summit winter ale: it’s really not an offensive beer at all and seems like it would taste good with chili.
"service included" by phoebe damrosch: now replacing "addiction memoirs" as my favorite genre: food memoirs. this is a quick read by a foodie who works her way into a career as a waiter per se -- which is eventually named a four-star restaurant. the story follows preparing for per se's opening, to the central conflict -- impressing nyt's recognizable food critic during frank bruni on his six visits. in the meantime, damrosch is negotiating a tricky relationship with a somelier named andre who is still living with his exish girlfriend who also works at the restaurant.
i liked the insider inforomation and kept my food encyclopedia handy ie: what is tripe? a lot of her humor requires an understanding of a) the food industry; b) food. as with anything that you must be really into to really enjoy, reading this and getting her jokes feels really exclusive and geeky. there is just one chapter devoted to the quirks of the restaurant's regulars -- diners who fall asleep, snort between courses, need an extra chair for a stuffed dog.
damrosch writes well on a technical level, and food-writing level, but has a tough time nailing personalities, including her own. it's hard to see what draws her to andre and what draws him to her. like bruni, i'd give it four stars.
FOODS I MAKE
potage with pesto (via vegetarian times): this is a version of every soup i make: cut up vegetables, double amount of recommended garlic, add vegetable broth, simmer until everything is mushy then throw in food processor. what makes this soup different is the dollap of pesto added to each bowl. it gives a bland, predictable soup a jolt of condensed garlic flavor and an occasional sliver of walnut.
focaccia (via moosewood restaurant daily specials cookbook): in this week's bread-baking adventure, i mistook a baggie filled with lecithin for yeast. two hours and one sweaty clump of dough later, i realized my error and kneeded yeast into the mix. this gave the dough a freakish boil where the yeast sort of did its job. eventually it all came together and we ate the crap out of the entire circle of bread. a girl can forget how good rosemary tastes and if you like salt, you'll love sea salt.
pear cake (via vegetarian times): i liked the idea of a cake with 4 grams of fat per serving. luckily i was in a particularly chocolate-craving point in my lunar cycle so i was able to ignore its mediocrity. mostly, making this cake enabled me to clean out the molded stink of irish oatmeal that had been stewing in the slow cooker since last sunday. that was a bad smell. i'm sure this pear cake will, too, in a few days.
MEALS TAKEN IN PUBLIC
chester creek cafe's middle eastern plate: this is getting embarrassing. i think i'm three times in three weeks on this restaurant. and honestly, we were headed to mount royal when we accidentally erked into their lot. i went with my old standby of the middle eastern plate, which is three falafel patties, sauce, tabbouleh, three mounds of hummus and four pita triangles, a handful of greek olives and feta cheese.
prizzi's honor (1985): so far in our movie project, we have learned that there was a different standard of humor in the 1980s, that just doesn't translate. this probably means that in the year 2028 superbad will elicit shrugs. prizzi's honor's laughs are centered around hitman jack nicholson, who falls madly in love with hitwoman kathleen turner -- who i kept mistaking for cybill shephherd. jack nicholson's version of a mafioso accent is embarrassing. and everything that happens -- which is very little -- happens very slowly. like it was filmed underwater at seaworld.
the fly (1986): there are things you don't expect to see in a movie: limbs singed by an opaque vomit, ear loss and an abortion attempt that results in the birth of a glo-worm sized maggot. this may be one of the greatest movies i've ever seen. chuck, very aptly, compared it to an episode of nip/tuck.
some kind of wonderful (1987): in a perfect world, i would watch this movie in an environment where i would be allowed to quote every. single. line. unfortunately, i have to stifle this natural impulse, as i sense that what i deem as impressive will come across as annoying. so before we watch i say to chuck: "if i get a black and blue mark you monger, you're dead!" and "pretend i'm a girl. pretend i'm her. ... amanda. i know its a big stretch, but try it" so that when these lines happen during the viewing, i can smile smugly [ie: impressive]. more than any other movie in the 80s, this was my go-to flick as a teen. if i couldn't watch it in its entirity, i could always make time for the scene where mary stuart masterson lets eric stoltz practice kissing her. as it becomes more heated, he clenches at the back of her jean shorts. i've always considered this a very sexy moment.
the blob (1988): kevin dillon plays a rogue teenager who tries to save his small town from a gelatenous substance that mauls the jocks, the sluts, the cafe owner, the sheriff, a homeless man and others. this may be the best movie i'd never heard about. i can't believe none of this movie's oneliners made it into mainstream culture. ie: "kevin, stop eating with your face."
drugstore cowboy (1989): kevin dillon's brother stars in a movie about a band of roving pharmecuetical theives. it was hard to get used to a movie where no one gets chased by a science fair project. not to mention that i had to constantly remind myself the main character was not dallas "dally" winston, and there would be no "stay gold ponyboy."
NON MOVIE PROJECT MOVIES
atonement: for about one hour, ten minutes i knew exactly what was happening on screen. this probably means it should win an oscar. call me, kiera knightley!