Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My sleepers, a/k/a stuff I like that almost no one else has heard of

A counterpoint to the "stuff everyone else likes but I don't" meme, this post lists things I love that lots of people don't know about. I hope you bloggers out there will give this meme a try. Share those great local restaurants, little-known bands, weird indie films, or whatever else comes to mind.


  • Burgerville: OK, Northwesterners all know about Burgerville, but you poor saps in other parts of the country don't know what you're missing. So I'll tell you. Burgerville is a fast food place here in the Northwest that serves locally-grown, sustainably-harvested stuff that's absolutely delicious. The halibut fish and chips are to die for! They also have seasonal specialties like strawberry shortcake and sweet potato fries. If you're ever in the Portland area, do yourself a favor and find a Burgerville. But call me first, because I want to come too.
  • El Pollo Loco: Back in my starving student days, I used to stop by El Pollo Loco in Stockton to get a side of tortillas and salsa for $.50 on my way home from school. Cheap and good. Now that I'm an Established Adult, I can afford their chicken too (grilled--yum--with good side dishes), but I still love the tortillas and salsa. I've been known to drag my family miles out of the way to find one of these when we go to California. I wish they'd expand into the Northwest.
  • Typhoon: Best Thai food this side of Bankok! Typhoon is a local Thai chain with locations in the Portland area and Seattle. If you don't live here, it's worth the price of a plane ticket just to eat there. Try the pa nang curry, and round off your meal with espresso creme brulee for dessert. *Sigh* -- is it dinner time yet?


  • Lesser-known Def Leppard stuff: Sure, everyone's heard "Pour Some Sugar on Me" approximately 2 billion times, but have you heard anything they released after about 1992? If not, you're missing out. Some of their live acoustic stuff is great, and Slang (their 1996 album with a 90s sound) is simply amazing. For more recent stuff, check out Yeah!, their album of glam rock covers that was released last year. Great stuff!
  • Eric Martin: Remember that cute little ditty from the early 90s, "To Be With You?" That was Mr. Big, with Eric Martin on lead vocals. No one this side of Tokyo heard much of them after that (too bad), but there's more to Eric than just that song. The Eric Martin Band's 1983 release, Sucker for a Pretty Face, has some great tunes on it, both rockers and ballads. And some of his more recent stuff is good too. Mostly I just love his voice, even in that dumb Corn Nuts commercial he did a decade or so ago.
  • John Waite's cover of "Whenever You Come Around," which was originally done by Vince Gill. I loved Vince's version, but combine an amazing song with John Waite's voice, and I could listen to it all day. I got to hear John Waite sing it during a live appearance at a local record store a few years ago. Simply wonderful.


  • Tundra: As I mentioned in a couple of my Alaska travelogues, Husband and I discovered Tundra while in Alaska. The cartoonist is an Alaskan, and the strip is self-syndicated. Do yourself a favor and check it out. It's as good as The Far Side, maybe better.


  • Almost Live: Back in the early 90s, KING TV in Seattle produced a sketch comedy show called Almost Live. It came on just before Saturday Night Live and was recorded earlier the same evening in front of a live studio audience. The show was hilarious! The only cast member who ever became really well-known was Bill Nye the Science Guy (who played a superhero called Speed Walker, among other things). Hubby and I used to go to tapings whenever we could. Almost Live is no more, but it lives on in that wonderful archive of old video, YouTube. Here are a few of the better sketches:

    Worst Girlfriend in the World

    The Lame List (featuring at least one member of Soundgarden)

    The Male Clinic (correcting all sorts of male bad habits)

    Mind Your Manners with Billy Quan, who shows us what happens to rude people in the library (ah... if only...)

    And finally, Seattle Summer. There's no embed option for this one, so you'll have to follow the link to watch it. See for yourself why Seattle people are so depressed.

    Want more? Just search YouTube for "Almost Live."

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