Thursday, July 28, 2011


I miss many things about Detroit. My dear friends and family is without a doubt first on that list. But, god, I miss the restaurants. Detroiters, be thankful for your middle eastern community because there is some supreme lebanese cuisine happening. Shwarma and falafel just doesn't cut it out here ( sorry, baltimore).

But, the best middle eastern food is at my mama's house. I'm biased, sure, but my mom makes a mean stuffed cabbage and bell pepper dish (ask a vegan). She makes a basic green pea tomato dinner seem...spectacular.

So tonight, I made a comforting homemade dish with thoughts of my mom. Arnabeet ba-al outa or tomatem, translates to Cauliflower with tomatoes. Easy! I've always thought the best dishes have just a few simple ingredients(bruschetta, a simple bean and corn salad,etc) and Egyptian cuisine definitely embodies that theory.

All you need is a can of tomato sauce, one head of cauliflower, one large onion, 2 big cloves of garlic, and salt and pepper. If you wanna spice it up a little more, you can always add a bit of cumin but honestly, it's not necessary (thought we love cumin!). Saute' those veggies in some butter or margarine, add the tomato sauce and finally the cauliflower florets. This is basically how most Egyptian vegetable dishes are prepared(try spinach). Simple ingredients go a long way in our world! This is similar to the indian dish aloo gobi, minus the potatoes.

P.S. These tomato based vegetable dishes are usually paired with rice or the ever present pita bread (it's pretty much a utensil, use them hands kids).

eat up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hitting The Road.

Not exactly. But soon. I've had a cross country trip planned in my head for many years now. Mainly, I've had the urge and desire to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico. If this trip takes me to any other place, even better. But I have a pull towards New Mexico and one day, no bullshit, I'll be there.

Yes, that will be the story. Highway strangers, RV breakdowns, mountains, vibrant reds and oranges, diners....Shit, this just sounds like the life of a trucker.

If you see one of these on a highway bound for New Mexico(in the next few years), make sure to wave hello.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I heard this song months ago and thought it was a new project from Amy Winehouse. I remember thinking, when I get home I have to look it up to double check. But then, I get home and I close my eyes real tight to remember the lyrics so I can google them and...blank! I hate that.

I eventually found it and it was Adele. Call this a guilty pleasure, lapse in taste, whatever..I really dig it.

God, I loved Back to Black. Literally, every track, back and forth a million times. It was an exciting return to soul. Depth, hip shaking and heartbreak simultaneously. Goodbye to a great talent.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I recognized my age today. I don't know If I feel comforted by this, or bothered that I couldn't appreciate it the freedom and musical escapade in an outdoor festival. I viewed photos from this year's Pitchfork Festival in Chicago. I read of girls eating corn on the cob from the muddy, booze infested water that several sweaty, shoeless 20 somethings easily sloshed around in.. for days. I couldn't find the appeal. I love live music. Really, even If the music isn't that great, I find myself feeling like at the minimum, I went out and made an attempt at something "artful". I consider myself someone who appreciates and respects the bohemian lifestyle, but corn just doesn't taste right after some dude stepped in it, you feel me?

I really just have beef with these events because I'm too short to see shit. Disregard the rant.

Here's a couple artists(courtesy of that i would have braved the heat for. P.S. I'm starting to really like Philadelphia's Kurt Vile. It's an easy listen.

Kurt Vile

Fleet Foxes

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

a week of this.

I haven't blogged in a week. I have no legitimate excuse except my soul has been taken over by instant Netflix(heat go away, so i can get some fresh air!!), the occasional book browsing and coffee shop stops, bouts of writing, and books by Anthony Bourdain (I'm captivated by his crudeness). I DO work, sometimes.

I'm sure I've mentioned my love for NPR's tiny desk concerts, haven't I? They are, exactly what they imply- An unplugged, intimate concert in NPR's main music office. You can hear the 20 enthusiastic claps and shuffling around in the background after each song ends. It makes me feel closer to the performance as in, we are the lucky few to be privy to such an event.

They've featured Wye Oak, Damien Jurado, Omara Portuondo, etc. I enjoy the hearty mix of talent that swings through there.

Here's famous gospel singers, The Blind Boys of Alabama! I love that you can tell the audience is enjoying every minute of it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

stories. short ones.

I have a short attention span. While i love novels, I'm not patient enough to sit still and focus on a long reading task..I do need to fix that. There's been a few novels that were compelling enough that I succeeded, but truthfully, that list is not long.

But I DO love short stories. The length, the timeline, the sharpness- it's like a mini adventure. Plus, I think there's a real challenge about writing a good short story..don't you think?

I don't like Chile's Roberto Bolano, I love him. I love that it's been difficult to put it down for a second. This has my full summer reading endorsement(A friend reminded me of him today, always give credit..)

The Wiki page for more information.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

to the middle east.

When moving to Baltimore, I remembered I had a large shoebox filled with family photos. My favorites, by far, were the early photos of my parents from the late 50s on. Style, sophistication, genuine moments..who were these people?? Let's keep it real, those elements don't exist so much in their world anymore. And that's fine, but it's comforting to look back and know that life was a little more rich and exciting for them. At least the photos tell that story. On that note, I've been really interested in finding middle eastern inspired lithographs, landscape photos, early photos of life and work, etc.

I found this!

King Farouk and Queen Farida, former egyptian royalty

Umm Kalthum (1898-1975)

Friday, July 1, 2011

something old, something new.

I typically search for old music, older music- a new door i haven't opened yet. That thought, "why haven't i heard this before?"

It's a door that leads to a room filled with an interesting link from Jerry Lewis to Johnny Cash to hopefully a NEW band that embodies that musical spirit and talent. And that's the real point of all this. I loved Ray Charles first, Otis Redding came after and James Carr followed, and so on..the musical link of discovery. At times, that link ends as the chain moves on to something modern for me. The difficulty in finding new and inspiring music usually takes the wrong turn at an indie-folk band that just doesn't quite do it. But sometimes, you are surprised. With Madeline, I stumbled upon her while perusing the web for a fairport convention song a friend had mentioned in an email. A nod to Sandy Denny's beautiful singing voice came the comparison to Madeline. It's quite lovely. tender, even.

I'll give it a try. Maybe you will too.