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The Weekly Music Platter: 10/23/2020

Like many, I've put in my share of telework hours from home in this year of COVID.  One of the bonus aspects of this time has been the ample opportunities to listen to both a myriad of podcasts as well as music.  I debated whether to subscribe to Spotify for the longest time, but never have I been so happy to have made that decision as I have the past several months.

It struck me during one otherwise insignificant workday that, despite the lack of usual topics to blog about, there was an opportunity to expand on a topic that I have on occasion blogged about: music. But my mind on this day went one step further: why not intersect the two fields? There's plenty of music about food, and Spotify is as good a source to figure out what's out there.

So thus, my first ever Weekly Music Platter: random swaths of music about food that will be posted every or every other Friday for as long as I feel up to it, a rhythmic way to pass away about 15-20 minutes of your time to explore both the wide world of food and music in easily digestible segments.

What's Been Good: 10/19/2020

Lazy Sunday...or Pandemic weekday? The past few months
have made it tough to tell

Hi there - you miss me?

Most likely, probably not - my Instagram feed has been going pretty strongly, and the blog...well, when the turmoil that has marked 2020 washed through, I admit I didn't feel much like writing.

There's a lot to say about the year that has been, and I thought about venturing into topics that were never the focus of this blog.  After much consideration, I decided it should stay that way.  There's more than enough places to get the back and forth regarding those subjects, and I've done my share of checking up on things at sources I trust and respect the past several months.

But, with this blog being a food- and travel-centric one, I will say something in relation to the food industry as it had been.  If it wasn't clear how much of a true bargain the old model was for many consumers, it should be apparent now.  The size of the industry somewhat shrouded the very imperfect model of long hours for low-profit margins for a vast majority of establishments, especially the mom-and-pop, locally oriented ones, but the pandemic has fully lifted that cover.

The crisis has also exposed the very much underappreciated and bonus benefits (such as free music entertainment, or the fact that a fairly modest investment (an extra cup of coffee or a dessert plate will give you and your buddies extends your ability to hangout at your brewery/restaurant/bar/cafe of choice for an extra hour or two)) the diner basically took for granted in local restaurants, cafes and breweries during pre-pandemic times. 

Considering those factors, as well as the fact that you essentially are relieved of almost all work related to the dining process when you do, in fact, dine out, I realize now how much of a bargain dining out really was for us the past several years in most cases. And like many in the restaurant industry have stated, the old model needs to be revamped to keep local restaurant scenes thriving post-pandemic.  I don't know about you, but I don't travel around from city to city to prove that a Starbucks Frappuccino tastes the same in Columbus and San Francisco.  

To keep with the comparison, I travel between the two cities to see how the coffees of One Line Coffee and Mission compare to those of Four Barrel and Ritual Roasters.  And, I for one, am willing to pay for that privilege in our future travels, no matter what city we may journey to, if it means thriving and eclectic dining scenes throughout the country.

Whether the public as a whole is willing to do so, well, only time will tell...

Day of Gluttony, Columbus Style - Part 2

(Note: This is Part 2 of a blog post proposing our 24 different dishes from 24 different venues inside of 24 hours quest within Columbus, Ohio, based on the Tastemade TV Show "Day of Gluttony".  For details on the challenge and the first 11 spots on this quest, please check out Part 1 at this link.)

1:15 PM - With our Las Maravillas tacos (stop 11) leaving us with a nice spicy feel in our mouths, we figure it was time to find some beverages to cool things off a bit. We head across the Olentangy River to the 5xNW neighborhood and stop at 12) Bonifacio, one of two Filipino restaurants in the area. This eatery from Krizzia Yanga has proven to be a successful trailblazer of sorts, introducing the public to their combo of modern and traditional takes on the cuisine. This includes some very delicious fancy cocktails, so we grab an Oooh Bae! (featuring plenty of Ube/Purple Yam) and a Lychee Martini for some pleasurable sipping.

2:00 PM - Creeping into the Northwest neighborhood, we decided to up the spice level back up again by stopping at one of the numerous Indian restaurants in the South Indian/vegetarian-oriented 13) Dosa Corner.  By now, we've actually earned back some space in our stomachs, so we go for a double-appetizer of the Mirchi Bajji (spicy green peppers stuffed with masala) and Dahi Wada, deep fried lentil doughnuts dipped in yogurt & cilantro.

Day of Gluttony, Columbus Style (Part 1)

If nothing else, cutting the cable cord and going to streaming has increased our viewing options several dozen times over.  At times, the sheer number of options overwhelms, but at other times, something unexpected gets us both intrigued enough to invest our viewing time, or when we have an unexpected bunch of time to burn on the couch (such as recently, when the cold bug hit us both.)

Admittedly, both of us are well past our prime food gluttony years (our waistlines still seem to think we're being pretty gluttonous, but that's a whole another future blog post.) Thus, a food show like "Day of Gluttony", originally produced by Tastemade and currently showing on Hulu, didn't hold much promise when we clicked it on a couple weeks ago, but it turned out to be a more fun way to blow an hour than we ever figured.

Bruce Aguirre and Harry Yuan, hosts of Tastemade's "Day of Gluttony",
is available for viewing on the Hulu streaming service
First, the hosts were Asian (Harry Yuan and Bruce Aguirre, of Chinese and Filipino descent, respectively) something that I just don't see all that often.  Second, the first episode was shot in a place I know pretty well in San Francisco, where I worked and lived for a number of years before moving to Ohio. Also, the show's concept was pretty simple - finish 24 dishes at 24 different venues in a span of 24 hours or less.

We dove in and found ourselves entertained, with great chemistry between the hosts, rapid-fire coverage of places visited, efforts (intentional? perhaps...) of various venues to derail the hosts with extra dishes, and liberal use of old-school arcade graphics, enough so to put it on our current rotation to get through its ten-episode run (we found no indication of a season two as of now.)

Loafing Around Encouraged: The Whitney House

The humble meatloaf has graced numerous household dinner tables
around the world in one form or another
Many dishes come to mind when it comes to American classics: hamburgers, apple pie, chocolate chip cookies, and so forth. Often times, these dishes are adaptations or variants on more traditional dishes, like American spaghetti or Tex-Mex creations like Fajitas or Chile con Carne.

A dish that in many ways reflects the melting pot that is this country lies in meatloaf. While meatloaf has competing origin stories, its concept is pretty clear cut - a collection of culinary odds and ends combined into something not necessarily elegant, but assuredly comforting.

And indeed it was; my parents’ rendition was fairly standard (ground beef, onions, stale bread, eggs, and seasoning) but one my favorite things to eat with ketchup and rice. In addition, many parties hosted by relatives, friends, and family allowed me the chance to eat another favorite variation in the Embutido, a Filipino take which mixes a variety of meats with somewhat unique ingredients such as raisins, carrots, bell peppers, and hard-boiled eggs.