buddakan

Buddakan has been one of our favorite restaurants for years. We've celebrated birthdays, anniversaries and dined with both sets of parents. More than six years ago, my wife and I took my parents here with the intention of telling them that we had eloped. It was a nerve-racking meal, but a delicious nonetheless. My dad inspected my wife's diamond ring like he was a DeBeer. A couple years ago, my in-laws from Japan entered Buddakan and chuckled at the giant golden Buddha that anchors the middle of the dining room. I'm sure if they made a Jesuskan restaurant and put a giant Jesus there - christians would throw a fit.

Last night wasn't a special occasion but the dining experience at Buddakan works well for an intimate dinner date as well. We started off with a calamari salad - a bountiful bowl of greens and deliciously crispy calamari splashed with a light vinegar-flavored dressing. My wasabi crusted filet mignon was perfect - tender and moist. The wasabi accent didn't overpower but accented the flavor of the meat. The sweet potato mash provide a nice textural and flavor contrast. My wife ordered my other favorite entree - the pan roasted duck breast. The thin slices of duck allow you to truly appreciate the tenderness. The taste was subtle yet flavorful and the spoon bread melts in your mouth.
I will warn you about the dessert. The Chocolate Pagoda is a monster! You will not be able to finish this towering ode to chocolate on your own. It had to be about a foot high thick with triple layer chocolate mocha chip ice cream, chocolate mousse and hazelnut praline. I surrendered with half of it standing. I didn't want to ruin a wonderful meal by overstuffing myself with chocolate. You know its time to step away when your spouse looks at you and says, "It doesn't look you're enjoying it anymore..."

Red interactive

Cool website for Red Interactive Agency. They allow visitors to create their own character and interact with other visitors. You can chat with other users and start fights. Punching and kicking features are cool. I've had random conversations and fights at the same time!

what's your excuse

Interesting book promotion.

make my logo bigger

Funny vid that all designers can relate to.

SMAPs

An oldie but a goodie from Bistro SMAP. Hilarious how Cage hides his face while eating.



Here's Will Smith on SMAPxSMAP for good measure:

randoms

mary j. blige | work that

talib kweli feat. jean grae | hot thing remix

justice feat. mos def & spank rock | D.A.N.C.E (benny blanco remix)

alicia keys | hurts so bad

9 most racist disney characters

1. Thursday from Mickey Mouse and the Boy Thursday Book (1948)
2. Uncle Remus from Song of the South
3. The Indians from Peter Pan
4. Sunflower the Centaur from Fantasia
5. The Siamese Twin Gang from Chip n' Dale Rescue Rangers
6. King Louie from The Jungle Book
7. The Crows from Dumbo
8. Sebastian from The Little Mermaid
9. The Merchant from Aladdin

From Cracked. Details here.

hunt valley


We're spending Thanksgiving weekend in Maryland visiting the parents. I always feel a little nostalgic when driving around the roads that defined my childhood (mainly routes leading to church, malls or school). Black Friday brought us to Hunt Valley Shopping Center -which was built on top of the ruins of an indoor mall which helped define the 80's shopping experience for kids who grew up in the burbs north of Baltimore. This mall was a little before my time and was more of my older sister's mall (I spent more of my teenage years at the now dead Owings Mills mall). But I still have memories of the old Hunt Valley Mall. Deadmalls.com is a great site for remembering defunct malls across the country. These pics are so 80's! I'm pretty sure they had a Banana Republic when it was all safari with a jeep coming out of the window.

That mall is long gone. In its place is a successful outdoor mall anchored by Wegman's, Filene's, a huge Regal cineplex and a slew of chain restaurants. It follows the blueprint of current suburban development. Got a dead mall? Destroy it and throw a bunch of big box retailers and chain restaurants and people will come.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving





animated type

Very cool flash-animated typography by Takashi Okada. You'll lose track of time staring at the screen.

matching album covers



























More here.

beawon


With winter fast approaching, I find myself craving heavier foods. Korean BBQ is a perfect cold weather food, so we hit up Beawon in Cherry Hill. The restaurant is situated next to a huge Korean grocery. You gotta be on your toes at this type of supermarket. Old ladies will bark in Korean and push you out of the way for that bok choy. One day in the parking lot, a rich middle aged Korean lady rolled her grocery cart at me because she thought I was the Mexican cart collector.

The service isn't too friendly at Beawon either, but its not horrible enough to piss you off. Service is better if you're Korean (which makes up 90% of the dinner crowd) and their community is pretty large and tight in Cherry Hill. My wife could pass - they usually greet her in Korean and greet me in English (no luck for me, I guess).

Anyway, our primary purpose isn't to make friends with the waitstaff. We come to this joint to cook on our own table and stuff our faces. We order 2 plates of Kalbi and throw the succulent pieces of beef on the grill. I enjoy following the customary method of wrapping the beef (along with onions and sauce) in a large leaf of lettuce before stuffing it all in my mouth. The combination of flavors and textures are wonderful. And not only do we stuff ourselves, but we keep warm with the grill right in front of us. Such a satisfying meal on so many levels! Plus you drive home smelling the BBQ off your clothes.

unfortunately placed ads





Here's more.

sweet lucy's



Crossed the bridge into NE Philly for a Friday work-lunch at Sweet Lucy's. I wasn't sure what to expect as we pulled up into this industrial trailer park. I wondered if we were eating lunch or shipping mysterious cargo. Did we bring union credentials? I don't wanna be bullied out back. But alas, we see a small sign and smelled our way in.

While the location was a bit of an eyesore, the interior was suprisingly warm and inviting. Brick walls were adorned with old fashioned pub posters. High ceilings were criss-crossed with wood beams and thick industrial piping and tin tubs used as lighting shades. But the first thing you'll notice is the wood burning pit smoking out enough sweet smelling racks of meat to make your stomach swoon. I've heard that Lucy's is the best BBQ joint in Philly and it lived up to the billing. The menu is very affordable and offers value meals for chicken, beef brisket, ribs and pork. I tried the bbq pulled pork with mac n' cheese and collard greens. The pulled pork was generously slathered with bbq sauce and retained a juicy tenderness. The mac n' cheese was wonderfully creamy and was topped with that little crust of cheese on the surface that elevates it to near perfection. Collard greens were very good if not a little too salty. I finished it off with a light but very sweetly flavored cornbread.

The portions were big enough to satisfy the hungriest of vikings. Upon returning to work, I sought to pull a George Costanza-like nap under my desk. But then again someone would probably smell a trail of Sweet Lucy's and dime me out.

Photos courtesy of foodaphilia.

well covered


The Book Design Review lists their favorite book covers of 07.

throwback thursday



DJ Honda feat Mos Def | Travellin Man

more dap











More tracks from the Daptone Records Remixed: Scion CD Sampler v.19

The Daktaris | Its All A Big Hustle (Mad Professor Remix)

The Budos Band feat. Wale | Chicago Falcon (The Washington Sq. Lads Remix)

The Budos Band | T.I.B.W.F. (Hank Shocklee Remix)

The Sugarman Three & Co. | Take It As It Come (Afrodisiac Sound System Remix)

sean wood photography











































Nice Tokyo street candids by Sean Wood.

sick of going green

I've already talked about grocery cashiers intimidating shoppers into not using plastic bags still made available by their supermarket. I applaud the cause, but there's no need to be all nasty about it. Similarly, this eco-marketing trend is beyond the saturation point. Marketing is all about following trends but the push is so overdone and in your face that its reached the point of insincerity. Yes, its great that people are becoming more aware of environmental issues, but I'm officially sick of everyone going "green".

Are these late-comer companies really concerned about the environment or are they protecting their profit margins by jumping on the latest eco-trend? Any room left on the bandwagon? Any room for my company? Yes, I've been asked by the higher-ups to design a "green" logo promoting our recyclable products on nearly every catalog page. You can guess some of the new headline copy: "Go green, save green" "Green is the new black".

Last week, NBC tried to help its sagging ratings with a Green is Universal campaign, featuring a portion of its Sunday Night Football halftime show in the dark. Although hiding Bob Costas' smug face in the dark may be an improvement, it was just silly . They boasted that broadcasting their show in the dark would save enough energy to power a house for a month. How about all the airmiles they need to travel to cover games? Or how many MPG does John Madden's trailer burn while traveling across the country?

sky's the limit?










































Photos of the yet to be finished Comcast Center courtesy of phillyskyline.com. Skyscrapers were once symbols of progress and optimism. Hopefully Michael Nutter's optimism can bring some sweeping changes when he takes over as mayor of Philadelphia. It was a strange mayoral campaign in which the outcome was never in doubt and both Democrat and Republican candidates. Its hard to disagree on the fact that outgoing mayor John Street was taking the city down the wrong path. I can only shake my head when remembering his failed "Safe Streets" program - especially in light of all the national attention on Philly's murder rate.

american gangster

I finally watched American Gangster. It did not live up to the hype. Which is actually a good thing. A lot of the hype built up this film to be "this generation's Scarface", but it was neither bloody, violent or over the top. Sure it glorifies Frank Lucas but this movie is more of a pensive character study with flashes of gangsterisms.

The most interesting aspect was how Frank Lucas rose above the Italian mob families in the dope game by cutting out the Italian middlemen and engineering the most outrageous drug trafficking plan. He flew to Southeast Asia, bought the dope straight from the source and smuggled it back to the states inside the coffins of dead American soldiers from the Vietnam War. His heroin, dubbed "Blue Magic" was double the purity of any other heroin on the street and was sold at a cheaper price. Even though Lucas claimed to earn $1 million a day, he lived a modest life and layed low. For years, the Feds didn't know who he was and couldn't believe a black man was the top dog among drug dealers. It doesn't sound right to admire a gangster - but Lucas was a pioneer. He ran the first black-owned business in the drug game and elevated it to boutique status.

Yes, Lucas is glorified excessively but he is such a compelling character. In fact, American Gangster's most glaring flaw is that its splits time to present 2 character studies - the rise of Frank Lucas and the journey of rugged cop Richie Roberts. Even though Russell Crowe delivers a nice performance, we don't need so much of Roberts in the story. Much of his background story could have been edited out in order to delve deeper into Lucas' complexities. After seeing the film, I read that the script had originally focused mostly on Lucas but was changed. Perhaps it was altered to attract a heavyweight like Crowe.

People looking for the next Tony Montana may be disappointed. I enjoyed it. Its not a classic, but its a well-executed movie.

givin' dap



Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings | Keep on Looking (Kenny Dope Remix)

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings | Stranded In Your Love (Cool Calm Pete - Sweet Nothing Remix)

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings | Tell Me

WDAP Ghetto Funk Power Hour mixtape

meanbags



















Mean Bags - just in time for the holidays.

randoms


























Alicia Keys feat. Junior Reid | No One (Reggae mix)

Alicia Keys | Like You'll Never See Me Again

Anthony Hamilton | Do You Feel Me?

Adele | Hometown Glory

Guru feat. Common | State of Clarity (Remix)

Kenna | Loose Wires

naughty sketch

video

gym rats












My sister sent me a funny story from Gawker on crazy gym people.

You could call me a gym rat. I'm there 4-5 times a week for 90 minutes a day of running and lifting. As a result, I've logged in a lot of time observing the crazy characters and I'm sure some of them look at me a little funny in return.

There's one lady who makes loud obscene sex grunts as she lifts weights with her trainer. People smirk when they hear it.

There's a dude who wears the smallest spandex outfit and stretches like a flaming contortionist. One day he grabs a mat next to me and tries to "show" me some new techniques. Then he blabs to me about how he loves Bruce Lee and zen. As if I know anything about that stuff. He might be a gay asiaphile or he might not. I won't assume.

There's old men who need to be more discreet with their nudity. A brief moment of nakedness is unavoidable in the locker room but there's no need for you to be fully naked in front of the sink...slowly shaving your face while humming some tune from yesteryear. Is it that hard to throw a towel on?

There's a Paris Hilton wannabe with fake breasts (she disappeared for a couple months only to resurface with a noticeably augmented endowment) in a designer pink Juicy Couture sweatsuit with obnoxious bling accessories. She treats the treadmill as a runway and catwalks slowly so as not to sweat over her makeup or distract her iphone scrolling.

There's an older guy with a sweating problem. He drips pools of sweat underneath himself at the NordicTrack machine. It looks like he had a bladder problem and pissed on the floor...but its really just perspiration. He's courteous enough to lay newspaper under the machine to catch the downpour of sweat. And he spends an hour cleaning up afterwards. Everyone who sees it avoids the machine for the rest of the day.

There's a roaming middle-aged pervert who wears the same sweatshirt every day advertising a landscaping/lawn mowing company. He follows around younger girls around the gym trying to talk to them. He has absolutely no game.

One day, while running on the treadmill, I had the pleasure of observing him on the stairmaster in front of me. He stares at the college age chick next to him for a while - probably thinking of a witty opener and finally comes up with, "Its warmer than usual this time of year isn't it?" She takes off her headphones and replies, "Huh?" He'll repeat his question - raising his voice. She'll reply with a "Yeah...". Awkward silence ensues. She's polite but obviously not interested. He comes up with nothing else to say. Silence signals the end of the conversation and she puts her headphones back on.

After seemingly an eternity of dead air, he inexplicably puts his face in her sight and says "Maybe Al Gore was right...hehe" She takes off her headphones and replies, "Huh?!" He raises his voice again, "AL GORE. You, know...why its warmer than usual...global warming..." This goes on and on. Poor girl had to keep putting on and taking off her headphones as he continued this strange one-way conversation. Finally she leaves. Mildly entertaining but agonizing at the same time.

Its funny to be a regular at a gym. I don't treat it as a social outlet like others. Its more of a "me" time meditative getaway. But you end up noticing and getting familiar with everybody's quirks. And familiarity with a cast of regulars breeds a strange comfort level. I end up making nicknames for everybody...

57even





















































Great work from 57 even, spearheaded by Steven David Muller. I'm a minimalist at heart but I'm drawn to the edginess of the designed chaos behind his work. He specializes in logo, branding, web, print and fine art with clients such as MTV, LRG, Harley Davidson and Obey.

dress code

My department is considering options for a "team-building" event. One guy suggests this trendy upscale bowling lane called Lucky Strike Lanes in Philly. Cool idea until we got to the dress code. (Click to view)

















One lady kept asking me - what do they mean by no headgear - like hats? Of course, I end up explaining things: I don't think they mind if YOU wear a hat...they just don't want doo-rags, wave-caps, headbands, skullycaps or fitted baseball caps. Yes, some guys wear long plain white t's. Its nothing against construction workers...when they say construction boots they mean Timberlands. (Last week I was explaining the Bloods & Crips to her after somebody brought up a news story about their rising numbers in the East Coast. She probably thinks I'm gang-afilliated now haha) As I was finishing up my explanation of their dress code, bleeding-heart liberal dude finally blurts out, "They don't want black people!" (I've heard this guy say the N word while doing his Chappelle impersonation - probably because he feels he's "down") So, I give him props for stating the obvious and tried to hint that its not just black people. Another "enlightened" guy walks in our area and says, "What is this? A bowling alley for rich whites only?" Then, I hear a whispered reply from somewhere, "Yeah my type of place" in a joking way (or maybe not).

After much discussion, the Lucky Strike guy says, "What I don't get it. Are you guys offended by the dress code? I'm not offended by it..." I was about to spit out, "Yeah cuz you're white!" but I refrained from becoming the angry person of color. I merely roll my eyes. Bleeding-heart liberal dude jumps in and cries, "C'mon man, its institutional racism. Its so transparent! They obviously want to keep black people out"

Wow, its so funny to witness white people debating race issues. Especially when you're the only minority in the room and you're hesitant to ignite a firestorm that may brand you. You wonder if the issue would be debated if you weren't there...but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Statik Selektah feat. Styles P, Termanology & Q-tip | Stop, Look & Listen

hang 'em high








































SneakerFreaker has a nice feature on artist Geoff Budd. He's collected photographs for an exhibit called "Sole Intentions" featuring photos of sneakers hanging on powerlines in various locations.

manhole art




































































Japanese manhole cover art.

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