Monday, February 28, 2011
Eric B. & Rakim- Know the Ledge
Howfresh doesn't only eat. He drinks too. He needs to wash down the copious amounts of decadent fare he consumes on a daily basis. Preferably high in antioxidants, delicious, and absolutely no high fructose corn syrup. He is known to walk around supermarkets and grocery stores perusing their beverage sections looking for the finest liquids. Sip the Juice... will become a recurring post featuring these unique nectars. So tap the bottle, and twist the cap!
Since February is National Cherry Month, it's only right to spark this with some Very Cherre Montmorency Pure Tart Cherry Juice. I got a couple minutes before the clock strikes March. What we have here is pure tart cherry juice, 100% juice from concentrate. It was pricey at $3.50 for an 11 oz. bottle, but I'm a sucker for anything cherry (especially popping them- HOLLA!!) and a cool short, round bottle. Also, the cap said "antioxidant rich", something I'm aspiring to be.
The irony with my love for cherries is that I'm allergic to them. A little OAS (oral allergy syndrome) tries to spoil the fun. But I keep telling them, you cannot stop the kid, but only hope to contain him. I have learned that fruit in the natural, raw form only cause a reaction. When cooked, canned, and/or pasteurized, the symptoms (tight, itchy throat) are absent. Happens with peaches and apricots too.
For the small amount of juice sampled (1 bottle), it was extremely enjoyable. Montmorency cherries are the most popular sour cherry in the US, found most commonly in cherry pie. When drinking, there's a subtle sweet note followed by a tartness that lingers. This interplay between sweet and sour provides quite the satisfying experience. I find it delicious and a flavor I can't tire of. Very refreshing too.
Cherries are packed with a higher amount of antioxidants than most fruits, up on a level close to blueberries. According to Very Cherre, their juice contains an Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) greater than any other fruit juice, namely pomegranate and grape. Basically, the more ORAC units one consumes, the better chance they have to fight cancer and heart disease. Cherries also contain a high amount of melatonin, another antioxidant which is a compound used to fight insomnia. Who would have thought that these tiny red orbs are a powerful superfruit. I guess what they're trying to tell you is drink cherry juice if you want to be healthy.
Howfresh was not compensated by any cherry growers association for this message. He just loves the cherry.
Eric B. & Rakim- Know The Ledge INSTRUMENTAL
Friday, February 18, 2011
Do the Uptown Bounce, Do the Uptown Bounce, Do the Up, Do the What, Do the Uptown Bounce... Harlem Food Fest 2011.
View Larger Map
It went down like this...
Zhigge- Rakin' in the Dough (Uptown Bounce Beats)
Zhigge- Rakin' in the Dough (Uptown Bounce Mix)
Zhigge- Rakin' in the Dough (Headboppers Mix)
The Situation: Between three and four hours to eat at the eminent eateries within the confines of 110th and 155th Streets according to HowFresh. Not samples or little bites, meals. Quality over quantity fams. We're not baby bulls rushing up the grassy knoll. We're Papa Bull status, enjoying the scenery, pacing ourselves to get right with the esteemed spots. And no fish. Yeah, it pissed me off too. My boy, and commenter extraordinaire Buckemdown, had some time away from life obligations and wanted to delve into the epicurean adventures in Harlem World. He reads the blog, he hears me talking about all the conquered eats and he wanted in. "A chicken leg gets eaten in the park, I want in. You guys got fat while everybody starved on the street. Now it's my turn." As long as it's not from the sea.
We had a car so maneuvering was fairly simple, just evading snow dunes and slush puddles. There was some strategy involved. The largest, most satisfying meal should lead off followed by smaller dishes, concluding on a sweet note. It's no surprise Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken was the inaugural stop for the 2011 Harlem Food Fest. Coat the tummy well for the debauchery that was to follow. Patsy's would be hit and then there was a gray area. Play it by ear. 116th St. is teeming with African spots, some on my hit list, though I worried that fish would pose a dilemma, which it did, but you know how we do, take it back to the drawing board and re-execute. Then take it on home with some sugar, brown sugar. Ya dig!! See how it went down:
I'm on the Northeast Side of Harlem looking for a bust down, make me put my two arms up, touch down!
Charles switched things up and moved the steam table so it's front and center. No longer do you serve yourself now that a glass case protects the food from the nasty germs we bring in from the street. All good, takes a little more time, but at least ock ain't coughing on my collards. For the EXTREMELY thorough review/love letter to Charles read HERE.
You didn't think we were doing all you can eat?? My stomach's grown, but be easy. Meat and 2 sides ($9.99). Of course the fried chicken, opting for collard greens and potato salad. Bliss. Mac and cheese for tasting. A straight diabetes Arnold Palmer (half iced tea/lemonade) and a block of corned bread. Words can't explain my satisfaction with this meal.
Fried chicken sampler (boobie, thigh and leg) on Buck's plate with okra stew and baked beans. Big fan of the okra stew, and the beans were quite impressive. Just really rich, something to be wary of when dealing with all you can eat. Plan accordingly.
Le Pièce de résistance!!
Time for DIGESTION and MENTAL PREPARATION. Then hit the road.
Even though it's Black History Month, we had to pay Italians some love. Blacks and Italians love each other anyway- right? See Do The Right Thing. But pizza cures all differences. Rarely a parking spot to be found on 1st Ave., just double park and run in to place your order. For the record, Rao's was booked and couldn't fit us in.
I feel Patsy's makes one of the best slices in the city ($1.75). I opined a while back. Very thin, with a great char on the bottom. And those bubbles- I miss the days of hot bubbles on the pie. Blemishes are so attractive. Really though, I haven't had a slice from a local pizzeria with bubbles in ages. A tomato sauce that hints at sweetness but pulls away before it becomes cloying. This particular slice was too soggy, but I blame that on the rain. Must have permeated the oven. The slices are small, maybe 8" including crust, but on a marathon eating day there were no complaints.
On the road again.
Things then took a turn towards the interesting. Africa Kine, the spacious, 2nd floor Senegal eatery near the corner of 8th Avenue was the destination. Their lunch menu is limited so the possibility of an audible was very likely. At this point no alcohol had been consumed so we figured this was the opportune time to sauce it up. Mind you, Africa Kine has a BYO beer/wine policy so no laws were being broken.
Got some bottles, ascended the stairs and found an empty booth by the window. There were several diners but no waitstaff. In the past the servers are always far and few so we sat and cracked the Heiny. Finally a waitress came and we learned that only fish and lamb were available. As mentioned earlier, I had a feeling that fish would rear it's ugly, eyebrowless head. Lamb on the other hand just didn't sound appealing. So we put the open green bottles in a jacket pocket and kept looking.
Salimata, around the corner, had been on the hit list, and this was a perfect time to give it a go. 2 storefronts from the Aqsa Mosque, the bare-bones Salimata serves Halal Guinean fare. This posed a minor dilemma with the open bottles and extra brew in the bag. They do not have a BYO policy so we kept the haram liquid tucked away.
The options here were very limited as well but time was short and we weren't in the mood to keep searching. I've learned that many African spots serve a very abridged menu for lunch. And that's being generous- usually a dish or 2. The choices were a fish dish and tomato stew, so that meant tomato stew with goat accompanied by a large plate of rice ($10). The hearty, dark red stew with tender chunks of goat (and bone), carrot and potato had great flavor, but a bit oily, and by this point the Charles' meal was trying to bully the stomach. Buck stopped early, knowing there was more food to go, while my big eyes had me shoveling rice into the mouth. I find it quite difficult to let food go to waste or just sit there. As I begin this gym regimen, that's going to have to change.
One full avenue to the east was Make My Cake. Originally there were two dessert spots planned. Make My Cake and Levain Bakery, the renowned cookie maker from the Upper West Side. We weren't sure if Levain would be possible since their opening dates kept getting pushed back. Turns out that's still occurring as the ribbon cutting is set for March 1st. Very pleased they were closed, because while my eyes would say yes, my stomach couldn't have handled it.
The red velvet with cream cheese frosting at Make My Cake is all you need to know. Moist, decadent, delicious. Unfortunately all the red velvet cupcakes had toasted pecans this day so I went for another favorite, the butter cream, and some cookies for good measure. A perfect way to end a savory journey.
With the time allotted I think we did a great job. Of course there were other spots, but we weren't trying to feel rushed. Four quality eateries were visited leaving a true impression of the total dining experience (sans Patsy's- though an argument could be made that eating your slices in the car outside is the experience). Best believe if fish was approved, either Famous Fish or A Taste of Seafood would have been included. Where my seafoodies at?!?
Eating like this is no joke. Serious, serious business. Got home and passed out. Didn't have a bite of food till Sunday morning. 17 hours with no food is quite the rare occurrence. Already working on the next extravaganza.
Harlem Food Fest 2011 Itinerary:
Charles Country Pan Fried Chicken
2839-2841 Frederick Douglass Blvd. (8th Ave) between 151st & 152nd Sts.
New York, NY 10039
2287 1st Ave bet. 117th St & 118th St
New York, NY 10035
2132 Frederick Douglass Blvd. just south of 116th St.
New York, NY 10026
Make My Cake
121 St. Nicholas Ave. on 116th St.
New York, NY 10026
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Editor's Note: Eleven additions were made to this edition, along with re-upping every track so the listening experience can live another day. Divshare just doesn't cut it anymore. Sorry boo. (The download links haven't been updated with the new tracks). This took a long time, so I hope somebody appreciates it. Laugh, love, cry, break a computer screen, give a goon hand, whatever. No violence though. You hit a chick, you should have your face broken. And chicks, don't hit your dude. Enjoy.
Originally published in 2009:
Ah, February 14th. The day of love. Or not. I've been known to ship flowers cross country, or over seas, but today I let the roses live another day. In all honesty, if you love your lady you should get her shit all year, not just on this commercially motivated excuse to pamper your girl. But shit, in the grips of an economic chokehold a bouquet of carnations and a handful of Hershey's kisses should do the job. I've been sick as a dog spending the better part of the day compiling lists of tracks that one could play for their sweetheart, or ex-sweetheart. I tried to keep it even and tried to keep it hip-hop. If an R&B track is included it's because it contains a rap cameo or jacked a hip hop beat, or just because I fucking like it. My list, my rules. Before we get into the list I need to spark it with some real crooner shit- the king of soul in my opinion, Mr. Sam Cooke. How could your girl not love you after hearing this. I know mine did.
Sam Cooke- Desire Me
And here we go with the joints. No particular order. 53 joints in total (3 have been added- they were meant to be on but got lost in the shuffle- The Light by Pharoahe, Mahogany by Eric B & Rakim, and Ex Girl to the Next Girl by Gang Starr)- wow- shit took a while, so hopefully somebody enjoys it. It's personal, so I might be missing some shit you would include in your list. If so, hit the comments section and drop your thoughts.
HowfreshEats Loves V-Day 2009
HowfreshEats Hates V-Day 2009
Love is in the air:
Diamond D- This One
A Tribe Called Quest- Electric Relaxation
Sean Price- I Love You (Bitch)
Eric B & Rakim- What's On Your Mind
Ghostface Killah- Camay- baked Macaroni, turkey wings...
Mary J. Blige- All My Love
De La Soul- Eye Know
Common- The Light
MF Grimm- Bloody Love Letter
The Roots- Silent Treatment
Gang Starr- Royalty
Sean Price- Heartburn
The Roots- You Got Me
Pete Rock & CL Smooth- Lots of Lovin
Pete Rock & CL Smooth- Lots of Lovin Remix
Masta Ace- Beautiful
UGK- International Player's Anthem
Amerie- Why Don't We Fall In Love Remix ft. Cam'ron- what would this mix be without any Cam?
The Pharcyde- Passin' Me By
Pete Rock- Take Your Time ft. Loose Ends
Fat Joe- All I Need
Groove Theory- Tell Me Hip Hop Remix ft. Brand Nubian
Lost Boyz- Renee
Mya ft. Jay-Z- Best of Me Remix
DJ Shadow- What Does Your Soul Look Like Part 1
Pharoahe Monch- The Light
Eric B & Rakim- Mahogany
Sterling Simms ft. Jadakiss- All I Need
Freeway & Jake One- She Makes Me Feel Alright
Donwill- Laura's Song
Joell Ortiz ft. Novel- Call Me
Mayer Hawthorne & The County- Just Ain't Gonna Work Out
Brand Nubian- Love Me or Leave Me Alone
Main Source- Walking Out the Front Door
Gang Starr- Ex Girl to the Next Girl
Da King & I- Tears
Akinyele- I Luh Hur
Biz Markie- Just a Friend
I Gotta Love- Jin ft. Kanye West
Da King & I- Tears -Darp Vibe Mix
Ghostface Killah ft. Keisha Cole- Walk Away
Amel Larrieux- Sweet Misery (Stretch Remix)
Original Flavor- All That
Organized Konfusion- Why?
Ghostface Killah- Tooken Back
Three Times Dope- Funky Dividends
Heavy D & The Boyz- Truthful
Smooth- You Been Played
Raekwon ft. Mika- Once In a Lifetime
Mary J. Blige ft. DMX & Nas- Sincerity
Little Brother ft. Lil' Wayne- Breakin' My Heart
Miguel ft. Raekwon & J. Cole- All I Want is You
King Sun- Undercover Letter
No love, just HATE:
Eamon- I Don't Want You Back
Jim Kahn- Ho
Ghostface Killah- Wildflower
Street Smartz- Problemz
Ghostface Killah- Never Be The Same Again
Ghostface Killah- Back Like That- the puppies are staying...
Akinyele & Kool G Rap- Break a Bitch Neck
To end this on an upbeat note, the great Teddy P. He adds such enthusiasm to heart ache. It's true though, nothing's more liberating than getting over an achy breaky heart. Fuck bitches get money!!
Teddy Pendergrass- I Don't Love You Anymore
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
The first Latin rapper to baffle your skull...
11 years ago (plus a day). Damn, time flies. I remember being in the office when I heard Pun passed. I was working in the music industry back then. Yes, I did work at one point in my life. My desk sat across from Don Pooh Records, a subsidiary of the label. One of their artists was Sunkiss, Pun's right hand man. A cool cat, who'd always shoot the shit for a sec before stepping into do whatever they did. Rarely in a somber mood, you knew something was up that day. He broke the news and it was a straight shock. It was obvious that Pun was in extremely poor health, but dude was young and in the prime of his career. I just remember getting on the horn and hitting my circle, who at that time were major hip hop heads. Silence, followed by "Get the fuck outta here", in some form or another was the overwhelming reaction.
It only takes a verse to understand what you're dealing with. Straight nasty. Quotables upon quotables. However you were introduced to Big Dog Punisher, be it "Firewater", "Off the Books", "You Ain't a Killer" or the Clue freestyle over "Clones", that rapid fire, crystal clear profound inteligente spit was arresting. Shit made you stop whatever you were doing and just listen. I'm an unapologetic Fat Joe fan and it's understandable to think the 2 might sound similar based on appearance- they did dub themselves "Twinz"- but once Pun spewed a lyric, game over. No surprise that... Latins going Platinum was destined to come... became a reality.
"You Ain't a Killer" was the joint that caught me hook, line, and sinker. My favorite joint off of Capital Punishment. It was a promo only 12" and pretty hard to get your hands on. I found a copy at Kim's on W. 4th and was happy as a pig in shit. Young Lord blessed the beat with those sinister pianos and Pun went berserk. You be the judge.
Big Pun- You Ain't A Killer
"Ask anybody if my men are rowdy,
Give me the mini-shottie I body a nigga for a penny probably,
I'm obligated to anything if it's crime related,
If it shine I'll take it, still in my prime and I finally made it,
I hate the fact that I'm the last edition,
Rob me a stash magician,
Could of went to college and been a mathematician,
Bad decisions kept me out the game,
Now I'm strictly out for cream,
Doing things to fiends I doubt you'll ever dream,
My team's the meanest thing you ever seen,
Measured by the heaven's Kings, down to the devil's mezzanine"
Fat Joe & Armageddon- Firewater (Big Pun Tribute)- SOBs 7/27/10
This past summer Fat Joe performed at SOBs and ripped it more than you could imagine. Even the staunchest Joey Crack hater would have to cede that Joey did his thing. As you can see, he and Armageddon blessed "Firewater" then let the track ride out with Pun's verse. It was really dope to see Joe rhyming along to the words he he could remember and just being into it, a fan, paying homage to his former Terror Squadian. I can't call whether the Liza Rios slander was hyperbole or not, but you'd be lying if you didn't acknowledge Joe repping for his boy. Don't forget, I support Pun in anything he does, anything he loves, a brother from another mother, sent from the above.
Fat Joe - Firewater (feat. Raekwon, Armageddon & Big Pun)
A classic ad Loud did for Capital Punishment. Yankees and the Bronx. Dopeness. Since I'll never have the platinum plaque I got the next best thing, the poster, even with tack holes in the corners. It will be framed one day.
Never had a chance to catch Pun live. I don't recall there being many opportunities. His career was so short-lived with poor health playing a major factor in such limited performances. My brother hit the above show at Latin Quarter when on 96th and Broadway. Why I didn't attend, not a clue. Look at that line-up- Fat Joe, Pun, MOP, Black Rob and a young unknown Eminem. Look at him playing tertiary status. Damn. Below is another heavy hitter.
Big Pun & Ghostface- Yeah Yeah Yeah (Green Mix)
Green Lantern took the a cappella from "My World" off Endangered Species and freaked it. Apropos to use Terror Squad's "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah." It's tough listening to Pun late in his career. Compared to his earlier recordings, the breathing, or panting if you will, became more pronounced and his machine gun flow became semi-automatic, if not the speed of a revolver. The toughest part is knowing he died shortly after and his weight was the direct result of that. In an eerie way it's as if he's rhyming from his deathbed. I'm here to celebrate Pun's life and not wallow in the melancholy, but it's impossible to ignore and not make mention of it. He clearly was suffering and it's evident in the music.
I'm not a player, I just fuck a lot!! Holla. When doing so you best to wrap that shit up B. One of the best promo items ever. I wouldn't suggest using this one though. Expired back in January 2001.
And last but not least, DJ Soul just released an hour plus tribute mix to Pun that I highly recommend you peep. Exclusives, freestyles, hard to find tracks and top notch mixing. Get it HERE.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
After 7- Can't Stop
I lied, it was Saturday, not last night. The title was too good to tamper with.
When I saw the image of 3 tiny fish on the menu I acted. The dish was called Shishamo, but I hadn't a clue. It cost $4.75, an amount I was willing to gamble with. They don't call me High Roller How for nothing. The waitress said they were smelt, a fish I was familiar with but never tried.
When they were brought to the table I stared at them, not sure what to do. At 5 inches long and maybe an inch thick there isn't much room to work with. I called the waitress over, finger snaps and all that, and inquired on how to proceed. She said eat the whole thing. Beautiful. I'm not a fussy eater and these posed no fuss. I squeezed ample lemon juice on the trio and then the thoughts took over:
Were the bones going to be crunchy?
Were these going to be as strong and briny as sardines or anchovies?
And lastly, will the brains be gross?
It's safe to say that I am a moderatley adventurous eater and will try anything once, but there is always that moment of uncertainty. I'm making it sound like I ate a tarantula or some crazy shit. It's just an ittie-bittie-tittie-committee fish.
And then I bit the head off this little motherfucker. Like the savage that I am. To be honest, it was way more mild than I expected. For starters, there was no crunch of a tiny skull being shattered or eeny meeny eye balls popping. It wasn't as aggressive as the sardine or anchovy. The consistency was kind of mealy, mushy, not much tooth or chew. I took a peek into the body cavity but there wasn't much to report back. The crunchiest part was the tail. 3 was more than enough. Now I was ready to tackle May's Place 50% off sushi. To my pleasure smelts received a Good rating from the Monterrey Bay Seafood Watch. No need to purge. Holla.
Smelts are a great source of protein, similar to sardines, but high in cholesterol. With all the fish and shellfish I consume, cholesterol is a definite, and even though I enjoyed these little suckas, there are bigger fish to fry and crab to crack. Not that any fish are attractive, but these are rather ugly. Their eyes are bugging.
The One Who Smelt it Dealt it could have been the title but I gave up potty humor in 2010.
Originally I had the Little Shawn track lined up to be the headliner, but after further review, I opted for the original. It deserved top billing just based on the fact that the producer is Howie Tee. I need not say more. Here it is anyway:
Little Shawn- I Made Love (4 da Very 1st Time)