Episode 39: The Best of 2009

Best of 2009

We’re taking a break from our normal programming to present you with the DPD’s “Best Of 2009” show, a.k.a. the “We-Microwaved-Some-Leftovers-For-You-Since-We’re-Leaving-Town-For-New-Year’s” show. But what delectable leftovers! We’re talking Michelin-star leftovers, people. This episode features our favorite segments of the year, with a side of mellow banter and behind-the-scenes tales. Specials include…

Icebreaker: Jonathan Coulton
Talking sausages, hamster ventriloquists, vacuuming buddhists – these are just a few of the strange characters that showed up in our Icebreaker segment this year. But when we asked listeners to tell us their favorite joke, where did they want to go? Sam’s Clam Disco. Leave it to songwriter and geek bard Jonathan Coulton to tell this punny chestnut with panache.

The Year In Small Talk
The interwebs are awash with top-news-stories-of-2009 lists (Michael Jackson, anyone?). Here’s a recap of stories which we guarantee showed up on none of those lists, as extorted over the last 12 months from the staff of Marketplace.

History Lesson with Booze: Bicycle Day & The “LSD-25”
If you can’t shake the feeling that you’ve heard this history segment before, chillax — you’re not having a flashback. It was featured back in Episode 21.

On April 19th, 1943, Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman ingested .25 ml of a little compound he’d whipped up called LSD-25… and we commemorate the ensuing bike trip with this drink laced with entirely legal acid and fungi.

The LSD-25, as invented for the DPD by Daniel Hyatt, bar manager at Alembic in San Francisco:

Into champage flute, place:

  • 4 drops white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 drop truffle oil

Then slowly pour in the following — over the back of a spoon — to create separate layers:

  • ¾ oz. crème de Cassis
  • ½ oz. Campari
  • ½ oz. Absinthe

Finally, slowly pour in:

  • 3 oz. chilled sparkling wine (Gruet demi-sec, or slightly off-dry Prosecco)

Trip out on the colors as the liquors mix. Toss in a twist of lemon peel. Sip. Wait at least an hour before attempting to operate a bicycle.

Guest of Honor: Lamont Dozier
Of all the fascinating folks who’ve accepted the invitation to sit at the head of our audiophonic dinner table, our favorite this year was Motown songwriting legend Lamont Dozier. Along with the Holland Brothers, he wrote so many classic hits that… well, let’s just say if oldies stations removed his tunes from their playlists, they’d mostly be broadcasting static. Hear the extended version of his interview with Rico here.

Main Course: Deep-Fried Butter
Yes, we should have received a Pulitzer Prize for breaking the Kogi Korean BBQ Taco truck story this year. And, yes, our investigative report on why there are french fries in Peruvian food was groundbreaking. And, of course, our cupcake coverage was the most heroic example of activist journalism since Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle,” but it was Brendan’s interview with Abel Gonzalez, inventor of deep-fried butter, that really set our hearts aflutter this year — if only out of fear.

One(s) For the Road: Best Songs of 2009

Brendan’s Pick: Girls – “Lust for Life”

How does someone become a Dinner Party Download host? Bribery, yes, but it also helps to have fine-tuned cultural radar. When Brendan first heard the music of San Francisco band Girls streaming from their Myspace page last winter, he knew in his cupcake-free gut they would be the biggest thing since Korean BBQ Tacos. He was right. “Lust for Life” gives a glimpse of their lo-fi pop charm, and features read-our-mind lyrics like “I wish I had a suntan, a pizza and a bottle of wine.”

Rico’s Pick: Benjy Ferree – “Fear”

“Fear” is just one of a slew of great tracks on Marylander Benjy Ferree’s criminally underplayed “Come Back To the Five and Dime Bobby Dee Bobby Dee,” a semi-concept album inspired by the sad life of child star Bobby Driscoll. Benjy’s music is a stirring mix of stomping garage rock, soulful doo-wop and 70s stadium anthems, which he manages to belt out live with just a two-man lineup. New Year’s resolution for all you music-loving millionaires: Front Benjy the cash to hire a full band — with horn section, please — and launch an arena tour. Meanwhile, download “Fear.”