Thursday, September 21


sixteen years.
sixteen YEARS!
it's been sixteen years that i've been tattooing my very good friend dan dealy.
and here's the thing-
he's rad.
far more adventurous and accomplished and motivated than i am,
and in addition,
he's also a lot kinder, and more socially adept as well.
dan dealy is my homeboy, and it's as simple and complicated as that.
he came up to visit the new studio,
on a whirlwind roundtrip roadtrip through all of new england and new york,
for family and friendship and weddings and everything else.
here's another thing-
i'm by FAR the most out-of-the-way destination on the circuit.
it counts more, to my mind, and in my heart, that i saw his family during their visit.
mr. and mrs. and baby makes three,
and that's some magic number sh!t, for sure.
kaye is great, and always has been, she's got poise, dudes,
and that's a rarity and thus a delight each and every time we see each other.
and that beautiful, sweet, incredibly well-mannered little bitty bay girl of theirs??
noa serene is adorable, and that's no joke.
what do you do when your dudes are in town,
and you've missed them terribly?
you put a whole lotta hurt to 'em.
one more time, on the knee.
we started el pulpo an age ago, and when we get the chance,
we give him a tune-up, and terrorize a little cap-and-bend flesh.
it's sort of like a family thing.
we meet up and punish ourselves.
it's not like i feel good about blasting his body into submission.....
but rules is rules,
and i do what needs doing.
i'm grateful, always,
for the remarkable people that've found their way into my life,
and traveled along the same paths,
and kept in contact as those same paths diverged into wildly tangential time and space.
i know i'm lucky,
and i do not take that for granted.
what do yo do for someone you just did a blunt-force mischief to?
you make that miki-flicker a sandwich.
that's how i apologize for giving you what you asked for.
to be honest, i knew it was gonna happen.
(the sandwich, not the tattoo)
and in preparation,
i made a semi-sourdough banh banh bread batch in the a.m.
i did.
look at what i did:
BANH MIGOS (mama!....fa-mi-ly)
the bread started with an every-8-hours-for 36-hours-fed poolish,
which had all the hottness bubbling in it's sugar-boosted floury bubble-blops.
i had 1 1/2 cups of THAT live and lovely starter,
added to 3 cups of a.p. flour,
and two teaspoons of bread machine yeast-
plus a cup of warm water,
and 3 T of olive oil.
kneaded hard, for ten minutes, in my stand mixer with a dough hook,
until it was smooooooooooth....
i gave it a half-hour contertop bulk,
punched it down, covered it,
and put it in the fridge over night.
it still proofed again, with zeal,
and in the a.m., the latent bread machine yeast kicked in,
while the cut and shaped loaves re-rose while the oven preheated
to 420℉.
twenty minutes of baking, after a gentle brush-up wth olive oil on the tops,
and y'got loaves on loaves like jesus or somethin'......
how good were they?
pretty effin' good.
the flavor?
incredible, with just the barest bit of sourdough tang.
not too fat, not too light. toothsome, hearty, perfect.
good bread makes better people, man.
that's real.
what makes a banh mi so dope?
pickled pickly picks on picks.
heck yes.
i had some custom quickpix radish carrot and jalapeno!
i drained those suckers,
and used their sweet and salty brine to activate some pickled red onions, too.
that's doubly expert.
and i even added some crawnchy little dill roundies on the bottom of the thing.
too much is the right amount, bro.
that's a fact.
and when you add coconut-oil-fried superturbo exxxtrafirm tofu,
with a dash of GPOP,
and vegan mayo,
and hot sriracha stripes,
and cilantro,
and MINT!
the mint was so righteous, i couldn't have gone wrong.
banh mi is so high up on my list of good things,
and i couldn't help but share it with my good friends.
i do what i do for my dudes,
and i do it as hard, and as best as i can.
it's all really happening, which is great,
and it's all shared with my worthiest warrior poets,
which is even greater.
i can't say enough how fortunate i feel to have seen this extended family of mine,
an to hold that perfect little baby girl,
and to span time with those who truly care.
i know,
it's mushy,
but it's also the truth;
never quiet, never soft.....


i love a good ol' fashioned regular-A* panniecake.
i do.
like, a LOT.
or, at least,
i thoroughly enjoy the heck out of my non-ordinary activated,
expert approximated vegan version.
and when i can spread the word,
and spread some homemade compote,
and add some real new hampshire maple syrup, too?
you'd best believe i'm already standing by the griddle with a spatula ready to flip the eff out
and make a little flapjack stack attack happen asap.
wordimus prime.
i did that, and i'm happy i did,
because that sh!t hit the SPOT.
no, really, it did-
check the morning-glorious-type teleport:

the blueberries were precise AF.
TILTY to eleven, and tasty even more so.
you might need some of it.'s how to make it:
in a small saucepot, over medium-low heat, combine:
1 cup frozen wild little mini blueberries;
1 tsp lemon zest;
3 T cup powdered sugar;
3 T light agave;
1/2 tsp vanilla;
1 T non-GMO organic cornstarch-
that's gonna get thick and luscious and awesome,
and you're gonna wanna stir it a bunch, to keep it spreadable, and not clumpy...
and you're gonna wanna spread it heavy, because it's F*ing awesome.
and with toasted coconut sprankles????
that's some 2048AD joinx, buddy.
it's almost as if i was on some futuristic savant seance action.
i mean it.
these cakes were a joyous celebration of Folk Life, for realsies.
i'm lucky to have the time,
even if it comes at the expense of anything resembling restful slumber,
to create worthy investitures amongst the ranks of the most heroic breakfasts.
that's not even the half of it, either, friends.
on the ones,
the pancakes themselves got that good-good to 'em, too.
...that's no joke.
vegan sour cream, a little freshly-ground coconut,
and a whole lot of melted earth balance butter...
that's my current freeform add-in lineup,
all with the intention of making a fresher-than-fresh-to-death pancake-ulation sensation!!
in a medium bowl, whisk together:
1 1/4 cup a.p. flour;
1 tsp baking powpow;
1 tsp baking soda;
>1/2 tsp salt;
3 T sugar;
4 T fresh-ground unsweetened unsulphured coconut;
1 cup non-dairy milk + 1 T lemon juice, stirred and rested 5 minutes;
1 tsp vanilla;
3-4 T vegan sour cream;
3+ fat tsp melted plant-based butter.
stirred, rested a little, and blasted onto a hot hot griddle?
that's how life turns into art, bro.
you've made pancakes before, so, i mean, keep doing that.
it makes you cooler.
that's real.
scrambo is always dope.
i feel like i write about it an awful lot, so i'll just say this about that:
hemp hearts are a must.
they've got aminos or something,
and they're full of other nutrients, and proteins, and whatever.....
it's all some hippie sh!t, but they make the scram better,
ad that's what matters most.
as always, i go heavy on turnmeric, with a hint of smoked paprika.
the GPOP is critical, obvi,
but, it's the nootch that really levels the whole thing up a notch.
there's lots of ways to crumble and fry tofu.
i'd recommend you try out some rougue angles yourself, and see what you come up with.
that's where the sorcery really occurs.
i had mine gettin' freaky-deek with radishes and tomatoes, and scallions, too.
i like tarts and crawnches and sharp bright zings....
it's like i'm eating sound effects, really.
a symphonic full-spectrum surround-sound feast for my whole entire head.
why would i want anything less?
i wouldn't man.
don't be dumb-
too much is the right amount,
and everything else is sleepybaby doo-doo-butthead wimpleberry watermilk.
which, while totally fabricated wholecloth,
sounds like some stuff you wouldn't want at your birthday party.
i.e. it's NOT invited.
walk-up wendesday was a success.
sort of.
i mean,
i only tattooed dudes all day,
i tattooed all day.
that's a defining example of win-some-lose-some.
movie checks?
tight hangouts with loose women?
however, as i was flying solo at the studio,
perhaps immersing myself in menfolk was the best way to keep the vibe comfortable.
nobody likes to feel unwelcome in a vulnerable position,
and we care a whole lot about that, as far as you know.
y'feel me?
check it:
AMPERSAND TATTOO is a safe place, man.
sure, if you're dealing with some gender identity issues or some sh!t,
or some make-believe hetero-equivalency problems,
like carrying privileged over-educated entitlement-guilt,
or any of the other assorted and myriad would-be-woke woes,
we're tolerant of all that too.
if you're down to be the dopest version of yourself,
you're invited.
if you're a close-minded, tight-lipped, ham-fisted, narrow minded F*faced necktard,
with the full force of north country insulated bigoted mediocrity behind you?
and that's my word, which is law in my sovereign studio space.
that means we want all the strong ones,
all the confident ones,
the curious ones,
the bi-curious ones,
the social-injustice-opposing furious ones,
the smart ones (especially),
and all the other other ones who believe in becoming something better every damned day.
y'all are our VIPS an' that.

it's safe place for free-thought, free-will, and free speech.
it's not a place for gentle words and soft language, empty platitudes, and cloying compliments-
it is a haven for hard-styles, heavy heads, hot hands, open hearts and minds;
and a refuge for refutation, rebuttal, and refusal of status quo ordinariness.
it's destined to be a demesne for debate, too-
as in;
it's where real talk meets real-ass art-making,
at a apex'd-up fulcrum of full-figured fully-operational full-frontal furious flavorful
Folk Lively FRESHNESS.
and if you can't hang out with descriptors, or with alliteration, or with tight vocabulary,
or inclusive discussions,
as well as dedicated, delighted, determined tattzappin' turned up to eleven,
there ARE plenty of other studios that'll stroke your fragile sensibilities,
and i strongly suggest you seek those guys out.
we're here is you're in search of something MORE.
that's our thing,
and it can also be your thing,
if you want it.
it's all really happening, and that's the best news i've heard all year;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, September 18


SMOKY (slightly chipotle'd) TOFU!!
i made myself a F*ing feast last night.
i did.
i got home late, again.
and i got right to work.
time was tight, and the hunger/anger level was through the ROOF.
crepes are great for that.
easy, exxtra-flat, super-thin pancakes?
that's dope.
and after a loooong day on nearly non-stop tattooing,
i needed a flippin' SAGA to satiate my starvation.
that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
i came up with some epic edible adventure time, however,
so all's well that ends in shark-gluttony, as i always say (as of just now.)
check out the mediterranean mealtime mayhem i managed:

where'd i start?
with the red lentils, of course-
3/4 cup red lentil beans;
3 T finely chopped onion;
2 cups broth;
black pepper, cumin, dried mustard, ginger, GPOP, sriracha flakes, turmeric,
and the babiest blend of red pepper flakes, paprika, and star anise,
just to delicately deliver some exxtra-special flavorful flecks
of super-official fire to my face.
that took twenty minutes to cook up.
while that was going hard in the paint,
i had some hot coconut oil frying up a ferociously smoky tofu situtation.
that's 1/2 block exxxtra-firm tofu, cubed, in the oil,
with smoked paprika, regular sweet paprika, cholula chipotle ho'sauce,
and GPOP (obvi).
the slight coconut tones went right along with the seriously smoky redness,
and i have to admit,
when coupled with the red lentils,
the tandem protein scene was dreamy.
that's no joke.
i put kale AND arugula on there!
i had pea shoots;
unappealingly super-hot sharp AF jalapeno slices;
and homemade TZATZIKI, son!
1 mini cucumber, minced;
(about 1/2 cup), drained on a paper towel to keep it from being prohibitively wet.
2 BIG spoonfuls of unsweetened cashew yogurt;
1 large crushed clove of garlic;
1 tsp lemon juice;
1/4 tsp dill leaves.
^^^that's the JOINX right there^^^
all of that, all together,
had just about the best ratio of wet to dry, crisp to soft,. sweet to savory-
it went to eleven with every mutha-lickin' bite, bro,
and the crepes?
in a smallish bowl,combine:
1 cup flour;
1/4 tsp salt;
1 tsp sugar;
2 T nootch;
1 1/4 cup non-dairy milk;
2 tsp flaxmeal.
poured out in big spoonfuls on a big ol' very hot pan,
over and over,
six times in a row...
one flip, when the tops get dry,
and a plateful of goodness is ready and waiting for all that other other stuff.
and now it's time to get back to work.
i swear i haven't had a day to myself in months.
it may be some time yet before i get one, too.
today is the day.
just like yesterday.
busy business is big business around here.
and it's all really happening, friends.
stop by and become a part of it,
or, maybe just read about it at your leisure from a more comfortable place.
that's cool, too;
never quiet, never soft.....


do you guys even ever eff with black currants?
you don't?
too bad, because that's some good sh!t to eff with.
well, no, actually, i don't have any either....
i only have black currant jam.
but, it'll serve.
i mean, seriously, it's very sightly, slightly seedy, sweet purple blarps
of succulent secret berry delights.
no. really, though-
it's dope and it's thick, and despite being something i was previously exposed to
while over in britain,
this specific jammie-jam i've got is from france, i think;
it's in my latest galette,
which just so happens to also have the most elite crust i've made in a dog's age,
whatever THAT means.
(the dog's age, not the part about the crust)
i'm on some:
apples for september;
black currants for my face;
and brown sugar-laced new new for everybody else.
i wouldn't want to waste time would i?
no way.
effective efficiency is how i get my days underway,
and when i've got an exxxtra minute or two, i bake y'all a little treat-
go ahead,
check the big-bakey-style teleport:

i'll confess,
the photo is cropped to conceal an abnormality in the crust.
one edge kind of elongated, and it went slightly amoebic in shape,
rather than the original round i put in the oven.
it's cool, though.
it tasted the same- that weird lopsidedness was not a detriment to the flavor.
it's just blackcurrant jam on the bottom,
two macintosh apples, cored, and sliced,
and fanned around and over that sloppy slapped-down jamboree layer,
in three successive spreads to cover all the available area,
which was about 11", not including the foldover margin.
then, i hit it up with a secondary dolloped dousing dose of black currant .
that's all that's going on in there.
could that be easier?
i mean, besides leaving out one of the ingredients, obvi.
i moistened the dough, and shook on a whole mess of demerara sugar sprankles,
despite being generous with the brown sugar INside the actual pastry.
because rules is rules,
and the rules at the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress clearly state:
too much is the right amount.
get with it, bro.
and what was this new dough all about?
it was about time i made some sh!t that looked like actual galette crust, really.
here's what happened:
in a medium mixing bowl, with a pastry cutter,
or more tiresomely: a fork-
cut in:
4 T COLD earth balance butterish substitute;
3 T COLD vegan creamchee';
1/4 tsp salt;
1 1/4 cups flour;
3 T light brown sugar.
add 1 tsp vanilla;
and ice-COLD non-dairy milk 1 T at a time,
fork cut into the crumbles,
until the whole mixture resembles very dry scone mix.
that'show you'll know you're ding it right.
next, y'gotta fold it, and turn it, and fold it, and turn it,
and then fold it, and turn it out onto a well-floured surface,
roll it into a rough round, about 3/8" thick (or whatever, man),
and put your stuffs into the center.
and when you bake it? bake it HOT.
like 425℉.
and don't get impatient.
give 'er a full 25 minutes worth,
and get that crust crusty, like the name implies.
just sayin'.
am i too busy?
but, am i busy?
hell yes.
the only real downside to my sexy new artistic enclave?
poor little crabtree is being somewhat neglected.
i'm so embarrassed.
that's my main man right there,
but he's too maniacal to come with me,
and i'm too pressed for time to walk him even more,
so that he might be less maniacal.
it's tough.
i gotta work,
and i gotta get those movie checks,
but when i get home, late, every day,
after leaving him alone MUCH earlier than i used to,
i can't help but feel like i'm the world's worst one.
especially when i get home, feed him,
then spend a few making myself a magnificent meal.
he's not the type of terrier to take that lightly,
and as a result, our evenings consist of a high degree of pent-up canine combat.
he's so fired up,
we frequently have a full-blown exercise session, for hours, and hours, after supper.
and that's a lot to handle,
when you're already handling a lot of everything else....
yeah yeah,
poor me, right?
i'm just letting y'all know how important AMPERSAND TATTOO is to me.
i'm failing at family time with my four-legged friend,
because making my work work harder by working harder is what i DO.
that's real life unfolding in real time;
never quiet, never soft.....

Sunday, September 17


the cinnamon swirls, tho!
you aren't aware?
for realsies??!
cinnamon swirl tops are the TRUTH.
i mean,
they're like half palmiers, overlapping and activating all
the protective talismans of total taste immersion,
like an expert shield wall of worthy warrior poetry,
and cinnamon,
on top of my numero uno favortite.
a fresh local macintosh apple mutha-btchin' pie.
oh. i made a pie.
take a teleportational LOOK:

y'boi right here is climbing all up into the pie scene,
and those cinnamon swirls are only adding to the eminence and excellence
of my powerful panful of apple cinnamon brown sugary big action.
i'll admit that my tendency towards overdoing things is why
they're not as defined as the could've been.
no, for real.
i took the buttery brown sugary cinnamon filling to eleven,
but the pastry only went to ten, if you feel me....
too much is the right amount,
but it might lead to overloads and overflows of blarped out caramel if you aren't careful.
...and i wasn't careful.
the swirls are only swirly in some spots,
and, while still incredibly flaky and buttery and crispy and sticky everywhere else,
they're more of a suggestion than a definitive structure.
next time, neighbors.
i'll get better and get it together next time.
until then,
lemme tell you a little more about a good pie-
i bake em at over 400℉.
like 415-25.
that's right.
i want my edges golden brown, bro.
and i've described in detail my piecrust about a billion times,
so i'm going to skip it right now-
the apples were exxxtra tasty this time,
and i think it's because i used butter AND organic sugar AND cinnamon AND ginger
AND agave AND vanilla in the pot with 'em.
i cook my apples enough to soften them,
and create a pectin-rich syrup to soak into the bottom crust.
i like the juice, but not if it's all sorts of wet.
for whatever reason, these jauns weren't inclined towards being watery,
and that was great news.
if you don;t let your apple blops cool a bit, your bottom crust will wilt and melt
and generally kind of suck.
that's no good, so be patient, and allow your apple medley to take it easy first, man.
eight medium apples should do the trick, but i'll wager nine is even better.
a braid around the rim always makes me more interested in a slice of this hottness.
i'm a sucker for a braid,
and i'm guilty of overdoing the things that i like.
so, braids happened.
and raw sugar sprankles on TOP of the cinnamon swirlies did too.
i go hard on the pie scene.
i really like pie.
i mean, c'mon, what's a lean, mean, mutha-ucker s'posed to do?
bring that weak sh!t up in here?
i don't think that's the right play.
i go hard on the pie scene.
that's my area.
we gave away TWO free tattoos yesterday.
that's right.
to celebrate completion of our amazing avocado death star,
we turned up our own giveaway to eleven.
because we had that sh!t up on instagram & facebook,
so it sort of made sense to separate them a little bit;
and also,
because we're always willing to do MORE.
real talk.
this new studio situation is more demanding than i thought it'd be-
and i thought it'd be pretty effing demanding.
and seven days of tattooing every week is a LOT.
i barely have time to grocery shop,
which could severely limit my cake production.
that's a harder style than you might imagine.
making and baking have been my saving graces for a little minute now.
and without all this fine food fabricating,
i might not've become the interior decorating despot in charge of my own spot.
no, for real, though-
all that intentional invention and attention carried over to the new studio.
without the cake, there could not have been our most magnificent bathroom.
weird, i'll admit.
but also not a joke.
it's all really happening.
we've got lucky winners,
we've got busy days,
we've got much to do.
there are far worse ways to span time,
and i think we're very fortunate for the immersive environment
and the attentive clients,
and the general attitude of gratitude and generosity we cultivate every damned day;
never quiet, never soft.....

Saturday, September 16


y'better get that formuoli!!
hell yeah, duders.
because the formuoli is essential for activating those homemade ravioli jauns.
and when i decide it's time to doo-doo that freaky sh!t,
you can guarantee i'm fixin' to get molto busy with those sexxxy pasta pouches.
i showed you my pesto pizza.
y'know what was especially awesome about that?
well, i followed my true path and purpose,
and made more than i could conceivably need.
because too much is the right amount.
and that's good news, since i got to fire up a whole other 'nother powerful pesto meal
the very next mutha-flippin' day!
how dope was the dinnertime scene?
molto molto, of course.

from-scratch vegan pasta is great.
custom pesto is terrific.
juicy fillings and add-ons and sprankles are essential.
and all of it, all together, is the path, process, and procedure by which
really-real plant-based kitchen wizards do their thing.
....and you know i'm gonna do my thing.
some years ago,
this forum was a catalog and chronicle of my daily doings,
comings, goings, and happenings.
in a way, it still is.
i've just refined my daily actions and activities
to be infinitely more nourishing to my mind and my body.
i s'pose that is a natural, logical, evolution, isn't it?
after all, the prose and poetry of pain and suffering ma have been exquisitely descriptive
back when my world as i knew it ended, fittingly in 2012......
but the detailed accounts of my real-life fabulous feasting is a whole lot easier to digest
on just about every level.
i hope those of you who've been around since the jump agree.
and for all the newcomers-
thanks for reading, and maybe just avoid the archives from before 2014.
real-life documentarianism demands i keep the true-storytelling records,
but let's not dwell in hell,
and move forward like the bakery barbarians and stovetop savages
which we were always meant to be.
moving on,
who wants to make some pumpkin seed pesto??
you do? and you, too??
wordimus prime!
here's all you've got to do:
in your inestimably heroic food processor, blend up:
2 cups of fresh basil;
1/2 cup raw pepita pumpkin seeds;
a generous sprinkling salt;
1/4 cup nutritional yeast;
4-5 T olive oil;
2 large cloves of garlic;
black pepper to taste.
puree that sh!t, and let it marry and marinate for a bit.
it's good!
like, really really good.
make some, and you'll be glad you did...
and those tight and TILTY ravs?!
c'mon, man.
that's that good-good.
knead up:
1/2 cup flour;
1/2 cup semolina flour;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 T olive oil;
1/3 cup warm water.
flour up your board and pin.
roll it out, cut some 2" circles, (twice as many as you think you'll need, obvi)
and put the filling of your choice in the centers,
with a healthy margin for crimping both sides together.
i had some caramelized onion bits, and sauteed crushed garlic, and wilted shredded kale,
and i combined all of that with my custom cashew-garlic chee',
and made up the most exquisite middle-stuffs i've had in some time.
or, since the last time, probably.
what do you even know about this sh!t?
are you on that heavily salted water boiling up those little packets of tastiness
until the little effers float?
or putting a spoonful of hot pasta water in a bowl with a fat scoop of pesto
in order to make it slippery and sticky for optimum ravioli coating?
i hope so, because that's how you do it right.
pesto and ravs is a luscious combo.
but with those black-peppered pan-toasted pepita sprankles, on top?
and those fried sweet grape tomato joinx?
AND few baby kale leaves, too?
that's mandatory sexxxiness.
rules is rules, after all.
and when you've got triple exxxtras above the homemade everything else?
that's when your simple pasta supper goes all the way to eleven.
i don't want lazy food.
i don't want ugly food.
i don't want boring food.
i want that PRECISE  sh!t.
the kind of yumums that can GET IT.
if you know, you know.
if you don't, you're out of the loop,
and you need to get into the loop,
and stop being a poop-boat.
that's no joke.
we're picking winners today.
winners for the AMPERSAND TATTOO opening giveaway contest.
we've got to pick a random name from 600+ entrants.
that's a lot, bro.
in fact,
it's SO many,
we're going to give away a tattoo from EACH OF US!
because we're AMPERSAND TATTOO,
and we add on those exxtra-ands like it's cool, fool-
so there'll be one big winner.....& then, kaBOOM, another OTHER one as well!
that's right.
we doo-doo that real-A* sh!t.
we've been open a whole week,
and i still haven't seen you.
what're you waiting for?
come say hi, and have a slice of pie, guy.
there's the distinct smell of pizza in the closet.
you can come sniff it.
there're scented candles galore up in this b!tch, too.
we got all the good smells, fella.
that's always good news;
never quiet, never soft.....

Friday, September 15


three styles of pizza?
i mean,
there are way more than just three, obvi.
for a quick and dirty pizza party time exxxplosion,
my superior semi-semolina dough, done up three ways,
was the right call.
the dough was a little drier than i'd have liked,
there was a fatness to it, too, that defied the lack of hyperhydration,
and kept it crusty, crunchy, and intact as it baked itself into superlative saucers
of sauced and sauceless circular sexxxiness.
y'wanna see what i came up with?
you do?
check the teleport:

pizza is my favorite.
pizza is probably YOUR favorite, too-
at least,
it is if you're the type who knows about exploring options,
infinite customization and extrapolation on a theme,
and the creative concocting of crucial comestibles.
real talk, pizza is the ONE.
and also, for the record, if your favorite is 'steak'?
you're a sh!t-lipped F*-hole, and nobody good likes you.
there's no steak on these,
only all the most succulent and sexxxy bits and pieces,
live and direct from my stovetop, to my oven, to the plate, to my face.
...and yes,
they've ALL got fried garlic sprankles.
because rules is rules,
and Folk Life & Liberty Pizza isn't worth a damned thing
without those lil shards of powerful, flavorful alium shrapnel activating exxxtra hottness.
word up.
pizza pizza pizza.
homemade tastes great.
the dough is usually pretty dope, if you know what you're doing,
and the toppings are so elaborate that you really can't go wrong.
the dough is simple, but perfect, if you don't underknead and underhydrate, like i just did.
like i said, it was STILL dope, but it wasn't precise.
here's the right answer:
in your stand mixer,
1 1/4 cup semolina flour;
1 1/2 cup flour;
2 tsp salt;
1 tsp wheat gluten (optional, but recommended);
1 pkg commercial yeast;
3 T olive oil;
1 cup warm water, with 2 tsp bread machine yeast, + 2 tsp sugar,
dissolved and bloomed and active as heck.
add it all up, beat it up for 8 minutes, cover it,
and then, you've got options-
1. let it rise for 30, punch it down, let it rise for another 30,
and then refrigerate that sh!t.
2. put it directly in the fridge overnight, or for 12 hours, or whatever.
either way, divide it into 3 or 4 even chunks, bag 'em, and use 'em up as necessary.
the longer they stay in the fridge, the more flavor they'll develop,
at the expense of pliability. then again, don't let 'em sit around, man,.
so, we've established, yet again, that pizza is TITE and TILTY.
but like, are you even curious as to what i made, specifically?
you are?!
let's start with the no-sauce bossman:

that's braised broccoli, and caramelized onions,
and heirloom grape tomatoes,
with daiya mozzarella and smoked gouda shaved on top,
a little olive oil to activate the crust,
and arugula to hook it up with that freshie-freshness.
i know, right?
simple, but elegant, and elaborate as well.
i love a clean-A* pizza pie neighbors,
and this was a heckuva starting point.
next up?
the best pesto i've produced in a while:

it's spicy, with raw garlic and basil doing dual duty on the savory end-
and nootch (that's nutritional yeast for you casual perusers),
and olive oil, and salt and pepper, to taste, to turn it up.
the pumplestiltskin seeds really added a creamy, nutty, hearty, transcendent element, too.
i love when that happens.
honestly, they were the only nut/seed-type thing i had in the house,
so they were elected by default.
i'm psyched it worked out, for sure.
and there's tofurky chik'n-apple-soysages.
i admit, i've been (s)lacklustering my way through most days,
what with the new studio soaking up the largest portion of my attention lately.
so, i went store bought, but i'm not ashamed, because they tasted amazing,
and that was my top priority, anyway.
there's fried peppers on top, too-
and roasted red potatoes.
potatoes on pizza are expert.
try it out, homie.
you'll become a believer instantly.
they're THAT good.
AAAAAND just because,
there had to be parsley sprankles,
for that little bitty baby bit of added exxxcellence,
and another 'nother other note of clean green amidst the powerful pesto-sausage-peppery tones.
a little of that so-smo'gouda, too,
to offset the creamy cashew garlic burrata-be-kiddin'-me blops i custome blended?
DASSAVIBE, all day.
the last one was a BANGER.
like, way too hot for the club, kids.
check the teleport:

crumbled plant-based weirdie breakfast patty sausage jauns?
i did that.
and caramelized onions, because they're the best.
crushed tomato sauce? red red red red red...
it's how pizza really excels at being pizza.
braised, barely browned brussels sprouts are always on my mind when it's pizza party time,
and they always turn up and get turnt when the oven's on.
real talk.
daiya non-dairy mozzarella?
i doo-doo that vegan sh!t.
hen i had a masterpiece on my hands,
i added MORE.
you know my grind, guys-
too much is the right amount.
i went ahead and activated it with some ornamentals, all the way to eleven.
how did i do that?
with those raddichio ribbons,
and a couple of baby kale leaves for that good look.
stay ugly, eat beautiful.
that's my move, friends.
i have no choice about one, but i make up for it with the other.
that's no joke.
pizza is where it's at.
and good meals make long days seem more tolerable.
the new studio is developing a rhythm,
and it's a good one.
the clients seem satisfied with the work,
and impressed by the welcoming luxury of the space.
the merchandise will arrive,
and that movie check situation will begin to remedy itself.
i went full guap-amole on my avocado palace,
and now i've got the pinterest-knows-best greed-sweats.
never heard of those?
ask a tattooer.
they'll know.
bad ideas seems more exciting when your expenses have exceeded your income.
it's all really sort of flowing along.
the path is unfolding in front of me,
and it's illuminated by copper-clad glowing wire coils.
i can see where i'm going,
but not where the road ends.
it's an adventure, clad in green, gold, and warm wood.
i'm going to need a lot more pizza,
and a lot more time,
in order to get comfortable on the journey.
i'm prepared to make and take both, by force, or by finesse,
for as long as it takes to make something amazing out of what we've created here;
never quiet, never soft.....

Thursday, September 14


y'all don't know about expert elite coffee cake, do you?
it's time you found out about what's really good in the 'hood-
coffee cake is sort of a dedicated side project up here.
in the Folk Life & Liberty Fortress, we eff exxxtra heavy
with a grandiose dose of grandy-ma grainy crumbly buttery coffee-style cake.
on the ones,
a good old fashioned thick slab of that sorta flaky, dry-but-so-totally-not crumb,
with the crOmbles all over the top???
if you're not into that,
you might want to go the hospital, and check to see if you have a heart.
.....because it's likely you do NOT.
coffee cake is for your emotional side.
that's a thing.
if you've got strong feelings, you'll need a big slice;
and if you're even MORE heartfelt than that?
like, if you're on some level eleven warrior poetry?
well, then holy sh!t-
you might need another 'nother even bigger slice!
i mean it.
this buttery big action will activate all those latent feels,
and have you evolving into an omega-level empath
from far beyond the perceptible vibrations of this earth.
is that real?
i have my doubts, but i also have my coffee cake, and that's measurably magnificent.
check the teleport:

i do so love it.
and i do so need it.
and happily, i have all the skills to continuously produce it, as the need arises.
this one was a really stellar example of the craft, neighbors.
it had that interior dry-wet,
and it has a topping so tight, i had to stop myself from just straight-up huffing it.
dusty huffs might've been more trouble than my sinuses are designed for.
eating proved rewarding by itself, so i did more of that, instead.
would you like to know how to do it at your own house?
in your own oven?
for your own face??
you would?!
here's all the secrets, for your enjoyment:
preheat your oven to 360℉.
grease and flour a 9" springform pan (the unsung hero of single layer players everywhere)
in a medium mixing bowl mash up:
1 stick (8T) earth balance buttery spread;
3/4 tsp salt;
1 T lemon zest;
1 tsp vanilla;
1 cup sugar;
add 1 cup vegan sour cream-
(or unsweetened non-dairy yogurt, if that's more your speed)
2+ cups flour;
2 tsp baking kapowder;
1 tsp baking soda;
1/4 cup non-dairy milk.
stir it up thoroughly,. and enjoy the dense, sticky batter you've created.
it shouldn't be very wet, but it sure as sh!t should be moist.
don't worry, it's full of all that tangy creamy hottness,
and it'll do you properly in the oven.
the crumb topping is a whole other entity, and it is not to be dismissed.
1/2 cup oat bran;
4-5 T dark brown sugar;
1/2 cup graham flour (this stuff is rad as hell);
1/2 stick (4T) vegan butts;
1/4 tsp vanilla;
add all that right into your dirty bowl,
and cut it up until it's so well-combined,
you'd never suspect it of having more than one ingredient.
it should stick together when squeezed, and you should squeeze it,
and then crumble it up and apart,
over the entire surface of your future feastably fresh-to-deathly flavor bomb in front of you.
streusel is where it's at,
and it's a must-have for a decent coffeecake.
i'm sayin', rules is rules,
and if you are somehow unaware of how coffeecake is s'posed to be,
you're possibly a cave-dweller from the earth's core,
or just some sort of an A*-hole,
but i'd recommend ceasing either, or both, if you're superlatively unfortunate.
MY streusel game is triumphant, tho-
i even took tiny buttery pitter-pats,
and strategically pentagrammed them across the top of the topping.
F* yes i did.
too much is the right amount,
and when they seeped into the surface y'know what happened?
the whole damned thing got turned, turnt, TILTY, and tremendously improved.
real talk.
bake that lil sassy circle for 30ish minutes, or until a tester stab comes away clean,
and then pop the spring, let it chill out for a few,
and eat a huge slice straight to the cakehole.
do it. make it....please.
i'm proud of this one,
and i want all of you to enjoy it, too.
AMPERSAND TATTOO just got a new drawing table.
a bar height draftsman deluxxxe.
with the super-sexxxy black iron pipey hottness for the legs-
i'd show you-
i'd rather you just come through and check it out for yourself.
i mean, seriously.
come visit.
i'll probably be tattooing,
but i can talk and work at the same time,
and you don't need me to hold your hand while you drool over the custom furniture.
come see us,
come eat some cake,
come live with it,
low middle and high with it,
'cause that's how we're gonna live and die with it;
never quiet, never soft.....

Wednesday, September 13


apples on the bottom are actually apples on top!
apples are for september,
and september is where everything changes.
change, apparently, is good for you?
i hear that, but i'm not sure i all-the-way-believe it.
not yet, anyway.
ANYway dudes,
early apples really are SO nice.
i mean,
summer apples are good, sure-
september apples are the ONES,
but, like, on the ones.
they're that jet li sh!t, y'heard?
i get 'em, and i get into it as soon as they're gotten.
this time, i made a cake.
upside down,
so the apples went in first,
and came out last,
but with all the right stuff above/below-
y'wanna see it?
check the teleport:

feel those APPLE VIBES!!
cinnamaple frosting is key here.
it always is, really.
the cake itself was a dense bomber,
but i attribute that to a pair of variables-
steam from those wet-A* apples,
and maple syrup compacting the whole thing
into that flour-based cheesecakey consistency.
eh. it smelled incredible. it tasted terrific.
the texture left a little to be desired, but i'll bet that the following recipe repairs that readily.
here's how to do it better than i did:
preheat your oven to 360℉.
peel core and slice two large early spetember apples of your choice-
fan them out in the bottom of a greased 9" springform pan,
and dust liberally with brown sugar.
in your trusty mus-have stand-up mixerizer, combine:
1 stick (8T) vegan butter;
1/2 cup raw sugar;
1/4 cup light brown sugar;
1/4 cup real maple syrup-the darkness. like, grade b if you have access to it;
1 tsp vanilla;
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger;
1/2 tsp maple extract;
1/2 cup applesauce.
whisk that all together, well past the point of individually recognizable elements-
now add:
2 cups flour;
2 tsp bakey powpow;
1 tsp bakey soda;
1 T organic non-GMO cornstarch, sifted;
1 cup non-dairy milk-
or better, 1/2 'milk, 1/2 apple cider (it's still a bit early for that, though)
- spread that across those apples,
and bake that bad baby for 30 minutes.
when you flip it over, be sure it's cool first.
then, y'might wanna use a long spatula to aid in the release of those luscious apples.
no pressure though.
cakes are dope.
THIS one was almost totally dope.
i mean, i'll F* with a thick one, but this was on the cusp of being not-great.
the recipe above, as i mentioned, corrects any of that bullsh!t,
so i think you'll find that it's expert now.
try it out.
or not.
i'm not the boss of you, anyway.
.......but i am the boss now, and that's not a bruce springsteen reference.
today is the first walk-up wednesday at the new spot.
i know, i know-
wednesday IS a weird one to make the walk-ins happen on,
it's not like we've got flash on the walls,
and it's not like i'm trying to do those doo-doo buttery jauns on the weekends.
wednesday, on the hump-up, and for realsies,
is for tired ideas and weak sauce to weigh down heavy on the shoulders of your boys.
we'll do whatever you'd like,
but that sh!t ain't free.
arbitrary designation of dope and doo-doo is what we do, dudes.
roll the dice, and bring us that pinterest picture, and we'll hook it up.
no job too lame, or small, or large-
first come, first served, all day, at AMPERSAND TATTOO.
in the interest of full disclosure-
i just need a day to work on other stuff,
and an unannounced walk-up day may give me the time i need to do some of that.
it's all happening, or is it?
i can't tell the difference right now;
never quiet, never soft.....


cakes on cakes on cakes!!!!
that's the coolest part about cups of cake, isn't it?
there's a LOT of them,
which really means you get to eat MORE of them.
and that's the thing we like the best, right?
yes, indeed.
too much is the right amount.
and that's exxxactly how much we want.
nate likes lemon sh!t a whole bunch.
and, i think he's into coconut stuff, too.
i'm all about coconut, and i don't hate lemon,
so combining them was a no-brainer.
why? does it matter what nate likes?
well, for starters, because we spend all damned day together,
but, more specifically, in regards to this instance-
it was his berfday on sunday,
so i made him special berfday cakes. get treats on your borniversary day, duders.
rules is rules after all.
check the celebratory cups-and-cakes-type teleport:

well, OBviously he got a special one.
c'mon, what do you think i am?
some kind of an A*-hole?
don't be dumb.
lemon coconut fluffers,
with lemon-coconut frosting,
and those seasonally appropriate welcome-back-to-new-england-style sprankles.
if you ain't on my level, you'd best get out of the way of my grind.
real talk.
the sprankle game? tight.
the lofty crumb game? tight.
the fancy paper cake wrappers? yup. that's right: tight.
expert is as expert does, bro.
and when it's time to berf out,
you know i berf out hard AF.
you want the recipe?
you can HAVE it-
preheat your oven to 350℉.
in your superior stand mixer, cream up:
1 cup sugar;
1 stick (8T) earth balance non-dairy butters;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp vanilla;
1 tsp lemon extract;
1/2 tsp coconut extract.
3/4 cup non-dairy plain coconut yogurt.
add 3/4 cup non-dairy milk;
1/4 cup lemon juice;
2 T lemon zest;
1 cup medium flake unsweetened coconut.
then, whisk in:
2 1/4 cups flour;
2 tsp baking powder;
1 tsp baking soda;
get that aerated and battered up,
and spoon it into lined muffin pans.
halfway up each is the way to go.
bake them for 25 minutes or so,
and let 'em cool off on a wire rack.
y'gotta make that frosting-
1 stick of vegan butts;
3 cups of powdered sugar;
1 tsp vanilla;
1/2 tsp each coconut and lemon extracts;
1 T microplaned lemon zest;
2 T pulverized powdered unsweetened unsulphured coconut.
i think you've got it from there.
just be sure not to chump out and get cheap with the spranks.
the vibe off of a good assortment of sparkle magic on top is unrivaled.
don't take my word for it though-
try it out, and you'll see for yourself.
the studio is open,
it's not finished.
i mean, you know me, kids.
it'll likely keep being added onto until it's jam-packed with interesting nooks,
and creative crannies,
and amazing alcoves,
until all the space is occupied with expertism.
i have a style, i guess.
it's a had style, at that.
however, when you're out to establish the newest new new hottness,
y'can't just allow for the ordinary to be nearly enough.
and the thing of it is-
it's NOT enough.
i really can't overstate the intensity of my attitude towards this place.
i mean it.
from the multicolored walls,
to the two-tiered trim,
to the round rug in the bathroom,
there's a VIBE, y'all.
and i'm so very grateful, no matter what, to work in a space of my own choosing-
all the desiring, devising, designing, and directing that's gone on so far is just the tip.
there's a whole lot more coming through after that widens the gap.
this is What Is,
and it's all really happening.
that's great news for people who like good times and better tattoos;
never quiet, never soft.....

Monday, September 11


today is the day that a bad thing happened on,
and made airports a real pain in the A* for a decade and a half.
that's not cool at all.
if you remember it, i think you're supposed to.
although, i see far fewer bumper stickers about it these days,
so maybe that's not true any longer?
the fickle nature of memory and calamity passes through a decade
of decreasing intensity before an eventual fade into a vague haze
as the decade-after generations recollect secondhand the losses and atrocities of the past.
i mean,
i see kids in nirvana shirts who weren't even born before suicide snipped short
the soundtrack to disaffection in the nineties...
time flies, and bad things simply become things as the sharp edges wear thin.
what am i going to do about it?
the same thing i always do.
i'm going to make a treat.
you cope your way,
i'll cope mine.
the recollection of past horrors is only half as bad as the anticipation of future failures.
that's no joke.
and when stress and anxiety fly their banners high on the parapets of the
Folk Life & Liberty Fortress, implying uncontested occupation of my safest spaces,
i just fire up the oven, and resist that sort of tyrannical terrorism
by baking off a little relief through consistent methodical meditative process.
believe it.
check the food-be-thy-medicine-type teleport:

apple chunks, brown sugar, butterish.......
these jauns had a whole lot of hottness to recommend themselves to your face with.
like, seriously, i don't always know what to make,
so i just trust in my proven creative process,
and begin at the beginning, with the usual suspects,
and just let the treats make themselves, really.
preheat your oven to 375℉.
in a medium mixing bowl,
cream together:
1 cup dark brown sugar;
1/2 tsp salt;
1 stick (8T) earth balance vegan buttery spread;
1 tsp vanilla.
-when that's been thoroughly mashed into one messy brown mass,
add 3 T vegan (preferably tofutti-brand) sour cream;
and two large apples' worth of 3/4" chunks.
combine all of that,
and add:
2 cups flour;
1 tsp baking soda;
1 tsp baking powder;
1/2 cup fresh-milled oat flour, from steel cut groats
(i don't know that that actually matters, but i want to believe it does)
1 tsp cinnamon;
1/4 tsp nutmeg;
1/2 tsp dried ginger;
1/4 tsp allspice;
dash of cloves;
-fold and turn and crush and fold and turn and crush up all that mix,
until it's one wettish dough-
turn it out onto a well-floured surface, and hand-press into a rectangle about 1" thick.
cut that in half lengthwise,
then divide each strip into 3x3 squares,
top with raw sugar crystal sprankles,
and freeze for five minutes, to let the wet set into something slightly more solid.
then all you've left to do is to bake those jauns,
evenly spaced, for 25 minutes or so,
and then let 'em cool just enough to ice up.
oh, and the the icing?
it's gooooooooooooood.
maple syrup, powdered sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.
cinnamaple icing,
because apples taste better when they're with their friends.
that's a thing.
big soft hunks of apple magic!
crumbly-pull-apart flat muffin cake!
sweetness in spades across the entire surface of each!!!
yes, sir, thank you, sir.
that's what's up.
today is the day again.
just like yesterday.
and the day before.
there's plenty still to do in between tattoos at the new hottness emporium,
and we're doing it when/where/however we can.
there's sign making money to be spent.
there's custom cherry drawing table money to flow out from the source, as well.
it's all really happening,
and i know i'm fortunate to have the funds available to finance these fancy fineries.
living sh!tty for years, as a sort of sacrificial investment,
whilst adhering to an unproven but supposedly sound plan,
in the face of flaunted flagrant fouls,
and unmarked forks in the road,
and wrenches in the works,
and burnt bridges in front of and behind the path to glory was hard as F*.
that's just IT, neighbors.
you can't give up.
i'm no inspirational quotable dude by any means,
but i know that being a quitter is sort of like being a F*ing A-hole.
so don't be that,
and instead,
push harder, work harder, and do MORE.
anything else is a disservice to yourself, and everyone else.
there's no guarantee of success.
i'm sitting in this impeccably sexxxy new spot,
and there's still uncertainty at the peripheral edges of my awareness.
the catch is,
i'm willing to do more, and then, more,
and hell, if necessary?
MORE still.
too much is the right amount, friends.
don't go getting comfortable and lazy,
maybe go out and get busier;
never quiet, never soft.....