Here's what I've been eating, reading, watching. You could use my enthusiasm level right now to scrub a bathtub.
Spicy Bahn Mi: I've become obsessed with Bahn Mi. Like, to the point of walking into a Vietnamese restaurant in Superior, then walking out when I didn't see this sandwich on the menu. It became like this thing, like a great song or something, that everyone loves but I've never tried. So I sucked it up and made my own, always a risky prospect when you go in not sure exactly how it's supposed to taste -- mapping a recipe using a bevy of Google images and a vague idea of what certain flavors will do when they hit each other.
So this is mine: I made it with tofu instead of pork because ... blah blah blah hate cooking meat whatever. I really liked it; Chuck couldn't get past the smell of the Apple Vinegar I used in the slaw part. (Next time I'll try Rice Vinegar, just for kicks).
The post script to this is that I had Bahn Mi while I was in Los Angeles -- Culver City, actually -- and it knocked my socks off. At least now I know what I'm up against when I'm making it. Next time with pork. In other news: Welcome to my life, daikon radish.
Grilled Veggie Wrap: Chuck made this one. And I'm not sure what he did, but he turned beans into something the consistency of cheese in such a vegan-rific way. Nice summer treat.
Brown Sugar Toffee Cake: This will be a news flash to no one who has ever used their tongue: Heath Bar, crumbled, could make mushrooms taste good. So this cake got a lot of love. Futbol definitely gave this his seal of approval while he was visiting.
Tomato Mozzarella Packets with Polenta: Oh, gentle Jenny. Not only is this super good, it's super easy. Polenta, mozzarella, tomatoes, some seasonings ... served up in a poor man's Bento box. Er, wrapped in tin foil. Chuck didn't dig it as much as I did. He seemed to think you had to have each flavor on your fork to make it work. I scraped moz off the tin foil, and enjoyed it just fine. Although one serving is definitely not enough. I don't think Vegetarian Times has posted this recipe yet, but I think it's pretty self explanatory: take a bunch of food, throw it in tin foil, cook.
An Education This is what should have happened instead of the movie "Juno." I haven't loved a movie this much for awhile. Girl, striving to fill her life with art, lit, music, and nicotene falls for an older schmoozy dude who totally woos her. But, of course, there is something a little sketchy going on.
The Cruise: ... and in keeping with that theme, this is a pretty awesome documentary about a NYC tour guide, Timothy Levich, who speaks in pull quotes. Even his most basic sentiments are gripping: "Your narcissism is mediocre." But then there are things like: "I am in a launching vitriolic way trying at any expense to grab the collars of people who have no idea what they're surrounded by, and trying to grab their attention in the middle of the greatest tumultuousness. And ripped lining is part of that routine." [Thanks to Chuck for posting these quotes on Facebook so I didn't have to do any research]. Anyway, watch this. And if you must, make it a drinking game.
And the Heart Says Whatever by Emily Gould:At some point we all sat around and wondered what the hell personal blogging would mean, ultimately, for the good old-fashioned world of the printed word. The kind that comes on paper, bound, with a flattering author portrait and blurbs from friends.
As an anecdote to that, I present Emily Gould’s book of personal essays And the Heart Says Whatever. The former go-go Gawker girl’s collection includes vignettes of being a sexually aware high school student wrist-deep in the trousers of an underclassman, to feeling like a freak-show at her college in the Midwest, to navigating the streets of the Lower East Side en route to gigs as a publishing assistant/hostess/shot girl. It is all tinged with the sort of romantic mooniness that comes with having an ex-boyfriend and/or making a self-destructive decision or two.
Full review here.
Sixty-Nine by Ryu Murakami: When it comes to dizzying collections of words, Ryu Murakami has long been the writer most likely to make me wretch with glee. He's a Level 3 sensory offender, twiddling away at a reader's gag reflex just because he can. There is a scene in his novel "In The Miso Soup," (my favorite) that is so engraved in my brain that it has almost become a permanent ear worm. The depravity and desperation of "Almost Transparent Blue" have stuck with me for more than a decade. His novel "Coin Locker Babies" opens with such a shocking sentence that it's a wonder anyone makes it to Page 2 -- unfortunately.
But with "69," his roman a clef about a posse of restless, political, literary, music-loving teens noodling away at Simon & Garfunkle's greatest hits on a guitar and talkin' about a revolution, Murakami takes his best tool and hides it in a garage for the duration of the novel.
This is to say, I didn't almost barf once.
Full review will be here.