Guided By Voices
Bee Thousand

The most Guided By Voices thing about Guided By Voices is that "I Am a Scientist" is the 18th of 20 tracks on their 7th album, and it basically signaled the start of their career.

Guided by Voices
Earthquake Glue

32 going on 33 and getting no younger and with my sad life crumbling around me, I decided maybe it's time for Guided By Voices. These guys have been a mystery to me for years, a band that "other people" listen to, that somehow exist in a different reality than my own. They and I are not to mix. Well, no more. I've been longing for quality power pop (and power punk) lately, and list after list has spoken the same refrain: GbV. So here I am. I started with some newer releases, rather than Bee Thousand which seems to be the one to start with. But I'm not sure it matters, because what I've learned is that, despite the fact that they've released so many records with so many songs on them, that Guided by Voices are a singles band. I've gone through Earthquake Glue, Universal Truths and Cycles, and one other newer one, and it's really a crapshoot. It all seems good. Like, they know how to put chords together, and Bob Pollard does have a singular sense of melody, and a fantastic voice that sounds like Peter Gabriel doing a George Harrison impression. But it's only now and then that everything really clicks. And when it clicks, they're awesome. Otherwise, it's interesting, but not super engaging. Which is disappointing, because for how legendary these guys are at this point, I was prepared for a true epiphany, and hundreds and hundreds of songs of genius to sift through for the next couple years. But what I have is a disc's worth of singles that I've heard on KEXP a thousand times. They're still good though.

Chun YangQueens
Toffee cheese foam cocoa latte

Best toffee cheese foam cocoa latte I've ever had.

Taiwanese pork chop sandwich

This place Partea (formerly Play Date, I don't know if the rebranding is a step up or down), is right in the heart of Flushing, and is basically an arcade that only contains claw machine games. I'm sure if you're into that thing it's probably pretty fun. But up front, they also serve bubble tea, and an assortment of fried chickeny things, and fries, and maybe some simple dumplings. I never thought much of this place walking by it, until one day they were advertising this new Taiwanese pork chop sandwich. Now, I'm sucker for a fried pork loin sandwich, which basically are impossible to find here, and I did once have a Tawainese pork chop (also in Flushing), and thought it was delicious. So yes, I was immediately interested. A few weeks later I was finally in the right place at the right time, so here we go!

You might notice above that I posted a picture of the advertisement, rather than the actual sandwich. This is because the actual sandwich I was served looked perfect. Exactly like the professional photo. It was remarkable really. And it tasted nearly as ideal. Subtle, not some extreme taste explosion, but just a really nicely marinated and seasoned pork, some five-spice flavor vibes, fried just about perfectly, topped with some cole slaw and that was it. Honestly, it was good enough that a restaurant could basically use it as the cornerstone product of the entire menu. Like "Omg you have to go to this new Taiwanese pork chop sandwich place!" The fact that it was just a new menu item at this place that sells boba tea and hosts claw machine parties is pretty wild.

Arepas CafeQueens
Arepas de pernil

I don't have a lot to say about Arepas Cafe, other than that it was excellent, and I want it on the record here for when the day comes 6 months from now that I'm putting together my best of the year list.

Although it's funny that, considering that my neighborhood is deeply and thoroughly Colombian, with 200 different places to get arepas, but it was this cafe in Astoria that really knocked my socks off.