The Desert, Fine Dining, Unlimited Beer, And Endless Metal
As some of you know I’ve been MIA for the past couple weeks. When last we spoke, I had completed my marathon birthday celebration and was with the sundry birthday celebrations that kept my mind and body away from this ‘ere site. Last week I had my buddy Ian in town making a whirlwind SoCal sojourn. It was a calorically-devastating, sunburnt, eardrum-pummeling good time. For example, after arriving last Wednesday night we headed out to Joshua Tree for the day on Thursday.
After a brief stop at the downtown LA Stumptown location (for as much as he spent there in three or four days it wouldn’t surprise me if Ian was now a minority shareholder in the company) we headed out to Alhambra for lunch (brunch?) at 101 Noodle Express. I like bringing outsiders to the San Gabriel Valley at least once when they visit, either for the beef roll at 101 Noodle, the sundry dim sum options at Elite Restaurantm or the OG XLB at Din Tai Fung. I’m pretty sure the beef roll was the right choice for Ian because he almost took down the full roll by himself. The pan fried dumplings outweighed the XLB at 101, so next time we might have to hit DTF in order for Ian to get a true XLB experience. After departing Alhambra we drove out to Joshua Tree. Along the way we stopped at Hadley Fruit Orchards so Ian could try a date shake he saw Anthony Bourdain cream his jeans over on TV once. The dates themselves were good, but the shake was basically a vanilla shake. Nothing remarkable.
The playlist on the way out to the desert was pretty much an all-metal playlist. Ian spun blacker-than-black jams, a lot of which I’ll post below because they were new to me and now I feel like sharing with you. At some point he started alternating between doom and German 70s/80s electronic weirdness. Video game music and such. It was a nice soundtrack to the vast expanse of nothingness one is surrounded by when ascending into Joshua Tree.
We headed out to Keys View because it was a clear day and you could see all the way to the Salton Sea (although Mt. What’s-It-Called on the Mexican border wasn’t visible). Then we trudged out to the Black Horse Mine, which would have been a more exciting and enjoyable hike of temperatures hadn’t peaked in the 90s that afternoon. After climbing around like little jungle critters in the Jumbo Rocks section of the park, we headed back to the city for dinner at one of my favorite Koreatown joints, Seongbukdong. My dearly departed (as in moved back East, not deceased) friend Ben introduced me to their Galbi Jjim. Were it legal I might elope with one of those beautiful ceramic bowls of jjim, impregnate it, and start a family. The bibimbap doesn’t hold a candle to Jeon Ju, but the jjim makes whatever else you order at Seongbukdong worth while.
Friday I had to work so Ian did his own thing. Once quittin’ time came ’round we headed over to Vacation Vinyl and dropped a ton of dough on more metal records. I finally picked up a copy of the Trapped Within Burning Machinery record The Fifth Element (which I’ve actually got spinning right now, as I write this). I grabbed a copy of Bohren & Der Club Of Gore’s record Dolores. I finally picked up a copy of Windhand’s Soma that isn’t like a 35th pressing on lame-colored vinyl, and I doled out some cold hard cash for a clear-vinyl pressing of 5ive’s self-titled record, which I’ve been lusting after ever since Sam introduced me to it back in…2001? Jesus, that’s an old record to cross of my want list. Ian went nuts on metal bands whose names I can’t pronounce, but again I’m including them in the little mix tape at the end of this post.
Dinner that night — which wasn’t until the unhealthy hour of 10pm — was at El Tepeyac. Note to self, never try to eat a five pound burrito an hour or two before bed. Not smart.
Saturday was the Bruery’s 8 Anniversary Party down in Anaheim at the Phoenix club. We met up with some of my Horders Society buddies and drank our faces off while (unbeknownst to me) spending way too much time in the sign without proper skin protection. Your inebriated little hero passed out in his Uber on the way home, but some Thai food from Night + Market Song made him all better. I had no idea the Papaya Salad there was actually the spiciest item on the menu (or so said the waiter), which was a very pleasant surprise. We’d thought about making a late-night trek to Long Beach to try and catch a Destroy Judas show, but after drinking in the sun all day that wasn’t meant to be. There’s always next time. As for the Bruery party, here were just some of the samples (no, I’m not going to link to each individual Beer Advocate page for this list) I got to try this year:
The Bruery – Double Barrel Black Tuesday
The Bruery – Madeira Black Tuesday
The Bruery – Port Black Tuesday
The Bruery – Marzipan Black Tuesday
The Bruery – 100% Cuir
The Bruery – Melange 9
The Bruery – Sour In The Rye (with Nectarines)
The Bruery – Frucht: Apricot
The Bruery – Windowsill
The Bruery – Chocolate Rain (2013)
The Bruery – Frambulous
The Bruery – Let It Linger
The Bruery – Bourbon Barrel Aged 2 Turtle Doves
The Bruery – Fuzzy BBLS
The Bruery – Cordial BBLS
The Bruery – White Oak Sap (with Vanilla and Oranges)
Beachwood Brewing: Tovarish
Bottle Logic – Darkstar November
Bottle Logic – Jam The Radar
Bottle Logic – Fundamental Observation
Cascade Brewing: Key Lime Pie
Cascade Brewing: Manhattan NW
Council Brewing- Ephesus
Fifty/Fifty Brewing – CAPA
Firestone Walker – Velvet Merlin (Nitro)
Highland Park Brewery – Bonkers
Modern Times – Rye Monsters Park with Almonds
Modern Times – Strawberry Fruitlands
Noble Ale Works – Funky Bug Lovin’
Phew! And now, a little playlist for you based on this past weekend’s discoveries. Embrace the bleak. Embrace the darkness.
01. Agalloch – She Painted Fire Across The Skyline (I, II, III)
02. Trapped Within Burning Machinery – Lee Loo
03. Ghost Bath – Burial
04. Bohren & Der Club Of Gore – Staub
05. Volahn – Najtir Ichik
06. Arizmenda – Voices In My Bed
07. Mispyrming – Endalokasalmar
08. Popol Vuh – Blatter aus dem Buch der Kühnheit
09. Joel Vandroogenbroeck – Computer Graphic
10. Destroy Judas – To What End?
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