You know a Buffalo restaurant is red-hot when you can't get a seat for 45 minutes -- on a Monday night. But that was the case this week at Cantina Loco, the new Mexican-inspired place on Allen Street, just across from the Towne restaurant. Open in full for less than a week, the new eatery from Mike Andrzejewski (the Seabar founder and former Oliver's and Rue Franklin wizard whom the James Beard Foundation calls "Buffalo's powerhouse chef") was packed with the young, the cool and the heavily tattooed. As the outdoor neon sign announces, Cantina Loco specializes in "tacos and tequila." The drink menu is elaborate, with dozens of tequila choices, and variations within the choices, set up in an impressive but daunting grid format. I resisted the "house boilermaker" -- shot of mezcal plus tecate with salt and lime -- but was entertained by its pricing: $5 for the restaurant industry, $8 for "everyone else." As for my skirt-steak taco, I'm no Adam Platt, but I think the technical description is "to die for."
New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman is one of the country's foremost commentators on economic issues. A Nobel Prize winner in economics, he can take a topic like the federal debt ceiling and make it sing. And, as it turns out, he's interested in how other people sing, too. He recently alerted his many devoted readers to the talents of the Toronto-based electronic trio Austra, whose lead singer and songwriter is Katie Stelmanis, formerly of Galaxy. The music website Stereogum had this to say: "Even if Stelmanis wasn’t the primary songwriter, her powerful, instantly memorable voice would deserve the front-and-center attention." At age 10, Stelmanis joined the Canadian Children’s Opera, then sang for the Canadian Opera Company, and while learning to play viola and piano. Then she went to a punk show and it was all over: She joined a band.
In a recent blog, Krugman recommended Austra and posted a video from Seattle's edgy KEXP-FM of the song "Lose It," noting that, to him, it sounds like a combination of Enya and Queen of the Night (a reference to Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute"). You can hear it here.
Sons of the Beatles, perhaps unsurprisingly, tend to dabble in the music business. Consider Dhani Harrison, Sean Ono Lennon and Julian Lennon. Now Sir Paul's son, James McCartney, is hoping for his star turn. As the Boston Globe notes: "Paul’s boy is following in his footsteps and recently released 'The Complete EP Collection,' a two-disc set (co-produced by his dad) that combines two earlier digital-only EPs and five new tracks. ... While some may hold him to an impossible standard, the younger McCartney’s promising pop-rock tunes make clear he’s learned a few lessons about melody, phrasing, and charm." The young McCartney is scheduled for an appearance on "The Late Show With David Letterman" on Monday. The Globe's "12 Acts to Listen for in 2012," which includes McCartney, is worth a look.
Here he covers Neil Young's "Old Man." Notice a slight family resemblance?