Friday, May 28, 2004

Small blog entry.
We had a guest vocalist come into the Subliminal Self "studio" last night, which is the first time since we started (back with the small "Able Bodied" party, which turned out first song) that anyone has sung on a SubSelf track besides Greyson. Dawn Mitchell has provided guest vocals for many local artists, including: State of Being, Lestat and Payle, as well as the band Rioux, which we were in together for a short time. She has a tremendous voice and it was a joy to work with her again. I feel very lucky to have such talents as Greyson and Dawn's around. I suggest you check out her PureVolume site, linked above. Note: she doesn't really have the poofty hair anymore ;)

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"...and I ask myself 'well, how did I here?'"

Originally, to soften the venom of yesterday's post, I was going to write out all the prepacked/processed foods I eat. But, as it turns out, for just this once, I wasn't talking out my ass. I really could not come up with a list. I don't buy anything nuke-able (we don't even have a microwave) and I make all my own sauces. Well, okay, I did come up with one thing: fake meat products. I'm talking soyrizo (which is awesome), fake "hamburgers", "sausages", etc. But, I hope you all will cut me some slack, considering most of that is beyond my culinary scope (except the hamburgers and Genevieve just likes the store-bought ones better :P)

That said, I was able to take a trip in the wayback machine to reveal that..no, it definitely wasn't always like that. At one point, I ate enough prepacked food to grow a third eye. And here they are...my favorite foods, circa 1996!

* Banquet Family Size Salisbury Steaks w/ gravy - yes, family size. The fact that, these alone, did not blow me up to a hefty 300 lbs is a miracle of the teenage metabolism.

* Jeno's Crisp'n Tasty Pizza - Where else can you get a pizza for 1.99? Seriously, my cheap self went through more of these than a human ever should. I thought they tasted like crap even then, but I was just too damn cheap to buy anything else.

* Brand X Frozen Burritos - With my current Mexican food craze, it's hard to imagine a time when a couple frozen burritos were my idea of "ethnic". But, it happened. I say Brand X 'cause, one again, we're talking about whatever brand was cheap/on sale. Therefore, most likely had meat made with discarded cow eyes.

* And..of course...lot and lots of Mac and Cheese...

Note: I am not counting ramen..if you were that age and did *not* eat ramen, you let me know, okay? ;)

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Thursday, May 27, 2004

Teeny-tiny food rants

* Ben & Jerry's now make a Low Carb line of their Ice Cream. Oh Ben, Oh Jerry! Say it ain't so! I will stop now, lest this blog have to be renamed ihateatkins.blogspot.com

* Prechopped Onions - Do you know how long it takes me to chop an onion? Probably 30 seconds or less..for one whole damn onion. That's finely chopped AND giving myself slack. Don't be a wuss, chop your own damn onions. It's not hard.

* Decaffeined Maxwell House Coffee - why?

* People who use the phrase "Life's short, I'll eat what I want" ...before placing their McD order - Though I agree, in part. If life is so short, why are you spending yours eating CRAP. Life's short, spend it eating good food. Maybe it's me, but if my arteries are going to clog and stop, I'd rather have it be because of a crème brulee than a factory produced fried load of corporate glop.

* Related: The idea that good food is either hard to make or too much work - I blame all the insta-crap out there for this. Hot Pockets, Fast Food, Microwave Meals, etc. Good food does not have to take hours to make or involve alot of exotic ingredients. I, in no way/shape/form consider myself a "health nut." It's just that, if I have to put this stuff into my body, shoot, I'm willing to have it take more than 30 seconds for something I can read the ingredient listing on. Powdered, Prepacked & Premade food all propagate the myth that real food is hard to make, which is utter bullshit. For those that have read my blog before, you know that, for awhile, there was a period where I was getting repeated requests for my chipotle salsa. You know how I made that? Stuck two tomatoes and one washed and one deseeded chipotle pepper in a blender with a little salt, then cooked that mix for approx 10minutes in a small pan on high heat, until darkened and thick. Done.

Last note - Good food does not mean low-fat food. It means food that doesn't make your body go "WTF?!"

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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

I'm going to take a minor break today from my music and food blogging to bring you an article from Cool Cleveland that I found particularly disturbing:
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Steel mill becomes big-box retail?
First Interstate Properties, who operate the Avon Commons shopping center in Avon, are proposing a $90 million deal to purchase the huge idle 127-acre steel mill by the Jennings Freeway (Rt. 127) from International Steel Group and convert it into "Cleveland Steelyard Commons," with as many as 15 big-box retailers ranging in size from 20K to 150K square feet for stores like Staples and Home Depot. Mayor Campbell is meeting with the developer this week in Las Vegas at the International Council of Shopping Centers convention.
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As someone who lives just a hop from the steel mills, I know just as well as anyone that the area, as it is now, frankly, looks like the seventh level of hell (Buffalo is the eighth). Buuut, as much as I hate the steel mills, at least they have character, at least, good or bad, they say *something* about Cleveland which makes it different. Now, if you haven't gotten it from my previous posts, I am pretty adamantly against big box stores. Occasionally, yes, I see them as a necessary evil, but the general homogenization of the United States through these stores frustrates me to no end. About a year ago, I took a business trip to Eagan, Minnesota. Though a small plane ride and many hundreds of miles away from home, stepping out of my hotel room, nobody would be able to tell the difference. I could be in North Olmsted, I could be anywhere in the suburban United States. It didn't matter where I was, because it all looked the damn same. I know some people feel some safety in this. They like to know they can find a forest green waste basket anywhere they go. They like to know that their Big Mac in Oregon will taste the same as their Big Mac in Indiana. But, I am not one of those people. When I step out of a plane/train/automobile, I want to know where I am and I want it to be different from where I was.

I'm not going to even get into how I think these stores are like massive temples to constant consumption, I've already strayed too much from my normal food talk.

Well, to make this all somewhat related to my normal posts: I made a sweet potato and bean soup with caramelized onions last night, turned out f'in awesome :) Of course, I didn't write I was doing down at all, so I have no recipe to make it again...

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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Wine Tasting - 5-25-04

To start the evening off, I was running late.
Admittedly, I'd left the house late, but I was making good time on my way to the Tasting when I hit I-480 and -bam- stopped traffic. There was no accident, no closed lanes..just I-480 and rush hour, two things which never mix well. After slugging along in stop-and-go traffic for about 20minutes, I reached the split before 271 and 480 and it was smooth sailing from there. All in all, I was 40 minutes late, which seriously picked at my normally rigid sense of being on-time. For those who don't know (as Genevieve does), lateness bugs me on a deep deep level. I actually have to force myself not to show up at parties right at the time the invite says it starts. Yes, I was the one goob at the goth club at 10:00pm, hours before the cool kids showed up.

Anyways, this tasting was buffet-style, which meant I really didn't have much to do other than soak up the wine, not that I'm argueing, you understand ;)
Mike brought a bunch of deliscious dishes, including: his famous deep-fried tempeh sushi, bruschetta, green beans in a hoisin sauce (which were freggin awesome), a Tlalpeno soup (chipotle soup with chick peas), rosemary roasted red potatoes, a cabbage salad and, of course, Liz's olive oil chocolate cake. I'm sure Mike will let me know if I forgot something, as I'm thinking I did.

Here is the wine list:
1. Carignane 2002 $15.99 per bottle
2. Coturri Views Land Zinfandel 2002 $16.99 per bottle
3. Forsythe Zinfandel 2000 $27.99 per bottle
4. Coturri Workingman's Red Sangiovese Napa Valley 2001 $15.99 per bottle
5. Coturri Cabernet Sauvignon Weiss Vineyards Napa Valley 2000 $19.99 per bottle
6. Coturri Chauvet Zinfandel 2002 $23.99 per bottle
7. Coturri Estate Zinfandel 2002 $32.99 per bottle
8. Coturri Chauvet Zinfandel East Block Old Vines 2002 $27.99 per bottle

My tops were probably the Views Land Zinfandel (a sweet red, which I bought a bottle of) as well the Estate Zin and the Cabernet Sauvignon. Really, I enjoyed all the wines, though the Carignane and Workingman's Red didn't do much for me.

A little bit of side info: All of these wines are organic. That means no pesticides, no sulfites, just naturally produced wines. If you want to find out more, I suggest you check out their site:
here.
which not only goes over their process, but compares it to a convential factory produced winery.

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Monday, May 24, 2004

Oh jeez...so I've been requested to blog about my tamales.
After stuffing my face in San Diego on some seriously good tamales, I returned to Cleveland with a mission: fresh homemade tamales!

Unfortunately, the cookbooks I had were somewhat sparse in their recipes/instructions, so I grabbed a new one for the occasion:
Cocina de la Familiaby Marilyn Tausend,
(honestly, I'd been wanting to pick this up for awhile and was just looking for an excuse...)

The book devotes a whole section to the preparation and production of tamales, detailing everything from your standard pork fare to a spiced pumpkin recipe suitable for dessert. In the end, I used the book just for it's masa prep. instructions rather than filling. For that, I opted for a roasted corn, poblano & cheese mixture. Of course, this whole thing involved a trip to the Mi Pueblo Mercado, which wasn't exactly causing me to cry any tears ;) At first, my tamales attempts were bumbled, but, like anything like this, I started getting the rhythm of it and pretty soon I had a bundle of little packages just waiting for the steamer. (The ones I produced later in the evening, for dinner tonight, turned out way better, as I'd gotten the handle on it). The only problem was that our collapsible steamer basket is not near big enough to accommodate all those tamales, resulting in some creative arrangements on my part. (Once again, another reason to get a bamboo steamer basket). Nonetheless, after about an hour of steaming, out popp'ed my first batch of homemade tamales. Though a bit creamier than I would have liked, they were quite good. Oh, I also prepared a little quick roasted tomato salsa to go with it.

Another batch awaits us tonight to munch down on before I head down to help Mike with what will, most likely, be a pretty low-key Wine Tasting with Tony Coturri. After all the hype from Mike, I'm looking forward to giving Tony's organically produced wines a try.

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So, the weekend is done and over and I'm proud to say that we survived our CMF gig. It was not without it's hits and misses though.

The evening started out on a sour note when I tried to park in the parking lot across from Peabody's and was informed that the fee was $10.00, because of CMF. Now, call me crazy, but there's no way on this green earth I am paying $10 freggin dollars to *park* for a show I'm playing at. So, I parked a few blocks down. Of course, this meant I had to lug all my gear down the street, but it wasn't too bad. Well, we got in, put our stuff in a corner and..waited. And..waited. The show was running behind. Originally, we thought it was simply 15min or so behind schedule, but when the band we assumed to be before us ended and another one took the stage, we found out the stage was running over a full act behind. So, our prime 11:00pm slot was now turning into a midnight show. This didn't affect us as much as 20goto10 (fellow local synthpop'ers..more on them later), who were now looking to go on around 1:00pm. In the meantime, we heard some of the most tepid alt-rock I've ever laid my ears on. Imagine, if you will, a lineup of bands who actually think this is their big gig and it's somehow going to get them the big record deal. These were those bands. As a token to them, they all sounded like something one could hear on a Clear Channel "alternative" station, but that's only because they all sounded like every-other-goddamn-band already ON the radio! Seriously, I always liked to think that local music was the one bastion of creative bands out there. But these guys sucked all that out of me. If rock has been dead for many years, these bands were the earthworms in it's coffin.

Anyways, I'm getting way off track here.

So, a bit late, we went on (much thanks to the soundman who, despite of the chaos of so many bands, kept his cool, was professional, nice and just, generally, ran a good soundboard.) After opening with a new intro I was working on that morning, we bounded into our set. Greyson was in fine form, singing to audience members, working the stage, belting it out. It was hard to imagine the timid guy who stood in one place on our first show, who has, with this show and the one before, exploded into a energetic performer. And, as energy breeds energy, even I got some boppin' and dancing in..though, admittedly, it's a bit hard behind the keyboard ;) We even got a few people audience members moving and groovin'. Very cool. All in all, a good performance.

20goto10 were the last band of the night and took the stage after us. It was a very fitting choice, as though our styles are pretty different, with all the rock bands going on, we were the closest relations around. With analog synths sprawled all over the stage and a very Kraftwerk-esque show going on from the keyboardists (including some serious vocoding), they put on a good show. The vocalist, Sara, belted the tunes out with some serious power. My only criticism would be that she has such a good voice, there were some songs where I felt it was wasted with more spoken word/mantra material. The ones where she was allowed to really open up those vocal chords really worked better. (Greyson left with the instructions: "I want to sing with her!"). I had their last song of the night "In Heaven" in my head all weekend. You can download it at:
http://www.20goto10.us - check it out.

In closing, it was very weird to work on a show which was 1) soooo corporate and 2) where I felt so much like a insignificant blip on the show's radar. I mean, from the "dude" pep talks I mentioned earlier to the high level of security and such going on, it all left me feeling very weird. Like I had to watch my back to avoid being screwed. Of course, we weren't and, in reality, we took it as a good opportunity to hopefully get a few new fans. But, I don't think we'll be doing this next year.

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Friday, May 21, 2004

For those who, due to it's size, don't want to read my trip blog, here's the blog of the day:
I woke up this morning at what my body, still on California time, told me was 3:00am (but was really 6:00am).
The sleep I woke from must've been fitful, as my neck has been hurting all day.
Tomorrow I have a show that I'm not really looking forward to playing, other than I'll get to see 20goto10, which would be fun if not for the fact they're playing another show I'll be going to the very next day.

Bah, humbug.

The trip blog is much happier and sunnier..now go, read it already :)

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Thursday, May 20, 2004

Warning the below is very long winded, long taled & long in the tooth, and maybe even a little food snobby (the word "excellent" is used excessively). Read at your own risk.

Saturday - morning
We're passing over the desert now. It's a strange view from the plane. I've never seen the western U.S., and this height makes it all the more drastic of a change. At some points, it's rocky and worn, like the veiny hands of a very old man. Other times, like now, gyometric shapes are sprawled out in mammoth proportion over the landscape. They're obviously manmade, but I can't discern their purpose. All of it is very stark and more than a little imposing.

Saturday
It's now 530pm their time, 830pm ours and we've just arrived at the hotel. I'm not feeling any noticable jet lag, other than I have a headache and am damn hungry (and, as such, pretty irritable..Genevieve just got done with probably just the first time she'll call me an asshole during this trip. ) She's registering at the conference now. After that, we're going out to get some food.

Saturday - Dinner
As it turns out, we didn't have to wander far for dinner tonight. Our hotel, located right on the waterfront, is just blocks away from what's referred to as the "Gaslight District." Our first impressions of it were not the best. As we entered into it, there were a couple double-decker buses going through the streets and the top deck of each was packed to the brim with hooting and hollering frat boys, screaming at women and yelling nonsensical, more than a little ape-like, calls. There were tons of restaurants though, so our hungry stomachs led us farther in. We ended up stopping at a restaurant called "The Lime", which claimed to serve Neuvo Latin food. Honestly, I couldn't really find anything neuvo about it. Their menu was a virtual list of standard Mexican-American fare. Beef Barbacoa burritos, corn tamales and quesadillas were the name of the game here. On the upside, the corn tamales were vegetarian (actually, Genevieve's asking if they were was met with a "yes" so dripping with "of course, isn't it obvious", we were once again reminded that this *is* California, the birthplace of American vegetarism.) Okay, so how was it? Actually, pretty good. Granted, they relied too much on cheese for flavor, especially for people like Genevieve and I, who are used to using it sparingly. But, it was all well prepared and well presented and, after a long day, downright welcome. Their corn tamales were creamy and flavorful, while my beef burrtito was chock full of spicy punch. Overall, I wouldn't go back, but after so much travel, it was perfect comfort food.

Sunday - the day
Well, it turns out we hadn't adjusted to the new time zone as well as we thought. Genevieve woke up this morning at 545 (normally an event which would signify the coming apocolypse). So, we got an early start on the day. Breakfast was room service a bowl of possibly the blandest oatmeal I have ever eaten on this earth and a plate of french toast that wasn't much better. After breakfast, we walked the boardwalk for the bit and enjoyed the beautifully mild California weather.
As it turns out, there was a new farmer's market opened up near out hotel recently, so we made a beeline for that. Though small in size, it made up for it in scope, with vendors hawking everything from fresh peaches and cherries to homemade salsa and crepes. We picked up a wonderfully sweet and spicy chipotle mustard while we were down there.

When noon rolled around and it was time for Genevieve to head to her conference, I took my cue and headed out to explore the town. That morning, I'd picked up a culinary road map from the Sunday paper. It laid out of the various districts in town the Barrio Logan, the Asian District, Little Italty, etc. First up was the Barrio for lunch. Now, here's what they don't tell you in the map. The Barrio is unoffically divided into two parts, separated by a highway. The first part was o-kay, certainly not great, but decent enough. The second part (where, granted, I did end up picking up a damn good torta al pastor) was..well, sketchy. As in, I can now say I've seen a 16 year old kid standing by the side of the road holding a semi-automatic. So, yea.....
After that, I decided to head up to a neighborhood on El Canjon Rd. which claimed to be "eclectic." Granted, it was. Mexican joints faced off against Thai restaurants and fast food chains crowded for space. That said, I just wasn't that wow'ed by it. And the whole district being run through by a highway didn't make it any more appealing. So, without stopping (but succeeding in getting lost nonetheless), I headed up to the Asian District. Placed almost in complete contrast to the Barrio, the Asian district was..well, not what I expected. It was all..strip malls. Filled with placed like Tofu Palace and Ed Tsi's merchandise. Chinese kids hung out at bubble tea shops, talking loudly in thick surfer/California lingo. The grocery store was an oasis of calm for me though. Imagine the Asian Plaza in Cleveland, except well organized, clean, friendly & lacking any sort of funky smell. I wandered around there for longer than I probably needed to, especially since I didn't actually buy anything, just to take a break from my run around.

After recharging my batteries, I decided to give the Barrio one more chance. I drove around it more, looked into side streets and off the path stores. Here's where I discovered the real gold mines. On 21st and Imperial, I was drawn in by a large building named "the San Diego Farmer's Market". The name was a bit of a misnomer though, as I was unable to find a single farmer's stand in there. What I did find, instead, were, hidden among the stands hawking cheap sunglasses and bootleg DVD's, a fresh tortilla stand, and next to that, a row of small eateries, each one breathing out the smells of cooking salsa onions, garlic, and most of all..chilis. I was really beginning to regret my previous lunch choices. But, we're still here for a bit, I'll be back. The crowd was a mix. Well dressed men (all Mexican, through all my trips into the barrio, I was the only gringo), fresh from church, mingled with urban tough gangster types. But, though the building was a bit decrepit, it felt good there. I also found a nearby mercado which was fun (and I picked up a few food items), but more memorable for the older woman selling fresh tamales outside, which threatened to break my already full stomach. After the barrio, I tried to find the local Philipino district to no avail. Thank you map-with-no-directions! I'm finally back in the hotel now. A full hour before Genevieve is set to return, but I just really needed the break.

And, oh, I saw Ron Jeremy in the lobby!!

Sunday- Dinner
Dinner tonight was at Millie Fleur (hope I got that spelling right), a French restaurant in a posh 'burb north of San Diego. And I don't mean Cleveland posh. I mean, we saw houses the realtor in town had postered to his windows and we're talking 30million dollar homes, and up! I have to admit, this got me a bit tense about dinner. After all, I am not exactly up to snuff with millionaire Californians and snubbed is something no one wants to be, especially on vacation. As it turns out, the restaurant, though definitely classy, was not snobby. Even as the poor relation, we got the same excellent treatment everyone else did. Bonus points there. We started things out with a half bottle of a chardonnay from the Schug Winery (www.schugwinery.com). It was a very sweet white and worked well with Genevieve's meal of pasta (not so we well with my braised skate, but I'm getting ahead of myself here).

Genevieve started her meal out with white asparagus in a honey glaze. I was still pretty full from my day, so I didn't get anything to start with. I did try Genevieve's dish though. I'd never had white asparagus before and, having had it, I'm of two minds on it. On one hand, it's subdued flavors were a nice change from the normal sulfery quality of green asparagus. On the other, they also lacked the hit of flavor you get with green. So, though it was perhaps more "refined", I didn't actually feel it to be better, just different. Then, the main courses, which I mentioned above, came out. My skate was delicious. Served with a saffron cream sauce and a topped with calamata olives (the saltiness of the olives really did wonders for the fish), it was creamy and decadent. Genevieve's pasta with gruyere cheese was equally good. We finished the meal off with a dessert. Myself with a flourless chocolate & hazelnut torte and Genevieve with a three layer mousse. My torte was good, but the coursely chopped nuts interrupted the silken texture of the torte, which could have done better with the nuts perhaps topping it instead of mixed in. The mousse, on the other hand, left no room for improvement and was awesome.

Monday- morning
I just got back from my half hour trek to find a non-Starbucks cup of coffee. Just to clear something up now, I don't dislike Starbucks because they are hip and trendy, or in a vain attempt to seem anti-establishment. I don't like them because, well, call me crazy, but I don't care to spend $3.00 on a large (grande , my ass) cup of coffee that tastes like burnt-ass. Let's recap Starbucks - expensive coffee which tastes like shit. Oh yea, give me some of that. Though I have to admit, the fact I passed 4 (5, including the stand in our hotel) Starbucks on my way to find ONE regular cup of joe did cross my mind.
Anyways, I ended up reaching my goal. Does it taste great? Well, not great, better than Starbucks. But it's decent enough and cost me $1.50 for a large, so my sense of "right" remains intact.

Monday- lunch
Well, the first part of our day turned out to be a bit of a bust. Our original plan was to rent some bikes and head around town. This ended up getting nixed when we discovered the closest place to rent bikes priced them at $24.00 a day, each, and supplied some pretty substandard fare. (My bike needed it's chain rethreaded before I even left the parking lot.) Next up was to head to Balboa Park, but by the time we got out there, we decided it wasn't really wanted to do and headed back. By this time, we were both damn hungry. Deciding that we weren't going to make the day worse by stopping in any old dive, we headed to one of the places we'd chosen for the trip, El Agave. The restaurant, located in the very picturesque Old San Diego area, would have perhaps looked cheesy any other place than Southern California, with it's stucko walls and desert plants sprouting from every corner. But, here, it fit. Before coming here, were found out that there were two things this restaurant specialized in moles and tequila. Well, we got neither. Instead, Genevieve got a plate of quesadillas and I picked up a Enchilladas Verde (enchilladas with a tomatilla salsa, topped with queso fresco and fresh cream). Though it may sound a bit heavy, it was suprisingly light, with cheese used only sparingly and instead relying on the salsa to carry the flavors of the dish. Good choice. The tequila I avoided because, honestly, there was soo much to choose. Their list contained over 80 different bottles of tequila and, even if I did get one, I don't believe my untrailed pallette would be able to fully appreciate it. After lunch, feeling refreshed, we headed to the Hillcrest District, which I'd seen previously on my travels through town. The area, a bustling shopping district for nearby college students, was filled with hip clothing, book & record shops. Most of which bearing the California price markup which we were starting to come to grips with. That said, Genevieve still had no plans to spend $100 on a pair of poorly made shoes for a convention party tomorrow. I ended up picking up some ethereral (re pansy) goth stuff though. I have to say, even if I don't listen to it as much anymore, I still get a smile seeing a little indie record store with a goth & industrial section, like the ones which used to make my heart jump as a little goth boy. Granted, most of the stuff there now I'd place in the dance & techno category, but maybe I'm just old. (After all, both the cd's I picked up were on a label which went out of business years ago).

After a bit more conferencing on Genevie've part, we headed out again , this time to La Jolla, more specifically, to La Jolla cove, a beautiful stretch of coastline just north of San Diego. Walking along that, I saw my first , in the wild, seals. They were laid out on the beach, sleeping. About 20 or more of them. This was apparently a pretty common occurance, as the area was premarked with good old "Don't feed the marine life" signs and a viewing decks.

Monday - Dinner
Dinner tonight was at a nearby indian restaurant (one of many) called Monsoon. We ended up opting for the buffet. The food was standard Northern Indian Fare, nothing too spectacular, except for two things one, a banana curry. It sounds weird, I know, but it was actually very good. The second thing was their desserts. Sure, they had rice pudding, but their others offerings were a Mango Mousse (good, but perhaps not all I'd hyped myself that it would be upon first seeing it) and a cream cheese dish call srikung, which was excellent.

Tuesday- lunch
"I'm a wanderer. I wander round and round and.."
Genevieve's conference sessions were on and off again today, with one being seperated by a scant hour or so until the next. Because of this, I really didn't have a chance to wander too far out of the San Diego downtown area. So, I just bummed around aimlessly. Grabbed a Pastor Porter at the local Karl Strauss brewery (not very good, though it had the bitter porter taste I love, it lacked any sort of body whatsoever and even tasted a bit flat. I didn't get a second), headed up to Golden Hills district, which seemed to be a middle class residental area. Not bad at all.

Then I headed back to ye olde Barrio to grab lunch for Genevieve and I. Originally, I'd planned to grab something at the San Diego "Farmer's Market" and, for me, there would have been no problems. But, I don't know the Spanish for mushroom, or "do your beans have lard?" or really anything beyond "no carne, frijoles!" and, with the throng of people which can turned up there for lunch, I didn't feel like trying to cross the language barrier. Instead, I headed back to where I'd grabbed lunch before Porkyland (don't laugh, the name might be silly, but the place seemed to be the haven for many a Mexican family, both middle class and poor), since they had a vegetarian menu I had faith in. Not knowing what she'd like, I picked her up an order or tostadas, quesadillas & a sweet tamale. All of which set me back a whole $5.00. I didn't have any of it, though Genevieve seemed to like it, except for the sweet tamale (filled with raisins, pineapple & sweetened with a berry juice, I loved it, but Genevieve found it to be too bland and dry). For myself, I picked up some pork tamales from the tamale stand that tempted me so much earlier. The stand was simply labeled "tamales" and was manned by an old Mexican woman, offering fresh homemade tamales from her steam cart. They were, hands down, the best tamales I've ever had. The imperfections in their preparation (the corn husks occasionally dipped into the cornmeal, splitting tha tamale and making things a little messier than necessary) didn't bother me. At least I knew I wasn't eating some factory produced tamales (to which Genevieve pointed out "yea, I'm sure that old lady is part of some big corporation." I guess she's right, a shabby stand by the roadside isn't exactly up with the high rollers). After lunch and she returned to her class, I wandered aimlessly a bit more, stopping at a local Whole Foods store to pick up some soyrizo ( which seemed kind of silly afterwards, since we can get it down in Kent) and a local brew, the Xtra Pale Ale, from AleSmith Brewery. Unlike the porter from earlier in the day, the Alesmith Ale was freggin' awesome. Crisp and refreshing, but with tones of caramel, it was a perfect summer (or California, anyday ;) brew.
Once the conference was done for the day, Genevieve and I, camera in hand this time, headed back up to La Jolla to take pictures. On the way back, we returned once again to Hillcrest, this time for dinner. After scanning the multitude of (though 75% of them were Asian) restaurants in town, we decided on this hip little bistro & wine bar called Crush. Their food was offered tapas-style, which we'd not had since Mojo closed down. They also offered a almost tapas-style wine item called "Flights". A Flight was a selection of three wines, each 2oz. So, you basically got the volume equivilent of one glass of wine, but have a chance to try three in the process. I tried an "International Red" flight (featuring wines from South Africa, Spain & Australia), Genevieve picked up an "International White" flight (featuring wines from Italy, France & Spain). For wine novices like ourselves, this was an awesome idea. The wine were excellent selections as well. Though Genevieve's French wine and my Austrialian Grenache were not very appealing, my Spanish Rioja and Genevieve's Italanian Pino Grigio balanced things out.

For dinner, here's the dish (pun intended). I started things out with a pecan crusted goat cheese salad w/ raisins. The warm goat cheese worked on a supernatural level with the raisins and basalmic enchanced salad greens. Simple, yet excellent. The second part of my meal was a dish of gorgonzola stuffed dates . This dish turned on all sorts of culinary lightbulbs in my head. Not only did the stuffed dates idea, which I would have never thought of, work so well, but the end result was so well prepared at the pungent cheese didn't fight with the sweet dates in any way. The marriage was perfect in taste and prepartion. Re this all means that this is something I'll be trying at home ;) Genevieve started things out with spring rolls served with a ginger-peanut dipping sauce. Her second dish was their vegetarian special - penne pasta w/ sundried tomatoes, pesto, goat cheese & toasted pine nuts. The latter was excellent, but well within my culinary skills, so not quite as impressive as the stuffed dates.

Wednesday - breakfast
Our last day in San Diego. We're at the airport now, early, waiting for the plane. It's been a great trip and neither of us are ready to go back. It's been 5 days of fair, sunny weather and the prospect of returning to gray, drab (everything seems so vibrant here) Cleveland is none too appealing. This morning we grabbed breakfast at a small cafe/coffeehouse just a block or so from our hotel. It reminded me of Phoenix coffeehouse back in Cleveland. Not a chain or corporation, but not too far removed either. Maybe it was just the Torani syrups, who knows. Anyways, I picked up a sundried tomato bagel w/ cream cheese, tomatoes & pesto, which was very good. Note it must be the weather, tomatoes are way more in season here than in Cleveland. The ones that topped my bagel were bright red and tasty, unlike the pale flavorless stuff going around back home now. Genevieve picked up a vegetarian breakfast burrito, served with a side of salsa. The burrito was good, but the salsa was obviously from a bottle, which left something to be desired. After eating, we took a brief last walk around the Gaslamp district, said goodbye to the sites we'd become familiar with over this week , and headed out to the airport. And that brings us to now.....

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Friday, May 14, 2004

Well, you lovely guys and gals did it! "Nostalgia (tofu mix)" is now #21 on the Soundclick "Euro" charts. Thank you all so much! Gush gush gush :)

I will keep my promise and compose all of you who helped a little ditty. I'll be contacting you via e-mail about what you'd like. Buuut...I can only contact the people who I know helped. So, if you spun the tune a bit yesterday and have not let me know via my comments section, now is the time to do it :)

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Thursday, May 13, 2004

For those who don't know, I have a soundclick.com address: www.soundclick.com/subliminalself
I only say "for those who don't know" because it seems no one does, for while my homepage stats have been going up like gangbusters, my soundclick stats have remained at a permanent lull.

I do know one simple and easy thing that can repair this:
If I can get one of my songs into the top 10 or so list on Soundclick's charts, it'll hang there for a bit, held aloft by people just listening to those. Thus increasing my total plays and hopefully my audience.

Well, as loyal and true friends, you ask "how can *I* help?"
I have a way. I need all that visit this site to spin the song "Nostalgia (tofu mix)" around a few time. It doesn't even matter if you listen to it. Go to soundclick.com, play it, then go grab something to eat, go to the bathroom, whatever.

What do you get in return?
*If* my song enters the top 50, I will compose each-and-every one of you, who let me know that you helped get it there, a song. The song will be approx 30 seconds in length and be sung by either Greyson or myself (your choice). I'm not going to say I'm going to compose a symphony for everyone, but I'll either pick out some unused ditty from the past and brush it up a bit, or pound out a completely new one (my choice).

So, go on, start 'a playin!

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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

So, we've sold 10 tickets in-total for CMF 2004. Much thanks to those who bought some!
For those who haven't...today's the day. Tomorrow, I need to turn them all in and get our time. Wish us luck!

I have to say, insofar, this whole CMF has left a bad taste in my mouth. From hawking our own presale tickets (personally, I've always felt presale doesn't work very well for local bands) to competing with our fellow Clevelanders for those prime spots, eh..it's not my shtick. I'm not interested in being a rock star, I'm not thinking that some label rep is going to be there and sign us up (which is part of what these things are supposed to be for). Personally, in this day and age of digital distribution, I'm not even that interested in "getting signed". It just feels so dated. Kids living in their mom's basement, dreaming of the day that some big label finds out how much they ROCK! Sure, I wouldn't mind the distribution and promotion help, but I don't think the labels that could really do that for us will be there.

I have a story as well..and this is sure to offend. So, a rep. from CMF calls me the other day to check on how many tickets we'd sold. While he's finding out, he's trying to buddy-buddy me. Telling me how he was hanging out at this club and this PornStar who was there and how she had these "HUGE TITS, DUDE!" Wow..and you know, I don't know this guy, why is he telling me this? Am I supposed to go: "wow, dude, that sounds like a rockin' scene, man. yea, man, titties, cool!" And he's asking me if we have a gig this weekend and if we had practice today and, sure, that's nice to ask and all...fine...but you know, I don't need someone to pretend to be my friend. I don't need the rock n' roll experience. Shoot, I just wanted a gig!

I still have hopes for a good show though. If we can get a few more people on the mailing list and a few more hits to the website (which, btw, has now FAR surpassed last year's stats and we're not even halfway done), I'll be happy. If I can not get schmoozed by some guy who uses "dude" every other word, even better.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

So, with the summer heat starting to come on, I'm thinking about trying out this "Raw Foods" trend. Not for any reason other than I just hate being in a stuffy kitchen, roasting both the things in the oven and myself in the process. Yesterday, I decided to make these little lo-fat pita pizzas with roasted eggplant & garlic, carmelized onions and mushrooms. A yummy little modified recipe. The only problem was that our oven doubles as a space heater and our kitchen fan has been practicing for it's dance tryouts (resulting the most annoying clatter when it's on). It all ended well, but not before I was ready to start on a cold soups and sushi menu ;)

Now, it did cool down and, as the evening wore on, I did go back to soften some beans for a black bean & corn salad and (requested) more refried beans. But, an interesting side note to this: I'm sure Mike knows this, but did you know that a lime added to simmering black beans turns the water a wine-ish red? I discovered this because I had a little laying around the house and I love the taste of black beans and lime, so I added a squeeze as it was going and then threw the piece in. Not 10 minutes later, the water was a vibrant red. Food chemistry at work.

Lastly, as you all know, we'll be gone next week to San Diego and I have no plans to blog during that time, so there will be a bit of silence there. But, I will do my best to keep track of my various culinary adventures and report back on all of them upon my return.

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Monday, May 10, 2004

The Monday Status Report

What I made this past weekend:

Sun-dried Tomato Pesto - I made this for a party I went to this weekend. I've made it for past gatherings and it's always a fav. Easy too, which is always a plus. I'd contemplated putting my bread making skills to task and making the french bread to go along with it (having taken the class and all), but decided that, until I'd had some more practice, that would not be a good idea.

Homemade refried beans - I remember a time when Genevieve would make fun of me for wanting to make something that so easily came out of a can. I don't know when I won her over, but I think it has something to do with the fact my refried beans (which are, actually *refried*, as opposed to simply mashed pinto beans, which is what the canned stuff seems to be) kick ass and are about 100X tastier than the canned mush.

Quesadillas - served with above mentioned beans, queso blanco and cilantro and topped with a chipotle tomato sauce (which must be good, as it seems like I've been requested to make it every weekend ;). Finished with a touch of lime.

Soyrizo enchiladas - no fun trick to these. The soyrizo is pre-packaged (what, you think I can make that stuff???)- served with simply some queso blanco and..more of that chipotle tomato sauce.

Bread X 2 - One: french bread. Thanks to the class, this turned out better than normal, but still...a bit dense. Needs work. Did well as a snack though, served with a bit of Hero Raspberry Jam (currently my favorite jam in the world). Two: Flakey Rolls - Okay, I fudged these up. They were in the oven too long and got *way* too crusty. Ah well.

Genevieve also made some awesome Banana & Chocolate Chip mini-muffins - though also a lo-fat recipe, these turned out so much better than the last (failed) attempt.
yum yum

I think that's about it. If I forgot something..I'm sure I'll be reminded.

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Sunday, May 09, 2004

Those who enjoy my Anti-Atkins rants will appreciate this:

this
(make sure the sound is on)

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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Today is a Cranes day.
Today is a day for loud music with little-girl vocals.
Don't ask me why.

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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

First up:

I have some tickets for the Cleveland Music Festival, this year, up for sale. "What", you ask, "is the Cleveland Music Festival?" Oh, so glad you asked. So glad you asked!
CMF is a four-day music festival, spanning just about every club in Cleveland and every genre in local music. From country & blues to goth & industrial. Now, what I have for you is a ticket that will cover all four days of the festival (May 20th-23rd). This ticket will get you into as many clubs as you'd like, as many times as you'd like, for those four days. And..it's only $10.00 if you get it from me. (They charge $20.00 at the door) Plus, you get into see the headliner roster they have going, including bands like: The Misfits, Gwar, Disengage, Cyde, (216), Tantric & more...all using that same ticket.

Need more of a reason? Well, your pals Subliminal Self will be performing @ the Pirate's Cove on Saturday night, as part of the CMF. And here's the skinny: the more tickets I sell, the better a time we get to choose. Pretty simple. You get to see as much live music as you can take and we get to not play at 3am. Everyone wins :)

Want one? E-mail me at: patrick@subliminalself.com . I can drop 'em off or mail it out to you. I also accept paypal. But, if you're going to buy, buy soon! Times get decided upon next week and I need to shine that apple.

More info at: http://www.clevelandmusicfestival.com/

Second up:

Damn, my fingers hurt. So, I'm learning the play the guitar (on an old Harmony Stella). I'm not looking to become some virtuoso here. I really just want to be able to play the chord progressions for the songs I write on the keyboard. So far, I think I have a solid Em and C chord, but not much else ;) But, shoot..what sort of sadist invented the guitar string and why did they make it hurt my fingertips so?

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Monday, May 03, 2004

So, what did we make this weekend??

Homemade Marble (Chocolate & Vanilla) Pudding Pops

* The original recipe actually called for using those pudding mixes, but, shoot, I had the time, so I made the puddings from scratch. (Which was kind of funny because I remember making the transition from instant to regular mixes. Now, I don't even use those ;) - note: I think if I were making these for kids, I'd use the mix, but lacking anyone bugging me as to when it would be done, I took my time. Either way, turned out yummy yummy. Just as good as the stuff Mr. Cosby used to pimp.

Mini Banana & Chocolate Chip Muffins

* These were, unfortunately, a failure. The recipe was obviously screwy as, even though everything was measured perfectly, it was awfully wet (when the recipe itself said it would be very thick). Attempts to rectify this with different cooking times failed. Plus, it was a low fat recipe and even the parts that did get cooked had that spongy lo-fat taste. Got fed to the trash can.

Eggplant with Miso Glaze (thanks Mike!)

* A Food & Wine recipe which came to us through this man. I've made this a few times previously, but this time around, since we were already heading to Asian Plaza for a few things, we picked up Japanese eggplant for it. This ended up really doing the trick and the end result was notably more "meltingly tender" than our attempts with regular eggplant. Genevieve ended up getting a tough piece of skin on one though and veered away from the rest. Ah well, I wolfed the remainder ;)

Spring Rolls with Mint Dipping Sauce (again, thanks to Mike for the Dipping Sauce recipe :)

* After a few torn up rolls, I managed to get the swing of these (kind of, they still weren't as tight as I'd like. It seemed like they were either loose or the rice paper would tear. Bah!) They were still good, just..messy. We had extra filling, so we'll be having a "spring roll salad" today ;)

Queso Blanco Quesadillas with a cooked Chipotle Sauce

* This is what I made for Genevieve, since she didn't eat most of the eggplant. No real tricks. Yummy though.

Homemade Granola

* I actually made the granola this morning, before work, if you can believe that. I tried a little bit of it before packing it up to head out. Seemed okay, but not nearly sweet enough for my tastes (I think this is the result of it being a lo-fat recipe.) So I shot it with some maple syrup before grabbing it and heading out.


I think there were a few other things, but nothing else of note. Now to start brainstorming what I'll be making for a party this weekend. I feel I have a reputation to keep up, so I'm thinking a California salad isn't cutting it ;)

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