Hamburger Fries & Drink

hamburger

I see so many cars parked around a big corporate fast food place – so many queued up at the window, waiting for their flavorless extruded hunk of scientifically engineered food-like substance. So much substance with so little sustenance. Offset printed plastic focus-group tested graphics, tied in with billion-dollar commercial campaigns carefully crafted to make you jump at the sight of their logo like baby birds at a squirming worm.

Meanwhile so many family owned greasy spoons go wanting with their hand-painted cracked stucco signs. The food might not be better, it might even be greasier, but at least it is real.

What I learned this week, July 25, 2014

Love People, Not Pleasure

ABD AL-RAHMAN III was an emir and caliph of Córdoba in 10th-century Spain. He was an absolute ruler who lived in complete luxury. Here’s how he assessed his life:

“I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity.”

Fame, riches and pleasure beyond imagination. Sound great? He went on to write:

“I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.”


Bike Lanes on Custer Road

Bike Lanes on Custer Road

Ashley Haire On Making Dallas Bike-Friendly

Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

7 Big Ways Cities Have Transformed Themselves for Bikes

Bike lane on Yale, near my house.

Bike lane on Yale, near my house.


Deep Ellum Brewing Company's Lineup

Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Lineup

Life as a Beer Geek: The Lessons I’ve Learned

The Bourbon Barrel Temptress, on a Bourbon Barrel

The Bourbon Barrel Temptress, on a Bourbon Barrel


Posing with an S. E. Hinton paperback.

Posing with an S. E. Hinton paperback.

10 CELEBS WHO BIKE IN STYLE

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Two Shark Tacos on the left, and two Mystery (Iguana) tacos on the right.

Two Shark Tacos on the left, and two Mystery (Iguana) tacos on the right.

One of the Dos Equis Taco Hotesses

One of the Dos Equis Taco Hotesses

The Best in DFW: Where the tacos are crazy-good

Professional competition Tacos

Professional competition Tacos


Here’s an interesting article about a little movie that I always thought was great. I didn’t realize it had reached cult status and was so hard to find – I’ve seen it on cable several times.

“Jesus Loves Winners”: How “Drop Dead Gorgeous” Found Cult Success As A Flop


13 Useful Tools You Should Only Buy on the Cheap

Elotes

Elotes, Farmer's Market, Dallas, Texas (click to enlarge)

Elotes, Farmer’s Market, Dallas, Texas
(click to enlarge)

I’ver written about elotes before. I don’t eat them very often – they must be about the most unhealthy thing in the world. They start with corn… which isn’t all that great – but then they add every thing that tastes good but is bad for you.

Then I get to add a bunch of hot sauce.

What I learned this week, May 9, 2014

archers1_w

Why Myth Matters


Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

Welcome to BikeableDallas.com, the City of Dallas blog about all things bicycle-related!

Dallas has a new bicycle coordinator who’s very eager to roll out the bike plan (from 2011)

Bike Texas group on the bridge, with the Dallas skyline in the background. (click for full size version on Flickr)

Bike Texas group on the bridge, with the Dallas skyline in the background.

Bike tour group in front of the Belmont Hotel murals. (click to enlarge)

Bike tour group in front of the Belmont Hotel murals.
(click to enlarge)


Dallashenge from the triple underpass in Dealey Plaza.

Dallashenge from the triple underpass in Dealey Plaza.

I have always been interested in places that are aligned with the rising and setting sun at certain times of the years – such as Dallashenge. Here’s one I didn’t know about.

The Secret of the Lincoln Memorial’s Equinox Sunrises…

Dallashenge

Dallashenge


Reflecting Pool, Arts District, Dallas, Texas (Click To Enlarge)

Reflecting Pool, Arts District, Dallas, Texas

10 best city art districts around the USA


This Japanese Girl Is Learning English By Writing Short Stories About Popular Memes


Who knew? Laser tag was invented in Dallas

I remember when Photon opened (1984) in a little industrial park on Northwest Highway at Shiloh – it was an amazing thing, given the technology of the day. The playing field was cool – darkened structures, fog machines, custom music. We used to get groups to go play – it was a blast. We would go play a few games then come back to my place and sit in the hot tub. I gave up on it when some obsessed kids became so skilled from playing every day it ruined the experience for everybody else.


I bought some of these - the broccoli and asparagus in the lower right.

I bought some of these – the broccoli and asparagus in the lower right.

Editorial: Farmers Market privatization looking like a win for city

One vendor features tomatoes. The back of his slot is filled with pallets of tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes.

One vendor features tomatoes. The back of his slot is filled with pallets of tomatoes. Lots and lots of tomatoes.


blooms5

The hidden beauty of flowers: Microscopic images reveal the alien landscapes to be found on petals, pollen grains and leaves

blooms3


Zoli’s New York Style

Try driving across a city when you are hungry – you will notice that there is a pizza joint on every corner. There is pizza everywhere.

Plus, the simple word pizza means something different to different people – there are so many varieties. Most people have a favorite and will defend their choice of crust – from crackerlike to deep dish – to the death. Then there are toppings – from traditional Margherita to fried eggs or squid ink. The place can vary from a corner take-out dive all the way up to a sit-down formal experience with wines to match the toppings and everything in between. A family owned local hangout to a massive international corporate chain.

Whatever you like.

I’m not a very good judge. My opinion is that pizza is like sex – when it is good, it’s great and when it is bad – it’s still pretty good.

Everyone has to have their go-to pizza joint. Ours is Cane Rosso in Deep Ellum (Pizza Napoletana with its famous “tip sag”) – I like to sit at the bar and watch the pies go into the giant wood burning dome of an oven, where they cook for only a few seconds (a close second is Urban Crust in old downtown Plano).

I stumbled across a list of 16 Iconic Pizzerias Across the Metroplex. I’ve been to about half of these (Eno’s and Mama’s are two more favorites) – and probably won’t make too much of an attempt to add more. The city is simply too spread out and there are too many good ones too close. Cane Rosso did make the grade, which is not a surprise. Campisi’s Egyption Lounge is on the list more for its history than its food, IMHO.

We were in Bishop Arts this weekend, looking for something to eat in a place that wasn’t too smoky and I remembered that Cane Rosso had opened a branch up there in the old Bee Enchilada location (shame it closed) called Zoli’s. They promised “New York Style Pizza” and that sounded good.

Here’s a useful graphic that outlines the difference in the various styles of pizza sold at the two spots. Zoli’s uses metal ovens instead of the giant domed wood-burner at Cane Rosso, plus it offers three styles – New York, Grandma, and Sicilian.

(click to enlarge)

Photo Courtesy Cane Rosso and Zoli's (click to enlarge)

Photo Courtesy Cane Rosso and Zoli’s
(click to enlarge)

Good stuff.

Zoli's, Dallas, Texas

Zoli’s, Dallas, Texas

Lunch special at Zoli's - Ceaser Salad, Slice, Knot of Garlic Bread

Lunch special at Zoli’s – Ceaser Salad, Slice, Knot of Garlic Bread

So, was Zoli’s great or was it merely good. I liked it a lot, but I was very hungry. You’ll have to go try it for yourself.

What I learned this week, January 31, 2014

Bob Mankoff picks his 11 favorite New Yorker cartoons ever


Not from the New Yorker:

you-may-be-a-wiener

(Not Quite Their Sense of Humor)
This was from an ad (a blow-in card to be exact) for the National Lampoon, back in the mid-70’s. I’m not sure why, but at the time I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. I still sorta think it is.


I was thrashing around late last night in a fit of mountain cedar allergy related insomnia and turned the television on for distraction. I caught the end credits for some movie and was reminded that there is an actress named Imogen Poots.

Imogen Poots! What a great name. It seems to be her real, given name, too. I wish she wasn’t real, beacuse I’d love to use that as a character name.

Now I can’t.


Paleo-Powered Breakfast: Eggs Baked in Avocado


Paste Magazine has been going state to state, listing up and coming bands. They finally get to Texas.

12 Texas Bands You Should Listen To Now

Now! Dammit!

Dallas bands Fox and the Bird, and Mystery Skulls (though they are now in LA) are listed, plus Metroplex Music Quaker City Night Hawks (Fort Worth), and Bonnie Whitmore (Denton).


This Is the Williamsburg of Your City: A Map of Hip America


Cleaning your DSLR Sensor: Tips and Advice


7 Things You Must Carry in Your Car This Winter
Every car should have an emergency kit that includes supplies such as jumper cables and first-aid supplies. But there are some essential winter items you need to carry once the temperature drops. Plus: Why you should buy those winter tires.


The Barber of Seville Simulcast at the Cowboys Stadium

Another opera at the Death Star. B there or B []


The opposite of Paranoia isn’t Sanity, it’s Ignorance.


Dat Dog and Freret

If you have the open mind, patience, and spirit of exploration there are few things as fun as watching a city bloom. It doesn’t happen everywhere, all at once, but springs from many tiny seeds – all over the place – especially where you least expect it.

All these cool places spring up. I’ve been watching it here in Dallas for years. Sometimes it’s in a spot where I remember fast times from long ago and sadly watched fade until a miraculous Renaissance appears – places like Deep Ellum or Lower Greenville. Or maybe its an area that has never been hip – or at least has been forgotten for generations – like Bishop Arts, or The Cedars. It may be an area conceived in high places and supported by big money like the Dallas Arts District or Uptown. Or it may be someplace bootstraping itself up out of a blasted industrial wasteland like Trinity Groves or the Design District.

Use your internet connection and your feet and your bicycle and get to know these places… before they are too hip and unaffordable. It’s a roller coaster ride and you need to get off before the crash… but in the meantime – it can be a fun ride.

All cities go through ups and downs – but nowhere has higher ups or lower downs than New Orleans. It, more than anywhere else is a city of unique neighborhoods – every one worth exploring, learning, and immersing.

One little new stretch of entertaining street is near where my son lives – it’s a district called Freret.

From an article on Gadling.com:

Freret began as a commercial area for people who were left out of New Orleans’ most powerful social groups: the French Creoles, who governed old society, and the wealthy “English” traders and business owners, who dominated the CBD and built their homes in the Garden District. Instead, the neighborhood, named for brothers William and James Freret, became a refuge for Italian and Jewish residents, who shared the commercial district.

But population shifts took place in the 1950s, driving middle class residents to the suburbs, and by the 1980s, when bakery owner Bill Long was shot and killed in the doorway of his store, Freret was disintegrating.

Help came in 2001 when the National Trust for Historic Preservation adopted Freret Street under its Main Street program. Yet, the neighborhood took a body blow from Katrina, whose damage can still be seen, and its comeback never seemed farther away.

But seven years after the storm, Freret is a symbol of the New New Orleans, where a handful of business pioneers and long time stall warts provided the nucleus for its growth to take place. Bars, restaurants, businesses, and a monthly fair have popped up in a few short years, and the sounds of construction resonate as cars and pedestrians ply the bumpy street between Tulane and Loyola Universities.

Lee was working and I needed to find some place to eat… and I had seen on Thrillist that a hot dog place called Dat Dog was listed as one of the “Coolest Restaurants in Town.” So I rode my bike down there.

It is a special, cool little stretch of street – it stands out in variety and quality even in a city as full of options like New Orleans. Restaurants, bars, specialty shops – even a couple of small theater spaces… Every night there was a young, hip crowd spilling out onto the sidewalks… and even filling overhead balconies with mirth and conversation.

Unfortunately, I had to settle for an excellent hot dog (local spicy dog, with bacon and sauerkraut – next time I need to be more adventurous on the toppings) before it was time to head back. But if you are looking to get out of the French Quarter (and you should be) Freret might be a place to look for.

Dat Dog, Freret Street, New Orleans (click to enlarge)

Dat Dog, Freret Street, New Orleans
(click to enlarge)

Freret Street, New Orleans (click to enlarge)

Freret Street, New Orleans
(click to enlarge)

Freret Street, New Orleans (click to enlarge)

Freret Street, New Orleans
(click to enlarge)

Sushi and Georgia O’Keeffe

Crazy Fish Sushi and a book of Georgia O'Keeffe paintings (Click to Enlarge)

Crazy Fish Sushi and a book of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings
(Click to Enlarge)

It was way too hot. The mercury was rising well past the century mark and the Texas sun was beating down, roasting the world with its searing incandescence – still, I wanted to get out and do a bike ride – get some mobile urban photography done – for fun and fodder for blog entries. I packed up, rode to the station, took the DART train downtown and started wandering around.

The night before I had ridden some similar streets with a lot of other folks – the Critical Mass Dallas last-friday-of-the-month ride. I had a blast. We rode from Main Street Garden Park, through downtown, past the Hyatt Regency and across into Oak Cliff, down to Bishop Arts, and then on to a Cuban-Themed party on a rooftop along Jefferson Street (a few doors down from the Texas Theater).

A lot of cool folks, a good time. We rode back across the Jefferson Street Viaduct bike lane – which was spectacular at night. I’m going to have to repeat some of that ride with a camera and a bit of time.

At any rate – one nice thing about a night ride is the cool air.

By noon the next day – cool air was only found inside.

I locked up my bike in Deep Ellum and started walking around, but the heat was getting to me. I was feeling dizzy and my mind was fuzzing up like an old slice of bread. So I thought about bailing and heading home to flop around in the air conditioning, but I had brought two liters of iced water in the cooler that straps to the back of my commuter bike. I’ve learned that I can take the heat pretty well as long as I keep moving and drink as much cold water as possible.

I drank some water, rode a bit, drank some more, found some shade… and felt a lot better.

A week ago, I had been in Klyde Warren park, killing a few minutes, and had thumbed through a book of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings that was set out in the reading room in the park. One quote from the book was still rattling around in my head – but I couldn’t remember it exactly and without the exact words couldn’t find it on the Internet. I wanted to use the quotation for a bit of writing/photography. The mystery quote was bothering me like an unscratched itch so I decided to ride back there and take another look at the book.

While I was there I bought a sushi roll from the Crazy Fish Truck (plus more cold water and a diet coke ). Then I was able to get a little green table in some dappled shade and sit down with the paintings and my food and hang.

Oh, I did misremember the quote a little bit. I am happy to set the record straight – but I’m thinking that my misremembered version might be… if not better, more useful for my purposes.

Crazy Fish Sushi Roll, and a Georgia O'Keeffe

Crazy Fish Sushi Roll, and a Georgia O’Keeffe

Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

“‘Twas in another lifetime
One of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue
The road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness
A creature void of form
Come in she said I’ll give ya
Shelter from the storm.”
—- Bob Dylan, Shelter From The Storm

A week ago, we found that there was a party honoring the Lakewood Brewing Company‘s one year anniversary – held at the Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House in East Dallas. This was a must-go. Lakewood has great beers and there would be music. Every hour they would be tapping special kegs and casks.

We arrived at about one-thirty, only a half-hour after the festivities started, and found the place already more than packed. It was tough to get to the bar for a beer – it took almost an hour for our first fill. But it was worth the wait – they had a small keg of the French Quarter Temptress on tap. I had tried this before – it’s the great Lakewood Temptress, “cask conditioned with chicory root and bourbon soaked Noble Coyote Papau New Guinea coffee.” I love that beer.

Temptress – black as death, thick as sin, sweet as tomorrow morning’s regret…. the French Quarter Temptress is all that… plus coffee and bourbon.

Then, wonder of wonders, we were able to snag half of a table right in front of the band. The first group was packing it up and the second starting to bring in their instruments. I should have been prepared… copied down a list of the music for the afternoon, and, especially, a list of the hourly tappings. But I didn’t… and that was cool too. I didn’t really want anything other than that French Quarter Temptress and it was fine to not know what music was on the way.

As the band set up I recognized Chad Stockslager. He plays in several local bands and I had seen him with Chris Holt as Holt and Stockslager… a Simon and Garfunkel tribute band, three times – first at the Patio Sessions in the Arts District, then at the Foundry and the Dallas Zoo. They put on a great show – a really fun and mellow evening. I recognized a couple other local musicians, but couldn’t place the lead singer… though he looked familiar and his voice, especially, I knew I had heard before.

Then they started playing and we discovered that the band was The Buick 6, a Bob Dylan tribute band. The singer was Mike Rhyner, best known as a DJ on 1310 The Ticket. No wonder his voice was familiar.

Mike Rhyner singing with The Buick 6

Mike Rhyner singing with The Buick 6

We really enjoyed the show. Afterward, we talked to Billy Bones, one of the guitar players, and he said they would be at Lee Harvey’s in The Cedars that upcoming Friday. Lee Harvey’s is a great place – a combination beer garden and dive bar – a great place to hear music. It’s a dog-friendly place and Candy loves that so many people bring their mutts along.

Billy Bones with The Buick 6

Billy Bones with The Buick 6

Chad Stockslager playing keyboards with The Buick 6

Chad Stockslager playing keyboards with The Buick 6

“You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out

Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging
for your next meal.”
—-Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone

I had an awfully tough week at work and when Friday came along it was really difficult for me to drag myself up and out and drive down for the show. I didn’t want to go – but I knew I would change my mind once I was actually there. I didn’t even have the energy to change clothes – so it was right in the car and out and down through the big evil city to the Southside.

It was a late show and we wanted to get there early so we could get something to eat. The fish tacos were great, and we settled in and waited for the festivities.

Storms were predicted – lightning shattered the horizon, someone held up a smartphone with an app that predicted heavy rainfall, but we didn’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

Lee Harvey's

Lee Harvey’s

Lee Harvey’s always has an amazing diverse crowd. A lot of different folks are there. Some are mathematicians, some are carpenter’s wives. A lot of pooches. The ages are all over – hipsters – college kids – some families with children…. all the way to people teetering on geezerdom.

Still a little stunned from the week I did manage to enjoy the music. A little food, a little beer, and I felt better. The Buick 6 do a great show. One nice touch is that they don’t try too hard to be absolutely accurate – staying in the spirit of Dylan more than the slavishly correct. A nice setlist selection too – there is so much to choose from. I guess it’s not surprising that the tune I liked the most had some sweet fiddle playing (Hurricane).

Everyone has their favorite Dylan tune – and there are so many of them. When faced with an oeuvre as vast as his it’s important to simply relax and let the band play what they want. Near the end of the second set, some young drunk blonde stumbled up to the stage and demanded the band play, “some of their own music.” I guess she doesn’t understand the idea of a tribute band… or much of anything else. Then her boyfriend loudly requested “Lay Lady Lay” – which is, I guess, a good enough song – but not… well, simply not a good idea. At least the two of them seemed well-matched.

Well, she don’t make me nervous, she don’t talk too much
She walks like Bo Diddley and she don’t need no crutch
She keeps this four-ten all loaded with lead
Well, if I go down dyin’ you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed.
—-Bob Dylan, From A Buick 6

So, despite my worn-out and beaten-down state that evening, we made it through the late set and, after petting the yellow Labrador Retriever sitting next to us one last time, headed for home. It was fun.

The festival was over and the boys were all planning for a fall
The cabaret was quiet except for the drilling in the wall
The curfew had been lifted and the gambling wheel shut down
Anyone with any sense had already left town
He was standing in the doorway looking like the Jack of Hearts.
—- Bob Dylan, “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts”

Mike Rhyner also has a Tom Petty tribute band, Petty Theft. They will be at Lee Harvey’s next Friday. I think I’ll be there. No matter how worn out I am.

“Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free,
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands,
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves,
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.”
—-Bob Dylan, ‘Mr. Tambourine Man’

Across the street from Lee Harvey's

Across the street from Lee Harvey’s

“And she takes just like a woman
And she aches just like a woman
And she wakes just like a woman
Yeah, but she breaks just like a little girl.”
—-Bob Dylan, Just Like A Woman

Oh, if you were wondering what my favorite Bob Dylan song is – it’s “Isis”, from Desire. The band didn’t play it – which is cool, because it isn’t really that kind of tune. I like it because it tells a story – and I’m all about story. It’s also about redemption and I’m a sucker for redemption. Most importantly, I bought that album (on Vinyl, of course) right after I graduated from college and started my first real job – and would listen to it in the evenings until is sank in… and it’s still in there. I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.

She was there in the meadow where the creek used to rise
Blinded by sleep and in need of a bed
I came in from the East with the sun in my eyes
I cursed her one time then I rode on ahead.

She said “Where ya been ?” I said “No place special ?”
She said “You look different” I said “Well I guess”
She said “You been gone” I said “That’s only natural”
She said “You gonna stay ?” I said “If you want me to, Yeah “.

Isis oh Isis you mystical child
What drives me to you is what drives me insane
I still can remember the way that you smiled
On the fifth day of May in the drizzling rain.
—-Bob Dylan, Isis