Monday, May 23, 2011

Bearings/Warhorse Workshop/Billy Reid Launch Party

Friday night I went with some friends up to Buckhead to check out the launch party put on by Bearings Guide, Warhorse Workshop, and Billy Reid, which functioned as a pre-party to the Southern Swap Meet at the Goat Farm on Saturday. It was basically a pop-up shop for the aforementioned retailers to display their goods. In addition, practically the entire Oakleaf and Acorn store had been moved down there, and John Rich, the store's owner, was on hand to talk to everyone. I can't wait to make the trip up to Braselton to check out the store.

The guys from Warhorse Workshop, including Ryan Acker (who it was great to finally meet), were on hand to show off their wares. Billy Reid himself was not there, but staff from his Florence store was allegedly in attendance. Additionally, a rep from Sebago was there showing off some of their amazing shoes. I had no idea they were making half of the things they're making (wingtips??), but most of them looked great.

Overall it was a great time, and the free Dogfish Head IPA that was on hand certainly didn't hurt. Here are some photos that I took. I apologize that some of the pictures are kind of blurry.

The infamous and elusive Neil W. Blackmon of The Yanks Are Coming (which, as far as I know, is the world's greatest soccer blog) and Christopher Robinson. Chris is single, likes doing triathlons, and is interested in dating you if you are an attractive female with cool tattoos.
Hipsters doin hipster thangs.

Additionally, Tim Haught, chief designer at Warhorse Workshop had some vintage shirts for sale, as can be seen in the photo below (also in the photo is a collection of scents from CB I Hate Perfume, which is awesome, and which are available at Oakleaf and Acorn).
Seeing as how they were about the only thing there that I could afford, I picked up a couple of vintage Gant shirts from him (which can be seen below). They're a poly-cotton blend, but have a button flap pocket, and a third collar button on the back of the neck. In other words, they're pretty awesome. Be sure to check out Tim's Etsy store, Countyline General.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Music

I'm not sure if it's the warm weather or what, but I have apparently been in a very country music type of mood lately, as can be discerned from my latest music purchases.

I should preface all of this by saying that I've typically had an aversion for country music, for about as long as I can remember (save for that year in high school when I played football and thought about buying a pickup truck). However, over the past six or seven years, I've been doing some dabbling, mostly as a result of some of Ryan Adams' albums, Gillian Welch, and the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, but could never put my finger on exactly what it was that I liked. Thank to Wikipedia I've finally come to realize that I actually like "outlaw country," and it is the poppy, over-produced Nashville stuff that I can't stand. Anyways, here are some thoughts on what I bought.

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to buying the first Whiskeytown album, Faithless Street. Seeing as how I own almost every other album that Ryan Adams has made, I somehow managed to save the best for last. If you're unfamiliar with Whiskeytown, they were Ryan Adams' band prior to going solo with his album Heartbreaker. They managed to release three albums before the band fell apart (mostly because Adams was out of control at the time), but they are great. This, however, is the best of them.

The version currently available on iTunes and (Amazon is where I buy basically all of my MP3s now), has several additional songs than were originally released, but that's hardly ever a bad thing. This album is basically Ryan Adams at his best, making country music, making heartbreaking songs, and making songs about drinking (in fact, 12 of the 21 tracks on the album making a reference to alcohol or drinking, really putting the "whiskey" in "Whiskeytown"). "Hard Luck Story" is really one of my favorite tracks on here, but the slower songs like "Faithless Street" and "Factory Girl" don't disappoint either. There really isn't much more to say about this album other than "go buy it."

I finally got around to seeing the movie Crazy Heart about a month ago, and while I enjoyed it and thought that Jeff Bridges did a great job, it didn't occur to me until about two weeks ago to listen to the soundtrack. I checked it out on Grooveshark (amazing website; you can basically stream any album for free) and knew I had to buy it. There are two versions available, the regular one, which has 16 tracks, and the "Deluxe Edition," which has 23 tracks. I opted for the latter and am glad I did. The best tracks on here are Jeff Bridges singing, though, believe it or not, I really dig Colin Farrell's songs. There are some other tracks, including one by Waylon Jennings and another by Lucinda Williams, which I guess were in the background of the movie, but do a good job of carrying the theme of the movie and album. I'd say the low points are Robert Duvall's a capella song from the movie, and some song by Lydia Mendoza (who?) that's in Spanish, but even those begin to grow on you after a few listens. All in all, this album is great, and if you liked the movie, I'm pretty sure you'd like the album just as much.

The Crazy Heart soundtrack is what lead me to Ryan Bingham. Seeing as how I've typically had an aversion to country music, I was unfamiliar with Ryan Bingham. However, he was not only in the movie as Bad's back-up band at the bar where he got too drunk to play, but he has two songs on the soundtrack. After hearing those two songs, I was sold, and quickly found the first of his three albums, Mescalito. This was one that I didn't even waver over purchasing; I listen to maybe two or three samples and downloaded the whole thing. It's awesome and definitely worth checking out.

DIY Lime Cordial

A couple of weeks ago I saw an article from the New York Times Magazine entitled Case Study: Building a Better Mixer. The article was about making homemade lime cordial.

If you're unfamiliar with lime cordial, chances are you'd be most likely to recognize Rose's, which has a unique neon green color that probably fends off the less adventurous. However, it is essentially de rigueur for making a gimlet. In the article, the author explained his inability in trying to find a higher quality lime cordial (i.e.- one not made from high fructose corn syrup) to try to replicate what a gimlet used to be like, back in the good ole days, presumably. After consulting several recipes and doing some experimenting, he finally came up with a recipe that he thought was best and wrote about it.

I'm a fan of gin and I'm a fan of gimlets, so I was intrigued by this premise. So, the week before last, on a Friday evening in which I had nothing to do, I went to the store, picked up some limes, a peeler, and a juicer, and set out to give it a whirl.

The recipe called for 18 limes, which, according to the author, would yield 2.5 cups of lime juice. Upon arriving at the store (Super H Mart, to be precise, where the limes were 10 for $1.00), the limes seemed a little small, so I decided to go with 25 limes. Per the recipe, I peeled and then juiced all 25 limes. I ended up with 4-2/3 cups of juice, just slightly more than the author had anticipated. I didn't view this as a problem, though, and added equal parts sugar, stirred until the sugar dissolved, then added the peels back and left in the refrigerator. The next day, I strained off the peels, poured into some bottles I picked up from World Market, and left it to sit in the refrigerator for another night to, according to the author, "cure" (I think this is inaccurate and would have probably been exactly the same if consumed that day). Here is a bottle of my finished product.
The next day, I added some gin and mixed up a gimlet. It is definitely tasty; certainly on the sweet side, but not cloyingly so, and adding the peels did add some bitterness to balance out the sweetness. On a warm day, I'm pretty sure these things might go down a little too easily, so be warned. It's also pretty versatile as this could probably be added, with triple sec, to some tequila to make quick margarita, or added to vodka to make a vodka gimlet. Even rum could be good.

If I make it again, I will probably go with slightly less sugar (maybe a 1:0.9 juice to sugar ratio, instead of 1:1). Oh, and I probably won't make two liters worth. All in all, it was a really simpleand cheap recipe, and one that could easily be made in an hour or so (not counting time in the fridge). If you like gimlets, I suggest giving this one a try.