What We Like: Amphora Nueva, 'The Complicated Chinese Family Tree,' 'Swamplandia!'



Preeeetty late to the party on this, but Swamplandia!, which was written by Karen Russell and shortlisted for the Pulitzer last year, is indeed quite good! — Ellen Cushing

I love everything about this video of six-year-old B-girl Terra taking no prisoners at a breakdancing competition in France. But the best part is when she pushes away the dude she's battling, does the slit throat gesture, and then proceeds to bust out three flares into a freaking headspin. Serious, serious swag. — Luke Tsai

All of you Mandarin speakers out there already know that in Chinese, every single relative has a different name, depending on their birth order and whether they're on your mother's or father's side of the family — none of this "let's just say everyone's a 'cousin' and call it a day" nonsense. I've bookmarked this awesome video, entitled "The Complicated Chinese Family Tree," as a reference for the next time I'm sitting around with my relatives debating what I'm supposed to call, say, the husband of the eldest daughter of my mom's first cousin on her father's side. (Literally, my relatives in Taiwan have a conversation like this almost every time we get together.) — L.T.

Amanda Palmer's TED Talk. I can't decide if she's annoying or sorta brilliant. I think it's a bit of both. — K.R.

Really into the fruit-balsamic vinegar combo right now: Amphora Nueva's raspberry-infused balsamic mixed with the garlic-infused olive oil. YUM And Victory Burger's strawberry-balsamic milkshake. DOUBLE YUM — Kathleen Richards

As a non-dessert person who also really loves to bake, my life is basically INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT. But then I came across the BRILLIANT IDEA of putting salty things inside sweet things, which changed my life and is also where these pretzel and peanut butter cup cookies came from. They’re really salty, which is sort of unnerving, but also weirdly addictive. (If you’re worried about, like, hypertension or whatever, you can cut down on the salt by decreasing the quantity of pretzels.) I brought them to work and they were devoured faster than anything else I’ve ever made has been, which is significant. Also they are pretty excellent stoner food; JUST SAYING. Anyway, here’s the recipe, adapted from The Sweets Life:
Preheat oven to 375. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. baking soda, and ½ tsp. salt. Next, in another bowl, beat a stick of unsalted butter, ¾ cups white sugar, and ¾ cups brown sugar with an electric beater, just until it’s all combined. (Be ABSOLUTELY SURE to use unsalted butter, or else these will be inedibly salty.) Then add two eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla and beat a bit more, until everything’s combined. Next, mix in the dry ingredients until everything looks uniform — make sure not to overmix it though. And finally, the fun part: fold in 2 cups of chopped chocolate-covered pretzels and 1 ½ cups of chopped-up peanut butter cups. (or more, if you’re feeling frisky!). Roll into inch-diameter balls and place about an inch apart on a buttered cookie sheet; bake for ten to twelve minutes until they’re just barely brown at the edges. (Rotate the pans midway if you remember, which I never do). — E.C.

This is actual genius. — Azeen Ghorayshi

Twin Peaks fans will rejoice at being able to see Leland Palmer (aka Ray Wise) sing once more in the new Beach House video for “Wishes.” Plus, he rides a giant white horse (white mane in reference to Leland’s overnight hair transformation, anyone??) AND there are sword-wielding cheerleaders. — A.G.

I've been lacking the motivation to clean my bathtub for far too long. I think the new KEN mode album (think Converge meets Triclops!), especially "Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick," will do the trick. — K.R.

As soon as the weather gets nicer, I wanna try the Dipsea Trail (Muir Woods to Stinson). — K.R.

On the Spring to-do list: Hike Dipsea Trail.
  • Wikipedia
  • On the Spring to-do list: Hike Dipsea Trail.

I've discovered a magical gem of greenery tucked in the El Cerrito hills: Canyon Trail Park. Listening to KEN mode will also help with the inclines. — K.R.