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Magazines & Miso with Brandon

A feast for the mind, belly (& eyes)...

For those who don’t read mainstream media or like to talk about the weather, you should know that New York, right now, is still in the deathly grasps of a freezing winter. Now, that may sound dramatic, but when you spend countless minutes of your day negotiating deceptively deep curbside puddles, dodging singular gloves on the sidewalk, and losing your feet when you least expect it—drama seems to become the emotion du jour. So when Brandon Johnson opened the door to his Greenpoint apartment, let’s just say he was a sight for sore eyes. We get to know him a little better below.

Hometown: Downers Grove, IL

Age & astro: 29, Aquarius

Favorite heroes: Any advocate for civil and human rights across the globe, over the course of history.

What are you currently obsessed with? Chicago compliment cards. These were business cards made by Chicago gangs such as the Simon City Royals, Villa Lobos, Insane Freaks, Insane Spanish Cobras to name a few, from the 70s into the 90s featuring the gang’s symbols, the names of their members, and their territory. Often they’ll include the phrase “Compliments of [gang name]”—hence being known as “compliment cards”. My dad had one with his old stuff which I found when they were moving. I’ve started collecting them since then.

We’re 100% over winter, tell us about your next trip planned: Belize (fingers crossed)

OK, what are five things every man should own: Comb, Bolo tie, multi-tool, proper razor, and art.

You’re the managing editor of zingmagazine, an arts and culture bi-annual—obviously super cool. Who are some young artists we should know about and why? Depends what you consider young, but a few that come to mind right now: Margaret Lee, Joshua Abelow, Brad Troemel, Anya Kielar, Johannes VanDerBeek. Feel like I’m missing a lot, but these artists are all worth checking out for their own reasons.

Name your top three favorite defunct or existing magazines: Aside from zingmagazine, I’m currently digging Toilet Paper, Bad Day, and Wax.

What are we to expect from the next issue of zingmagazine? Another varied selection of top notch projects! Can’t let the cat out of the bag yet, but we have some fantastic projects in already for issue #24. Looks like this issue will possibly include a poster, a CD, and two different books. We’re assembling the issue now and expect to release it later this year.

And aside from the issue, what are you working on right now?
 Right now, I’m co-curating an exhibition for a gallery in Denver with the work of an artist named Dan Asher who passed away in 2010. I’m also working on a literary project called “You Only Live Once” which will be a published as a set of photos in an envelope (disposable style) of a small granite headstone with that phrase laser inscribed into it in various street locations in New York. The project is due to be released in March.

So you went to college in Denver, describe the food scene there: I tried to keep it cheap and limited to near campus. But you can’t go wrong with breakfast at Pete’s University Cafe. I also can’t do a trip back to Denver and not stop at Jerusalem’s—a Palestinian joint that a lot of revelers go late night. This is where I first encountered Sriracha hot sauce, which is amazing on their gyros sandwich.

And back to NY: Describe your ultimate food day here: A cup of Earl Gray tea to start, maybe a green juice depending on my condition, and a spread of bagels and various smoked fishes from Russ & Daughters; Lamb noodles at Biang! in Flushing for lunch. Either Korean BBQ tacos, Dokebi wings, or a spicy stew from Little Dokebi in Greenpoint for dinner; Late-night nachos at The Commodore.

So what are we cooking today? I’m making miso-glazed salmon and seared brussels sprouts. I wanted to do something tasty and healthy, but easy. Sort of like a holy trinity of cooking for me!

What’s your favorite kitchen item: My cast iron skillet.

And taste you can’t live without? Spicy.

OK, last question, name your top 5 meals, ever:
1. My friend Josh’s spicy dan-dan noodles at our old apartment in Bushwick
2. Cajun redfish, fried seatrout, and Budweisers at a roadside shack in Lafitte, Louisiana after a long day fishing a few years back
3. Blue crab and stone crabs from my parents traps in Ft Myers Beach, FL
4. Italian beef from Johnny’s in Chicago
5. Any decent taverna in Greece

Louisiana FTW! Thanks Brandon!

Photography by Meghan McNeer

We’ll check back with Brandon this afternoon for his salmon and Brussels sprouts recipes. E-mail me at pippa@sousstyle.com xo