Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Jamz 2012

With the summer about 3/4 over, and much of our customer base at the beach, I have asked local DJ Adam Rogers to bless us with some of his summer picks of the moment.  Feel free to comment with what you are listening to right now.

Javelin - Canyon Candy 10”
This whole album has been on heavy rotation in my house. SO GOOD. Plus the short film they made is well worth a watch:

Quarteto Em Cy - Amarolina
I have been crazy about Brazillian music for a 
while, and this girl group is a particularly sweet pop flavor of it. You can sample my favorite track of theirs on the Soul Jazz site: http://www.souljazzrecords.co.uk/releases/?id=22385. This one is a close second:

El Guincho - Bombay
Picked this one up from Berenbaum himself I think. And if this is last year, well last year is still many years into the future for me typically. Over the top NSFW video complete with a Carl Sagan tribute (?) 

Niney the Observer
This guy’s sound is imprinted on my brain. Definitely some of my favorite tunes ever. Just to name a few:

The Roots of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peru

I must have listened to this album in the car a dozen times this summer. Great driving music, great summer music, just great. Hard to sing along to for a gringo, though.

Aguas de Amazonia - Uakti / Philip Glass
This is getting a little played out by This American Life which uses it a lot for dramatic effect, but still, an epic album.


Ken Laszlo - Hey Hey Guy
I’ll admit it, I Shazammed this off Ethan at a dance party at the Pinhook a few weeks ago, but so far that’s been my favorite dance party of the summer and his Italo disco set was amazing. It’s rare I break out the Shazam. This video is wild too:


Phuture - We Are Phuture

I don’t know that much about acid house, but I know what I like. The future will survive.


Kraftwerk - Aero Dynamik
Somehow I never checked this out until recently, but it rocks.


Rhythm & Sound - Mango Drive
Played at high volume on vinyl. So much texture, so heavy.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Week 66

The Scene (as told by LA): The Vegan Samosas and French Coconut Tartlets were huge hits - selling out by 11AM. We were especially lucky to have the maker of the samosa filling, Chef Matt, at the stand next to us. He divulged the recipe to multiple customers and I learned that turmeric is the main ingredient in curry powder - hmph, who knew? The baked goods were tasty, the weather was surprisingly pleasant, and the Berenbaum crew was at its finest.  And - for all of you who asked - babka will be back the weekend of who
knows when but hopefully soon. See you next weekend for another round of vegan hand pies, tartlets, and an assortment of jams!

The Crew: Big ups to our crew this weekend as I was out of town.  With two markets working, our crew seems to growing -- this past weekend, Berenbaum's crew was AR, Ali R., Chef Matt, Andy, RG, RML, LA, and JW.
Scary! JW, RML, and LA

Farewell to AR: Crew member AR leaves for New Orleans today to pursue a fellowship in literature at Tulane.  We thank him for all his industry and creativity.  The kimchi scene here in Durham will be poorer for his absence.

South Durham Market Report: This was our first weekend working the South Durham Market near RTP.  Thought it sounded like many residents were away on vacation, we still sold well - about 40 tartlets and 40 hand pies and a handful of half-pints of jam.

Jam of the Week (curated by Chef Matt):

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Flaxman Review

I typically don't write on philosophy on the blog, but last January, I asked our readers if anyone would like to join a book club discussing Greg Flaxman's "Gilles Deleuze and the Fabulation of Philosophy".  AR and I managed to get most of the way through it, and I was able to finish it a couple of weeks ago.

In his volume (the first of two parts), Flaxman posits the very modest goal of showing how Deleuze's own philosophical concepts are reflected in the style of his writing (e.g. minoritariansm).  But the book goes far further and broader that that, searching for the roots of Deleuze's approach in his reading of the Greeks, and making an elegant exposition and argumentation of the Powers of the False, a concept Deleuze originally lifted from Nietzsche.

Flaxman's prose is evenhanded and clear, and make inroads to elucidate an otherwise abstruse and commonly misunderstood philosopher.  Where he wavers though is in his (in-)decision to label the False as the primordial ground of Deleuze's geophilosophy.  From the time that I studied under Flaxman, there has been some debate as to whether Deleuze's philosophical world could function as an ontology (as the monad does for Leibniz or Nature does for Spinoza).  Deleuze's non-grund takes on many names in Flaxman's book: the No, the Outside, the False, Chaos, the Minor, the Simulacrum, the Untimely, Non-style, the Multiplicity, the Virtual, the Subtracted One, n-1.  Flaxman opts instead to advocate for something like Godel's incompleteness theorem to describe the Deleuzian World, but to me, it's a cop out...As he says, "There is a kind of Godelian problem operating here inasmuch as, roughly speaking, we seem to affirm that Deleuze's philosophy cannot be both consistent and complete; but the mutual exclusivity of these terms, which implies the negation of one or the other, gives way in sci-phi to the queer logic of the Outside, from which philosophy draws the becomings of new forces, and toward which it vaults its own becomings and lines of flight." (p.318)  Which is just a fancy way of skirting the issue of how to begin to schematize Deleuzian ontological space.  Flaxman is right to begin with the Outside, and incorporate the Event, but where does one go from there?  To begin to think about this, I would (selfishly) recommend an excursion I wrote on Deleuze's Logic of Sense. This reading is not easy, but it lays the groundwork for how we might begin to define this problem holistically and mathematically.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Week 65

Food Truck Rodeo: Our little "renegade" corner has grown into a veritable food truck rodeo -- I counted 11 trucks in attendance plus Monuts, Cocoa Cinnamon, and Spread Vegan Cheez.

The product: In honor of AR departing for New Orleans, we did something patrons have been clamoring for since the beginning of Berenbaum's -- authentic bagels.  The results were very good -- not too soft, caramelized surface, lots of interior chew.

This week, Ben and Ali delivered more jam for us to sell.  It was a Spiced Peach with Ginger and Cayenne.  Although the just-picked fresh fruit jam is always great, I thought the ginger heat mixed with the cayenne heat was a strong combo.  Peach is such a great platform for spice that I could see even more ingredients being layered atop of that base -- fennel, juniper berry, peppercorn, etc.

The Crew: Many thanks to our awesome crew -- AR, RML, Ali R., RG, Chef Matt, and GV.  Once again, you guys stuck it out in 90 degree heat and full sun -- thanks so much.

Our Superlative Customers and Friends: Rahm, Justin, Joel et al., Dawn B. +1, Rich, Leia, Marybeth and Allen, Laura et al., Adam and Heather, SWVR & EB, EC & SMG, SSS, Mark +1, Annie.

Berenbaum's giveaway winner Dawn B., pictured here with AR and her plus one  

Where to Find Us During the Week: This week, you can find our tartlets and savory hand pies at Joe Van Gogh on Broad, Bean Traders - 9th Street, Bean Traders - Homestead Market, Reliable Cheese, and Respite Cafe.

The End of Sliding Scale? As business on the exterior of the market has grown more commercial with the food trucks, more and more customers are confused or downright concerned by our sliding-scale payment scheme ("How can you really make a buck that way?").  Perhaps it is time to move to a stated price with sliding-scale only for our Facebook fans?  Please leave comments here or on the Facebook.  Thanks!

Jam of the Week (curated by Chef Matt):

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Week 64

The Product: The Chocolate Babka was sinfully chocolate this week. One customer said, "You have to serve this with vanilla ice cream!". We moved a lot of product -- about fifty-five Babkas, twenty-five Challahs, ninety Savory Vegan Hand Pies, and ninety Lemon Curd Tartlets.

New Players in the Field: There were a couple of new players and playettes on Hunt Street yesterday. Maria sets up a humble table with a styrofoam cooler and no prices and no sign but her tamales were some of the best I've had in Durham. Also, I tasted the Porchetta truck for the first time yesterday -- bombin' -- probably the best sandwich I've had in Durham since Old Havana opened.

Our awesome customers: Leia; Eric C., Adam & Heather, Walter & Linda & Ben, Belinda, Jon B., Dianne F.

Giveaway winner Dianne F., with GV and AR

The Crew: I've been out of town the last three weeks so the crew has really been stepping up.  After experiencing the market in triple-digits for the first time of the season yesterday, I doff my cap for the efforts y'all make.  It was dangerously hot out there, and if any of our customers chose the comfy confines of their air-conditioned homes over coming out to Market, I totally understand.  Big up big up to AR, GV, Ali R., RML, Chef Matt, and Ryan.

DFM Developments: My post on the newly proposed Food Truck policies led to a sixteen-post Facebook conversation with some of our loyalists -- if there is one thing we hold near and dear to our hearts here in Durham, it's the food scene.  Having been out of town, yesterday was my first day checking out the mini-carnival Brian Bottger of OnlyBurger has organized on Hunt Street, complete with sawhorse blockades and music from the inimitable "Lenny Mojo Hand G":

Lenny with Small Disciple

It seems like this is a good development for the fortunes of the renegade food trucks and mobile peddlers -- our sales were strong despite the heat.  I do hope that Brian is inclusive and fair in allowing new trucks and stands to join; because he owns the special use permit that closes off the street, supposedly he has decision-making power about who stays and who goes.  But all of this could be null and void should City government pass the new food truck proposal as it currently exists.

Other Ventures: A spot has opened up at the South Durham Farmer's Market for a prepared foods vendor.  (The Market is off Rt. 55 near RTP if you've never been.)  Our application is in, so if you know anyone connected to that Market, please give us a shout-out!  We will find out if we got in by the end of the month.

Jam of the Week:

An Eminem sample; I love those bass drum kicks

This week: Bagels, anyone?

Friday, July 6, 2012

DFM's Take on the Food Truck Fiasco

From their weekly newsletter:

For 15 years the farmers, bakers, food artisans, cheese makers, vintners, and crafters who are members of the Durham Farmers' Market (DFM) have been dedicated to creating a venue that fosters a face-to-face connection between the producer and the buyer, and operating in a way that sustains the land, the environment, and helps to grow our businesses, and our community. The DFM is also dedicated to ensuring that the products we sell are 1) produced locally by our vendors, and 2) comply with State and local regulations.  We operate under a strict set of rules, conduct inspections, and investigate complaints. We believe that this system of governance has been vital to the growth and good reputation of the market, and that our customers respect and value the integrity of the products they find at the Durham Farmers' Market. We welcome the vibrant and burgeoning local food movement represented by food-trucks and other innovations and consider ourselves to be a vital part of this movement. We believe that this focus on good food and fellowship has been central to creating the dynamic and fun community experience that the Farmers' Market is in the heart of Durham.  

Over a year ago, a representative of the DFM along with representatives of Durham Central Park (DCP, our landlord at the Pavilion at Durham Central Park), met with Durham Parks & Recreation and the Assistant City Attorney. DFM expressed some concerns of our members over the recent rapid growth in unregulated street vending around the Market. We looked for guidance on how to handle issues of congestion, safety, and clarity between our market members and street vendors. We were aware that DCP and the City were considering some of our questions; however, Durham Farmers' Market played no role in the drafting of the City's new guidelines and in fact, is seeing them for the first time just as the public is.  

The Durham Farmers' Market wholeheartedly supports a public process on this issue that will help to create a fair and equitable set of guidelines for all types of public food vending; that will address the needs, concerns, and opportunities of all stakeholders; and will keep Durham the exciting, funky, and fun food destination our local customers and folks from all over the country have come to love.  

See you Saturday,
Durham Farmers' Market Board of Directors

It's a pretty weak reaction in my opinion considering the severity of the proposed changes to the code:  http://durhamnc.gov/ich/cb/ccpd/Documents/Current%20Topics/draft%20street%20vending%20ordinance%2006288t12.pdf

Should this proposal go through, no food truck or mobile peddler (such as ourselves) will be able to operate in the Central Park Zone during Market hours.

If you would like Berenbaum's to remain near the Durham Farmer's Market, come out to City Hall Monday at 5:30PM and let our City's government hear your voice.

[Ed. Looks like we're safe for now.  The stellar turnout objecting to the proposal means it will go through another round of information gathering and revision before coming before City Council as an information item.  Could be a year or more before any changes occur, and it looks like the DFM is backing off of prohibiting mobile vendors from the scene.]

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Week 63

The Scene: With the end of June came the beginning of the real summer in Durham, as the 3-digit temperatures reminded us. We had feared the heat would keep people away, but apparently planning is more widespread than previously thought, and most folks came out earlier to beat the heat. The market peaked around 9 and dropped off steadily from 10-noon. The tent cover turned out to be a good investment, providing needed shade for vendors and product alike.

We have found our corner to be more and more popular every week, and this week were sandwiched between a stand for the Stay & Play Snack CafĂ© kickstarter and Jo Pelligra’s Spread table. A good time was had by all despite the heat, and Spread used some of our levain for sampling their wares.

The Product: We accompanied a smaller batch of our Pain au Levain with Honey Cream Tartlets and a Southwest version of the Vegan Handpies. Chef Matt was back with us this week to put together the filling, which ended up tasting like a vegan chili. The handpies sold out again, even after we upped the quantities to try to keep up with demand. Matt is enthusiastic to try out some new flavors for the filling, so keep an eye out for his take on the samosa in the next few weeks. The honey cream tartlets were similar to a chess pie (including a bit of cornmeal in the filling), and were more of a hit than expected on such a hot day. Also popular was our Iced Coffee, which finally outsold the hot stuff this week.

The Crew: We were down to bare bones this week, with AR in the kitchen and on deliveries and RML handling the stand solo for most of the morning. The full Berenbaum’s crew should be back together next week, as the season of early summer travel calms.

Our giveaway winner, Melissa T. with her daughter

Song of the week (curated by Chef Matt):
Bringing the heat