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The Moment Volume 4: Pacific Northwest

Posted by Break North on

Welcome back to The Moment, an online publication from Break North.

The Moment is about catching up with friends of Break North from all over the world to find out what they’re into right now.

We hope you enjoy our fourth installment from one of our old buddies from the Pacific Northwest.

Nick Lasik

Tasty n Alder



Where do you call home?

I live in gorgeously soggy Portland, Oregon. Stumptown. Rip City. Little Beirut.

Any hot tips for our next trip to P-Town?

Listen to your bartender. He or she usually will steer you in the direction of something fun. weird, or exciting. Also, bring outdoor gear and rent a car. The best thing about Portland is that it's located in the Pacific Wonderland of Oregon. Being able to enjoy the natural splendor of the state and then return to the city to eat at some of the best restaurants in the world is simply incredible.

What are you reading?

Oh man, where do I start?! My girlfriend got me a vintage copy of Mount Hood: A Complete History by Jack Grauer since I have designs on my first summit of the peak this spring. It's an incredibly comprehensive look at the peak from the first settlers to the first alpinists. Also, being a huge baseball fan, I've been filling the vacuum that is the off-season with literature about our national pastime. The Only Rule Is It Has to Work by Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh is a fascinating experiment where two sabermetricians (i.e., stat-head nerds) take over an independent league team and get to put their ideas to the test. I also revisited the controversial ‘60s baseball expose Ball Four by Jim Bouton for all its nitty-gritty humor and locker room tell-all.

How about longform journalism?

Well, given the current political climate and anti-media rhetoric, I've been trying to do my best to support traditional forms, most notably my subscription to The New York Times and National Geographic. Solid journalism is going to be very important over the next four years.

New albums you’re feeling?

The new Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service, was like a political salve for me. It helps remind me to keep a positive outlook in dark times.

Have you revisited any olds albums recently?

On the flip side of that, when I just want to give in to my anger, I throw on some classic metal and turn that volume knob as far to the right as it can go. Records that fill this need lately include Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power, Neurosis' In Times of Grace and Sleep's Dopesmoker.

What are you wearing?

Well, top of the list has got to be my Break North hat. I wear that thing all the time and am constantly getting comments on it. Also my Filson Scout watch. American made by the folks at Shinola in Detroit. Super classy. I'm currently repping a Mitchell and Ness throwback Arvydis Sabonis shirt when I'm at the Rose Garden cheering on my Blazers.

And your secret to staying young?

Uh, as I'm wading into my fourth decade orbiting the sun, I'm finding that youthfulness takes more effort than ever! Truth be told, don't stop being inquisitive about new things. It's easy to rely on the old standbys. There's always something fascinating to learn by taking a genuine interest in the story of a stranger.

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The Moment Volume 2

Posted by Break North on

Paige Smiling

Paige van den Burg

Line Cook
Union Square Cafe


Where do you call home?

Brooklyn, New York; the borough of KINGS; KINGS country that is.

Any tips for tourists?

  • If you stumble across people standing in a line, stand in it and eat there.
  • Go to Flushing and eat at Dumpling Galaxy. It’s in a crazy mall. ‘Nuff said.
  • Walk to Coney Island via Ocean Parkway.
  • Walk the East River Promenade.
  • Please DO NOT take a Citi Bike and ride Brooklyn Bridge with a selfie stick.

Read any new books that you'd recommend?

10 Restaurants That Changed America. Love it

What about old books you’ve recently re-read?

I re-read A Catcher in the Rye while my nephew and I looked at colleges. God, that is a good book.

Any new albums you are feeling?

50 Song Memoir by the Magnetic Fields. It hasn’t dropped yet, but the pre-releases are amazing. I also love Shovels & Rope.

Have you revisited any olds albums?

Yellow Ostrich. I heard an NPR show about getting in touch with old new wave and that’s when I rediscovered them.

What’s popping on Netflix?

I LOVE Black Mirror.

How about podcasts?

Podcasts are my jam. As a chef, I listen to The Sporkful, Gastropod, Prince Street, and Grub Street. As a person I listen to Death, Sex & Money; Hidden Brain; Terrible, Thanks for Asking; The Hilarious World of Depression; How I Built This; and all the other NPR faves.

What are you wearing?

Danish endurance compression socks. I wear them at work, and they are the best.

Um…how about Break North?

I’m not going to lie: I wear my Break North T-shirt under my chef coat all the time. It’s so comfortable.

New recipes?

Well, I love to pickle, ferment, cure, and smoke. So I will give you my new root beer pickle recipe:

Sassafras root, Ginger, Allspice, Clove, Cinnamon, Sarsaparilla tea, Mustard seed, Bay leaf, Peppercorn, Apple cider vinegar, Sugar, Water, and Salt.

Make tea of sassafras and sarsaparilla with clove cinnamon and allspice. Soak over night. I like to use burdock root (peel, slice thin, and keep under water with lemon wedges). Add ratio of 2:1 vinegar to waters. Salt and sugar to taste. Add tea and boil (keep tea basin there). You must cook burdock until tender, then jar and as needed. (If you are scared of the root beer flavor, you can use 5-spice; it works great too.)

What’s your secret to staying young?

I am a 43-year-old who was recently asked on the street if I was over 21. I’m genetically wrinkle-free. I know it drives my 43-year-old wife crazy, even if she won’t admit it.

Words to live by?

  • Less is more.
  • Do what you love, love what you do.
  • Cook with your heart, and you will feed the soul.


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Welcome to The Moment

Posted by Break North on

Welcome to The Moment, an online publication from Break North.

The Moment is about catching up with friends of Break North from all over the world to find out what they’re into right now.

Stephanie Bastek from Smarty Pants

Stephanie Bastek

Web Editor at The American Scholar and mastermind of the magazine’s Smarty Pants podcast

Where do you call home?

I’m in Washington DC, in the cool part: Petworth.

What do I need to do when I visit DC?

Definitely visit the Rock Creek Church Cemetery; it’s the oldest one in the region and has grave markers predating the Civil War! And then bike down the hill to see if you can get into this hip new Filipino restaurant, Bad Saint, but when you’re inevitably disappointed by the long lines you can mosey over to Thip Khao, the best Laotian restaurant this side of the Pacific.

What new activities you are feeling?

I am something of a knitting fiend, and have recently dipped my toes into dying my own yarn. My favorite color combination so far is beet juice + turmeric, though soon I’m going to have enough onion skins to give those a try.

Anything new in your earbuds?

I am obsessed with Austra; I bought tickets to see her at the Black Cat in January once she releases her new album, Future Politics. Katie Stelmanis, the genius behind the band, was classically trained as an opera singer and now does amazing electro-pop that is perfect for about every mood, from jubilation to melancholy to quiet seething.

Any music you’ve revisited lately?

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds always helps me out when I’m feeling low, whether it’s The Boatman’s Call or my favorite double album of all time, Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus. Check out “O Children” and get back to me when you’re done weeping. Side note: Cave also released a new album, Skeleton Tree, which was written after the death of his teenage son. It’s incredible, and so moving.

What about books?

This year I tried to read all of the long-listed novels for Man Booker Prize, and I pretty much succeeded, with two exceptions! My favorite by far was Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, which follows the stories of two musical families from the dawn of communism in China, through the Cultural Revolution and past the Tiananmen Square massacre. The best part about my job is I could finish that book and then email the author for an interview so I could pick her brain.

Any new standout purchases?

I just bought a heinous amount of baby yak and baby camel yarn to make two sweaters. Don’t tell anyone.

Tell me about something old you've recently pulled out of the deep closet.

Oh yeah, I have a set of wild vintage dresses that I used to wear all the time when I was living in Portland, which I never really took out when I moved to DC because they seemed like a little much. But now that the world is going to end, I don’t care anymore, and I’m ratcheting up the colors and the layers and the jewels.

New recipes?

I recently learned the “red cooking” method of braising meats—it’s a Szechuan style with a lot of spices cooked with onions over low heat. I’ve been using it for hearts. I love eating hearts. :)

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