Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Iron Age

Today I decided it was time to check out Iron (formerly Iron Steaks)'s brunch action. The inside lives up to their logo; austere, flat surfaces, and a kind of blend of ancient Japan and the future... the sort of place you can imagine Weyland-Yutani executives getting together before sending another hapless crew to go get devoured by some aliens. (Three bonus points to the first person to get that reference in the comments). It was fairly empty, in that by the time I got my food, it was totally empty. Apparently Spring Break was sapping their brunch patrons. The menu had a decent selection, and although the Elvis French Toast (French Toast topped with peanut butter, bananas, and whipped cream) was tempting because it sounds so damn bizarre and decadent, I thought I might try something a little more... traditional my first time out. I ordered the Apple Sausage scramble, which came with toast and potatoes. According to their menu, they also serve beignets, which means I'll probably have to schedule a Donut Month. (A quick wikipedia search tells me National Donut Day -- you knew it had to exist -- is in June. Be on the lookout!)

My server was supernice, and commended my choice of a huge, heaping plate of food. The scramble included a creamy cheese that paired marvelously with the sausage, chewy peppers and onions. The house potatoes were topped with a strawberry, but a little on the unimpressive side. As you may have discovered by now, I'm a big fan of -- but a little picky about -- house potatoes. These were simply, well, potatoes, with some season salt. Not bad by any means, just not very interesting. It was a definite bellyfull, though!
I got a little sketching in, and took a quick stroll through the cemetery (where they're apparently holding a plant event, complete with garden tours), and then discovered a
slightly unsettling sight.
Now, to precede this, I did see a cat chomping down on a bird on my way to work tomorrow, and what looked like a small leg bone outside of work on my way home, but today there was what looked like a dog or raccoon mandible laying on the ground, under the freeway. I originally included a photo, but figured since this is a largely food-related blog, perhaps included a photo of the partially decay skull of an animal was not the best idea. Regardless, I'm not sure what exactly all this means about the city's mood (especially in what seems to be the official upswing of Spring). Fear not, though, loyal readers (all five of you)! I remains undaunted in my quest to "Do Everything." Today holds the promise of even more sketching, as I work on the challenge I threw out to Peter Stults a couple weeks ago of redesigning some terrible ugly Batman villains, as well as getting some article writing in.
Not to mention the important goal of watching Battlestar Galactica. No challenge too entertaining!
I've been thinking, of late, of my disappointment in this city's graffiti artists. We've got some good sticker artists (included the prolific, and cat-related "Foot Foot"), and some really good stencillers out there, but as far as old-school graffiti goes... nothing. Nothing as far as big pieces go, at least. C'mon guys, it's time to step up your game, especially when we've got stencillers laying stuff down like the piece below. (Although I need to be best friends with whomever's been throwing up the Barbelith around town).

Saturday, April 2, 2011


It's amazing what a little sun can do. After some particularly heavy storming last weekend, this week we've been treated to some sunshine, and it's apparent how it's lifted everyone's spirits. On my walk today, I encountered several friendly strangers and checked out a couple yard sales in Poverty Ridge.
Poverty Ridge is the deceptively named affluent area right "behind" where I live (Midtown Sacramento is set up on a grid, Letters vs Numbers. So further down the alphabet reads as "behind" in my brain). It's named Poverty Ridge because the city has a tendency to flood (as in, all the time), and back in the Gold Rush days Poverty Ridge was one of the highest spots in the city, so after the flood waters rolled in, the newly homeless would flock to the dry Ridge. There was an attempt to rename it "Sutter Terrace" at some point (much like the city's current campaign to rebrand "Alkali Flats" as "Mansion Flats"), but, probably because that name is terrible, it never stuck. Now it's the place to find houses like this;
So I made my way to Willie's for a low-key breakfast. Willie's is usually known for it's chiliburgers and late nights, but they have a really good morning menu, too. I got the "Holy Roller" crepe with strawberries, a side of potatoes, and one of their coffee shakes. I must admit an addiction to Willie's shakes; the coffee and mocha ones especially.
Side note; I'm typing this in the McClatchy Library, on 22nd and U, across a nice shiny table from a 40 yr old man hitting on a girl in her early twenties. The best part of this is the conversation started with him talking about how much quieter this library is than Central, her (and my) usual haunt. He's then proceeded to give her his business card, talk about setting up an account with her (business related, still), and is now trying to get her to recognize the "most richest man on the planet" from a photo of his "business associates" in New York. At some point he also compared her age to that of his daughter's. I've seen older men do this at work to my female coworkers all the time, and I have no idea why they think that is going to be anything but repulsive. Anyway...
Willie's has a definite "diner" charm; it's a very industrial building, with paper towel dispensers on the wall for napkins, and the type of construction that looks like it will survive most natural disasters. Which is good, because I'm gonna want a double-patty double-cheese burger and onion rings after the Apocalypse.
The food arrived, with a huge side of their morning potatoes (well worth the $2.25) and a good-size crepe. The crepe wouldn't be filling enough on its own, but with a side it's a good, hearty meal. The strawberries were amazing, big and juicy and sweet. I put a little bit of syrup on it, but I probably could have put even less and been just fine. Their potatoes are really good, too; thinly sliced and lightly fried, they keep a crispy outside but maintain premium fry softness on the inside. They're dusted with what I believe is a little bit of onion salt, which gives them a very simple but unique flavor.
I contemplated checking out the new Off Broadway Bean coffeeshop, which replaced the dearly departed JavaLounge, but I was just too damn full. So I swung by the Sacramento Beekeeping Store to pick up some local honey snacks in a preemptive attack on the Spring's allergies. Now I plan on aggressively rewriting some of my own stories. There's a superhero story that's been in my head since, oh, Junior High. I've reworked it a couple of time, taking it's mission statement from one of "Yay, Superheroes!!" to more of my essay on superheroes, and how they would interact with culture (and vice versa). I recently came to the realization that while releasing this series issue-by-issue (as I had originally planned) would be pretty much impossible in an indie market, releasing it as a series of graphic novels is much more viable. So I get to go back through, and revise everything into a different format, which I'm actually pretty excited about. To get myself in the right mindset, I reread Alan Moore's classic (and industry-changing) Swamp Thing story "the Anatomy Lesson." It's the story that eventually led to the Vertigo imprint, helped make Alan Moore a household name, and elevated the level of comic book storytelling. In it, Moore reveals to the readers that the main character is not, in fact, a man who has become a plant, but a plant that thinks it is a man. He radically deconstructs everything readers and the characters thought about the protagonist, and the turns it into a platform for exploring the horror genre, and eventually environmental issues. I'm going to try to take that standpoint, the storytelling method I've always believed in; Nothing Is Sacred, and rewrite what I've done to make something new.
In other news, I found this sticker of a velociraptor on my apartment's recycling bin;
Or is that a deinonychus?