The Yummy List


All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

July 2008

July 2008: Suddenly This Summer, Black Pearl Bar, Yankee Stadium, Surf Desk + Modern Hymns

Chelsea Crowell DIY demos

Nervous noir post-cocktail. The sort of post modern existential emotionalism that is candidly direct and willing to pull back the drapes, raise the shades and burn down the . Decidedly lofi, completely receded from any kind of current aesthetic, yet utterly focused in its roominess - so much so that you can’t turn away from the husky whisper of a voice that is all sob, rage and desire.

Cowboy Junkies and the lowest-fi aspects of the Velvet Underground permeate the Appalachian austerity already in Crowell’s veins. Words throw images, feelings, entanglements… A life thrown wide-open, no flinching, no self-consciousness, no subterfuge. In a world of cloaked, anything but what’s real, Crowell’s songs are a papercut jolt of reality that you can’t turn away from.

Worn Free T-Shirts

In our monkey-see, monkey-do culture of xeroxing what the famous people do, this line of pre-washed, pre-faded t’s takes out the guesswork. Not only are they manufacturing signature t-shirts - think John Lennon’s plain black lettered New York City shirt - but they are selling them with a tag showing the celebrity associated with the top wearing it.

Debbie Harry’s “No Pictures Please”? No problem. Gram Parsons’ “Gram Parsons + the Falling Angels”? Absolutely. Joey or Johnny Ramones’ “I’m not Joey/Johnny Ramone”? Of course. If a rock star wore it, and the pictures had any legs, Worn Free’s got it. Not outrageously priced, it’s your way to get a little rock history on your back while evoking an artist’s music or legacy as an extension of your own sense of being.

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster Dana Thomas

Somewhere along the way, luxury brands - priced for the quality of the workmanship and materials - went from being the brands of the elevated few and became something geared for faux glamour for the hoi polloi. That which is luxe is now a brokered reality, designed to reinforce a self-assigned sense of entitlement more than it is to provide the highest levels of craftsmanship imaginable.

Newsweek’s Paris-based fashion critic Thomas goes beyond the catwalk to look at not just the erosion of high end lines - often shoddily made at what remains a nosebleed pricepoint - to consider the deglamming of what was once the province of only the richest and most elevated. When teens and 20-somethings of the flyover are wandering the mall with Chanel bags and Dolce & Gabanna sunglasses, one can only wonder what they chosen for. And in that brink, post Aaron Spelling’s “Dallas”/Dynasty” vortex, the designer dazzle has been brokered as a make-up commodity for actual substance. Riveting, nauseating and frighteningly indicting so much of how we consume.


Greek Pizza on Honey Wheat Crust California Pizza Kitchen

It’s a salad on a whole wheat pizza crust. A little bit of mozzarella, bite sized chunks of chicken breast baked atop a brushing of olove oil. Romaine chiffonade, bits of tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives tossed in lemon juice, then sprinkled with feta and tzaziki sauce in all its garlicy, dilly yogurty glory. Hot and cold, melting and crisp, fresh and baked, tangy and mellow.

The Stoop Little Jackie

A Doris Day sparkle on the street smart pop that packs the same sexual how-it-is candor of the Bird & the Bee, but with more urban hip-hop underpinnings that lands in the Tom Tom Club zone, Imani Coppola has that fat grape voice that’s both sweet and juicy, but with the kind of sass that makes the boys all pause, jaws dropped, knees weak and appropriate appendages at attention.

Where the verve swerves with abandon, Little Jackie asks the big questions - “What came first the nugget or the egg mcmuffin?” before landing on the throw down about that girl round the corner- on the straight priority “The Whole World Should Around Me” with its glockenspiel and cascading string punctuations, professes “I know it was Jesus who was a rock star and Elvis who turned water into wine” on the nervous boredom of “28 Butts” that flares with horn blasts and lush “shalalalalalala” harmonies and cuts some serious bait on “I Liked You Better Before You Knew Me” as the up close view just doesn’t cut it. Or “Black Barbie,” that throws down the gauntlet about eating disorders, rehab, publicists in pursuit of a Paris Hilton/Mary J Muffy tip.

But The Stoop’s throw down may well be the hardcore downlow rejection of what’s brokered mores and how-so of “Guys Like It When Girls Kiss” of “They came from Mars, women come from Venus/ Women think their brains, men think with their penis/ All stereotypes have a little bit of truth/ If you need proof…” In a ’60s London pop confection - think “Downtown” - this is about rejecting the opposite side out of pragmaticism and self-respect. In a word: Damn.

Boys on Skateboards with Hard Cases

Baggy shorts, worn out t-shirt, surfer hair falling across his eyes, jutting and cutting through Manhattan traffic popping those front wheels up and jumping curve. It’s a whole other way to roll - and that surfing the gridlock is its own kind of knee buckling savoir faire. That there’s a skull & crossbones on the board… or a hard guitarcase slung insouciantly across the back, this is imagination fodder of the highest order. Artist, rogue, poet, pirate, lost boy, romantic question mark. We should all be so lucky.

“The Bucket List” DVD

Jack Nicholson as his chronic chaotic irascible best: rich, freewheeling, cancer-ladden. Morgan Freeman as the earthy, gentle evolved being braving the cancer racing through him. A chance comment about a to do list before one kicks the bucket creates an adventure where two men find thrills, heal wounds, understand themselves and sow healing in unlikely places. In racing death, everything about life is revealed.

Touching without manipulating. Technicolor humanity that speaks volumes about free spirits and grounding influences, decency, love and the power of friendship. One of those films that will more than make you more.

How To… Issue Wired, August 2008

Self-promote. Suck up. Meet your heroes. Sizzle your blog. Crash a party. Get your videogame on. Dress cool. Rock a pinewood derby. Dominate at carnival games. Get venture capital - or comped in Vegas. Leave the illusion that you’re sincere - or truly working. This is a Gen X manual of all things needed to get by that applies to anyone currently striving in the 21st century. With a cover story about famous for the sake of attention-garnering quasi-journo Julia Allison that examines the shifting sands of notoriety today (it ain’t accomplishment, but self-promotion of the most aggressive sort), Wired takes geekcentricity and makes it universally accessible for all.

A most riveting read, and fairly informative to the ways of world rapidly evolving.

Casa Mono 52 Irving Place (@ 17th Street)

To celebrate the vivid flavors that mark Catalunya, especially the cuisine of Barcelona, restauranteur Andy Nusser created this dark wood, earthen tiled refuge a few blocks below Gramercy Park. Whether it’s something as simple as good olive oil in bread, a bit a fresh tomato smeared into it and a sprinkle of sea salt or the unexpected surprise that is pumpkin and goat cheese croquettes, the subtle intensity of the ingredients makes seemingly uncomplicated food almost explode in your mouth.

Proteins run the gamut - juicy thick double lamb lollipops with sweet peas and mint, dorado with artichokes and cool gazpacho, quail with figs and skirt steak with a deep dark onion marmalade - but all are destined to fill not just your stomache, but your spirit. Desserts also run the gamut - the classic sheeps milk cheese with quince jelly, dark chocolate cake with milk chocolate ice cream, cantaloupe sorbet - to linger over with café con leche or glass of sherry. Very adult, very easy, very very.

Bonus: Bar Jamon around the block is pure tapas, lotta vibe and similar quality.

Tumeric & Chamomile Tincture

It settles and purges. Tumeric, a key ingredient in curry powder, purported to dissolve tumors, and perhaps to be an anticarcinogenic agent adds a bit of heat, while the chamomile soothes and provides balance. Mix in with a little water or tea, drink it down. When you’re feeling puny, it’s a vitalizing tonic… and I don’t even know how.

Skull Chiffon Scarf Alexander McQueen

Floating almost weightlessly, suggesting stage door calls and hair tied down for freewheeling convertible jaunts. But when you take the diaphanous cream chiffon that seems sophisticated in an almost Audrey or Sophia way and add the free-floating black skulls, looking like some kind of black market stencil, slightly over-inked, intense without overbearing. If Keith Richards were a swan, if pirates went to cotillion, this is the definitive attitude and accessory to embrace.

Yankee Stadium

It has seen so much, just passing through the walkways, you can feel the history. The energy, cheers, thrills, lost games have been absorbed into the towering grey structure’s core. To step into the rush, no words need to be spoken to understand… just to pause for a moment and feel it. This is a holy place, a true cathedral for the boys of summer - and the people who believe in their heart - and you marvel at the unspoken humility of all that you know without being told.

And after negotiating the tunnels underneath, emerging from the catacombs into a dug-out and spilling onto the fields, you have a true sense of how gods must feel. The power of one’s body, the skill of one’s might, agility, strength accrued to bring you to this place… or else, you’ve got a job to accomplish. Either way, the turf is pure emerald, each blade lush and cushioning your feet as they land. Baselines, pitchers mounds, the stands away, you turn 360 degrees and you know: these are the places that won’t come again. With Yankee Stadium’s end imminent, get here while - not if - you can.

“Splendor in the Grass”

Before there was John Hughes, there were serious movies that cast teen angst in a dramatic light - and this, like “Rebel Without A Cause,” is a high water mark of rebellion, rejection and the toll extracted. Warren Beatty as the golden boy child of small town privilege who is decent but average and his adoring good girl(friend) Natalie Wood, who is eschewed per Beatty;s domineering father’s wishes foreshadow the depth of their work to come. Both impossibly perfect specimens of youth’s pinnacle, they also embrace the conflicting emotions that underscore coming of age: doubt, rage, frustration and even powerlessness.

With lovingly framed shots, richly toned color and a sense of scene composition, this is a visual feast as well as a passionplay that plays out as anything but happily ever after. Consequences, shattered hopes, situational determination and in the end a stoic acceptance of how it now is creates a sense that a truth of motives in the moment may be the most critical element for truly finding peace with the least aount of personal compromise possible.

Ralph Murphy’s Bar Principal

Where you sit determines everything. Wanna strike up a conversation? Mine the bar for all its worth? Grab a corner seat - and have an open line on any conversation up and down the bar. It’s practically an invitation to draw you in. For privacy, sit in the middle - book optional - challenging people to invade your space by sitting down next to you. You become an island at the bar… and can manage the access as you please. Grass roots common sense for tavern dwelling.

Hot Cheese Curls Herr’s

Pennsylvania-based snack maker takes the Cheetos template and quickens its pulse. With no presevatives added - and an ingredient docket that can be pronounced, not to mention found in your own grocery store - this makes for lighter, more flavorful and far less artificial tasting. Obviously not nationally distributed, but worth seeking out . Tangy, cheesy bits of corn meal.

It’s like having the world’s cutest boutique in your computer, and oh! the sales!!!! All the up and coming designers, plus the best of right now - but without being so trendy that it doesn’t translate to the flyover. Not austere, not too lean and clean for its own good, this is a place for girls - be they boho, girly, rockin’ or just classic - to find exactly the clothes they want, and the accessories to go with them.

Burning Bush, Tory Burch, Tibi, Trina Turk, 7 for all mankind, Sanctuary, Milly, Mint, Theory, DVF, Rebecca Taylor, Primp, Plenty, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Robert Rodriguez, Tea & Honey, Joie, Alice + Olivia, Lavender Label Vera Wang, Rozae Nichols, True Religion, Manolo Blahnik, Kors Michael Kors. L.A.M.B., Sergio Rossi, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Hollywould, Emilio Pucci, Ella Moss and… Not the obvious pieces everyone has, so you can surf the look without looking like the queen of zerox.

“Lessons in Love, By Way of Economics” Ben Stein, The New York Times, July 13, 2008

If all commodities are finite, some being very limited, wouldn’t the truest strains of love follow the same rationale? Ben Stein, the monotone economist/raconteur, weighs in on the overlap, the meaning of true value and the realm of cultivating perhaps the most precious reality of all.

Wryly, dryly written, Stein evokes business classes even as he conjures a positively ephemeral emotion. Not tied to specific events in the state of the world, this is one of those piees that will maintain its luster whenever its read, and will enrich the reader in ways that should be a given - but for that reason is so easily overlooked.

“Mad Men” AMC

The world of advertising fields a dense drama series, mining the industry’s coming of age in the ’60s when sexism was real, marriages were braved through and affairs had, but never designed to destroy what was at home. The politics between the characters, the betrayals within the office and beyond, the crafting of messages and the establishment of a whole new way of communication.

To see evolution from a place so far away… To watch the lack of concern for appropriate behaviour and many of the social norms is to see how far we’ve come, but also how much our appetites and desires have remains the same. With tight writing, realistic business motifs and an unsentimental take on the way things were.

Transitional Cashmere Cableknits Lilly Pulitzer

Longer, leaner, not quite as bulky. With air conditioning, night time chills and the eventual cooling off of the season, Lilly Pulitzer’s transitional cashmere cableknit sweaters do multi-duty. Sporty with a polo underneath or dressy draped over a strapless top, there is a rainbow of revved up pastels - including an almost Tang colored orange and a lipstick-toned raspberry - and classic take-this-sweate-to-work shades - ranging from natural to chocolate brown, this is utility luxury that can go anywhere and be stylish.

“There is only one star.”

I have a friend, a famous producer, arranger, writer, singer, not to mention conceptualist who has the kindest heart and the gentlest view. He is good with the high strung, the vain, the vicious. “It is all about them,” he laughs, and he means it. A definite sense of “play to the room” wafting through his very non-judgmental statement, it is a truth you can live by.

There… is… only… ONE… star. Maybe they don’t make movies or set track records, have record deals or paint famous people’s faces, but there are divas everywhere. You know who they are. Heck, protest they’re not high maintenance all they want, they know who they are. If you embrace this truism, known around my world as the Principle of…, you have the perfect star to steer around stars by.

Surf Desk

At just three pounds, this may well be writers’ resource Levenger’s lightest laptop desk. It is certainly it’s biggest, and absolutely it’s coolest. With wood framing for durability and support, you’ve got a foam core covered by a fiberglass shell. Most importantly, it’s tricked out like a longboard, making this the hippest way to sort, file and create without leaving your favorite chair.

Convergence of Dragonflies

They are in season, hovering everywhere weightless, graceful, shimmering. Playing tag, hovering as a cloud of glistening thinner than paper wings, circling you as you walk. It is as if fairies were working, stitching together the moment with some kind of sparkle dust needles. Dragonflies suggest creation, creativity, perhaps even unfettered joy.

To watch the dragonflies dart about, wings moving so fast, you almost can’t see them is a reason to pause. Pause and watch, consider and smile. This is the magic of insects with soap bubble wings, something that converges and swirls and soaks up every bit of nature while its theirs’ for the taking. Take in the beauty of it this buzzing here’n’there, and be humbled.

“I Am Your Future President” Print Campaign Girl Scouts of America

An unexceptional girl on a city street, looking just like Anygirl, but gazing straight into the camera. It is a simple declaration. One that seems at once both nonsensical and practical. Being that this is the Girls Scouts, after all, an organization that’s all about empowering young women one small step at a time, the notion of creating a slow progression to attaining 1600 Pennsylvania makes perfect sense.

Sometimes it’s not the what, but the how. Looking at this, it’s the why not? as well. After all, the world is changing, and with vision, proper preparation and a clear sense of purpose, we can create whatever world we truly desire.

Greg Norman @ the British Open

He did not win. No, the adorable Irish Padraig Harrington played textbook golf at Royal Birkdale to win back-to-back British Opens; but when the third round ended, Norman walked off the course poised to be the oldest Open winner in history. Beyond the significance for Baby Boomers going AARP, Norman’s classic game and old school gravitas harkens back to a day when golf was truly a gentleman’s sport, when the past was more than a touchstone to imply any number of marketing imperatives and it proves that great may fade, but never recedes completely.

In true fairy tale glory, Norman was watched from the gallery from his new bride, the equally accomplished Chris Everett, herself a talisman for women’s tennis coming of age. That he did not have the Sunday he’d have wished does not matter, he captured our imagination, he embodied the possibility and even when the game was not going his way, he had a grace on the greens and in the roughs that says, “I remain the man I am when it’s all working when it’s all falling apart.”

That even more than the smooth, smooth swing is a lesson that we can all take to heart.

Sunday Brunch Cafe Margot, 1017 Woodland Ave, Nashville, TN

A charming two story brick and stucco that has been gutted - with the upstairs seating now an open loft with Provencial touches, Dijon-colored walls with moss trim and exposed beams. Beyond the country French meets urban domesticity of its look, there is the wondrous food: local ingredients, masterful combinations and artful preparation. As a brunch that is sophisticated, yet impossibly easy, there is no match for Café Margot.

From the cucumber-infused vodka Bloody Marys to the homemade bakery baskets, the beginnings are marked by little touches. But there’s also the changing line-up that includes a crepe of the day, a special omlette, steak and eggs of haute cuisine quality, as well as a pancake du jour that most recently was cornmeal and fresh cherries. French press coffee, artisnal cheese plates, the freshest greens - even the most common things become somehow more.

Phil Lynott Statue Harry Street, Dublin (just off Grafton)

He had wild hair, loved military and marching band jackets, buckskin coats and the post-hippie luxe squalor that defined rock & roll. Thin Lizzy was one of those bands: never quite a force, yet “The Boys Are Back” and “Jailbreak” remain juke box, bar band and FM radio staples. Brazen, thrusting, aggressive, Lynott understood the power of a pop hook - and that gave his band lasting power.

But it was also that pinwheel eyed love for the life, the commitment to where he was going that made Lynott a favorite Irish son. Years after his death, that love remained strong enough that a statue to the guitar player of intense hedonistic tendencies was erected just off Dublin’s legendary shopping row Grafton Street. Looking as if he’s holding court in any number of rock & roll holy grounds, the statue honors a segment of the people many countries would discount if not dismiss, recognizing the lyrical prowess of “Cowboy Song” and the way an electric guitar drills through the chatter like a laser burning tight through metal. A must for tourists seeking something beyond Jim Morrison’s grave.

Fish Can Fly T-Shirt Hard Rock Cafe

Tres primitive. Hand drawn. A ragged red pencil sketch on a basic black cotton t. It is not quite crude, but also not something found at Fred Segal or Jeffrey NY. But it’s implication - one step to the right of “When Hell Freezes Over” - is a heartening message, especially since it’s proceeds go to stem world hunger. The brain child - and artwork of - U2’s Bono, Fish Can Fly t-shirts poke a finger in the ribs of the more Eeyore-like amongst us, even as the whimsy suggests a bit of Wonderland impossibility as the way of a parallel world.

Shangri-La Candle, Nars

Bois du rose and mountain sage offer the sweet and savory of flora as a base for the rather large red jar candled from NARS. But rather than going with the obvious, the creators instead lean towards the unlikely combination of clove, nutmeg and basil. It captures the nose, perks you up, yet also brings an element of quiet, before opening into yet another juxtaposition: jasmine and black tea.

It is complexity that doesn’t overpower. It is alive, and it is calm, and it is captivating.

“We Can’t Make It Here” James McMurtry

Half-dirge, half chopping downstroke of frustration, James McMurtry squeezes every bitter drop of irony from our progressive economic policy’s impact on working people. Trickle down the song seems to implu, but the real question is what’s trickling closer to tinkling? The images are stark, harrowing, spot on for those struggling to maintain any kind of grip on even the middle rungs of the ladder. And as the economy implodes, “We Can’t Make It Here” - with it’s wheelchair-bound vet there are no resources for, the empty plants that can’t support the people who’ve worked there for generations, the turned out working too few hours to get health insurance and a strident challenge ones who profit from them.

This is a lurching, chunky austere rock song that leaves you shaken by its velocity, but then what McMurtry’s saying hits you is how right he is… the way the wasteland is spreading like a wine stain… and what effects the poor, then the working class can eventually unravel the whole. It is an ugly picture painted. It is an excoriating wake-up call. It is jarring what we - and I raise my hand here, too - refuse to see in the rush of our lives. But this is very real, very dangerous and potentially betrays everything this nation was built on, But don’t believe me: go to YouTube and see it for yourself.

Vaselka 2nd + 9th, New York

Six kinds of peirogies - potato, meat, saurkraut with mushrooms, cheese and spinach, sweet potato and cheese - are supplemented with seasonal specialities, served boiled or friend with sour cream, apple sauce and sautéed onions. With specials including blueberry and a fresh arugula and goat cheese, this is high-eattin’ of the overstuffed Polish noodle tip.

But Vaselka is more than just peirogies, mind you. Any Poish classic - kishka, varna, goulash, as well as cold borscht and a cold cucumber soup, this is the old country in a lean urban setting. Wildly affordable, definitely delicious. Worth the trip downtown.

Blaze of Sunset down the Barrel of 22nd Heading West

A flaming red ball, hung right there like some kind of blood orange bullseye without the crosshairs, you walk towards it almost hypnotized. So surreal, so stupefying in its gloriousness, these are the moments when the universe aligns that you can only marvel at the potency of its vastness.

Part of the Vast Left Wing Conspiray T-Shirt

In a world over-run with political paranoia, this is a tongue in chic Daily Kos t-shirt that mocks the entire hysteria that’s now permeating our dialogue. So caught up on labels, epithets and not hearing, this punches a hole in the hippo in the Democratic side of the living room. Vast? Left Wing? Conspiracy? These are people you know, you cherish, you believe in - and who, most likely, share the same desire for a united thriving nation. If you can get past the pejorative, perhaps we can all get closer to the kind of discussion that compromises and dissolves the divisiveness - because a house divided, as the Civil War showed us, can’t stand.

Teen Vogue

To understand where taste really is, look to the future tastemakers. What are the kids wearing… or responding to? Aside from being slightly realer than most fashion mags, Teen Vogue embraces an attainability modern style bibles can’t. To access the look, to find a way to deliver the look and pay the rent, this is the best chance in lean times. It also gives you a sense of the cutting edge that won’t slice you - if you key in on the music, the movies, the celebrities being tagged.

The future is now, if you take the time to explore. Before too long, the young women being groomed by this magazine will be gaining entry level (and beyond jobs), and then how their taste was framed will be impacting everything. As if it isn’t already…

Umbrella TV Spot Progressive Insurance

Magritte meets Dali-esque tableau, as an elegant gentleman in perfect Saville Row attire strolls through various realities with a huge over-sized umbrella. Whether it’s the stranded gypsies by the lake, the children in the woods with the broken bicycle or the row houses in a very clean urban setting, the gentleman’s umbrella sails, floats and covers each spectacle, imbuing a sense of security and protection. Visually intoxicating, the spots draw you in with a lush sense of the world around us, the odd, almost whimsical scenarios, the implied sense of safety.

Whether Progressive is a good bet for coverage is almost moot, what is conjured is potent beyond what’s show, stated or even implied. To deliver subliminally and entertain with such delicious eye candy is its own special trigonometry. Totally worth not getting that next beer to see.

“...a happy heart is good medicine.” Proverbs, 17:22

To feel better, find your joy. Something, anything that makes you happy. And I promise, it doesn’t have to be much. Coke in the glass bottle. One perfect yard of grosgrain for a hair bow. Giving your dog a little piece of meat. How slowly the clouds cross the sky. The smell of warm laundry. A favorite song, poem, painting, old movie… It’s just a matter of not forgetting what stirs you, and surrending to what makes you happy in the moment.

Ricky Bag Ralph Lauren

Somewhere between a train case and a hobo bag, the Ricky has form, clean lines and is turned leopard print pony fur with the darkest leather trim. It is a sleeker doctor’s bag, a funkier take on an Hermes Birkin. Whether you’re beatniking in a black turtleneck, uptowning in a camel coat, getting funky with denim, this is the only purse you’ll need.

Black Pearl Bittersweet Chocolate Bar, Vosges

Wasabi. Ginger. Black Sesame seeds. All whipped into the darkest of bittersweet chocolate. It is a slow melt on your tongue, each of the spices heating up and spreading out across your tasetbuds. Rich, adult, completely consuming. If all chocolate were like this, it wouldn’t be something for children anymore.