Monthly Archives: June 2010

Happy Fathers’ Day

I love my dad.

He taught me everything I know about being a man, and I can think of no better way to live than to turn out just like him.

Share

Leave a comment

Filed under Chop Rants!

The Perfect Fathers’ Day Gifts at the Quinntessential Gentleman

In the heated, noisy, and sometimes treacherous downtown streets, the Quinntessential Gentleman is nothing less than an oasis. The shock of comfort and relief a man feels when crossing their threshold is much the same as what the desert wayfarer feels encountering the shady stream or the drifting sailor feels upon washing up on the shore. We know this firsthand; the QG will not just give you a haircut, but provide you aid and comfort as much as you like, and send you off ultimately feeling like a new man whose been given a fresh start.

We told you earlier this week about Rodney Henry, who built his pie shop from the ground up, virtually creating his own market through a constant attention to quality and tradition. Craig Martin has a similar story, and the QG’s unrivaled skill, attention to detail, and posh environment have made them an invaluable asset to the state of Maryland.

Bosca Tribeca leather messenger briefcase. $300.

Comparing the QG to your average barbershop is something on the order of trying to compare a limousine to a bicycle. One look around will assure you that this is no ordinary barbershop. Not only does their wide range of services outshine other shops, but their lounge is head and shoulders above most downtown bars and restaurants. They’ll hold a bottle of your favorite spirit for you, or float you a cold beer or a hot cup of coffee or espresso to enjoy while you’re shooting pool, brushing up on your putting, or taking advantage of the free wi-fi.

What keeps you coming back though is the service. It’s well nigh impossible to go up South Calvert without double checking the back of your neck or the shine on your shoes. Even if you’re hair is in good shape, it’s hard to beat a chair massage and a glass of whisky on the rocks for a little me time. When those geniuses came up with that ‘Find Your Happy Place’ nonsense, they were probably sitting around inside the QG.

QG Humidor Starter Kit. $60.

No matter what sort of dad you’ve got, the Quinntessential Gentleman has something great for Fathers’ Day. We’d highly recommend sending your old man there with a gift card in hand, and if you’ve been asleep at the switch this week you can even browse the menu and print gift certificates out online, which is incredibly convenient.

Even if dad’s not close to downtown, you’re still in luck, as QG offers an ever-increasing selection of accessories and accouterments from high end shaving and styling products to that most traditional of Fathers’ Day gifts, the necktie.

Stewart Stand Money Clip. $30.

While we’ve got to admit that many of their offerings are a little too novelty-esque for our own personal taste (think sports logo cufflinks and ties printed with little repeating jolly rogers), we did find plenty to like in the way of Fathers’ Day gifts. If the Chop had rugrats running around, we’d be thrilled to receive the Stewart Stand Bi-fold Money Clip which is on offer at half of its original $60 price and is perfect for any time you won’t need a full wallet.

We were also quite taken with the Parker Heavyweight Safety Razor. Safety razors have seen quite a resurgence in the last couple of years, and those who use them seem to swear by them. At $45, this thing will likely last forever and pay for itself once you quit buying grocery store cartridges at almost $2 a pop.

Parker Heavyweight Safety Razor. $45.

Some of the best looking cuff links in the store are also the most reasonably priced. The Celtic Cross design is a hell of a lot classier than that ‘kiss me I’m Irish’ button the old man likes to break out on St. Paddy’s day. Matching tuxedo studs are also available if you’re sitting down to dinner.

The Chop does not approve of smoking, but if dear old dad is given to enjoy cigars from time to time, the Humidor Starter Kit will look great in any study. It’s a QG original, and the kit can hold up to 50 smokes and includes an incredible amount of value for only $60. They also carry several high-end cigars in the shop.

QG's Celtic Cross Cufflinks. $45.

Finally, the Bosca Tribeca Leather Messenger Briefcase is something of a lavish gift at $300, but good things cost a good sum. The truth is that this is of such quality that you’ll likely inherit it someday, and it’s stylish and beautiful enough that you’ll actually want to.

Additionally, online orders (save gift cards) are now 10% off until Monday, 6/21 when you use the code “dadgift” at checkout, or you can save that 10% in the store by mentioning that you’re a fan of QG on Facebook.

__________________________________________________________

The Quinntessential Gentleman is located at 31 S. Calvert Street downtown. 410-685-SHAVE. They accept walk-ins and appointments 7 days a week.

Share

2 Comments

Filed under A Day in the Life of the Chop

Tragedy: a Tragedy @ Single Carrot Theater Tonight

When the young thespians behind Single Carrot Theater decided to find themselves a home they searched far and wide before settling on Charm City. It goes without saying that we think they’ve chosen wisely, and their arrival here has illustrated something that we often say about Baltimore: it’s probably a crummy place to visit but it’s a wonderful place to live. That’s true not only for people, but for theater productions as well. While many touring productions that come through are artistically questionable and barely profitable (looking at you, Hippodrome), local productions are consistently interesting and unique.

Tragedy opens at Single Carrot tonight. Film at 11.

That’s as true at SCT as anywhere. Baltimore is certainly a city of niches, and the Carrot has found theirs and settled into it quite well. They’ve quickly become a cornerstone of the Station North neighborhood and have been winning awards and new fans at such a consistent rate that it’s almost hard to imagine when there wasn’t a Single Carrot. That’s how naturally they fit into Baltimore’s cultural landscape.

Tonight’s sold-out show marks the official opening of Will Eno’s Tragedy: a Tragedy (with sneak previews having been staged this week). The New York Times famously called Eno a “Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation.” While the Chop doesn’t pretend to know too much about theater, we do pretend to know about news. Or fake news. Or news that is dumb enough to be fake. We watch plenty of it anyway; like watching Tony Hayward on the Hill as we type this avoiding questions about an actual tragedy, and let us tell you, it is certainly tragically absurd. So we’re excited to see art imitate life on stage tonight… and more than a little scared that life will out-ridicule the ridiculous.

We’d love a chance to get to the theater more often, and to cover it in this space. It seems to us though that it’s generally not the sort of event to which you drag all your old punk-rock buddies, and it would be awkward to go alone. To us the stage is best appreciated with a date. Not just any date will make a great theater date though. She’s got to like theater of course, as well as being all-around wonderful and someone we’d want to see a lot more of. Lucky for us, we found a great theater date for tonight.

__________________________________________________________

Single Carrot Theater is located at 120 W. North Ave in Station North. 443-884-9253. Tragedy opens tonight and runs until July 11.

Share

Leave a comment

Filed under Baltimore Events, Theater

Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go @ Creative Alliance Tonight

What’s going on tonight Baltimore? Are any of the bands we like playing? No? Anyone opening a gallery maybe? No? Is there some sort of charitable benefit or political cause in which we can involve ourselves? No? Nothing coming to mind? Guess we’ll just have to go down to the Creative Alliance and see more beautiful women shake and strut and tell bawdy jokes. It’s a hard life sometimes.

Dangerous Curves turns your knuckles white at the Creative Alliance tonight. 8 pm.

The Dangerous Curves Ahead Tour is, as far as we know, the first of its kind with five of New York’s biggest burlesque names sharing the stage with local acts in over 20 cities from coast to coast (saving the best for last, of course). They’re hosted here in Charm City by our own Trixie Little and Monkey who are worth the $12 admission all on their own.

The Chop had a great time the last time we went to see burlesque, and judging by the sparse crowd in attendance due to the holiday weekend, we’re guessing you missed it, so we recommend getting down to the east side tonight. The Patterson may not be Alice Dean’s, but it’ll do!

__________________________________________________________

Creative Alliance at The Patterson is at 3134 Eastern Avenue in Highlandtown. 410-276-1651 $12, $10 for members. 8 pm.

Share

Leave a comment

Filed under Baltimore Events, Other

Throwdown Viewing Party, Live Music @ Mum’s Tonight

If you’ve been following this blog with any sort of regularity, you might already know that we’re definitely not a foodie, but you definitely know that the last thing we’ll recommend doing is watching primetime TV.¬† In a bizarre twist of fate tonight, that’s exactly what we’re recommending¬† in one of the most random events we can remember happening… ever. Tonight is the night that the Food Network is set to air the Dangerously Delicious episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay.

The show will premiere at 9 pm, and Baltimore will be celebrating with a viewing party at South Baltimore’s own Mum’s. Yep. Mum’s. This is going to be sublime in so many ways.

If you know Mum’s at all, you know it’s not the kind of place that lacrosse players, condo-board types and tourists just stumble into on a whim. The show will not be competing with the World Cup or the NBA Finals for screen space. Nope, this is going to be a dedicated crowd, and they’re all going to be giving their full attention to booing, hissing and cursing Bobby Flay. And why not? It seems to us that there could be no more stark contrast in the culinary world than Flay and Rodney Henry. One is one of Baltimore’s prominent small businessmen who literally invented what he’s made from nothing. The passion and dedication that Henry has poured into his shop comes through in each bite, and he certainly deserves every bit of success he’s found. He can also rock a hat better than just about anyone in Baltimore. The other is a grating prettyboy with a rich-kid attitude who revels in his own celebrity and is the antithesis of everything Baltimore is about.

The Chop loves us some quiche, and broccoli mushroom cheddar quiche alll-most made our list of the top five late-night drunkfoods. We’re hoping the that the Dangerously Delicious crew will bring along a few varieties to go with Mum’s cheap drinks.

One thing we know the Pie Man will bring along is his guitar. In addition to the throwdown, tonight is one of the more unconventional bills you’ll find in the Baltimore music scene. We haven’t actually seen Rodney Henry play since his days in the Glenmont Popes, and the last time we saw the Popes was right around the same time we got a driver’s license. So yeah, it’s been a while.

He’s also got H.R.’s Human Rights Band to agree to play. They don’t make too many appearances, so the chance to check them out at Mum’s is worth noting. There’s been a lot of talk on Baltimore streets about H.R. since that citypaper article came out a couple years ago. The Chop has heard plenty of gossip and rumors that we will not repeat here. We’re going to go see the man for ourselves.

The bill is going to be rounded out by the duo of Lazlo Lee and Heidi Lynn and Baltimore’s Link Wray influenced garage-a-billy Young Jaguars.

Come on Baltimore. It’s time to put your fork where your mouth is.

__________________________________________________________

Mum’s is at 1132 S. Hanover St. in Federal Hill. Doors at 8. Throwdown airs at 9, and will be re-run at midnight if you’re watching at home.

Share

1 Comment

Filed under Baltimore Events, Other, shows

Chop Style: How to Shop at Target

You can ask any woman and they’ll all tell you the same thing… you can find some really great stuff at Target.

It’s no accident either. Whereas their main competitor Wal-Mart seems to purposefully sell the most generic, basic and bland sorts of items across the board and across the country, Target’s designer fashion program is consistently on-trend, versatile, and affordable, and is not only key to their business model, but to their success as well.

Whether it’s through partnerships with big name designers like Jean Paul Gaultier or Alexander McQueen, nationwide agreements with labels like Mossimo and Converse, or just hiring talented, sensible designers into their house label, design sensibility and reasonable prices make Target almost impossible to ignore.

It's hard to go wrong in a pair of Levi's.

Unfortunately, as with some other stores, women seem to have it much better than men in the aisles of Target. The Men’s section in every Target we’ve ever seen has been underwhelming, to say the least. Not only is it relegated to a small corner of the store, but it often looks more like it’s full of overgrown boys’ clothes than anything an actual man would wear. Still though, if you choose carefully it is possible to come away from Target with a few great pieces of clothing without spending much money at all.

The main thing to keep in mind is that you are in fact a man, and not an overgrown boy. This alone will rule out entire swaths of the men’s section very quickly. Once you get past the many racks of giant hibiscus printed board shorts, cargo shorts, and crummy graphic tees you’re on the right track.

While you’re at it, you can also skip right over any and all dress shirts, slacks, jackets, suits, shirts or anything that one might wear to an office. This is not where Target excels, and you’d do much better to pick these up elsewhere. Despite the partnership with Converse, the men’s shoe section can’t hold a candle to an actual shoe store. Once you’ve gotten past all this, you’re left with what is generally regarded as weekend wear.

Great for outdoor parties because it attracts women... and barbecue sauce.

As with any large chain, Target selection is dictated by volume. The good news is that everything is seasonally appropriate. You won’t find yourself buried in cable-knit sweaters in July or perusing shorts in December. The bad news is that sizing is at it’s most basic and is very limited. Most menswear in Target stores is labeled S,M,L, or maybe XL. Jeans run from about 30″-40″. If you’re accustomed to ‘big and tall’ shopping, you can likely stay out of Target entirely.

For the rest of us, it is crucial to keep in mind a rule you would follow at all times: Don’t outfit yourself entirely from any one store. We put that in bold italics because it’s important. It doesn’t matter whether that store is Target, Banana Republic, or Brooks Brothers. Buying too many clothes from one source shows through on the street, and it never looks quite right.

100% cotton and flat fronts. What more do you want?

What you’re looking for at Target is typically solid basics like a pair of Levi’s or Wranglers (mind the Brett Favre dad-jeans though, there are plenty of those around), some flat-front chinos or a casual button up or polo. It can also be an outstanding source for certain accessories, most especially socks, belts, boxers and hats.

The hat selection is much better than you’d expect, but keep in mind that it’s very easy to look like a total shart in a hat. Don’t even try it if you’re under 30, and eschew any shred of irony.

Several types of polos, all under $15.

By the same turn, it’s also a terrible place to shop for accessories. Sunglasses, wristwatches, and anything else that’s not socks, belts or boxers can be pretty tacky and is usually of very poor quality.

Our ultimate advice? Don’t go to Target for clothes. But if you happen to be in there for a new TV or a set of dishes or a small appliance, be sure to at least glance at the clothes. You might be pleasantly surprised.

__________________________________________________________

Note: because of technical issues with Target’s website, these photos are of similar products. They’re of about the same quality and fairly well representative of Target’s offerings. Sorry about that.

Share

3 Comments

Filed under Chop Style

Event Promoters Litter Baltimore Streets… Literally

Oh Monday. It’s been a long and busy weekend in Baltimore. Everyone’s tired. Most people are sunburned. Some of us are still hungover. With everything that’s gone on over the last 60 hours or so since everyone quit the workweek, it makes sense that no one feels like doing anything and there’s fuck all going on. We don’t feel like doing anything either, so we’re giving today’s post over to a public service announcement.

This is a very poor promotional strategy.

We’ve been noticing a trend of late that promoters for various parties/events or establishments have been leaving postcards scattered along the sidewalks in certain areas with high pedestrian traffic. These brightly colored and gaudy pieces of litter are like a trail of paper breadcrumbs, illustrating exactly the path on which some lazy flier-man walked. ‘Here’s where he crossed Calvert. Here’s Where he went down Baltimore Street. Here’s where he ran out of fliers and called it a day.’ To the area promoters who are guilty of this we say:

KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF!

It’s bad enough that we have to deal with an endless barrage of sub shop menus, fliers under windshield wipers and a new copy of that Sun Plus piece of crap every other day. Sidewalks strewn with several hundred promo cards for some strip club or the latest ‘grown and sexy’ party are absolutely the last thing this city needs.

If the city council is still looking for new ways to gin up revenue through taxes, fees and fines, we’d like to make a humble suggestion…

Share

2 Comments

Filed under Chop Rants!