Find us on Google+ cooking lounge * FOOD * LIFESTYLE * MUSIC *: February 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

VV Brown Hiro Ballroom "Shark in the Water"

The invite only show on February 17th at Hiro Ballroom was V V Brown’s NYC debut concert put together by Giant StepClick here to see the press release.  It was a frigid night. Though the room was not packed, an eclectic nyc crowd comfortably filled the main floor.  Seating was available on the upper levels and drink service was quick and friendly at the bars (true rarity at a club in the Meatpacking District).
V V Brown is an artist straddling genres and typecasting.  VV is an established songwriter and composer in the UK moving to center stage, very similar to what US artist, Santigold  did in 2008. The set was a short, mash-up that included retro tinged L.O.V.E. and "Crying Blood", along with poppy originals "Back in Time"and "Bottles", and a cover of Drake’s “Best I Ever Had”, plus an encore of "Crying Blood" that played to her Jamaican roots with a dub beat.  Will check-out V V Brown more.  Let’s see what V V’s sophomore effort brings.
Here’s a video for the last song of the show, “Shark in the Water”.
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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sexy Sweet: Strawberry Dipped in Dark Chocolate with Grand Marnier

A strawberry dipped in chocolate conjures images of champagne and seduction.  A strawberry or two may have played a part in an off the chain night, but the sexy sweet is luscious anytime and easy to make at home.
Stopped by Trader Joe's and picked up a Pound Plus (weighs over 17oz) of Belgium (72% cocoa) Dark  Chocolate, a pint of heavy cream and a quart of untrimmed strawberries (Unfortunately, TJ's  did not have long stemmed in stock).  In the kitchen, I pulled out some unsalted butter to soften and grabbed a dusty bottle of Grand Marnier.  Years ago, Grand Marnier was the bartender's shot of choice poured in the Georgetown enclave of Washington, D.C.  The addition of GM was about adding old school flavor and a reminiscence.
We have all heard the drone of health media going on and on about the benefits of dark chocolate.  Okay, we all get the point.  Dark chocolate has health benefits! BUT come on y'all, chocolate tastes GOOD.  In fact, I think dark chocolate has a more complex flavor than milk chocolate. 
Here's the rundown for Strawberry Dipped in Dark Chocolate with Grand Marnier:
10 oz of Dark Chocolate
1 quart of strawberries with leaves, even better w/ stems.
1/4 cup of heavy cream
1 or 2 tbs of unsalted butter
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
The chocolate needs to be melted in a bain-marie or double boiler if you have these useful but fancy items.  I do not, so what I do is use a large stainless steel bowl that fits snuggly in a large sauce pan or small pot.  I fill the pot so that water line is about 1 inch below the bottom of the bowl.  This technique creates low even heat for melting the chocolate.
Add the chocolate to the bowl.  Stir with a fork as it melts.  When 1/2 of the chocolate is soft or melted, stir in a tablespoon of butter.  Continue to stir.  All melted.  Slowly add the cream while stirring.  Add the Grand Marnier while stirring.  You want the chocolate to be velvety. Depending on the chocolate you may want to add a little bit more butter and a bit more cream.  Individually, dip each strawberry into the chocolate; rotating the strawberry to evenly cover.  Sit on a tray lined with wax paper to harden, 30 min - 1 hour.  If you have stemmed strawberries, you can invert the berry and stick the steam in styrofoam to harden.  
Here's an impression of making the sexy sweet shot on a Flip Camera.

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Funk,Taco,Speakeay,Pimps of Joytime,The Heavy,Kings Go Forth


Taco Mania
Growing up in Virginia a couple of decades ago, tacos were not standard fare.  Occasionally, tacos showed up on the school lunch menu and were a big hit. Old El Paso with ground beef was the idea of a taco dinner at home.
Plus I got to help make the tacos...shredding cheese, chopping iceberg lettuce, hothouse tomatoes and yellow onions.  Now the taco, often considered a Mexican staple, is becoming an American staple like Chinese food years ago.  The taco is gaining a foothold shore to shore by truck, by storefront takeout and by climbing onto an haute cuisine menu near you.
Tacos Everywhere
Taco taken to competition and spectator sport. Check out photos and article in Metromix.

Taco Trucks
A google search for "taco trucks" yields nearly 100,000 results.
The whole Taco Truck phenomena started hitting the East Coast (NYC being my point of reference), to an nearly ubiquitous level about two years ago.  Now it seems in order to qualify as a hipster destination, in Brooklyn anyways, a Taco Truck has become a prerequisite.  Kogi Korean BBQ in LA became a juggernaut in the Taco Truck popularity wars by mastering a social media niche; and from the reviews, serving a tasty taco or two.

Kogi Korean BBQ, a taco truck brought to you by Twitter

Where will this unique taco truck park next? Only the tech-savvy know for sure.

February 11, 2009|Jessica Gelt
It started with a 4 a.m. glass of Champagne and a carne asada taco after a night of serious bar hopping. Thirty-year-old Mark Manguera was sitting with his 25-year-old sister-in-law, Alice Shin (his wife Caroline was already sleeping soundly), when the taste of L.A.'s most ubiquitous street food caused him to have a drunken revelation.  READ MORE.
Could we be ushering in a new speakeasy era?  Leave it to New York to take an economic crisis and turn it into an aesthetic touchstone. Moody, dark dens with obscure entrances, shuttered windows and low candles are hidden in nooks, back rooms and gritty streets across the city. Here's a New York Times piece from the summer.  READ MORE.
I've noticed a definite trend lately that popular music is FINALLY getting more musical.  Full blown backing bands, rich lyrics and yeah singers that can SING.  Even some amazing vocal comebacks on the horizon with Sade's new release.  Sultry, get sweaty, make you want to holler new soul and funk are leading the way, funking in 2010.  Here we go!
Pimps of Joytime"Keep That Music Playing" PTJ MP3 download.  The Pimps of Joytime are my favorite NYC band.  Their shows have an infectious good time, party vibe.  Been checking out there shows for about 4 years and every show is an energetic 'let's party y'all', throw down on stage.  Here's a video for "San Francisco Bound", a song PJT have been performing for a couple of years.  For PJT fans, it's a sing-along jam.  And keeping it hi tech but lo-fi and intimate, the video was shot on an iPhone while the band was touring on the West Coast.

The Heavy's bio on Ninja Tunes calls their sound "guitar-scorched hip hop soul"; but, I HEAR FUNK. 

"That Kind of Man" is what brought on the funk accolades with the shades of Curtis Mayfield in Swaby's vocals.  The funk fueled songs I heard is what attracted me to the band after a friend that is a Creative Director recommended the band.    "How Do You Like Me Now" growling soul/funk with memphis style backing horns has a catchy hook (you've heard it in a commercial for sure).  The drummer, Chris Ellul beats the hell out of the skins on the track. "Cause for Alarm" has a caribbean flecked lilt and a stuttered  ska beat that is a departure from what I have heard so far.  For me, The Heavy are more rocksters with a range of influences rather than funksters mining the 70's. Here's a link to a recent review of The Heavy's "The House That Dirt Built."
Here's the video for "That Kind of Man".
Kings Go Forth is a 10 piece combo set to expand their fan base well beyond Milwaukee now that they have signed with David Byrne's label Luaka Bop.  
You can hear some of their music on Myspace. "Don't Take My Shadow" puts horns out front from the start with a steady bass line and the lyrics pull me into the hopeful survivalist rebel spirit heard so often in funk.  "One Day" is steaming with retro funk.  The track channels the swing, swagger, positivity and vibe of 70's AM Soul radio.  Percussion and horns stand out along with a sweet guitar solo. Man, wish I could do a roll call of all the influences crammed into this song.  But the specter of Curtis Mayfield is never far away,"Move On Up" echoes and ripples throughout. Do we have a theme happening...Curtis Mayfield as unsung hero of Funk and Soul influencing a new generation?  The band is an odd assortment of characters, not exactly a marketers dream but their sound makes you want to close your eyes and dance. That is the heart of it all THE MUSIC not the machine.  Here's a video for "One Day."

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