Whole Foods is on my mind, homie, as is grilling fava beans.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
You can’t spell identity without a “d,” “i,” “e” and “t.” We are what we eat. And right now, a lot of us are eating at Whole Foods – this year Weekly readers voted the Monterey outlet (333-1600) their favorite grocery store, organic spot and place for take-out – which helps speak to why a video parody of the upscale healthy grocer has gone wildly viral. In fact, “It’s Getting Real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot” earned the collective behind the video, known as Fog and Smog, the chance to open for the Godfather of Rap, Oakland’s Too Short, in Hollywood just last Sunday.
Like many, I am powerless to resist DJ Dave lyrics like “these fools with clipboards are looking at me like they know me” and “this dude tried to steal [my parking spot] going the wrong way/ Yo man, I’ve had a long day.” Or “This buster’s on his iPhone talking to his friends/ picking up some cayenne pepper for his master cleanse/ You’re the most annoying dude I’ve ever seen, brah/ Could you please move? You’re right in front of the quinoa.”
But another reason to love it lurked below the surface: The man who shot and co-directed it is one of my best friends from college. In fact, before going on to produce for MTV and Yahoo!, Berkeley-native George Woolley helped me pass a musicology class when we recorded a rap song together in my dorm’s laundry room.
He’s not a bad chef himself – he does a mean carne asada – but wait till you hear his rap song “Food Fight” on the blog.
I asked him what the now-ubiquitous video says about our relationship with the high-cost, high-quality Whole Foods.
“A lot of it has to do with the times,” he says. “There are tie-ins to the economy, the foodie movement, and people taking themselves seriously… but mostly I think the song was written by a guy who understands the [foodie] genre: He’s from Berkeley, too. There’s a confluence of comedy, hip-hop and social commentary and a dose of knowing what a hip-hop video is supposed to look like.”
Besides, Woolley adds, he can identify with trying to find a decent Pinot there for under $20, as DJ Dave raps. Humboldt Fog and GT’s Kombucha loved their shout-outs so much they sent along “literally half a refrigerator” of cheese and several cases of fermented tea.
Hit the blog for a new 40-something lady rapper’s response (“You can’t handle the heat in the parking lot?/ Listen man, there’s a Vons right down the block”) and an exclusive link to the remix, where Woolley tastes listeners on nuggets like, “Yeah it’s that free-range, uncaged, Cali-raised/ cat who hits the Whole up every couple days/ I’m knockin’ pesticides and modified in any way/ and creepin’ on trophy moms in the hot buffet”; www.fogandsmog.com.
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I once feared the fava, postponing a backyard harvest because I was intimidated by the work-intensive soaking, shucking and shelling required to extract just a swab of hummus. Then Weekly contributor David Schmalz leapt to the rescue with a recipe as simple and fast as it was healthy and delicious: Toss a pound or so in olive oil and spices (I went for a little herbs de Provence and ghost-pepper salt), cue ’em right on the grill for five minutes (it is National Grilling Month) then finish with another oil toss and a squirt of lemon and sprinkle of salt. Yum yum.
Speaking of National Grilling (and Picnic!) Month, Wild Plum Café and Bakery (646-3109) is celebrating with a couple of promotions worthy of passing along: Chef Pamela Burns’ “Summer Lunchin’” deal is a healthy, fresh box lunch to go that includes one of her noteworthy sandwiches or entrée salads, organic fruit, homemade cookie and bag of chips for $9.95 plus tax 11:30am-2pm daily. Her “BBQ Box Dinner” is also a hearty bargain, with two pieces of barbecued bird, a homemade roll, French potato salad with roasted corn salad on top, a small green salad and a Wild Plum-selected sweet treat for only $12.50 plus tax from 3pm until close. Put that in your grill.
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Terranova Fine Wines (333-1313) across from Monterey Marriott has a winemaker series going to complement their regular vino activities (the two automated tasters and the special charge cards they work with are worth checking out). Sal Rombi of Rombi Wines leads it off with a free tasting-talk 4-7pm Friday, July 8… Point Pinos Grill (648-5774) at the clubhouse of P.G. Muni Golf Course now has beer and wine to go with Dory Ford snacks, encaustic art from Tracey Adams and promise of coming “supper” service… Big Sur Food and Wine Festival recently announced its 2011 dates as Nov. 3-6. Not only have director Toby Rowland-Jones and company re-upped on the beautiful gateway opening tasting at Highlands Inn and trademarked Hiking With Stemware™, they’ve added a “Magical Mystery Tour” which will include visits to at least three private properties stacked with wines and fave chefs. www.bigsurfoodandwine.org… Lopez Restaurante and Cantina (324-4260) has got a tequila session with Centenario, Corralejo, Casa Noble, El Agave and Frida Kahlo reps all pouring pure agave glory 6-10pm Monday, July 11. $15 in advance, with Lagunitas beer flowing too… “Damn I’m ’bout to check out,” DJ Dave raps. “Pay my $80 for six things and get the heck out.”