03.05.2017
Grandaddy
Last Place

This is probably Grandaddy's least great album. But I've still listened to it about 6 times since Friday.

04.16.2012
Grandaddy
Excerpts from the Diary of Todd Zilla

I had "Fuck the Valley Fudge" stuck in my head all weekend. Funny, odd, great Grandaddy song. I'm realizing years after they "broke up", Pumpkins style, that Grandaddy was way better than most people gave them credit for–even people who liked them. Funny that a band who played catchy pop rock songs about suburban technological dystopia–and that's all!–could be so good at it, and create such a respectable body of work from it. They wrote Grandaddy songs. Period. And they wrote them really, really well. How many bands can you think of that have released 4-5 quality albums with such a laser-focused raison d'être? The Smiths come to mind. More recently The Walkmen, maybe. I don't know. I also claim Grandaddy started the whole beard thing back in 2000. But that's a separate post.


(1)
03.30.2010
Grandaddy
Just Like The Fambly Cat

I think I remember liking this when it came out, but that might be a little cognitive dissonance on my part. All I know is that in the years since its release, I've mostly sated my Grandaddy urges with The Sophtware Slump and Sumday, which I still think is their best. But even though I've been passing off Fambly Cat as insignificant, listening to it right now, very loudly, on a good speaker system, might be changing my mind. More so than Sophtware Slump (their "art" album) and Sumday (their "pop" album), Fambly Cat is clearly Grandaddy's "rock" album, even if every song isn't a barnburner. I'd still place it at number three behind those other two, but I think I've been wrong to ignore it all these years. If anything, it gave us "Geez Louise" (seriously, play that song at max volume. Holy shit!), and "Where I'm Anymore," two legitimate Grandaddy masterpieces. And now that I'm thinking about it, the EP they put out before this album had a couple legitimately good songs on it too. In hindsight, they could've thrown a couple of those ("Fuck The Valley Fudge," specifically) onto Fambly Cat, and it could've been a much stronger album as a whole.

04.15.2018 - by Steve
Sidewalk KitchenU of M
Roast duck, bbq pork, ma-po

The (#problematic?) theory of Asian restaurants is that the more Asian people you see eating in one, the better the food probably is. Far be it from me to argue with science, but I will say this: Sidewalk Kitchen (why not Sidewok Kitchen??? Missed opportunity), located in that one corner of Stadium Village that's always had 2 or 3 random Chinese places that seem to cater to a large percentage of actual Chinese people, was full of Chinese students the night we went. It was a real 'sore thumb' situation for the two of us at table five. The menu seemed promising, although I worry a bit when a restaurant boats so many Szechuan and Hunan and Korean options. The food was just okay. There was some confusion about my order initially; I ordered the rice plate with duck and pork, and the waiter claimed that the kitchen said they couldn't serve that item, but then after some discussion with a manager and someone else in the kitchen, they decided they could, and when the plate came out, the pork was cold. Like, cold, not even room temperature. And crazy boney. As was the duck, although at least that was hot. Meanwhile, the ma-po (Szechuan dish with tofu and ground pork) had a very particular sadness to it, more of a watery orange color than the expected deep red, and full of freezer-aisle diced carrot cubes and peas. It tasted weird. It was all weird. The whole thing was weird. I still have hope for this place, because most of the stuff that everyone else in the restaurant was eating looked better than ours, so I think maybe we just got the wrong things. Maybe next time. Well, nah, maybe not.

04.15.2018 - by Steve
Spoon and StableDowntown Minneaoplis
Duck breast laab

My previous trip to the hottest newest bestest restaurant in the North Loop, Spoon and Stable, happened a year and a half ago on my birthday, when I sat by myself at the bar and ate as much food as I could afford. I went in skeptical but left impressed. But I went no further than 10 feet from the front door to the bar. This time was entirely different; a Sunday morning brunch with some out of town visitors, I saw that the restaurant is a good bit smaller than I first thought it was, and actually has some lovely natural light from the ceiling, and all in all isn't quite as annoying as I might have thought it was. I mean, it's still all white-tile-and-natural-wood-edison-bulb-in-industrial-lighting, leather-apron'd-barkeeps and denim-uniformed-server Pinterest-chic, but it's not that bad. What was bad, regretfully, was my food. The brunch menu was fairly diverse as these things go, and I ordered a duck breast laab salad with crispy wild rice and a duck egg. It just didn't work. The duck was tough, the wild rice was soft, and the whole thing was way, way too salty. Whatever flavors were in there were just overwhelmed by soy sauce or fish sauce or whatever they had in there. Meanwhile, nothing else I tasted between everyone else at my table was much better. And to be honest I don't really remember what those dishes were. The only great takeaway from the entire meal was the small plate of hash browns that they brought the table (every brunch spot should do this!), which were satisfyingly crispy, and were infused with a sort of garlicky oniony oil. They were great. Everything else was a big bummer. So while I still think I stand by Spoon and Stable based on my great birthday dinner, I'll go ahead and recommend you skip brunch.

04.03.2018 - by Steve
Hai HaiNortheast Minneapolis
Balinese chicken, Vietnamese crepes

If anyone has told you that omg Hai Hai is amazing, and you couldn't help but feel that they were conflating their excitement over another new and novel restaurant with actual quality... strike that from your mind. Because omg Hai Hai is amazing.