Friday, 22 October 2010

Vale Ari up!!

Ok ... another one bites the dust, and it looks like the decades are starting to creep up. Ari Up, leader of seminal all female ska-punk 80s outfit The Slits, has finally departed our troubled shores for a date with Jahweh.

Are we all going to pretend to have liked Cut when it first came out? Or will we admit to being late arrivals on this particular slice of early 80s pop? Or no arrival at all?

There was a period when I played this album to death, but my fascination with ska punk was a short but sweet infatuation and the genre no longer holds any sway with me beyond a slight tinge of nostalgia.

Like all past loves dissappearing in the mists of time, I lay this one to rest and remember it fondly as another notch in those rebellious times when we courted controversy with teenage glee.

Peace out Ari!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

An Electronic Renaissance

Ok ... there's so much to love about electronic music at the moment. And I suspect that this may only be the tip of the iceberg. I present for your delectation some of the artists quietly making inroads in this oft maligned genre (IDM has a lot to answer for!). Lets ditch the folktronica in all its hirsute variants and delve into the ice cold waters of synthetic beats:

(i) Darkstar - North

This is at the moment my album of the year. There is something for everyone on this. Anything from cold clattery beats underscored by the essence of base heavy dub to the trip hop stylings of lead single "Gold".

(ii) James Blake - Klavierwerke EP

Ignore the slightly pretentious use of German in the title and the dubious link, by extension, to classical music. The piano features heavily as a bass note but those ghostly vocals (overdubbed and treated to disguis a weak instrument I'm guessing) are a brilliant touch. Lets hope a full album does not bomb!

(iii) oOoOO - Hearts

This one's from the other side of the Atlantic and bears the hallmarks and the measured pace of the burgeoning vinyl sampling scene spearheaded by the likes of Flying Lotus and Delorean. Wait till Kanye jumps on this bandwagon. Its only a matter of time.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

watching an aussie band, drinking beer in a plastic cup, catching the support ... tame impala

Ok the heavens opened and Melbourne wept sideways and only a waterproof jacket with hoody and a thousand layers underneath could have staved the cold snap of sudden winter from the door ... it was a night best spent indoors ... but we braved the elements to see an aussie band, drink beer from a cup, watch the support and bump bits with strangers all for the sake of one of the few aussie bands of note - Tame Impala.

So they're from Perth, but it will be the last time a ticket comes this cheap. With their latest weather balloon filmed video gathering interest and next year's overseas summer circuit looming, the next time we see these hip young things, you will be forking out double for the privilege.

In the meantime, someone should fire their engineer and hire someone who can work with heavily treated vocals and a venue this size. Admittedly we were not in the best possie acoustically at the start. But we moved down a tier and though the sound was bigger, the vocals still seemed to be too low in the mix.

However, this is a band to love and embrace. And I even forgive them the fact that they think only people older than them would remember Blue Boy's housetastic Remember Me (*insert ironic wink*). Only someone as old as me would know the Marlena Shaw sample!!! Right! Sign me up for a retirement unit in the Dandenongs toot suite!

If you don't already know who Tame Imapala are, why?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

The Meaning of Life and Gigibaba

Ok ... so on Tuesday I contemplated the meaning of life and the axiom " ... is just a number" was applied to a variety of thoughts and poses. To celebrate I scored a lovely bottle of Moet, a yummy pear and custard tart, gave myself another Borders treat (now going at the rate of 6 for $30!) and met M over in Fitzroy for the culinary delights of Gigibaba (FINALLY!!! - this no booking policy is seriously starting to bite!).

I have to apoligise for the shocking quality of the pics. Gigibaba takes mood lighting to an extreme but those naked lightbulbs (I know a tad passe now) are still delightful. And the hanging chairs are actually functional and if you sit at the bar, they have hooks underneath to hang your handbag, jacket, leather whip etc ...

I needed something to clear the nose and the palate so I suggested a glass of Paul's House Spiced Matusalem Rum ... perfect choice! It soothed the throat and cleared the nose ... a vicks vapodrop in a glass.

And it certainly whetted the appetite. I kid you not when I say that if we made a second trip and ordered as many dishes as we did last night, we will have covered the entire menu ... and its not that small a menu!!

The menu is sepaeated into roughly 4 parts and the prices range from round about $6 through to $22. I should have taken note of the actual menu descriptions, but as usual, I was too busy imbibing ... and isn't that really the point?

To begin with, we each had a sardine on toast. With the first mouthful I knew we were in for a good night. We made sure we ordered a suitably varied number of dishes that covered as many different flavours as could be guessed at just from the menu descriptions alone.

We were even sent a complimentary dish of chicken livers (serbed with sliced grapes) ... and it is testament to Ismail Tozan's artistry that both M and I were left wanting more after consuming (trepidatiously) these as liver is one of the few offally bits we don't really like.

Then came the smoked eggplant with more yummy bread (pretty much free flow) and that beautiful cauliflower and pomegranate salad, a version of which we had at Cumulus Inc ... its the side dish du jour! Its hard to describe the melange of flavours of which each dish had a surfeit of.

We had the hellimi cheese served with steamed dates. Biting into this was like the prefect distillation of breakfast.

Not wanting to mess with the histamines in wine, we opted for Pear cider instead for liquid libation. I'm not surprised that its such a popular tipple these days. Its not as cloying as Apple cider and has the distinction of being both dry and sweet at the same time. They serve Gypsy's here at Gigi's.

For the protein part of proceedings, we had quail (heaven) served with a spicy yoghurty sauce, Lamb Ribs (ecstacy) and like the beef equivalent at Cafe Vue, the meat just slid off the bone and it was an absolute pleasure to chew on those smoky slivers of calcium! We also had Tokay's signature dish of Lamb chops (pummelled into LED TV proportions) with sea salt and wild oregano (OMG!!). Bring me a bucket of these and more cider please ... and thats a weekend all wrapped up!!


We didn't think anything more could top this ... but dear readers ... let me present the Spanner Crab and Haloumi tart. If I could write an orgasm I would at this very moment!! The tart was covered in slices of cucumber in a mayonaisse style sauce, which complemented the "on the verge" salty hit of the haloumi that didn't overpower the sweetness of the crab at all!! How does he do it? This is highwire gastronomy with no safety net!

And with that I am all spent. You simply have to go.

(and of course we had dessert!! Steamed pumpkin with sauce anglaise and 2 turkish coffees)

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Los Latinos for the day

Ok ... you may not know this but in terms of gastronomic rankings, I'm afraid south american cuisine in all its variants ranks pretty low. I think its probably because I have only ever tasted the poor cousin version where the bread has been dry, the cheese limpid and the meat tasteless ... besides which refried beans give me gas. M adores South American food, he's had the real deal in Mexico and can talk jalapenos and refried beans till the vaqueros ride home.

I'm not sure whether Los Latinos has done much to sway my opinion, but I am happy and rather proud (it is local! after all) to report that the food does match up to the hype, but let me warn you: Come early to avoid the crowds and have the full attention of your lovely waittress and indeed the kitchen. They're a little overwhelmed by the increase in patronage since being featured in the Age Epicure. And the service is a little reticent, and potentially quite slow.

There was one big cross however - tamales (thanks B52s!! - 'Hi my name is Ricky and I'm a Pisces, I love computers and hot tamales!") are not that easy to find on a menu and I was sooo looking forward to being served some here but I think they didn't turn out quite right ... so I had to go for boring old fajitas instead.

But anyways, we were the first table there which was great as our brilliant waitress was able to explain things on the menu to us. We were like wide-eyed kids in a candy shop checking everything out. Produce behind the counter, half hidden blackboards with specials ... and to her credit, our waitress was both enthusiastic and patient.

They had these corn based parcels on special called Arepas, so our waitress suggested that we combined the Arepas with the Pupusas which was always going to be on the cards.

So for entree we had a mixture of Pupusas and Arepas de Choclo:

The Pupusas were fantastic. Filled with cheese, pork and beans, I was under the assumption that it would be a strong punchy flavour but in actual fact it was quite mild. The chilli sauce they served with it could certainly have had a bigger push up the Scoville scale, but the curtido (cabbage salad) was perfection. Just the right amount of crunch and acidity.



The Arepas were a slight let down. I found the corn mixture a little too sweet for my liking, and the slices of Chorizo plonked on the top were pedestrian. Although I must say it is an attractive looking dish.


I was after some of the more extoic sounding juices on the menu but all of them came in aerated form, which I'm not a fan of. So our waittress suggested some Horchata (which incidentally does not appear on the menu). I have never had this nut-based beverage (and always wondered what Vampire Weekend were singing about) before and it was a tad too sweet for my liking. It would have been a great beverage for afternoon tea and the like but not when you're looking for something refreshing to wash down all that rich heavy food. You can order this in a jug but we opted for 2 separate glasses. In the end it was served in a jug but they charged us for just 2 glasses.


For mains, M went with the Latino equivalent of an aussie meat platter - Guanacos Carne Asada:

This is the dish I will come back to Los Latinos for. I was expecting a tough piece of beef but it was juicy and tender (but this is cooked meat, no fancy medium bleeding rare here) and the sausages were amazing!!

Unable to secure the tamales, my fajita in comparison was so so. Although the salsa and avocado combo made for a lovely guac. And the beef was suitably peppery and smoky. No pics I'm afraid.

We had no room for sweets at this stage. But I would like to try the curious entry of Quesedilla which apparently is like a cake, and not quite what we're familiar with.

So in summation, although in gastronomic terms, I'm afraid South American as a cuisine still ranks low in my books, this doesn't prevent me from recommending Los Latinos as another wonderful culinary addition to the Footscray, and indeed Melbourne Pantheon as a whole.

Spring - a time of neglect

Ok ... aah Blog how have I forsaken thee in these clement times, but I look out on sunshine as storm clouds pummel my nasal passages with rain ... and a torrent of mucus rises up from my chest and suffocates the words before they come out of my mouth. "Spring of 2010 - the cold that would not go away!!"

Anyhoo, here are some random thoughts to tide everyone over:

- online shopping ... its my new thang! Just took possession of some cool shades and have been rocking them senseless in the city ... lots of jealous looks from the hipster crowd ... let me have my 15 seconds of sartorial glory! (round frames and tortoise shell version not shown)

- my scent du jour is Fragonard's Patchouli ... which I can only now smell as my nose gradually unblocks itself

- I'm over online reviewers trashing new releases that are actually pretty good. Exhibits A below:

HURTS - Happiness

OMD - History of Modern

Tricky - Mixed Race

- Laura Linney in the Big C - TV is sooo much better than the movies these days!

- Angry Birds - I'm hooked! Those green pigs are doing my head in ... especially the fat one with the ginger mo!!

- Colin Hay ... you smell nice!! And you know what ... I'm not ashamed to say I'd hit it!

- and on that note ... maybe I should stop right there!!! Happy fruity-fruitfulness spring!
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