02.24.2018
Rhye
Blood

I'm a little bummed that this new Rhye album isn't better than it is.

11.24.2013
Rhye
Woman

0:04 into "Last Dance"--and 0:14 and 0:25 and pretty much once every four bars throughout the entire song--I am driven absolutely crazy that the bass doesn't play what I want it to play. No, what I need it to play. I probably need to hum it to you, but for those musically inclined, basically the bass mimics the keyboard and guitar and plays two syncopated notes after the first and second beats, and a third note on the downbeat of the third. Fine. But the second time through this pattern, it seems like the most obvious thing in the world that the bass should finish it with an 8-note run of 16th notes between the third beat and the end of the measure, a little ascending scale of "dooo-do-doodoo-doodoo-doodoo", mirroring the palm muted guitar rhythm at the same time, back up to the syncopated notes again. ("Do you have it???"). It screams to be played. And it kills me, absolutely kills me, that it never happens. Even just once, towards the end, it's all I need. I might have to start digging through live Rhye YouTube videos and radio performances just to see if they ever do it live. I might have to eventually take up the bass and try out for their touring band just to do it myself. Because as of right now, I feel like I'll likely be forced to go to my deathbed with a raw sense of cosmic imbalance, asymmetrical qi, a looming sense of incompleteness, if I don't get to hear that goddamned bass fill.


(1)
03.18.2013
Rhye
Woman

Bedroom electro R&B from a Danish man who sounds disturbingly like Sade, without any of the nonsense that makes Sade occasionally awful. But also without any of the stuff that makes Sade, more often than not, incredible. So, like, take all of Sade's decent mid-album filler material, and have the xx remix it, and give it a cool mysterious black and white album cover. You'll be shocked at how much you like what you get.


(4)
01.21.2019 - by Steve
Hometown BarbecueBrooklyn
Barbecue pulled pork

Hometown Barbecue, way out in Red Hook, is supposedly one of the best barbecue joints in New York. Eater even had it on its list of 37(ish) "essential" NY restaurants. So it's kind of a bummer that we went there on a whim—a very fast whim before grocery shopping right next door on some random Wednesday night—rather than really planning out and luxuriating in its barbecueness. What did I get? I got the pulled pork and baked beans. How was it? It was quite good, although maybe a little too wet, with all the cole slaw slopped on the top. And the beans had been seemingly been sitting in the bottom of their pot for too long, and just had that "thrice cooked" kind of taste. I couldn've lived without the beans. But, yeah, the sandwich was good from what I remember of it. But also nothing terribly remarkable. Really what it reminded me of was Green Street Meats in Chicago. Almost like the owners visited Green Street during the planning stages and said, "This is the barbecue place we want to be!" Right down to the service style and christmas-lights-in-old-warehouse decor. So for further detail, scroll back to, say, 2011, and read my Green Street Meats write-up. I'm sure it'll apply here.

01.21.2019 - by Steve
JojuQueens
Banh mi

The difference between NYC and Minneapolis (well, St. Paul) Vietnamese places is pretty noticeable. The Twin Cities are known as a pretty good area for Vietnamese food, and that's true, but that seems to come mostly in the form of mom-n-pop, hole in the wall joints. The exceptions are few—Ngon Bistro is maybe the only fine-dining Vietnamese spot, and only in the last couple years are places like Lu's trying fast-casual-ify the pho space. (I can't believe I just typed that). But all in all, Twin Cities Vietnamese feels very much like an immigrant group simply wanting to feed themselves and have a taste of home, and if curious Minnesotans want to get some lemongrass chicken, great.

In New York, meanwhile, Vietnamese feels much more like a trend. The restaurants are younger, cooler, expensiver. I've seen very few 'hole in the wall' banh mi joints, relative to NY's uber density of course, compared to MSP. And the cheaper, counter service ones are often more like the subject of this food post, Joju. Located in a very heavily Asian neighborhood in Queens (and I mean "Asian" non-accidentally; we're talking Korean restaurants next to Thai grocery stores next to specifically Taiwanese restaurants. American melting pot, etc. etc.), Joju is what one might call "cool". But not in a Williamsburg pink neon sense, more in an "anime sandwich mascots and K-pop record cover" sense. It also, like many of these places, touts itself almost as much as a bubble tea shop than it does a restaurant. Joju doesn't even have Coke!

But what they do have is delicious banh mi. We ordered two kinds, caramel pork and beef bulgogi. Oh, that's another thing—there seems to be some very blurred lines at NY banh mi shops in terms of which nation's cuisine is represented on this ostensibly Vietnamese sandwich. You're just as likely to see Korean bulgogi or Thai basil pork on the menu as the standard Vietnamese chicken or pork with pate. Which is fine by me. Anyway, the sandwiches were delicious. Maybe a little heavy on carrot, and the actual construction of the veggies and meat made for a slightly awkward eating experience, but they tasted great. They also represented one more difference that seems to separate NY banh mi from MSP banh mi: the bun was refreshingly soft. So many hole in the wall banh mi I'm used to seem to lean towards using chewy, crispy baguettes. But these NY versions are soft, and much easier to bite into. A much more satisfying experience in my opinion, and one that comes in to play with a lot of New York dough-based food, from pizza dough to bagels, simply to bread you're served at restaurants or find at bakeries. Whether it's the water or the high turnover or simply the quality of local bakeries, bread truly is better here than in the rest of the country. Crazy as it sounds.

So anyway, Joju. It's good. It's pretty deep into parts of Queens you might never go to, so maybe don't worry too much about it. There's probably others like it.