by Ellen
May 24, 2010, 3:16 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m gonna skip the greetings and get straight to the point of this post (of which there are two)


Tonight is a momentous occasion in tele-visual history for myself (yes bigger then Eurovision) it’s the ending of LOST!

I summarise the entire show like thus: Six years, Four laughs and One likeable character.

(All four laughs were had when Juliet died in case your wondering)

I like to think of Lost as a long term relationship, it started out full of passionate and fire but suddenly got really arduous and dull and the only way to get through it is to lie to yourself and your friends about how awesome the sex still is.

I dont want to be upset with the amount of time I have spent watching badly scripted circular conversations, flashbacks/forwards/sides and Lockes man boobs, but tonight is the last time I will hear one character apologizing for causing another characters deaths through stupidity. Thats right, I will be attending a Lost viewing party.

There will be three of us.

I am avoiding spoilers by not typing Lost into google, ignoring twitter and facebook and not going places where people talk inanely about stuff. I will mostly be sat inside with earmuffs on today.

Here is my friend Johnny’s Lost Viewing Party Food Menu

– Doctor Jack Shepherd’s Pie

– Hurley Fries

– Man In Black Pudding

– Jacob’s Crackers

– Smoke Monster Munch

– Uncle Ben’s egg fried rice

-Sawyer Sauce served from a Not Penny’s Gravy Boat

-bottles of Jin (and Jim Robinson’s Squash as a booze free alternative)

– to celebrate the end, a few lines of Charlie

This is my contribution

Anticlimax pie with a side of “was it worth it” fruit salad

POINT TWO: Me and my mother are doing a 5k canter/trot/run/jog/walk/skip together for Race For Life and goddamit we need some sponsership, so if anyone has a couple of quid spare and they want to get the best karma ever then click here and let your conscience lead the way/enter some bank details

Ellen x

Food Review: North America, Volume One, Part Three. by Ollie
May 17, 2010, 5:06 pm
Filed under: CHAFF

3rd – 4th May, Seattle, Washington

Seattle is our home in the USA; we’ve spent so much time here that we know the city pretty well.  Having a day off meant that we could hit up our favourite haunts.

First off for me was a visit to Top Pot doughnuts.  When we were recording Romance is Boring we stayed in a hotel right next door to Top Pot.  We were therefore in there everyday buying coffee and doughnuts.  We grew to know some of the staff in there, and visit the next day (4th may) we bumped into them.  I would like to thank Brendan Kennedy and everyone at Top Pot for the free coffee and doughnuts, and for being so nice to us, we hope they enjoyed the show.

Now about their doughnuts.  All I can say, is that they are the best doughnuts I’ve ever had.  There are so many flavours and types.  My favourite is the cinnamon sugar ring.  The dough is so light, you feel like you could eat stacks of them.  The feather bower cake is also very good.  Another favourite amongst LC! is the Apple Fritter, which is so big it can keep someone going all day.  The doughnuts are all cooked fresh on the premises and the smell is intoxicating.  Coming back late at night from the studio you would be able to smell them cooking and it would make you really excited for the following morning.  Plus, their coffee is very good as well, making a perfect combination.  If they had a shop in Cardiff, I would grow really fat.

No visit to Seattle is complete without a trip to Bamboo Gardens.  We’ve spoken about this place before and it still is very good.  We went for the tried and tested.  We tried a hotter Mongolian Beef; the sauce wasn’t hotter, it just had hotter chillies in it.  I ate one of these and instantly regretted it; it was very hot and destroyed my sense of taste for the rest of the meal.  Nonetheless, an excellent meal.

For dinner on show night we went to Guaymas Cantina.  A Washington based Mexican chain.  I had a wet steak burrito.  Once again, it was no different from any other burrito I had had.  No one tries to do anything different, but to be honest I quite like that.  It’s cheap and very filling, and always very tasty.  You can’t really complain.

5th May, Portland, Oregon

First stop was Stumptown Coffee.  Unlike when we stayed in the Ace Hotel, which had a Stumptown in the lobby, to reach the nearest one this time required a 10 minute walk.  Top coffee and pastries.

Dinner tonight was at a place called Chop Sticks.  It served Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese dishes.  I had a Pad Thai, and it was probably one of the best Pad Thais I’d had.  The noodles were nice and thin, and still had a bit of bite to them.  The chicken was good breast meat, with a lot of flavour.  There was plenty of crushed peanuts in it, meaning that your mouth didn’t feel like it just had a mouthful of goo when you ate it.  It could have been slightly spicier, but the level was enough that it tickled my senses ever so slightly.

6th May, Walla Walla, Washington

Tonights meal was provided by the venue.  It comprised Tofu with vegetables, a marinara sauce, green beans and salad.

I’m not a big fan of Tofu, I would never order it out of choice.  I always find it bland and it doesn’t have any texture.  You might as well be eating polyfilla.  This had been griddled so it had a good colour to it.  Whats more, it had some texture to it!  You could actually feel your teeth slice through it as you chewed.  The vegetables had also been cooked in the same way and then layered on the top making it look very presentable and giving it a lot more colour.  Having a forkful of tofu and vegetables meant that you had a constant change of texture as you chewed.  A nice experience.  The marinara sauce was good, I’m never entirely sure what is supposed to be in a marinara sauce, is it just a thick sauce of tomatoes?  Or is it supposed to have herbs in it?  Of which, I couldn’t taste any.  The meal made up for the disappointment as we watched the election results come in.

7th May, San Francisco, California

Tonights dinner choice was suggested by the Regency Ballroom stage manager.  He said he would go there 7 out of 10 days.  He pointed us to a restaurant called Modern Thai.  The menu had all your bulk standard Thai dishes, and there were a few that had twists to them, but nothing really different.

I went for a Green Curry, as after Chopsticks in Portland, I was wanting a Green Curry.  The chicken in it was slightly dry and had a bit of flavour.  It’s a shame that restaurants can never really cook like you can at home.  A home cooked curry will have had the chicken cooking in the sauce allowing the flavours to infuse the chicken.  In a restaurant it’s probably cooked separately so whatever meat has been ordered by the customer can be chucked in at the last moment.  It had a lot of vegetables in it including aubergine and peppers.  The sauce was light and you could taste the coconut in it, it could have done with being spicier, perhaps I should ask for dishes to be more spicier on ordering.  The rice was presented in a nice heart shape.

A good meal but I’m not sure if it can label itself as Modern.

Part four, the last part, will be appearing later on in the week.

Food Review: North America 2010, Volume One, Part Two by Ollie
May 14, 2010, 3:34 pm
Filed under: CHAFF

Welcome back to another instalment of us eating our way across America.

28th April Covington, Kentucky.

Covington hadn’t provided us with that much during the day.  A trip across the Ohio river into Cincinnati led to a market research interview in a bagel shop, which included false names and the impracticality of bottomless coffee mugs.

We did find a sports bar in Covington that included a whole variety of rock inspired Mac n’ Cheeses’ including Nirvana, Cream and Green Day.  Now I don’t like Green Day, but I decided to go for their take on Mac n’ Cheese.  I’m not sure if Billie Joe had had any input into it, but if he had his ideas were pretty good.  The Green Day contained spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, this created a better flavour to the Mac n’ Cheese and also a bit more colour.  I find Mac n’ Cheese a bit bland and not the most attractive of meals, but the spinach and the tomato changed this.  It was a nice size, the perfect amount of a quick meal before the show.

29th April, Madison, Wisconsin.

The last time we played Madison, whilst we were annoying the students in their beer hall, I decided to ask some of them where was good to eat.  We were kindly sent to the Top of the World and had an amazing meal.  We decided we would go back there.  Top of the World is a Himalayan restaurant serving dishes from Nepal, Tibet and India.  I had the Goat Curry last time and it was so good, I had it again.  With the meal you were given a dhaal or a salad.  I went for dhaal.  This one was more of a soup, normally it is a lot thicker, but the spices and the spinach created a lightly balanced soup that was refreshing.

The curry came and the meat just fell off the bone.  It was so tender and the spices created an amazing flavour, the spices dancing on my tongue.  Despite it being quite dense, it felt really light, and I felt contented at the end.  I was left sucking the bones to get all the flavours off.  Despite it being one of the more expensive meals of the tour (average plate cost $16), it was definitely worth it.

30th April, Chicago Illinois

No visit to Chicago is complete until you’ve gone to Intelligentsia Coffee; probably my favourite coffee shop in the world.  Unlike Gimme Coffee in New York, it doesn’t have the snobbery and the staff were really helpful in suggesting different beans for my espresso. Me and Tom both came away bearing some beans.

Today’s meal was eaten and then I realised I hadn’t taken a picture.  Sorry fans, my stomach comes first.  I went across the road to Azteca De Oro and got a couple of tacos.  First tacos of the tour and they were great.  It’s hard to muck up a taco and these were satisfying and full of flavour.

After the show I crossed the street again to a hot dog place called Wrigleyville Dogs.  And though it was a great meal at 1am, it wasn’t as good as a Pink’s in L.A. The chilli sauce had made the bun go too soggy and this led to it all spilling out.  Nonetheless, after a show and a massive thunder storm it was satisfying.

1st May, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Some of us ended up in a Tequila bar for dinner called Barrio.  As well as having a massive selection of tequila, which we failed to try, they served Mexican “tapas”, which was basically small mexican dishes mainly tacos.  I had a carnitas taco and a crab taco.  Both appeared well presented with a few extra touches such as fresh coriander.  The crab taco was very good, when were in Mexico we had tuna sashimi tacos and they were amazing.  The crab created a different feel to the taco, the lightness of the crab meat contrasting really well with the lime and the coriander.  Despite being in a fancier place these tacos didn’t cost that much more than anywhere else so it was still excellent value, and being served a man called Machete also helped.

2nd May, Billings, Montana.

So how many of you have been to Billings?  Well, we’ve been there twice.  Both times we’ve been to a restaurant called Walkers, which serves pretty fancy food in a town that doesn’t seem that big.  With a vast beer and wine selection, they have a very appealing menu.  I had the confit of duck which came with Cannellini Beans, pancetta, fried garlic and asparagus.  The duck was so tender and had been cooked really well; the meat falling off the bones.  The beans had been cooked in a creamy sauce.  The fried garlic was very good, and that with a bit of duck meat and the beans lit up my mouth.  The asparagus had been cooked very well, it was still a bit crunchy and the creaminess of the beans really complemented it.  It was pretty expensive but well worth the price.

In part 3, we reach the West coast and hit up some of our favourite food establishments.

Food Review: North America, Volume One, Part One. by Ollie
May 6, 2010, 12:20 am
Filed under: CHAFF

So we have finally reached America and its time to taste its culinary delights.

23rd April. Hoboken, New Jersey.

Maxwell’s does good food.  It was great to play a show and then sit down to a meal.  I had the chicken and cheese burrito.  It was massive and packed with lots of chicken, cheese, beans and rice.  It could have done with a bit more spice, and it could have been served wet instead of dry.  There was some salsa, which I used to add a bit of extra flavour.  It was served with some olives, which was slightly unusual.

24th April. Boston, Massachusetts.

British pub food has such a bad reputation.  Many places “serve” food but its basically a microwave, enabling people to soak up the alcohol with terrible burgers and carry on drinking.  I had been to the sports bar next door to the Paradise Club and thought it was pretty good.  It has an open plan kitchen so you can actually watch the chef preparing your meal.  You wouldn’t find this in a Scream brand pub!  I opted for the Salmon dinner which I had with a salad and fried Green Beans.  The salmon had been grilled and was pretty flavourful.  It was served with a sweet chilli dip and it was pretty spicy.  The salad was massive and full of a lot of fresh vegetables.  I was surprised by the fried green beans.  I assumed that they would be just raw green beans fried in some oil.  But they were actually deep-fried.  They were nice but there was so many of them that the batter soon became over-powering.

Perhaps one day high street pubs will turn their backs on the microwave?

25th April. New York, New York.

So we decided to go for pizza before the show.  Asking the crew is always a good idea, so we asked their suggestions for pizza.  They directed us to a place just round the corner from the venue.

I had a slice of cheese and a slice that was called a granny slice.  The granny slice was a deep pan and the tomato sauce was on top of the cheese.  It actually worked; biting through the sweet tomato sauce to hit the salty cheese and then the dough.  It was pretty filling and quite enjoyable.  The cheese slice was good, it was good New York style pizza, and a lot cheaper than Lombardi’s.

26th April. Washington D.C.

The 9.30 club feed you so well.  Pizza, soup and salad on load-in, loads of snacks, dinner and their famous cupcakes.

The pizza was cheap and greasy, but it was good after carrying in heavy gear.  They even did a vegan pizza.

For dinner I chose the vegetable chilli with brown rice.  When it came there was no rice, but tortilla chips.  It was a chilli but it seemed like it was more like nachos especially with the melted cheese and sour cream on top.

Their cupcakes are very good, but very rich.  I ate two, and felt very sick afterwards!

Portland Bitch by Ellen
May 5, 2010, 10:14 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Tomorrow we are playing a show in Portland which is famous for these things

  • The Ground Kontrol Barcade which sells Liquor AND has arcade games AND has pin ball machines.
  • Voodoo Doughnuts which sells erm…doughnuts BUT really special and creative ones. When i visited this shop I ate the “Old Dirty Bastard” but am morbidly fascinated by the “Bacon-Maple Bar,” because I have always dreamed of dying of a heart attack face down in a delicious sugary pastry

  • The home place of Bitch Magazine!

Myself and Kim are both fans of this fine non-profit quarterly magazine which describes itself as a “feminist response to pop culture” and is truly a purveyor of interesting, informative and funny articles which don’t patronize or pander to its readership of people with a sly interest in feminism.

It first caught my eye when we were on tour in Florida last January where my child like brain was drawn to the immediacy of the title, and the proclamation that was an article inside discussing the validity of Jane Eyre as a feminist.

There was a refreshing lack of articles on penis vowing and how to be less shit in bed (not that there is anything wrong with those articles but when you have read as many as myself and you still suck in the bedroom department….well its a sad day.) Instead it was a variation of topical and well written articles, reviews and took more than five seconds to read and I was hooked.

However Bitch magazine survives purely on donations to keep being really really good and so they need YOUR HELP, MY HELP and EVERYONES help to stop Cosmopolitan and Glamour swallowing up my entire brain, because I JUST CANT HELP MYSELF.

Therefore they have this to say
“if you donate as little as $5/month for a year, that helps support us in a huge way and you also get a subscription of the magazine. Also, when you buy the magazine off the newsstand, we get less than 7 cents for each issue sold, but when you subscribe we get a whole lot more, so subscribers are super-important too!!”
SO if you don’t believe me read the website and realise i have amazing taste

Happy Free Comic Book Day! by Ellen
May 1, 2010, 9:34 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

The 1st Saturday of May is Free Comic Book day and I took advantage of this at Big Brain Comics in Minneapolis AND i saw some Morris dancers in the town centre. This day is working out pretty well.

Hope your free comic book day is joy filled