Sunday, April 24, 2016

Click (Music): Permanent Highs, Moths on Hot Stuff, Satellites and Dancing Barefoot

"Permanent High" by Work Drugs

I can't take the euphoria associated with optimal gut health in heavy doses. I put aside time for kombucha on weekends, sauerkraut and tempeh every fourth Wednesday of the month, kimchi comes in spurts and sour pickles make the menu when the rest of my refrigerator is empty. That seems to be enough euphoria for me. When I saw, via NPR, that there are so many more probiotics to be had (I'm talking loaded cold brew coffee, granola, desserts and nut butters) I started to breakout in probiotic sepsis fevers. Can I exist on a permanent high? Will there be a place in the future where I can't avoid it? Will my darling little Thin Mints someday be crawling with bacteria?

"Streets" by Sofia Hardig

What if Kim Deal craved husmanskost, lingonberry jam, kotbullar and surstromming instead of Mexican?

"Moths to a Flame" by The Virginmarys

As my family and I drove to the zoo today, Janet Jackson sang about moths to flames on our radio. In front of us was an SUV with a bumper sticker that said "I don't have friends, I have family." The bumper sticker didn't seem to fit with the other ones on the car (or what was going on inside the car) so I remember dismissing it as stupid. "Moths to a Flame" by the Virginmarys has me rethinking that sticker. Maybe it isn't as stupid as I originally made it out to be. The songs camaraderie, the urgent need to continue sticking together in the face of demons like drug addiction and mental health is as important of a message as they come. Sometimes what your friends need isn't a friend. Sometimes they need something more. Boil that down over a few hours and I guess you wind up with something very similar to "I don't have friends, I have family."

"Satellite" by Sara Hartman

I recently watched a Charlie Sheen movie about satellite communications and aliens wearing human skin as they infiltrated NASA. I found the movie hollow and meek, like a flavorless hummus. Sara Hartman's "Satellite" resides on the complete opposite pole from this movie. It is big, bold and filling. Everyone else will have you think it is the song of the summer. I tell you it is the song of right now.


"Dancing Barefoot" by Her Majesty (Patti Smith Cover) 

JP and Her Majesty have returned with a re-imagination of Patti Smith's "Dancing Barefoot." Of all the songs to re-imagine why this track? JP says, "When I heard the original, its psychadelic undercurrents and garage punk poetry resonated for me on a deep, intuitive level. The lyrics delivered in Patti Smith's iconic maelstrom jumped out of my laptop speakers and hinted at the mystical aspects of life, birth, and the transcendence of death. I wanted to highlight the implied aspects of the original, that sense of losing oneself in another being, the awareness that with each beginning there is an end, and, in doing so, make it a lush, herMajesty song."


"Now is the Time of Emotion" by Prince Rama

Because who hasn't dreamed of turning the wine and cheese crowd that frequents art shows into a cake and soup one?

"Are We Alive" by Augustines

Years ago I caught a punk band in Gainesville who performed with an interpretive dancer. I thought this was the coolest thing ever. I also thought that was the gig for me. Kids, jobs, health insurance and white picket fences have kept me from becoming that dream. We can't all be Big Jeff.

Get All of 2016's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Click (Food): Debbie Does Waffles, Vegans Defeat Negan, Plant Based Alien Abductions and Kimchi Potstickers

  • Lisa Simpson going vegan? 23,634 people would like her to. I think this is a bit too easy. I'm in the process of getting a petition together for the MeatEater team to go vegan. That would be a real win.
  • Just what the world has been missing...a motherf***ing vegan selfie room. Thanks Doomie!
  • Australians Google vegan more than anyone else in the world. Some of the country's more popular searches include "why are vegans so preachy", "judgmental vegans", "self-righteous vegans" and "Lisa Simpson vegan?"

Vegan Kimchi Potstickers by The Veg Life

For a few weeks I put kimchi in everything. (quesadillas, burgers, Brussels Sprouts). One thing I didn't put it in was potstickers. Probably because I can't ever seem to find any wonton wrappers without egg. Yo, Veg Life, hook a blogger up. Where do you get your potstickers from?

Carrot Cake Waffles by Dietitian Debbie Dishes

My favorite porn growing up was Debbie Does Waffles. I would break this video out at least once a week while my parents weren't home. That was my first foray into the world of food porn.

Spinach and Kiwi Smoothie from Turnip the Oven

I was at the park yesterday and I heard a mom calling to her daughter on the slide. She said "Kiwi, come on down the slide because others are waiting." I turned and asked her if Kiwi was just a nickname. She gave me a horrendous look, grabbed her daughter and walked away. Can you blame me? Who, outside of those ridiculous out-of-touch celebrity couples, would name their kid after something that goes into a smoothie?

Spinach Filled Raviolis from Dora Daily

Now that I've perfected the art of the vegan pizza, it is time to get my Italian hands dirty in some other type of dough. Up next, raviolis. Come here you sexy little dough circles and let me stuff you full of spinach.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Click (Music): Eating Petals, Cape Cub, People Singing Into Walls and Constant Crushes from Verite

"Spools" by Tuft

My nostrils have been jammed up for the better part of two weeks. In the winter, not a big deal, but now that it is spring time and all the flowers are in full bloom, I'm feeling it. No matter how hard I try, I can't catch a whiff. So I've resorted to the "Spools" method of smelling flowers. That is I pick the flowers and eat the petals in order to get the feel for how they might've smelled. I must be a little less advanced than some people because even with tasting, I can't smell s***.

"The Start" by Cape Cub

Speaking of flowers, Cape Cub "The Start" is about the naivety of looking at the past through rose-tinted glasses. That's not a pitfall I typically find myself stuck in. I attribute this to my glasses having more of a quasi-industrial tint to them. Everything looks like dirty moths and mortared brick.

"Mama's Gonna Get You" by WASI

When my mama moved away from the house I grew up in, she missed the memories and the marks we left on the walls. She also missed her strawberry plants. She couldn't go back late at night to steal the memories or the marks, but she could dig up those damn berries. So she did, or at least as many as she could feasibly get away with. Perhaps WASI's "Mama's Gonna Get You" has nothing to do with midnight strawberry stealing but when I hear that chorus, that's immediately where my mind goes.

"Constant Crush" by Verite

Verite's Living EP has come out of the gate crushing it like Trevor Story. First it was "Underdressed" that got the ginger beard treatment. Now it is "Constant Crush." Keep your eyes open folks or before you know it, this EP will be rewriting history. Now if only it could throw a slider...


"Lost" by Connor Phillips (Young Bombs Remix) 

Young Bombs goal with this track was to display the vulnerability and capture the sound of being lost in the woods and getting mauled by a bear. I've been there, done that and it sounds almost exactly like this. Well, there is a lot more screaming.



"Neverending" by Little Coyote

This video is exactly like The Wizard of Oz only with more tattoos, facepaint and weird hats.

"Connect" by My Gold Mask

The video for "Connect" brings to the forefront a question that I've found myself pondering more and more as I've gotten older. Do people actually sing into their walls? I can say with absolute certainty that I have never done this. But like once a week I see someone in a video doing it. Actually happen or is it simply a case of fiction being stranger than truth?

"Reckless" by Lowla

When I think "Reckless" my first thought is, and always has been, talking into a hamburger shaped phone. Nothing says I'm being reckless more than that.

"Don't Let Me Down" by The Chainsmokers featuring Daya

My aunt warned me, be wary of people wearing Metallica t-shirts. While I don't pin my worst years solely on not heeding that advice, I would say that had a lot to do with it.

"Eyes On You" by Veruca Salt

I wasn't a big Veruca Salt fan during their first go round. But I did appreciate Nina Gordon's cover of "Straight Outta Compton." That's why I gave this video a whirl. While the wasn't enough cultural appropriation for me, I did dance a little.

Get All of 2016's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Vegan in Tampa: A Guide to Eating Vegan in Wesley Chapel, New Tampa and Tampa Palms

I've been living in the Wesley Chapel, New Tampa and Tampa Palms area of Tampa for almost ten years. I have been vegan for four of them. Through research, trial and error and online recommendations I've been able to find some really good vegan friendly dishes, drinks and desserts in this area of town. Here are some of the fantastic vegan options you should check out next time you’re in this part of Tampa!

Capital Tacos #2 |  27209 FL 56 Wesley Chapel

Because Capital Tacos #2 has an out of this world collection of burrito (or if you prefer taco/salad/nacho/bowl/wet burrito) flavor combinations it has become one of my go-to's when out-of-towners come visit. It is really hard not to find something for everyone here.

You want Tex-Mex? Done. Seafood? Got it. Fried Chicken? They've got those too. But what do they have to offer vegans? While Capital Tacos #2 does not have any vegan combinations on their menu as is, they are perfectly willing to adjust their two vegetarian options to make them dairy free.

The first option is the Simon Pure. This burrito contains grilled portabella, black beans, pico, bombera salsa, Mexican street corn, jack and cheddar cheese and rice. Ask for it without the cheese and Mexican street corn (cooked with butter) for a vegan version.

Even after taking off the cheese and street corn, the Simon Pure is still bursting with flavor.

The other vegetarian option is the Mean Verde. The Mean Verde consists of breaded and fried avocado, refried pintos, queso, lettuce, pico, jack and cheddar, crushed chips and poblano ranch salsa. For a completely dairy free version ask for the avocado to not be fried, replace the poblano ranch salsa with a dairy free version and subtract the jack and cheddar and queso.

Capital Tacos #2 offers a number of dairy free sides to compliment your main course. Make sure you don't leave without trying out their chips. They are not your typical scrawny little yellow tortilla chips that seem to be the standard at Mexican restaurants. Capital Tacos #2's version are deep fried and golden and much thicker.

You can't go wrong with any of the salsas (mild, medium and hot) or the guacamole. Just ask them to hold the cheese (which they will sprinkle overtop).

Kwan Ming | 27607 State Road 56 Unit 105 Wesley Chapel

For the most part fresh and Chinese food seem to exist on opposite ends of the spectrum. Kwan Ming has made it a point to fuse the two together. They have six options that are labeled vegetarian on their menu. Some of these can be made vegan.

My dish of choice, by default, is the tofu with black bean sauce. This dish contains fresh veggies and tofu (that is not breaded) cooked in a black bean sauce. It is served alongside a plate of rice. Why the default?

Because my real number one, my bae so to speak, is the garlic fried rice. 

It is loaded with fresh cloves of garlic that are sliced and fried until they are golden brown on the outside. They are then tossed with your typical fried rice veggies to create a masterfully blended dish. Not too salty. Not too fried. Just bite after bite of blacking out in Tampa and waking up in Gilroy, California. I happily breathe this dish for hours afterwards.

The garlic fried rice is my wife's bae as well. So instead of ordering two of the same dish, I default to the tofu in black bean sauce. Make sure to ask for the fried rice without egg.

Nutrition S'Mart | 1821 Bruce B. Downs Wesley Chapel

Keep your eyes pinned to the ground as you walk through Nutrition S'Mart. That way you won't see all the overpriced vegan/vegetarian friendly items they have on the shelves. You don't need that stuff. You can do better (and cheaper) elsewhere.

The important part of Nutrition S'Mart is the far back corner. It is here that the Wesley Chapel location of this chain got wise and built a juice bar/sandwich area.

It is in this juice bar/sandwich area that one can procure some of the cheapest (and tastiest) kombucha on tap. One twelve ounce glass can be yours for just $2.79 plus tax. That's not a mistake, that's the real deal. 

Nutrition S'Mart serves Kombucha Tampa brand kombucha. Flavors on regular rotation include the Blueberry, Hibiscus Berry and Mango.
Don't bother with the growler as, unless my math is wrong, it is a worse deal than just buying a twelve ounce cup.

As far as the rest of the juice bar/sandwich area goes, they have a number of vegan options. These include build your own sandwiches with vegan cheese and a bevy of smoothies. I can't vouch for any of these because I've never gotten past the kombucha.

Ciccio Cali | 17004 Palm Pointe Drive Tampa Palms

There are a lot of things I don't like about the Ciccio collection of restaurants. I don't like their weekend brunch menus or their jacking up the prices for dinner. I don't like that they consistently seem to remove my favorite things from their menu with no warning.

Ultimately, as is the case with any restaurant, if the food is done well it can make everything else moot. I must admit, I've never left disappointed or underwhelmed by what I've eaten at a Ciccio restaurant.

Ciccio Cali in Tampa Palms has a menu that is littered with wraps, bowls, pizzas, salads and stirfrys. These items feature a large variety of fresh vegetables, some of which I've never seen offered at any other restaurant. These include kale blends and spaghetti squash.

Ciccio Cali meets the needs of their vegetarian and vegan customers by providing the option of switching out any meat for a veggie and broccoli mix (I don't understand why more restaurants don't do something like this).

My meal of choice at Ciccio Cali is the Fire Bird. The veggies are tossed in buffalo sauce, paired with rice, then wrapped in a pressed tortilla. Delicious! 

Other vegan options include the vegan, thai, fitness and citrus bowls (replace the chicken with veggies in the latter three), all the stirfrys and the entire line of side dishes.

Cappy's Pizzeria | 16019 Tampa Palms Blvd.

Since the beginning of time pizza has remained virtually the same, the sum of four amazing parts (sauce, crust, topping and cheese) joined together as one.

Some people like to mess with this perfection. They subtract or alter one of those elements to see just how dreadful the result is. I must admit, I'm one of those people. I love me some pizza. I don't love me some cheese.

Cappy's is one of the few places in Tampa that can pull off a vegan pizza. 

This is because their flaky deep dish Chicago style crust and their tangy, slightly spicy, red sauce are flavorful enough that removing the cheese doesn't hinder them.

I usually top my deep dish pizza with fresh spinach and artichokes. Make sure to specify that you want it vegan, otherwise they may sprinkle Parmesan on top of the sauce.

365 Caffe Italiano | 28211 Paseo Drive, Suite 10 Wesley Chapel

Need a vegan dessert in the Wesley Chapel/New Tampa/Tampa Palms area? 365 Caffe Italiano is the place to go. Each and every day (365/7) this shop offers at least 3 different dairy free gelato options. Some days they even go all crazy and stretch it to four.

If you are in to chocolate and mint and desserty flavors like that and are dairy free, well, you are out of luck. At 365, those all contain the animal stuff.

But if you are like me and hate those flavors with a passion, no big deal. It is the fruit options at 365 Caffe Italiano that contain no dairy. Mango and berry blast are just two of the vegan versions I've tried. Sweet, cold, refreshing and tasty.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Food Flavored Artist: Donots perform "I Will Deny"

What exactly does a German donut, called a Donot, taste like? What does it sound like? How does it react if you drop it into a chemical accident? These are only a small sampling of the many questions that I have pondered since March 4th. That was the day that the new single from legendary German punk rock band Donots arrived in my inbox.

For the first forty-five seconds "I Will Deny" is nothing more (or less) than a baker's dozen batch of ohing, melodic guitar strumming and spoken word sampling. Then the track kicks things into hyper gear: the music speeds up, the vocals become more prominent and loud, the sneering goes through the roof. It is from this point forward that the Donots really put on display why they have been able to navigate the fields of German punk for so long. The track combines all that is good and right with classic punk (think energy and loud delivery) with a melodic passion that would appeal to a new generation of punk fan. Add in the immediacy and present day relevance of the lyrics and you've got a punk song that should be able to transcend genres.

That's a breakfast best served with stolen cancer cash and coffee.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Click (Music): A Sabbatical Year, Magic Bronson, Throwing Down Your Guns and My Mom's Wedding

"Stay" by Sabbatical Year

"Stay" by Sabbatical Year is the musical equivalent of pretending to order random bits of fried food from a two year old through a hole in the mast of a ship taking a break only to share a mustard covered pretzel.

"Wake Up (111th Dream)" by Magic Bronson

Are your nuts salted? Are they plain? Covered with sugar and maple syrup they taste just the same. That's my simultaneous ode to both the Eels and Jack Kerouac. It is sweet and all but pales in comparison to the apple pie and ice cream that Magic Bronson throw down in their latest single "Wake Up (111th Dream)."

"Stop Acting Crazy" by Some Gifts

I met a guy at the park this afternoon. I noticed he was wearing a Gettysburg shirt, a town very close to where I grew up. I struck up a conversation about this fact. One thing led to another and pretty soon we were sharing one of the hand crafted sodas he had in his cooler. I remarked, about halfway down, that they don't make stuff like this anymore. He nodded in affirmation.

In another place and time we would be two audiophiles popping "Stop Acting Crazy" by Some Gifts onto our record player. They just don't make stuff like this anymore.

"What You Waiting For?" by Gazzo (featuring Sugarwhiskey)

I thought I knew Gazzo. Most of his work, to date, seemed to fit nicely into the world of progressive house remixes. But then he joins forces with Sugarwhiskey, releases "What You Waiting For?", and pretty much flips my Gazzo world upside down. "What You Waiting For?" has some playful verses (delivered by Sugarwhiskey), handclaps, sunny bass lines, a memorable chorus and, of course, a signature Gazzo drop. Looking for a song of the summer? Look no further than "What You Waiting For?.


"Born Ready" by Disco Fries featuring Hope Murphy (Halogen Radio Edit) 

The Disco Fries never meant for "Born Ready" to be a single. It was the band stepping outside of the box and trying something different for their Autonomous EP. But, as the song suggests, you have to be "born ready" for when the unplanned has a plan of its own.

"Ocean Eyes" by Billie Eilish (Young Bombs Remix)

The Young Bombs Remix of Billie Eilish's "Ocean Eyes" recently took on a whole new meaning. Here's what Martin had to say about it:
Yo guys, Martin here. 
The last two months have been an insanely dark and difficult time as my dad was diagnosed with aggressive pancreatic cancer. The doctors at first thought he would have months to live, however the cancer had other plans and he was taken from us a week ago March 5th. Having already begun working on this track during the last week of his life, Ocean Eyes took on an entirely new meaning to me. I will never forget sitting in the hospital, holding his hand (he was basically unable to speak at this point) and he would just stare at me with his deep, blue eyes. I could only imagine what words he would have been saying if he could have spoken. This song in turn, would speak to me everyday following his visits, so it holds a very special place in my heart. Tristan and I hope that this song can help heal anyone else out there who needs to be lifted up during a dark time. 
This remix is dedicated to Leonard Kottmeier, January 4th, 1937 - March 5th, 2016.
R.I.P “Dr. Jazz” you will forever be in our hearts.


"Throw Down Your Guns" by Wild Belle

"Throw Down Your Guns" by Wild Belle is a song with an agenda. Perhaps, after hearing it, you could pretend that Natalie and Elliot Bergman weren't referring to literal guns but instead were some sort of metaphor. After seeing the video, there is no doubt. The video begins with the Chicago Children's Choir singing the opening lines to the song. This is interspersed with video of a bunch of bullets and guns falling from the sky. The message that the band wanted to deliver? In times war, bells are typically melted down to make ammunition. This time around, Wild Belle wanted to reverse the process and melt ammunition in order to make "peace bells." According to the band, these bells will be used to make music and sounds of peaceful protest.

"Wrestle Yu to Husker Du" by The Dirty Nil

Recently my mom was thumbing through a s*** ton of old VHS videos looking for the one featuring her wedding.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that that is one VHS that will never be found. I sent it away and the Dirty Nil taped over it to make their new video for "Wrestle Yu to Husker Du." As Luke Bentham describes it:

"12 broken video cameras + illegal smoke bombs in confined spaces (+ Tender's mom and dad's wedding) = The Dirty Nil live experience, captured for you in glorious VHS format."

Get All of 2016's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Joe Kruse Food Manifesto and Vegetarian Breakfast Tacos

Joe Kruse, bassist for progressive rock band Gone Quite Mad, has been living the vegetarian lifestyle since the age of ten. Previously his family had raised chickens and Joe, along with his brother, decided that animals should be treated with respect. So they both transitioned to a meat free diet.

Now-a-days Joe has a passion for cooking. In fact, each Sunday he invites friends and family to come over for an epic vegetarian brunch. Since I've become a bit of a bruncher in recent weeks, I decided to surprise Joe by inviting myself over for one of his gatherings. Unfortunately, before I was able to get to the door, I was headed off by a couple of mean old bouncers. I must say, I was utterly shocked. Who the hell hires bouncers for a brunch? Anyway, as those bouncers drug me away, I noticed some torn up pages on Joe's lawn. I grabbed the papers (I'm such a fanboy) and brought them home. After hours and hours of painstaking work, I was able to scotch tape those papers back together. What I held in my hand was like solid gold. It was Joe Kruse's manifesto, typed out on a creepy old typewriter and everything. Risking my freedom (there's a big ol' jail cell staring me in the face), I've decided to go ahead and publish this manifesto. Here it is in all its unauthorized (just kidding!) glory.

Joe Kruse's Food Manifesto
Most people are surprised to find out I’m a vegetarian. I don’t necessarily fit the description, though I’ve been one since I was eight or nine. It’s never been an issue of health but rather trying to preserve something I find special in my own way. Life, especially conscious life, is so crazy rare in this universe that I don’t want to flippantly end a life just so I can have some tasty nachos.  That said, and this might seem like a total 180, I’m not opposed to people eating meat. I just think many people have forgotten to respect the life they take to feed themselves.  This wasn’t always my train of thought. When I first started I was a kid and super idealistic.   I raised chickens and was horrified at the idea of killing something to eat it. If the world’s chickens were anything like my pets, then they all deserved to live.  But that’s just not the reality of what we are. So in my corner of the world I chose to avoid meat for now.  I can see myself eating meat one day, but I think I’d have to do the dirty work and kill the animal myself.  That seems kinda fucked up to write as a vegetarian, but I think the weight of that action is the appropriate price. 
I think we’ve forgotten to enjoy the experience and processes of life, and rather look to immediate solutions.  Hard work and creativity are overlooked for quick sufficient results. We lose something when we buy instead of create. We lose touch of what we’re capable of.  I love my kitchen and cooking for other people.  Experimenting with new ideas and recipes and serving them to a group of friends is my solo project away from the band.  When we’re out of town I don’t miss my bed so much as I miss my knives and my stove.  Putting in the work to make a good breakfast in the morning points me in the right direction for the day.  The next step is spending the afternoon in the shop building my guitars. I'll stop home to make a nice dinner for my girlfriend and I, maybe sit down for a second if I can and then it’s off to rehearsal for the night.
My 3 brothers and I took a vacation to Sayulita, Mexico last Easter. Every morning my Brother Dan (who is a hell of a cook) and I would make breakfast. I’ve always been obsessed with eggs for breakfast, so I would handle that while he cooked up some veggies. We’d sit down and feast to get ourselves fueled for a day of hiking through the woods to the next surf spot, or just to recover from a night of drinking tequila. The vegetables were honestly one of the most memorable things from that trip. They just tasted like nothing I’ve ever had even though it was something as simple as a bell pepper. I guess when it’s grown right down the street, it doesn’t have time to loose all its flavor or something. 
These tacos are my attempt to remember that amazing weekend away with my brothers. It’s best served to a group of awesome and inspiring people, or total lunatics…which ever you happen to have around! The ingredient list is really more of a list of suggestions. Any nice fresh vegetables will do (zucchini and mushrooms are particularly good in here as well), and the proportions are really up to your taste.  I also rarely cook with salt, or use it sparingly. It seems like a bandaid to me. If I want something that just tastes like salt, I’ll eat a cheap bag of chips. 
This whole recipe can be made in one pan if you’re just doing one serving, so use a big one to make some space.
Gone Quite Mad's newest single is "Neptune." According to sing Chris Gesualdi, "Neptune" tells the story of a future courtship. The protagonist of the track wants to take a partner to the Neptune Chariot Races, a futuristic take on auto-racing. The track is best served with a pile of breakfast tacos and a few placemats decorated with Joe's manifesto.