Friday, February 28, 2014

well hello

Heyyyyyy girl! I know you aren't all girls, I just wanted to say that.

Bok Kai tomorrow! I always look forward to it. It's the only small-town parade in my life. One a year is pretty much enough. Let's hope the Clampers class it up with their outhouse-on-wheels and that the Shriner's don't kill anyone while they terrifyingly careen around in their tiny cars.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tasting panel

I am very proud to finally be part of a cover story in the News and Review along with DB and NM! I am happy that NM asked me. The coolest thing we did is a blind tasting panel on Sacramento area IPAs. I can't find it linked online. You should pick up a copy of this ish, anyway. It's really good.

The tasting panel was really fun. Everyone agreed about 90% of the time on the grades which I think lends a ton of credibility. Plus, it was good to finally print honest criticism of some local beers. Not in the spirit of tearing anyone down but in the spirit of spurring on quality. And also some of these places get a ton of press while everyone who writes and discusses privately talks about how some the beers are terrible. For instance, Ruhstaller's Hop Sac got a unanimous F grading. My tasting notes were that it tasted like battery acid. This beer has gotten written up a million times for using local hops and is expensive. I've heard about numerous people pouring bottles of this down the drain. I think a bottle is ten bucks. They can't coast on hype and PR alone! Well, maybe they can.

How wonderful that Berryessa was the top, with Bikedog in second (I actually rated it first) and Track 7 3rd. Smiller had a pint of Track 7 the other day and it was delicious. Even more so than the growler for the tasting panel, which was not as carbonated and cold. Greatly improved and that's awesome. I like going out there so now I can get really good beer, too.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


This is so meta I can barely even follow it but I like it.  "Everything's unique that it's not unique anymore. Especially in New York". Basically just a continuation of 90s rehashing but less flamboyant.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

memorable meal

Dudes, I had the BEST meal at Magpie last night. We took smiller's mom there for her birthday. We often go to Waterboy for special occasions, and I will always love it but I realized that the food at Magpie was even better. We had: the mussels with fennel and thyme (always reliably delicious), grilled bread with olive tapenade, their classic polenta. For our entrees they split the chicken for two which, again, is reliably incredible. I had the ling cod special with a marinade that had a perfect hint of sweetness and a smattering of super earthy-tasting pea shoots. Scott had a hearty, saucy dish of corned pork that feel apart with tenderness. We ended with a quartered carrot ginger ice cream sandwich, with ice cream from Gunther's no less! The service was attentive and the pace was nicely slow, rivaling that of a fine dining place. The server put a candle in the sandwich. It was a special night.  The atmosphere makes it casual but everything else would not have been out of place in a white tablecloth joint. I really need to eat there more and get that chicken for two again soon. They confit the legs separately from the breast, which probably accounts for the juiciness of the breast.

Monday, February 24, 2014

"El Chapo" Guzman

Hmm...just got my blog stats for last week and my hits are way down. Guess that explains the not much commenting. Maybe everyone stopped tuning in during my repeat navel gazing about my writing or lack thereof. I don't think I will be engaging in that any time soon. It was nice to hear from the chef at block last night that he liked it. That alleviated my anxiety and he high fived me when I told him it got 1700 page views, partially cuz of haters. We did another preview of Blackbird and one of another place is coming up soon so stay tuned.

Why do people have to set classic plays in another time period? I saw a post-apocalyptic Macbeth that was a real stinker recently, and now Big Idea theater, which I really like, is staging The Merry Wives (another Shakespeare play - I've not heard of it) in the old west. It's just a distraction! Even setting it just in modern times would be better IMHO.

Have you guys hear about "El Chapo" Guzman getting arrested in Mazatlan. It's so fucked and I'm so scared for Maz. Their tourism was up over 10% this year after years of tourists and cruise ships staying away, mostly because of one Canadian tourist who got shot in the leg. The dude said he would go back even. Believe me, despite the drug violence NO tourists are involved. You would read about it. Doesn't mean it's not scary at times, and no one wants to be scared on vacation. To boot, it's Carnival in Maz this week (second biggest in the world). Great timing Mexican government.

Anyway, it's just another example of the government not caring about the people. They know it could bring more violence and jockeying for position between the cult-like and quasi-religious Knight of Templar (Michoacán) and the absolutely psychotic actions of the Zetas (Northeast). They are the ones who do that decapitating Breaking Bad-type shit for the most part, and they started it.

The governments response to the possibility of more warring is to say that they are going to strike harder than ever. I hate this. I am worried for my mom and her adopted hometown. People practically starve when the tourism goes away. Some of her neighbors can't afford school supplies or meals during the day. She tries to give them what she can.

My mom is really excited about Carnival. She signed her last email to me "love you and party on". I guess loving to party runs in the family. I inherited the party gene.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Outkast relevant?

Interesting post on "we eat so many shrimp" blog about the legacy of Outkast. Outkast are going the festival route this summer and there was a lot of talk about how young kids are like "who the hell is that?" and that they are ignorant. I agree with this post that they don't get played any more and that they pretty much never get shout-outs in modern songs that I've heard unlike the constant shout outs and homages that, for instance, Drake gives to old Cash Money. Makes sense cuz he's on it! 2 Chainz gives overt homage to "back that azz up" on "used to" and the boys even cameo in it. I've mixed this song into the Juvenile track to greate effect. Well as much as I can mix anything.

Listening to Speakerboxx/Love Below you realize how uneven it is and how it could have easily been one album. Didn't Pitchfork rate it the best album of the year one year? Bullshit. Big Boi still sounds relevant, however, and his solo stuff is underrated.

that said, they were hugely important to me at the time and I saw them open for lauryn hill before they blew up.

Speaking of, Heckarap tonight and maybe I will play this song. I did once and it killed as far as I remember. Things always get a little fuzzy when I'm djing. I get nervous and drink too much, plus I'm at the press for like 5 hours. DJ Swiftumz is guesting with deep Bay Area cuts.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

day off!

Nothing better than a weekday off where it's beautiful outside and you pack a ton of fun into the day. 8 hours when I could have been mostly sitting on my ass doing paperwork or whatevs and instead I had lunch at Magpie with Charles, walked to the mall and got some awesome lipstick, met Scott at Lowbrau where we unexpectedly ran into friends and chilled for hours. I had a Faction Pale, a Mikkeller chipotle porter (the spice seems to have mellowed out but it's still delicious) and then David Steinberg started going off creating cocktails for us. It was fun to give feedback since he was either making them up on the spot or making ones that he has been working on for Block. One of mine had Averna and bourbon and something else I don't remember. Or maybe that was it. If I wrote that on Foodways someone would say I was a total idiot and I'm like tell me something I don't know, bub. VA had something that had Violette in it that was this awesome grey color.

I got a taste of Rhum Agricole (the clear kind) for the first time. What an interesting, complex spirit. We also looked up presidential trivia as it related to drinking in tribute to President's Day. I ate the duck fat fries AGAIN. Fun!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Tet! Tet! Tet!

I forgot my wallet at Lowbrau if that tells you what kind of night it was (fun). We had an SNR thing (this story is going to be AWESOME!) that went from 6-830, I bought a 23 dollar bottle of Logsdon Kriek (worth it) and then I was ready to bounce, but  then somehow I kept not bouncing and different people kept showing up and then I finally ordered food at like 1030 and at some point I left my wallet under a table inside. I'm pretty sure I'll get it back. If not my compulsive splitting up of shit in my wallet since I got robbed would mean I lost around 70 bucks and my ID, but I still have my atm and credit card. Hope it turns up.

Don't forget the Tet festival this weekend. Deets on foodways and I hope you are checking foodways. We've had good weeks the last couple of weeks. It's just gonna get better. We are really trying to recruit new writers.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

mea culpa for rumor spreading

Have you ever been to Cuffs? It has a nice mix of vintage and new stuff. I got a button up new that I LOVE. Short sleeve, grey, tiny white polka dots. They are having a sale and here are a couple of cute things. Both of these would mostly be good for palm springs. I may have to buy the bottom one and just wear it to non-special events.

More importantly, I have a bit of a mea culpa or a setting the record straight-type situation. I met in a small group with a lieutenant in the sac pd, and one who is in charge of nighttime dispatch on weekends and other nights. She came to talk about the crimes. Some facts: 1) the talk of the rape and the beating are the same incident, not 2 separate ones The dispatch log bears this out
2)This is treading on dicey territory, but let's just say the rape  investigation is ongoing. It may not pan out. Which is a weird thing to say, but it seems to be a statement on solid ground.
I hope this does not fuel the rumor mill.
So basically what it comes down to is the purse snatching where the assailant pepper sprayed the woman, which was right by my house. Really bad and this scares me, but it's not something that would really cause an outcry as a (hopefully) isolated incident.
Even better, she showed us actual statistics on the crimes in the midtown/downtown area over the last couple of years and every category of crime is down. She said that sacpd took that rash of robberies and shooting in late 2012 very seriously and created an extra team of cops that patrols at night around the area, sometimes undercover.
The streetlight thing is a city issue, so some of us in the neighborhood may try to pursue that. She highly recommends motion-detector floodlights. Of course this only addresses burglary, which is not my big concern.
As far as walking alone  at night, the police advice is always to view the situation as a criminal would, so there really isn't an argument that a woman alone at night isn't  more vulnerable. That doesn't mean an individual woman can't choose to assess her risks (which these statistics help with) and make her own choices. Most activities carry some risk (skiing, climbing a ladder, driving), so one can take measures to minimize but each person decides their acceptable level. I say this as a safety professional.
My plan is to alter a bit, and keep my exercise walking separate (and early) from my getting somewhere  needs. I plan to ride my bike more to destinations and walk less. As the days get longer I will walk more places. I already sometimes walk somewhere early and then if I stay out late take a cab home. Now that bows is closed I have lost my favorite place to walk anyways.

liquid swords

Wow, GZA Liquid Swords. Bought it on iTunes today. Used to be on constant rotation along with (ha) Dr. Octagon. It makes me think of JB, is that a false memory? I even got into watching kung fu movies for a bit like that classic series Lone Wolf and Cub. Think I'm gonna mix in a mini set of East Coast into Heckarap on Wednesday.  We got guest DJ Swiftumz for some DEEP ASS Bay Area cuts. Looks like our March night might have guest DJ Tyler Pop straight outta Berlin.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

wu tan clan ain't nothing to eff with

NH told me that Wu Tang holds up and boy does it. Unlike anything on, say, No Limit. I will listen to Liquid Swords soon too. I loved that record so much! It's so rad that they took inspiration in numerology and martial arts and shit. it's so much more creative than just rapping about money and hating on women. and the coherence of the production, too. maybe there IS some good east coast rap.

that artmix prom thing is Thursday with best summer ever band. that sounds rad but I have an SNR beerweek story thing. the one time this week I have something planned, figures.

larry now has Friday night at sidetraxxxx and it's really fun. I sure like going out on a Friday as opposed to a sunday and I love sidetraxx. check it out.;

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

fun facts

Super good stuff from The Big Payback, the book about the business of hip hop:

Ice T rolling up in the back of a Rolls Royce to a music convention where there were tons of protestors, including lots of cops from Texas, rolling down the window and flipping them the bird. Then driving away.

How the RZA negotiated one of the best record deals in history, which gave the right for all the members to put out solo records on whatever label they wanted. Also, the fact that they made all the money from their products including Wu Wear stores (which I forgot about!)

Puffy in general. Starting out at like 17. I mean, what do you expect when he got his name from  having a Puffed-up personality? Didn't know that he was regarded by many street artists as representing a bad/glossy trend in hip hop, which has turned out to be more than a trend. Suge Night made some crack at the Source Awards about how you wouldn't see him dancing around in a video.

The beef between Tupac and Biggie seems to be due to a misunderstanding where Tupac was shot in a building where Biggie and Puffy were recording and concluded Biggie was behind it.

Most record executives and magazine editors (including Source and Vibe) were white, and mostly Jewish. Not saying this is good, it's just a fact. But many of them really, really championed rap and unfortunately had more clout to do so.

Monday, February 10, 2014

avoiding writing by writing

Ugh, I have to work sick today! That has rarely ever happened to me because usually I could move things around easily in my old job.

I was looking at the reddit thread about the rash of gnarly crimes around my house (right about the late time I was getting dropped off by a friend at my house a woman was being raped in the bushes one block away) and I also saw a thread about my block butcher bar post on foodways. I was stoked to see it linked and discussed but the only comments are super negative. I guess if you don't know me or my writing or the tone we are going for with foodways that would be your first reaction. also if you are a dork that is into reddit.

but, fair enough. if you have ever written jokes you know that it is very difficult to tell if a joke is funny when you write it. and I know that some of mine are definitely groaners, which maybe I should take out. And I never get edited as far as jokes. But I'm not gonna change and I guess it's better to be talked about than not talked about. Ryan and Rodney want me involved and we started the website together so I gotta stay true to myself and our vision.

But the thing that bugs me is that the three discussions I've seen lately about my writing(2 on fb and one on reddit) I've been accused of not knowing what I'm talking about. I can say that after ten years of writing about food that a lot of the time (not all! I cop to my flaws!) that I fucking know what I'm talking about! I don't know how you prove that to people. and one of course was about writing about rap, which I also know a lot about (at least the rap from late 90s/early 2000s).

I am wrestling with the urge to answer back right now but I will sit on the comment a few hours and maybe not post it. You can't get the last word and as long as I stay off local media I probably won't even hear it, although NM did text a screenshot of it to me last night. A comment where someone said I was probably a tattooed douche from Roseville.

I am not fishing for any praise, cereal. I get a lot of positive reinforcement, too.  I am just voicing my struggle to not feed the trolls and attempt to get an even thicker skin. And also avoiding the piece I need to write for news and review right fucking now.

Also I should keep in mind that people also trolled the thread started by the guy who trying to warn people that his friend had been beaten up in my neighborhood so grain of salt.

here's one of the non-troll comments, which makes me sad. there is also another one about how a guy who lives in oak park and works near barwest has seen exponentially more violence in midtown

"Yeah, I moved up here from Oakland and everyone I meet here is all "don't you feel safer here?"; hell no, I've seen stupider shit in Midtown than I ever did in Oakland (with the exception of the ass who shot at me while trying to run me over because he didn't think cyclists should be on the road)."

Thursday, February 06, 2014


I know you guys are reading, but you are being very quiet. shhhh....

The Barnseyard is back! But different! But better? DB and MC have launched an exciting new movie blog that's going to be really interactive. They are starting their screening series with three different Antonioni movies, which is three Antonioni movies too many. Just watch half of one and you will get the gist. The post on the history of the e street film society is really funny.

I am feeling sick and thought pho sounded good but I am in (fucking) Davis so where to go? The CoHo offers horrible pho, kind of a CoHoHoPho situation if you will. I recently noticed that there is a Pho King 4 in Davis. It could have been there forever for all I know - I just assume all food in Davis is terrible so I don't pay much attention. But I love Pho King 2 in Sac and perhaps it is related?

I walked over there and got seated upstairs in a disgusting carpeted dining room. I get a large pho, which was really a medium as the sizes go small large extra large. I got the steak (note I did not say "rare steak", which is not on offer and the steak is a million miles from rare when it arrives) and brisket. I would not risk getting tendon at an unfamiliar place.

There was a meager plate of thai basil and a few bean sprouts to accompany the pho, the broth of which mostly tasted like salt. The noodles were fine. The meat was brown and meat-ish flavored. I put a bunch of cock sauce in it and it was passable but I won't be eating there again. If it is related to Pho King 2 it is clearly falling prey to the flavor vortex under the causeway that pulls all the goodness out of food.

I'm curious to know what DB thinks of Kiss Me Stupid, the Billy Wilder movie. Dean Martin is pretty funny in it (his toast: drink up and be somebody) but I read that it was supposed to be made with Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon instead of Kim Novak and Ray Winston. Ray Winston really kind of ruins the movie. Anyone else seen it?

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

do it!

Mother last night was great. I had the nutburger, which is really similar to the sunflower one. Heaven, since I rarely make it to the Sunflower. I also had the okra snack, which is awesome, and the deep fried  mushrooms, which taste and feel like oysters. Can't wait till they get beer! Then we finished it off with those motherfucking cookies of my dreams.

Don't forget the Tet festival this weekend! I hope the food is good, but if not you could always browse around and then go eat somewhere around there. Perfect time to go to the banh xeo place way south cuz you will be out of the intense zone. Try the baby clam dish I MEAN IT.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


And just like that my feelings about writing take a turn! I had the most inspirational night last night at Lowbrau. I met Ryan D. and Juli B. about the website and to shoot some stuff and do some interviews there (watch for a 2 part post this week and next week that is going to rule). I am very excited about some goings-on.

Juli writes for the SNR and now Edible and now Foodways (I hope) and she is a really awesome young woman. Smart as a whip. Ryan, is well Ryan (j.k. Ryan!) Then after some great brews and cocktails (nice gin cocktail whipped up for us and then a Faction Triple IPA) and snacks, Phil and Marilyn Eisenberg show up and inspire me again to hopefully be like them when I am their age. Always exploring and excited about something, not to mention cute as a button. They were excited about Yang's Noodles and said a Chinese friend took them. They said it was exactly like eating in China. They also love Mother and have been going all the time.

Then we went to 58 degrees to pick up two bottles of wine that the manager there had recommended to us as "Michele wines" which is pretty awesome if you know what that means. I had a weird and not so great flatbread (it was ok, it had a ton of wild mushrooms but didn't cohere as a dish) and a good glass of cab franc.

I also had a perfect Midtown morning the other day. Stoked on Sac right now as long as I block out facts such as the Kings throwing in 500,000 on a 150 MILLION DOLLAR streetcar project. What percentage is that? 3 percent is that right? I am also LOVING how NIMBY east sac is to stop McKinley Village. I hope it works. I could not make it to the meeting.
 On a brighter note, EH made these nachos for superbowl viewing snacks. CH take note.
On that same day, this is what I had for breakfast at Lalo's along with a Mamey liquado. Diet of champions!

Monday, February 03, 2014

more navel gazing

aw man, last night of Bows was EPIC! I miss it already. It was so cool to see OC ride it out with a smile. She knows she's destined for good things.

I stepped down as associate editor of edible. It was a position I created and now I don't imagine anyone else will fill it. (not saying that someone couldn't! just that mags don't need one) There have been a lot of transitions and the new style of workflow isn't working for me. I still want to contribute and I'm not one to burn bridges and I was worried that some of the headbutting was going to do that.

But more than that it reflects a decrease in my passion for writing about food and writing in general. I've been doing this for a long time and I've written about hundreds of places and I've covered all my favorite places pretty extensively. Sure, a new place that I'm excited about opens here and there (like Yang's!) but as I've mentioned before after so many years of not being able to hit up my favorite places I'm pretty excited to just patronize the same handful of my faves. I thoroughly enjoyed Lalo's yesterday but is there a single angle of Lalo's that I and others haven't explored? I would say no. (PS always have to add that I was first on that scene).

Mendick is a good writer and obviously more passionate about exploring "ethnic" stuff than I have been in over a year and his multiracial heritage contributes to the depth of his knowledge as well. His latest missive hurt my tender feelings a bit. I will just be confident and think that when he says "most writers" he is not talking about me. And his point is super well-taken. Although me saying that will maybe hurt other food writer's feelings (those that read). But he is a brash young buck building his name on the tiny scene.

I think trumpeting that Ayah! blog is a little premature but I hope the dude keeps it up. His latest post is on Quan Nem, a place which I also promoted first, which later led to a BAR review. I'm not saying it was a straight line from my writing to his, I think I helped to get it burbling in the zeitgeist. Despite the iron-clad power of the Bee the patrons are still 90% Vietnamese, which I guess is apropos of nothing. Hey that guy says that on the blog, too!

Sorry to make you say "jesus h. Christ becky you are a piece of work" but I am an excellent self-horn-tooter which has worked well for me in my freelancing and my real work. Ya gotta have confidence, and mine has been hard-won over time.

Anyway, thinking a lot about why I write and why it feels forced and has for more time than I realized until recently. One of the things I'm way past deadline for for edible is the back of the house text for the press bistro. I couldn't think of a place to do that with (I did Maalouf's for the last issue) so I settled for a place that is fine, but where I never go, mostly because of the prices. I think it's solid and have had good times there recently. But I have no passion for it so I feel guilty all the time about blowing deadline. Hopefully I will write it this week?

Anyways, sacfoodways is way more my speed and I think last week was not good enough as far as what I contributed and will try to do better this week. I have been working 9 hour days with no breaks at my job.