29 September 2007

Q2 Bistro

Chinese restaurants can be a dime a dozen. The food can be greasy and MSG-laden, but for some reason people keep going back for more. Q2 Bistro distinguishes itself from the crowd by offering carefully prepared Pan Asian dishes with an emphasis on authentic Chinese food.

I swear that there should always be more people eating here than there actually are. There were more people working at Q2 than there were dining when we went in for an early dinner. People don't know what they're missing. The other plus is that Q2 features Chinese and Thai food that is deftly prepared and presented by an attentive staff.

Q2 offers a wide selection of tropical cocktails alongside a basic selection of beer and wine. The tiki drinks provide a fitting compliment to the Asian spices.

The only vegetarian appetizer is the spring roll, which is one crispy roll filled with mushrooms and assorted vegetables, served with spicy mustard and sweet and sour sauce. My main course was the Kung Pao tofu, made of golden fried fermented bean curd in a medium spicy brown sauce with peanuts, green peppers, mushroom, bamboo shoots and water chestnuts beside a dollop of white rice.

The restaurant possesses a soothing decor, with images of bamboo on the wall that elevate the experience. The other added bonus is that it is in the same plaza as Barnum and Tibbetts, a great wine bar that has very limited vegetarian offerings but makes up for it with fantastic beer and by-the-glass wine offerings. Check out B&T's happy hour specials and go vegetarian at Q2 after you get your drink on.

Check out the pictures in the slideshow and the Picasa link below.

Q2 Bistro

Q2 Bistro on Urbanspoon

28 September 2007

A Tall Glass of Blackwater

News keeps pouring in about the misdeeds of our hired mercenary goons in Iraq. Apparently Blackwater, a security company meant to protect American officials in Iraq, made a number of poor decisions in evacuating people from a secure compound in addition to their poor decision to kill Iraqi civilians. Who would have imagined that letting a bunch of cowboys run around Iraq armed could have turned out so badly? Apparently not the White House, that's for sure.

Further evidence of the federal government ignoring those displaced by Hurricane Katrina comes in the form of cities attempting to close down the confederated trailer parks where those who lost their homes in the storm currently live. Boy, if the people of New Orleans didn't get jobbed well enough by the shortsighted efforts of FEMA and their minions, now they'll get to experience the unbridled joy that comes from getting screwed at the local level.

In the habeas corpus department, selected members of the Gitmo gulag will be able to request lawyers to help battle their status as enemy combatants. If they want to put up a real fight, I would suggest getting any one of the lawyers who represented Phil Spector to fight their case.

Those looking for another reason not to support the Clinton 2008 rush to the White House need to look no further than her controversial campaign advisor--George W. Bush. He knows what he's talking about, because if there was any candidate that won an election after a more controversial tenure than the Clintons, it would have to be junior Bush.

Google and Microsoft are now taking off their gloves in the battle for computing supremacy. Whichever company wins, the public probably loses. Between Microsoft's monopolistic practices and Google's invasion of privacy, it's akin trying to pick your favorite type of genocide.

The new media revolution has now moved to Myanmar, where bloggers are a major frame of reference for media organizations looking for information about the protests in the country and the violent government backlash that followed. While the channel may have been closed by government officials when they clamped down on the internet, it's interesting to see that somebody uses a blog for a useful purpose (as opposed to yours truly).

Finally, in news of the weird, Slate produced a feature that detailed the best articles about sex from the year 2007. Just missing the cut were Larry Craig's restroom hijinks and Michael Jackson, who is probably having massive problems getting laid since he isn't actually married.

27 September 2007

Big Hair and Big Spending

It's difficult to disagree with a face like that, with or without the Wall of Sound. The Phil Specter murder case in California was declared a mistrial due to a deadlocked jury, proving that if you are planning on shooting somebody, you should at least have the common sense to drag them into California before you kill them so you can guarantee a victory no matter the evidence. A California jury would probably have trouble reaching a decision on whether to bench Rex Grossman based upon a lack of evidence.

Robert Gates is asking Congress for more money to fight the war on terror, bringing to $190 billion this year's grand total of money spent that is helping the American people as much as
it would if it was thrown in a pit and burned to ashes. At least if we threw billions of dollars in a hole and torched it, it could lower the heating bills for people in Minnesota and Alaska during the winter.

Speaking of Iraq and a change in regime, the top 3 Democratic candidates would not guarantee a troop withdrawal during their first term in office in the latest debate, doing little to distance themselves from the G.O.P. candidates. Hillary Clinton appeared to be the consensus victor of the debate. America again appears to be the loser.

The cause du jour involves the violent crackdown on protesters of the junta in Myanmar, which included the killing of monks, a Japanese photographer and even a stiff rebuke from China. If Bush could find Myanmar on a map, he'd probably invade and promote sectarian violence.

Mike Vick just can't stay out of trouble. His sincere apology followed his conviction on heinous charges, but even his mea culpa may be too little, too late after news of his positive drug test hit the news wire. Add common sense to the laundry list of things Vick hasn't tried in his approach to redemption.

USA Today has detailed the brilliant business model of the Huffington Post--don't bother to pay your high-profile bloggers. All right! The 17 cents I make on advertising trumps the money that Bill Maher generates blogging. Score one for the team.

Finally, good news comes out the dining scene on the heels of my tenacious reports on poor Grant Achatz's health developments. In all seriousness, best wishes again to a titan of fine dining.

26 September 2007

Taalam Acey

Last night, I had the opportunity to see Taalam Acey perform. Acey is the hardest working man in the business of spoken word poetry, and last night, a small but dedicated crowd got to witness his craft at Brownstone on Main as part of the Black Pearl poetry series.

Acey averages taking a flight every 3.5 days, and he books as many as three hundred performances per year at small venues like the one I saw him perform in. He has published two books and recorded nine CDs, and his wares are often sold out well before he is done performing. His schedule can be viewed on his MySpace page.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera with me to the performance. Luckily for you, there are many others who thought that recording Acey's artistry was a worthwhile endeavor. You can see evidence of Taalam and his way with words here, here and here.

The performance opened up with Ed Mabrey and Will Evans, both of whom bring an interesting approach to the spoken word game. There also was an open mic, which featured poets of varying skill levels on the mic displaying their craft.

Brownstone's upstairs dining area is very nice, and there is also limited outside seating. The downstairs bar (where the poetry event is held) features a standard pallet of beer and liquor. The drinks are a little more expensive than the typical campus bar. The menu features limited vegetarian selections.

If performance poetry is your bag, the weekly Black Pearl events might be your cup of tea. If not, definitely scour the wire for Taalam Acey appearances, because he is an artist in the true sense of the word.

Acey has an M.B.A., but instead of going the desk route to success, he used his talent with the English language to raise the stakes in the slam scene. He is the creme de la creme of the the genre, and he is a performer who is copied by more than anybody else in the field.

If you missed him this go round, don't repeat the mistake too many times. I have been lucky enough to see the Dylan Thomas of the 21st century perform more times than I can count. He is a gifted performer who must be seen to be believed.

25 September 2007

North Market

Choice is a fantastic thing. North Market provides plenty of choices. I chose to eat there the other day. I'll choose somewhere else in the future. Let me explain.

North Market is a supermarket that features a wide variety of options, from Vietnamese to Mexican to Italian. There are many things available that can satisfy a wide variety of vegetarian (and not-so-vegetarian) options.

The variety and the quality of food is excellent. While these options provide a great reason to check out North Market, forcing customers to pay for parking is pretty ridiculous. The food is already more expensive than chain grocery stores. The parking lot staff did a poor job of expediting the lot which ate up extra time because of pay-to-dine parking arrangement.

The market provides interesting options. The best option is to use the parking lot to save the frustration of city parking. The hassle, however, is barely worth the trip. The market is a good lunch spot with great food to eat on site or to prepare at home. With a little extra effort, this could be a great dining option. I'll be waiting.

Check out the pictures below, and be sure to tell the parking lot staff that they should build a free, multi-level parking lot if they want to have me back.

North Market

22 September 2007


After work today, I took a magic carpet ride over to Bexley for lunch. While I was in Crapital Country, my flying carpet dropped me off at Aladdin's Eatery.

Aladdin's is a chain with locations in six states. They don't, however, serve crap fast food. The focus is on healthy Middle Eastern cuisine with a few extra wrinkles.

Aladdin's is not entirely vegetarian, but there are many options on their menu that are vegetarian-friendly.
Some of the best main courses are the sandwiches, which are served in pita bread. They come rolled (which is smaller) and stuffed (which is a whole honking pita stuffed with salad and accoutrements). The stuffed pitas are so big that they are a meal by themselves. You might want a side or an appetizer with the rolled pita sandwich. I tried the hummos falaffel rolled pita while considering the arbitrary nature of Arabic spelling.

The vegetarian chili, pictured above, was also excellent. Aladdin's also offers salads, dips, grape leaves, pita pizzas and various non-alcoholic drinks, including juices, smoothies, tea, coffee and pop. Enjoy the pictures below, and if you go to the location in Bexley, be sure to urinate on the Capital mascot before you leave town...or if not, check out one of the many other locations.


21 September 2007

Hug a Vegetarian Day

International 'Hug a Vegetarian' Day Friday, September 289

One week from now, it is National Hug a Vegetarian Day. I'll be expecting some serious embraces from a whole lot of places. Next Friday, hit me up--I give good hug.

Thai Orchid

Roses are red. Violets are blue. Orchids come in a variety of shades, and wild orchids decorate the Thai countryside. All of this is hopefully enough of a lede to get you to read about my lunch at Thai Orchid.

Thai cuisine can offer a great variety of vegetarian options. Spring rolls can be prepared for vegetarians, and many Thai restaurants offer curry dishes with tofu and vegetables. There are, however, some warnings that vegetarians should be aware of in Thai dining. Thai curries are often made with fish sauce, a salty concoction that adds a savory character to the curry in a Thai dish. Many Thai dishes contain fish sauce, but asking your server to omit the ingredient at the Thai Orchid or other restaurants will usually get you a vegan dining entree.

The lunch menu has few vegetarian options printed for the diner to peruse. However, almost every item on the menu can be prepared vegetarian, with tofu exchanged for the meat and fish sauce excluded. The dinner menu offers more vegetarian selections. I started with the tofu tod, which is deep fried tofu served alongside a seasoned honey peanut sauce. This sauce is sweet and rich, not unlike a Chinese sweet and sour sauce with a crunchier texture because of the crushed peanuts.

Since it was lunch time, the menu lacked veggie options. The server suggested that I order a holy basil chicken vegetarian style. The dish is pictured above. Tofu was substituted for chicken and fish sauce was omitted. The basil provided a great base for the slightly spicy curry, which flavored the tofu nicely. The dish was listed as hot, but medium spicy probably would have been a more apt description.

Thai Orchid does a pretty brisk lunch business. They also offer a 10 percent discount for take-out orders. Get a sense for the place through the pictures below, or stop in to experience Thai Orchid yourself.

Thai Orchid

Thai Orchid on Urbanspoon

20 September 2007

Cycling the News Cycle

Floyd Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title in a move that came as a surprise to nobody but Floyd Landis. I believe the story received way too much press because Landis and O.J. Simpson lack a certain characteristic called credibility, with Landis having the additional problem of competing in the only sport that could rival football in terms of being associated with steroids. Actually, Simpson has a better chance of being found innocent than Landis had based upon simple examination of facts. If somebody wants to put together a novel and enlightening article about the Tour, I would suggest trying to track down the guy in cycling who isn't on drugs in order to introduce me to an unknown quantity.

The Senate failed to pass a measure that would have been the first step in bringing troops home from Iraq. Come to think of it, I'm trying to remember the last time the Senate succeeded at anything. It was might have been recently, but I really can't put my finger on the exact date.

It was a great news day for loony world leaders and ideologues. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, had his request to lay a wreath at the memorial for 9/11 declined. He would have been received less warmly than Art Modell at a Cleveland Browns convention. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
is ordering his countrymen to set their clocks back a half an hour in order to create more daylight. Notice to Chavez: Day light and school hours can be changed without the arbitrary time shifts. Don't fix it if it ain't broke. And everybody's favorite fundamentalist cretin Osama bin Laden has issued a call for attacks on Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf because of his actions against mosques in Pakistan and his cooperation with America. Musharraf countered by cutting off bin Laden's supply of beard dye.

Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather filed a $70 million law suit against his ex-employer for damaging his reputation in the wake of his termination. CBS might actually give him half of that if he'd agree to come back and take over for the ratings slump that is the Katie Couric experience.

If you haven't gotten your fill of election coverage yet, definitely check out the Slate piece about Mitt Romney's make-your-own campaign ad Web site. You can go ahead and insert any random Mormon joke and make it Mitt's campaign slogan. Bonus!

In sports news, I'm still baffled that Tank Johnson signed a new contract. Obviously character means little and talent means everything in the NFL. The most surprising fact is that the Cincinnati Bengals didn't sign Johnson after the Cleveland Steamers dropped a 51 spot on their defense. His character would have made Johnson a natural fit in the Queen city.

Finally, if Notre Dame didn't look bad enough playing football on the field this season, hopefully the burn of lost income at Bowl season will sting enough to make the school rethink its independent status. Even without a conference, Notre Dame will still finish the year in last place in its division.

Blue Nile

Dining can create a bond. It gives people a chance to converse while obtaining nourishment. Blue Nile, an Ethiopian restaurant, serves its food family style on a big platter, allowing conversation and conviviality to grow along with the waistline.

I grabbed lunch with my friend Bri, who sadly is leaving town for bigger and better opportunities in the nation's capital. Blue Nile provided a shared experience for us before she leaves for D.C., and according to the menu, eating from the same plate and injera bread creates a bond of friendship and loyalty. I'm starting to buy into this theory. Bri--we're on the same team now. We have eaten from the same plate. I'll expect you to treat me accordingly.

The restaurant, named after the most important river in Ethiopia, has many vegetarian choices that can be ordered individually or as part of a platter. The appetizer was a vegetarian sambusa, a samosa-like dumpling filled with potatoes, peas and spices. There is an interesting shared culture between Ethiopia and India dating back to ancient times. The two countries had a bond in trade, and this link led to related (but hardly identical) cuisines.

The vegetarian combo (pictured above) is huge and can be ordered depending on how many people will share the mosseb, or plate. Our mosseb included tikil gomen (cabbage cooked with onions and peppers), mesir wat (split lentil cooked with garlic and berbere, a spicy stew), kik alicha (yellow split peas cooked with onions, green peppers and garlic), shiro (spiced and milled chick peas with onions) and debinja (fresh eggplant cooked with tomato, onion and spices). It came with an enormous piece of injera on the side, and injera was also under the five items. Injera is a bread that is high in protein. It tears up so you can scoop up the food from the plate.

There is a full range of beverages including beer, wine and liquor. Like an Indian restaurant, there is also rice pudding for dessert.

Blue Nile offers great food and an interesting cultural experience. Check out the pictures and check out the food. Also, don't show up alone. Sharing plates with a companion just might make you friends for life.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile Ethiopian on Urbanspoon

19 September 2007

Beer and Pizza

Beer and pizza are college staples. Beer and pizza are bachelorhood staples. Being a recently graduated bachelor, beer and pizza also fuel my days off.

The Food section in today's Dispatch offered a pizza recipe that I modified to great success. I bought a 1/2 pound of grated aged gouda, mozzarella fresca pearls, a red onion, fresh thyme, whole wheat pizza crust and corn meal. I already had parmesan, fresh garlic, sea salt, fresh ground pepper, crushed red pepper, olive oil and dried thyme.

This pizza is made like a white pizza, with the crust drizzled with extra virgin olive oil. The onions were sauteed with olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. The crust was topped with parmesan, mozzarella and aged Gouda cheese, sauteed onions, garlic, red pepper and dried thyme. In Italian, the food was prepared molto bene. I have no idea how to say that in Dutch, and I pronounce Gouda "goo-dah" rather than "how-dah", so I'll leave the sentiment to be expressed in a Romance language.

The pizza provided an outstanding compliment to my brews. The first beer was the 2007 Pyramid Brewer's Reserve Hefe Weizen. Pyramid is a Seattle brewery that was one of the first domestic outlets to introduce the American palate to the German style that is now a ubiquitous part of the summer beer season in the States.

Pyramid's Reserve Hefe offers up the classic notes of tropical and citrus fruit, balanced by that classic Northwest hop character that is typically lacking in a mass produced domestic wheat beer. The brew was at least a shade or two darker than the regular Pyramid Hefe Weizen, which is the beer that made this brewery's name.

The second beer was an artisan ale produced in the classic Belgian golden ale style, aged in oak barrels and fermented with wild yeast. The brewery was Jolly Pumpkin from Michigan. This brewery offers beer that is produced according to exacting standards. Many beers are bottle fermented, giving the brew a more complex character than the Continental pilsners offered by most American macrobreweries. This ale is spicy with a tart contrast that makes for a sneaky drunk experience with 8 percent alcohol by volume.

I'm a sucker for Belgian style beers, but Jolly Pumpkin makes great beer that is inspired to greater things rather than a purely derivative product. I'll be sure to try some other offerings and see if the whole portfolio is as good as the Oro de Calabaza.

The third beer in the tasting came from dog-friendly Lagunitas Brewing from California. Their latest seasonal offering is their second tribute to Frank Zappa, a statement that would make you want to drink the beer if it tasted like sweat socks. Luckily, the beer displays more apricot and floral notes than notes of gym socks, so it was a complex, fitting tribute to the God of outsider rock. Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow.

Beer number four came from the suburbs of Chicago. I used to visit Two Brothers all the time when I lived a half an hour away in Palatine. Nowadays, the only chance I get to sample the Ebel brothers' wares is when an enterprising liquor store or restaurant decides that the Warrenville brewery is worth carrying. If you find the beer, try it out, because you'd never believe that this beer comes from an industrial park in a suburb of a suburb of Chicago.

The brewery is nestled amongst the Western suburbs' manufacturing hub, and it is a great spot to explore for people involved in home brewing enterprises because of the Ebel brothers and their alliance to the home brewing tradition. The Double IPA Hop Juice offers hop bitterness in droves, with a medium sweet front that counterbalances the hops. The IPA is very good, with a more pronounced bitterness than the Heavy Handed IPA along with an additional malt character. Two Brothers makes great beer, and I hope the new location produces beer at the same quality level of the airplane hangar they used to work at.

Great Lakes always offers great seasonal beer, and seldom is a beer season as electric as during Oktoberfest. The Cleveland brewery's Oktoberfest beer is a ruby brew with a subtle hop characteristic that is perfectly balanced by a rich malt character that makes this beer a perfect quaff. Much like Oktoberfest, you can drink this beer over and over again.

This is one of the greatest brew pubs in the United States. The food is as good as the beer, making Great Lakes a must have for Cleveland sports fans and other members of the 216 clan.

Finally, if none of the other beers were funky enough, Ommegang has their last limited release beer fermented by brettanomyces yeast. Brett yeast has a funky, barnyard character that has to be experienced to be believed. If you like your beer different, Ommegeddon showcases the funky elements of this idiosyncratic yeast strain. You will get a finished product that is enjoyable because of its unique character. Each beer provided a fantastic contrast to the delicious Gouda pizza, and none of the brews possess flavors that are less than captivating. Enjoy the beer and enjoy the other bells and whistles.

Beer and Pizza

Microsoft Drives Me Crazy

In what must be one of the saddest stories of all time, the cyber-pirate Microsoft Corporation lost its appeal and may be forced to pay a record €497 million court fine for anti-competitive practices in Europe. Bill Gates will get to celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day with a giant, "Arrr, matey! Shiver me timbers!" after the European Union pillaged and plundered the booty in Gates' bank accounts.

The Federal Reserve cut key interest rates in a move designed to improve America's economy. Hopefully the new energy in the economy will generate enough scratch for Bill Gates to pay off the right people in Europe.

One of the day's most interesting stories was the L.A. Times piece on the multimillion dollar cache of fine art in Iran that is kept in a basement. The works of Picasso, Van Gogh, Pollock, Warhol, Monet, Pissarro and Bacon are kept in an underground room with the public unable to view the art because of political and religious concerns. Perhaps we could sell Iran some of our more modern artistic treasures like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan so they can also keep them hidden from public view.

Immigration and issues of illegal aliens come up in interesting places, including the fine wine industry, where wineries that require manual labor in order to harvest the best product are under strain because of tighter border security limiting their potential pool of workers. I don't know how many illegal immigrants it takes to make my favorite single vineyard California Pinot Noir, but if the quality of California wine goes down, I'll be more than happy to buy my single vineyard Pinot Noir from Burgundy.

Today's favorite conduit for controversy is Andrew Meyer, the University of Florida student who was subdued by police Taser in a video that was featured in a post here yesterday. Critics are starting to question his credentials as a journalist after reading some of his editorials that were basically senseless rants with little to no fact checking. Hey,
famouswriterman, I guess Andy Warhol's prognostication of everybody having 15 minutes of fame was pretty accurate.

Also in regards to the difference between fame and infamy, the Dallas Cowboys signed embroiled defensive lineman Tank Johnson to a two-year contract. Luckily for Tank, he's more difficult to tackle and take down with a Taser than Andrew Meyer was, so the police will usually ask Johnson nicely to turn himself in when he's a wanted man. Unluckily for the NFL, Johnson is also a magnet for trouble. Hopefully he can stay out of jail long enough to face the Bears in the post-season.

Speaking of football players and felonies, Texas is leading the nation in players suspended and crimes (allegedly) committed this season after Coach Mack Brown suspended running back James Henry for being charged with two felonies in retaliation for a separate incident involving two other Texas football players and an (alleged) armed robbery. Mack Brown is allegedly the coach, and allegedly he recruited these felons, so if the University of Texas is indeed allegedly an institution of higher learning, they should fix some of these real problems before the governor calls the National Guard to take down your roving (and 6th- or 7th-ranked) gang of thugs.

Finally, in vegetarian news, Alicia Silverstone is getting naked to promote vegetarianism. It's good to see that her cruelty-free diet has helped her to shed some of that Batman weight. I have had a hankering for Silverstone since her appearance in the Aerosmith videos, so she does qualify as an animal product I would eat.

18 September 2007

Banana Leaf

Bethel Road in Columbus is a decent stretch of restaurants. The Refectory, one of the top restaurants in the state, sits on Bethel. The Winking Lizard offers 100 beers in bottle and draft along with a limited vegetarian menu. There are many other dining establishments along this major thoroughfare. Hidden near 315 sits Banana Leaf, a Southern Indian restaurant that makes dynamite vegetarian and vegan cuisine.

My buffet platter, pictured above, featured light, airy vegetable pakoras, saffron rice, a rich, spicy tomato soup and many different rices, breads and chutneys. The soup was delicious, as was the seasoned potato dosa that came to the table along with a bottled water.

Banana Leaf is so named because of the Southern Indian tradition of eating food from plantain and banana leaves. This shortcoming in Franklin county was addressed by placing an image of a banana leaf at every place at the table. They serve traditional vegetarian dishes, including chaat, the Indian equivalent of street cart fare. Chaat can be ordered mild or spicy.

The small restaurant does not serve alcohol but does offer pop, coffee, juice and lassi. The buffet is $8.95 and seemed fairly priced with a decent variety. Enjoy the photos and enjoy the chaat.

Banana leaf

Banana Leaf on Urbanspoon

Taser my Brain

John Kerry can't buy a break. He loses the Presidential election in a controversial fashion. Now he's tied to a different controversy, this one involving a University of Florida student getting Tasered at an appearance Kerry made. This goes on to prove that wherever John Kerry goes, mistakes are sure to follow. Kerry wishes he could have flip flopped his choice of appearances.

There is a nominee for attorney general, and that nominee is Michael Mukasey. They couldn't just leave the position unattended, although putting Alberto Gonzales in charge of the justice department or suggesting Harriet Miers was fit to be on the Supreme Court was about as close as America could get to legal anarchy.

People are up in arms about the decision of Fox to censor Sally Field at the Emmys because of her swearing and talking about the Iraq war on television. Like I've been saying, Sally Field could start a riot...she makes Don Imus look like Johnny Carson. Be careful with that one.

Leading scientists are predicting a huge earthquake in the near future in Indonesia. The quake might lead to a subsequent tsunami. Predicting natural disasters in Indonesia is about as difficult as forecasting a Keith Richards drug binge or a University of Texas football arrest.You know it's coming...you just can't say exactly when.

BBC details the technological advancements made in the U.S. and U.K. now that the two countries have turned into Big Brother. It's amazing how gadgets that are supposed to make us feel safer manage to make us feel paranoid and in danger.

Finally, research is out that suggests liberals are smarter than conservatives. Some people have countered and said that the units aren't really a measurement of intellect. Whatever the truth may be, social science does support the theory that President Bush is dumber than the average slug.

17 September 2007

For your next vacation

If you're looking for a vacation in a fun place full of culture for the whole family, Minneapolis might be the place for you. You can take a family photograph at the toilet stall where Larry Craig allegedly solicited gay sex along with all the other shutterbugs. You'll get the opportunity to teach the kids about government and uh, other things.

Benevolence Cafe

There isn't enough good will in the world. People are fast to complain about anything and everything. The world needs more kindness, more (dare I say it?) benevolence. While spite and misfortune will endure in the world, at least there is an oasis of respite in the city that goes by the name of Benevolence.

Benevolence is a vegan bakery that makes numerous vegetarian dishes. It is located on West Swan Street in the Short North, and if you didn't know exactly where to look, you might walk right past this cozy little cafe on your way to the doctor's office. This place is worth locating because they have excellent lunch specials that allow you to group soup, salads and/or sandwiches into the combo of your choice. Benevolence is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I couldn't refuse the falafel sandwich (pictured above), which came with tahini dressing and was served with cucumbers, lettuce and onions on a whole grain bread. As a special side note, all breads in Benevolence are vegan, although some other items are prepared in a less strict vegetarian manner. There is the option of soup or salad along with a sandwich, and the soups change daily. I tried an East Indian stew, which was a medium spicy ginger and coconut broth loaded with green beans, potatoes, peas, lentils and mushrooms.

Other soups included curried ginger cous cous, gazpacho, tomato and carrot bisque, Samdhar curried lentil and cream of mushroom. Other sandwiches include the veggie sloppy joe and the baked tofu sandwich. Dinner specials also include lasagna and tofu stroganoff, both of which are served with a free side salad or cup of soup.

The cafe/bakery is also a green establishment. They recycle all take out items, clean with environmentally sound materials and stick to the basic philosophy of reduce, reuse and recycle.

Spread good will and try out Benevolence. Enjoy my benevolence in posting the photos of Benevolence below.


15 September 2007

Katzinger's Delicatessen

If the question was, "Are delis and vegetarianism mutually exclusive?", I think I might know the answer and exactly where it's at.

Delis aren't your typical go to spot for vegetarian dining. Katzinger's, however, located in German Village, doesn't go the route of most sandwich shops that offer one nondescript slab called the veggie sandwich. Katzinger's instead has six varied vegetarian and vegan sandwiches that beat the tar out of the assembly line products that you get at Subway and Quizno's.

The place also stocks gourmet food items, including olive oils, spices, salts, pasta sauces and other foodstuffs, some of which were available to sample. There are also two pickle barrels filled with garlic and dill pickles to sate you while you wait for your order. (Warning: the garlic pickles were no joke. They weren't sorta garlic pickles or kinda garlic pickles. They were like slathering your insides with garlic pickles, and I'm still breathing fire as I type. Plan accordingly.)

But back to the sandwiches. Sandwiches are available in small and large sizes, and come with the options of many different sides. I tried Fred's Jazzy Pita Treata, a vegan offering that consisted of hummus, cucumbers, spinach, tomatoes and kalamata olives in a pita. The menu also lists Franklin's Kibbetz, made of Katzinger's fresh mozzarella, pesto and tomato grilled on sourdough bread, and The Good, The Bad and the Lawyer, a farm bread sandwich grilled with marinated portabella, oven roasted vegetables, and spinach, amongst other choices.

Side dishes include chips, salads, and one of my personal favorites, potato latke served with sour cream or apple sauce. You also shouldn't leave before checking out the fantastic cheese selection at Katzinger's. They have piles of imported and domestic dairy, including a limited selection of raw milk offerings.

Like most places with a long history, the word has gotten out about Katzinger's. The place is so famous, the fried Twinkie President Bill Clinton stopped by while campaigning to have a sandwich named after him (and devouring a few of them before he left, no doubt). You can tell from his gut that Clinton was no stranger to good eating.But as for yourself, you should definitely plan to spend a few minutes in line there, because it is well worth the wait.

Check out the pictures and check out the place.


Katzinger's Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

14 September 2007

O.J. Sucks at Crime (Allegedly)

He's ba-ack! The Juice just couldn't stay out of the headlines. Years after his famous murder trial, O.J. Simpson has been questioned about a break-in and theft of sports memorabilia in a Los Vegas casino. If he did it, the law might finally squeeze the last pulp out of the Juice.

Another case has had a verdict rendered...Bush is staying in Iraq. The Nation offered an analysis of the war on terror, calling the current Bush policy illegal, immoral and misdirected.You can only hope that somebody in Congress will finally step up to the plate and take a swing at smashing this policy over the Green Monster that is the White House stubborn streak. I pick Kucinich because he would look the funniest rounding the bases (and also because his vegan diet allows him to swing a sweet stick).

On the indefinite detention in the war on terror front, the Pentagon censored an audio recording of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, believing that the material could be used as recruiting material in the YouTube world. This is probably a bad move. Everybody remembers how big 2 Live Crew got after the government tried to censor them. The U.S. doesn't want Osama bin Laden to achieve Luther Campbell status. Everybody would be out buying the album!

I just can't get enough of the Presidential mashup. It was referenced here yesterday, and you can put together your own debate, choosing any or all of the Democratic candidates to answer questions within a set time frame on Iraq, health care, education or a random jab by comedian Bill Maher. Web 2.0 candidate Barack Obama leads the poll so far with 36 percent choosing him as the winner over runner-up Hillary Clinton (32 percent). Eddie the Ambulance Chaser finished a distant third as of press time. The technology in these debates is still developing. Hopefully in a few years we'll be able to ask candidates like Mike Gravel directly if they really, truly believe they have a chance at winning or if campaigning is just a hobby of theirs.

Also on the subject of Bill Maher, he posted a blog entry about those he calls 24 Hour Republican Party People. On the heels of the national sex scandals plaguing the G.O.P. comes the story of the St. Petersburg City Council Chairman committing suicide after allegations arose that he sexually abused three young girls, two of whom were his adopted daughters. The Republican party is just one giant George Michael scandal followed by a night out with Charlie Sheen, ending with confession at a Catholic church.

Concertgoers interested in how their city stacks up against the competition can compare notes in the University of Chicago study that compares music markets. If they were counting, Ohio would probably finish in last place.

The sports jury is in: Bill Belichick's punishment wasn't harsh enough. Belichick, the hooded sweatshirt-clad 007 of NFL head coaches, has to fork over $500,000 for video taping the Jets sideline, while the team loses a quarter of a million dollars and a 1st round pick if they make the playoffs or a 2nd and 3rd round pick if they don't. The Chargers think that Brady and Moss should be euthanized in order to make things fair. The Jets want a penalty more like the McLaren automobile fine. I suggest an even greater punishment--make Lloyd Carr the Patriots coach during a four game suspension to be served by the hooded hoodwink Belichick.

A Hilliard Davidson high school student had his punishment reduced for his role in a prank passing out signs to a section occupied by the rival team's fans at the football stadium that spelled out, "We Suck" when they were held up in unison during the third quarter. The other high school's fans should also have been punished for sucking at common sense.

Finally, if you don't think that people waste enough time watching television or using social networking sites, somebody had the common sense to combine the two endeavors. OMG my top friend is that guy from the MySpace show. Somebody shoot me now.

13 September 2007

Whole World

In honor of the scientific community linking meat production to global warming, dinner this evening comes from Columbus' oldest vegetarian restaurant Whole World. The Clintonville establishment has been serving carbon conscious cuisine (ok, I'll stop with the eco-friendly references before they become trite and meaningless) since 1978.

Whole World serves many vegan selections. Most items can be ordered with any variation of the vegetarian dietary requirements observed. The dining area is small, seating 25 tops. The neighborhood crowd seems to order a lot of takeout. There is no liquor license at the establishment, and I did not inquire as to whether I could BMOB (which is the first person conjugation of BYOB).

There are many different pizzas available at Whole World. They have vegan soy cheese available, as well as whole wheat crust. Pizzas come in three sizes (9 inch, 12 inch and 15 inch). Specialty pizzas include the herb and guacamole, which is a vegan-optional cheese pizza topped with guacamole, tomatoes, sprouts and sunflower seeds. There is also a very interesting option in the Oregon Apple, another vegan-possible pizza made with apple sauce, sliced apples, raisins, seasoning, sunflower seeds and optional cheese. In addition, there are Southwestern and Greek pizzas.

Appetizers include salads, hummus plates and vegan soups that change regularly. On my visit, there was Spinach Peanut, Hearty Vegetable, Mushroom Rice and Tuscan White Bean soup. The salad dressings include vegan Asian sesame, herb and tahini dressings alongside the lacto-vegetarian selections that include creamy garlic (which is delicious) and sweet and sour mustard. There are also nachos, which naturally also can be made vegan or vegetarian.

There are a ton of sandwiches. Whole World offers the piecemeal Broccoli Burger, which is a patty concocted of brown rice, broccoli, onions, bread crumbs, spices and a touch of peanut butter served on a whole wheat bun with lettuce, tomato and onion. Somehow, the synergistic combination of ingredients propels the sandwich to success. Other interesting options include the tofu sloppy joe and Deb's on Black, a baked sandwich that has mushrooms, green peppers, zucchini, colby, provolone and Swiss cheese on black bread served with tomato, avocado, mustard and sprouts. Sandwiches can be made into a platter with organic blue tortilla chips and a dill pickle for $2.

The daily specials included a Spinach Tofu pocket served with a choice of soup, a Mediterranean cous cous salad, a three bean burger and veggie meatloaf sandwich. The bakery also produces an assortment of desserts, including a chocolate peppermint pie, a vegan raspberry tart and a blueberry streusel along with cookies. If I wasn't such a fat bastard and a diabetic, I probably would have eaten the whole case of savory looking confections. As it was I was eating salad and a sandwich was no sides in a pathetic attempt to lose the spare tire that is my abdomen. But if you're looking for some delectable vegan treats, Whole World has them in droves.

The service this night suffered from a shorthanded staff. Customers waited for some time to get tables. This suggested that having a takeout menu and calling your order ahead might be a superior alternative to waiting to eat in house.

There are pictures of my dinner, the restaurant, the neighborhood and the dog in the handy dandy Picasa slideshow below. Check out the photos and check out the restaurant, if for no other reason then the fact that science says it's the ethically responsible way to eat.

Whole World 1

Whole World Natural Restaurant & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Slam Dunk News Day

Big man Greg Oden may be done for the season after he had microfracture surgery on his knee. The first pick in the draft should have plenty of time left to work on his dance moves with the women of Portland while the team is traveling and playing basketball games.

What would the day's news be without a pile of Iraq reports? The Dems are trying to attract moderate Republicans to join the Anti-War efforts in order to prevent a filibuster. A compromise passed regarding oil in Iraq has collapsed. Reports about the deaths of the soldiers who authored a piece that was critical of the military efforts in Iraq continue to pour in. A key U.S. ally in Iraq was killed today by a bomb planted outside his house. The best possible option for the country would be to allow Iraq to be governed by a reality television show where viewers in the country could vote on what steps should be taken next in the glorious enterprise that is democracy. That is, if they can get enough electricity to run "Iraqi Idol."

In other parts of the Middle East, tensions are flaring in Syria after Israel's air strike on mysterious targets within Syrian borders. The strikes were thought to be on nuclear targets. Both sides are tense, and whatever happened, at least the efforts didn't involve a bomb that was as big as the Cleveland Browns performance against Pittsburgh on Sunday.

The presidential debate has gone Web 2.0, with Democratic candidates communicating with the voting public in an online forum that goes by the name of the Presidential mashup. Each candidate offers their views on a series of predetermined questions, and then a few questions are generated by the audience. I'm into the health care issue, and nobody with a real chance of winning has a working plan for guaranteeing health care for all that addresses the issues I'm interested in. Until Hillary quits taking money from the insurance lobby, I'm still supporting somebody else.

Finally, vegetarianism is good for the environment. Scientists have determined that meat production is a significant contributor to global warming. Just keep eating your steaks, Earth killer. You should be able to chase your favorite piece of carcass down with a heaping helping of methane gas. Mmm mmm. Tastes like the apocalypse.

12 September 2007

Jena 6

I'm on a roll addressing racism and prejudice today. Hopefully the Jena 6 trial is the last time I have to address the issue tonight.

This case seems to be ignored or buried by the mainstream media but is passionately defended by independent publications. The story involves six African American students who were defending themselves from a majority town menace that threatened the students with nooses and loaded firearms. The event transpired because of space under a tree that was understood to be a white kids hangout. The black students are charged with second degree murder (two students had the second degree attempted murder charges dropped while one had the assault charges upheld) while the white students who incited the events got off with a three day suspension.

Only in Louisiana and crappy music blogs like Badminton Stamps is prejudice like this acceptable. Hopefully the prosecutor sees the error of his ways and reduces the charges for an incident that was a school fight that sprung out of control because of poor oversight. Sign a petition and let the Justice Department hear your voice loud and clear: This injustice in unacceptable.

The Weather Report in Iraq

I feel safer already. Russia has developed the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the world. The move was rumored to have been intended to make the U.S. nervous. I'm guessing Chechnya is the location that is most nervous.

Today's news was all over the Petraeus report and King George's reaction to the information. Most sources aren't buying the story coming from the General and the Commander in Chief. The next step is for the press to demand a swift guarantee at the legislative level to make sure this empty promise actually comes true.

Also in troubling Iraq news, two of the seven soldiers who authored an op-ed piece in the New York Times that was critical of the reports of success in the campaign have been killed in the line of duty. That eliminates two more people who have more insight into the situation in Iraq than anybody in the White House. Hopefully the administration isn't trying to knock off everybody critical of the surge, because those other five troops (one of which was also shot in the head Aug. 12) and I will have to watch out more than usual.

Disgraced Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has resigned on the heels of a terrible year in office. I'm guessing Britney Spears' manager and publicist are probably doing the same thing right now.

After being accused of cheating by video taping the Jets and publicly admitting said transgression, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has critics ranging from Chargers halfback LaDanian Tomlinson to the media. Belichick is just thankful that he still isn't coaching in Cleveland.

Finally in jazz news, synth great Joe Zawinul died at the age of 75. Zawinul played and composed songs for the titans Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderly before forming the seminal jazz fusion group Weather Report with saxophone virtuoso Wayne Shorter. Zawinul crossed genres and cultures, creating a sound that was equal parts classical European tradition, funky jazz keyboard and rock n roll. Zawinul composed major parts of the jazz songbook, songs that were performed by the legends of the genre as well as currently being played by youngsters trying to cut their teeth. Some of the music sounds dated now, but today's multi-genre fusion efforts in a multitude of styles owe a great debt of gratitude to the pioneers like Joe Zawinul, a man who blazed a path so bright that those who come after him will be able to follow the trail for years to come.

06 September 2007

Operas About Terrorism

German authorities are reporting the arrest of three people plotting to launch terrorist attacks against American and Teutonic targets, seizing a cache of explosives and military detonators that were to be used against unnamed targets in the country. The materials confiscated by the authorities potentially would have been the biggest bomb to explode in Germany since the David Hasselhoff Hamburger video surfaced.

Iraq continues to pile up the bad news. Reports indicate that the Iraqi army will be unable to take over for American forces within the next 18 months. Experts are also crediting reports of decreased violence in Iraq to dubious accounting practices. Hopefully this is all part of the continuing success of the troop surge.

After this blog commented on the pitfalls that have rained down upon the Republican party, the news came in that Paul Gilmore, a Senator from Ohio, died in his apartment at the age of 68. Most Republicans were wishing that Larry Craig would have dropped dead and that Paul Gillmore would have stuck around, but hey--you can't win them all.

Are you ready for some football? The NFL season starts tonight with the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts facing the NFC Championship also-ran New Orleans Saints. The Onion is predicting big things for Brady Quinn. Hopefully another Cincinnati Bengal doesn't get arrested in the stands before their first game on Monday.

The biggest story in college football this year was Appalachian State beating the juggernaut that is Michigan. Now rival Ohio State fans are creating a huge demand for Appalachian State wear in order to taunt the rival Wolverines. Salt, meet open wound.

Finally, in music news, the opera world was dealt a tragic blow as one of its most notable figures has died of pacreatic cancer at the age of 71. Luciano Pavarotti, the most noted of the great Three Tenors, lost a long battle with the disease. He was noted for his warm stage presence, his rich and vibrant tone and his clear diction of Romance languages. Pavarotti was one of the latest in a long line of opera stars to cross over into the realm of pop culture. Recordings will be all that remains of one of the greatest voices of all time.

05 September 2007

Flying High

Daredevil Steve Fossett, an adventurer who set a world record by flying a hot air balloon around the world, may have undertaken his final journey now that his plane has turned up missing in Nevada. I've seen some dangerous elderly drivers on the roadways in my day. I can hardly fathom the insurance premium on a 63-year-old who flies acrobatic planes for recreation. Let's hope for the best.

The White House sidestepped criticism of progress in Iraq by changing the benchmarks for success from a simple yes or no system to a system that adds a status of "partially met." This changes the rate from 15 of 18 benchmarks unachieved to a more modest rating that turns some of the failures into semantic success. Hopefully one of the benchmarks for success doesn't involve families in Iraq being forced to trade homes because of their religion, then later being forced to give up their home because of civil unrest like it does in today's Washington Post. That would definitely not qualify as a benchmark for success.

Everybody's favorite wide-standing Senator Larry Craig will fight the ethics charges against him and is rethinking the idea of resigning his seat in Congress. Senator Skeezy is resisting giving up his seat in Congress far more actively than he was resisting giving up his sex in the Minneapolis airport bathroom according to his guilty plea.

Lean times in Iran have allowed the nation's leaders to gain tighter control over the lives of its citizens according to the NYTimes. Some sources are predicting a that Iran is the next front in the floundering war on terror, while Iranian President Mahmoud Amadinejad believes his mathematical skill and faith in Allah foretell that the U.S. will not attack him because of his nuclear ambitions. No matter who is correct, it seems that everybody involved loses.

Everybody who thinks that Hugo Chavez is the craziest person in Venezuela obviously didn't read the article about practitioners of Santeria unearthing the bones of the dead in order to perform evil rituals. Unconfirmed reports have Michigan boosters casting as many hexes as possible at reviled Coach Lloyd Carr, hoping for a change of course that is greater than being the first team to drop out of the top 25 after starting the season ranked 5th.

Bad press typically comes in waves rather than in a gradual fashion. Check Russia for instance. The country took a special advertising section out in the Washington Post that appeared to be propaganda written by primary school children. Even when they are using public relations, Russia gets called to the mat. Let's hope the article about Russia and the Doomsday Machine is more conjecture than reality after reading the strategic prose in the Post.

But Russia's bad press has to take a seat to the reputation of absolute disaster that is China. Whether it's toys, pet food, copyright violations or coal mining, China has an awful story in all departments. Now, a prominent politician has drawn public scorn for plagiarizing his apology to a court of law. Maybe he should try some melamine appetizers before he gets sentenced in order to save the country any additional scrutiny.