Making Taiwanese Tamales 包粽子

I was visiting family in Arizona for Thanksgiving weekend. I spent the Friday after Thanksgiving with my mom, aunt, and uncle making zongzi or Taiwanese tamales, a fitting description that reflects my Pacific Islander/Southwestern identity. 😉 The zongzi are based on my Taiwanese grandmother’s recipe, and includes sticky rice, peanuts, pork, fried shallots, dried shrimp, dried daikon, shiitake, and salty duck egg yolks wrapped in bamboo leaves. The bamboo-wrapped packages are then boiled and steamed. Yum!

Making "Taiwanese Tamales" (包粽子)

Making "Taiwanese Tamales" (包粽子)

Making "Taiwanese Tamales" (包粽子)

Making "Taiwanese Tamales" (包粽子)

My Thanksgiving photos on Flickr

New HEPNOVA music: “En la plaza de mi pueblo” and “Märk Hur Vår Skugga”

I just got back to NYC from the latest Hepnova recording sessions in Arizona.  We finished two covers of old songs that got the Hepnova treatment.  The first is called “En la plaza de mi pueblo,” a flamenco-tinged song from the Spanish Civil War, and “Märk Hur Vår Skugga,” an eighteenth-century Swedish song by Carl Michael Bellman about death and drinking.  “En la plaza” features a guest guitar solo from American Flamenco pioneer José Alarcon.

<a href="">En plaza de mi pueblo by HEPNOVA</a>

<a href="">Märk Hur Vår Skugga (Fredmans Epistel #81) by HEPNOVA</a>

The working title of the new collection is Transistor Troubadour.  We are planning on doing some more covers as well as some Hepnova originals and to continue to develop the unique electro-acoustic sound that has emerged in previous Hep tunes like “You’re For Me” and “Again Tonight.”

Check out the new Hepnova tracks on Bandcamp. More tracks in the Transistor Troubadour collection are in the works, so check back often for more music!

Lyrics after the jump:

Continue reading New HEPNOVA music: “En la plaza de mi pueblo” and “Märk Hur Vår Skugga”

Pizzeria Bianco


Pizzeria Bianco
623 E Adams St
Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 258-8300

Ok, this is my last restaurant review for the day.  I’ve finally caught up with my backlog of blog posts.

This place hardly needs another review, but let’s just say that it is one of the first places I go for dinner whenever I am back home in Arizona.


This place is the ultimate in slow food.  Every pizza is handmade by chef-owner Chris Bianco and baked in a wood-fired oven.  The restaurant is in an old “historic” building (ok 1920’s counts as historic in Phoenix).  But come prepared to wait.  They don’t take reservations for parties of less than 6, so show up an get in line at 3 or 4 pm for opening time at 5.


Start out with the antipasto plate ($12) or a Caprese salad (above – $9 -Americanized as “handmade mozzarella, local tomato and basil with extra virgin olive oil” on the menu).


For the main event, my two favorite pizzas are the Rosa (above – $11) and the Wiseguy (below – $14).  The Rosa has red onions, Parmigiano Reggiano, rosemary, and AZ pistachios, and is bursting with vegetarian umami goodness.  The Wiseguy is a meat-lover’s delight with wood roasted onion, house smoked mozzarella, and plenty of fennel sausage.