ASCEND

If therapy has taught me anything it’s that the ultimate position is one where your emotional, mental, and spiritual Batman tool belt is fully stocked with everything you need to get it poppin. And you can look at the mountain and just as easily say “TODAY I’M CLIMBING THAT MOTHERFUCKER” or “nah I don’t feel like climbing today…but I could if I wanted to.”

All the while feeling equally rooted and confident in either decision.

Having the freedom to move surefootedly—even in uncertain terrain—is an ill feeling.

But that shit has taken 432 days of work and self talks and constantly adjusting the knobs to tune in to where I’m at and where I’d like to be.

And ultimately when you’re fully tuned in to yourself you don’t need the distractions nor the self-soothing of past vices because now you’re truly enjoying the show yourself. You don’t need to take your mind elsewhere in any given moment because being right HERE right NOW with your WHOLE self is beautiful.

You don’t want to run away anymore.

You want to feel it all.

Because you know you’re gonna be straight no matter where this road may lead.

You’ve found the way to fill in your happiness pie chart even while rolling solo deep. Just me, myself, and I. And any extra love you get on top from any place outside of yourself is simply bonus content. Icing on the cake. The peanuts on the hot fudge sundae.

My emotional cup overfloweth, dude.

That’s an ill feeling, right?

Believe me it feels ill just to say it out loud to myself!

I’m here now to live in full volume. I’m not here to shrink away. Or as the song says…this little light of mine…I plan to let that motherfucker shine.

I like to think that this is a special feeling of finally being in a place of abundance rather than the place of fear—of possibly “going without”—that used to run my life for so long. I don’t need anything else because I’ve got everything I need. Home is wherever I’m at. I’m good in any hood. You get the idea.

I know Thanksgiving Thursday is still 5 days a way, but I’m already feeling thankful like a motherfucker.

And I hope you can enjoy a plate of what I’m feeling right now someday for yourself.

Much love,

Abraheez

FREAK-A-LEEK

This is the single greatest pizza I’ve ever eaten in my life. I damn near teared up on that first bite. This combo of charred leeks, scallions, Italian sausage, garlic, white sauce, lemon, and thyme is UNFADEABLE.

Thank you Little Coyote for officially ruining all other pizzas for me.

MY CURRENT TOP 3 KOREAN SPOTS

(This list is something I put together for the homies John + Mike after a Twitter thread about Korean fried chicken that led to me wanting to bless them with 3 of my favorite Korean spots. However, if you, dear reader, found this mini list AND you live in Southern California then congratulations as you have just stumbled onto a cotdamn treasure chest. Just please try to keep this low, man. Or my wife might kill me.)

Okay, hermanos, so here is the list.

I was going to post this on your Twitter timeline but then I told my wife over dinner that I was putting this list together for you guys and she did that thing where your lady yells at you without her teeth ever separating (“DAMMIT I SWEAR TO GOD IF MY FAVORITE SPOTS GET OVERRUN BY CORNBALLS, BABES") which let me know that was a dumb idea (and she was right).

So for the health of my marriage and in the name of my favorite spots not getting overrun by bozos, I present to you the first mini list. In the words of Super Mario……LET’S A GOOOOO:

(just click on the name of each place and it’ll take you directly to their Yelp page so you can see all the great photos, reviews, menus, etc)

BBQ Chicken (Cerritos, CA)

first note: yes, the first review you see is me shitting on them for closing early, but cotdammit I love this chicken so much and these motherfuckers insisted on making it harder for me to love them. We smoothed shit out since, but you know it’s passionate when I’m yelling at them from keeping me from their chicken one day and then was right back in that motherfucker 2 days later to get a 20-piece. This one is takeout only for now, but it’s probably smarter to take it home and spread it all out since you will be needing a lot of napkins once you really get into it.

second note: they sell regular chicken and wings….only fuck with the wings. The regular chicken they like to rough cut, so instead of the usual breast-thigh-leg-wing dance we’re used to you might get a piece that is half a breast or a chunk of a thigh. I can’t seem to make sense of the regular chicken (because I’m a bozo), so I only order the wings and I’m super straight

third note: I saw everyone shouting out “Bonchon Chicken” in your replies to the original post. NAH FAM. That’s just the joint that everyone knows because it’s out there. The hit single. BBQ Chicken is the fuckin album cut in my book. Disc 2, Track 7. On some Steely Dan hidden gem shit. And the BBQ stands for “Best of the Best Quality”. It takes a certain level of confidence to make a claim like this but they 100% deliver on this promise.

BANGERS:

  1. Honey Garlic Wings: DOG…the way that honey so sexily envelops that perfect crispness, only for you to bite into that motherfucker, break that crispy shell, expose that juicy inside, and THEN that garlic flavor creeps out? It’s like a fucking movie.

  2. Soy Garlic Wings: I’d say this is only 2nd by like inches. Same kind of dance as the Honey Garlic Wings, but this time you’ve got a more subdued, slightly salty soy flavor on the outer shell instead of honey…..same garlic magic on the inside

  3. French Fries: I think they double batter them, but they’re cotdamn delicious and I order two boxes every time. And they stay crispy forever. I don’t know how the hell they do it, but they do it.

Tang 88 (Cerritos, CA)

note: they have tables and a charming little outdoor setup…super sweet husband and wife team…just call them and tell them how many you have coming and they’ll get you a table squared up

BANGERS:

  1. Galbi-tang: beef short rib soup with glass noodles and a broth that I can’t even describe. There’s so many elements in the flavor that you can’t even pinpoint what you’re tasting. But you cut the beef off the bone with these scissors they give you, then dunk a little in this slightly sweet slightly vinegary sauce on the side, and then jam it straight or on top of some rice. This soup changed my life and is the best soup I’ve ever eaten in my 36 years on Earth.

  2. Twigim mandu: handmade pork and vegetable dumpling that are quick fried and taste like something a Grandma made with love. I’ve had these a bunch of places, but NONE of them are as good as these

  3. the BANCHAN: the little side dishes that they give you are FIRE! They come with whatever you order for free, and they keep refilling them (just like at a Korean BBQ spot), but the owner’s wife makes all of these herself in-house, and they just have a freshness and taste that blows away any other banchan I’ve had anywhere else

Cham Soot Gol (Buena Park, CA)

first note: this place has tented outdoor seating in their dope little Rona-times parking lot set-up, tabletop grills, and the staff is mad cool….we’ve been coming here for years, and they always show love. Lotta KBBQ places can have shitty service or lag on the re-up for more meat or more banchan, but the owners here are cool dudes and they stay SUPER on top of everything….a great experience all around

second note: you’ve probably had Korean BBQ a bunch of times before, but these guys have the right balance of the Holy Trinity of KBBQ….1) bangin meats 2) fresh + delicious banchan 3) UNLIMITED THRIFTY’S ICE CREAM AT THE END OF YOUR MEAL….okay let’s get into it…..

BANGERS:

  1. get the “B” menu for $4 more…think of it like getting VIP access to the concert, only the VIP is actually even better than the concert itself

  2. Garlic Pork Belly: they season the pork belly with fresh garlic and the flavor gets all in your nose in the best way

  3. Beef “Finger” Rib Meat: this is the meat cut from between the individual beef ribs….not every place has this, but they do and it’s cotdamn delicious. A little more texture, but the chew dances around your cheeks and the flavor is bomb even without any sauces

  4. Pork Jowl: essentially pig cheeks….sounds weird, but it’s like pork belly’s cousin with a 800 FICO score and a white Mercedes….feels classy and has its shit together. You dunk this one in a bit of the rock salt and oil that they give you on the side and you’re gonna fly to the moon

  5. SECRET KBBQ TRICK: you may be up on this since you guys are both well-traveled, but I take the egg pot that they give you and put a little on my rice…then I put a little of the rock salt + oil on top of that, mix it all up with my spoon, and then eat my meat on top of that once it comes off the grill. It sounds like a weird combo, but it’s perfect. Again, you may have already stumbled onto this, but this is the only way to fly for me since I first discovered KBBQ in 2006

So needless to say I’ve got tons of other spots in the tuck for you brothers. These are our 3 favorite places right now (aside from Little Coyote Pizza in Long Beach which isn’t Korean but I’ve seen Mike post about on Twitter and so he already knows how SUPER ILL it is), and I’m happy to give you guys more spots whenever you want.

Much love, and hope y’all have a smooth weekend!

Abraheezee

THE CLICK – “HURRICANE”

Someone on Reddit a few months back said that E-40 sounds like he’s rapping in bubble letters, and that may be one of the most accurate descriptions of any rapper that I’ve ever heard in my entire life.

Fonzarelli is an all-time great, and this joint is always so smooth no matter how many times in a row you play it:

VISITING WITH UNCLE ABE || Episode 0001: An Introduction

As we launch The Sound Pantry Radio Network here with this inaugural episode of our flagship show, I wanted to commemorate the start of this journey by first introducing myself and sharing the significance of what all has gone down in this past year that led to my launching this network in the first place.

As a member of the very same village/community/tribe that I’m hoping to build through this radio network, I feel like the best recipe for making meaningful connections involves keeping it eye-level at all times about the very similar journey that a lot of us embark on yet don’t always feel comfortable enough to share. Simply put, being honest about our fight for the light is a lot more uplifting and empowering in contrast to whatever it is that we do when we posture and pose on socials like it’s all good all the time (even though clearly it isn’t…AND THAT’S OKAY).

This introduction episode is a bit longer than I had originally planned, but there’s a whole lot of good stuff from front to back here. I appreciate your joining us for this ride, and I’ll be sure to save you a seat for the next go-round.

With much love,

Uncle Abe

LINKS TO RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

HOW AM I DOING YOU ASK?

I just stumbled upon a new video with The LOX and DMX at 1:12am on a Wednesday night which then took me down a rabbit hole of early 50 Cent mixtapes until like 5 minutes ago when I realized “damn I can barely keep my eyes open” but for some odd reason I still wanted to check in here real quick and document this moment in history for posterity’s sake.

Yeahman so I guess it’s time to go to bed.