Review: Outside Lands 2012 Food and Drink

The Outside Lands Music and Arts festival has always been really good at providing a great selection of quality food and drink options. The best part is that the vendors are local, with some exceptions. While the stars of the festival are obviously the bands playing, it was nice to take a breather and grab some sustenance.

Food Review – I Love Spicy Pie Pizza – San Diego, CA

While actually from Southern California, I Love Spicy Pie is a repeat vendor to Outside Lands, so while they don’t quite apply to the “Taste of the Bay Area” banner, they do have some credibility within the festival. Their short menu of ready-to-serve pizzas included several amazing sounding meat-centered pies, but I went for a veggie slice called “Gnarly Marley.” The pizza included a simple but delicious combination of red peppers, green peppers, and red onions.

The spice was a little cold, but then again, it was quite cold in Golden Gate Park that day so keeping the pizza warm was probably a challenge. Other than the temperature, I don’t have a complaint. Delicious sauce and cheese with quality ingredients.

Food Review – Senor Sisig – San Francisco, CA

I have never been into the idea of a food truck. I grew up in a town where I only spotted them in shady areas or near the community college. The trucks in my town never looked clean. Outside Lands included quite a few local food trucks that showcased a very diverse array of food, most of them fusion. For dinner I decided I wanted a burrito of some kind and Senor Sisig was the most interesting option I came across. Senor Sisig is a Mexican/Filipino fusion food truck, which seemed like a very odd mixture. I had never had Filipino food of any kind, so why not? All the items on their menu included sisig in some form with the option of pork, chicken, or tofu. I went with the California Sisig Burrito which consisted of a tortilla filled with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, fries, and tofu sisig.

This was the best burrito I’ve ever had. The guacamole to sour cream ratio was perfect and the salsa was delicious. The fries were not the potato sticks that I expected but rather potato chunks that provided more of a texture to the burrito with a subtle flavor. The tofu sisig was what made it so good though. It was a very unique flavor that I cannot describe.

The one question I had following the meal was, “What the hell is sisig?” I looked it up and Wikipedia lists it as “a Kapampangan term which means ‘to snack on something sour’. It usually refers to fruits, often unripe or half-ripe, sometimes dipped in salt and vinegar. It also refers to a method of preparing fish and meat, especially pork, which is marinated in a sour liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar, then seasoned with salt, pepper and other spices.” Other online sources list it bluntly as the meat from a pig’s head. If it is the latter, having the burrito with tofu was a good choice on my part. Perhaps it was mixed with pork head, I don’t really know. The menu on the website doesn’t really go into detail.

Regardless, I now follow the truck on Facebook and will be tracking it down when it decides to come to the Sacramento area.

The last time I attended Outside Lands I came with no money beyond what I used on a shirt, so I wasn’t able to partake in the alcoholic festivities, which was sad. This time I came prepared with extra cash and no interest in merch. I was excited to explore the beer garden now that I know what good beer really is.

Beer Review – Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment Brewery – San Francisco, CA

The 21st Amendment Brewery is one that is carried in my local supermarkets so I have had experience with them and I trust their products as a fan of the Monk’s Blood brew. Hell or High Watermelon is a completely different beast. It is a wheat beer, which is always a good choice for those looking for a beer that isn’t terrible intense in flavor. I had this beer at one in the afternoon so I wasn’t looking for anything intense. This was a solid wheat beer with a hint of watermelon flavor that isn’t too powerful, which is nice since it doesn’t turn it into a fruity flavored drink.

I would recommend this brew over their vast selection of IPAs only because I am not an IPA fan. 21st Amendment is a great brewery though, so if you do dig IPAs, wheat beers, or dark beers (see: Monks Blood), check them out.

Beer Review – El Oso Lager by Bear Republic Brewery Co. – Cloverdale, CA

A name will often sell me on a beer. For example, Monk’s Blood sounds pretty metal so I got it and didn’t regret it. On the other hand, El Oso (Spanish for “The Bear”) was not such a joyous experience. I guess I just have to accept that I’m not a fan of your typical “lager style” beer, as El Oso was an American Amber Lager. Lagers all taste the same to me, which is just like a generic carbonated alcoholic beverage.

Fans of Lager might like this one. I guess I am just not a fan.

My Favorite Album of 2012

For as much as I truly love heavy metal, it has been a few years since a metal record has blown me away so much as to warrant the title of my favorite record of the year. Last year Devin Townsend’s Deconstruction lost the title to Steven Wilson’s jazz infused progressive masterpiece Grace For Drowning. Even 2010 was a toss up between Brothers by the Black Keys and Compass by Jamie Lidell over the metal releases of the year. From the opening moments of “Tapestry of the Starless Abstract” by Ne Obliviscaris, I knew their album The Portal of I was that long awaited metal album to trump all else.

First of all: the name is pronounced “Nay Ob-li-vis-kar-is”

Ne Obliviscaris are an Australian progressive metal band with black metal and classical elements. Their line-up consists of a pair of guitarists, bass, drummer, a harsh vocalist and a clean singer who also plays violin. These guys would produce fantastic music even without the violinist, but the addition of this nontraditional element to the their metal collective puts them over the edge as an absolutely amazing musical experience.

Their debut full-length album, The Portal of I, is some of the most beautiful and interesting music I have ever heard that was also heavy. The whole subgenre of black metal with atmosphere has become such an overdone cliché that it was so refreshing to hear Ne Obliviscaris take black metal, add tons of melody and foreign influences and have it sound unique. The band has a knack to using their non-metal elements, like the lengthy violin/bass intro to the epic, “And Plague Flowers The Kaleidoscope,” to emphasize the heavy portions of their songs.

I have already converted a few people to listen to this band and many of these folks were not metal fans. Your traditional kvlt black metal fans will not be too into this one, but fans of Opeth, Agalloch, Alcest, prog metal, black metal, etc. will probably adore this one as much as I do.

This is not only my favorite album of 2012, it is one of my favorite albums ever.

So nice humans, I ask you…

What is YOUR favorite album of this year?

*Two songs after the jump*

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Worst Human #2 [Black Friday Edition]

My mom is always excited to see me around the holidays. I live one town over but my school and work schedule makes it difficult to stay connected. So when we do finally find time to meet up, my mom likes to go on adventures. In the evening of Thanksgiving this year, we found ourselves at a Walmart as part of the pre-Black Friday insanity.

My mom decided she wanted to get Brave on blu-ray for cheap, so she was willing to enter the frenzy for a movie. Initially I wasn’t going to tag along, but I found myself curious just how bad it would be. It was worse than I anticipated.

Roughly thirty minutes after the store opened we arrived to a completely full parking lot. Cars were double-parked in red zones, shittily parked so people couldn’t get in or out and there were even a few on the sidewalks. In short, zero fucks were given. Once I got inside it was just a sea of cliché Walmart shoppers. It was just everyone from the People of Walmart website at the same time (http://www.peopleofwalmart.com).

I’m usually pretty good in crowds as a frequent concertgoer, but this collection of people was unbearable. Most people either still smelled strongly of Thanksgiving food, while others just straight up smelled like stress sweat and BO. And in this smelly crowd, people just kept their eyes on whatever dumb thing they wanted and shoved through people to get to it.

I’m surprised that any Black Friday shoppers found anything they were looking for. It was clear that there was a plan in place to enable customers to find the products they wanted, but this system was destroyed by the time we got there. Employees were clearly at wit’s end from all of this. A customer wanted to know where some item was and a floor clerk said, “Girl, I don’t know where the fuck anything is anymore! Some bitch just asked me the same thing.”

My mom decided that we should get my dad Black Ops, so I was sent to wait in a line for the game case that wrapped around the electronic section. Lucky for me, right behind me in line was a very impatient woman who was clearly a Black Friday veteran. I saw her minutes before in a completely different section cutting through people with ease and snatching up movies as people were reaching for them. She came with a plan that night. Having to wait in line was not in her plan nor was it something she did well. As the line slowly moved, she tried to get on her toes and look over people to see the game case. From where we were, you could be on a ladder and still not see it, but she remained persistent. Every few minutes she’d be on the phone with the someone complaining about their respective line experience at different Walmarts. While on her phone, she seemed unable to control the four Furbys that she held in her hand. They would either rub my ass (which felt a little nice), or she would jam the corners into my back. My final experience with her before getting the game and getting the hell out of there, was when she began to have a coughing fit for no reason. I felt the hair on the back of my head move and I realized that her hands were full so there was no way that she was covering her mouth. That lady, worst human.

I call her the worst human only because I was the direct subject of her Black Friday stupidity, but the entire crowd was made of people like her. To my knowledge, no one was hurt at my local Walmart over the past few days, but it’s all still such a bummer. The Pre-Christmas shopping season is now a part of Thanksgiving Day. If this is something that remains constant and stores open earlier and earlier to outdo one another, Thanksgiving will be taken over completely. It will become a day of people decided if they are going to stay in and enjoy the Thanksgiving tradition they have created with their families, or ditch these families to a cheap TV.

No deal is worth having to put up with those shopper types, to me anyway. My mom did succeed in getting Brave, but if this text conveys her feelings at all, I don’t think she felt it was worth it either.