Here are a few things I have really have been digging. I am painfully aware that my goal of updating culinary adventures and finds never really got off the ground, but that may all be about to change...
www.chefknivestogo.com for a measly $80. Took some regrind work but the White Steel #2 (my first time with it) is remarkable. It is a featherweight laser. While you are rubbing one out to all the knife porn on that website at 2am be sure to pick up a:
2. Shapton glass stone. I started using ceramic Shaptons in 2004 and picked up a 1000 grit glass stone as a quick stone to complement the higher grits. The new glass line is pretty awesome and certainly worth the money in longevity and speed. Also got a diamond 300 for regrinding several old, damaged knives rather than continuing to live in shame.
4. Having your own ras el hanout on hand from Morrocan night - build it and watch in awe at the amount of mileage you get back, and amaze your friends. Using a range of spice roastage seems to really create the greatest vertical range of depth. Grind rose petals at the end and hold separately for dusting where appropriate. I actually went back and added some unroasted seeds to get that high/low element.
6. Pickled mustard seeds on oysters for that faux caviar look. Priceless, even if it is just an inside joke.
7. Restaurant Man - Joe Bastianich. Joe is in some ways the most likeable and yet most completely unlikeable dude in the restaurant biz. Cocky, smug, well known as a jerk. He is a labor lawsuit recipient and he lost. But the audiobook is a great listen, and painfully honest. His East Coast drone remembers me back to going to see Michale Gira (Swans) read from his book - it was the most painful thing I ever saw, let alone heard. Anyways, if you don't mind a little hubris and fanny humor, listen (or read if you must) Restaurant Man. It is a great ride into the restaurant scene, and a perfect business primer. The best part is all of the Amazon reviews by mayonnaise-eating white-bread d-bags who want a clean, sanitized exposé Food Network style. Sometimes the medium is the message, or something like that. Dicks.
8. Bosse-de-Nagge - III. For old metal dudes like me that still listen to Slint, Unwound and The Ex regularly, this is embarrassingly post-, shoegazey and thin, but it really works on the pretentious cerebral side when you need a good artsy break from all of the Antediluvian and Adversarial you have have been cranking pasta out to at one in the morning or shoot thinning under a 95 degree sun for 12 hours straight. Far from cvlt, but then again, so am I. Surprised no one has termed it 'Frisco metal.