These “5 Favorites” posts are taking some getting used to writing. Sometimes I think I go extra long where I shouldn’t, sometimes I feel like I’m not really saying much at all about the topic or item and sometimes I can’t think of anything to say even though I really enjoy the thing I want to write about. Shoot, sometimes the paranoia sets in and I imagine someone reading a post saying something like “I’ve been knowing about this spot or that thing for years” and then I create an imaginary argument with that imaginary person like I somehow insulted their intelligence. It’s weird the crap you think about when you’re sitting in front of your computer trying to write shit in a word doc. It’s not been easy sharing my interests and feeling confident with my writing but I’m glad I’m taking a stab at it.
Welcome to issue #3 of “5 Favorites”
Din Tai Fung
This is only the second time I have eaten at Din Tai Fung and it’s already on my favorite food spot list. This past Monday the crew and I took the drive up to South Coast Plaza to enjoy a nice meal for Nick’s birthday. Although it was Nick’s b-day and I would go anywhere my homie wants to eat, I was super stoked to hear that he made Din Tai his spot of choice to celebrate. We got there around 6ish on a Monday and were immediately seated. I was told by the others that it can at times be an hour or more wait and they were surprised at how quickly we got a table. I guess what I’m saying is to go on a Monday evening if you don’t want to wait forever to eat.
Din Tai Fung was started in the late 50’s as a cooking oil retail business out of Taiwan and somewhere down the road turned into a dumpling and noodle house. Later on they opened several other locations world wide and even were awarded one Michelin Star to their Hong Kong branch. That’s pretty much all the info I could steal from their site. None of this I knew before writing this but I thought maybe I should find out a little more about this dumpling restaurant I just fell in love with.
Being that I have only been there a couple times there are still quite a few more dishes I would like to try. Some, however, I know I will be getting every time I go. For instance, I thoroughly enjoy the Sautéed String Beans with Garlic, Shrimp Noodle Soup, Vegetarian Dumplings, Shrimp Fried Noodles and for dessert the Black Sesame Bun and Red Bean Bun. Remember, I don’t eat meat so I guess I miss out on most of the menu but my homies tell me all the other dishes are just as good if not better. It’s been twenty-three years since I took a bite of beef, pork, or chicken and although I don’t see myself doing it in the future if there is any place that could get me to make the leap back to being a carnivore I guess it would be Din Tai Fung. Either that or my buddy Spayde’s constant persistence to make me eat a hamburger or hot dog. Sometimes he feels like Lord Palpatine trying to get me to turn to the dark-side. He’s that persistent!
Boba Fett Jumbo by Super7/Funko
It’s been a few years now that I have known Brian Flynn from Super7. He and I grew up in about the same era and share similar interests, so I always enjoy having discussions with him about rad childhood memories. I remember he once told me that as a kid growing up he was glued to the television watching Godzilla and Japanese Kaiju monster movies. This is what would later fuel his obsession with Japanese Kaiju toys and vinyl toys all together. Around 2001 he started Super7 which originally focused on said toys but, today it’s a much larger business dedicated to producing products unique to past and present pop culture. They design and create pretty much anything that he and his group enjoyed as kids growing up or as adults now.
For instance, they recently teamed up with Funko to create Jumbo Star Wars toys. The idea was to fuse their love for Star Wars and the Japanese Jumbo Machinder toys that were popular in the 70’s. I wasn’t a super fan of the jumbos as a kid but I do remember having a couple including a few bootleg jumbos my parents got me from the swap meet. I always liked playing with them because of how tall they were and the fact that they were on wheels and could roll around. Funny enough, in my imaginary world I would have my star wars toys fighting my jumbos as the jumbos were trying to invade a rebel base or something weird like that.
The first Star Wars Jumbo to be produced was the white Stormtrooper that was released a few years back. It was later followed by the Shadowtrooper and most recently Boba Fett. I currently own the original Stormtrooper as well as this latest Fett. Although the Trooper is great, it was the Fett that I had waited years to get my hands on. The Super7 guys would always have images and promotional swag they would release at every comic con and every year I would get tricked cause I thought it was the year it would be coming out. It was to my surprise when Kris at Super7 San Diego recently texted me and said he was getting a batch of them. Of course I ran over there as soon as they got them and now my Fett proudly sits next to my Trooper on my desk with all my other weird Star Wars collectibles.
Apparently, there is now a Kenner version of the Jumbo Fett. Of course I have to get my hands on one of those too. I mean, who am I really kidding, I’m sure I will try to get all the jumbos that Super7 and Funko release.
The Game "Documentary 2"
I just got my hands on a copy of The Game's new release titled “Documentary 2”. Let me start off by saying, I never really listened to The Game” before this release. I didn’t know his body of work that well and he was never a rapper I paid much attention to. When the “Documentary 2” came out I kinda shrugged it off like “well here is another album that I won’t give a shit about”, but one of the homies suggested I give it a listen. I’m glad I took the time, because after getting about four tracks in I was already hooked. Yes, there are a crap load of special guests, maybe too many, but it’s still a well balanced album. It’s a mix of old and new sounds and some of the songs have even been sampled from classic hip hop tracks you can easily recognize right away. As a product of the 80’s and 90’s I have always been a strong supporter of west coast rap music and the history of it. I think The Game does a great job honoring that era of music with this release. After listening to it a dozen times or more and doing some research on him I now understand his appreciation for Hip Hop as a whole. He has a real respect for the genre and holds other rappers, especially the ones before him, in a high regard. Although he has been at it for a while now, I don’t think the Rappers and MC’s of his era and especially the ones coming out now really understand/respect the history of the Hip Hop genre. The Game could easily be just another super arrogant MC and even though he has a tough gangster exterior it’s my opinion that he does not come off that way. The Game is big scary rapper but he’s not above respecting the music and his hip hop elders. I'm kinda pissed at myself for not giving him a chance earlier...better late than never, I guess.
Documentary 2.5 just recently released and I'm listening to it as I'm writing this. You know I'm down for any track featuring Mitchy Slick!
San Francisco 2.0
From The Game’s Documentary 2 to San Francisco 2.0, we’re all about DJ’ing the shit out of 5 Favorites with smooth transitions. No? You didn’t get my DJ joke? Ok, moving on, it was my sister that suggested I watch this documentary on HBO. Here’s my synopsis of this film in one sentence. "Silicon Valley nerds take over San Francisco and destroy it worse than Godzilla and a couple M.U.T.O". Seriously though, I wasn’t even aware of how big of an issue this is. In a nut shell the Mayor of SF told the major tech companies that if they move their businesses into the city they would give them all sorts of tax breaks. Sounds good on paper but the city is only about six miles wide so this means "out with the old and in with the new". Essentially forcing people from their lifelong homes and business because the property owners are either knocking down the properties for these new tech business or raising the rent so high that the original tenants have no choice but to leave.
I personally have mixed feelings about this situation. On one hand, I used to work for a .COM so I could easily see myself being one of these assholes working for a tech company. Also, having some of the largest most important companies located in one city would have to be good for the progression and success of that city, right? On the other hand, they’re driving the cost of living up and making it the most expensive city in the US to live in and at the same time destroying the foundation and life blood that made San Francisco the great city that it is.
There are several other great points but I think it’s important that you guys see the film for yourselves. If you live or have lived in the city please feel free to comment below. Especially if you have seen this documentary. I would love to know your perspective.
Hidden Rose Apples
Holy Shit, these are the best apples I have ever had! Last year my buddy Chef Dave came by the shop and dropped off a grocery bag of various fruits and veggies cause he’s always trying to introduce us to new things that we haven’t tried before. Unfortunately, I can’t remember any of the other stuff that was in that bag that day because all I can remember is the one Hidden Rose Apple he gave us to try.
Here’s the deal with the Hidden Rose apple: It’s extremely rare and is only available in October and November every year from Dragonberry Produce. Because it’s so hard to grow it really only thrives in the mild climate of the Pacific Northwest. It has a yellow skin, vibrant pink flesh and is super crisp and flavorful. Now as far as the taste, they say it tastes like strawberry lemonade. I would agree to a point but I think the flavor it most reminds me of is a green apple Jolly Rancher.
Terry and I took a trip to Specialty Produce yesterday because they posted on their IG that they just got a batch of the apples in. $60 dollars later we are now the proud owners of a crap load of Hidden Rose apples. Ok, $60 is a lot to spend on apples but there is a reason, I swear it. First, they only have them for a limited time and second, they always sell out! These things are that good! Make the trip to Specialty Produce and get some! If they’re sold out maybe you can come by the shop and I’ll share with you…that’s a big maybe though.
Alright, that completes another edition of 5 Favorites. Thank you for reading my bullshit, please comment below if you have any questions or input.