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In Living Commentary

Dig in to Kanpai's bibimbap.

In Living Commentary

Zirh's Shave Collection is a great suite of products. recommends, Dec. 1, 2012

A new local dish, a pampering shave collection and an inspirational story – we've got all this and more for you in this week's Recommends.

Kanpai's vegetarian bibimbap – I enjoyed sushi at the recently opened Kanpai, 408 E. Chicago Ave., but was really wow-ed by the veggie bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish served in a hot clay pot ($9.50). The ingredients include shredded vegetables, sesame rice, nori flakes and other spices that are served in separate piles but then mixed together right before eating. I enjoyed how filling this dish was and yet I didn't feel stuffed. This was particularly appreciated during this otherwise uncomfortably gluttonous time of year. – Molly Snyder

Reggae Golden Jubilee – Origins of Jamaican Music (VP Records) – There is no shortage of Jamaican box sets anymore and most take a wide view. This 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence four-disc set, compiled by former recording industry pioneer and erstwhile Prime Minister of Jamaica Edward Seaga, is no different. The four discs come packaged together with a colorful booklet with lots of photos and information. It's a beautiful package. Unsurprisingly, the first disc, which chronicles the R&B, calypso, ska, rock steady years – that is, the years Seaga was active producing records – is the highlight. Theo Beckford's "Easy Snapping," Higgs & Wilson's "Manny Oh," "The Folkes Brothers' "Oh Carolina" – the triumvirate of groundbreaking singles of the early era are all here in one place. Nearby are Lord Creator's fabulous "Independent Jamaica" and a slew of other great '60s tracks. Disc two does a great job chronicling the 1970s, too. Disc three looks at the '80s and '90s – with an eye toward the glossy attempts at international success – and the fourth disc is contemporary music. I'd quibble with inclusions and exclusions, but, the fact is, disc one hasn't left the CD player in my car in weeks. – Bobby Tanzilo

ZIRH Shave Collection – I was already a fan of ZIRH's line of men's products before they contacted me to try out some samples from their new shave collection. I regularly use their aftershave lotion, moisturizer and Erase anti-aging serum, and their discontinued (but soon to re-emerge) Corduroy cologne is my favorite "bargain" scent. So, my hopes were high for the three products ZIRH sent over, and for the most part, they didn't disappoint. The SCRUB aloe exfoliator is a nice product. With a light grit to it, it gently exfoliates the skin without causing irritation. The PREPARE pre-shave oil is one of the best I've tried. It's not greasy or scented, and it quickly soaks in to form a protective layer before shaving. And their new "Heavy Beard" shaving cream is interesting, too. While I don't have a heavy beard, I do suffer from ingrown hairs and razor burn, and this thick cream does a nice job protecting me from that. The cream, however, is quite thick, and does seem to clog my razor unless I really rinse it out. And it doesn't perform well at all with a shaving brush; your best bet is massaging it into your face with your fingers, which for some, is just fine. It's just more evidence that I haven't met a ZIRH product I don't like. Even at full price, this stuff is reasonable, but scour the discount stores like T.J. Maxx – you'll often find ZIRH for a total steal. – Andy Tarnoff

"Finding Ultra" by Rich Roll – You will never complain during a run – or any other workout for that matter – after you read Rich Roll's brutal account of his fourth Iron Man Triathlon in a row during his accomplishment of the ultra endurance Epic5 event (five back-to-back Iron Man distance triathlons done over about a week). In his book, "Finding Ultra," Roll recounts his descent from elite swimmer into full-blown alcoholic, to his transformative ascent to his present life as a recovered successful lawyer and "one of the world's fittest men." Roll is an ultra-endurance athlete and a committed vegan. He credits much of his athletic success to his whole foods, plant-based diet, which he calls the "PlantPower Diet" and is detailed in the final chapter of the book. "Finding Ultra" is full of inspiring moments and loaded with nutritional advice, making this read the perfect gift for the runner, swimmer, biker or health nut in your life! Or, gift yourself with this motivating book and be influenced by Roll's good habits and incredible feats of athleticism. – Lindsay Garric

Rib tips – I never had even given a thought to rib tips until a number of years ago when Bob Lanier, the former Bucks center, introduced me to them at a barbecue joint in Detroit. Since then I've grown to love the little tips, which are just what they sound like. They take the whole rack of ribs and cut off the tips. Then they cook them, slowly and wet so the meat moves away from the small piece of cartilage. The tips aren't a meal, but they make a wonderful appetizer. And by far and away, the best rib tips in the city are at Ashley's on 15th and Center. They are crisp on the outside and meaty inside. Get the sauce on the side and dip and you've got a real treat. – Dave Begel


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