Friday, November 2, 2012

Sound Bites 2.1: Starry Kitchen Nights @ Tiara Cafe, DTLA

Starry Kitchen Nights is the return of Starry Kitchen in the form of a dinnertime popup (sort of?) at Tiara Cafe. Wing and I went Halloween weekend and, sadly, Nguyen Tran wasn't dressed up in one of his famous costumes, but it was probably for the best because he was crazy busy with customers, but not too busy to enthusiastically greet us (wonder if he ever has an off day because he's always such a ball of energy) and point out his f-ing favorite dish.

Unfortunately, there were only two of us, so we couldn't order the extremely popular (you have to reserve it ahead of time) Singaporean Chili Crab.  Being Wing's first time at Starry Kitchen, I had to have her try the other deliciousness on the menu.

What we ate:
Top: 1 - 2, Bottom: 3 - 4
  1. Singaporean Chili Crab sauce over rice - a fiery hello from Chef Thi Tran since we didn't order the crab.  The sauce was so spicy, but so good that I am currently gathering a team of eaters to return and obtain the crab in its entirety. 
  2. Pineapple Beer Chicken Wing Soup - my all-time favorite chicken soup.  I pretty much went back to Starry Kitchen every time they had this on the menu.  Just when I didn't think it could get any better, it arrived to our a clay pot!  It's probably their best version I've had so far.  Wing loved the fresh pineapple and oh so tender chicken as much as I did.  Nguyen thought I was coming in the day before when they had run out of soup, but, luckily, they had more that night.  I think I would have cried if they were out.  
  3. Claypot Carmelized Striped Bass + Pancetta - Wing has a theory that everything tastes better in a clay pot and I concur.  I'm used to having the catfish version, but Starry Kitchen's striped bass version is definitely better.  It was so delectable with the accompanying white rice.  And I'm so addicted to the sauce that even though we finished all the fish, I wanted to get the white rice packed up with the rest of the sauce poured on top.  What?  I ain't gonna waste no tasty sauce!  Jennio ate my leftovers the next day and agreed upon the savoriness.  Nguyen pointed out that this is his f-ing favorite dish on the menu and it's now definitely one of mine.  
  4. House-Cured Roast Pork Belly XO Fried Rice - okay, we probably over-ordered for 2 people by the time we got this, but it was good and, by the way, it tastes f-ing good with the Claypot Bass sauce.  

Song Pairing: 
Hip Hop Hurray - Naughty by Nature
Because I always hear something old school whenever I'm at Starry Kitchen

More Reviews:
LA Times
Marian the Foodie

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Presets, Flight Facilities @ Club Nokia

I was so glad Wing and I paid a bit more for pit tickets because people weren't as crammed in as they were when we saw them at El Rey.  Most people were in the back or seated at the balcony....suckers.  The pit had a great view of the stage and we were standing one person away from the front.   

The crowd was older than expected.  And I was shocked to find out from the guy behind me that most of the people he chatted with actually drove in from cities outside of LA.  Guess techno shows don't happen often in Orange County and San Diego. 

Flight Facilities
Photo by  Andrew Youssef via Stereogum
We had forgotten it was Halloween weekend, so it was cool to see all these people in costume at a show.  Outfitted as pilots from different eras, Flight Facilities, one of The Presets opening acts, fit right in.  We only caught the end of their set, but they seemed like they were having fun and they were an unexpected treat.  I will definitely be checking out their music in the future, especially after reading about all the research they put into making 4 mix tapes for triple j Mix Up Exclusive. Mix tapes are an art form. 

The Presets
I was surprised by their late set time (11:45pm), but it seemed like the whole show was set up to be an all night Halloween dance party, which it was.

The Presets were on tour promoting their new album Pacifica, which is one of those albums that gets better with each listen.  It has more of an 80s slant this time around, but definitely catchy.  

The Australian duo built up excitement with Push and kept the party going with my other new favorites Ghosts (sounds Native American), Youth in Trouble (crowd hit), Promises (if you see 2 glow sticks in the video -or any youTube from the show, for that matter- it's me and Wing!)

mixed in with some old favorites My People, clap-happy Are You the One, A New Sky, If I Know You, This Boy's in Love, and ending with ├╝ber catchy Talk Like That.  It was a great show, I just missed some of my other loves Down Down Down, Girl (You Chew My Mind Up), Together

High Notes:
  • Kim Moyes' awesome dancing with a straight face made my night.  
Is it just me or does Moyes look like (Photo by Leslie Kalohi)
David O'Hara? (Photo via Harry Potter Wiki)
  • I find that people will usually let you stand in front of them if you ask politely (and you're shorter than they are).  So thanks to the nice guy who let me stand in front of him (I returned his kindness with the gift of one of my many glow sticks). 
Low Note:
Dear Girls with Long Hair:  PLEASE tie it back in a bun.  All that whipping back and forth is scary, especially when it hits me in the face!

Flight Facilities music videos
The Presets