Recent Articles

Dad Spotlight: Mexican Food

On February 18, 2016, in Food, by Chris Baccus
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Mexican-Food1I enjoyed another appearance on the podcast Dad Spotlight last month where Chris, Don and I discussed Mexican food and cooking for your family.   One of my favorite things about Mexican food is that you can easily remove or add things without a lot of hassle in case a child doesn’t want onions or tomatoes.

We discussed quite a few recipes, including many from this blog.

If you haven’t subscribed to the Dad Spotlight podcast, I highly recommend doing so. They have many excellent guests coming from a variety of parenting perspectives on a host of interesting topics. I’m happy to be a regular there talking about food and family.  So stay tuned for some future shows too and if you missed my appearance on Thanksgiving check that out as well.

 

Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Sauce

On January 18, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love a simple recipe.

By simple I mean two key things, simple ingredients and simple to make. This dish I found on Pinterest on the Pinch of Yum blog met both criteria and is sure to be a go to recipe.

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You could make this dish with your favorite jarred sauce; though, I’d follow the recipe instead since the tomato sauce is easy to prepare and could be used for a lot of other dishes too if you wanted to make a double-batch.

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Checkout the Pinch of Yum blog. Her pictures are waaay better than mine too. Enjoy!

Full recipe: [Pinch of Yum blog, Garlic Basil Chicken with Tomato Sauce]

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Podcast Appearance: The BeanCast “I’m a Sloth”

On January 4, 2016, in Food, by Chris Baccus
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This week I joined The BeanCast to discuss several marketing topics including the latest involving Chipotle and their issues with food safety.  You can download and subscribe to The BeanCast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcast content. I’ve done quite a few appearances on the BeanCast and always find Bob Knorpp to be a great host with interesting topics for the industry panel to discuss.

Here’s a link to this week’s full episode: http://www.thebeancast.com/beancast-marketing-podcast-show-archive/2016/1/4/beancast-381-im-a-sloth

And don’t forget to Subscribe to the show! Subscribe here.


 

TOPICS

TV and The Political Candidate

Sources: NYMag on Trump, BI on Bush, Salon analysis of Trump move, Uproxx reports, National Review analysis

Wearable Marketing Trends

Sources: Skyword takes a look

The Native “Crackdown”

Sources: Ad Age reportsBusiness2Community reports

Chipotle’s Problems

Sources: WSJ reports


 

 

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From top left to right: (Sun Basket) Turkey Tacos with Roasted-Red Pepper Salsa, Chicken Breast with Honey-Roast Parsnips and Carrots, Warm Couscous Salad with Delicata Squash, (Green Chef) Mustard-Roasted Steak, Chard Paneer, Tuscan White Bean Soup, (The Purple Carrot) Black Bean Burgers, Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa, Saag Paneer, (Plated) Tartines with Squash, Tuscan Ribollita Vegetable Stew, Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas, (Gobble) Red Kuri Squash Fajitas, Moroccan Pistachio Chicken, Chicken Carbonara with Gemelli Pasta, (Blue Apron) Rice Noodles with Coconut-Matcha Broth, Beet & Barley Risotto, Roasted Sweet Potato and Carmelized Onion Pizza

A friend of mine posted on Facebook if any of her friends used services like Blue Apron. I had been considering it for sometime, but just never took the next step of committing to an order. With some renewed curiosity, I decided now was the time to look into a meal delivery service.

What I found immediately is how competitive the market is with a ton of companies trying to provide prep-ready uncooked meals for our busy lives. Since this blog and our decisions at home involve cooking with organic and mostly sustainable ingredients, I narrowed down the services I would try. All of the services here have a focus on local ingredients, though that is very loosely defined in some cases. Few services offer only organic and some dabble by occasionally including an organic ingredient.

I wanted to try a wide range of companies. I included the big ones: Blue Apron and Plated. Part of the experience included a vegan only service (The Purple Carrot) and an organic only service (Green Chef.)

Because the market is so competitive, you can get some amazing deals, at least for your first week of meals. The lowest I paid was only $9.95 for shipping only and 3 meals for 2 for free from Green Chef. Most give you the first two meals free.

Before this endeavor I read several reviews with most of them focusing on one service and every blogger I read had received meals for free. This review is not influenced by free food. The following is a review from someone who actually bought the food with his own money.

Here we go!

Sun Basket

What I Paid: $38.94

Offer: $30 off the first order.

Sun Basket and Green Chef were the two I was most interested in since they both focus on organic and small farm producers, but of the two I found Sun Basket’s meal choices to be slightly better.

The box arrived with instructions on how to recycle and return reusable items back to the company. Each meal was packed in its own bag to make it easy to pull from the refrigerator.

From top left to right: Sun Basket, Green Chef, The Purple Carrot, Plated, Gobble, Blue Apron

A stack of recipe cards arrived in the box with a full ingredients list and portions making it useful in case you want to make the dish again. I really like how they had another card focusing on one of the farmers they work with. The personal story, aka “supermarket pastoral” as author Michael Pollan calls it, is a nice touch since I have no personal connection to the source of the ingredients like I do when going to a farmers’ market.

Preparing the Chicken Breast with Honey-Roast Parsnips and Carrots recipe.

Sun Basket offers seven options each week. It’s a good mix of vegetarian and meat plus they share if it is Paleo, Gluten Free or Soy Free. I found the Sun Basket meals to be more to our family’s taste and all three of the recipes we tried tasted great. Not one was a disappointment.

My only issue is I wish they shared more about their ingredient sources. Green Chef offers more details on their website about suppliers and I would like to see the same from Sun Basket.

Green Chef

UPDATE: They have since added vegan and vegetarian box options. However, I highly do not recommend them as they do not send out notifications to check your weekly selections, so you may get a surprise box like I did without any notice. Others like Sun Basket, Hello Fresh and Purple Carrot all send out weekly emails asking to review the coming week selections before sending you anything.

What I Paid: $9.95 (shipping only)

Offer: Initially Order 2 Meals and get 4 Free Meals free. When checking out on the website they offered all 6 meals to me for free since I was in a geographic area where others are using their service.

After an impressive first week of meal delivery with Sun Basket, I was a bit surprised by how mediocre the next week was with Green Chef. The meal arrived in a box that was better packed with cold packs than Sun Basket, but the ingredients were put in the box without grouping them for each recipe. So every time I went to make something, I was looking throughout the refrigerator like any normal night cooking at home. I was a bit spoiled by Sun Basket who put each meal’s ingredients in a brown paper bag.

Food prep is a big help with meal delivery. Green Chef’s organic ingredients are nicely separated and labeled.

The sheets Green Chef provided for cooking the meal had simple step-by-step photos making it really easy for new home cooks. Unfortunately, they didn’t give you the recipe so you could make the meal again; though, it wasn’t difficult to figure out the recipe with the ingredients all measured out.

I made three meals and all of them were okay, but nothing I’d ever make again. Perhaps it was a weak week or I picked wrong. My wife kept telling me “when is this week over. None of these meals are good.”

The other issue we had with Green Chef were the portions. We didn’t really mind as I don’t make big meals, but I would guess most Americans wouldn’t be too happy getting a steak dinner for two with half a steak. Or a meal that was a vegetable soup with a French sandwich roll to split. None of the meals really felt big enough for dinner, more like lunch portions.

I did however like how Green Chef is focused on organic ingredients and their website was the best at showing the source of the foods. Unfortunately, nothing looked that great recipe wise and I decided to cancel my membership.

If you are Paleo, they do offer it as an option and you may also be happier with their recipe selection than I was. So give them a try, just know portions are small.

The Purple Carrot

What I Paid: $68.00

Offer: I was supposed to receive $20 off but the discount was never applied to my order. They are still offering a discount off your first order, but please make sure you get the discount when checking your bill.

My wife and I were really excited about receiving our order from The Purple Carrot, since there was a recipe for a black bean burger my wife had been eying since she made me aware of this service.

I should note that The Purple Carrot is a vegan only service. What also caught our attention was the recent collaboration with New York Times columnist Mark Bittman. A lot of my personal food changes came about from a combination of the documentary Food Inc. and Bittman’s 2008 article titled Rethinking The Meat Guzzler.

Unfortunately, our first meal kind of crumbled to pieces, literally. The black bean burger was just too wet and became quite the mess in the pan and was almost inedible, but we decided to not toss it and order pizza. In the end, it didn’t taste too bad, but was not a positive experience and has the unfortunate conclusion of being the only failed meal during this whole endeavor.

While edible, the Black Bean Burger wasn’t as pretty as the picture on the recipe card.

It was a good thing the next two meals ended up being big hits. The other was a roasted vegetable and quinoa dish and an Indian spiced tofu dish that we both really liked.

The black bean burger situation aside, I really liked The Purple Carrot and they provided beautiful recipe cards along with detailed instructions on how to prepare each recipe. They also used a good amount of organic ingredients. I’m watching to see how Mark Bittman’s influence continues to impact the recipes they offer.

The Purple Carrot had the most beautifully designed step-by-step visual and written instructions. Great for new cooks.

Plated

What I Paid: $48

Offer: Get to 2 free plates with purchase of 4. So basically you pay for 2 of the 3 meals they send with each meal serving two people.

Plated’s website talked about local producers and sustainably sourced ingredients. Like most of the food services they knew the right buzzwords and brought together home cooking with the other trend of farm-to-table.

The meals we received were pretty good. Not one was a miss and I really liked some of their vegetarian options, which were better than other services. The Tuscan Ribollita Vegetable Stew with White Beans and Kale and Squash Tartines were both delicious.

The Plated box did arrive with one minor issue. The butternut squash bag had a slit in it and several cubed squash pieces were roaming freely in the box. I contacted their help team and they made note of the issue. I said I was fine replacing it myself since it was $2 in product and I needed it the next evening. Considering all the food sent to our home over 7 weeks, one bag of cut squash was a minor casualty. The rest of the ingredients from Plated arrived fine.

Out of a total of 18 meals only one ingredients issue happened with a small bag of cut butternut squash.

Overall, I liked Plated but it didn’t make my list of ones to keep. I would love to see them do an all-organic offering, as I do like their meal selection. They also are the only other one with a mobile app making it easy to select meals or skip weeks (Blue Apron also has a mobile app, but there are limitations I didn’t care for regarding meal selection that are mentioned below.)

 Gobble

What I Paid: $23.90

Offer: First four meals free. You pay for one of the meals in a three meals for two people plan.

Similar to Green Chef, Gooble doesn’t share the recipe details for the dishes you make. They also provided the least amount of information about each recipe. For example, there was a cream sauce for Chicken Carbonara and some salsa for a fajita dish that came in containers with no information about what was in them. If you like the recipes, you’re out of luck with replicating them yourself without some guess work.

Individually wrapped and sealed ingredients along with everything showing up on your doorstep is a great convenience.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), the recipes were okay but nothing spectacular so I didn’t feel like I was missing out with recipe details. It’s not that the meals were bad. They just were not good enough to bother making again.

The recipes come packed in separate ingredient baggies and each recipes is bagged in its own separate large bag, making it easy to grab a recipe for cooking each night after work.

Gobble used the least amount of packaging material of all the services; though, it was enough to keep everything fresh and ready to put in the refrigerator when it arrived on our doorstep.

Blue Apron

What I Paid: $39.96

Offer: Two free meals on your first week’s order. You pay for two meals for two people. They give you the third meal for two people for free.

I almost didn’t order from Blue Apron for this review. I figured they were big and enough had been written about them already. Plus they didn’t fit my initial criteria, meal delivery services focusing on organic and/or sustainable small farm sources. Plated and Gobble both moved me away from that criteria too, so I opened up to see how the largest company in this segment does things.

There was a small carton of milk labeled organic. To be fair they don’t focus on organic, but it was nice to see at least a solitary attempt was made. All of the ingredients were in good shape with nothing damaged or bruised.

Blue Apron’s recipe sheets are full back-and-front pages showing the full recipe details and photographed step-by-step instructions are easy to follow along. Every recipe I made came out flawlessly.

The food all tasted great and they were really adventurous with one meal, a squash and onion pizza. That one took some work and more time than most delivery service meals. I found most meals take 30-minutes or less. The pizza from Blue Apron took almost a hour. Fortunately, I have a pizza oven that did the cooking faster at a 700-degree heat.

Blue Apron locks you out of some selections after you’ve made other choices. They were the only one to do this.

My main gripe with Blue Apron was during the meal selection process. Every service gives you around 4-8 meals to select from. Blue Apron was the only one that excluded certain meals after selecting other meals. They group your combinations and this forces you to select more of a group of recipes than say your three favorite recipes.

In Closing

Meal delivery cook at-home service is a great trend and one I hope survives the eventual Silicon Valley investment bubble. There are a lot of competitors in the market today offering very similar experiences, including some I didn’t get to review like Freshly and Hello Fresh.

It’s real food. You do the cooking and like all home cooking you control what goes into your meal.

It is definitely a luxury service. You have to have the luxury of paying for the convenience and the luxury of having time to cook at home. However, if you already do a lot of home cooking and don’t mind the additional $20-$35 fee each week that gets you meal planning, shopping, and delivery right at your doorstep then you won’t mind the cost of cooking this way.

You’ll also need to have some kitchen equipment like pans, knives, oils and on occasion a food processor.

Overall, I found I really like what meal delivery has to offer. I cook at home five to six nights a week already and having a service or two I love to select from on occasion makes planning considerably easier. In the end, I kept Sun Basket and The Purple Carrot active. Their recipe selection, quality and ingredients fit our family best. I’ll continue to watch how the industry matures and I definitely recommend trying a few services out since you get some great introductory week deals that work to your benefit.

Enjoy! Please share in the comments below any experiences you had or plan to have.

I’ve Joined the Dad Spotlight Podcast to Talk Food

On November 21, 2015, in Food, by Chris Baccus
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I’ve been writing about food since 2009 on this blog and even earlier with my former Detroit Eats website back in 1997.  I haven’t done much with video or audio when it comes to food, but that is changing as I am going to make some appearances on the Podcast Dad Spotlight starting this month.  My first appearance came this past week on Episode 32: Thanksgiving Recipes You’ll Love.

Dad Spotlight is a great podcast I’ve been enjoying as a listener the past couple months and when I heard they were losing their food expert, I reached out to the hosts Chris and Don to see about possibly joining them for talks around food and family.

I’ll be promoting dates of when I’m on the show here on this website so you can catch each appearance. I also highly recommend subscribing to the show on iTunes: Subscribe to Dad Spotlight.

You can also learn more about the show and subscribe to the newsletter on the website.

So please join me there as we discuss some great dishes at home, what cooking means for families, showcase how dads are not just for barbecuing, and so much more!

 

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Raising My Kids to Ignore the Hate

On November 4, 2015, in Family, by Chris Baccus
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I’m a child of the 80s. It was the age of Aqua Net, Z Cavaricci, and Doc Martins — sometimes all on the same day. I wore polka dot dress shirts, crimped my hair, and wore eyeliner (even if it was just once at a nightclub.) Being a kid who was more interested in music and dance clubs, I didn’t exactly win over most of my peers in middle school and high school.

Being considered different in a suburb of Portland, long before it became the hipster paradise we all know it as today, I was called every a slanderous name used against gay men even though I wasn’t gay. Wearing a letterman jacket and a baseball hat was something I never did. I never wore jeans or baseball hat until the 1990s. My heroes weren’t athletes. Instead, my heroes were on MTV’s 120 Minutes or on a Bones Brigade VHS. I wore a lot of black and white and spent a lot of time listening to music and discovering obscure films.

Looking back there were key pivotal moments growing up that took me out of the mainstream. I was a kid that played football, basketball and baseball when kids did that in the neighborhood. Granted we also played a lot of Risk and Dungeons & Dragons too.

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My best friend in 7th grade Steve had an older sister who exposed us to a cassette tape of Ministry’s “With Sympathy.” It was unlike anything I had ever heard before. It was 1983 and everything on the radio was from Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, and Daryl Hall & John Oats. Ministry was early synth-pop new wave, before they became what we later called Industrial music. I wanted to know more of what I was missing. A whole new universe of music opened up. There was nothing-called “Alternative Music” back then. You simply had MTV that mostly played hair bands and Top 40 and the local radio that only played Top 40. The Cure, The Smiths, and Soft Cell were some early discoveries.

One day at another friend’s house we watched a film called Suburbia. It was about a roaming bunch of homeless punk rock kids who would get in fights and attend punk shows at night. It was an early intro into punk rock where I found about T.S.O.L., DRI, and The Vandals. I was skateboarding at the time and we all started emulating the kids in the films with their leather jackets and flannel shirts. I recall often tying my shirt around my waist and wearing Jimmy-Z chef-like hats, popping ollies and jumping curbs as we skated through downtown Gresham and Portland.

James, a tall lanky skateboarder who lived close to my house, had a dad that travelled Internationally and would bring home vinyl imports of Misfit albums for his son. I remember listening to Danzig screaming “Angel Fuck” in his Elvis like voice while hanging out at James’ house as we did axel grinds on a quarter pipe ramp in his driveway.

This combination of punk rock and early alternative music had a significant impact in how I dressed and how my attitude was forming. For a while it was all black and white though I would dress it up sometimes with a tie or so shoes that looking back were some really bad decisions.

Later my group of friends in high school would head to downtown Portland teenage dance clubs where we met girls and danced in front of mirrors, okay that last part was pretty stupid. We had a lot of hair and looked nothing like the popular kids at school, which brings me back to raising kids to ignore the hate.

Because I didn’t care about the cultural mores of most of my school, I did what I wanted and dressed, as I wanted. My friends and I all mocked others for being trendy because we wanted separation from the mundane and mainstream, even if we followed our own micro-trendy habits.

Our small circle stood out in the middle class mundaneness of Gresham, Oregon. We looked different. We did different things. We had no desire to be normal or as we saw it – boring. With that came a lot of self-discovery in finding out what art exists outside of the mainstream. All of that later developed into going to art house films, a love for obscure documentaries, listening to a ton of amazing music, and developing a love for fashion and style even if I am now too old to wear any of it.

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I want my kids to be free to discover the unusual. Find things that are harder to find. Hear music and watch film that doesn’t sell well, but tells a better more interesting story. While I hope other kids have moved away from calling the individually minded kids at school names, I hope my boys will find their unique way around the world and explore what isn’t so obvious.

And you know what, being called a faggot or queer never bothered me. If that was the hate meant to hurt me, it never worked. I enjoyed being unique and still relish it today.

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Lasagna

On October 27, 2015, in Featured, Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Growing up with an Italian mother, well 3/4 Italian and 1/4 French, made for some pretty amazing meals that a young boy never could truly appreciate. However, there was one dish my mom was famous for: Lasagna. It was a staple of the holidays at our home. She definitely took a lot of pride making it for family and guests and people lavished their praise.

As I grew older and as my own taste matured too, I came to appreciate what a great lasagna takes to perfect. Many restaurants and home cooks try to make this classic dish and fail.  There is too much sauce, they use sub-par ingredients or there are too many extras spinach, mushrooms and meats that it all becomes too complex and loses the perfection of a simple lasagna.

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Mine is different than my mother’s, not because I think less of her’s; rather, I wanted to do my own take on this dish.  For me it is all about using the best ingredients.  Since moving to Los Angeles, that hasn’t been too easy with some failures in finding the key ingredient – fresh ricotta cheese.  Fortunately, I finally found a rich and creamy ricotta that is sold by Laurent Bonjour’s Cheese Corner found Saturdays at the La Canada Farmers’ Market.

I also make a homemade pasta sauce that I lightly blend with a hand mixer. You can use two jars of your favorite pasta sauce. I recommend Mario Batali’s marinara if you do not have time to make your own.

The sauce, ricotta, and a quality Parmigiano-Reggiano have the most impact in my opinion. I haven’t found much difference when it comes to the pasta noodle or even with the mozzarella you choose.

Lasagna
Serves 4-6

1 lb lasagna noodles
4 cups basic red pasta sauce
1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
3/4 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
2 Spicy Italian sausages, cooked and crumbled
or 1 bunch spinach, washed and rough chopped lightly sauteed)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Preheat oven at 35o degrees.

Cook the noodles for about 6 minutes in boiling  water. Do not overcook. You want the noodles to be soft but still firm. Drain and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan, parsley and the oregano.

Spread a layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 13 lasagna pan. Add a layer of noodles.  Spread ricotta cheese mixture over noodles. Sprinkle some crumbled cooked sausage (or chopped spinach) over ricotta cheese mixture. Add a thin layer of pasta sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella.  Repeat this process two more times. Finally add one last layer of noodles and then add a layer of pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle top with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Cover the lasagna with foil and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes, remove foil and cook uncovered for 15 minutes more. Finally remove from oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Cut and serve.

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One-Pot Creamy Spinach and Lentils

On October 20, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Lentils are a personal favorite in my vegan and vegetarian cooking. I tend to save a lot of recipes that use them on my Pinterest Mostly Vegetarian board (you can follow me on Pinterest here.) A recent save is this lentil and spinach dish I made last week. It’s pretty easy to prepare and can be done after work, since it only takes about 30 minutes or less to prepare.

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I’d recommend serving it with some bread or a simple salad. It comes out more soup like depending on how much you cook down the liquid. I kept quite a bit of the liquid.

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The end result is fantastic and made for a very flavorful dish we are sure to have many more times to come.

Full Recipe: [One-Pot Creamy Spinach and Lentils]

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All Things Must Pass, Except My Love for Music

On October 18, 2015, in Family, Featured, by Chris Baccus
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Last Thursday night was pretty special. The original Los Angeles Sunset Avenue Tower Records location was brought back to life for one evening of music to celebrate the release of All Things Must Pass a new documentary from director Colin Hanks.

I remember going here in the late 80s and early 90s; though, I spent more time at Tower Records when they opened a location in downtown Birmingham, Michigan. Though, if I’m being honest the return of a major chain record store is a weird thing to celebrate. Places like Tower Records were great for getting anything common, but most of my time spent at record stores was done seeking bootleg concerts, hard to find imports, and used vinyl.

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To bring us all back to the days pre-iTunes and digital everything, the event planners came with a few bins of vinyl you could browse through and put on a record player.  I heard a few people asking their friends if they had record players.  Most said no with only a couple people saying they still did. I have one at home and cheaper one in my office I listen to often. The physical experience of looking at records in a bin is so dramatically different than browsing iTunes.  It makes you feel as if something is lost.  That something is discovery.  Album covers are advertisements to catch our eyes and hopefully our ears.

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Gibson was one of the many sponsors and had a few stations with rows of fabulous guitars. Unfortunately, no bass guitars were around so I played a couple like a bass.  The Les Paul guitars are just amazing. The sound is incredible and made me want to run out and buy one and start lessons, but I recently picked up my bass guitar and am getting reacquainted with it though that’s another story for another time.

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There was a full stage out in the parking lot that eventually filled with Eagles of Death Metal who turned out to be far more tame than their name. They were great though and my only wish is that they were selling their latest record on vinyl at the event.  Oh well, I’ll to find it somewhere other than a temporary Tower Records.  You can see some more of the event since Eagles of Death Metal came with drones to film the show.

 

The film is what this was all about. The premier took place earlier that night which I did not attend, but I did have access to the film and watched it a couple weeks ago.  It’s definitely worth seeing especially if you remember the days of music stores instead of a few CDs sitting in a bin at Starbucks or some bins of vinyl at Whole Foods.

I didn’t realize Tower Records was family owned from its birth to its death — it’s not entirely dead as there are some stores Internationally.  I came into the film thinking why do I want to watch a movie about a mega store? I always went to the small record shops or Amoeba which still exists, and I still stop at, down the street from last Thursday’s event.  After watching the film, I came away with a respect I wasn’t expecting.  There’s an interesting story here and Tower Records was ran by some real characters.

Check it out. Whether you lived during the time of record stores or want to understand what life was like pre-iTunes and MP3 players.  It’s still a story about music, a real love of music.

For all things All Things Must Pass check out the website and trailer.


All Things Must Pass – Official Trailer from Company Name on Vimeo.

Disclaimer: I was invited to the private event and given access to the film for free with no compensation.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Steak Diane

On October 18, 2015, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Steak Diane is one of my favorite stop top steak dishes. I love it so much I have another recipe on the website I did back in 2011 (check it out here.) This version doesn’t use cream, but it does use a lot of butter.  You can also remove the mushrooms in this version, but I had some beautiful chanterelle mushrooms I found at the Farmers’ Market.

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I was in downtown Los Angeles last Friday and made a stop at Grand Central Market to pick up some meat at Belcampo.  They had some petite top sirloin medallions that looked perfect.  I bought four to make this dish.  I often will use filet mignon, but these organic grass-fed top sirloin medallions add a richer flavor.

Steak Diane
Serves 2

4 petite top sirloin medallions, about 1 pound
5 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Brandy
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 shallot, minced
2 ounces chanterelle mushrooms, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper

Add 2 tablespoons and the olive oil to a saute pan on high heat.  When it begins to bubble, add the salt and peppered steaks being cautious to not crowd the pan.

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Cook for five minutes on each side so there is a light browning.  Once both sides are cooked, place steaks on a plate covered with foil to keep warm.

Add the shallot and mushrooms to the pan and scrape up any browned bits.  Add the Brandy and light the pan on fire being careful of a high flame.  Add the lemon juice and worcestershire sauce and cook to combine for a minute.  Add the remaining butter to the pan and return the steaks.  Let it heat for another minute or two and then plate.

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