Look out – it’s JAWS!!!

Posted in jaws, music, seattle on April 29th, 2011 by Babs

Let me just say this up front – don’t ever get into a dance-off with Mike Jaworski.  I got coaxed into a) retrieving a forgotten laptop; b) delivering it to a hotel room during last year’s SxSW; c) polishing off a bottle of bourbon with Jaws and fellow Seattle booker/musician/friend Greg Garcia upon delivery and d) judging a dance-off between the two of them. No contest. Jaworski will kick your ass every time.

 

While he and Greg wouldn’t join me in polishing off SxSW by leaving to see the legendary Zeros (it was pretty freezing/blustery outside, but c’mon – I offered to pay for the taxi!) he’ll always be one of my favorite Seattleites. His old band The Cops kicked (and re-kick) some serious ass, and his newest outfit Virgin Islands continues that kick-in-the-ribs post-punk immediacy of amazingness.  They, too, will kick your ass every time.

 

Jaws (I will never cease to be amused typing/saying that) also books the incredible Sunset Tavern, where he curates great music.  No one is more perfectly suited – the guy CREATES great music. He also runs an incredible label called Mt. Fuji that has released records by The Maldives, amongst others.  Dude KNOWS good music.

 

Oh – he also bartends!  And calls Devi’s Apricot contributor/good pal Ian Moore out on PNW Mexican food!!

 

So here he is, weighing in on my favorite topics. Go see Virgin Islands’ record release show on Friday, May 13 at the Columbia City Theater. Just don’t get into a dance-off with him – and if you make me judge it, just know in advance that I already know that you will TOTALLY lose.

 

Let’s party with the good stuff, with JAWS!!!!

 

 

I suppose it goes without explanation that one of the many occupational hazards of being a touring musician (and tending bar) is access to plentiful amounts of booze. Throughout the years of both aforementioned endeavors, I’ve seen my tastes and habits in both food and drink change. Thankfully, mostly for the better… my early years of touring were spent guzzling as much beer as possible, all while taking any free shot given to me. As a younger man, I seemed more resilient to these long nights and late mornings of over consumption. The hangovers in the long van ride the next morning seemed much easier back then, or maybe I was just more tolerant to feeling like shit all day long. Either way, as the years passed, I gradually started listening to my body and refining what booze and food I could eat, and how much was enough. The years of shoveling any kind of fast food and cheep beer down my gullet are thankfully over. I really don’t profess to be an uber-pretentious foodie or booze snob. I just know what makes me feel good, and I just happen to like good booze and food. The act of consumption is one of the most holy things we can do to our body, so why fill our earthly temples with toxic crap. Let’s party with the good stuff!

 

Fortunately for me, my experience taught me that one of my favorite types of alcohol is also one that agrees with me physically and mentally. That lovely libation is tequila. Like a lot of people, my first tequila experience was tarnished in my early twenties after downing a few shots of crappy Cuervo Gold, and I paid the price. It was many years later on one of the early tours my band The Cops were on, when my bandmate John Randolph introduced me to Cazadores Reposado. He convinced me it was much better than the previous offender. I tried it and I was hooked. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing many more high-end tequilas (Casa Noble anyone?) but I will always come back to Cazadores as my go-to, mid-priced tequila. This tequila possesses a degree of smoothness with enough of a peppery bite to alerts the senses. Yes please, and thank you.

 

The aforementioned tequila is the tequila of choice in a shot I concocted called the “Caca del Toro” which is named after Paul Newman’s erstwhile fishing boat. It’s a simple and delicious shot that resembles a little margarita, but with more kick (as a shot should). I’m sure I didn’t invent this, but my version is good enough to pass on. Have at it:

 

Caca del Toro (r.i.p. Paul Newman)

2 fresh lime wedges, muddled with ice

1 ½ oz. Reposado tequila (Cazadores preferred)

½ oz. Gran Marnier liquor

 

Pour the tequila and Gran Marnier float in a pint glass full of ice and the muddled lime wedges. Shake and strain into a rocks glass. Enjoy!

 

My next drink invention is in the works. I call it the Lion Tamer. The three main ingredients are scotch, a pith hat, and a whip. I still haven’t found a bar willing to put this one on the menu. I guess it’s time to look into opening my own.

 

Lastly, Ian Moore is a wonderful, intelligent, talented and handsome man. However, he needs to look a little harder to find some quality Mexican food in the Northwest. I generally agree with him, but there are a few places worthy of praise. Ian, are you up for dinner? You’re buying, right?
Michael Jaworski

Mt. Fuji Records

mtfujirecords.com

206.949.1698

 

Coming Soon:

– Point Juncture, WA – Handsome Orders – LP / CD / Digital – May 2011

– Follow That Bird – Wooden Bones – 7″ / Digital – spring 2011

 

Out Now:

– Wow & Flutter – Equilibrio! – LP / CD / Digital – October 19th, 2010

– Spiral Stairs / Long Winters -split 7″ / Digital – September 21st,  2010

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Go guac yourself!!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 15th, 2011 by Babs

 

I do believe I met Ian Moore in ’02, through an off-handed email/phone intro by a somewhat shady music attorney. We immediately connected (I have a tendency to do that with smart, funny people) and became fast friends.

I also became a fast fan. I had never heard Ian’s music the first time I met up with him in person at a show he played at the Sunset, but my jaw hit the floor pretty quickly. One of the most powerful, soulful voices I’ve ever heard, but with the skill and nuance to keep things riveting. Plus, he had a song about Abilene, Texas – my dad’s birthplace. It was like a sign from the Universe, y’know?

The first time I booked an evening show at Easy Street, I put Ian on the bill – along with Steve Turner from Mudhoney, Mark Pickerel, Jon Auer from the Posies and Sarah Shannon from Velocity Girl. It was a bunch of Seattle insiders and Ian was still a bit of the outsider. The audience was packed with folks like Mark Arm, Ken Stringfellow and Matt Vaughan (who owns Easy Street), not to mention a ton of hard-to-impress record store employees and various long-term Seattle music connoisseurs.

Ian stole the show, breaking a string in the middle of a medley of one of his own songs, “Today,” and the Carter Family’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” without breaking his stride. He went a cappella while he changed his string, stomping for emphasis, and came back in right at the most intense moment of the song. It was one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen and you could have heard a pin drop. Insider status accomplished. Here’s another version: today/circle

I’ve spent multiple Thanksgivings/Vashon hang-outs with Ian and his awesome family, not to mention countless (semi-)memorable nights in Seattle, Portland, SF, LA and Austin. I unintentionally introduced him to Matt “Hurricane” Harris and several of the characters listed below, thereby setting the stage for this post and his awesome new album/collaboration with Matt, the Lossy Coils, “El Sonido Nuevo.” I love the guy to death.

HOWEVER, he and I will never see eye to eye on the subject of Mexican food. He’s a purist; I grew up in the land of Mission burritos and migrant farm workers. If we’ve had any stress in our friendship, it’s been an ongoing debate/lecture about the topic.  See below.

But as it turns out, we see pretty eye-to-eye on the subject of guacamole.

Go buy his new record, and if you’re in Seattle, come see him, Hurricane and Kyle in person at the Sunset on Saturday, April 23. They kick some serious ass, in a rockin’ pop kind of way.

May the circle be unbroken…

Tell it, Ian – tell it!!

 

The holy triumverate: Music, Food, and Drink. Many much greater than me have fallen hard, a dumb smile implanted in the concrete below. I find that a majority of my life is filled with these three things, and i try to keep my concentration on them lest i get pulled into wasteful thinking about money, politics, and religion.

I am from Texas. Some of you may have noticed that i have been wearing my cowboy boots again. When i first moved here i tried shifting my footwear to a more Northwest-friendly shoe after slipping too many times on rainy moss-covered surfaces. I tried all types of different gripping soles, but finally just decided to take smaller steps and go back to my boots. They put me at the right angle, slightly forward, and help me keep going.

When i first moved up here i was determined to not be a typical Texan( a theme i have failed at all over the world). Seattle is a demure place, and being a newcomer, i was determined to soften my words, and soften my actions. Texas was settled by Germans and Mexicans; Seattle by Norwegians. I’ve been to Norway, so i did my best imitation. People saw right through it, and to be honest so did I. You are who are, and whatever it is it’s best to just put on your footwear and move on..So I am.

One of my favorite pastimes is complaining about the dearth of Mexican food in Seattle. I sometimes extend this argument to ‘lack of Mexican food on the West Coast’, but this is quite upsetting to folks so I keep it more regional most of the time. Being a blog, and being on the internet which is only half real anyway, i should go all the way. This is how i see it: The West Coast, filled with lovely seafood and omelettes, great vegan options, and spots with spectacular Indian and Asian food, is above a vast desert portion of Mexico. It’s true that there are great fish tacos in Baja, but the jungles and fertile vegetable-growing areas of Mexico, and most importantly, the state of Oaxaca, are more centrally located, and closer to Texas.

Thus, as the West Coast gets burritos (an American invention), Texas gets a cornucopia of regional cooking. By the way, ‘Tex-Mex’ was invented for people coming to Texas to eat Mexican food. None of my friends – at least the ones I will claim during my rant – would ever set foot in a Tex-Mex restaurant. We, and by ‘we’ i mean the people of the state i left 12 years ago, get not only amazing Oaxacan food, but also dishes from the Yucatan, central (Cuernevaca government style), and the simple but brilliant tacos of the ‘Norteno’ region with some of my favorite salsas(check out ‘mule drivers’ salsa).

When i was a kid we spent a ton of time in Mexico, mostly in Tepoztlan and Cuernevaca. My parents had fallen in with a group of amazing thinkers, part of the ‘El Grito’ literary scene that was a major shift in the literature/culture in Mexico in the late 60’s. I have some amazing memories from that time, most of them revolving around food. My brother’s godfather was a bullfighter, Fernando Corral, or “El Corralito” as he was known. He was also a lover of the holy three, and passed this recipe for making guacamole onto me.

Real Guacamole

The most important ingredient doesn’t go in the guacamole, but is what you grind everything up in. Its called a Molcajete, and it is a pumice-based grinding tool that goes back to the Aztec and Mayan people.

ingredients:
-avocado–(4-5)you want them almost too ripe, they get a nutty flavor right at the end that is pretty key (here is a pretty interesting story about the history of them and why they Haas aren’t the best)
-serrano chile–1-2 minced
-tomato- 1 chopped (believe it or not, the romas are often the best choice up here, unless you have access to some great heirlooms)
-garlic- 1-2 cloves minced
-white onion 1/4 minced
– cilantro- around 2-3 tbl minced
-salt-to taste
-limes-to taste

The first, and most important step, is to grind up the serrano, onion, garlic, cilantro, a bit of salt, and juice of one lime into a paste in the Molcajete.

Mash up the avocados into the paste. It can get kind of messy, but just eat whatever spills over. it’s your right.

Put in the chopped tomatoes and mix.

i then taste it and add more lime and salt as need.

The most obvious thing to drink would be either a Negro Modelo (with lime) or a real margarita.
I used to drink a virgin version of a Paloma, as a kid, running around Las Mananitas, chasing peacocks and raising hell. This is a fun drink and fits well with the 2 months of summer we get up here. Plus your stomach won’t be as acidic when you wake up after a long night of drinking and arguing.

SO music..We just came back from SXSW, where we just released our new record ‘El Sonido Nuevo’. We saw some amazing bands like Smoke and Feathers, the Jim Jones review, and the Lost Brothers, as well as many of our good friends from Austin/Seattle like the Black Angels and Cobirds Unite. Quite frankly, though, SXSW is less about music and more about hanging out with your friends. We had an A-team this year with our Brits (Jonno and Mark), lala Lydia, myself, Hurricane Harris, Tangborn, and an often expanded group of miscreants. If you don’t know these people your liver is better off, but your soul is wanting. Every night was an adventure in depravity and the inevitable spiritual renewal that came in the form of breakfast tacos and bloody marys. Matt and I, as well as our drummer Kyle, have spent a bit of time backing up Roky Erickson. I knew him as a kid as well, because he spent a ton of time in my dad’s store, Anableps Anableps. My dad, a Buddhist scholar, sold eastern artifacts, focusing largely on Tibetan/Indian art, and Roky spent a lot of time around the Tibetan sacrificial skulls. Roky sometimes had to leave when he would frighten the less open of his customers. Roky, and his music, are deeply woven into my being, like Doug Sahm, Townes, and the countless other people that we grew up with. I had been hearing stories about the Elevators and their exploits since i was a kid, and i had grown to despise the idea of Harvey Gant. One of the famous Elevator stories was about their trips to hide their weed from Gann, who was prone to break in during the middle of the night to bust them. they were so paranoid that they would bury it outside of Austin by the electrical towers. To get their they had to drive down 2222, which was a windy, hilly road, that wound west from Austin towards lake Travis. They called this the rollercoaster, and eventually like all good psychic travelers, the journey became the destination, and the Rollercoaster was an event in itself. The Elevators typically would do the drive under the influence of Psychedelics, but then again they did most things like that. They recorded a song about it, of course called “rollercoaster’. On Friday night, after a long night of music and too many people, we grabbed the Brits, and Jegar(Roky’s son). Lydia was driving, and Hurricane was watching from the back. Here is how we did it and how to do it if you are so inclined:

*You take Balcones north from 45th. Don’t take Mopac as that is a highway, wasn’t there in the 60’s, and won’t prepare you properly
*Do whatever you need to do the get your mind right. someone has to drive and the world is a stricter place with more people these days
*When you get to the light to turn on 2222 cue up the song.
*Turn, turn up, turn on..
*The song is a perfect length, and gets you to about 360 where you can turn and head back south if you want..If not continue on through the darkness towards the lake. From there you are on your own…

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The Comfort of the Bacon and the Egg

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20th, 2011 by Babs

Wagons

 

For the better part of two years, I split my time between the nebulous Pacific Northwest (an unholy combination of Portland, Seattle and Roslyn, WA) and Australia (Melbourne and Sydney, to be exact, with a decided emphasis on Melbourne.)

My African astrology sign is the Traveler and my name literally means “foreigner.” Gypsy living is what I was built for (which is a little weird, considering that I’m supposed to be a comfort-driven, nesting Libra…) I have many musician friends who dread touring and I always want to trade places – I feel alive and energized when I’m on the road again. Anyone wanna buy me a plane ticket back to Oz?!?!

As much as I truly love Australia and am pining to get back (I miss hanging out with my dear friends, drinking flat whites, eating pumpkin as a savory ingredient and speaking sarcasm freely), I will admit to a little culinary homesickness when I leave America’s West Coast.

I was raised on Mexican food and – sorry, Australia – there is no such thing as a bean enchilada. On my fifth birthday, which was celebrated in Vegas because my cousins were playing in a football tournament, I actually scoped out a Taco Bell on our first day and when my folks asked me what I wanted for my birthday (and I said “Taco Bell”) they solemnly explained that we were in a strange city and didn’t know where to find one.

“Yes we do!” I exclaimed, and proceeded to guide them to said “restaurant.”

(It didn’t occur to me until decades — and thousands of recountings of this story by my relatives — later that allowing a five-year-old to guide you through the streets of Vegas is a little weird.)

What isn’t weird is the idea of comfort food, particularly if you’re on the road or living life as a gypsy. I have no shame in telling you that the hardest thing about being in the Southern Hemisphere for six months was the absence of Taco Bell. It’s my first stop every time I land on American soil.

While being deprived of Taco Bell is a bummer, getting to see awesome music is not. On my last trip down under, my friends turned me on to a fantastic Melbourne band called Wagons. If you think that twang(st) only applies to bands from the American South or Pacific NW, you’re as wrong as Glenn Beck on any given day.

Wagons rule, in a distinctively Australian, Nick Cave-meets-Americana, sun/rain-drenched, arid/awesome kind of way. They’re on our shores for SxSW and related events, which got lead singer Henry thinking about comfort food. And bacon. Mmmmmmmm – bacon!!!

For those of you in Seattle, come see Henry and his awesome band Wednesday the 23rd at Hattie’s or Thursday the 24th at the Sunset. Portlanders – you can catch them at the Bunk Bar on the 22nd. The rest of you can get a taste at www.myspace.com/wagonsmusic.

The Comfort of the Bacon and the Egg

Henry Wagons’ Bacon and Egg and Guacamole Sandwich

A lot of people think that going to a fast food chain when overseas is lame. It is. Why travel all the way to Spain in order to eat at McDonald’s?

But sometimes, the most strident and road-hardened Clydesdale has a bad day at the office, gets a splinter in its hoof and becomes a little lame. Its ok.

Don’t make a habit of it, but it is ok. Eat your cheeseburger and get back to a strict regimen of eating paella the next day.

It’s in this spirit I am going to talk about bacon and eggs. I am in a band (called Wagons) that has to travel a lot, and each journey takes many hours. We are from Australia. Getting around our own country to play shows is quite an enterprise, let alone going anywhere outside our shores. I’m not complaining about it. In fact, I love it. But, when you are out on a long stint away from home, you have to clutch at comforts from home to keep spirits high.

My spirit soars into the clouds around bacon. I feel my shoulders relax, and my stomach gently bloom when I know some eggs are on their way. Bacon and eggs are a comforting, ubiquitous combo that is my crutch on the road anywhere in the world. I’m not that fussy about how they come. Crispy, limp, fried, poached, all smashed together in a brutal omelette… just bring them to me.

Now that I have got that off my chest, I want to share one of the most enjoyable ways I like to have the bacon and the egg on the road. Make it yourself if you are lucky enough to stay in a serviced apartment with a kitchen, or make it for your friends who put you up on their floor overnight. It tastes nice.

The following makes 2 sandwiches. One for you, and one for another human of your choice.

1. Make the simple guacamole:
2 avocados
1 big dollop of sour cream
1 finely diced chilli
1 handful of chopped coriander (otherwise known as cilantro here in the States)
the juice of one lime
lots of salt an pepper
Mash them all up in a bowl.
Save some left over coriander leaves to put in the finished sandwich.
2. Toast
Toast up 4 slices of the best sourdough bread you can get your hands on.
3. Bacon and Eggs
While you are toasting the bread, fry up a few strips of bacon for each sandwich. Nice and crispy.
Fry up 2 eggs, sunny side up, until the yolks are just firm, but not as hard and dry as a lame horse’s hoof.
You don’t want the yolk to be a runny mess in a sandwich, but you also don’t want it rubbery and tasteless like a guitarist’s finger callus.
4. Assemble
Place two pieces of toast next to each other.
Spread a generous helping of guacamole on one slice and spread a dollop of ketchup over another.
Then, place the bacon on one slice and the egg on the other, with a few fresh coriander leaves on the egg.
Don’t forget to repeat the same steps for the other human.
Now, have a look at what you are about to eat and soak it all in.
Shove the two halves together, creating your sandwich.
Shove all that in your guts and think of home.

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