This one will be quick! Everyone who knows me personally understand that Northstar Cafe is my favorite place to eat, relax, chill, whatever. Yesterday I found myself without lunch and was considering options when one of my Facebook friends (Moni) shared that she’d gone to lunch with a friend, including the link to the restaurant. I clicked the link out of curiosity (yeah, I’m nosey) and was surprised to find there was a Mediterranean based restaurant in the short north. I am a huge fan of Aladdin and had been feeling a little out of sorts since they closed their Bexley location. I often select vegan options and suddenly I no longer had good choices within short distance for lunch. Seeing hummus and falafel on the menu were all I needed. I hopped in my car and called to place a takeout order. Informed by the associate who answered that the only orders they accept over the phone were for “family style” dishes, I decided to just go in. I was a little perplexed but I understood when I arrived- Brassica is sort of like a Chipotle (but fancier like Pizza Cucinova without the pizza) for people who like lamb, pita, hummus and falafel! As soon as you walk in, the artisan asks what you’d like and you make your selections. So basically, you CAN order to go, you just have to go there to do it. On this first trip, I knew I only wanted falafel and I wanted a sandwich. So, I walked thru, making the choices I wanted which were falafel, pickled cabbage, beets, cauliflower and a sauce. Every thing looked fresh and tasty. The website displayed a delicious order of fries so I order some of those too. The cashier at the end asked if I wanted extra sauce with my fries. I responded, “Do I?” and he answered in the affirmative!
As I awaited my order I had a chance to look around. Brassica is warm and welcoming from the moment you enter the door. Very similar in style to Northstar Cafe’s, there is lots of warm woods but with a light green on the seating. The window seats allow you to look out into the alley or out at the hustle and bustle that is High Street. My food arrived and I happily sat by the window overlooking High (mostly because I wanted to watch my car to make sure the meter police didn’t come to cite me!). I snapped a quick photo of my food before diving in. The sandwich was served beautifully in a gold cylinder and while it looked like a work of art, I had no issue wolfing it down. Everything was fresh. This is no fast food falafel people! It was hearty, and flavorful just as I would expect at other restaurants where it is served. The fries were hot and were seasoned well (reminded me of the seasoning on Grippos). Long story short, I found my life. I forgot I was supposed to rush in and out and take it back to work.
As I mentioned this is a new endeavor from the folks who own Northstar and Third & Hollywood (in Grandview). I expect nothing short of excellence from them. At first glance we sometimes don’t like to deem every baby cute. But, this one is a beauty! I’ll be going back to visit soon! Check out their website: http://brassicashortnorth.com/
Tyrese’s 2015 release, Black Rose had me at liner notes, complete with vocal information, lyrics and a cover reminiscent of Marvin Gaye concert footage. I purchased the regular edition (the deluxe includes some stuff I don’t care about lol) and immediately popped It in for the ride home. Some folks (Tyrese included) have stated that he is bringing back real R&B. As a true fan of music I would say that R&B has never gone anywhere but what has changed are the faces of those being propped up by mainstream as current representation. This has been going on for years as somehow boy bands with mediocre voices replaced in popularity the voices of existing male groups like Boys II Men. But I digress (til another day my friends)… Tyrese does have a winner if you enjoy R&B music with smooth grooves and is of the sort where the singer can actually sing, without help from the studio gadgetry. Think of the rawness in The Five Heartbeats when Eddie King, Jr grabbed the mic and sang a capella during their first performance. Tyrese has the grit and ability to star in a remake for sure!
So, let’s get into music. Black Rose is comprised of 14 tracks including the stellar lead song, Shame (matching the ever powerful vocalist Jennifer Hudson who shines on bgvs), features from Chrisette Michelle (Don’t Wanna Look Back), Brandy (The Rest of Our Lives), Marsha Ambrosius (though not credited for bgvs on Picture Perfect) and his TGT homie Tank (Prior to You). I don’t know about you but I like to be wooed by music. A good beat is great (Tyrese has them) but add some appeal by giving me some poetry and intellect in the midst of your pursuit. That said, I’m not here for the ratchet, unnecessarily explicit lyrics that are highly over played by mainstream radio today. Tyrese brings us some balance. One thing that surprised me was that he had writing credit on every song. In fact, the Black Rose Tyrese reminds me NOT of the persona he displays via his social media accounts, but of the Lately, on-the-bus-singing-about-Coca-Cola-drinking-Tyrese of yesterday! I mean, I know he’s from the hood but he tricked me back in the day into thinking he was just a nice guy who liked to write lyrics and sing aloud on the bus like me! Black Rose is a love letter and this Tyrese is eloquently pursuing with words a love he has injured perhaps irreparably. This is evidenced on Leave where he croons- ‘if you ever leave, I would be helpless, you would be hopeless, like a sea without a beach, what would life mean?’ I don’t know about you, but I’d go back at least one more time!
This cd certainly deserves some major spin. You may find that it reminds you of some of the tone and angst experienced on a Marvin Gaye cd without stealing Marvin to make it happen (Cough! Robin Thicke!). Tyrese certainly has vocal chops and here he uses them well. On Without My Heart, he went so low and deep in tone that my passenger and I looked at each other and exclaimed “daaaaamn!” Other stand out tracks are- Waiting On You, I Still Do and the sensual Gonna Give You What You Want. The only expendable is the song Dumb Sh-t which began as a diss song toward comedian Spanky Hayes (google it). Minus that one song, this entire project could be played during any radio station’s “quiet storm” show. It covers the entire gamut of a relationship from good to bad to “oh crap, I might have messed up for good this time”. Overall, this project makes me forgive Ty for becoming Black Ty and later his horrid, relationship advice. But isn’t that what music is supposed to do- Make you forgive and forget past transgressions, dance and bob your head until you forget everything becoming putty in his hands?