Top 10 of 2008

Monday, January 5, 2009

1. Things I ate: Wow. where do I begin? 2008 pretty much marked my foray into the world of food and forming of a lightweight gastronome. Garnering much inspiration Anthony Bourdain and exposure to the diverse surrounding environments, I sampled a myriad of exotic foreign foods.. pretty much spanning the yummy ethnic food spectrum; with everything from Armenian to Peruvian-Asian fusion and everything in between. Throughout the course of the year, I unsurprisingly forged loyal followings for a handful of restaurants, with each reasoning differing from the other. Noteworthy for mentioning include El Super Taco (craziest tortas! well,them and the unknown place on Western/Melrose with the porn freely playing on the TV), Pampas Grill (Brazilian), New India Grill (Indian), Tahoe Galbi (Korean), Zankou's Chicken (Armenian) and Victor's Deli (Kosher) along with the plethora of unmarked, inconspicuous fruit, hot dog and taco vendors that dot the city. Likewise I Love Boba (Korean) and Red Mango (Korean) held it down in their respective beverage/snack departments. 2008 was without a doubt the year where hardscrabble street and ethnic delights reigned. Of course such a post would be fitting to thank Mom, a culinary prowess in her own right, for it is her who's cooking sufficed innumerable nights.

Things I saw: (Global) Witnessing the landmark election of a Black President , Our government responding to a problem and making it infinitely worse (bailouts for failing bank assets), Our badly bruised economy plummeting a to a decade nadir, Gas prices/cost of oil reach ridiculously exorbitant prices, Fidel Castro's nearly 50-year iron grip on Cuba end, with him stepping down from power, Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez do a whole lot of mudslinging, spewing and fomenting hatred towards the usual suspects: US, UK,Western Europe and Israel, Despot Robert Mugabe gain even more notoriety for driving failed state Zimbabwe even deeper into the abyss, the often bedeviled Iraq surge pay off and produce successful, tangible results and lastly, the Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt-led 2008 Beijing Olympics domination.

Things I observed: The once elusive, rebellious hipster culture named, branded, marketed and sold -- pretty much spelling its demise, I've watched the shift of gentry press many neighborhoods (namely Echo Park and DTLA, but also Koreatown to a certain degree), I've witnessed the metamorphic rise of blogging -- though the vast majority of blogs are devoid of character, impersonal and appear to be the same rehash of videos and over-discussed news items, I've watched the whole Darfur crisis emerge from from the depths of unknowings and obscurity, only to become coveted by the uber-glam elite, the skinny jean/h&m/aa/urban outfitters/"hipster look" and shemagh/kaffiyeh trend gain momentum and reach its zenith, spoiled Israeli teenagers opening up frozen yogurt shops, the overpriced yuppy cupcake trend (!), yuppies, Facebook status updates, the continued reurbanization (and reversal of the historic white flight) of our country's inner-city and downtown cores, gay pride surfaces in light of the controversial Prop. 8 ruling, people saying Lil' Wayne is the face of Hip-Hop, empty notions such as glitz and glamor become associated with my city again, spearheaded by television shows such as The Hills.

Things that I went to a lot: Aside from friend's homes, I found myself frequently shuttling back and forth between my nabe and places like Koreatown, Pasadena, Downtown LA and Hollywood, expanding towards the tail end to include locales such as Echo Park,Highland Park and even Silverlake. Aside from the tons of unspoiled gems and hip yet nonchalant hangout spots in these neighborhoods (from wonderful housing bones from the art deco, beaux art, craftsmen and tutor architectural styles, to funky hipster dive bars to indie book stores), I'm quite fond of edgy urban areas..well, moreso than sterile and sanitized suburban ones. However, one redeeming suburban quality that I have no aversion to is Starbucks! How I love that place..Hell, you know what..I went all over the city in 2008. Taking the gloves off and holding nothing back, giving you all authentic, no-nonsense views of LA in its true form. No conveniently snapping photos from deceptive angles here. No nothing.

Things I observed again: The fall of streetwear, more GENTRIFICATION, the emergence of hipsterdom and techno/electronica/trance representing the nail in the casket for tolerated mainstream thuggery, the continued feeling of entitlement by certain demographics, bandwagoneers expanding their turf to include political affiliations, genders and increased awareness for various humanitarian crises, etc , mass transit becoming a viable alternative for many new comers, rick rolling, the t-pain vocodor becoming the new hip-hop standard, the wire, stuff white people like, girls with bangs, having gay friends, expensive sandwich shops and boutiques opening in new places, Michael Phelps and temporary surge in American pride.

Things I Watched: ANTHONY BOURDAIN'S NO RESERVATIONS. Again. Hardly surprising if you know me. While No Reservations is still my favorite television show by a long shot, I found myself loathing the new, super analytical politically correct Bourdain and missing the old, utterly cynical and honest Bourdain. Despite the bulk of the season leaving falling short of the bar set in the preceding seasons and leaving one longing for the Bourdain of previous season vintage, there were a few episodes that stood out from the bunch in Season 5; namely Colombia, Singapore and Tokyo.

Here's to hoping Bourdain doesn’t hold back on his blunt observations about people, places,politics, cooking and culture.

Things I Heard: That I look like "sideshow bob", a Rastafarian or a deadbeat hipster. LOL.

Heavy Hitters on my iTunes included Armin van Buuren, Beck, Bob Marley, Depeche Mode, DJ Tiesto, Flying Lotus, Interpol, Jack Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayer, Madonna, MF Doom and Madvillainy, Radiohead, Royksopp, Sade & Thievery Corporation. In retrospect, I listened to unhealthy amounts of world music -- I think its safe to say that was the dark horse of my music collection this year.

Things I did: Take pictures, go to NYC, Cabo San Lucas/Mexico City-DF, The Bahamas, San Diego and San Francisco, cemented my position as a top notch photoblogger, engaged in copious amounts of Sim City 4/GTA IV playing and COD4/5 a** whuppings, simultaneously become culinary & urban connoisseurs, become an architecture aficionado, applied to college, got dreadlocks, ranted/vented my pented frustrations about various social ills, navigate what is arguably the most misunderstood metropolis via Metro, shopped at thrift stores, forged several deep and valuable friendships with new people, including : Daniel Turner,Kevin Pineda,Seth Vallejo and Carla Bonomini among others.



San Diego:



Things I played: Sim City 4 by an ENORMOUS margin. Seriously, like no joke I've literally invested a few days of time into the game, customizing and tweaking cities to perform to my liking. That said, I can't help but call it a lightweight addiction or dirty little secret of sorts. SMH. Moving on, Call of Duty 4 and 5 (aka WoW) in a distant 2nd, with GTA IV not far behind. I must admit, the vastly superior online gaming experience and culture that COD4/5 offered much left the rather rendered GTA IV into obsolescence.

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4 comments: to “ Top 10 of 2008 so far...



    this entry was damn deep to me cause it made me think about all the things that people who are fortunate enough to have fame and a large voice say.
    alot of the new young clad stars and shit put up their blogs and talk about all the new gucci releases and all that (I.e L.A Reid's son and Diggy Simmons) and its refreshing to hear stuff from a dude like you whos an urban dweller mixed with CNN mixed with Tony Bourdain.


    Nice post "SC4" addict, lol.


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    Bravo, this idea is necessary just by the way