Music & Food | A site about music and food.
March 16, 2023


De Kronieken van het Verdwenen Kasteel - I - Harslo

Fluisteraars usually rules, but this new release bums me out. I actually don’t even know what it is—a single, an EP, a piece of a larger multi-part project? But what I do know is it sounds much more like traditional lo-fi black metal than the more forward-thinking, experimental black metal that Fluisteraars usually works with. They’re usually not afraid to break the form, to throw in big melodies and let off the accelerator now and then. But this thing is just, like, 10 minutes of what may as well be some other random black metal guy recording shit onto a 4-track in his basement. Who knows.

It’s a Music & Food first. I’m redacting this entire post just a day or two after I first wrote it. Mea culpa, that’s something people say, right? Thing is, um actually, this is a pretty good couple of Fluisteraars songs. I think my first couple times listening to it was just on my laptop speakers, while working, not fully paying attention, who knows. But giving it a run on headphones last night, oops, it clicked. Yes it’s still very lo-fi, yes it’s rough around the edges, but there’s actually some interesting shit happening here. Surprising melodies, oddball vocal takes—hell, the vocals open up on the first track with an extremely un-black-metal “woo!”.

Plus the question of what even is this has been answered. It’s the first of a 3-part 10″ EP series that was apparently recorded inside—or at least inspired by—some ancient Dutch castle dungeon? Well that part I’m still not sure about.

But, so, I’m sorry for rushing to judgement. Fluisteraars knows exactly what they’re doing.

March 15, 2023

The Beatles

Abbey Road

I’ve been fixating on the Beatles in the last couple weeks. It’s been a long time since I’ve spent any time with these lads, and while it seems completely inane and redundant to sit here talking about how the Beatles were good, that is nonetheless my takeaway.

This post is labeled with Abbey Road, and I guess that’s where I jumped in the other weekend, but I’ve really gone through nearly their entire catalog. And back around again. I’ve also been playing the songs on guitar the entire time, while I’m working, while I’m watching TV at night, whenever. (It’s struck me that, back 10 or 15 years ago, whenever I last might’ve been sitting down to play Beatles songs on guitar, I actually wasn’t as good of a guitar player as I am now. Chalk it up to being a dummy who learned how to play guitar based mostly on 90s alt rock, instead of music that uses, you know, chords.) It’s only been in recent years that I’ve really figured out all those minor 7ths and diminished 9ths and other voicings and inversions, and got my hand to the point that I can actually sit and sightread nearly anything. Before that, it was actually tricky to play a lot of Beatles stuff, because they’re doing a lot of tricky stuff!

But what’s struck me, playing through these songs—and I apologize again because this is so obvious—is that they’re so good. These chord progressions are perfect. Nearly every song. They had this magical ability to throw the simplest surprises and changes into their patterns, lull you into thinking you know what chord is coming next, and then moving you into the next lane, and you’re so glad they did. Because it’s never shocking or off-putting. It’s never just for show. It’s always perfectly complimentary, like each single verse’s chord progression is its own narrative, beginning, middle, and end. Really amazing. I don’t get that from most other artists’ music. It’s rare for anyone to write a perfectly constructed song once or twice. The Beatles did it over and over and over again.

Anyway here are some scattered thoughts I’ve had:

  • It’s amazing how many Beatles songs that were deeply ingrained in me as a kid that I’ve practically forgotten. I mean I still remember them like the back of my hand, but I hadn’t thought about these songs for most of my life, and even when I heard them as a kid, I never really even knew they were Beatles songs. They were just fodder for Kool 108 to play every day when my mom was driving me to school and tee ball practice and whatever else. “Please Please Me,” “Do You Want To Know A Secret,” “I’ll Follow The Sun.” Hell, even “Love Me Do” has been off my radar for the last 30 years. God they had a lot of hits. Endless.
  • The early collections really are full of a lot of filler junk. They certainly weren’t batting a thousand.
  • That said, it’s remarkable how, at least twice per collection, out of nowhere they’ll drop one of the greatest songs ever written. A bunch of tracks that sound like 4 guys fucking around, some pop covers, and them, bam, “All My Loving.”
  • I’ve kinda fallen in love with “Ticket to Ride.” I hadn’t given that song much attention before, but it’s really a beautiful track. And it kinda marks the moment when the band turned the corner into their latter-day form. The common line is that turn happened with Rubber Soul, but I think it was “Ticket to Ride.” And really the Help! album in general.
  • Magical Mystery Tour stinks. Well, the first half anyway. And then it becomes an unimpeachable classic.
  • I still put “And Your Bird Can Sing” as one of my favorite Beatles tracks.
  • This is some chalk-level basic shit, but I think I’m putting my favorite album as a tie between Revolver and Abbey Road. I know.
  • Actually, it’s kinda doubly remarkable that, with all of this endless praise, I think only 2 of their albums really count as flawless 10s. Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Abbey Road. Every other album they released, even in their peak, has a few speedbumps in there. Sgt Peppers gets sloppy at times. The White Album is practically designed to have some duds. I don’t think anyone’s tried to make the argument that Let It Be is perfect.

Dear readers, if you take anything away from this blog, let it be this: the Beatles were good.


March 14, 2023

Waste Man

Waste Man

This is just a 3-song EP, which I usually wouldn’t bother writing about if it wasn’t as electrically interesting as this Waste Man EP. Waste Man plays what you might call “noise rock,” that whole scene, but they’re one of the most fascinating sounding noise rock bands I’ve ever heard. It just sounds great. Like yes it’s noisy and grinding, but there are layers of beautiful chord structures hiding down there, little peeks of melody that come up for air, mantra-like riffs that loop around your head. And the engineering itself—it was recorded with a unique clarity that sounds pristine, especially for a noise band. And oddly enough, it sounds extra good on my laptop speakers. It’s just absolutely engaging. I hope they bring all of this into their next full length.

March 5, 2023

Screaming Females

Desire Pathway

What I want to write about this album is that it should make Screaming Females huge stars. They should be playing these songs in front of sold out arenas and festival crowds. They’re swinging big and aiming for rock radio royalty, and they’ve got the hooks to back it up.

But if Turnstile couldn’t do it in the last 2 years, I don’t know if it’s going to happen.

March 5, 2023


How We Operate

This music and food blog has a search function, did you know? Well I was sitting here listening to Gomez—remember Gomez?—and it got me thinking, when was the last time I wrote about Gomez on this site? So I did a quick search, and the answer is 2009.

2009! It’s been 14 years since Gomez has even briefly received mention here! Meaning, one, that they haven’t released anything new this whole time, and I’ve never really done deep enough of a dive back into their records that has left me wanting to do one my “hey remember these guys!” posts.

Well now is the time to remember these guys. I’ve put them on randomly a couple times in the last few weeks, but tonight in particular, I’ve landed on their 2006 album How We Operate, and I’m really enjoying it! It’s funny, at the time this came out, I took it to be a sign of some “new” phase for Gomez, something that was a lot more straightforward and less adventurous than their first albums, but was still “um actually pretty good.” I say funny, because again, that was so long ago. So long. And it was only 6 or 7 years removed from their debut, which felt like an eternity at the time, now just seems like a little blip in time.

But I’m enjoying How We Operate a whole lot. It goes down real smooth. I’m also enjoying the other earlier Gomez albums just as much; it’s always nice when something from your past actually holds up. Gomez is an odd band. I think they got very big in some very small circles, particularly in England at the time, but they were always overshadowed by other English bands. And their legacy is seemingly nil. Their Spotify numbers are all pretty low, there’s no new crop of bands citing Gomez as an influence, and I don’t think there ever will be. They were never really “cool”, they don’t have one big hit song that will always be remembered. Even the Beta Band got a big shoutout in High Fidelity, and TBH I think Gomez was much better than the Beta Band, and they were both doing similar things in similar circles at the time. And I even contend Gomez was doing it first.

Anyway, Gomez. They’re great. How We Operate is a pleasure. I think next thing I’m going to do is dig into their later albums that lil baby Steve absolutely hated at the time. Wish me luck.

March 2, 2023

Andy Schauf


Norm is the new Andy Schauf album. It’s a handsomely arranged collection of soft pop rock tunes, telling a single story of the threads connecting some down-and-out characters sharing a corner of a city. It’s a very nice listen. But for an Andy Schauf album, that’s the norm.

February 17, 2023

Mette Henriette


It’s got a blurry black and white photo on the cover with  “ECM” stamped on it. If you know you know.

February 17, 2023

Brad Mehldau

Your Mother Should Know: Brad Mehldau Plays the Beatles

The only weird thing about Brad Mehldau’s new Beatles covers album—because the fact that Brad Mehldau finally released a Beatles covers album is maybe the least weird thing that’s happened this decade, considering Mehldau’s history of respectable populist covers and his history of respectable populist Beatles covers in particular—is that it’s not very good.

Right? I don’t get it. The song choices are fine. His performances are fine—look, the man is one of the greatest pianists in the world. But maybe it’s because it’s the least weird thing he could do, that the whole album just feels rote. There’s very little energy in it. And it was seemingly taken from a handful of recorded live performances in different venues, so there’s a cheap compilation aspect to it that might not be there had he booked some studio time to knock these things out instead.

Actually, there is one more weird thing: the best track on this Beatles covers album, by far, is his take on David Bowie’s “Life On Mars.”

March 14, 2023

Wo Hop


Chinese food


Wo Hop is a very famous restaurant in Chinatown. It’s mostly famous because it’s been there since 1938 and has reliably okay food for most of  its century. It’s a fun place to be, it’s a fun place to sit; you would never guess it’s been there since 1938, since it looks more like a basement punk venue that opened in the 70s, colorful tables and autographed dollar bills and stickers all over the walls. And the food, indeed, is reliably okay.

But you can skip Wo Hop.

March 14, 2023

Pasta Eater


Guanicale bucatini


Not gonna lie, I mostly ate at this place because it was called Pasta Eater.

There’s a new-ish trend in Italian restaurants around here to lean into the spaghetti-of-it-all. A sort of anti-snobbery nod to the idea that, at the heart of it, we all really just like sauce on noodles. You’ve got the Spaghetti Tavern, the Spaghetti Incident, Cafe Spaghetti, House of Lasagna. But something about “Pasta Eater” goes even beyond that. Like, come here and eat pasta. That’s all. You are a pasta eater. It’s so dumb. But it was well rated and looked chill enough that I could sit by myself and, yes, eat pasta.

But the funny thing that happened was that Pasta Eater was actually really, really good. The whole place was run by actual Italians (as opposed to New York Italians), who all seemed to know their shit. You know, being Italian and all. But I got this bucatini, made fresh in-house, with a guanicale-based red sauce, and it was delicious. One of the best red sauce things I’ve had in a while actually. I also got a better-than-average kale caesar salad, a nice lil bowl of bread. Absolutely nothing bad to say about Pasta Eater.

March 14, 2023

Flip Sigi


Filipino tacos


Honestly if you would’ve just handed me these two Flip Sigi tacos, I don’t think I would’ve been able to tell you they were Filipino tacos. They just kinda tasted like tacos. But they were really good tacos.

March 5, 2023



Chocolate chip cookie


Levain is a bakery chain that has become extraordinarily popular for their chocolate chip cookie. It’s one of those huge chocolate chip cookies that is like half chocolate chips, and is shaped more like the mounding top of a huge muffin rather than your regular cookies. The process of eating one goes precisely like this:

Bite 1: OMG this is a really good cookie
Bite 2: Wow I can’t believe how much chocolate is in here.
Bite 3: Okay, I think I need to take a breather.
One minute passes
Bite 4: Still delicious, but I’m starting to get dizzy and I need to save the rest of this for tomorrow.
A half hour passes
Bite 5: I hate myself. Maybe I need to see a therapist.
Bite 6: I think I’m going to be sick.
Later that night
I don’t care I’m just going to finish it.
The next morning
I never want to see another cookie in my life.
6 months later
Ooh, Levain, I think these are supposed to be good!

March 1, 2023

Blue Door Souvlakia


I heard Paul Hollywood on a podcast talking about how much he loved pork souvlaki, and I immediately needed pork souvlaki. Luckily there’s a lot of Greek places around here, and Blue Door Souvlakia has it right there in the name, and they’ve got the real deal pork kind. It was as satisfying as I could’ve hoped.

February 21, 2023

Tribo's Peri Peri

Jersey City

Peri peri chicken

Jersey City

There’s a shocking lack of peri peri chicken in New York. Nando’s is beyond beloved in England and elsewhere, even in a handful of U.S. cities now, even though New York is not one of them. And the general idea of peri peri has made its way to other places, to the point that a couple Desi spots in my old neighborhood advertised having it, even though what they were serving (IMO) wasn’t actually peri peri.

And yet it’s hard to actually find anything like Nando’s in this city! The best option I’ve had so far wasn’t even in New York, it was across the Hudson in downtown Jersey City! It was mostly a fluke that brought me there; I was doing something around the Battery in lower Manhattan, and thought since I was near a PATH station, I thought it might be fun to go get dinner in Jersey. A zipped around Google Maps for a minute to see what stood out, but as soon as I saw Tribo’s Peri Peri I knew that was the plan.

Oddly enough (but maybe not for northern NJ), it seemed that Tribo’s was an Indian-American run place. Between that and the fact that those Bangladeshi/Pakastani places in Brooklyn were also serving peri peri, it makes me wonder what the regional connection is, since it’s pretty well known that peri peri is a Portuguese concoction that blew up in South Africa. But it was interesting that, while the chicken at this place was pretty much what I know peri peri chicken to be, the rice it was served with was very much Indian rice, like a basmati with turmeric and peas and other little things.

But we’re here for the chicken! It was pretty good! They talked me down from “hot” to “medium”, which was fine, because the hot sauce on the side was pretty hot. But yeah! It was tasty! I don’t have many other notes!

I got some ‘street corn’ on the side too. It wasn’t worth it. But whatever, go read the previous paragraph again.

February 17, 2023

Ends Meat


Lamb porchetta sandwich


Lamb porchetta. Lamb porchetta. Imagine.

Wasn’t as good as I hoped. Still.

February 17, 2023

Dave's Hot Chicken


Hot chicken sandwich


Ever since Nashville hot chicken became a ‘thing,’ I’ve struggled with it. It should be my favorite food in the world, shouldn’t it? What’s possibly not to like? And yet, nearly every time I’ve eaten it, I feel nothing but disappointment. I don’t know why, it’s usually either too something or not enough something or weirdly gritty or coated in oil, or just never as satisfying as more traditional fried chicken, spicy or otherwise.

Dave’s Hot Chicken, which appears to be a chain but actually only has 3 locations, is the first time that Nashville hot chicken has fully done it. I can’t explain what they’re doing differently—maybe it’s more dry rub and less oily bath?—but this chicken was just about perfect.

My only complaint is holy cow their “sliders” are huge. Full size sandwiches. But they call them “sliders” which makes you think you need 2 of them, and then you can barely even finish the first one. So make sure to remember this note and just get the one.

February 17, 2023



Pastrami sandwich


OK I’m losing my mind.

The this whole writeup about Frankel’s was going to be about how long I’ve wanted to go to Frankel’s. It goes back to before I ever lived here, I remember reading about the place when it opened, a bunch of indie-rock dudes were somehow involved in it, it was going to be a legit new Jewish deli in an era when most legit Jewish delis were closing. I had it on my radar for years, but whenever I visited here, I was never able to make it. This goes back like 10 years now. A full decade of not being able to go to Frankel’s.

Except I just read that it only opened in 2016.

2016?? Seriously, I don’t know what’s happening. In my mind it’s been so much longer, my sense of time is seemingly fucking crumbling. I’m so baffled I don’t even feel like telling you about the pastrami.

Fine I’ll tell you about the pastrami: it was good, but almost too tender. Is that possible? I don’t know anything anymore.

February 12, 2023



Cured shrimp, uni bibimbap


Osamil, an ostensibly Korean restaurant on the edge of K-Town, describes itself as a “gastropub,” but it isn’t really one. And it’s also barely a Korean restaurant either—at least not by the basic ideas that you and I might have of what a Korean gastropub might be.

It’s really closer to fine dining, with a focus on sea creatures and roe and flavor palettes that lean more ‘clean’ and globally neutral, rather than the gochujang and kimchi and bulgogi forward flavors that normally get associated with Korean food. Even the bibimbap, featuring uni (urchin) and roe, is a light, cool mixture, rather than the crispy hot stone-bowl combination you usually get.

The most interesting thing I tried there, though, is the cured shrimp. It was really like nothing I’ve had before—full, head-on shrimp that had otherwise been peeled and deveined, and left the meat to essentially pickle. They call it “cured”, but I usually imagine that to be a drying process. This was something closer to ceviche? But taken from the liquid bath and served on its own. But again, with the head still on. It was acidic and tasty. And if you set down in front of me randomly, I never would’ve guessed it was Korean.

They had some other items like a pork shank that looked delicious, too. Maybe I’ll be back.