Ok, Now I Miss Seattle A Little

danieltalsky | NYC,Seattle | Friday, October 14th, 2011

(excellent photo by Jeremy Hurd used without permission, hopefully there's forgiveness)

Ok, ok, I'll admit it. Seattle has its charms. For one thing, I seriously miss The Stranger.  The Village Voice just doesn't have the same unified snarky voice and dedicated approach to local news.  Sure I can read it online, but I love pulling it's vibrant cover done by a local artist out of the box and then sitting down to devour it in one sitting with coffee.  Sometimes Savage Love first, sometimes Last Days first.

I miss spaciousness.  Even the major drug store chains in Manhattan are packed in with tiny little inventories and barely enough aisle space for two people to brush past.

I miss beers for five dollars or less.  A seven or eight dollar pint of beer is super normal here.

I miss the hills.  It's so cool to be on Capitol Hill and look out down Denny and see Queen Anne Hill off in the distance.

I miss everyone looking for a roommate, instead of everyone looking for a place.  When I tell people I'm looking for a place they say, "Are you looking for fee or no fee?"  Like, that's a thing!  Many apartments here are brokered.  Like, what kind of question is that?  I'm like: I want an apartment.  If someone's going to ransom it then let's hear how dear the ransom is!

I even miss the stupid fire dancing and burlesque everywhere.  I'm sure they have that in NYC, but in Seattle all you have to do is play an Aerosmith song and girls suddenly are wearing pasties and spinning fire.

Straight Outta Woodinville: Age Your Own Whiskey

danieltalsky | Seattle | Friday, March 18th, 2011

Props to a local Woodinville distillery for this fantastic idea: they don't have any aged whiskey yet, because they're a new distillery, but they're getting ready to sell their already cool white whiskey(!) along with a mini-barrel aging kit.  Great idea, and one that the snob thinks he might participate in.

TWO June Nights, TWO Lovely Shows

danieltalsky | Concerts,Reviews,Seattle | Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Well, I actually went out and listened to some actual real live local music.  People like Seattle Show Gal do this all the time, but for me, I don't take a chance on new local stuff as often as I could.  Maybe I should be a little sweeter and a little less snobby.

Tonight I went to see experimental guitarist Bill Horist.  I've seen experimental music that was much more experimental wanking than experimental music IMHSO.  I mean, believe me, I believe in whatever kind of performance people can get other people to show up for!  But a few random atonal noises every few seconds on the trumpet doesn't make me personally show up twice.

What Bill did was both experimental and music, so kudos to him.  He played two long pieces: one with an acoustic guitar and some weird electronic box, and after saying he was going to come back from an intermission "as another person" he played an electric guitar number.

The acoustic number filled the space for sure… he combined strange whirring feedback from the box with cyclical, looping guitar phrases.  At times I just let my head slack in my hands and just moved my body in similar looping motions with my eyes closed.

When he came back, he set the guitar on his lap, and shoved a porcupine-style letter holder in the strings and proceeded to play it with a bow (see photo above).  In time he abused his strings with cymbals, long bent metal sticks, and a few hemostats clipped to them.  Sounds like just messing around, but he did manage to consistently make interesting and different sounds with each new instrument.   After the show, I couldn't resist taking a picture of his tray of tools.  Holy crap, I wonder what it would have been like if he'd used the electric toothbrushes!

Last night I saw another cool show by local band Pillow Army, as a part of a benefit for Noise for the Needy.

I went because the drummer has been a true pal to me and has been cutting my hair better than anyone for the last two years.  So, I finally got to see his band and meet his lovely wife.  In the barber's chair, he told me (a little ruefully) that his band was "kind of like a nerdy Arcade Fire".

I didn't really see that myself, other than that they had a small string section (violin and cello).  They didn't have any of the crescendo addiction of Arcade Fire, and instead played an 11-song set of rollicking energetic, bluegrass-inspired numbers with intelligent lyrics.

The lead singer is a straightforward singer who sang energetically and with humility… although in the end I wished he'd ditched a little of the humility and turned on some of the star power and gave it his all.

Some songs really worked, like the cello-driven The Price, and the radio-ready drug/relationship number, Codeine.  (You can hear both.)  Some songs (I didn't catch the titles) put a snooze on the crowd, without enough to distinguish themselves.  All in all though, I was glad to be there and loved the energy of a band playing a late Thursday night set and really showing some spirit.  The kazoo number kicked ass.

And last but not least, another shout out to Noise for the Needy, which throws summer shows every year to benefit a charity.  This year, Teen Feed, which feeds and provides outreach for the most vulnerable almost-adults out there on the streets having to act a little more grown-up than they really should have to.

Thanks to Pillow Army, Bill Horist, Holly, and my girlfriend for showing me a good time!

A Two Night Stand at "How to Cook a Wolf"

danieltalsky | Restaurants,Reviews,Seattle | Thursday, April 9th, 2009
How to Cook a Wolf

How to Cook a Wolf is the trendy Upper Queen Anne restaurant I wanted to hate, but I have failed.  Turns out that not only does it have a sexy decor that packs the place until late, but they really know how to serve a good, human meal that leaves me feeling nourished and excited.

I went in once about a month ago for drinks (it's very close to my house).  Queen Anne is a kind of fancy neighborhood, but not the kind of place where a trendy restaurant would normally go.  It's a bit of a credit to the 'hood that you can even get a drink at 11pm.  They made us some kind of crazy pear margarita and, even though we were already full from dinner, we got some olives, just because the place looked so cool.  

The olives were Castlevetrano… a rich, meaty bright-green kind that my girlfriend loves.  They seriously are some of the best, and we vowed to make it back.

A month or so later, we did.  We got the Octopus Salad, the Baked Polenta, and the Spaghetti.  Japansese food has honestly soured me to octopus, but this was thick slices tossed with some kind of crisp bean (Controne) and parsely.  It was meaty and nourishing and… we ate it with the gusto it was clearly designed for.  The polenta was a super moist, milky polenta.  Two rounds of it, baked crisp on the outside and sitting in a kind of rich, cheesy soup.  My girl and I don't use serving plates, we just scoop out of the serving dish and it felt totally natural here.  The spaghetti was simple and hearty with a huge pile of cheese on top.  It was tossed with anchovy, garlic and chili.  When we were done, the last few noodles were swimming in olive oil, which, although good, was a little much and discouraged us from eating every last noodle.

When I was there, I saw that they serve dinner every night until midnight.  In my neighborhood, there's nothing else I know of that serves dinner after 10, and I don't have a car.  So last night, after I was done with everything else I needed to do… I got a great idea.  Why not grab my book and walk up to Wolf?

It was such a good idea.  I got there just as the last of the dinner rush had cleared out, and I had the nearly full attention of the bartender.  I didn't get far into my book.  He picked my courses, poured me "half glasses" of wine to pair with everything, and generally made me feel like a king.  I had the Escolar Crudo, the Treviso Salad, and the Meatballs.  God knows what the wines were.  Escolar is a really buttery fish I've had several times before as sushi.  Here, though, they served it with an avacado puree and a little chopped grapefruit on top!

This is what you want to see in a restaurant like this.  They're going to take chances, and more often than not, it's going to work.  The salad was Traviso (something like radiccio) tossed with wine-soaked golden raisins.  The meatballs were just a hot metal oven dish of four hearty meatballs cooked in sauce.

Look, I've been to plenty of fancy restaurants.  I've been to plenty of trendy restaurants.  How to Cook a Wolf is a place that sits me down and feeds me, goddamnit.  That's what I like.

Early Impressions of Homegrown

danieltalsky | Restaurants,Reviews,Seattle | Wednesday, April 1st, 2009
HomeGrown

So when a new restaurant opens in Fremont, land of the upscale tech worker, it's a big deal.

And when it's a "Sustainable Sandwich Shop", that's even a bigger deal.  The also brand new and next door Phở place, Lucky's Phở , was packed with people from day one.  There's already a gourmet sandwich shop in the hood, so the bar is set high.  But I think Homegrown really has legs.  

I had a half sandwich of the Chicken Thigh Sandwich with: bacon, lavender pear butter, goat cheese and mixed greens on whole grain.  It was kinda tiny but it was also under six bucks.  I got a cup of their soup of the day, a chicken chili with hominy and delicious in it.  And a soda… under ten dollars.  This is a lunch place.

It's all wooden and friendly inside.  The feng shui could use a little love but this is good stuff.  There's beer, decent coffee, they compost everything… and they stay open until seven so you can go get an early dinner after work.  

I'll update you when I've tried half the menu.

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