Monday, August 27, 2012

Sigur Rós @ Hollywood Forever Cemetary

Some drama took place before we even got to the venue. 

BLD Picnic Box

4 reasons why I think BLD hates me:
  1. They were late with my order - half an hour late to be precise, which leads me to believe that they forgot to make my order.  Maybe they forgot because I ordered it 2 days in advance instead of the requisite 6 hours (I was out all day the day before pickup and didn't have time to place the order), but HOW could they forget when I called 4 hours earlier the day of pickup to push the time from 4:30 to 5:00pm.  If I had known they were going to be half an hour late, I would have left it at 4:30.  
  2. They had me come in for no reason - I was waiting in the car at a loading zone because I thought Wing could just run in and retrieve the box since they had my card on file.  Apparently, my card didn't work.  Maybe there was some sort of miscommunication, but instead of simply asking her for another card, she came out to get me.  What did they do when I came in?  Ask me for another card.  He repeatedly apologized to me, but that only annoyed me more because he could have easily alleviated the situation for under $5.  He could have given my friend a free coffee for her long wait or thrown in an extra dessert for the trouble.  Just this past weekend, HC was given the wrong entrée at a restaurant.  The server was so apologetic, she offered him a free beer.  When the meal was over, she offered him a free dessert.  He didn't accept either, but they were thoughtful proposals. 
  3. Each item was boxed up individually except for 1 - even the cookie and brownie were in their own boxes.  Wing's Grilled Steak Sandwich was in pristine condition when she peered into her box.  And her individually boxed salad came with dressing.  My House Made Tuna Salad Sandwich, on the other hand, looked like someone punched the salad out of the sandwich.  Maybe my sandwich shifted on the walk over to the entrance, but why was my sandwich rooming with my salad while the dressing was away?  Fortunately, my sandwich was still delectable and I got to rebuild it with extra salad.  
  4. Cracked cup - BLD was kind enough to give us 2 cups for our wine.  I poured a cup of wine for Wing.  As wine dribbled onto my foot, I realized my own thin cup had 2 cracks in it, which allowed me to have a specific amount of wine drunken at a specific angle.  The cracks may have appeared during transport, but one or two extra cups would have been nice, thanks. 
I know there were quite a few complaints, but there would have been more had the food been terrible.  Luckily, everything tasted good.  There were a ton of House Made Pickles in a cup for Wing's $2.  She loved her Steak Sandwich and coffee-tinged Bittersweet Fudge Brownie.  Besides the tossed sandwich / salad combo, I found my meal + Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie pleasing, as well.  I've never really had a problem with BLD's food.  I've heard good things about their fried chicken and their drunken shakes are fun.  So this whole picnic box incident really came as a surprise to me. 

Domaine LA

Jill greeted us and knew exactly what to give us when I asked for a white wine for a picnic.  Her friendly and speedy service was refreshing after the whole picnic pickup ordeal.  The Picpoul, she recommended was light and crisp.  Wing was surprised we were drinking such a good French wine for under $15! 

Sigur Rós

I've only listened one of their albums a long time ago (I consider them to be the male version of Björk), but I do love Jónsi and I thought Sigur Rós would be the perfect soundtrack to a picnic at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.  Wing is a much bigger fan, so read on for her review.

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Opening act: Julia Holt
After four years, Sigur Rós is finally back on tour with the release of their new album  ValtariHaving missed their previous live performances in LA, I was excited when I found out they would be playing at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where audiences could bring their own blankets, food, and wine for a nice picnic, while enjoying a movie or other great musical events (kind of like a mini-Hollywood Bowl except that it's a cemetery).  I was lucky enough to get my hands on a couple of pre-sale tickets simply by signing up for the band's mailing list, which automatically placed us in the VIP/fan club line.  Awesome!

With picnic boxes from BLD and some wine, we were fully prepared for the Sigur Rós experience.  First up was LA-based Julia Holter, who provided a pleasant set to start the evening.  Then at 8:30, Sigur Rós came on stage and the cemetery was immediately turned into a seemingly magical place for the next two hours.  There was no stage banter, just song after song with beautiful instrumentation paired with Jónsi's otherworldly vocals.  It gave me chills every time Jónsi dragged his bow across his guitar, resulting in that majestic, distorted sound that is so hard to describe and even harder to capture with a recording.  I was happy to find out that the set was not just focused on their new material; instead they played various songs from their entire catalog.  The highlights for me were Ný batterí, Sæglópur, and my favorite, Untitled #8 - Popplagið, which is and always will be the perfect closer.  I would pay money just to see that song performed over and over again.

If you would like to get a sense of
Sigur Rós' spectacular live sounds, head on over to NPR for a full live stream of their recent performance at Brooklyn's Prospect Park Bandshell.

BTW, we're in one of LA Weekly's photos towards the left. :)
Photo by Colin Young-Wolff

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Photos - LA Weekly
Live Videos - Facebook

Friday, August 10, 2012

“Somebody” Music Video - Jukebox the Ghost

Love the flash mob-iness of the video.  Great, catchy tune from Jukebox the Ghost.

Favorite Line:
"I don't want any heartbreak. I'm tired of the sound it makes"

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sound Bites 13.1: 1886 Bar @ The Raymond - Summer Cocktails

Since my last post, 1886 has become my favorite Pasadena bar and my go-to whenever a wedding ends early (there are A LOT of weddings in the spring and summer.  Also, why waste a good outfit?).  I love the food, cocktails, bartenders, atmosphere, and ease of parking.  So naturally, I was thrilled to reunite with HC and Fiona to try 1886's new summer cocktails.

Vacation Cocktails: 
  • La Brigada - spicy chicharrón, smokey mezcal, homemade agave liquer, fresh pineapple and lime served over crushed ice with a shard of frozen coconut water. 
    When Lacey vividly described the inspiration behind this drink (a family trip to La Paz), I was instantly transported to Hawaii and all I could think was "this tastes like a luau..." and extra chicharrón please! 
    La Brigada / Tranquilizer (this cup is larger than it appears)
  • Tranquilizer - overproof rum and Batavia Arrack with coconut and pineapple. 
    HC calls it a boozier piña colada.

Not for Kids:
  • Strawberry Paleta - "pop shot" made using -300°F liquid nitrogen, fresh CA strawberries, cream and rum.
    I love this alcoholic dessert.  I'm glad we each got our own.  
  • BBC - Bols Genever Basil Collins. 
    Reminds me of a soda...with my one of my favorite spirits.

Drinks on the Porch:
  • Rosebud -  homemade hibiscus liqueur, Benedictine, fresh lime juice and Reposado tequila, topped with Fever Tree’s lite tonic water. 
    Everyone likes a pink cocktail, says Brady.  After having this and his version of a Cosmo (with hibiscus liqueur, people!), I concur. 
  • Pimm's #6 - Karlsson's potato vodka and their summer Pimm's recipe topped with homemade sparkling lemonade.
    Pimm's #6 / Southern Belle Whistle
  • Southern Belle Whistle - hand-crafted soda pop with fresh yellow peaches, floral, sweet black tea and 1886 Buffalo Trace bourbon. Sealed with bubbles in a bottle and served with a wedge of lemon.
    There's a time and a place for this and it's a warm late afternoon on 1886's patio.  

Something a Little Stronger:
  • Xocolate - Reposado tequila, Italian vermouth, crème de cacao and a hit of Mexican mole bitters. 
    I was impressed by how chocolatey it tasted even though I knew it was all alcohol.
  • Dutch Kills - Bols Barrel-Aged Genever, Italian vermouth, bitters and a dash of apricot liqueur.

  • Yellowtail Collar "Hamachi Kama" - miso glazed, soy sauce to dip, roasted shisito peppers. 
    We've had this before, but I don't know what they changed because this time it was downright addictive.  We were trying to pick every last piece of meat off the bone.  
  • Crisfield Bay Soft Shell Crab - crispy blue crab with jerk sauce and seasoning.  

Song Pairing: 
Lilikoi - Paula Fuga

Better photos in Caroline on Crack's post

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mixtape 2.0: Ni Hao Hawaii

These are the songs we heard every day on Oahu's top 40 island station Island 98.5.  I have to say, island music is instantly relaxing.  This mix always puts me in a good mood. 

Ni Hao Hawaii Mix
  1. I Feel So Good - Collie Buddz
  2. It Will Rain (reggae remix) - Bruno Mars 
    So he usually sounds like he's crying when he's singing, and the chorus sounds like Adele's Chasing Pavements, but for some reason I never get tired of this remix.  He should really put out a reggae remix of his greatest hits.  I would buy that. 
  3. Wade in Your Water - Common Kings
    Love the shoutouts to landmarks in Oahu.
  4. Pumped Up Kicks (cover) - Cris Cab
    Just when I thought this song was overplayed, Cab put a twist on it and I actually like this version better.  I wish he would release an album of cover songs.  
  5. Not Too Fast - Teki
    He's the island John Legend
  6. Set Fire to the Rain (reggae version) - Adele
  7. Give it Up - CRSB
  8. Gotta Be - The Green
  9. Get to Know You - Teki
    I love his silky voice so much I sprinkled the mix with his songs
  10. Higher than the Clouds - Anuhea
  11. Young Wild Free (reggae remix) - Inner Circle ft. I-Octane Bizerk
  12. Somebody that I Used to Know (Jr Blender reggae remix) - Gotye
    WAY better than the original
  13. All - Teki
  14. Falling - Iration
  15. All of the Lights (cover) - Cris Cab
  16. You Da One - Rihanna
  17. Waiting for You - Teki 

Food Pairing:
Soundbites 14.0: Oahu, Hawaii