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March 2010 Blog Archives

Happy Birthday

Amy Sedaris is 49!

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She & Him

When actress Zooey Deschanel teamed up with folk troubadour M. Ward, I wasn’t sure what to think. As an actress, sure - she's alright. But Zooey Deschanel, the singer? Really? I don't know. It's been done poorly so many times before by actresses who think they can sing and vice versa...Gwyneth Paltrow, Hillary Duff, Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson? It's annoying. And have you seen Zooey's cotton commercial? She goes about her day-to-day activities of vintage clothes shopping and vinyl sifting, making the already cliched hipster existence seem that much more trite. All that being said, she IS kind of adorable and I would kill to have her closet full of those comfortable cotton dresses.

Just released is Volume Two, with the pair continuing in the same vein as its similarly titled predecessor, blending 50s and 60s pop with some country lilts. Lead single “In the Sun” mixes downbeat lyrics with upbeat melodies, offsetting its lovelorn angst with music set to synchronized dancing.  "If You Can't Sleep" and "Brand New Shoes", the two lullabies at the end are sweet. It took me a while of listening and relistening before I was fully convinced. But I have to admit, Volume 2 is light, pleasant, well-produced and endearing.  Even though you may be able to listen to similar tunes on your local golden oldies station, there is a need to update and revisit these classic sounds from time to time.

 

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I Love, You Love, We All Love Yucatecan!

I apologize there is only one blurry shot of this.

I was most of the way through it when I remembered to grab my camera with greasy hands and take a shot.  I believe I was eating panuchos. Though again, I'm not sure, I was too interested in what I was eating. With a menu of salbutes, puchero, relleno blanco and relleno negro, frijol con puerco, cochinita, poc chuc, chocolomo and a bunch of other food I haven't heard of and neither have you unless you have been to the Yucatan peninsula - I can pretty much guarantee, it's all good. Trust me, it's not just your usual taqueira. The spices are different, it's more complex and Angel encompases Mayan recipes. On top of it all, the owners are very, very nice. 

Read the review...on Chowhoundand if your mouth waters at all while you do, you should give this place a try.  Yes, the name is awful. But the owner's name is Angel - pronounced An-hyell and not AinJell.  There is apparently a pool table there which must be the "fun" part of the name. 

Angel's Food and Fun
5135 NE 60th (3 blocks south of Killingsworth)
Portland, OR 97218    (503) 287-7909 

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Poster Prints for You and You and You

There should be no excuse for bare white walls when places like Society 6 exist to bring you affordable art. Maybe not to our grandma's taste, but still - what youthful art lover doesn't have a soft spot for urban craft? Support your local designer!

The Kitsune Noir Poster Show with beloved books seen below. Prints for $50


"Walden"

Apparently I'm not the only one suffering springtime crush on my town.  And with 11x17 prints for only $40, how can you not feel the love?  Society 6's PDX gallery showcasesa a number of local designers.  Check out Society 6 for aumber of great and affordable prints for less than $50.


"Hello Stereotypes"

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The Return of the Hipstamatic

As if the iPhone weren't already annoyingly awesome enough, with it's apps and ability to read your email and talk on the phone at the same time. Now they've come out with the Hipstamatic app which imitates the grainy, oversaturated look of old school toy camera's like the Helga and Diana but for the camera on your phone - which coincidently also offers low resolution and grainy images. A brilliant marrying of old and new.

The images are marvelously rich and analog looking for what you think you can do with a digital camera.

Hipstamatic was first invited in 1982 by two brothers, Bruce and Winston Dorbowski who got their first toy cameras from their Dad for Christmas in 1972.  Loving the Kodak Instamatic and wanting an affordable camera for everyone, they came up with the Hipstamatic. Tragically, they were both killed only two years later by a drunk driver with only 157 cameras ever made. In a tribute to them, their camera lives on thanks to the folks at Synthetic. 

Just like with toy cameras, you get weird color effects, blurred subjects, and vignettes. This isn't a camera defect; far from it, in fact. This is where Hipstamatic truly shines and is the reason why so many Lomo fans love their toy cameras. It¹s all about the unpredictability. And yet, with the ease of a few finger swipes, you can view your photos just like with a digital camera. Unpredictable, but easily editable.

Like a real camera the Hipstamatic app has a front and a back. With the front facing you on the iPhone's screen, you may change the lens by swiping a finger across the front of the camera's body. By pressing the button on the lower right corner of the screen, it will flip the camera and open so you can select the type of film you want to use. Once this is set, simply look into the camera¹s small viewfinder and press the big yellow button to your right. Wait a few seconds for "developing" and you can view the images by selecting the small frame at the lower left corner.  There is even a "flash" feature, although I haven't quite figured out how to use it in a good way just yet.

A good number of films and lenses come with the Hipstamatic, however, if you simply just can¹t get enough, (I don¹t know of any photographer that ever is), additional films and lenses can be easily purchased. I ended buying additionally, the Shibuya Float Film, Pistil Film as well as the Helga Viking Lens. I'm sure I'll get more. 

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For the Love of Food

I really do try and not go on too much about the city I live in, on the other hand - it's spring, and love is in the air.  Please visit, but don't stay - is how most Oregonians want it.  We'd rather not have a traffic problem like big cities often do. The weather, despite rainy days (you do grow to love them) is really quite pure Pacific Northwest: refreshing, temperate, clean.

The residents are not the most diverse of people, but they are laid back and yet passionate about political, social, and environmental issues, you know - those topics that if you have kids, you become passionate about. The geography is extremely lovely with the Cascade range in the background, the valleys with their rivers and wineries, and a nearby ocean chock full of seafood. It's hard not to be in love.

And then, if I could feel for a place anymore, there is the food. The FOOD - oh, if there was any a place to make you drool like a Pavlovian experiment - it's the words "Portland" and "food" in the same sentance.

If you like to cook, there are numerous neighborhood farmer's markets bountiful with organic produce and fun food hunts where you can learn when to pick the biggest chanterelles or go digging on the coast for clams.  You can grow vegetables year round since the climate is mild.  How are your beans? is an acceptable topic at any party.  If you are a "foodie", the Pacific Northwest is home to, as Tony Bourdain says, cook's cooks. Where easy going chefs obsess over the finest ingredients Oregon has to offer.

Portland has lately become is obsessed with affordable street cuisine. Just stop at any of the infamous neighborhood food carts which have been steadily popping up all over the city where you can the finest street food from around the world all made right here, with again - many organic and locally grown ingredients.  There are a few charmers like Whole Bowl and Pok-Pok who have taken street food to the dine-in level.

Yesterday, I decided to try out a take-home-and-bake place, you know like Papa Murphy's, but WAY better.  While I'm not a bad cook, my passion lies more with savoring meals placed in front of me, rather than the preparing and cooking portion of the process.  Much to my joy, my friend Kell (who did teach me how to make a four day marinara sauce) turned me onto a place where you can go and buy premade, uncooked dishes pretty much straight from the purest Italian kitchen Portland has to offer.  My latest love is called Taste Unique.   For $20, you can easily feed four people.  I decided to go simple and order their Traditional Lasagna: We make it like 50 years ago with home made pasta, béchamel, Parmigiano, mozzarella and the best, local grass-fed beef ragu.


So good, I ate it for breakfast the next day.

Located on Division between 21st and 22nd, Chef Stefania Toscano cooks Fresh Pasta, Ravioli, Lasagnas, Cannelloni, Sauces, Cream Pastries and Tiramisu which you can pick up in a matter of minutes, take home and pretend to your husband you slaved all day making.  Salty Roman focaccia is baked every hour and all made from scratch using the very best local ingredients and there is something new everyday.  


Fresh Cannelloni with Ricotta, Parmigiano and Shitake mushrooms.


Cascade Natural Peppered Roast Beef with Blueberry & Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

 

 

 

 

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