Monday, August 3, 2015

Food Pairing 101: What Goes Well With Portobello Fajitas?

I'm not going to sit here and make excuses about retreats, in-law visits and outlaw visits, non stop raining, trips to Capital Tacos, being locked in an office building with seven brains as my only means of escape, canvas buttons, flooded balconies, gigantic baked potatoes, culminating runs, Taco Bus, Burger 21, tortilla chips, blueberry muffins and Cappy's Pizza. I'll simply go on record as saying I didn't do an ounce of experimenting in the kitchen last week. In fact, if it wouldn't have been for these Portobello Fajitas, my kitchen time would've been nil.

These fajitas, which are based on the Poblano and Portobello Fajitas dished out at Minimalist Baker, came to be because I had an overabundance of flour tortillas in my pantry. For a few moments I contemplated going all authentic west coast and buying a matching set of corn ones to do these fajitas but then I figured Steven wouldn't be Yelping my kitchen so that was unnecessary. The only modification I made to Dana's version was to leave out all the spice. No jalapeƱos, no poblanos. J-Fur is total white washer when it comes to things of the heated kind. I upped the number of bell peppers (from 2 to 3) to keep the pepper to mushroom ratio in tact. I loved the inclusion of steak sauce for the mushrooms (make sure the sauce is vegan) because it reminded me a lot of the brilliant portobellos that Capital Tacos serves up on their Simon Pure. 

So Liv from Mystic Sons tells me that instead of traveling to some exotic country on her holiday break she prefers to "stay-cation" in London and press out a new Nadia Nair track. I guess I can relate, my entire vacation has been full of me completing various "labors of love." Nadia dished out one of my favorite tracks last year ("Beautiful Poetry") so I was all in on checking out her new one "Hardships." The song delivers lyrics in choppy broken bits reminiscent of the radio tracks that M.I.A has dished out. These are what stay front and center throughout. The production plays the minimalistic role, sort of Lorde-like in that sense. "Hardships" sees Nadia in her finest, genre bending form. She isn't afraid to experiment with styles and sonic fields to separate herself from the "It's all been done before" crowd. She's not really a pop artist or a psychedelic one. She doesn't do just world music or electronic. Nadia's tracks remind me of the center circle on the Trivial Pursuit board. Here,  anything goes. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Food Flavored Artist: "Final Countdown" The Disco Fries Bootleg

I woke up early today and put on my finest eighties gear. I'm talking headbands, wrist bands, high socks, a Gizmo shirt and Jordache jeans. Why the 80's nostalgia? Because one of my favorite food flavored remix artists, the Disco Fries, are releasing their version of 80's hit "Final Countdown." The original version, by Swedish band Europe, was a song that reached number one on charts in twenty-five different countries. In the United States, it made it up to number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

The Disco Fries version dials back the synths and the 80's hair flair delivery while simultaneously magnifying everything else. It seriously bangs. If the original was enough to make twenty-five nations dance wildly with top of the chart blissfulness, then this Disco Fries bootleg should pretty much take over the world. In fact, I have no problem going on record as saying when aliens come from the skies and overtake the Earth to replace the planet they already f***ed up, they probably will be blaring this track from their telepathic speakers (the Disco Fries telepathic version of this song should be out early 2028). It's not a good thing or a bad thing. It's just a really big thing.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Click (Food): Seaweed That Tastes Like Bacon, 7-Eleven Begins Serving Vegan Mayo, Frankenstein Meat and Cherry and Mango Cinnamon Rolls

At my local Sunday night sign language class I learned how to say bacon flavored seaweed, 7-Eleven is switching to all vegan mayo and the walls in San Francisco can now pee on you. I wish I had also learned how to say these things from the world of veganism:

  • Men are from Mars, women are from Venus conversation I overheard in a Tampa food dessert last week:                          
Lady-Any idea why 7-Eleven's mayo taste like peas?                          
Man-Speaking of pee, did you hear the walls in San Francisco can pee on you?
Lady-I'm serious.
Man-So am I?                           
  • PETA's youth division, PETA2, is having a "Coolest Vegan Alive" contest. One of the teenagers in the running...sixteen-year-old Sage Vermont. No s**t. A kid with the name Sage Vermont is a vegan? I wouldn't have guessed that. 

  • Ever caught yourself dreaming about seaweed dipped in chocolate? What about seaweed topped burgers? Tofu eggs and seaweed? If scientists at Oregon State University are correct, vegans will be doing just this. They've discovered a seaweed they claim tastes JUST LIKE BACON. 

  • Pulsating "Frankenstein meat" ready for your consumption. Arise. ARISE!

  • I've come across a few people in my life who told me they don't enjoy eating. They can't wait until there is a shake that can completely replace eating they say. Well, British company Huel claims they've done just that. Oh, and it's vegan. 

Cherry & Mango Cinnamon Rolls from Morsels & Moonshine

I've always considered myself a traditionalist when it comes to cinnamon rolls. What is not to love about their soft, gooey, cinnamon taste? Why mess with absolute perfection? Leave it to Aileen at Morsels & Moonshine to force me into one of those tradition vs innovation dilemmas. I'll never tell which side I chose. *Hey Tender, is that a cherry spot on your crotch or did you just put your...It's cherry dude! Didn't you see my hand gestures telling you not to mention the stain my pants? You just gave away my secret to the world.* 

Easy Blackberry Ice Cream by Eat Healthy, Eat Happy

My fifth cousin once removed drove two hours to visit his fiance who is currently serving time in state prison. He was turned away at the door because he hadn't filled out proper paperwork. Dejected, he stopped on his way back home to get some ice cream. His roadside version required machine churning, dairy and lots of sugar. This Easy Blackberry version has none of these things. Wait. Can a substance technically be called ice cream if it doesn't have dairy or sugar in it? Didn't Wendy's get sued for something like that a few years back.

Veggie Muffaletta from Boards & Knives

Muffalettas are the sandwich version of the girl (or guy) who is super hot from a distance but totally turtle turning when you get up close and intimate. I'm going to give Board & Knives version a go since it just looks so f***ing incredible. If you happen to hear me shouting "stop talking sandwich, you are so much sexier when you don't say anything" then you know it isn't going well.

Creamy Coconut Porridge from Vanilla and Bean

The relationship between two of my closest friends is on rocky terrain because of this Creamy Coconut Porridge from Vanilla and Bean. She loves porridge style oatmeal, he hates it. She's been making this recipe for breakfast every day for the last week and a half. He's getting super fed (actually anti-fed) up by needing to make his own morning meal. He finally threw down an ultimatum this week. It's me or the porridge. She confided in me yesterday that she is "totally going to miss him."


Double Black Bean Tofu Cheeseburgers from The "V" Word

These burgers remind me of the song "What Would Brian Boitano Do" by DVDA. Probably because the band does a nice job of capturing the idea that two of something can be better than one. I'm thinking a nice helping of bacon flavored seaweed would go perfect between these two patties. Why are you looking at me like I just made some sort of weird sexual reference. I'm serious about the bacon flavored seaweed.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Click (Music): Transviolet, Name Changes, Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette and The White Panda

These last two weeks have been a musical composition full of empowerment, Christian Slater and Patricia Arqvette (I only write in ancient Roman now), mistaken identity and fvcked vp covntry artists. Here's that, and more:


"Girls Your Age" by Transviolet

It's complicated-coming into your own. Especially for girls. The world wants you to fit a role- be smart OR be sexy OR be modest- they want you to fit into some tidy, little, one-size-fits-all box. The truth is, you are human, and you aren't meant to be just one thing. You can be innocent, sexy, elegant, dirty, beautiful and flawed all in the same instance, and you don't have to let anyone flat you out into some one dimensional caricature of yourself. F*** that. You are multidimensional, and you are capable of being everything at once.


"Cool Jealousy" by The White Panda

I walked around town yesterday posing the question "what have you done this week" to a number of different people. Answers included: a temp worker telling me he got fired, a teacher who spent the week on the beach, a prostitute...nevermind about that one and a convenience store worker who spent the week marking up produce in their store by an average of eleven percent. What has mashup artist the White Panda spent the week doing? Releasing a track a day. A TRACK A DAY! Their final installment of the frenetic week that was is "Cool Jealousy." It's a mashup of Alesso and Chromeo. At the White Panda party, Alesso brings the raw energy while Chromeo takes care of the funky fresh vocals.

"True Romance" by Work Drugs

Clarence meets a call girl named Alabama. The two have sex and fall in love. They get married. In order to keep Alabama all for himself, Clarence visits Alabama's pimp, takes him out and steals his drugs. This sets off a whirlwind of events that are too hard to explain in a concise manner. Basically, what you need to know, is that Clarence and Alabama survive it all, they have a child named Elvis and they spend their final days together on the beaches of Cancun.

Elvis grows up, changes his name to Tom, and starts a band called Work Drugs. He writes a song called "True Romance" which may, or may not, detail his parent's quest for love.

"True Romance" is from the band's upcoming release Louisa. Tour dates for support of that album are here.

"New Villain" by Amy Bezunartea

There are a number of people that I've met through the years that don't have time for superheroes. A typical interaction involves someone asking them for a favorite, and them responding that they know nothing about superheroes. This conversation isn't a big deal, I mean the only superhero I dig is Christopher Nolan's Batman, until school sponsors a superhero day and you've got to decide, as a team, what you will be dressing up as. Oftentimes these anti-superhero people will suggest that their superpower is something that exists in reality like they teach or that they are a mom to eighteen unique kids and that the villains they face usually aren't the violent type. The villains they square off against are complacency, fear, depression, addiction, stress and being poor.

Amy Bezunartea's latest track, "New Villain," is an empowerment anthem for the people who don't dig superheroes. The song's villain doesn't play by the rules. This new type of villain is the one that tells people to wake up and refuse to play along with the powers that be, the powers that are trying to keep them complacent, broke, scared, addicted, depressed and stressed out. This new villain, is me. It's you. It's teachers and police officers and civil servants and firefighters and therapists and anyone else willing to make the status quo, the status no.

"London Can Take It" by Chris Watkins/Drunk Poets

In my latest kid's book, I write about a dictator who rounds up all the drunk poets and ships them off to Alaska. The dictator figures that this is the end of them and turns his attention elsewhere. But these poets join forces and craft a song that heals the world and drives the dictator from his post. The song is a simple one, full of spoken word verses and a solitary sing songy line for the chorus, but it's enough to capture hearts and create upstarts. I'm not going to say that the song in the children's book was inspired by "London Can Take It" by Chris Watkins/Drunk Poets...but it was.


"This Summer's Gonna Hurt" by Maroon 5 (Esh Remix)

I already told Esh this, now I'm telling you. Esh is the first person who made it possible for me to listen to a Maroon 5 song in its entirety. The 2004 version of me sent me an email (via hotmail) and wanted all of you to know that he was only finishing that other song for research purposes.


"I Got Problems" by Birdcloud

When I get an email that says "(Insert band name) is completely f***ed up," I feel compelled to listen (don't try to use that against me trip house musicians, I am aware of your tricks). All I can say about Birdcloud is yes, yes they are. Everything from their bio to their lyrics had me scratching my head and saying wteff. Seriously, Google Birdcloud and read some of what's out there. Anyway, Birdcloud have a country punk type vibe. One of those it's so terrible, that I really really like it, deals. This video captures the essence of it (I know, it's like three years old). You want to see this fabulous, fabulous trainwreck in action, go here for tour dates.

"West Coast" by Fidlar

Fidlar's "West Coast." Because who hasn't played soccer/baseball with an empty keg and some random burning object?

On a side note, Fidlar's collecting fan photos and images for a fan video version of "West Coast." Just post it to tumblr, twitter or instagram with the tag #FIDLARTOO by 7/31. The band will put the images they choose together and have another version of this video ready to roll by 8/7.

"Gone" by JR JR

Gone is the Dale Earnhardt version. Now it's just JR JR. The reasoning behind this switch? The deep pockets of George Bush. He wanted in on the action.

The actual reason for the change is a much sadder case of mistaken identity. You can read the statement here.

"Leave a Trace" by Chvrches

"Leave a Trace" is the new lyric video from Chvrches, best known as the band that brought the whole v as a u ancient Roman phenomenon to music. There isn't much to the video, pixelatting flowers and cursive words, but I like the song.

 Get All of 2015's Click Tracks (when available) in One Spotify Playlist:

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Food Flavored Artist: Salad Boys

Earlier this year I ran a post about Chicago band Pet Symmetry and their single "Class Action Force (Useless Tools)." In that post, which I'd love to link to but the porn took it a way and I have yet to repost it, I wrote about how awesome the chorus was. I particularly loved the line "I know its late but I'm all out of drugs". I was informed, during an awkward twitter exchange with the band, that I had all of the words right except for the last one. They weren't all out of drugs, they were all out of trust. It completely changed the entire track. I could no longer picture a stoned late night visit from a lousy friend. Instead I had to replace that with visions of a late night visit from a lousy lover. Now, knowing the actual lyrics, the song hit too close to home. My feelings for the track diminished slightly.

So what does this have to do with Christchurch, New Zealand based band Salad Boys? Well, for one, the last track on Pet Symmetry's Pet Hounds album is called "Salad Boyz (Seein' Cred)," secondly.... oops, I've just been informed by Pet Symmetry that the last track is actually called "Salad Daze (Seein' Cred)." Holy f*** sticks on a gummy yoga ball, this lyric translating is for the horse hooves. Anyway, Salad Boys do know a little bit about mishearing lyrics. That's actually where their band name came from. There's a track called "Fa Ce La" by The Feelies in which the band sings "break the scream with a silent void." Salad Boys heard the line as "break the scream with salad boys". A band name was born. Salad Boys figured it was a fun joke of a name that they would eventually replace. Three years later, it remains.

Salad Boys are Joe Sampson, Ben Odering and Jim Nothing. At first, the three of them would get together, muck around and flesh out some of the extra song ideas that Sampson had in his pocket.  They did this mucking while on break from their other bands (T54, Bang! Bang! Eche!, The Dance Asthmatics). At some point the mucking became more serious and led to live shows, recording songs and Metalmania (an album that is due out on September 18th via Trouble in Mind). Salad Boys' first single from the album is the supercharged, foot stomper "Dream Date"

The mucking has also led to a US tour. If you are US bound in the Fall you can catch Salad Boys in the following places:

9.23.15 - Chicago, IL - The Owl 
9.24.15 - Columbia, MO - Cafe Berlin 
9.26.15 - Memphis, TN - Goner Fest
9.27.15 - Cincinnati, OH - Midpoint Music Festival
9.28.15 - Columbus, OH - Double Happiness
9.29.15 - Detroit, MI - UFO Factory 
10.1.15 - Brooklyn, NY - Palisades 
10.4.15 - Philadelphia, PA - Lava Space
10.6.15 - Asheville, NC - Tiger Mountain 
10.8.15 - Jacksonville, FL - Rain Dogs
10.10.15 - Austin, TX - Beerland - W/ Neil Michael Hagerty
10.12.15 - Tempe, AZ - Time Out Lounge 
10.13.15 - Los Angeles, CA - All Star Lanes
10.17.15 - Portland, OR - Bunk Bar
10.19.15 - Salt Lake City, UT - Diabolical Records 
10.20.15 - Denver, CO - Rhinoceropolis 
10.22.15 - Minneapolis, MN - Hexagon
10.23.15 - Milwaukee, WI - Lucky Cat 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Listen: What Rhymes with Rozes, The Chainsmokers, KOLAJ and The Colourist?

Smoky sweet potatoes and crispy pickled veggies are best prepared amongst the swirling sounds of:

Rozes. When first we heard from Rozes, just a few weeks ago, she was offering up her vocals to the Chainsmokers single "Roses." Now she's showing the world what she can come up with on her own. "R U Mine" is a texter's dream. It's low key, melodic and atmospheric with prominent, forthright vocals (insert emoji here). It's catchy and plays out like pop music should. The track helps us to never forget to WUAHTR (Wake up and hear the Rozes, for all you old people that don't know texting lingo).

What's a Rozes post without the Chainsmokers following closely behind. The band's newest original single is called "Waterbed" and features Waterbed. So, for those of you keeping score, their previous single was "Roses" featuring Rozes and the new one is "Waterbed" featuring Waterbed. Catching the pattern here? I can't wait for the band's next single, where they've asked me to perform guest vocals. "Tender Branson" featuring Tender Branson...has an awesome ring to it. So why all this naming the song the same thing as the featured artist? The Chainsmokers said for "Waterbed" it's because Waterbed wrote the top line for the track and, given the hook, it didn't make sense to call it anything else. They describe "Waterbed" as being what happens when a TWERK track and a M83 one have sex on a night out. Supposedly a fireball shot or two is also involved.

Falling somewhere in the same vicinity as the Chainsmokers and their polished electronic synergy is KOLAJ. Featuring singer/songwriter Teesa and producer Mighty Mike, KOLAJ deal a lot with soaring guitars, organic tones, mesmerizing melodies and electronic rhythms. What sets them apart in the electronic word is that they actually use a full band when playing live. The duo's latest and greatest is "The Touch," which you can catch below:

The Colourist, author's of my favorite song of the year so far, are back with a brand new single called "Romancing." It is the second release from the band's EP Will You Wait For Me, which hits the market next week. "Romancing" starts with a bit of a world music flare because of their use of...f*** it, I'm not going to even try to identify what instruments those are. After a few moments the vocals kick in and the single transitions into the style of poppy indie rock that the Colourist has become known for. Add in another catchy ass chorus and the Colourist has a second straight massive hit on their hands. The last two releases have left me pondering why this band isn't bigger? I honestly have no idea.

Cook: Smoky Sweet Potato Banh Mi

To help us beat the mid-week doldrums, we had a dip day at work on Wednesday. The normal suspects had already been rounded up and accounted for (hummus, salsa, caramel, queso) so I decided to go a bit off the beaten track and reintroduce myself to this sweet potato pate. While I was elbow deep in smoking some of the finest sweet potatoes known to man, not that way Mr. Stoner, I had an idea. My original use for this smoked sweet potato pate was to spread it on a sandwich roll and put a veggie burger on top. What if I skipped the spreading it part and made the pate the centerpiece of the sandwich? I could probably add some crispy pickled veggies to give the smoky sweet potatoes a nice contrast. I'm feeling a nice ciabatta roll and peanuts would dress the sandwich up nice a tidy and a smattering of miso mayo would seal the deal.

So, after the dip was done, I took some leftover sweet potatoes and did just that.

Smoky Sweet Potato Banh Mi (adapted slightly from Earthy Feast)

For the sweet potatoes:
-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise into quarter inch slivers
-2 Tbs. vegetable oil
-dash of liquid smoke
-a healthy sprinkling of smoked salt

For the pickled veggies:
-3 carrots, cut into matchsticks
-4 radishes, cut into matchsticks
-1 cup of water
-1/4 cup of lemon juice
-1 Tbs. of salt
-1 Tbs. of sugar

For the Miso Mayo:
-2 Tbs. vegan mayo
-1 Tbs. miso
-1 tsp. Tamari

-handful of peanuts
-ciabatta rolls

1. To make the pickled veggies, bring the lemon juice, water, salt and sugar to a boil. Place the matchstick veggies in a glass jar with a lid and pour the lemon juice mixture over top. Put the lid on and then chill in the refrigerator until your sandwiches are ready to assemble.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large metal bowl, mix the sweet potatoes, smoked salt, pepper, liquid smoke and vegetable oil. Make sure the sweet potatoes are covered with the oil and spices and then place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes. You'll know they are ready to go when the sweet potatoes are tender. Be careful not to burn them.

3. Mix all the ingredients for the miso mayo in a small bowl.

4. Slice the ciabatta roll. Slather one side with the miso mayo. Top with three or four slivers of sweet potato. Add the pickled veggies on top. Finish with a handful of peanuts and the top of the ciabatta roll. Bon Appetit. 

This dish sounds like this.