Browsing Category

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment, Eat/Drank

Underground Kitchen Debuts in Baltimore

May 2, 2017

Back in March of this year, Danielle and I found ourselves in matching outfits, drinking tequila in a bar in Station North at 2am on a Monday. Just like you, we were wondering…how did this happen? Like so many great mysteries, it started with an invitation to a secret club. Even better, a secret foodie club; Underground Kitchen had invited us to attend its maiden voyage to Baltimore.

Sneaky shot of CEO of UGK, Micheal Sparks (behind the table to the right) in the yellow sweater

Kitchen, Underground

Founded in Richmond, Va., Underground Kitchen (UGK) is an ultra luxurious, pop-up style, dinner club that gives off an air of “secret society.” Everyone is welcome to register for an invitation to the event, however tickets are extremely limited (25-40) and typically sell out within minutes. Disclosing the details of each individual dinner only in the 11th hour, UGK features top chefs in unconventional locations, deviating from the idea of a traditional dinner party and pushing the boundaries of culinary creativity. From their press release, “Dinners are based on themes in keeping with the season or the chef’s culinary direction, with theming woven throughout the atmosphere…Previous pop-up locales including art studios, cultural centers, historic homes, warehouses, urban squares, and farms.”

The historic 1840s Ballroom, part of the 1840s Plaza

Secrets Revealed

Danielle and I were told the date and theme of March’s dinner and nothing more. We were given the location two days before the event. It wasn’t until we showed up at 6:30p for cocktails at the historic 1840’s Ballroom off of Front St. in downtown Baltimore, that we were privy to the menu and name of the chef. The theme of the evening was Spring Fling, coupled with Executive Chef of Heart & Table, Tim Delling’s personal theme, In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb. (Sidenote: it was this Spring theme that lead to Danielle and I both wearing the same floral shirt in different colors to the event. *insert Miranda Priestly quote about florals for spring* )

Here we are in our matching Free People tops on a tour of the 1840s Ballroom

Cocktail hour kicked off with a fabulous rosé and mingling with other attendees. Approximately, a half hour later, CEO of UGK, Micheal Sparks, took the floor to welcome us, say a few words about the evening and encourage us all to sit next to someone we did not know in order to enhance the magic and mystery of the evening. Micheal also explained that each quarter, UGK partners with a nonprofit to receive partial proceeds from the events. This particular evening supported the Carol Adams Foundation which works to provide emergency assistance to women and children who are victims of domestic violence.

The Real Reason You are Reading This (Food Pics)

An Underground Kitchen dinner ranges from five to seven courses, each paired with a glass of wine (bless). Chef Tim Delling prepared a five course meal for us, plus a palate cleanser between courses three and four. The first course, burrata and crostini with dandelion greens (In Like a Lion), was delicate and full of flavor, with raisins adding bursts of sweetness to an otherwise savory dish.  The crostini was a tad chewy, but despite this, it was my favorite course of the evening.

Burrata Crostini. dandelion greens, golden raisins, pistachios.

Beef. pickled potato, asparagus, lemon, raspberry, maple.

Impeccable steak with crisp and fresh asparagus (I’m normally not a big fan of this vegetable but could have eaten a whole plate) served over pickled smashed potatoes followed the crostini.  What we thought was goat cheese, turned out to be powdered butter, which held up better and looked much more refined than regular butter as a part of the plating.

Cured salmon made for an unexpected pairing with rhubarb, beet rounds and goat cheese (for real this time). Never in my wildest dreams would I have expected to eat all of these ingredients together… that didn’t stop me though. The smokey salmon balanced well with the tart rhubarb and earthy beets making for quite the play on ‘surf n turf.’

Cured Salmon. beets, rhubarb, goat cheese.

Chilled Mint Pea Soup. herb salad.

In between the salmon and soup was what Chef Delling dubbed “Butterfly Tea ‘Snow'” which resembled a blue granita.  The “snow” turned violet when an acid was introduced and all the guests had a blast squeezing lemon juice into their glasses and swirling the mixture together. (Shout out to everyone at my table and our server putting up with me as I fought to get the perfect boomerang of this chemistry at work.) This kind of food performance art, coupled with the intimate setting, really separated UGK’s dining experience from any other dinner club or high-end restaurant (pop up or no) I have attended in the past.

A small confession: my notes on the final courses became shorter and shorter as the evening progressed, and more significantly, the wine kept flowing. I simply wrote ‘sea salt’ and ‘cool’ about the chilled pea soup, but I can assure you it was both of those things in addition to being light and delicious.  The final course was a most inventive take on dessert, given that it wasn’t sweet at all.  Cleverly resembling a biscuit and cup of coffee, the lamb jus in a mug with a cheesy, herb biscotti was Delling’s cheeky and savory sign-off to the meal (Out Like a Lamb).

Lamb Jus. herb biscotti.

Oh, and the bit in the beginning? About the tequila at 2am? I confess it was a hook to pull you in, but it all happened too. Taking Micheal’s words to heart, we got chummy over the meal with the folks seated at our table. In fact we enjoyed the camaraderie and conversation so much, that we decided to venture out together afterwards to continue the evening….hence the bar in Station North.

We have to thank UGK not only for the foodie’s paradise they’ve created, but for the engaging and stimulating atmosphere they have provided. As a person who leans more towards being Type A than Type B it was actually refreshing to walk into the unknown and allow a situation to surprise me. You can catch Danielle and myself at Underground Kitchen’s return to Baltimore on Monday, May 22nd. We don’t know what to expect from UGK this time around… but then again, that’s the point.

 

To register for the Underground Kitchen invitation list click here or try your luck with a ticket purchase here. There is a two ticket limit for members and pricing includes the meal, wine (a different one for every course. every. course.) and gratuity.

This post was sponsored by Underground Kitchen. All opinions belong to 30th & Weldon.
Arts & Entertainment

Lessons Learned Playing Pokémon Go

July 9, 2016

The highly anticipated release of ‘Pokémon Go’ has hit your favorite app store earlier this week and millennials everywhere are rejoicing/practicing really unsafe walking habits. Pretty much everyone I know born between 1985 & 1995 have been reliving their childhood with Pokémon, which I would argue is one of the greatest influences of our generation. It truly crossed race/class/gender/age lines of childhood—I remember being a 7 year old at the bus stop trading Pokémon cards with kids older than me and younger than me (not to mention this was the first time I would entertain the idea of playing with boys). This piece of 90s nostalgia is better than the resurgence of flannel/floral/Blink 182’s recent album. It is bridging those same gaps and bringing people together.

Since its release earlier this week, I’ve learned a lot—both tips for enhancing game play and life lessons. Of course I don’t know anything, so I’ve enlisted the help of my Pokémon Go group chat (titled ‘Team Rocket’. I am not kidding) to get some of their tips and tricks too.

Be careful.

IMG_2826

You will walk into something at least once. I tripped over nothing but the sidewalk yesterday. The sidewalk. Remain alert and stay woke. I use the same rule of thumb that I just learned in driver’s ed: don’t look down for more than one second. I’ve calculated that to be about 3 or 4 steps, depending on how fast I’m walking. One second is typically enough to make sure I’m not about to slam into a person/traffic/etc. Also, if it is late, grab a buddy. Last night I could see a Meowth in my neighborhood around midnight. I had to fight every impulse in my body to not walk around Baltimore City alone at midnight with my iPhone out in the open. But I remembered to be reasonable and save and maybe that wasn’t a great idea. I still don’t have a Meowth tho so 😑. My friend Mike seems  to think people will die playing this game (he has said it 3 times already). I’m a bit more optimistic, but I guess that just stresses the importance of safety.

Don’t Pokemon Go & drive! 

pokemon go car crash meme

I have this in a separate section from ‘Be Careful’ because I really need you to hear me. Just don’t do it. Now I don’t drive but I know it is not safe, and multiple people in my Team Rocket group chat who all drive also gave this advice. Just put your phone down. What you can do is leave your app open, if you have eggs incubating your drive time counts as km traveled.

You will kill your battery life.

img_2872

Seriously. Just expect it. I took the bus one day from home to work. Left my house at 100%, got to work with 53%. I have a 45 minute bus ride. So yeah…this might be the time to invest in an external battery for your iPhone. Utilize lower power mode as much as possible, available in the app. Also, you will probably blow through your data as well.

You’ll become way more active.

IMG_2847

My co-worker Susie said it best: “I learned that I really hate moving but will walk around in hot ass summer to catch childhood monsters”. No matter how inactive you think you are, you’ll get your ass off the couch because there’s a damn Butterfree in your neighborhood and the little bitch ran away last time you tried to catch it. My friend Haylie has gone on 3 mile walks just to see what she can catch. I’ve started going out of my way to walk more. On Thursday, I got off the bus 7 stops before my stop and walked the 10 blocks home. Yesterday, I left my house 20 minutes before I needed to just so I could do a loop around my neighborhood. I kind of wish I was kidding but also whatever, I’m getting my steps in.

But remember active does NOT mean productive.

IMG_2865

Although you’ll get creative and start exploring more, you may find yourself skirting your everyday responsibilities. Remember to go to work. Remember to eat dinner and take a shower. Remember to write that blog post your promised your business parters you’d write (no matter how close that Psyduck is).

Have a support system. 

pokemon go squad

Or as my friend Aaron puts it, “have a squad group chat for your training adventures”. In addition to Team Rocket, I also work with ~85% millennials so also have all of them to lean on. Questions will come up and you will want someone to lean on to give you some good information. Here’s a Facebook group I was invited to for players in Maryland. (PS: you can totally add this post to your list of resources. If you have a game-play question, I’ll answer it and will outsource the answer if I’m not totally sure).

13620281_273373039693130_252307564532520679_nTake a buddy with you on some of your more adventurous quests. If I’d had a Poké-buddy, I could’ve gone exploring to find that Meowth the other night! Also, the more people in an area, the more Pokémon the game brings to that area, so group exploring is totally encouraged.

Somethings aren’t what you’d expect.

Pokémon use stardust and candies to evolve and power up. When you catch a Pokémon, they come with a certain amount of species-specific candies and general stardust (can be used for any Pokémon). These candies are used to help Pokémon get stronger but also to evolve them. The more Pokémon of one type you collect, the more candies and stardust you get. So go ahead and catch that 25th Pidgey, you’re that much closer to your dreams of owning a Pidgeot. Except Eevee. Eevee is a little betch and evolves on her own 😑. You also can’t interact with other people really, although I’m hoping this changes.

You’ll want to throw your phone.

IMG_2866

You will become all-too familiar with the friendly ‘our servers our down, sorry’ message even though they don’t look fucking sorry in that picture. Also, why is Magnemite even there????? You’ll get pissed when a Pokémon runs away from you after you’ve wasted 15 Pokéballs on catching them.

13567191_273394959690938_3548645497390814845_n

You also may start to resent the people around you.

pokemon go meme

Hearing about victories of people catching Growlithe and you’ve just seen your 50th Zubat of the day. Its tough to not be a little jel of everyone but just know that you’re about to catch a Clefairy and then they’ll be jealous.

You’ll explore uncharted territory.

pokemon go meme

A teen in Wisconsin stumbled upon a dead body. People are exploring college campuses, parks, and using public transportation because these seem like ways to get even more Pokémon. Just you know, don’t trespass and you’ll be fine. And alert the authorities if you find a dead body.

pokemon go spongebob meme

I think my friend Becca sums it up best when she said: “what’s so awesome is how much this game is bringing people together. I’ve heard nothing but stories of strangers coming together which is awesome”. She also thinks gaming is heading in this direction. And that is also pretty cool. I’ve talked more about Pokémon in the past 72 hours than I have in the prior 15 years. I forgot how big Pokémon was in my life, and I am grateful

Are you playing Pokémon Go? What is some of the most valuable advice you’ve received? What questions do you have?

 

Arts & Entertainment

Summer Reading List 2016

June 12, 2016

I absolutely love reading, but I’m such a busy little bee these days (three jobs will do that to ya) that I definitely don’t read nearly as much as I’d like to. But this summer, I’ve decided not to allow myself to make excuses – I’m going to take my summer reading list to the interwebs so I can count on you lovely people to hold a bitty accountable to her goals.  I always have a note in my phone of books I want to read, which I subsequently add to my library wishlist. Yes, I have a library card. Yes, I use it often. Fun fact – both Baltimore County and City libraries have pretty good pick up programs! So even if your local branch is small and doesn’t carry much (cough, Hampden, cough) you can select books online and pick them up. Here’s the books I’m adding to my list this summer, some new, some classics I’ve been meaning to get to / revisit:

 

51miICppIIL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

1. The Girls by Emma Cline – The webz are blowing up about this soon to be released novel about the girls of a cult inspired by Charles Manson. The book was apparently fought over by publishers and is already signed to a movie deal, so expect to hear about this one around the water cooler this summer. Basically, the internet made me do it.

love-water-memory-225

2. Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge – Inspired by a true story, Love Water Memory is  about a woman with a rare form of amnesia and her journey of self rediscovery. I feel like I’m constantly on a path to self rediscovery  because #twentysomething, and I can barely remember what I ate for breakfast – so we’ll get along well.

 

51dYjMhklKL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

3. You’ll Grow Out of It by Jessi Klein – The memoir of one of Amy Schumer’s writers about the trials and tribulations of growing into a full grown Adult Lady in the 21st century. So basically all of our life stories, except she’s actually funny.

 

the-outsiders-by-se-hinton

 

4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton – This is one that’s been on my life book list forever, so I’ve decided this summer is the one. I’ve decided to forgo my annual reading of Perks of Being a Wallflower so I really hope it lives up to expectation. Let’s do this, Ponyboy.

51lprRT5YCL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

5. Modern Lovers by Emma Cline – Whatever pool or beach I can manage to park my tush in front of this summer, I’ll throw this read in my bag. A good beach read doesn’t make you think too hard but does make it hard to put down to jump in!

 

What else should I add to my reading list this summer if I get really adventurous? Would you like to see a review of any of these books? Comment below!

Arts & Entertainment

Something to Listen to: Our Favorite Covers

June 10, 2016

In my humble (ish) opinion, a cover is one of the most fascinating things a musical artist can do. The ability to hear another artist’s work and be able to re-imagine it, often in an entirely different form of musical styling, while still maintaining the integrity of the original work, is a skill that has always been so impressive to me. Not only is it a tribute to the original artist, it often brings to light a piece of work that did not receive it’s due attention when originally released – like Ed Cobb’s Tainted Love covered by Soft Cell roughly 20 years after it’s release. (Marilyn Manson’s version of Tainted Love is my favorite of all the versions of this song.)

 Often I find I enjoy the cover version just as much, sometimes more than the original.  I love The Used/My Chemical Romance version of Under Pressure just as much as the Queen/David Bowie version and prefer Butch Walker’s ukulele rendition of Taylor Swift’s You Belong With Me. Don’t worry, I’ve included both in this playlist in the event you haven’t heard them. My absolute favorite kind of cover is when the artist picks a more obscure song and covers it so well that I had no idea it was a cover to begin with! Ellie Goulding’s Hanging On is actually Active Child’s Hanging On and Pete Yorn and Scarlett Johansson do a beautiful rendition of Chris Bell’s I Am the Cosmos (which I thought was their original for the longest time). 

I asked Julie & Danielle to throw a few of their favorite covers into this playlist and I mixed them into my picks. (Can you pick out who listens to what?) I hope you find some new ways to enjoy some of your favorite songs with this 30th & Weldon Favorite Covers playlist. Happy listening! 

Arts & Entertainment

What to Watch: TV Shows That Deal With Mental Health

May 29, 2016

The past few months, I have been watching even more TV than usual. I’ve gotten some new shows under my belt and I realized a few of them had something in common—they all effectively deal with mental illness.

To wrap up May, which is also Mental Health Awareness Month, I’ve rounded up some of the best TV shows that deal with mental health and mental illness. While representations of mental illness in the media can to be a bit problematic due to a lack of understanding/funding and a desire to stereotype, the shows below handle mental illness effectively (semi-spoiler alerts, but not really).

You’re The Worst

yours-the-worst-fx

You’re The Worst, at first, seems like a dark indie comedy as it follows a budding relationship between Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere). As the series goes on, it gets a bit more serious and we learn that Gretchen isn’t just sarcastic and anti-social but also is clinically depressed. You’re The Worst has given us one of the most accurate depictions of depression on TV—it isn’t romanticized or dramatized but rather almost normalized. It doesn’t try to explain depression because most often it can’t be explained and can be hard to understand. You’re The Worst acknowledges that depression doesn’t affect people in ‘outbursts’ but rather is something that is underlying and can affect a person daily, even while they’re enjoying mimosas at brunch or the company of their loved ones. The show gives a good glimpse into the challenges of living with it and/or loving someone who does. You’re The Worst never sensationalizes depression, which is why I believe it to be so effective.

Wilfred

wilfred poster

The series-premiere of Wilfred begins with Ryan (Elijah Wood) and his suicide note. Ryan is quickly introduced as manic-depressive and shortly after his attempt of suicide, he meets Wilfred (Jason Gann), his neighbor’s dog. While to most of the characters on the show Wilfred is a typical little pup, Ryan and Wilfred are able to communicate and speak to one another, Ryan seeing him as an adult male dressed in a dog costume. Throughout the entire series, it is unclear as to whether Wilfred is truly something Ryan has made up or if his bond with Wilfred is real and the show is slightly mystical (really because Wilfred is so damn convincing) but Ryan’s manic-depression is prevalent throughout the series. Wilfred helps him cope with that and helps him get out into the world (Wilfred also sometimes gets Ryan into pretty shitty situations).

Degrassi: The Next Generation

18da77ff25c4efd0fe26b703723396af

Okay—I know, I know. I was reluctant to putting Degrassi on this list, because sometimes I find the way they deal with mental illness as a very ‘mister-of-the-week’ approach, in that one week a character will be struggling with an eating disorder/depression/self-harm/etc and then the next week they are magically cured. While this approach in one vein can be very problematic, I also commend Degrassi for introducing these issues to young adults. I watched it growing up and, while now I’ve outgrown it, it’s still an effective tool for making mental health issues more accessible for younger folks who may not realize what they are dealing with/where to turn/etc.

Community

community-wallpaper-hd-

In Community, Abed has an undiagnosed psychological condition (although Aspergers is hinted at), which makes it difficult for him to understand and affectively communicate with people—despite this, the people around him love him which helps make social disorders more accessible. At first, Abed just seems to be a bit strange and maybe kidding half the time but as time goes on we see that he truly believes his life is a TV show and at some point, does suffer some sort of breakdown. Community also acknowledges the fact that people of color can suffer from mental health issues as well, something not prevalent enough in modern media.

United States of Tara

2014-06-23-GferqP8ZiQ.market_maxres

United States of Tara follows Tara Gregson, a suburban mother with dissociative personality disorder (DID), more colloquially referred to as multiple-personality disorder. The show is a dramatic comedy and gives a look into how DID can affect families, as hers doesn’t know, when speaking with Tara, if they’ll be greeted by their mother, an angsty teenager girl, a beer & gun loving middle aged man, or a 1950s’ housewife. Although the show does have a highly comedic twist, it also does have some truth in its portrayal of dissociative personality disorder—Tara’s personalities are often triggered by events in her life, and according to the DSM, differing personalities can totally span genders and ages. I find other portrayals of DID to be very kitschy (and almost pretending like it isn’t a mental health issue) so I appreciate US of Tara a lot for that—the show and character become more complex as time goes on and her story a bit more serious as well.

I can think of a few more that, just for space, didn’t make it into this post: Shameless and Empire both have characters that live with bipolar disorder, and Netflix Originals BoJack Horseman & Love both deal with depression and addiction, in both comical and more serious ways. The character Ilana in Broad City is actively taking anti-depressants and the show has done a good job of “de-stigmatizing depression and the use of psychotropic medications” (said so eloquently by my friend Devon). Orange Is The New Black‘s Suzanne (Crazy Eyes) gives some insight into how mental health in the United States prison system is dealt with, while Homeland shows how it is still highly stigmatized within the US government. And of course, Girls so poignantly tackled OCD with Hannah’s famous Q-Tip scene.

The stigma surrounding mental health issues is still a huge issue and, while there is still much work to be done, I’m glad that slowly but surely we can try to move towards a direction of understanding. TV will never be perfect but I am glad these shows are slowly pushing the envelope.

Have there been any shows that have help shaped your understanding of mental health issues? Comment below!