Friday, May 25, 2012

Galbi - Korean short ribs

In the United States, the Memorial Day holiday weekend is our launch to summer.  My favorite ritual for this holiday, Fourth of July and Labor Day is the cookout.  Corn on the cob, potato/macaroni salad, hot dogs, hamburgers and a tradition among my friends, galbi, or more commonly known as, Korean short ribs.  The primary ingredients in the marinade are soy sauce, garlic and sugar.

Our love of galbi began with my friend Pauline and her former husband.  Because I live in San Francisco proper and close to numerous, inexpensive Korean markets, they asked me to pick up galbi for a cookout at their house.  Clueless and confused, I headed to First Korean Market at 4625 Geary Blvd (between 10th and 11th Avenue) in the Inner Richmond.  My August, 2008 review can be found on Yelp.

When I realized I didn't have to speak Korean to get what I needed, this market became the go to place anytime an event with a grill takes place.  As I mentioned on Yelp, "I've brought the short ribs to work pot lucks and softball cookouts.  They're always a huge hit and get asked where these can be bought."  Other Korean markets and restaurants offer them, but First Korean consistently offers the largest quantities and leanest cuts for a reasonable price.

The above picture shows exactly how I like my ribs cooked, medium well with a bit of singe on the edge of the meat.  Once they're off the grill, forget all civilities with a fork and knife.  Grab 'em with fingers and eat them like regular ribs.  If you plan to make a trip, there's other meat and food worth getting.  And save some galbi for me to pick up for my posse.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Remembering Donna Summer - Ms. Hot Stuff

Yesterday, we lost another music great, disco queen Donna Summer.  Sultry, sexy, and as my favorite song of Donna's that best describes her - Hot Stuff.

The scene in this video is a clip taken from one of my all-time favorite films, "The Full Monty", starring Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson and Mark Addy.  Our heroes of Sheffield are out-of-work and waiting in line (or queue, as they say in the UK) at the unemployment office.  Already thinking performing in strip shows is their only option to earn a living, Donna's song starts to play over the radio.  What comes next is one of many hilarious scenes in the movie.

Don't fight it.  Let your body FEEL the music.  And if you dare, the below video will prepare you for your next karaoke party and/or strip show.  Hot, hot, hot, hot stuffff..............

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Damien Rice - The Blower's Daughter

I don't watch American Idol.  But found out from those who did watch last night many of them were moved by a song ("Volcano") originally done by Irish singer/songwriter Damien Rice.  I've known about Damien's work for about 8 years, when I first heard "The Blower's Daughter" locally on radio station KFOG.

This song (official video shown above) was featured in the 2004 film "Closer" starring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Clive Owen and Natalie Portman.  Even with the star studded lineup in the film, I found it disappointing.  I certainly didn't with this song or the rest of Damien's music.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Jessica Yu and Mark Salzman

photo courtesy of

In today's edition of the New York Times, director Jessica Yu's documentary, "Last Call at the Oasis" (above video is the film's trailer) debuts in New York and Los Angeles.  For me, I can't think of Jessica Yu without her husband, Mark Salzman.  And I bet many of you don't know who either of them are.

Jessica is a Palo Alto native / fifth-generation American of Chinese ancestry who has directed numerous documentaries and TV shows.  In 1996, Jessica earned an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) for Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien.  Some of the TV shows she has directed include: Grey's Anatomy and The West Wing.

Mark Salzman is a writer, actor, martial artist and cellist.  I first found out about Mark after reading his book, Iron & Silk.  The book chronicles his experiences teaching English after graduating from Yale University (where he and Jessica met) at Changsha Hunan Medical College for 2 years.  The above video is Mark's latest work (e-book form only), The Man in the Empty Boat, a personal account of his struggles with writer's block and his sister's death.

While it might seem their Ivy League education and occupations could leave an impression that they're hoity-toity, they're not.  From a 1997 Los Angeles Times article, "On Hollywood entertaining: Yu and Salzman hosted a bad-review party where guests were instructed to bring--and read--their worst review. Fortunately, therapy was also provided: After reading, guests took turns whacking a film-critic piñata. 'It was very telling how each person hit the piñata.' "

Cool.  I'd love to be a fly on the wall at your next party.