Wednesday, April 28, 2010

meanwhile, back at the taqueria

Life has been making it hard to blog! All good stuffs -- dinners with friends and trips to Jacksonville and pokings at projects for Angela and Christopher. I've got a bunch of half-finished food posts to toss at ya over the next several days. Meanwhile, a couple things I missed telling you about:

Adam started posting the rest of the Burrito Blade story on Monday, in short-story format. New bits will be posted every Monday/Wednesday/Friday until we're done.

Adam also posted our newest joint Consumerism Wow venture -- here's a quick preview.

Thing #2

gauntlets from ThinkGeek

Lauren: First off, can I say that I love how ThinkGeek filed this under “Tech Jewelry”? I love that. But you want this not only because of cute labeling. You want this because the Evil got into your hand, it went “bad”, you had to lop it off, and now you’re stuck in the past where you don’t have access to chainsaw fuel. So you’re going to make this sucker mechanical and fight some more of the Evil dead. Except I’m not sure how you’re getting Internet access in the past, and come to think of it, this is really not the first thing I’d order online if I were trying to fight Evil with temporally limited resources. Not very clever, Adam.

Adam: Oh sure, use my remaining Internet Into The Future time to berate me for my ordering choices. Nice one. No, silly. I want this so that when I go around dope slapping people upside the head it will be a Dope Slap of Dooooom. Dooooooooooom, I tell you! None shall mess with DOOM! Damn that Richards! DAMN HIM TO… Oh, sorry, where was I?

Click through to Adam's blog to see the rest!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

alas, poor Burrito

Many of you who read Burrito Blade, the webcomic drawn by Renato Pastor that I've been editing for and sometimes co-writing with Adam P. Knave for the past year or so, have probably already heard the news: we're not going to be able to continue doing the comic anymore. It feels sad and strange for us to cut our readers off in the middle of a storyline, so we're working on getting the rest of the story out of Adam's head and onto a computer, and we should start posting those abridged storybits at next week.

Working on BB has been an adventure for all of us -- it was the first epic, episodic, ongoing project that any of us had taken part in. I browse through the archives and can see all three of us growing, stretching, and growing again in loops of ever-increasing awesomancy. The story morphed along with us, and our own characters surprised us. I think that in some ways, Burrito Blade outgrew us. I wish I could hit the reset button and start the whole project over again with the experience and confidence that I've gained from working on it -- I feel like I could do it such better justice now.

There'll be new rad projects to bend those skills to, but I'll miss Burrito Blade. Here's sending all the soft tortilla-wrapped thanks in the world to Adam and Renato for having me on the project, with a spicy side of gratitude to Maria and D. J. for having our backs.

And hey, thank you, reader, for making room for our story in your life. I hope we'll be able to give you a new one to fill the gap we're leaving, and soon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

EAV and Morningside eating

I got out to Rosebud with some ladyfriends a couple weeks back… it was the very beginning of patio season, and theirs is a gorgeous one. My entrée of free-form pork ravioli in a smoky, slightly sweet mushroom gravy was too heavy and altogether soft for my tastes, but my friend's duck risotto with sage was bright, earthy, and al dente, just the thing for open-air dining. The real gem of the evening was our appetizer of duck & sweet potato croquettes, served with sharp and creamy goat cheese and a spicy-sweet dipping sauce. I could've eaten a whole meal worth of that. The cocktails I tried, one a gin, ginger, and blueberry cider martini (called a Blue Philly) and one a lavender-infused gin & tonic with a bit of egg white foam (called a Bathtub Gin), both lacked flavor punch but were dangerously smooth and drinkable.

Still in the throes of my Spring patio love affair, I got out to the EARL for lunch -- I'd only ever been there for a) Sunday brunch, and b) ridiculously drank concerts. Don't let the double-plus divey dive-bar part fool you -- the EARL serves better pub fare than most restaurants. My black bean burger was a bit too moist & soft (read: fresh) to stay together in its tender (read: also fresh) bun, but it was so tasty that I didn't mind. I ordered it with their Guacamole Burger toppings (guac, cheddar, & salsa), which were a terrific compliment to the slightly spiced, grill-kissed black bean patty. Their sweet potato fries (which they don't charge extra for as a side) were excellent -- thick-cut, crisp & crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and salted -- and the cranberry horseradish sauce that they came with was punchy-hot and more bitter than sweet, which provided an I-can't-believe-more-places-don't-do-this contrast to the flavor of the sweet potatoes. I think I just had a Terrapin Rye, but they've got a full bar (durr, see above re: drank).

In a rare in-EAV-for-the-second-time-in-a-week occurrence, I stopped in at East Atlanta Thai & Sushi (which always seems to be playing Latin music -- I sorta adore cultural schizophrenia) on a Monday night and sampled their dollar sushi menu. It was actually $2 for 2 pieces of selected nigiri or a 6-piece maki, which, despite some technical inconsistencies with the advertisement, is still a great deal. They didn't skimp on the cuts of fish, which were all of perfectly acceptable quality. The salmon was particularly nice, and the spicy tuna roll was non-creamy and sinus-clearing. A few nitpicks: their edamame was a bit undersalted, their wakame salad was a bit over-sesame oil'd, and their sushi rice was overchilled. But if you're in the area and looking for an inexpensive, sushi-laden meal, it's a thing I'd recommend. Bring your best banter -- the chef (who slipped me an extra pair of tuna nigiri, which I love him for) can be boisterous. I didn't have any drinks, but they have a full bar.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

homegrown comedy semifinals tonight

Remember how my friend Thomas Jenkins was entering Laughing Skull Lounge's Homegrown comedy competition? Well, enter he did! And he made it to the semifinals! See, other people DO think he's funny. The aforementioned semifinals are happening tonight (Wednesday, April 14th) at 8:00 pm at the Laughing Skull Lounge -- which is hidden behind the bathrooms in the Midtown location of The Vortex and is possessed of as much hipstier-than-thou insolence as you'd expect from a Vortex affiliate. There's a $10 cover (cash only) AND a two-drink minimum (also cash only, with a menu limited to basic beers and liquors, and starting at 2 or 3 bucks for bottled water), and no food is served in the Lounge. Um, honestly I can't recommend the location (I put up with the Vortex 'tude from people who work in Litte 5; people who work some 600 feet from the Margaret Mitchell House get less leeway), but I'm psyched for Thomas and the other kids who're competing, so I'll be there. The winners from this round will perform at the Atlanta Dogwood Festival this weekend! You should come out, too?

Friday, April 9, 2010

road trip & birthdays: HUGE SUCCESS

A certain dreamthrum and I road tripped down to Florida a couple weekends ago for our friends Maria and Mr. Melee's (completely rockin' karaoke booth) birthday party. Goofy pictures forthcoming -- though you can spot a couple on Maria's blog. (That was Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" we're singing in this photo. I really, really wish I could know what line that was picture was snapped during, 'cause it was apparently v. serious.) In the meanwhile, a few places that made the trip nearly as rockin' as a dozen mostly sober adults completely nailing The Humpty Dance:

Young Blood Gallery & Boutique, Poncey Highlands, Atlanta, Georgia
I do a lot of gift shopping for like-mindedly indie-chic geeks at Young Blood Gallery 'cause they carry pop-punky household items, art, t-shirts, jewelry, and accessories that're handmade by mostly local artists and crafters. It's a sort of the Best Of Etsy In 3 Dimensions, so my friends get one-of-a-kind gifts and I get to support rad creative people. Win all around. This time, I found a shirt for Mr. Melee featuring a giant plant destroying a city (in the style of Audrey II?) and a block-print cupcake tea towel and a pretty, leafy silver necklace for Maria (none of which are featured in their online store, or I'd link you to them.) There are sometimes even parking spots available out front. Check the sale table by the cash register for reasonable prices on shiny things.

A New Deal Cafe, Gainesville, Florida
Adjacent to Mildred's Big City Food, New Deal has longer hours and a lighter menu (lighter on the belly & the wallet), but shares a lot of Mildred's highfalutin' kitchen & waitstaff. They feature local ingredients and have an incredibly craveable dessert selection. Also, they gave me an I've-been-living-in-Atlanta-too-long wake-up call: We ordered fried squidbits, a tasty if overly toasted sandwich, the seafood special (a creamy, just-tender risotto with shrimp & andouille), 2 double espressos (road fuel), and a big slice of Chocolate Corruption cake for Maria. And our bill was like 40bux. So, yeah. It's maybe 10 minutes in off of I75, but completely worthwhile. Especially during patio weather. If you save room for dessert, one of my favorite things on this planet is their Chocolate Mousse Bombe, but you shouldn't try a slice unless you want to be addicted for life.

Ha Long Bay Vietnamese Cuisine & Dim Sum, St. Petersburg, Florida
We go to Ha Long Bay for dim sum every time I'm in St. Pete, and their steamed buns are some of the best I've ever had. We always go for late breakfast/early lunch, get iced coffees (the kind that come as a sort of DIY kit, with a tiny single-serving brewing pod of the strongest coffee imaginable laced with sweetened condensed milk, a long spoon, and a glass of ice) that I promptly crack myself out on, squee about the adorable toddlers there with their families, order too much food, and receive stern judgment from the creatures temporarily living in the wall of aquariums that separate the far end of the dining room from the kitchen. If you go, you must order the steamed barbecue pork buns (caramelized chunks of pork in a smoky-sweet sauce, encased by perfect pillowy bread), the steamed ginger-pork dumplings (bright and juicy ground pork and ginger in a delicate wonton wrapper), the fried rice-dough dumplings (piquant ground pork and leeks wrapped in my favorite-ever thick, chewy rice dough with a crisp, crackly outer coating), and the steamed custard buns (creamy, uberthick custard in that terrific pillowy bread). Mix your own dipping sauce from the vinegar, soy, and chili paste on the table, and don't be afraid to ask for explanations when choosing dishes from the friendly cart attendants (the young man who works there speaks the best English, but all of the waiters are happy to help).

Kroaky's Karaoke, Sarasota, Florida
Recently taken over by a tiny lady manager who kicks proverbial ass, Kroaky's has both a public stage and private rooms for karaoke. Maria & Mr. Melee rented one of those private rooms -- basically a huge table with wrap-around booth seating but with full walls for privacy, on one of which a flatscreen is mounted. Though the controls for the system were a little counterintuitive and most of us were at least a little inebriated, we killed about as much Bon Jovi, Journey, Lady Gaga, Little Mermaid, Fergie, Fiona Apple, Deee-lite, and Little Shop of Horrors as you might imagine a group of dorktacular 20 & 30-somethings would. Their song selection is extensive -- the only thing we really missed was RENT, which, honestly, was maybe better for the Universe anyway. The wait staff were attentive to and genuinely amused by us, the drinks (non-liquor only) were reasonably priced (including awesome beer specials, like $3 Abita and Terrapin bottles), the room was clean and well-ventilated, and although we didn't try anything from their food menu, it did exist. If you like the singing part of karaoke but are hesitant about the being-on-stage part, I highly recommend finding a place with booths as nice as the ones at Kroaky's. And friends who rock as hard as ours. Though if you have to settle for slightly less-rockin' friends, no one will blame you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

chocolate as only the '80s could do

Just a quick note of foreshadowing:

Occasionally my Jewish grandmother sends me things that she's had around for a while and thinks I'll dig. (I'll favor you with a picture of her fabulous vintage '60s aprons as soon as I can set up an appropriately Mad Men/Bioshock-y photoshoot.) Last week, she sent three back issues of Chocolatier magazine (which has apparently become in the meanwhile) from 1985 and 1986.

Chocolatier Magazine issues from 1985 and 1986

Oh yes. 1985 & '86. You know what that means. And if you don't know what that means, allow me to demonstrate via a snapshot of a featured spread from the Autumn 1985 issue:

A Chocolatier Magazine spread from Autumn 1985: Remarkably Modern Mousses

There's gonna be a mousse party up in here.

Friday, April 2, 2010

girl talk thursday friday: wearing awesome stuff

I haven't written an entry for Girl Talk Thursday in… 29 weeks. That's more than two, which is a lot. I'm chiming in on this one 'cause it's a thing that buzzes around in my brain a lot but rarely comes to the forefront of my thoughts, and I'm trying to change that. 'Cause feeling sexy/powerful/awesome is, well, awesome, and what I'm wearing hella crazy affects whether I feel those ways. (This is something I possibly only became aware of in the past 3 years. Guys, it's an excellent thing to be aware of. Even if it leads me to arrive late to every social event I'm nervous about [aka most of them] 'cause I feel that if I can just find the perfect outfit, everything else will fall into place.) So, what makes me feel sexy/powerful/awesome?

Dresses + heels. This one occasionally makes the feminist in me want to punch the Universe in the face, but for serious, strangers treat me differently -- more respectfully and graciously -- when I bother to put on a well-fitting dress and a pair of heels. This leads to my feeling like some kind of adult human being, which is an elusive thing for me so I sorta bask in it when it happens.

Cute bras that fit really well. Okay, so I'm busty. You might think this is auto-awesome. But with the wrong bra, it's less sexy and more saggy/slouchy. For years I thought that my only two choices were to a) wear a cute, padded, boob-wrangling bra that fits poorly and makes me uncomfortable or b) wear a huge, full-coverage, unpadded bra that technically fits but makes me feel like an old lady. And then I spent two hours trying on everything in Macy's lingerie department that seemed vaguely cute and me-sized, regardless of price. I tried a few different band and cup sizes with each brand and model, 'cause even with sizes that are ostensibly measured in something so concrete as inches, there was noticeable variance. And I found a couple bras that are cute and fit me, both, and I splurged on them and brought my lunch to work a few extra times over the next few weeks. They make my clothes fit better. Seriously, best time & money ever spent.

Weird jewelry. My day-to-day jewelry collection is a conglomeration of odd things I've made wearable (like old keys, transistors, and bits of ribbon), geeky handmade things (like my glass squid pendant or typewriter key earrings), and artsy things I inherited from my mother (think deco nouveau). I love feeling creative, supporting independent artists, and wearing things that have stories and memories behind them. And I suppose this is a little postmodern of me, but I love featuring the beauty of everyday objects. Things don't have to be new or expensive to be pretty! And when I wear weird jewelry as ornaments to classy work outfits, I feel less like The Man.

Chunky boots. I know, this is so 1995 of me, but I heart my Docs and riding boots. Steel toes and one-inch heels make me feel like I can take on the world.

So what do you wear that makes you feel sexy/powerful/awesome?