Thursday, September 23, 2010

carman's country kitchen

When I lived in Eugene, my girlfriends and I used to frequent an establishment called Ruthie B's Tea House. Ruthie B's was not reasonably priced, but what it lacked in economy it made up for in magicalness. Upon arrival, every customer was shown to a room full of hats and feather boas, to don while brunching. The water had slices of various citrus fruits in it, and before you ordered, the waitresses would sprinkle your table with dried lavender, sing songs, and blow bubbles over you.

Ruthie B's is one of the only things I miss about Eugene that is not a person. Luckily, I found it's sister-restaurant right here in south Philadelphia.

Carman's Country Kitchen exclusively serves brunch, which means they are only open Friday-Monday from 10am-2pm. There are just four things on the menu, and the four things change every week. The decor is a quirky combination of whimsical and raunchy (mardi gras beads and kitschy cherub-statuettes hang out with teacups that have penises for handles). They brew pots of tea as well as coffee, warm the honey bear before they hand it to you, and set every table with hot sauce, heavy cream, and little pots of exotic jams. Carman, owner and sole chef, is a phenomenon, and her sense for flavor combinations (similarly quirky) is the final touch of magic.

That was peach and blueberry french toast, shrimp and grits, and the best thing I've ever had at Carman's: challah french toast with black-fig-and-chevre topping, fresh blackberries, figs, and candied pecans. Side of country sausage.

And no, I am not being paid (in food or money) for this post. I just can't help but share the glory of Carman's. It's on 11th and Wharton, and there is no sign on the place - just a red pickup truck parked outside, with a picture of Betty Boop and their slogan: "Carman's Country Kitchen: She put the cunt back into country".

Sunday, September 19, 2010

things that make nine hour drives almost seem okay

Fields looking golden, and even a few changing leaves.

'This American Life' iPhone app. Pay $2.99, and then you have every episode of TAL ever aired, for free (thanks, Chris O'Brien, for this priceless tip). I HIGHLY recommend 'Act V'.

Stopping in adorable towns along the way for yard sales and Flea Markets (note: this only works on weekend drives). Dig this $.50 find.

Brown sugar cinnamon Pop Tarts.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the art of tilke elkins

Yesterday I received a birthday gift from my dear friend Tilke Elkins.

Tilke is an extremely talented visual artist with whom I used to live, in Eugene, Oregon. Among many other accomplishments, she spent seven years creating a hand-painted, ad-free children's magazine called All Round, and designed both of my recent album covers ('Buoy' and the 'Beau' EP).

She also made all the art in my house, including this birthday gift.

And this painting of Jakes and Dustin, the main characters from 'All Round', playing hide & seek in a hayloft.

This is a print Tilke made in college, rediscovered at her parents house in Vermont, and gave me on a visit there earlier this summer.

This is Tilke's "color portrait" of me. It's supposed to be the colors of my essence, and I'm pretty sure she hit the nail on the head, there.

Here are a few issues of All Round magazine, which makes SUCH a great gift for kids and their parents, and of which you can order back issues here (click on "All Round" at the top right).

Tilke and her husband, Nick, also happen to design websites, including Tilke's website, which is definitely the most beautiful thing I've seen on the internet.

PS. Yes, I use old windows as picture frames.

Friday, September 3, 2010

best scrabble play of all time

That's right: triple J, double word. For a total of 121 points. It was beautiful. I get all misty-eyed just thinking about it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

gratitude and clarity

First of all, thank you. I got an overwhelming, beautiful and heartening response to my previous post. I couldn't ask for sweeter or more eloquent fans. I am moved right back atcha.

Secondly, I want to clarify that I am not thinking of quitting music or the music business. I decided to let you in on the worry and ambivalence that happens in the dark nights of my soul, in the interest of feeling less isolated in there. Thankfully, my mind is still functioning fairly reliably, is dimly but steadily lit, and always gets me to my gigs on time.

This is the greatest job I can imagine. I will probably never learn not to question everything I do, even the things that are clearly right and good. Luckily, this method breeds good songs, if not much comfort.