Short List: Vampire Weekend, ponchos and grilled octopus
In the Thicke of it
Vampire Weekend covers ‘Blurred Lines’
At the beginning of this summer — as with every summer anymore — the music media made its perennial rush to declare a song of the summer. My personal preference was for “Diane Young” from New York-based Vampire Weekend. Everyone else seemed to be anointing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which did hold sway for a while. And then “Blurred Lines” happened, along with its sexed-up, kleig-lit video. An idiotically infectious pop picayune from Canadian Robin Thicke, the song spread like sonic kudzu. But in a moment of lovely pop synergy, during a BBC Radio 1 performance, Vampire Weekend covered the song, and managed to redeem the track with its knowing take — particularly frontman Ezra Koening’s version of the verse originally rapped by T.I. The video is available on YouTube.
You read that right: a poncho for the rain, made by a Danish outfit called Rains. I saw a girl wearing this stylish but utilitarian number at Sasquatch! and resolved to get one, once the weather resumed its long gray line. Well, despite this week’s heat and sun, that time is near. And my Rains poncho is en route. Which raises a couple questions. Why do more people not wear ponchos here? Why do you not have a poncho? It’s the perfect garment for Seattle: rain-resistant and bike-friendly. Filson should make a rain poncho. They’d sell a million.
Eight is enough
Rock Creek’s chili-grilled octopus
I have never had octopus cooked this well, and I am a fan of the edible cephalopod. The usual aversion to octopus (aside from the culinary myopics who can’t deal with the appearance) is the texture. And to be fair, there is a lot of rubbery octopus out there. But this version at this newly opened Fremont spot is perfectly tender and firm at the same time. According to the waiter, it is blanched before being thrown on the grill (though I suspect that the fact that it’s also extremely fresh helps). Served with cannellini beans, olives, tomato confit and chili vinaigrette, this version — especially when eaten on Rock Creek’s deck, with a dry French white — is among the best things I’ve eaten this summer.
— Brian Thomas Gallagher, assistant features editor