If you think there might be a flaw in a scheme that relies on employees to point out why they should not get raises, then you might enjoy this honest employee self-evaluation I wrote for (the newly safe-for-work) Playboy.com.
Like most Bobcats I was saddened to learn about the fire on Union Street. Two of Athens’ favorite public establishments, Jackie O’s and The Union, were hit hard. It sounds like Jackie O’s will remain open in some limited capacity while it rebuilds. The Union as we know it “is no more,” according to its proprietors.
Here’s hoping the owners rebuild.
It’s hard to imagine Uptown without The Union.
When I was at Ohio University in the 1990s The Union was the alternative, grunge, dive, $1-for-a-Schlitz, indie music bar. Downstairs was for townies and regulars. Upstairs was literally for everyone.
For some students The Union was a stop on a shuffle. But for others it was the central organizing principle of their social lives. It was a place accepting of various fashions, scenes and lifestyles. It was smokey and dark, rough around the edges, yet tolerant. More so than a lot of places Uptown, it was a true melting pot.
The pretty people were at The Crystal and Pawpurr’s. The people who had tattoos and piercings and tattoos of piercings or didn’t care to judge the tattooed and pierced were at The Union. The Union gave the “goddamn independents” who exist outside of OU’s self-organizing social classes of greeks and jocks and bros and basics a place to drink and socialize and dance and sing. It was the definition of a proper dive bar as well as a place to see The Black Keys for-crying-out-loud.
Obviously I have fond memories of the place, and of all of them the most recent stands out.
Two years ago when my wife and I returned to Athens for a semester we attended a live performance of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” on the second floor. The room was packed. Everyone was dressed in drag and lingerie, the audience and cast blending together, singing and dancing in a buckshot blast of freak humanity.
It was loud. It was fun. It was weird.
It was The Union.
Photo via The Post
This is the most fun thing we’ve done at the new Playboy.com yet. For Halloween we turned the old “sexy” costumes cliche on its head and had the Playmates dress as pop culture heroes who, for the most part, are not known for being sexy. This photo shoot was intended to be humorous, not hot, and I’m thankful it was received that way.
So if you’ve ever wanted to see Sexy John Oliver, Sexy Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sexy Alex Trebek, Sexy George R.R. Martin, Sexy Louis C.K., Sexy Joe Biden, Sexy Questlove, Sexy Craig Sager, Sexy George Takei and Sexy Weird Al all in one place, click here. (The photos and videos are all non-nude.)
How did it go over?
John Oliver led with it on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:
I never get excited about brisket. It is a source of perpetual disappointment. Sometimes I order it at restaurants. And sometimes it gets trotted out during a press dinner. I bite in hopeful. I swallow disappointed. Not enough flavor. Too dry. It just tastes like generic meat to me. Perhaps I’m not sophisticated enough to enjoy the subtlety of a well-cooked brisket, but my palate does not do subtlety. I like rich, bold flavor.
The brisket at Saint Martha (740 S. Western, Los Angeles) is the best I’ve ever had. I told the sommelier those exact words while I was eating it. The sommelier’s job is to suggest wine, but I felt like I had to tell someone. “I’ve never seen Joe this excited about brisket before,” my wife told sommelier Mary Thompson, who had only come by to fill my wine glass, thereby giving Thompson a complete and totally unnecessary appreciation of my history with the dish.
Chef Nick Erven’s brisket was unlike any other I’ve had. It was soft and a little fatty, and it was covered in a sweet and tangy sauce and topped with veggies a la Korean street taco. It paired wonderfully with the pinot noir Thompson selected. On the way out I wanted to tell people coming in, “Get the brisket or you won’t have lived a complete life.”
Saint Martha—brisket maker of my dreams—is named after the patron saint of cooks and servants. The Koreatown restaurant is run by the same people who run Tart, the Fairfax restaurant where diners can jump in the pool for half-off their brunch. Saint Martha faces a nondescript parking lot, and so its interior steals a page from restaurants like Melisse: If the view stinks, don’t give the customer a stinky view. Saint Martha has no windows, pushing the customer’s focus to the art, each other, and, of course, the food.
My wife Jen and I enjoyed an array of creative dishes, including the seaweed sea urchin “tataki” with avocado mousse, hearts of palm and seaweed Doritos (that’s them on the right—they were great); octopus with Koshihikari rice, sauce nero, lardo and espelette; steak and oyster tartare with champagne sabayon and bone marrow beignets; and diver scallops with black trumpet mushrooms, endive, white yam puree and smoked dulse.
The brisket was the grand finale. Growing full, I forced myself to stop eating, and our server wrapped the precious remainder in a tinfoil swan, which I lovingly placed in the backseat of the car for the ride home. I wondered if I should buckle it in. I didn’t want anything to happen to it. “Drive carefully,” I told my wife.
I finished it off at lunch the next day.
And now the question…the big question…the only one that matters.
Saint Martha: Is it good?
Saint Martha is good.
Have I mentioned the brisket?
All images stolen from the Saint Martha website
For more “Is It Good?” Reviews, go here.
This week for Playboy.com I melded my love of lists with my love of hating things on the Internet and wrote about the worst things in the world — fjords.
I hate them.