Tag Archives: Mobbies

A Fun Filled Friday at the Old-Punks’ Home

Okay, Baltimore. Today is the last day for you to go over and vote for us in the Mobbies. Go ahead. Click over and do it now. We’ll wait.

Are you back? Okay. Cool. Thanks for that.

Anyway, We’re still hoping to pull out a win in the Music/Nightlife category. We seem to have fallen well behind in the Personal category, which is strange to us, because we continue to think of this first and foremost as a personal blog. It’s solely about the things that we do and think of day in and day out. We just happen to like seeing live music and drinking in bars more than most people.

A visual approximation of dinner at the Chophouse tonight.

Case in point: tonight we will not be attending the Youth Brigade show at the Sidebar. Likewise, we also won’t be going down to DC for the Suicidal Tendencies. And there’s no fucking way we’re going to pay $30 to see Saves the Day at Sonar.

These are all bands we like. At least, we liked them in their time and place. For all of these acts though, their time is well in the past. We’ve already gone on record with our feelings about old bands as well as their aging fanbase, and all of these shows fall squarely into that category. It’s hard to call yourself Youth Brigade when you’re fucking 50, and we’d like to see the fat, aging Mike Muir try to get on a skateboard these days. These bands were about the coolest thing going in the year we were born and if we’re feeling old in 2010, then they must have roadies who are just in charge of Ben Gay, Icy Hot, and prune juice.

Saves the Day gets a bit of a pass, since they’re only about 30, but as a band they have definitely not aged well. Can’t Slow Down was a near perfect post-high school record, but at this point we’re- uhh, very post high school. We used to love seeing this band play in churches, garages, and even a barn, but by the time we saw them in 2005 at the 9:30 Club they were barely recognizable and very disappointing.

So this is not a post about those shows. It’s a post about how the Chop is an old man, and is going to have some of our other old man friends in for dinner tonight. We could post a recipe or two, but we just don’t do that. We might make a risotto or some sort of stuffed peppers. We’re also thinking roasted potatoes and a seasonal salad, and maybe some of the scratch-made corn chowder we’ve still got on hand.

We’re also going to drink brown liquor and talk about how great things used to be and how everything is terrible now, as old men are wont to do.

This is a post about that.

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The Chop’s Cantonese Cookie Cocktail Recipe

First things first: since this is Baltimore, you can feel free to pronounce it ‘Duhmain d’Cant’n’. We really don’t think anyone’s going to call you on it, Hon. If they do look at you funny either for ordering it or for mispronouncing it… then fuck ’em. You’re in the wrong bar anyway.

Now then, you don’t need us to tell you how good Domaine de Canton is. Their website takes pains to tell you just how ‘Ultimate’ and ‘Extraordinaire’ and even ‘Fait a’la Main’ their product is. Fortunately for the rest of us, Boozeblogger translates that into ‘English, Motherfucker!’ and tells us it’s pretty good stuff.

We agree with their assessment, and recommend Domaine whether you’re at home or on the town. Any fan of B & B or Grand Marnier should feel right at home with this stuff. It is, however, a bit on the spicy side, and we doubt you’ll want to polish off the bottle by drinking it straight or on the rocks. There are a lot of great recipes on the Domaine site as well, although none of them are quite as simple, and probably not as tasty as ours.

The Cantonese Cookie

4 oz. Domaine de Canton

juice of half an orange

2-3 dashes blood orange bitters

Note that that says ‘juice of an orange’, and not orange juice. Bottled orange juice will not work for this drink. The bitters are important as well. It’s going to be much too sweet without them, and even with them sort of tastes like a fancy exotic cookie you’d get after your meal in an Asian restaurant. Mixed properly, this drink balances sweet and spicy perfectly. It’s ideal for fans of GM or the Sidecar, and like a Sidecar, it’s a good call year round.

Fucking magnifique, pardon our French.

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Speaking of fancy Asian restaurants, the Baltimore Sun’s Mobbies party is at RA Sushi on Tuesday, and if you can keep us on top of the Music/Nightlife category, we might just show up and buy you a Cantonese Cookie.

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Chop Style: Best Boots Under $200

After a few fits and starts, it’s about to turn genuinely cold and gray here in Baltimore. Leaves are falling, rain is falling, and soon enough there may even be snow falling. Add that to the year-round hazards that pedestrians encounter on Charm City’s streets (glass, chicken bones, strip club flyers), and it’s clear that your stylish summer shoes just aren’t going to cut it anymore.

You need a pair of boots, Baltimore. But maybe you’re afraid to pull the trigger? You want something you could shovel a few inches of snow in, if it came to that, but they’ve also got to serve for everyday wear. Hell, you might even want to throw them on under a suit for the odd holiday party that’s bound to pop up. Clearly, not just any boots will do.

And you probably don’t want to spend a fortune either. Don’t worry, the Chop’s got you covered. We’ve scoured the net and narrowed it down to half a dozen solid choices, all of which are high on style, suited for winter wear, and at or below $200. It’s hard to go wrong with a basic black Chelsea boot, but when you want to step it up a bit, you might consider one of the following options:

Fratelli 8012. $99 at Zappos.com

Fratelli 8012

We’ve got kind of a love/hate relationship with zappos. You’ve got to look through a lot of crap to find anything that looks good, but once you do, it looks like this. These Fratelli’s are unconventional in a lot of ways. They’ve got buckles, which we’re not usually a fan of, they’re cut low on the ankle for what they are, and they’re blue (but available in 3 other colors). Somehow they pull it all together though. They may not be the ideal choice for everyday wear, but they’re definitely going to stand out. $99 at Zappos.com

Mataalii Wingtip boots: $150 at Aldo.


Mataalii wingtips

Wingtip boots are having a moment right now, and we’re all for it. Make sure you’ve got the stones to pull these off though, because they’ll be in your closet for years to come. Don’t worry about it; they’re definitely going to wear well with age, and after your first winter in them they’re going to look a lot less dandy and a lot more pedigreed, which is as it should be. $150 at Aldo

The Denver Boot: $160 at Banana Republic

The Denver Boot

We’ve got a soft spot for Banana Republic, and when they offer things like these boots, it’s not hard to see why. Their Denver boot is tough enough for most anything, and genteel enough for a garden party. Swap out cleats for the uppermost eyelets and hide a zipper inside the ankle, and they’ll even kick off easily if you happen to be lucky enough to escort someone home from said garden party. Now that’s good design. $160 at Banana Republic

Brinley cap toed boots. $185 at Johnston and Murphy.

Brinley cap toed boot

Perhaps you like the wingtip boots above but you’re not ready to commit to the style? A cap toed boot provides a nice middle ground. It’s every bit as classic, but not quite as ostentatious. Once you’ve outgrown your floppy old chukka boots, you may be ready for their grown up alternative. These particular boots are also refurbishable, which few shoes are nowadays (and even fewer under $200) So if you like them, you can literally keep them forever. $185 at Johnston and Murphy

Frye's Arkansas mid-lace boot. $198 at Macy's

Frye’s Arkansas mid-lace boots

If you’re planning to actually work in these boots (whether in the backyard or at an actual job), Then Frye’s got the boot for you. An American company with all the heritage and quality of a Red Wing or Carhartt, Frye’s Arkansas boots are a pretty rare find: a genuine, bona fide work boot that actually looks good enough to wear out on the town. They’re even made right here in the good old US of A. $198 at Macy’s.

Bed Stu 'Post' boots. $200 at Nordstrom.

Bed Stu ‘Post’ Boots

If Frye is something of a throwback, then perhaps Bed Stu is what we can get used to in the 21st century. A lot of talk about humble roots and honest work and good design and quality materials, from a bunch of Brooklyn hipsters who design in some charming old salvaged warehouse building in Bedford-Stuyvesant, but send those designs overseas to be produced and shipped back. Pair them up with an established national high end retailer who wants to foster something of an ‘artisan’ or ’boutique’ feel, and you’ve got fashion’s dominant business model moving forward. This may or may not be an overly jaded view, so we’ll put it aside and look at the boots themselves.

Yeah. Those are pretty fucking nice boots. $200 at Nordstrom’s

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There are no fashion or style categories in the Baltimore Sun’s Mobbies Contest, so you’re just going to have to vote for the Chop in those categories where we are nominated, namely Music/Nightlife, Personal, and Misfits. We’ve been holding our own thus far, but we’re going to need a hand if we want to crack one of those top spots. Head over there and vote now. We’d be much obliged.

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Story/Stereo @ Bethesda Writers’ Center Tonight.

Well, you’ve got us stumped Baltimore. We’re looking around for something to do tonight. Sure it’s Fall and its turning cold and gray, and we had a big weekend last weekend, but come on, it’s Friday night, and we want to go out. So we’re looking around for something to do, and we had to look all the way to Bethesda before we could find something of interest.

What we found though might actually be worth making the drive for and fighting all that Friday traffic. The Story/Stereo Series is set up for another installment at the Bethesda Writers’ Center tonight.

The Bethesda Writers' Center hosts Story/Stereo tonight. 8 pm.

The Bethesda Writers' Center hosts Story/Stereo tonight. 8 pm.

We had never heard of Story/Stereo before this week, and we’ve got to admit it looks like DC totally has a leg up on us on this one. We’ve grown used to Charm City being the place where innovative new formats take root, but the truth is that Baltimore has nothing to quite compare to Story/Stereo. The Writers’ Center brings in various and diverse writers of all stripes, both their own fellows and residents as well as others to read from their works, and pairs them with some of DC’s most talented and vital musicians.

Tonight’s program features Ugandan writer and former U of MD writer-in-residence Doreen Baingana as well as the poet Alison Pelegrin, both of whom will read from their latest works.

But perhaps the more interesting half of S/S is the stereo part. The series has previously landed some notable names in DC’s independent music scene, with past performers including Jon Davis, J. Robbins, and Asa Osborne. The organizers seem to have a talent for eliciting solo performances by musicians who have little to no experience playing solo, making for a unique experience for both the performer and the audience.

Such is the case with tonight’s featured musical guest, Devin Ocampo. When we saw Devin’s latest band, DC’s Medications earlier this year, it was a show we’d have to rank among the best we’ve seen in 2010, So we’re interested to see where he’ll go from there.

Getting artists together to combine their talents and try new things and then presenting it for free? Baltimore should be ashamed we didn’t think of this first.

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Of course, when there are cool things happening in Baltimore, you like to hear about them, which is why you should vote for the Chop in the Mobbies. We’re slipping hard in that Personal category, although we think of this as primarily a personal blog. We’re not quite ahead in the Music/Nightlife or Misfits category either, so help us out, ok? If we pull out a win, we’ll be sure to figure out some way to reward all of you Choppers who made it possible.

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Dead Mechanical Plays Benefit Show @ CCAS Tonight

It’s getting to be that time of year again; the time of year when non-profits and worthy causes of all stripes double down on ‘awareness campaigns’ trying to pull your holiday heartstrings, and get their ledgers in order with some last minute donations before the end of the year. Public radio, pink ribbons, the Salvation Army of bell-ringers… appeals to your sympathy and pocketbooks are about to come from all sides. You’ve been warned.

Perhaps there’s no more deserving cause than Baltimore’s own Charm City Art Space. It’s 8 years and more than 1000 shows now since the Art Space opened its doors, and with a budget of zero throughout all of it, they’ve managed to remain as a hive of creative underground activity without ever feeling like a poor relation (ahem. Senator Theater. ahem.).

Dead Mechanical gets generous at CCAS tonight. 7 pm Doors.

You don’t get more humble than the members of CCAS. Even when they do hold a benefit, it’s disguised as an awesome show, and won’t cost you more than a few bucks at the door, same as any other show.

This has always been the Chop’s favorite sort of philanthropy; the sort where you get something cool for your money, and someone else does the heavy lifting. Tonight the heavy lifting will be on the shoulders of one of our favorite local acts, Dead Mechanical.

Sharing the burden tonight is DC area post- HC outfit Give, and their fellow Washingtonians, the midwestern-sounding mathy Monument.

With a lineup like that you can afford to give til it hurts… or at least until your ears ring.

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Speaking of poor relations going begging, today is day 2 of voting in the Sun’s Mobbies contest. The Baltimore Chop is nominated in the Music/Nightlife, Personal, and Misfits categories, and we’re begging for your vote. Click over there now. It only takes a second.

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O’Malley/ Mikulski Victory Party @ AVAM Tonight

Election nights can be a tough time for political geeks. For those of us who follow politics as a spectator sport, a mid-term election may not be the Superbowl, but it’s at least equivalent to an NFL playoff game. It’s something we get excited about. It’s something we don’t want to sit around and watch alone. It needs to be shared with other political geeks, and not the ones on the Daily Kos message boards either. For nights like tonight, it’s time to turn off the internet and treat this election like the event that it is.

Problem is, you can’t have a house party, because all your friends are going to work tomorrow, and because frankly, the national outlook isn’t primed for a festive atmosphere. Some Great parties were thrown when Obama was elected, but that was a whole different animal politically.

If there's any governor in these 50 states that knows how to throw a party, you can bet it's Martin O'Malley.

Strangely enough, Baltimore also lacks a true-blue Democratic stronghold bar. You could argue that nearly every bar is a stronghold Democratic bar, and even make a case for certain spots near city hall and the Sun newsroom, but we haven’t quite got the Democratic equivalent of a Ropewalk. Where’s the bronze bust of Bill Clinton, eh?

So for those of us looking to make a party out of election night, the only place left to go is straight to the candidates themselves. You can get tears in your beer over at Ehrlich headquarters, but your best bet for tonight is to show up to the AVAM and party with the likes of Martin O’Malley and Senator Barb.

Official celebrations are always nice, mostly because they’re financed with campaign dollars. While this might seem wasteful at first blush, in the real world you can’t possibly have underpaid staffers and volunteers working long hours, evenings and weekends, including really long hours doing ‘get out the vote’ on election day and then not throw a party at the end. It would be a slap in the face to your entire staff and all your supporters. If you didn’t donate or volunteer, then shame on you, but you can still come out and enjoy the fun (Don’t get your hopes up for open bar though. Gotta keep the war chest full for the next cycle).

Tonight’s event is free to the public, and opens up at 7:30, officially beginning at 8 pm when the polls close. Election results will be broadcast and speeches will be made, and the AVAM looks to be one of the brightest spots on a pretty dim electoral night. If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to hit a free buffet (Who feels like cooking on a Tuesday?) and throw on some ritzy clothes. And don’t forget to sport tonight’s sexiest accessory… that little I voted sticker.

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Voting is a great habit to build, and beginning today you can vote for the Baltimore Chop every day in the Baltimore Sun’s Mobbies blog competition. This blog is nominated in 3 categories (Music/Nightlife, Personal, and Misfits), and we’d really like your vote. It only takes a second to register at baltimoresun.com, and after that you can vote for the Chop once a day until November 12. After all, we write this blog every single day to keep you up on shows, parties, culture, fashion, politics, booze and the rest, so why not vote every day?

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The Baltimore Chop’s One Year Anniversary

Today, Baltimore, the 28th of October, is a day of tremendous moment and importance. It’s a big red letter day for us, because exactly one year ago today we launched our humble little blog with this post about the Office of Future Plans at the Sidebar.

Now that we’ve turned 30, a year will go by really, really fast. It’s true that we spent half the year abroad and not writing, but still, it feels as though we’re just getting started. When we began we had very little idea what sort of shape this blog would take. We’re still pretty much making it up as we go along. We’ve got to say, we’re fairly pleased with how things have turned out so far. We didn’t think we’d be able to hack it putting up a post every single day, but we haven’t missed one yet. Most of all though, we didn’t think anyone would actually read this, and we’re still kind of shocked when we find out that people really do. Monday’s post about getting dressed properly produced our best day yet, and month-over-month traffic continues to grow steadily.

The Chop greets throngs of ardent admirers on the occasion of our one year anniversary.

We want to thank you for that, Baltimore. We also want to call your attention to the new share buttons that WordPress has installed for us, as well as the subscription panels in the sidebar. They work quite well, try them and see.

This month also marks the (roughly) one year anniversary of the Baltimore Sun’s Maryland’s Outstanding Blogs (Mobbies) contest. Like we said, we spent a good deal of time reviewing the field last year, and that contest was largely responsible for getting us to go through with making this blog. We’re writing the exact blog that we would want to read every day, because we couldn’t find it among the nominations. We’d definitely recommend you check out this year’s nominations, because there’s some pretty interesting stuff in there, and a few that had escaped our attention until now. As of today though, some of our favorites are still missing, so we might have to do some nominating ourselves if they don’t turn up soon.

Finally, we’re late on this one, but September 30 marked the one year anniversary of our buying the Chophouse. Our mortgage now says “one year down, 29 to go.” This is another thing that still feels brand new and strange, and which we’re kind of making up as we go along. We’ve always sort of secretly braced for the worst of home ownership. A little part of us has thought it was only a matter of time before the roof caved in or the basement flooded or someone seized the deed over a water bill lien or missed ground rent payment.

We’re just now starting to realize that that’s probably not going to happen. When things break, we can fix them. When bills come, we can pay them. The neighbors are nice and the streets are safe and there hasn’t been one single day that we’ve regretted buying here. To the contrary, we wake up every morning (noon) and immediately think of how lucky and happy we are to live here.

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