In re: Audiophile review of Playstation 1

“A year ago, when I heard that some audiophiles were using Sony’s original PlayStation 1 as a CD player—my friend Michael Lavorgna, who writes for 6moons.com, was the first to cross my attention—I was more than a little confused. Sure, I’d heard of the Sony PlayStation, just as I’ve heard of the Game Boy and Nintendo (and Starbucks, and American Idol, and Anderson Cooper). But which is which? What do they look like? How do they work? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know” via  Stereophile 

Came across this fairly recent review of the Playstation one, the now dated video game machine.  What made the review interesting is that they don’t plug the playstation into their TV, instead the audiophile in question is hooking up the PS1 as a CD player to high grade audio equipment and using his audiophile grade ears to examine the results.  Why would anyone want to use what is now obtainable for $15 on ebay as audiophile grade equipment?  Well according to the results: ” the PS1’s midrange was remarkably clean, present, and tactile. On Tony Williamson’s “Boatman,” from Still Light of the Evening (CD, Mapleshade 08952), the guitar fills and G-runs were notably more audible, more nuanced, and more impactful through the PS1 than through Sony’s own SCD-777ES SACD/CD player. Amazing.”  

So the moral of the story?  Well among other things its is certain audiophiles are strange creatures and that while for half of us, knowing that something is labeled newer, better, etc we assume it is, who knows maybe LPs do sound better…

In re: Bring your own bike lane

   0lightlane“Instead of adapting cycling to established bike lanes, the bike lane should adapt to the cyclists. This is the idea behind the LighLane. Our system projects a crisply defined virtual bike lane onto pavement, using a laser, providing the driver with a familiar boundary to avoid. With a wider margin of safety, bikers will regain their confidence to ride at night, making the bike a more viable commuting alternative.”

via LightLane concept creates bike lanes where there were none – Core77.

 

Columbus is actually pushing forward with bike lanes and idea of ‘complete streets’ i.e. that streets should be taking into account more than just cars when being developed.  Its obvious though that not every street is going to get a bike lane and that one major downside of biking is getting caught late, when even with proper lighting can be a scary proposition.  Thought this was kinda an interesting idea, although probably won’t be seeing it anytime soon.

In re: Guinness Stew

With cold and dark weather the norm this time of year, suddenly certain dishes that don’t look and sound so good in July become the perfect comfort foods.  Of course soups and stews head up this list of comfort foods.  One such stew that I came to know when doing a January trip to Ireland a few years back is Guinness Stew, a lamb or beef stew that can have any number of variations, but is generally a simple affair of meat, carrots, onions, celery and of course Guinness, the ubiquitous Irish beer.  Making use of the crock pot I got a couple months ago I tossed in the ingredients, including some beef stew meat that I had browned up in pan after tossing them with some flour and salt, and deglazed the pan with Guinness and tossed this into the stew pot along with some water, some fresh herbs, some garlic and some tomato paste, (I am probably leaving something out as well, but the point is its flexible).  Anyway, the crock pot doesn’t boil it so to thicken it the way I like after cooking I made a dark roux on the stove top and thickened the stew liquid that way.  

Of course like any good Irishman would do I served it with some potatoes in the form of some mashed potatoes that I floated in the middle there and also baked up some soda bread.  (The Irish climate doesn’t grow hard wheat, the high protein flour that is right for bread baking, instead their soft flour is more like a cake flour and they need to use chemical leaveners such as baking soda to do bread.  The downside of this is the bread goes stale quickly, but the bread can be nice and doesn’t take much effort or time.  Just flour, salt, baking soda and buttermilk (the chemical reaction with the last two gets the rise)).  

Anyway, it all turned out quite nice, especially on a cold night.

 

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Warm stew on a cold night

 

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Soda Bread

In re: Blu-Ray? Only if your 20/20

Apparently vision experts in England have concluded that the gains in resolution via Blu-Ray aren’t worth it for many folks, as they can’t see the difference.  Why is that?  They don’t have good enough vision.

“But many consumers are wasting hundreds of pounds on high-definition equipment because their eyes are not sharp enough to pick up the superior resolution and colour, experts say.”

via Hi-Def TV a waste of money for many, they’re too short-sighted to tell the difference | Mail Online.

In re: No Knead Bread

A few years back Mark Bittman had a column (The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work) talking about no knead bread he had been introduced too. The bread wasn’t some soda bread or pound cake, it was a real yeast bread with character, flavor and texture, things that we all associate with KNEADED dough. Through a simple method that uses moisture and time the bread is able to develop and align the gluten (the point of kneading, that then allows the co2 to be trapped and give lift to the loaf. Anyway, as you may recall I had made some baguettes that turned out surprisingly well considering I didn’t know much about baking and after seeing a reference to the article and recipe recently that got me thinking I still hadn’t tried this out. Last night I started the recipe out before going to bed, didn’t take more than a few minutes to mix up a slightly scaled down recipe (I didn’t have a pot to hold the size loaf the recipe created) Basically you make a dough of flour, salt, yeast and water that is very wet and only has a 1/4 teaspoon or so of yeast, and let it sit for 18 to 24 hours or so, before forming a loaf, letting a second rise and then baking in a hot dutch oven or other vessel that sits in the oven for a half hour before baking (I used my small Le Creuset pot, picture below), bake for 30 minutes covered and another 15 uncovered an voila.   
The results look good, but I haven’t tasted it yet as it is cooling.  img_0115

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In re: Advertising 2.0 – Sacrifice your friends for a whopper

“Fast-food chain Burger King has created “Whopper Sacrifice,” a Facebook app that will give you a coupon for a free hamburger if you delete 10 people from your friends list.”

via Delete 10 Facebook friends, get a free Whopper | The Social – CNET News.

Gotta give them some points for creativity,  Burger King ads will be showing up on Facebook news feeds that read “Tom sacrificed John for a free Whopper.”

 

Update: Apparently Facebook decided sacrificing friends wasn’t good and pulled the plug on the campaign.

In re: On the Fly – Columbus Vegetarian ‘Street Food’

A few weeks back I was driving down King Ave. here in the Short North and I noticed a store front advertising Empanadas. I thought it must have been a new little Mexican hole in the wall (which would have been sweet) but on my way back I stopped in to see what it was. While it wasn’t hole in the wall Mexican, it was the new ‘street food’ concept from the folks as Dragon Fly Neo-V (a vegetarian / vegan restaurant on King). The new concept is vegetarian street food, done simply and cheaply! but with fresh/local/high quality ingredients. Its called On The Fly (although I didn’t know this at the time). The man at the counter spent a lot of time detailing each item and explaining all the components (despite the short menu this took a bit of time). Once ordering two items to try I sat down in the tiny space and enjoyed the vibe of the place (they have a few tables to dine in and have a nice selection of microbrews and wines – a small selection, but nice choices).

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The two things I ordered were an empanada (it was after all the reason I stopped in) I had been torn between potato chili and curried veggie, going w/ the potato, only to find I received by accident curried veggie (he offered to make me the other, but since I was torn I took the curry veg). The empanada was pretty good, had a soft curry flavor (not real spicy), and the veggies as well as potatoes and garbanzo beans had a nice texture.

The other thing I had was a falafel, which he noted wouldn’t feature things like tomato (which of course are out of season), instead the salad components would be things like a beet gastrique (beets cooked w/ some balsamic I think I heard), some pickled veggies, a tahini sauce, a yogurt sauce (i thought he said, but if it was vegan than maybe not), hot sauce (homemade), humus and some microgreens (local).

Anyway, I took a photo (at home) that doesn’t do it justice as it was nicely presented before being wrapped in foil and really was quite a nice assembly with the mircrogreens floating on top.

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So how was it? Well, I’ll say it was good, it had nice flavors coming from all the components and the microgreens gave a nice spicy bite that came through. The downside was that truly great falafels which Columbus may not have (there is a high standard here, so not reaching it isn’t the end of the world) was not achieved. Falafels were good though and I would definitely go again, the garnishes improved the actual falafel balls.