Vegan Jerky, Jack Black, and Cartoons

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(Image Above: taken from Amazon.com)

Listen to This:

Mariage Blanc – Broken Record; Self Release – October 2008

You know how every now and again you stumble on something truly amazing, and you tell all your friends about it, and make a note of exactly when and where you found it, and what you were wearing at the time, so that when the thing gets really, really huge you can remind everyone that you were the one who thought they were cool before they got big?

Well…I discovered Mariage Blanc one fortunate night at a fund-raising gig at brillobox. I was there to support local poets, and had no idea I was in for such a musical treat. After seeing that show, I am convinced these guys are going to be big. And, I’m going to brag to all my friends that I liked them before the rest of the world. I can’t wait.

Indie rock with a whimsical bent, Mariage Blanc (which means ‘white wedding’ in French, but has nothing do to with Billy Idol)’s first release Broken Record is highly reminiscent of Wilco, Elliott Smith, and Belle and Sebastian in all the right ways. Intelligent, melodic, catchy, frank, folksy, and emotionally honest, the seven songs on this debut album will have you hooked. This talented quintet excels at clever lyricism, overlaying their lush yet quiet orchestration with poignant musings or sad and quirky realizations. Unexpected instrumentation like trumpets and Wurlitzers keep the songs from descending into shoegazer-dom or pretention. I can’t say enough about the production quality – think the Beatles’ White Album. I suggest you grab yourself a copy of Broken Records immediately, and when Mariage Blanc takes over your town, you can rub your hipness in everyone’s face.

Read the rest of our fascinating reviews!

(Molly)

(Images above: taken from Myspace.com/mariageblanc)

(Image above: Primal Strips Jerky Goodness taken from www.flikr.com/photos/oofstar)

Eat This:

Primal Strips Delicious Meatless Jerky, Primal Spirit Foods Inc.

Here’s a scary secret – sometimes, vegetarians get blood-thirsty cravings. To this day, I have nightmares where I’m at a BBQ, and someone hands me a rack of freshly grilled ribs dripping in sauce, and I gobble up every last morsel. I wake up feeling sick to my stomach and really guilty! Before I saw the light and gave up eating flesh, I was a carnivore, and one of my favorite meaty treats was jerky. Salty, chewy, spicy goodness in portable stick form. Oh, how I miss it. I just can’t help it.

It was a truly glorious day when I discovered Primal Stips. Thankfully, they have created a faux-jerky, all-healthy meatless version of the tasty treat – and, you don’t have to worry about what part of the animal (or animals) it came from! In nine amazing flavors from Texas BBQ to Thai Peanut, these protein rich strips are low in calories (only 99!), made with the best oils, and all-natural ingredients. Some of them are soy-based, while others are made from seitan or Shiitake mushrooms. They are perfect for throwing in your purse or backpack for a quick pick-me-up or snack between meals. I usually buy an assortment of flavors at my local co-op, but when the pile of strips in our cupboard dwindles, my hubbie and I find ourselves fighting over the last Hickory Smoked.

Meat-eaters and vegetarians alike will be impressed with the mouth-watering taste of these jerky strips. Tear into one today, and appease your inner carnivore!

(M)

[Image above: Still from La Maison en Petit Cubes, taken from VanityFair.com]

Watch This:

Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts (+ Varmints)

I love watching the Oscars, but I hate that I’ve always only seen one or two of the movies or performances up for awards. So, when the Oscar-nominated shorts were playing this week at Pittsburgh’s charming Regent Square Theater, I decided it would be a great way to have a solid opinion  in at least one category. I had a choice between the Animated and Live Action Shorts, and I sprung  for what seemed to be the cheerier option. Despite the weird-ness of sitting directly in front of a woman who proceeded to burp throughout the movies (yeah.), it was one of the most enjoyable trips to the cinema I’ve had in a long time!

One of my favorites was the dark comedy, This Way Up, which follows two undertakers as they attempt to safely deliver a coffin back to the church, after a boulder crushes their hearse within the first minute–setting a tone of comedic mishap that lasts for the rest of the nine-minute flick.  Another of my favorites, the plaintive La Maison en Petit Cubes, follows an old man living in–what seems to be–a floating house. When it begins to flood, he starts building a new one on the roof, and we later learn through a nostalgia-loaded scuba expedition that there are houses upon houses stacked on each other, swimming with memories of his past and family.

There were also a number of “highly commended” films shown after the five nominees; one of these was Varmints. Varmints is the newest project from Marc Craste, who crated the BAFTA-award-winning Jo Jo In the Stars in 2003. Varmints is about a cute dog/mouse hybrid (the varmint) who is perfectly happy in his bucolic little world, lying under trees and watching flowers floating in the wind. Then we hear an ominous rumble–what could only be the sound of the “evil storm of industry.” His world is overtaken by a depressing, smoky, dark city full of shuffling,  sad varmint zombies. Our little varmint protagonist manages to keep afloat and hopeful however, by taking care of a branch he saved from his favorite tree and writing a book about his old home. Then some really bizarre, strangely touching things happen, and I cried.

My Oscar pick: Everyone seems to be picking Pixar’s Presto (shown before Wall-E) for the win. I’m going with La Maison en Petit Cubes. But maybe I’m just a sap.

(Alicia)

Watch This Too:

Cooking with Rockstars

Thanks to creepy paparazzi and gossip websites like Perez Hilton, we get to see what celebrities wear all the time when they’re off-screen. But when do we get to see what they eat, or even better, what they cook?? That’s why the online series, Cooking With Rockstars, is my new favorite thing. I can learn to cook Borscht, Lamb Tagine, and Vegan Coconut-Corn Chowder, all while enjoying entertaining interviews with my favorite indie rock stars. I got really excited about seeing what’s in Death Cab for Cutie’s tour bus fridge and and learning of Ben Gibbard’s love for Golden Grahams and hatred for losing the twist ties on bags of bread.

Since these bands and bards are accustomed to a life on the road, most of the recipes are simple, and they appear easy-to-make, which is perfect for an enthusiastic, but ultimately novice cook like me.   I was intrigued and impressed by recipes like Will Sheff’s Chocolate Caramel Tart with Sea Salt, but motivated to try Jack Black’s Dorito Burrito, a simple, but ingenious creation. (Cheddar Cheese. Tortilla. Doritos.)  Maybe for the next ModCloth Cooks??

(A)


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3 Responses to Vegan Jerky, Jack Black, and Cartoons

  1. sari 02/21/2009 at 2:07 pm #

    wow Molly! Josh (singer in Mariage Blanc) is one of my dearest friends! Awesome!

  2. Angela 02/23/2009 at 7:16 pm #

    You know I’m going to try the Dorito Burrito.

  3. Stephanie 08/27/2011 at 3:04 pm #

    I am looking up an old post and I stumbled upon this, but I wish I had sooner! I thought I was the only one that like dipping one mcnugget in many sauces. I <3 Jack Black (:

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