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Attila is Still Rock and Roll to me…

February 27, 2015


A few weeks ago, ranked what they considered all of Billy Joel’s songs from 1-121, and while any list put out by a publication is going to be up for debate, I’m going to declare this one to be a particularly rarified form of bullshit.  The first problem is that “We Didn’t Start the Fire” was ranked #120.  This is nonsense – WDSTF is top 5 easy.  Second issue is that the list’s author didn’t include (and purposely omits) Joel’s seminal 1970 work in the heavy metal band Attila.  Absurd and lazy journalism!  I could spend all day arguing with the rest of the list and ranking the songs myself, but instead here’s Atilla’s top 9 songs:

9. Tear This Castle Down:  Alas, the second half of the album really drags, and there’s nothing special here.  It’s just a boring dirge and a drag to get through.

8. Holy Moses:  Not that much different than Tear This Castle Down, but it ekes slightly ahead on the strength of Billy Joel wailing “Holy Moses” in the chorus.

7. Amplifier Fire (Part I: Godzilla Part II: March of the Huns): Ugh, the dreaded instrumental, but despite my hatred of instrumentals, I found myself getting into this, especially the upbeat and just insane organ playing that Joel fires off.  It takes guts to put out a 7 minute organ solo.

6. Brain Invasion:  More organ wackiness! I don’t know if I can take it!!!  Slightly better than Amplifier simply for being shorter and thus not wearing out its welcome.  And no one compares to Billy Joel when he sets his mind to wailing on a keyboard.

5. Revenge is Sweet:  This is a cliche ridden piece of work from the title to Joel singing about the Phoenix Rising from the flames, but it’s still better than the previous entries on the list.  Again, I can’t say enough about the organ solos.

4. Wonder Woman:  The opening track, and a good harbinger of what’s to come.  Joel singing over a solid rock beat, while he jams away on his organ.  Do we need the dumb lyrics, such as “Wonder Woman with your skin so fair?” Yes we do.

3. Rolling Home: This is a rollicking good song, and starts to show some of the potential if Billy Joel had stayed the course with this band. Everything in this song just clicks, and it really moves.

2. California Flash:  The second best Atilla song, and the most Billy Joelesque song in my opinion, while still maintaining the Attila aesthetic.  Rhyming “France” with “Dance”, and then “taking off his pants” earns this amazing song number 2 on the list.

1. Ghostbusters:  Was it tough to come up with the top Attila song?  No! Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. is the only logical and artistic choice.  There’s nothing better: from the eerie opening and the sing along chorus, to the 1980’s star-studded music video, Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr. is Atilla’s number one song.

And while we’re on music, here’s some of my most controversial opinions on rock:

  • Load is Metallica’s best album.
  • I don’t know who Sam Cooke is.
  • I enjoyed Sheryl Crow’s cover of Sweet Child O’ Mine.
  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers were much better with Dave Navarro.  Anything else they put out is trifling.
  • Radiohead are the most overrated band in the history of music.

Stay warm everybody!

Gentrification = More Donuts

February 2, 2015

Take a break from the Super Bowl and read some fresh whipped cream.

Update:  Rather than do the right culinary thing and modify their Oaxacan Burger, Burger 67 has decided to silence me on their facebook page.  I actively encourage all lovers of proper Mexican food to contact Burger 67 to demand a more correct Oxacan Burger.

Anyway, did I mention that one of the things I love about gentrification is that it means more dessert for me?  Deep in Crown Heights, east of Franklin Avenue, Elsie’s Donuts recently opened up, and it was a satisfying donut experience.  Their glazed lemon zest donut is a solid yeast donut, freshly made, pleasantly chewy and just sweet enough.  Their butterscotch peanut donut was also very good, but a bit cloying with a thick layer of butterscotch on top.  Unfortunately they just have a walk up window, and it was 15 degrees at the time of my tasting, so my taste buds were slightly frozen, but I’ll make sure to head back their way when the weather warms up to get a better taste and try more flavors.  Go Gentrification!

Since it was so cold, I made a trip over to Stick to me Sweets, a new chocolate shop opened by a former Per Se Chocolatier.  Which is good if you want to experience Per Se chocolate without paying 295 dollars for food.  Solid hot chocolate, if perhaps lacking slightly in the kick you in the ass with chocolate that you get from some really good hot chocolate like the overpriced City Bakery or Jacques Torres.  But the mint chocolate chip chocolate bon bon I sampled was very good, and they have an assortment of uniquely flavored caramels.  The matcha caramel I had was a winner.

Also, sometimes I talk about music:  I saw Jack White in concert this past Friday and it was an excellent concert.  Opening act Running with Diamonds MC might have been a disappointment, but for a Zack De La Rocha cameo on one of their songs.  I’m not sure which one because the bass was so insanely turned up that it was all I could hear so everything sounded the same, but De La Roca was awesome.  Unfortunately he was only on stage for a minute or so before he had to be tranquilized and returned to his crate to be transported to their next show.

The show took a turn for the better once White took the stage.  His new stuff is solid, with Lazareto stuck firmly in my brain.  He played some older White Stripes stuff also: Hotel Yorba and Seven Nation Army.  Sadly, Carolina Drama and Effect and Cause were left off the set list, which is just ridiculous, while mysteriously,  Top Yourself was extended into a 20 minute jam that was either insanely bloated or a wonder because who would have thought that that song could be drawn out that long?  Oh, and special thanks to the guy in the seat next to me who was dancing the whole time and rubbing against me in my personal space the whole time while for some reason not going anywhere within two feet of his girlfriend to his left.

I guess I’m just that damn irresistible.

A New Year, A New Campaign

January 23, 2015

Happy 2015, and welcome to a new year at New York City’s Self-Proclaimed most read food and music blog.

With the new year comes my most daunting challenge ever as I find myself facing down the diabolically inaccurate burger empire of Burger 67.  For those of you who weren’t aware, Burger 67 is a burger shop with two locations in Brooklyn.  They’re decent enough if you want some curly fries, a Boylan’s and a burger, but for one horrendous kink in their menu that I find nearly unforgivable:  The Oaxacan Burger.

Oaxaca is a region in Mexico known especially for it’s cuisine.  It has some nice beaches also.  But, these specialities include such delicious things as moles,  and unique herbs like epazote.  They even have their own regional cheese!  All this sounds super-delicious, and would make for some great burger toppings!

But for some reason, instead Burger 67 decides to metaphorically kick everyone in the crotch who might want some mole and Oaxacan cheese on their burger, and instead dumps some shitty chipotle sauce and cheddar cheese on the burger.  Seriously? That’s a good two pounds of mierda in a one pound bag there, guys.  What’s especially galling is that they could have called it a Mexican burger, which would still be a bit inaccurate, but instead they name it after a specific region of Mexico with a distinctive cuisine, and then proceed to put NOTHING from that region on the burger.  They might as well serve a burger with ketchup, sauteed onions, and swiss cheese on it and call it a Lyonnaise or Nicoise burger.

So the campaign beings! Either a burger with mole and Oaxacan cheese or banishment from their facebook page!

A Quick One About My Dessert Failure

December 16, 2014

biscuit bread pudding

That is five scoops of vanilla ice cream on top of biscuit bread pudding, ordered at Jacob’s pickles, and it was delicious, but alas I was unable to finish it, much to my shame.  I managed about half of the pudding and four scoops of ice cream, but I have to go back, train harder, eat more, be a better person before I can possibly hope to tackle the full dessert.  In the meantime I might have to settle for three scoop sundaes and giant slices of cake like some sort of stone age savage.  More to come.

Bad Tacos and Worse Music

October 24, 2014

As many of you know, I like a good taco.  And to be clear, a good taco consists of one to two warm corn tortillas topped with meat, chopped raw onions, chopped fresh cilantro, a bit of salsa and a few slices of radish.

So I was excited to try Empellon Al Pastor, an offshoot of Mexican restaurant Empellon.  Unfortunately these tacos were terrible.  I went with the Al Pastor, since it’s the name of the place, but it was offensively salty.  The tortilla was ok, and it had the requisite onions and cilantro (no radishes), but it was impossible to taste those through the hunks of over-salted pork.  Black beans were unimpressive, the guacamole was too tart and not quite thick enough, and the cocktail I had, a tequila root beer highball, tasted like watered down Barqs with as splash of tequila thrown in.

Speaking of disappointments, here’s my favorite new feature on the fresh whipped:  Album reviews that I couldn’t make it past the second track for (and a suitable replacement):

Recently, the second most overrated band in the world, Weezer put out a new album, “Everything Will Be Alright in the End.” I’m not sure if that’s true because I couldn’t make it past the second track of this snooze fest.  I’m baffled by these guy’s popularity-the only good thing they ever did was the two second guitar fill in “Buddy Holly”, which admittedly, is awesome.

Suitable Replacement:  Listen to Geezer’s Black Science instead, an amazing heavy metal album from Black Sabbath bassist, Geezer Butler.  This little known gem has some of my favorite songs on it, with Man in the Suitcase and Xodiac being instant classics.

Also released was Six: A.M., a new album from Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx.  I went into this one thinking it had to be awesome because you know: Nikki Sixx.  And wow was I wrong.  This is basically an album of ready made entrance themes that the WWE is using for all of their wrestlers these days.  Ugh, terrible, and I had to turn it off after the second track.

Suitable Replacement:  Make the following playlist:

1. Girls, Girls, Girls   2. Girls, Girls, Girls  3. Girls, Girls, Girls,  4.  Doctor Feelgood  5.  Ghostbusters  6. Girls Girls Girls  7. Girls, Girls, Girls   8.  Girls, Girls, Girls   9.  Girls, Girls, Girls  10.  Ghostbusters

A Kefi-tastrophre

October 17, 2014

You see, you know how to *take* the reservation, you just don’t know how to *hold* the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.

-Jerry Seinfeld, The Alternate Side

I wanted to spend some time this evening to tar and feather Upper West Side Greek restaurant Kefi for nearly ruining my dear friend’s wedding rehearsal dinner with one of the grossest acts of restaurant incompetence I’ve experienced since the Wafflecopolypse.

Picture the scene: 21 of your closest friends and family gathering for a joyous event at one of your favorite restaurants.  Reservations are made, emotions are high, everyone’s looking forward to getting together, eating, and looking forward to the big day.  But, you get to the restaurant, and you hit a brick wall because….


Nice…fucking…job Kefi.  See above Seinfeld quote.   I don’t have much more to say on this other than to give them a little bit of hurt for this, and hopefully keep one or two people away from making a reservation there for their special events.  Sadly, they don’t actively post to their facebook so I can’t do my magic there as much as I’d like to, but I’ll do my best to get under their skin like rotten feta.  It’d be my proudest banning if that happened.

Freaked Out by A Moving Clam

October 6, 2014

My goal for this fall is to make Freshwhippedcreamike the biggest thing in the city as far as food goes. With Serious Eats being nothing but a rotting hull of what it once was, I think I can become the even more self proclaimed most read food blog in New York. Then TV deals, etc.

Anyway, I went to Spain recently and ate at Mugaritz, which is the number 6 restaurant in the world; I wasn’t thrilled. Let’s read my correspondence with them.
Dear Michael,

First of all I would like to thank you for your efforts trying to make us aware of your experience. It is a gesture that reminds us of the importance of our guests’ perspective who come to Mugaritz hoping to live an experience. We take all the appreciations that we receive very seriously. They help us grow.

De: Michael Adler []
Enviado el: miércoles, 24 de septiembre de 2014 2:24
Asunto: Feedback on my meal

I wanted to take some time to write to you about my experience at your restaurant on September 10th because much as I was looking forward to it, I was let down.
First though, your staff was professional and I have no qualms with them at all. I felt welcomed, well taken care of, and everyone was very polite.
That being said, to be honest, this might have been the worst meal of my life, as far as the food goes. I’ve thought about this carefully, and the food was certainly prepared to a high standard, but a lot of it was just unpleasant to eat.
I would say the first few courses weren’t terrible; I did not like the Kototxas, but that’s personal taste. On the other hand, the duck neck seemed to be stuffed with a mix of herbs that did not complement each other at all. I felt like I was eating a crunchy ring stuffed with foul grass. And speaking of grass the Highland grass wasn’t much better, and the tahini it was served with was just too, too much bitter. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
Next surprise was the razor clam that was still actively moving at the bottom of my glass-I guess this is a cultural thing, but I just do not want my food moving, and this is where the meal just started getting worse. The fish course following was unremarkable, but your Chicken and lobster Catalan cream tasted like it came from a can. It was bland, and the chicken and lobster were oddly chewy. The steak tartar was too clever for its own good – eating steak with a powdery texture that has next to no flavor just left me feeling strange and a little bit nauseated. And the black banana with shrimp paste just didn’t make any sense to me at all. Does anyone like completely over ripe bananas? And putting that much strong, salty shrimp paste next to it just didn’t work. Again, the flavors did not compliment each other at all. I was just hit with a nauseating punch of overripe banana and super-strong, super-salty shrimp paste. I guess if you were trying to invoke the sensation of leaving shrimp and banana on the counter for four or five days then eating it, mission accomplished.
Worse yet, the smoked loin of lamb with its cultivated wool almost got me to walk out of the restaurant. (I would have paid, but I came close to asking to see the manager, offering to pay the full bill, and just ending the meal there.) Again, just way too rich in a bad way. Smoked meat needs to be cut with a little bit of sweetness or something tangy. There’s a reason why American Barbeque is served with a bit of a drizzle of tangy tomato sauce, barbeque sauce. Serving a smoked peace of meat with nothing but wool on the side is just terrible. I don’t like Coca Cola, but I literally HAD to order a glass at that point to cleanse my palate.
The games and activities unfortunately were more tiresome than endearing. I’m still not sure entirely what I was doing with the game that preceded the milk and seaweed caviar, but it sure didn’t leave me any happier after eating solidified milk topped with super salty balls of seaweed. Just something that does not work. And the corn/bacon/herbs mortar and pestle was a complete failure because I just don’t want to work THAT hard while I’m eating.
So, dessert-not sure exactly what you guys were thinking with this one either. Parmasan and apple do not go together, at all. AT ALL. To your credit, I was enjoying the frozen apple shreds, but wow, was it just a terrible shock every-time I tasted the parmesan sprinkled through out. And , it might have been because my taste buds were a bit numbed by the frozen apples, but it didn’t even taste like good, aged parmasan, more like something from a shaker can. More terrible was the bleu cheese and berries with yogurt and dill. This was absolutely vile. There is no way you are going to take slightly out of season berries, mix them with dill and blue cheese, and get that to taste like anything other than a mish mosh of awful. The sugary porra was another failure, simply because the sugar rocks at the table were nearly impossible to grate. They were way too hard.
So, I really don’t want to be rude, and I know I was very negative, but I figured you’d appreciate the feedback. Again, I really did appreciate how professional and well run the restaurant was, but the food I feel just did not work.
Thank You,
Michael Adler
Mugaritz is a 16 years old project with a long trajectory behind it. In this time we have developed a personality and a philosophy that to say the least is -singular-. Mugaritz lives under 3 basic premises which are cornerstones for everything we do: Creativity in which we invest over 11,000 hours every year to create new recipes, plates and other interactive elements of the experience. We travel the world in culinary-cultural trips that allow for us to see the different ways of understanding food in the world. We learn from each and every one of them, and in a way, the dishes we serve in Mugaritz are the sum of all these ideas. The result is a completely different way to practice gastronomy and we do it assuming huge risks.

Produce and Interaction with our diners are the other two elements we use as the base of our work. Our relationship with producers is the key to have a constant supply of great quality foods and our relationship with our diners during their time with us is the key to make them enjoy. You are absolutely right! We make diners participate in the finishing of a dish. Many people appreciate this and discover new sensations.

We feel bound to give an answer to your opinions because they give an immediate sensation of disappointment and this affects us profoundly. The harshness of your words is eloquent and its obvious that our cooking style did not cover your expectations. Leaving aside the comments you make of some dishes, where you gracefully describe details related to sensorial, quality or aesthetics, we conclude that above everything else, there is a lack of harmony between us.

We would be lying if we told you that the mix of herbs inside the duck’s neck was a random choice, if we told you that the razor clam being alive was an accident or that the flavour of the Tartar and the black banana are things we do not like. Each and every one of those traits is there for a reason and each and every dish we serve is checked by senior members of our team before every service begins. We would be being dishonest if we told you now that on the day of your visit we made a mistake.

No. You have not been rude. We understand that the sharpness of your language comes from your frustration. You have shared your thoughts with us and we appreciate it. When we chose our style we chose it with responsibility. We assume a lot of risk every day and perhaps we failed in giving you enough explanations of our food.

In Mugaritz, over 60 people give their best every day to maintain the illusion of working in a project that creates incredible experiences. I assure you we will keep working to give back to our industry everything it has given to us.

I thank you once more for sharing your honesty. I would like to say goodbye hoping that one day you give us another chance to fulfil your expectations. This time, we clearly were not able.

Kind regards,

Andoni Luis Aduriz.

Here’s the moving clam:


`T`he little translucent fleshy part in the upper left part of the glass was trying its hardest to get out of the class.  I’m also not sure what powdered green stuff that tasted like buttered bread was doing in there.  That was actually good and should have maybe been put on top of something that wasn’t squirming and thrashing around under it.

Anyway, not much else to say right now, but stay tuned for more nyc based food coverage.


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