid-afternoon meal. Relying on Trevor's recommendation, we split an order of migas and home fries but we also grabbed some cheese grits, bacon and toast. It's hard to say what was the best part of the meal - everything was stupendous - but the bacon was probably the most noteworthy. It wasn't much to look at and when I picked it up, I felt the thickness to crispness ratio wasn't up to snuff, but when I finally tasted it, I could tell we were enjoying some grade-A pork. I don't want to understate the quality of the migas but the cheese grits were also top-notch. Of course, I'm a Yankee, so my opinion in these matters doesn't really count but MB gave her seal of approval and seeing as she's a Texan, I'd say that's all the credibility we need.

As we were finishing our meal, I decided to take a bite out of the cherry pepper garnishing my drink. I made the wise decision to confirm the variety of the pepper with Joe before chomping down on it. After all, a pickled cherry pepper looks a hell of a lot like a scotch bonnet. Although they only register a mild 500 Scoville Heat Index rating, I aimed for the flesh, letting the seeds and inner juice drip out into my glass. Of course, when I took a huge slug of my Bloody Mary moments later, I quickly realized my efforts were completely wasted. Fortunately, the burn dissipated after 10 minutes or so.

As if brunch wasn't enough food, MB had a hankering for something sweet so we stopped by the Delices de Paris bakery on 9th Street on the way home and picked up this delectable little bear pastry.

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April 1, 2009

Emiliana Torrini @ Hiro Ballroom

DOWNLOAD: Birds - Emiliana Torrini

This past fall, my friend Paul spent some time in Iceland and Sweden. Upon his return to the States, he provided me with a bunch of new music from abroad including Emiliana Torrini's latest album, Me and Armini. I knew nothing about the Icelandic singer prior to listening to this album but I was immediately impressed with her voice and her song writing. Just a few months later, Paul mentioned she was playing an intimate show at Hiro Ballroom.

Hiro is a beautiful, Asian themed room located below the Maritime Hotel. On a typical night, the venue is home to DJs and table service but my experience with the club has been anything but typical. The only other time I've been there was back in October when I saw Andrew Bird the same week he finished recording his latest, Noble Beast.

Opening for Ms. Torrini was another Icelandic singer, Lay Low; her given name is Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir but she uses Lay Low onstage. Paul had hooked me up with latest, Farewell Good Night's Sleep, when he gave me Emiliana's album but I hadn't listened to it more than once before the show. Her performance was pleasant but subdued; as I'm writing this review almost a week and a half after the show, I can't say much about her set stands out in my mind.

Emiliana's set, on the other hand, was very memorable. Although she played several songs off some of her older records, the focus was decidedly on Me and Armini. There's not much to be said about her stage presence but she told wonderful stories between songs. She also did a masterful job selecting songs, building the set steadily throughout the evening.

The show really hit a peak about three-quarters of the way in when she played Birds and she managed to keep the energy up for the rest of the show. Clearly, things went even better than Ms. Torrini had hoped. With the audience clamoring for more after a pair of planned encore tunes, Emiliana quickly conferenced with her band and decided on one extra tune before calling it quits.

Overall, I was impressed with her performance. Even though the show was slightly more restrained than I was in the mood for that evening, it was abundantly clear why she's so popular in the U.K. With some good press and an extended tour of the States, I wouldn't be surprised if she became a household name in the U.S. within a year.
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