#87: Alex Delany
Alex Delany on Hall Ball Pitchers, Yonder Coffee, Actual Source, and more.
Cool people like cool things, which is why we asked cool person Alex Delany to come on Perfectly Imperfect & redistribute his great taste.
Alex Delany is a Lower East Side based food, beverage, and hospitality consultant with scary good taste in pretty much everything this newsletter covers. He’s turned us on to all kinds of shit over the years whether it’s coffee, music, booze, clothes, books, art, or food, so it only made sense for us to have him on Perfectly Imperfect to drop some hot recs. If you follow Alex on IG you probably already know he has a series of frequently updated (and fantastic) playlists on his Spotify, but did you know that next week he’s dropping a brand new radio show called “Sound Radio”? Yup! And on this show you can expect to find artists, designers, writers, chefs, winemakers, architects, photographers, and musicians sharing songs they love— you can check out the show on Anchor, Spotify, or Apple Music! Alex clearly has great taste and lucky for us, he’s here to talk about what he’s been into.
Without further ado
There are crackers that cool, young, brand-savvy, culinary enthusiasts eat. And then there are crackers that old Southern Italian Grandpas eat. I’m fine with the former, but I prefer the latter. Taralli, If you’re not familiar, are the latter. They’re a style of cracker that is essentially a bread stick (made with a slightly denser dough) curled in on itself to form a circle, usually with a shiny, smooth exterior. A lot of taralli have things like fennel seeds, pepper flakes, or dried herbs folded into the dough, but these rosemary and sea salt ones from Bello Rustico are the best I’ve found stateside. The exterior is more textural, and the cracker itself is buttery and extremely flaky, right at home with some roasted red peppers, a hunk of piave, or a slice of mortadella.
I’m not the type of person who likes product subscriptions. Partially because I think it takes the effort involved in meaningful discovery out of the equation. Partially because I think people need to make their own decisions. Partially because I know what I like more than anyone curating a box of anything knows what I like. HOWEVER, I do subscribe to one monthly product delivery, and that’s Yonder Coffee. Caleb works with one roaster per month. You can subscribe to 1, 2, or 4 bags from said roasters. And he works with the ABSOLUTE BEST ROASTERS in the world. Over the past year, I’ve had amazing coffees from Berlin, Busan, Zurich, Hong Kong, Barcelona, etc. Yes, it’s a little pricey. Yes, it’s absolutely worth it, whether you’re a coffee nerd or someone looking to branch out from a grocery store roast.
I’d feel like a complete poser if I didn’t recommend this. Besides my phone, my keys, and navy Uniqlo Supima Cotton Boxer Briefs (also highly rec!), a black Sharpie is the most commonly used thing in my life. It’s really the only writing instrument I use. Illustrations, notes, vandalism, to-do lists, they all get the felt tip treatment. I’d sign checks with them too, if I could. Might actually start doing that so my landlord can’t cash them.
I still have no idea what to actually call this brand. It’s as confusing as it is beautiful. Sometimes it’s called Niche. But on Instagram and in the labels of the clothes, it’s called This Time and sometimes Its Inconspicuous Presence. Whatever you wish (or are supposed) to call it, the pieces are designed by Nepenthes alumn Takumi Oomura. I’ve bought an embroidered gauze camp collar shirt the past two summers, and they’ve been my favorite pieces I’ve bought each season. The florals are ever-present, the fits and fabrics are breezy, and the textures are mind-blowing. This past season they did a pair of paint-splattered natural-colored jeans where the small splatters were embroidered instead of...splattered. They didn’t fit me. Still great though.
Actual Source is a publisher, bookseller, merch maker, and all-around design-nerd’s dream based in Utah. As someone who went to school for graphic design and never became a graphic designer, it helps me feel like I’m still in the club. Front to back, the shop is absolute heat, even if you don’t drop terms like kerning, logotype, or visual identity system in conversation regularly. The merch is just as rad as the book curation. The collabs are genre-breaking. And their book series called Shoplifters is probably the best place to physically experience the work of today’s raddest illustrators and type designers.
You’ve heard of music, right? I love that stuff. And this is a really great piece of music recorded by The Rolling Stones in 1978, a special disco edit of their track Miss You (which is one of the sexiest songs ever made, in its own right). It’s got an amped up bassline, heightened drums, some extra vocal layers, extended guitar solos, and more keyboard groove than you know what to do with. Blues, Funk, Rock, and Disco, all under the same roof. Magic. (FYI: You can get song recs like this from me and a list of really amazing designers, artists, writers, photographers, chefs, and yes, occasionally musicians, on my new radio show Sound Radio.)
My Nona always had a Hall ball pitcher in the kitchen. So does my mom. So do I. The Hall China Company started making these ceramic pitchers in the ‘30s and they became pretty ubiquitous in the 40s, 50s, and 60s in American kitchens. The bulbous shape is super classic, and the portfolio of glaze colors is amazing. I prefer the styles that have the white interior showing on the lip of the pitcher for some added contrast. Fill it up with ice and some water. Or lemonade. Or mint tea. Or pre-batched negronis. They’re affordable and all over eBay, Etsy, and the like.
Remember when you were a kid and it was summer and you were happy? Because you didn’t realize that your overactive sweat glands made you look like some kind of forgotten wax figure scraped from the sidewalk? Yeah, that pre-perspiration-awakening feeling is still achievable. You just have to walk to an ice cream truck and order a soft serve. I’m a plain vanilla guy, but there’s no wrong answer when staring into the cold blue eyes of my president, Mister Softee.
Perfectly Imperfect is a newsletter featuring good ol’ fashioned recommendations from real people (not some algorithm that thinks it knows u…) Hit subscribe for curated recs like these in your inbox ~2x a week~
Follow Perfectly Imperfect on Instagram
Join the Perfectly Imperfect Discord