Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Tribute to Tippy's Taco

Back when Marianne lived in the States, we would often get together at a place Tippy's Taco.  Tippy's Taco is a chain of very cheap, delicious Mexican food in Northern Virginia.  I don't know what started us on Tippy's in the first place.  But we continued to go whenever she was home from school.  And we went one final time before she moved to Spain in September.  These photos are from our final Tippy's visit.

They did have some amazingly delectable guacamole there.

I think about going to Tippy's sometimes.  And then I realize that I can't go with Marianne.  Sure, it would be awesome and tasty and cheese-filled, but it just wouldn't be the same.  It wouldn't be filled with chomping on chips while discussing school and boys and Pearl Jam and Crispin Glover and our eventual adventures in Ireland.

So, suffice to say, I miss my Tippy's trips with Marianne.  But, while I do miss her something most fierce, I should not let this deprive me of wonderful Tippy's Tacos.  One day, one day I will return again...for some epic enchiladas.

Top 5: Fleetwood Mac

Interesting fact about myself - Fleetwood Mac was my first favorite band.  I was 11 or 12.  My dad listened to them all the time and, as a result, I listened to them all the time too.  Other kids were listening to the Spice Girls (OK, I did too, but beside the point), which I was bouncing along to Rumors and Tusk.  Not sure why.  Maybe it was their harmonies, their catchy, funky, melodic tunes, Mick Fleetwood's beard, or my desire to marry Lindsey Buckingham (see my "Top 5: Weird Crushes" list).  A lot of it, I think, had to do with how much I loved Stevie Nicks.


Stevie Nicks had an amazing, unique voice - a little bit gravely, a little bit vulnerable, yet strong at the same time.  I loved her witch-y, mystical persona, her personal, other-worldly lyrics...and her shawls, of course.  It's still a childhood fantasy of mine to BE Stevie Nicks.  Minus the coke addiction and tendency towards having affairs with Mick Fleetwood and Don Henley.

But at any rate - here are my Top 5 Fleetwood Mac songs!

5. "Second Hand News" from Rumours

4. "What Makes You Think You're the One?" from Tusk

3. "Gypsy" from Mirage

2. "Rhiannon" from Fleetwood Mac

1. "The Chain" from Rumours

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Adventures in Vegan Cooking: Seitan Pot Pie

Last weekend, I went to my friend Daniel's apartment to make seitan pot pie.  I had never tried seitan before, and I've decided it is my new favorite fake meat.  Daniel got the recipe off the blog Vegan Sweetie, who, in turn, got it from Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's book, Veganomicon.  Considering it was my first time making a pot pie, or pie crust for that matter, I think we did an awesome job and it turned out deliciously! 

In case you've never made a seitan pot pie before (and I'm guessing not many of you have), you will need the following incredients...

There is, of course, the seitan...

Add potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, corn, edamame...

Spinach works too!

Don't forget the vegetable broth!

Combine all into a hearty, stew-like concoction.

Consumption of alcohol whilst cooking also helps.

Oh, right, it's a pot pie!  So, at some point...a pie crust should be assembled...this process was surprisingly difficult, involving chopping the shortening into the flour mixture.  According to the recipe, however, it would make, like...the best pie crust ever.

Voila!  You have a pie crust!

And then...assemble!

We discovered that cooking can be stressful.

But it's all worth it, because in the end you have delicious seitan pot pie!

Pop a slice on a plate...and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Year in Lists: Favorite Albums of 2009

After much deliberation, I have finally finished my yearly "Best Albums of the Year" list. I feel compelled to do this every year, which I suppose is silly, since I'm sure no one cares. But, you know, I get a weird pleasure out of making lists. Let's go!

10. PJ Harvey & John Parish - A Woman A Man Walked By
This second collaboration between Harvey and Parish can be a bit challenging to listen to. It's full of restless energy, haunting melodies, and some weird vocals/instrumentation. But it's really grew on me. While it's not an entirely even effort, PJ Harvey has never sounded better and lyrically, she's going some really interesting places.
Try: Black Hearted Love, A Woman A Man Walked By / The Crow Knows Where All the Little Children Go, Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen

9. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
I like the Pains of Being Pure At Heart because they sound like nostalgia. Or like the soundtrack to a modern-times John Hughes movie.
Try: Young Adult Friction, The Tenure Itch

8. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
I was against Dirty Projectors for a long time. Not for any real legitimate reason, but just because they were hyped up a lot in indie music blogs and Pitchfork and the like, so I figured they would probably be overrated. And then I heard an acoustic version of their song "No Intention" on Sirius XMU and decided I needed to reevaluate my opinion of them and get their album. And I discovered it's actually quite brilliant.
Try: No Intention, Cannibal Resource, Stillness is the Move

7. The Antlers - Hospice
This is a concept album, built around the story of someone dying of bone cancer. The songs are equal parts softness and sparseness and emotional, desperate crescendos. It makes for some depressing listening, but it's the good kind of hurt.
Try: Two, Kettering, Sylvia

6. We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls
I saw these guys open for The Twilight Sad earlier this year and they blew me away. This is a pretty solid debut and is particularly enjoyable if you're like me and you like grandiose, emotional rock music performed by guys with Scottish accents.
Try: Roll Up Your Sleeves, It's Thunder and It's Lightning

5. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
This album has probably made Natasha Khan (aka Bat For Lashes) my new favorite female artist. There's a lot of duality, faery-ness, and metaphysical lushness going on here...these songs are simply some of the most gorgeous things I've heard this year.
Try: Daniel, Pearl's Dream, Siren Song

4. Passion Pit - Manners
Danceable beats! Falsetto voices! Children's choirs! Electro-pop goodness! Most of the things that I would normally find annoying in indie bands I love about Passion Pit. Somehow they make it all come together into one amazingly infectious, addictive album.
Try: Sleepyhead, Little Secrets, Moth's Wings

3. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Simply put, the best French alternative rock band ever to write a song about Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. This might be the only album this year catchier than Passion Pit's. Which is not an easy feat.
Try: Listzomania, 1901, Armistice

2. Future of the Left - Travels With Myself and Another
Loud, fast, funny, rude, odd...this Welsh punk trio was my favorite new musical find of this year. And despite the wonderfulness of this album, you really should see them live. They're just a blast to see.
Try: Arming Eritrea, Throwing Bricks At Trains

1. Metric - Fantasies
I'm surprised I hadn't been converted to Metric before and lead singer Emily Haines' particularly sexy allure. All I can say is that this is a really great, solid rock album and has many many songs worthy of cranking up loud in your car and singing along to. Most of the songs from this album have been on repeat in my iPod for the last 6 months and they have not gotten old yet.
Try: Sick Muse, Gold Guns Girls, Satellite Mind

Honorable Mentions:
Au Revoir Simone - Still Night, Still Light
HEALTH - Get Color
Karen O and the Kids - Where the Wild Things Are (Original Soundtrack)
The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come
The Middle East - The Recordings of the Middle East EP

Until next year, folks!