Failure to Launch: Quinoa, Mango and Cashew Breakfast Bowl with Dangerous Ponies and MAKE OUT

Failure to Launch: Quinoa, Mango and Cashew Breakfast Bowl with Dangerous Ponies and MAKE OUT

Tired of the typical imitation Cheerios with blueberries and Captain Crunch I tried to marry three of my most recent worlds for breakfast the other day. I combined the black and red quinoa of Peru with mangoes and agave nectar from Mexico and the shredded coconut of South Florida. I also threw in some cashews from Brazil but I have no connection to that place (aside from the bikini I won in a recent gift swap). I hoped for a tropical breakfast with a variety of flavors. Instead, when I ate my first mouthful, it took all I had not to scream like Salome when she saw the giant iguana climbing the mango tree in The Lacuna. Where was the taste? The pleasure? The whisking away to some far off island? In the end it was the mango that I purchased at a grocery store in the good ol’ USA that let me down. It lacked juice and taste, was grainy and grimy instead of soft and squishy. Next time I make this it will be with only the freshest of mangoes.

At least what I listened to as I made the meal was decent. I rolled through “I Only Wear My Favorite Clothes at Home” by the Dangerous Ponies and “I Don’t Want Anybody That Wants Me” by MAKE OUT. One is a seven piece Philadelphia act that incorporates glittery glam into a dance grooving 70’s sound (Dangerous Ponies). The other is a drawn out, rrrrriot grrrrl anthem that speaks of independence and refusing to embrace those who hope to hold you (MAKE OUT).

Breaded Tofu and Kiwi Lime Salsa Spiced by Fucked Up and Penguins Kill Polar Bears

Breaded Tofu and Kiwi Lime Salsa Spiced by Fucked Up and Penguins Kill Polar Bears

The Cuzco Alpaca Spit begin their season today hoping to improve on last year’s position. If you’ve never heard of them, no worries, they are a fantasy baseball team. I’ve done fantasy baseball almost every year since I was eleven or twelve, it was something my father and I would do together. Over the years my team has gone through many name changes. Among them: the Pearl Penguins, Smashing Penguins, Charlie Manson’s, Stone Temple Penguins, the Holy Hand Grenades, Trench Coat Mafia and Alpaca Spit (great expectoration’s baby!). A similar fate has befallen the kiwifruit. It has, at different times and places, been called: Macaque Peach, Macaque Pear, Vine Pear, Sunny Peach, Wood Berry, Hairy Bush Fruit, Unusual Fruit or Wonder Fruit. Recently I worked with the Hairy Bush Fruit to create a salsa to top breaded tofu.

Breaded Tofu and Kiwi Lime Salsa
-1 package of firm tofu, frozen then thawed
-2 cups veggie broth
-1/2 cup flour
-3 Tbs. nutritional yeast
-salt and pepper (to taste)
-1/4 tsp. cayenne
-vegetable oil
-1 jalapeno
-2 kiwi, skin removed and sliced thinly
-1 1/2 Tbs. lime juice

1. Slice the tofu into rectangular pieces. Soak in the vegetable broth for 1 hour.2. In a large metal bowl. Mix the flour, nutritional yeast, cayenne, salt and pepper. Towel off the tofu (by gently pressing down with a paper towel). Dredge the tofu in the flour mixture.3. Heat enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom of a skillet over medium heat. When warm, add the tofu. Fry the tofu on each side until browned (took about 3 minutes). Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all tofu has been fried.

4. In another bowl mix the jalapeno, kiwi, lime juice and cilantro.

5. Arrange the tofu on a plate. Top with kiwi salsa.

Nothing says kiwifruit salsa like the sounds of Fucked Up’s new album, David Comes to Life. While the album itself, a rock opera/play that tells the story of David and his lost love and the subsequent internal conversations that take place between him and the narrator, isn’t out until June 7th (on Matador Records), the band posted their first single from it last week. Previous Fucked Up installments have seen the lot of the lyrics performed by growly voiced frontman Father Damien/Pink Eyes with little bits of female backing vocals scattered here and there. “The Other Shoe,” the bands first of four singles from the new album, features a much more prominent Mustard Gas (Sally Miranda) on vocals. It feels almost like a beauty and the beast combo as she sweetly mentions “dying on the inside” in the chorus/refrain before Damien inserts his signature beastly verses. Fucked Up is one of the few bands that never seem to let me down, they always seem to put out songs that I can listen to over and over. “The Other Shoe” is no different and it has officially gotten me to start counting the days until the new album hits stores.

Fucked Up-The Other Shoe


Also appropriate, especially since most of my early fantasy teams involved the moniker penguin (my father’s nickname), is Scotland rocker’s Penguins Kill Polar Bears. These guys released a two song EP, Vessels and Veins, in February. You can grab it for free over at their soundcloud page. “Lungs” is loud and industrialized so watch the neighbors.

Food Flavored Song of the Day: Everyone is My Friend by Owls

Food Flavored Song of the Day: Everyone is My Friend by Owls

In “Everyone is My Friend” the Owls pose the question:

“And even now, in the sunlight with grapefruit juice and coffee bound and bountied to winter without end, would you two like each other or are you too much alike?”

I’ve thought through this lyrical inquest a number of times, looked at from different angles and I keep coming back to one thing. If I’m drinking coffee and grapefruit juice in the sunshine, I’ll probably be thinking about my water intake and how much energy I have when I don’t have to work and how the bone in the middle of my foot doesn’t quite fit with the rest of its neighbors. Pondering relationship stuff, on caffeine, won’t happen.

Owls-Everyone is My Friend

The song appears on the band’s self-titled release from 2001 which was recently repressed by Jade Tree.

Molletones refried with Tomorrow in Vegas and Boat

Molletones refried with Tomorrow in Vegas and Boat

If you’ve been planning a trip to Italy but haven’t yet gotten the funds together, may I suggest that you forgo that plan and travel instead to the Yucatan Penninsula in Mexico. Everywhere we went (which is Cancun, Merida and Tulum) Italians and Italian fusion restaurants weren’t difficult to spot (thank god for that because otherwise J-Fur might not have had anything to eat). These Molletones were inspired by a dish I had at Cafe Peon Contreras, in Merida, which was one of the aforementioned Italian fusion places.

-1 1/2 cups dried pinto beans
-1/2 onion, diced
-olive oil
-1 baguette, sliced lengthwise
-your favorite Mexican cheese
-salsa (optional)

1. Sift through the beans picking out the stones (unless you like to eat that stuff). Place into a big pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down slightly and cook for 2 hours adding more water if necessary. When the beans are soft, drain, reserving 1/4 a cup of the cooking juice. Set aside.2. In a skillet, heat a little bit of olive oil (I used about a teaspoon). Saute the onion in the oil until translucent.3. Pour the beans, onion and reserved liquid back into the big pot. Using a hand masher and spoon mash/stir the beans until they resemble refried beans. Season with salt if necessary.

4. Bake the baguette slices at 210 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and spread a layer of beans over each slice. Top with Mexican cheese.

5. Increase the oven heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until the cheese is melted (3-5 minutes). Top with salsa. Annihilate with your incisors.

Electronic indie echo popper and fellow vegetarian Mookie from Tomorrow in Vegas accompanied the molletones to my mouth. His song “Goodbye Ms. California” reminds me, in title and theme only, to a Mustard Plug track about dating Miss Michigan. Despite all the problems taking place in the song, Mookie sings it with such cheer that you can’t help but root for him next time Ms. California comes around. Check out his other stuff on soundcloud. Goodbye Ms. California by Tomorrow In Vegas

For something completely different, one only needs to head slightly North to the rain and fuzz of Seattle. Here is where BOAT celebrated the release of their new album, Dress Like your Idols. While the cover art is brilliant (an homage to Seattle past), what keeps me coming back is the song writing. Take “Forever in Armitron” the fifth track. With its up and down buzz heavy feel and desire to know why, one can easily find themselves singing along for hours on end. Buy the full length from Magic Marker Records. Forever in Armitron by BOAT


Taste of Mexico Escorted by Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins

Taste of Mexico Escorted by Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins

I tried to cash it completely on my trip to Mexico (although I had to stop to the ATM twice because of various difficulties). This created an interesting conundrum. In the US, when I go out to eat I usually order tap water and drink to my heart’s content. Since people are all about not drinking the water in Mexico, everything comes in bottled form (and it ain’t cheap). So there were a few meals/days that I had to decide what was more important, food or water. That is why this food experience may seem shorter than an eight day trip ought to. Here’s what I enjoyed:

Don Javier’s Quesadillas Fried Quesadilla with Nopales
Cafe Chocolate Bagui Margarita (basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, tomato, baguette)

El Refresquiera “Sissy” Bean Tostada

Cafe La Boheme Snickerdoodles

Pizzaria de Vito Corleone Vegetarian Pizza (onion, pepper, olives, mushrooms)

Don Cafeto Cheese Quesdillas (With disgusting creamy guacamole, bad lime juice, horrible ketchup and salsa that is way too hot)

Don Cafeto Chips (only part of the meal that was good)

Mama’s House Hostel Mango and Chocolate Crepes
Enrique’s (from Mama’s House Hostel) GuacamoleTortilleria Lulu Fresh Corn Tortillas (for free!)

Hemingway Restaurant Vegetable Pasta with White Sauce

Hemingway Restaurant Sun Dried Tomato Foccacia

Mama’s House Hostel Pan and Banana

I think it happened accidentally more than anything
but I did a lot of listening to Nirvana’s Incesticide while on the trip.

And my current obsession long before Mexico came calling:

Along those same lines…Smashing Pumpkins have a new song. Didn’t know they were still around but, well, now I do.

Smashing Pumpkins-Lightning Strikes

Food Flavored Song of the Day: More Cowbell by Asher Roth

Food Flavored Song of the Day: More Cowbell by Asher Roth

What would pine nuts, tortellini and fresh mozzarella be like if I “didn’t get the pesto” like Asher Roth mentions in his song “More Cowbell?” I can tell you because the first time I tried to make it I ran out of pesto and settled for tomato sauce. It was weak.

Asher Roth-More Cowbell

On another note: I’m heading to Mexico for a week of food, music and ruins. See you when I get back.

Where We Eat: Mr. Dunderbak’s with The Boom Bang and Ponytail

Where We Eat: Mr. Dunderbak’s with The Boom Bang and Ponytail

A German inspired restaurant is not the place that a vegetarian expects to find decent food. So the first few times I found myself at Mr. Dunderbak’s I put little effort into making a decision. I barely even glanced at the menu before ordering a pretzel, pomme frites and potato lattkes. I always left feeling that the next time I saw a potato would be too soon. On my fourth trip there, I can’t help that my friends love the beer, I heard a fellow vegetarian order a “vegetarian rueben.” Say what? All of a sudden I began paying attention. It seems that Mr. Dunderbak’s had a few vegetarian options that didn’t include potatoes or pretzels.

On our last visit, which came shortly after a 13 mile run and shortly before another, I went with my normal appetizer choice of soft pretzel. This time I was given a choice of a super pretzel or an actual German imported soft pretzel. I went with the German one:

I am not proud to admit that the heavy denseness of the German pretzel was too much to get past. Despite my best efforts of dousing it in mustard/ketchup mixtures and drinking lots of water I couldn’t help but think ‘I should’ve gotten the super pretzel.’ I finished it but it wasn’t easy.

While I was working on my pretzel, J-Fur and our friends Bob and Elizabeth were working on her appetizer staple, Pomme Frites. These fried potatoes are the best that I’ve tried in the bay area. They lack the sweetness and dairy of Datz, aren’t too thick or thin and feature a great balance of crisp and soft. The Pomme Frites also aren’t overly salted, something that most potatoes can’t claim.

For the main course I looked at the menu even though there wasn’t a doubt that I would be purchasing the Vegetarian Reuben. Ever since I heard its name whispered I’d been dreaming about getting my own. The Reuben is served with a pickle and more potatoes (chips) which I ignored. The Reuben is an exercise in crispy mush. The top piece of bread is baked to a toast like texture while the inside (sauerkraut, cheese and thousand island dressing) and bottom slice are soggy. I didn’t mind it. J-Fur, or someone with a texture problem, probably would. There is a fine line that this Reuben walks. One that dances between too creamy and just right. I’ve eaten the Reuben twice and the first time it was brilliant. The second time the preparer had put just a little too much dressing on it and it punched me in the gut (for days to come):

J-Fur went with locally made potato and cheese pierogies topped with onions and peppers. They were served alongside sour cream but with their natural taste the topping was not necessary:

To bring the feast to a close, J-Fur ordered a German Chocolate Cake which she passed around the table a few times. My bites were small as chocolate and coconut aren’t my thing. But the tastes were not too overpowering so that I couldn’t enjoy what was taking place in my mouth. I actually would’ve eaten more had I not downed some strawberries and whipped cream earlier in Plant City:

From beginning to end Mr. Dunderbak’s is a beer place and restaurant that I can get into. Now that I’ve paid attention to the menu, it is also a place I can frequent quite a few more times before cashing out all the vegetarian options they have to offer. Open late.

Mr. Dunderbak’s is located at 14929 Bruce B. Downs in Tampa, FL

Mr. Dunderbak's on Urbanspoon

Mr Dunderbaks on Foodio54

Are Ponytail done playing live or aren’t they? It was only last year that Dustin Wong announced Whartscape 2010 would be the band’s last show and rumors of a break-up began rumbling. Then the band complicated things by offering details of a new album. Will they support it? Are these leaders of the yelp revolution living on borrowed time? Should we even care about the future and just live in the present? Here’s to number three and “Easy Peasy.” Thanks to Pitchfork for the link.

Ponytail-Easy Peasy

The Boom Bang are a garage rock outfit that hail from Norman, Oklahoma. “Tobacula” is a dirty ditty about a smoking vampire or something like that. It sounds like it comes from the bottom of a five mile tunnel a la early Misfits. Tobacula is off the band’s debut album World War Fun (out next week). You can catch these guys at SXSW.

The Boom Bang-Tobacula

A Fat Tuesday Feast of Edmame Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons and Moreno

A Fat Tuesday Feast of Edmame Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons and Moreno

Most people probably celebrated Fat Tuesday with doughnuts and Vegan King Cakes. My cuisine was slightly less colorful though positively more healthy. I piled some asparagus, broccoli and Edmame into a pot, added some stock and spices then topped it with goat cheese croutons (aka baguette with slathered in goat cheese). The dish tasted really good (even if the picture looks like crap). If my directions above weren’t enough, you can find an actual recipe here.

As I ate the green mush I revisited the sounds of Chile’s Moreno. Moreno has a new album called Human Pequeno, that is all instrumentals (well, except for the sample of the kid singing the Rolling Stones). Stand out cooking tracks are “Ha Muerto Dennis Hopper” (especially the end when he brings in the wind work) and “No Es Mi Culpa.” They basically played on repeat because of how they make me feel. Moreno also orchestrated a music video for my favorite song of his, “Pica.” Full of OPP (cats people), brilliant colors, balls of yarn and a chocolate milk like drink, the video makes me feel like I am right at home. That’s all I can ask.

Download Human Pequeno for free here.

Vegetarian Sausage, Pepper and Onion Stromboli with Kyla La Grange and Phineas and the Lonely Leaves

Vegetarian Sausage, Pepper and Onion Stromboli with Kyla La Grange and Phineas and the Lonely Leaves

On Saturday I caught a spring training game between the Phillies and Pirates. One of my favorite parts of walking into Brighthouse Networks Field is the smell of peppers and onions. Since it is usually paraded alongside some huge meat pile like a Cheesesteak or Italian Sausage I don’t get to enjoy this stalwart ballpark combination. Instead I have to mimic it at home. This time that meant Vegetarian Sausage Onion and Pepper Stromboli.

Vegetarian Sausage, Pepper and Onion Stromboli
-onion, diced
-green pepper, diced
-olive oil
vegan sausage, sliced (from Vegan Dad blog)
-tomato sauce
stromboli dough (from City of Dionne blog)

1. Make the dough and sausages according to directions.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. In a skillet, saute the onion and green pepper in olive oil for about three minutes. Add the sausage and continue cooking, stirring often, for an additional five minutes.

4. Divide the stromboli dough into two and roll each out into a rectangle. Line the dough with tomato sauce. Then add a layer of onion, peppers and sausage. Top with cheese. Fold the dough to conceal the inner ingredients. Bake for thirty minutes. Slice and serve.

Think the smell of pepper and onions combined is great, try the
ones elicited by Kyla La Grange. Her voice can soar like the best of them though it is usually accompanied by a fuzzed out feeling that in the past was reserved solely for wool sweaters. Don’t believe me? Experience “Walk Through Walls.” It was officially released yesterday as part of a Double A single along with the track “Courage.”

Kyla La Grange – Walk Through Walls by Stayloose

Also check out “Vampire Smile:”
Kyla La Grange-Vampire Smile

Phineas and the Lonely Leaves are completely different from Kyla La Grange (sort of like onions are completely different than peppers). But they work together. Phineas and the Lonely Leaves make things happen with a piano, hand claps and background harmonies. There is no distortion or grime, it is as clean as they come. It took a while for their song “The Kids We Used to Be” to grow on me, I kept wanting more. Eventually, I came to appreciate it. Check out “The Kids We Used to Be,” which comes from an album of the same title (buy it here), below: