Monday, March 28, 2011


so, my favorite band of the moment is the naked and famous. if mgmt, passion pit, and (insert cool girl singer here) ____ had a baby, this band would be their baby. see for yrself.
this song is called punching in a dream.

you may notice a theme in this week's "mixtape," in that i seem to be digging heavily on the electro-pop scene. what can i say? i just wanna dance. and this music moves me. hope it moves you, too.
so, without further ado, my musical mix-mastery for the week:

faux fir - baggage claim

fm belfast - frequency

ratatat - neckbrace
mgmt - flash delirium 
yoko ono & john lennon- every man has a woman who loves him

talking heads- i feel it in my heart
al green- keep me crying
the gossip- are you that somebody (aaliyah cover)
yacht- psychic city

electrelane- cut and run
tobacco- fresh hex (feat. beck)

glass candy - beautific
discovery - can you discover?

* sidenote: for all us lucky milwaukee inhabitants, both ra ra riot & yacht will be rocking our fine city very soon (April 13th & May 6th)! both shows are under 15 bones @ turner hall, and are going to be awesome. so, obviously, you will want to be there!

feast (for) yr eyes...

my favorite salad.

this salad has been the star of my latest dinner parties. so simple. so refreshing. perfect for summer. which, i'm assured, will make it to wisconsin. eventually. 

a labor of love. the ingredients to my favorite salad.

you can check out my first post ("for starters") if you want the basic gist of how to do it yrself. 

a lunchbox lunch, sans the lunchbox.

simple. vegan. delicious. a "turkey" sando, w/ Trader Joe's reduced fat mayo (which is dairy-free), mustard, lettuce, and cucumber on multi-grain. Vegan Slaw = broccoli slaw (prepackaged makes it easy. but, you can chop up some broccoli, red cabbage, and carrots, if yr feeling ambitious), cranberries, walnuts, pinch of raw sugar, pinch of salt n peppa, dash of white balsamic vinegar, and a dollop of TJ's reduced fat mayo. Sweet Potato Chips. everything on this plate came from Stanley's, which is located in Chicago, and is one of my favorite places for super cheap, yet quality produce.

the "everything but the kitchen sink" salad.

from my fridge: red seedless grapes, baby yellow peppers, and green lettuce. from my freezer: grilled "chicken" strips. from my cupboard: spice house's jamaican jerk seasoning (for the "chicken"), "bacon" bits, and fried onions. for the dressing: green goddess herbs (also from the spice house), white balsamic, olive oil, and a little TJ's reduced fat mayo- all mixed together... dressing needs some work, i'm not gonna lie. but, this salad isn't destined for top chef, it's utilitarian in nature- fill yr belly & clean out yr fridge.

crunchy southern eats.
 i titled this photo, crunchy southern eats, because my latest tryst to chicago reintroduced some long lost lingo back into my vocabulary. for example, crunchy, as in hippie, as in vegetarian. so, my latest dinner was southern veg (an oxymoron of sorts, i'm aware). and, it featured these rock stars: bbq tempeh, ginger-sweet potato mash, brussel sprouts and pea shoots (lightly sauteed in olive oil, finished with lemon juice, and a a pinch of cumin and garlic seasoning). 

red peppers in a white bowl.

my next dinner will feature these bad boys, as stuffed peppers. stay tuned.

Monday, March 21, 2011

a ham for hamm's.

i've never been called classy. well, i have. but, only sarcastically.
however, i have been called a beer snob, very sincerely. and, i would be the first to agree. maybe it's from working at a brewery for a few years, or living in portland, oregon - where delicious microbrews seem to grow on trees; or, maybe it's because as soon as a shitty beer hits my lips, my stomach winces. on the other hand, i love me a good ipa or hoppy red ale. gimme a gumball head or a fixed gear please, because i just can't drink shitty, cheap beer. well, save for one. there's a weakness in my heart for hamm's. it is the one and only low brow beer that my stomach can stomach. no joke.

so this is my ode to hamm's, an american classic, born in the land of sky blue waters, and bearing the words "made in milw, wi." yes, it's very much akin to drinking water, but, what shitty beer isn't? at least it's like drinking deliciously pure and refreshing water. also, it's cheap. never more than 13$ for a 30 pack. hard to beat that, eh?
on top of being tasty and easy on the wallet, i also love how it tends to accompany a shot of jame-o(h!) for around 5 bucks in just about every major u.s. city. just ask for the "hipster special"
yes, my snobby heart goes a flutter for a fancy beer; but, if i had to choose only one beer to drink for the rest of my life, i would choose hamm's.

i highly recommend getting yr daily dose of vitamin h to anyone reading this. well, maybe not recovering alcoholics or under(r)agers (now that my baby brother is reading this blog too).  but, the rest of you are fair game. can you hear that? i'm popping one open right now.
i told you i was a ham for hamm's.

mixtape monday(ze)

so, last night i had one too many at a new (well, new to me) bar in riverwest. on what is normally a sleepy and slow sunday at the bremen cafe, margaret, the cute and hipstery bartender, has come up with a rather refreshing idea of how to get folks to come see her. she calls it 'local love,' and only plays music made in wisco or by wisconsinites.  now here's the backstory, ever since a crackhead shot the cafe up over a year ago, after getting his wi-fi access cut off because he never bought anything, i have avoided that place like the plague. i mean, he shot up an empty bar, so fortunately, no one got hurt. but, he missed his target, and you just never know with that kind of crazy. however, enough time had passed (i hoped), and i was intrigued to see if one could fill an entire night with only locally grown music. i was even more curious to hear what such a mix would sound like. you know what? it sounded pretty damn good. i heard some jail, faux fir, juiceboxx (love it!), celebrated workingman, bon iver (i questioned this one, and turns out that justin vernon is from bumblefuck, wi. like i said, i had one too many, so i don't recall the exact town, might have been la crosse?). and, of course, the wildbirds were on that mix, too (some of whom were also at the bar, playing words with friends on their smart phones i might add, in games against each other. like true nerds. and don't worry, i'm not talking shit, i said this to their faces as well). but, i digress.

so, here's the point, after getting my live music fix with the cold war kids recently, and then discovering/re-discovering how awesome wisconsin musicians are, i wanted to spread my musical bliss around. thus, in my slighlty hazy and hungover condition, mixtape monday(ze) are born.

*sidenote: there was also a drunken idea thrown around last night, about tossing in a hater moment or two in this blog, despite my mission statement of it being about things i love, and i believe the first hater moment was to be sponsored by terrible jeans. in the light of day, the whole hating on terrible jeans was a terrible idea, but it was so terribly awful, i felt compelled to share. now, without further ado...

here's what my mix for the moment looks like (i added a few links so you can hear what is sounds like too):

kid cudi-mojo so dope
ratatat & kanye- diamonds
chromeo- needy girl
mumford & sons- roll away your stone
radiohead- little by little
yeasayer - one
fm belfast- vhs
the gossip- love long distance
neon indian- deadbeat summer
empire of the sun- walking on a dream
kid cudi ft. cage & st. vincent- maniac
the heavy- short change hero
cold war kids - finally begin
the naked and famous - young blood
the wildbirds - when i'm with my friends (see a video of this song at
al green & jay-z- can't knock the hustle (this is from the green album, which remixes al green's music with hip hop classics- you need this! and you can download it here -->

Sunday, March 20, 2011

music to my ears.

i can still hear nathan willet’s soulful voice in my head. i was craving live music like a junkie in need of her next fix. yes, the situation was that dire, and my need was that great. and now, after seeing the cold war kids at the rave last (last) saturday, i can happily say that i am sated. if you don’t know who the cold war kids are, do yourself a favor and check them out! i'm addicted to their latest album, mine is yours. here’s a little taste of them live. (unfortunately, i’m still finessing how to film and dance at the same time, so if you’re prone to motion sickness, you may want to close yr eyes and just listen).


Thursday, March 10, 2011

for starters.

what better place to start than at the beginning.
like most adults scavenging their pasts to locate themselves in the present, i've come to a clichee and all too common conclusion. i blame my mother, for, well, just about everything. okay, not everything. but, i do blame her for my inability to censor myself or to control the volume of my voice. i blame her for my crazy, my spontaneity, my incurable desire to keep it moving, to never stop dancing, laughing, or loving.
but, most of all, i blame her for my insatiable appetite.
partially, because she has always told me i could have anything i wanted, do anything i wanted, be anything - you know, the classic mother spiel. but moreso, it is because she is the most amazing cook.

on any given night, atop her blazing, fire-engine red, oversized, dining room table, the most lavish, extravagant feasts just seem to materialize out of thin air. it doesn’t matter if it’s for two people or a large entourage of family and friends- which is more often than not the case. it’s all the same to her. sometimes for my mother, cooking is an all day love affair. sometimes, it takes her no time at all. what is so absolutely amazing is that the quality of the meal is always the same; no matter what the cuisine, it is always delicious. it is always genuinely rich, full of flavor and love, and she seems to do it effortlessly.

on the occasions when i am lucky enough to find myself seated at her ridiculously large red table, i tend to find myself in a food coma by the end of the night. this is because i ignore my body’s pleas to put the fork down, for the love of god, just put it down. other times it's because upon receiving her dinner invitation, i will say - why no i haven’t eaten yet, i’ll be right over- all the while shamefully staring at what is now destined to be my first dinner of the night.
portion control has never been my strong suit.

and so, i eat.
i cook.
i love to eat.
and, i love to cook. 

even more than these things though, i love to feed other people. hosting dinner parties is one of my absolute favorite things to do in life. sure, gratitude and praise is not such terrible motivation. especially, when i get everything just right and i feel it is deserved. but, there’s something so rewarding about nourishing others, whether the job is thankless or thankful.
this, i know i inherited from my mother, and for which i especially blame her. (sidenote: please feel free to go back and substitute the the word 'thank' for each blame, just in case my sarcasm was lost on you the first time).

so, eat my heart, because that is my intention here, to share my perpetual hunger for all that i love and cannot get enough of. mostly, that will be food. 
but, i have been called capricious once or twice before, and my love, while not fleeting, is constantly evolving. so, feast until your full, and then feast some more.
eat yr heart (out). 

i will leave you with a few pictures of my recent (food)loves:

this first picture is from Cafe Gitane in NYC, a french and mediterranean fusion restaurant in Soho.  I'm a firm believer in stealing recipes and improving upon them, although this recipe needed very little improving upon.  i make it all the time now, and it's a hit at dinner parties. it's such a refreshing salad, and so easy to make.
just combine shaved fennel, fresh mint, oranges, avocado, hearts of palm, and arugula. for the dressing, simply mix up some olive oil, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. 
and voila, perfection. 

this second picture features two of my favorite things: my beautiful friend, Dasha, known affectionately among our friends as the "russian destruction," and the inside of my favorite chi-town restaurant, Lula's Cafe. Featured on our table is their chickpea and sweet potato tagine with arugula, cinnamon, harissa, and couscous, a side of olive-oil and dill marinated beets, and my personal favorite/star of many a dinner parties i've hosted, pasta yia-yia. i love this recipe for its simplicity, all you need is butter, brown sugar, garlic, feta, cinnamon, and bucatini pasta. 
cook the pasta, melt some butter (well a lot of butter actually, sometimes i kind of halve the butter needed and add olive-oil, just so i can stave off my impending heart attack for a few more years. i mean, i love this recipe, but it is by no means good for you, like a lot of the foods i love. but, i digress) then sautee the garlic (in the butter or oil) until you get the awesome garlic aroma filling up your kitchen and it's starting to brown, add dashes of brown or raw sugar to taste, add in the feta and let it melt a bit. when the sauce is ready, toss it with the cooked pasta, and then garnish with some cinnamon sprinkled on top and some more feta. and voila, perfection. 

this picture is celebrating brussel sprouts. they are probably the least appreciated, most loathed vegetable. but i am their number one fan. dressed up or down, these bad boys are delish. i'm pretty sure they are good for me, too. like asparagus, or spinach, a tiny bit of olive oil (or butter for the less healthy minded), lemon juice, salt & peppa, and they are ready to go (hot or cold). love 'em. 

now, this last picture while not the most aesthetically pleasing, embodies the most direct route to my heart: 
CARBS. especially, potatoes. i'm like that guy from forest gump who loves shrimp so much, only my shrimp are potatoes. seriously. so, this picture was taken on an especially hungover day at Hamburger King's in Chicago (known as Chester's to the regulars). the place is run by a korean woman named, Sonia, who has a pimp's limp and a warm smile. she also gives off the vibe that she is a woman not to be messed with, maybe it's the limp...  but, i digress. this place is a chicago classic, serving asian fare alongside your standard greasy spoon type stuff. they are known for their rice and gravy, and a few other asian dishes i can neither spell nor pronounce, so i will not even try. needless to say, if you find yourself hungover in chi-town, and near wrigleyville, find this place. go there. and, eat a lot.