With COVID 19 having its effect on the restaurant industry,Food Trucks have began to rise up, feeding all the hungry locals from a safe distance. Here are a few of my favorite spots to grab a bite and go.
The girls at Shiso Crispy have been serving up handmade Gyoza Potstickers and their signature Dirty Rice for a minute now. My go to are the homemade Bao Buns, usually with the bang bang chicken or shrimp. Sometimes they even feature grouper or other local caught fish as a special. No lie the Bao Buns are the best I’ve ever had!
The Food Truck that started it all for me. Funnel Vision is a food truck with one goal in mind, spreading the joy of funnel cakes around the world. Zack and the crew have battered goodies from savory to sweet. The Nashville Hot Chicken is hands down my favorite in the city, make sure you get it extra spicy.
On the dessert side I usually go with the Bananas Fosters funnel cake, but recently I switched up and went with the Fruity Pebble covered “Bedrock”, with strawberry and marshmallow drizzle. The “Claw Dog” which is a Lobster meat corn dog is definitely a standout on the menu. If your a fan of getting everything extra crispy this is the truck for you.
One of the newer trucks I’ve been checking out Anju Korean Gastrotruck has some of the best Korean Street food the Bay Area has to offer. The Beef Bulgogi and Bibambap are already good on their own but Anju let’s you add an egg to pretty much any dish. My personal favorite are the K pops. Their take on the boneless wing, ANJU’s K-Pops are always extra crispy and extra saucy.
With restaurants slowly reopening, remember to get supporting your local food trucks. Comment below if you have any trucks I should try out, who knows maybe they could land on the next list.
If a Jet Ski hype video wasn’t enough to get you pumped up, the Bolts are back and ready for another run at “Lord Stanley”, from a safe distance.
A 24 team playoff will begin around early July with 12 teams from each of the two divisions playing games in two host cities, one representing the Eastern and Western Conferences. Teams seeded 5-12 will play a Best-Of-5 Qualifying match to determine who will remain in the playoffs facing the Top 4 seeds from each conference. Eventually coming down to a 7 game conference and Stanley Cup playoff.
The Lightning were 1 of the 2 teams to vote against the top 4 seeds getting first round byes in favor of playing meaningful games instead. The Top 4 seeds would have not seen any hockey action since the league suspended in late March, making it a major disadvantage against a team that just played in a 5 game series. The Bolts will be playing in a Round Robin style tournament, to determine seeding of the top 4 teams. Meaning the team has to play Boston, Washington, and Philadelphia all once. I would like to see The Bolts get either the Florida Panthers or the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round. Florida because of the in state rivalry and Columbus because it would be redemption for the clubs sweep of the Number 1 seed Lightning last season in the first round.
No fans will be allowed at the games so fans will have to bring the Thunder from home. The rest players like Stamkos got during this whole COVID 19 suspension, hopefully allows the Bolts to finally reach their potential, bringing another cup back to the Bay!!!
With talks of the NBA resuming play at Disney’s Wide World Of Sports in Orlando, could Florida soon become a basketball hot spot?
With Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis basically welcoming all pro sports to play in Florida, the NBA which was on the brink on the playoffs before COVID 19 suspended the season has looked into resuming play in Orlando. With a large number of games needed to be played in a small amount of arenas I feel it would be in the NBA’s best interest to look at playing some games at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
The NBA currently has two franchises in NBA the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic. You could play two games at both teams home stadiums, but Amalie Arena is a prime location to host some NBA playoff games. The 2019 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four proved the Arena could hold basketball with a sold out crowd of 20,127 basketball crazy fans. If fans are able to go to games soon imagine the opportunity to see some of the NBA’s best come play in our home stadium, I know for sure it would be sold out every night. This rise of interest in the market of Tampa Bay for basketball could entice the NBA into making Tampa Bay the Eastern Conference Expansion Team ro join alongside the Seattle Sonics of the West, once the NBA explores expansion.
Imagine in a bizzaro world were the St.Petersburg Ownership group fronted by Peter Karmanos and Jim Rutherford won out over Tampa Bay hockey godfather Phil Esposito’s Tampa Ownership group that would in the real world become the Tampa Bay Lightning we all know and love.
If I had it my way the team would be called the St.Petersburg Gasporillas featuring a skeletal pirate ghost similar to the Milwaukee Admirals logo. The Gasporillas home would of course be the beloved Thunder Dome, which in fact the Lightning would call home from 93-96. Imagine a dark blue lit arena, with a Tampa Bay Buccaneers esque ghost pirate ship that would fire every time the Gasporillas score a goal. A loud “Argggggggggh!” would fill the area breaking the oppositions morale. Just picture John Carpenter’s “The Fog.” meets NHL.
Even though St.Petersburg didn’t win the expansion war due to only being able to offer $29 Million as opposed to Espositos $50 Million expansion fee, its safe to say the Tampa Bay Lightning represent the whole Tampa Bay Area very well and it’s so dope the Bolts called the ThunderDome home, even if it was short but sweet.
If after the flood of projects from Griselda and Metal Clergy weren’t enough, Estee Nack and Superior are here to give you a fix of hard bars and dope beats.
The first time I recall hearing Estee Nack was on Westside Gunn’s “Banana Yacht” track from last year they had Nack over some lush production spitting bilingual street bars over some of the lushest production I have heard. For me Nack’s style is like if Roc Marciano and Styles P combined, the flow is a little slow but the hard street life lyrics, put you on the block with Nack.
The production handled by Superior is definitely dope bringing that sample heavy Boom Bap production that fits Nack like a glove. “AROCKANDAHARDPLACE” is probably the hardest track on the project where Nack spits “Show me the guap or get out my face, I’m not trying to hear about your saint, uppercut one of motherfuckers to outer space”.
The only really problem I had with the project was it needed one or two more bangers toward the latter half. I saw where Nack was going with the theme of reflecting on street life on the track “WISDOM” to differentiate the content, but the following two tracks had a similar style that wasn’t as aggressive as the earlier tracks like the intro and “AROCKANDAHARDPLACE”.
With that being said “BALADAS” will definitely be in the rotation, it’s a nice break when I want to hear a grimy street rapper with a different approach. I will be checking out anything Estee Nack and Superior drop in the future, I know I’ll have his catchy ad lib “woooooooooah!” in my head for a long time.
Favorite Tracks: “Every Now and Then”, “Unto the Dust”, “Solitude of Enoch”, “Land Of Nod”, “Pray”, “Sins of the Father”, “I Love (Mimi, Moms, Kev)”.
Least Favorite Tracks: None
Brownsville’s own Ka is back with his first solo project since the samurai inspired “Honor Killed The Samurai”, this time intertwining street life and biblical elements thus giving us the title “Descendants Of Cain”.
Ka’s style is similar to that of DOOM and his close collaborator Roc Marciano who both form the group Metal Clergy. Just think very coded bars about street life and the effects that lifestyle has on Ka and his community. On his earlier album “Grief Pedigree” Ka’s production had a heavy use of drums but later on Ka focused on more dark sample based production depending on the theme of the album. On his collaboration “ Days With Dr.Yen Lo” with Preservation as Dr. Yen Lo, the idea of the album was to create songs with no drums relying on just the rapper and the sample.
Starting with 2013’s “The Nights Gambit” now considered an underground classic, Ka began creating concept like albums set up with sample snippets woven in to complete the theme. Chess was the focus of “The Nights Gambit”, but on his 2016 classic “Honor Killed The Samurai” Ka compared the street code and lifestyle to the way of the samurai. Ka’s lyrics create grim visuals in your mind that compliment the dark cold production of that album. On his last release from 2018 “Orpheus vs. The Sirens”as Hermit and The Recluse focuses on the theme of Ka’s music being used as an escape like Orpheus using his music to distract the Sirens.
The theme of “Descendants Of Cain” is pretty clear with lyrics like “brothers killing brothers, descendants of cain” of one of my standout tracks “Solitude Of Enoch”. Although the theme isn’t as up front like on his past projects, it is coherent enough that you get what Ka is putting down. “Sins Of The Father” features Roc Marciano giving fans a taste of that rumored Metal Clergy album. Ka ends the album on a lighter note, giving thanks to his family and friends a nice change from the usual dark subject matter.
Ever since it dropped all I’ve been listening to is Ka and Roc Marciano so they must be doing something right. Other than Griselda, Kendrick, and Freddie Gibbs no one is on Ka’s level and with another damn near flawless album and probably my favorite project of the year. He is slowly joining the legendary ranks of underground MC’s like DOOM.
With the season in jeopardy the MLB owners have come up with a plan for the players to decide on with the 2020 season fate in the balance.
The new proposal would see a shortened 82 game season ultimately ending with a 14 team playoff. A universal DH would be in place meaning the National League would no longer have to use a Pitcher in their batting lineup. Home stadiums that have local and state government approval would be set up for play, likely with no fans . With Arizona and Florida being open for pro sports the MLB should use the Grapefruit and Cactus League systems similar to Spring Training.
With an upcoming collective bargaining agreement coming next season the MLB and its owners could be up to something fishy with their new fifty fifty revenue spilt for this proposed 2020 season, with players making basically half of their salaries. Rays star pitcher Blake Snell spoke out on his about the idea of making less money saying “I’m not playing unless I get mine”. Snell also spoke about his health concerns being a factor with playing at a lower rate as well as the risk of the corona virus. Although the players do make a lot of money it would be like my job asking me to take a 50% pay cut on top of being in a high risk environment. Snell has received some heat for his comments but eventually one of the players was going to speak out, it just happened to be a Tampa Bay Ray.
As a new season ticket member it sucks that I will miss out on my first season but I rather have a season done right than the teams and players rush everything just to cram in a 2020 season that will eventually have an asterisk next to it. I am already signed up for 2021 so I am willing to wait a little longer for my Rays baseball, no matter how much I miss it right now.
Fav Tracks: “George Bondo”, “327”, “Euro Step”, “Allah Sent Me”, “$500 Ounces”, “Shawn vs. Flair”.
Least Fav Tracks: “Versace” “French Toast” (if I had to pick).
Coming off a dominant 2019 as a solo act and as a collective, Griselda and Westside Gunn once again show why they are the best in the game with his Virgil Abloh designed album “Pray For Paris”.
For me Westside Gunn’s 2018 album “Supreme Blientele” is a modern day Boom Bap/Mafioso East Coast rap classic, ushering in the revival of the long but not forgotten sub genre once dominated by Raekwon and Ghostface Killah. The gritty boom bap production and lyrics about lavish gangster lifestyle with wrestling references sprinkled in is what Hip Hop has been missing for along time, especially in the modern era.
Along with other Griselda members Conway The Machine and Benny The Butcher, the crew has been able to pretty much dominate the rap landscape with always dope if not classic albums from all members including their debut group album “WWCD” from last year.
On “Pray For Paris” Westside gives you the same formula that has worked on past projects, dope bars over grimy NY production. I feel his addition on a few new features and more main stream sounding production by Camoflauge Monk show Westside’s growth. “327” featuring Joey Bada$$ and Tyler The Creator and “French Toast” featuring Wale both show that Westside could have cross over appeal.
With that being said if your a Griselda fan your coming for the bars which can be definitely found on standout tracks “George Bondo” and the Daringer produced “Allah Sent Me” both being my two favorite tracks of the year so far with almost every Benny line being a quotable. To give this album a little more heft, Dj Premier and The Alchemist also have a few tracks on the album with a personal favorite of mine being The Alchemist produced “$500 Ounces” featuring two of my other top 5 in the game rappers Freddie Gibbs and Roc Marciano. “Euro Step” gives off a Madlib style feel sounding like one of the tracks from “Flygod Is An Awesome God”
There are pretty much no duds on this album, as of now it is my favorite project of 2020. No one in Hip Hop is touching Griselda and Westside proves that again on what could be another classic album.
With no MLB in the foreseeable future this Rays fan has his eye on the only game in town the KBO.
The South Korean Baseball League will be airing it’s games live on ESPN starting at about 1 a.m. Eastern time, as part of a new deal with the network. The games will feature american commentary.
The league started in 1982 starting with six franchises, but would later expand to ten teams. The Kia Tigers are the most successful team having won 11 out of the 38 championship games. The teams are mainly made up of South Korean born players but each team allows three international players on each team. The quality of play is not MLB level but it’s definitely better than most Triple A games. Top flight pitchers are slinging 93 mph fast balls in the KBO as opposed to some MLB pitchers that throw 97 mph. If your a fan of big sluggers this league has it, and you know what that means more celebratory bat flips.
Now the question is what team to root for? I am going with the Kimwoon Heroes, the only team in the league not named after a company or a business. The Heroes play in the Gocheok Sky Dome, a state of the art dome giving off vibes of what a new Tropicana Field could look like in St.Petersburg. Heavy hitter First baseman Park Byung-ho lead the KBO in homers last year with 33. Shortstop Kim Ha-seong is also an MLB caliber player to watch out for on the Heroes.
The KBO is currently playing games with fake fans in attendance which is a bad sign for upcoming Rays season ticket holders. We might be able to at least see our home town team play but it will be from behind a screen. Until the MLB makes a decision on the 2020 season, the only thing get our sports fix as of now might be KBO baseball. In that case Go Heroes!!!
With the promise of his next album dropping Summer 2020, mixtape Drake is back to hold fans over.
“Dark Lane Demo Tapes” shows all of the sides of Drake. You get the introspective side for the first three tracks,but mainly on the intro track “Deep Pockets” where Drake spits about his life and the state of the rap game. He’s also got his Future collab cuts on here as well with prob my fav track on the album “D4L” featuring Future and Young Thug over an asain inspired Southside banger.
When Drake flipping the “Song Cry” beat on “When To Say When” and using the Eminem “Superman” hook on “Chicago Freestyle” came off as very corny to me and just made me want to listen to the original songs. The songs aren’t bad they just come off as lazy rather than cool so I usually skip those.
At first I hated “Toosie Slide” but the Tik Tok cash grab song has grown on me, but I am still going to call it “Tootsie Slide”.
This project is decent for a “demo tape” mixtape but some of the songs like “Landed” and “War” seem like throwaway tracks, especially “War” which sounds like I should be on Drake’s NY Drill album when it drops.
On this mixtape you also get the “ride the wave” Drake where he makes his best attempts at jumping on the hottest trend in the rap game. Sometimes this formula works for Drake like on the X inspired “KMT” from “More Life”. But it can also go horribly wrong like some of those trash Dance Hall cuts from “Views”. On this tape Drake borrows the Playboi Carti sound on the Pierre Bourne produced “Pain 1993” which is done pretty well but to me it just sounds like Drake wanted this for his project instead of Carti’s. Drake also takes a crack at the new “NY Drill” sound that gained popularity after the death of Pop Smoke earlier this year. “Demons” featuring Fivio Foreign and Sosa Geek nails the esthetic of the sound with a menacing drill beat provided by JB Made It. The final track “War” is also in a similar style but just feels like a throwaway. Not sure if this sub genre will last with the death of Pop Smoke but I know for sure Drake ain’t the future of it.
Despite half this mixtape being kind of wack the three tracks I really do vibe with off of it will definitely be on my playlist all Summer 2020!