I've been cooking a ton lately, spurred on by my belated discovery of Cook's Illustrated (home of "America's Test Kitchen"). Each recipe contains a tale of some peculiarity of the dish in question that the cook(s) felt needed to be corrected, followed by a fairly detailed discussion of the chemistry involved in tackling that problem. (Like why you should sprinkle broccoli with a small amount of sugar before you roast it, or why you should run potatoes through a ricer rather than straight-up mashing them bitches.) Then, their small army of cooks literally try out hundreds of variations before settling on one "best" recipe that pretty much always kicks ass. It's been awesome because I like cooking much more knowing the science behind parts of it, and I like knowing these recipes have been tested and tried won't be a waste of my time. I'm lazy! Some favorites thus far include black bean and corn quesadillas, a cheese omelet with mushrooms and thyme, and roasted green beans, which are seriously the best things on this planet...its like shriveled, green crack.
I've been tentatively diagnosed with a pinched nerve in my right elbow, which will be confirmed with a few tests in a couple of days. I have no idea how it happened and it's more annoying than painful, but there's a certain amount of muscle weakness in my right hand as a result, which bugs me out. The only way to treat it without surgery is rest and ice, and between softball and band practice, that's a tall order. We leave for tour again on the 21st of next month for three weeks, so hopefully my arm doesn't fall off in the interim.
Vampire Weekend. There's still room on this bangwagon, right? I wanted to hate the living bejeesus out of these guys for their deck shoes and cardigans and god-awful band name, but I finally gave it a chance and I seriously haven't had my ass kicked like this by a record in ages - like, listening to it all the way through at least twice a day for the last week. (And listening to it right now.) There are parts that are so "Graceland"-esque that it hurts, but the songs are so unbelievably good that it rises above being pastiche. The challenge now is following this one up with all eyes are on them, but if they can do it they're going to be one of the biggest bands in the world. For once, the hype machine got it right. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa = My Jam.
(And here's two new songs they've been working out on the last tour - Little Giant and White Sky.)
Forgot to mention two quick milestones that passed in the last few weeks. We played with the Hold Steady at McCarren Park Pool on the 29th and it was kick-fucking-ass...we managed to skirt in-between two thunderstorms and rocked it to about two thousand people. We got free shoes, flasks, headphones and a catered lunch...pretty damn decadent by our standards! The hipster blogs have been pretty divided on us, but it definitely felt like we had won alot of people over by the end of the set. Our favorite exchange was when some dude at the far end of the pool yelled, "You guys are awesome!" and somebody else yelled back "I concur!" Nerds!
And "Love Keeps Pushing Me Over the Mendoza Line" reigned supreme at The Wharf Rat's Tuesday trivia last week. (Known as "The Big Leagues.") Daley saved us by aceing the "Pullman vs. Paxton" category and a random Powder Puff Girls question, which none of had the slightest clue about. We got a growler of Old Habit (6.7%!) out of it and George and I drank until we almost pissed ourselves.