Cairo > Being a Cubs Fan...

Originally intended for publishing, June 10th, 2011. ol' news.

....and so the Reds' season goes. Finding absolute joy in a two-game winning streak, whilst wearing the (limited edition of 3) "Cairo is greater than" shirt with general pride and hope on a normal Tuesday. And what happens? Mr. Miguel, starts at 3B (a normalcy this week) and drives a Grand Slam (only his second) to the upper deck. I'm sure in his 16 professional years in the MLB that was likely his greatest moment in a baseball uniform. He didn't hit his other GS during his only World Series appearance (though he did bat over .290 in 26 post-season ABs), so I'm imagining this was a renaissance moment at the very least. He has been hitting .290 in two years with the Redlegs as Mr. Utility.

....and so the Reds' season goes. I picked up Homer Bailey, again, as he's set to get off the DL after some Louisville love. Hope it all works out. I'm carefully optimistic. Just never seems to have the luck there

....and so the Reds' season goes. As of today, 6/30/11, the Reds are only 5 games out and well into a division battle -- even when panic set last week. We are safe. For now. Didn't the Counting Crows write a song called "Long June" or something like that? We'll see.

Pink Reason "Blossoms" in the Garden

I almost wish after the release of Shit in the Garden, Kevin Failure, the man behind Pink Reason decided to drop the Failure. This is not failure -- in any stretch of the imagination. Not that he has to return to the birth-surname of DeBroux (though that's a luxurious last name), but something that doesn't express such....despair. After my extensive Agit-Interview with Kevin Failure (believe me, this only half of the length we talked) it sounded like a clearing. Listening to SITG over and over -- there sounds like a clearing. And not that there was ever a reason to take it personal, and bum-out on the bummer vibe of his first epic release, but Cleaning the Mirror was never a record you sat around a listened to during Happy Hour with chum at your side. You didn't have to literally take it personal, but you have to (usually)listen to the thing in late-night isolation.

SITG? I can suggest it to relatives. I can link it to jangly sides from the '90s from bands like the Swirlies or the '80s like the Wipers...or Nirvana even, whose Cobain would likely name-check both bands in 1994. This has become especially true in the last week or so, when Debroux has taken it upon himself to get the music to the people, on the stage. Gaining Matt Horseshit (on guitar), Rich Horseshit (on drums), and Shawn (a TV Ghost defector), in the course of a few days, and directly forming two Columbus shows out of the rag-tag bunch was a huge step for the record. Monday night at Carabar was a bit awe-inspiring. It was all of SITG and then some....lumbering on as Pink Reason songs tend to do, but in that hypno-chugging a whirlwind of psych-skree emerging from the once tepid ether. Fully Engaged. As you can see in this video, for what is perhaps the crowning moment (so far) for DeBroux, "Sixteen Years."


Takoyaki vs. Takoyaki: Fresh Street Be the Victor

When the warm weather arrived again and it was announced that the creators/artisans responsible for the Foodie Cart would no longer be making crepes along the streets of Clintonville and beyond – it sent shockwaves among the Columbus culinary community….or it at least disappointed the handful of faithful who treated their food as manna from the gods. It was soon made clear by the couple that they weren’t quitting in the slightest, they were just moving to a more permanent location, and trying their hand at making takoyaki. Takoyaki is a traditional Japanese street food consisting of pancake balls usually filled with boiled octopus and topped with numerous condiments befitting this taste sensation. Compared to the Bulgagi Cheesesteak crepes I was used to, I thought this might be a hard sell for the Foodie Cart. I’m sure people thought the same when calamari or pork belly started becoming menu staples. Now christened Fresh Street, I had no reason to doubt their prowess on the foodie scene here in Columbus. And in the months following their opening at their High Street location they’ve expanded their menu to include various okonomiyakis, soba, and even flavored “snow cups” (their desserts were always their best kept secret). Again, I can’t stress enough how anything you order from the Fresh Street dynamic duo is sure to be a treat – but for now, if you’ve yet to try the takoyaki, that should be your first order of business.

But in order to compare/contrast I had to try a takoyaki stand that has stood the test of time. Otafuku. This Manhattan closet of a restaurant in the East Village is likely the most authentic takoyaki one can procure in North America – at least on this side of the Mississippi (the west coast Japanese population has been serving up takoyaki for a while now). The Freshstreet duo has taken great pains to make their shed as quaint and charming and convenient as Otafuku. The presentation is the same, six takoyaki balls tucked into a bamboo boat, topped with bonito flakes and an assortment of other choices. At Otafuku I did not get a choice – it was bonito and a hot sauce similar to sriracha. At Fresh Street it’s called “mom sauce” and it comes in addition to things like dried seaweed, wasabi mayonnaise, and kimchee. I love the choices, something that is a trademark of the Foodie Cart/Fresh Street brilliance. It’s a constantly changing course for them, each and every day. Even their take on the traditional takoyaki has been altered to include sausage and veggie options of those lovely fried pancake balls, usually stuffed with octopus. So – in comparison to an “original” such as Otafuku, Fresh Street absolutely rules. Then again, the hometown/accommodating atmosphere the Fresh Street duo can provide in Columbus is also the reason it has not become as standard fare as Otafuku. And if you think you will be missing out on the artistry that came with the crepe making, there’s a dexterity involved in rolling the takoyaki on a custom grill that has to be seen to be believed. This is not something just anyone can do. A must – at least once a week – for anyone who calls this city home.