Monday, September 17, 2007

More great Aussie cinema...

Hey kids!

Just a quickie...
I just finished watched a great Aussie film called The Tracker starring the amazing David Gulpilil. You'd most likely know him from Crocodile Dundee, but he's turned in some stellar performances in Walkabout (One of my all time faves...directed by Nicholas Roeg who was a photographer on Lawrence of Arabia which I just happened to watch this week. He also direced The Man Who Fell to Earth (!) and Full Body Massage (?)), The Proposition, and Rabbit-Proof Fence. It's quite a good film and David Gulpilil's first starring role. Luckily I searched through the extras on the DVD and noticed that there was a documentary on David Gulpilil included called Gulpilil: One Red Blood. Mr. Gulpilil is a fascinating individual. The duality of his lifestyle is very interesting. He's traveled the world and tried just about everything, but the vast majority of his life is spent living a VERY traditional Aboriginal lifestyle. He only speaks English in big cities or when filming. He's not a rich man and actually has many traditional troubles in his life. I'm really looking forward to Ten Canoes which is coming out on DVD on the 25th of this month!

I had a nice birthday weekend. Thanks everyone (especially Perl) for a nice party on Saturday! I'll have more details about the last week soon.

My vacation is over. It's back to work in the morning. Yeah...I'm really not into that. It was really nice not thinking about work for a week...


Thursday, September 13, 2007

A pint o' Guinness for what ails ye...

Hey kids,

So I was watching Glutton For Punishment on the Food Network the other night and host Bob Blumer (aka "The Surreal Gourmet") and he accepted the challenge of the "Guinness Diet". The challenge was to consume NOTHING but Guinness and water for 5 days. No foods whatsoever, no other beverages. Even making it more difficult was the fact that he was actually in Dublin among some wonderful food. Making it even more challenging was the fact that one of the members of the Hothouse Flowers that he knew from the music scene (Bob used to manage Jane Siberry) was taunting him with food the entire time. The amazing thing is that Bob did it. Bob Blumer survived on a diet of nothing but Guinness for 5 days! Very cool! Well done, Bob. You are a scholar and a gentleman...

I've noticed this for some time and brought it up to friends a couple weeks ago and they couldn't seem to come up with a logical answer...why do they show pro-wrestling on the SciFi Channel? I was flipping channels again last night and they were showing pro-wrestling. What's the deal? I understand that pro-wrestling is fiction, but science fiction? And what's the deal with pro-poker on the Travel Channel? I understand that that's where it got its TV start and that they travel the world, but why still?

I watched Hot Fuzz (pretty funny, but no Shaun of the Dead) and The Illusionist (okay). Nothing very exciting, but that's kinda cool on a week off. Tonight is Giovanni's. Woo hoo!

My Top 14 Comfort Foods
Mashed Potatoes (any style will do, but I'm a big fan of skin-on)
Macaroni and Cheese (NOT the crap out of a box!)
Potato and Leek Soup (perhaps the ultimate comfort food)
Braised Beef Short Ribs
Ramke (I don't know the spelling. It's a potato and bacon dish that my mom makes.)
Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies (Is there anything better?)
Thanksgiving Stuffing/Dressing
Chili (Bring it on!)
Green Bean Casserole (with mushroom soup and fried onions of course)
Pancakes (Stack them high and watch them fly!)
Split Pea Soup
Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Deluxe though. Definitely sourdough bread and a good cheese like Gruyere or Emmentaler.)
Guinness (It's not technically a food...sue me!)
Schinkenbrot (Thinly sliced good quality ham like Schinkenspeck, Proscuitto di Parma, or a good Black Forest style ham on a hard Swiss roll with butter and nothing else. Heaven!)

The perfect comfort meal may be potato and leek soup as a starter, braised short ribs, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole as an entree, and warm chocolate chip cookies for dessert...

Random Poll-
What are your favorite comfort foods?



Sunday, September 09, 2007

"Hey! Lindsay! C'mere. Wanna do a bump of the Lord?"

Hey kids!

It's been a while. So I was driving home from having Chinese tonight with a bunch of friends and I noticed a church marquee. I'm prone to read them as sometimes they actually come up with something pretty clever. This time I almost ran off the road... It said,


Of course I know where they were going with this, but of course my mind went somewhere else. Have you ever snorted God through a dirty dollar bill in an even dirtier public restroom at a strip club? Do you have a God spoon? Will the new communion slogan be "Get in line to do a line!"? I would imagine that religious pilgrimages to Bolivia and Colombia would go up a bit. I also imagine that church attendance would go up. Mirrors in every pew...

I had a week off a week ago and then worked a week and now I've got another week off starting tonight. I ended up going north for a couple of days for a little low-key relaxing in the Kewadin area on Grand Traverse Bay. Same place I went to last year for a bit. Very cool. Very relaxing. Mostly good weather. Very nice time. There were four of us. We ended up having dinner the first night at Lulu's in Bellaire. I've been wanting to eat there for years as I've heard very good things from reliable sources. The food was excellent! The wine list left a little to be desired so I actually ordered an excellent Short's draft. The fennel crusted lamb tenderloin with rosemary demi, artichoke risotto cakes, and vegetable was wonderful. The lamb was cooked perfectly rare. The flourless chocolate torte with hazelnut and orange was outstanding. I'd definitely go back. Although it was certainly great, it's still not up to the wonderful standards of Stella in Traverse City. OUTSTANDING! Bacco in Southfield and Stella in Traverse City are definitely my top two Italian restaurants in Michigan. Paesano's in Ann Arbor is impeccable as well. Some friends (the ultra-cool landlords) are taking me to Giovanni's on Thursday for my birthday. I'm quite looking forward to that. Somehow, amazingly, I've never managed to eat there. It's beyond me how that happened as it's in everybody's "Best Of" list...

...back to "Up North"
Tuesday we went into Elk Rapids to do a little grocery shopping as I would be making dinner. I made a cream of asparagus soup with garlic with frizzled prosciutto strips. I sweated two bunches of asparagus, some onion, and garlic with S&P in EVOO and butter until soft and then I added chicken stock. I added a handful of fresh spinach (for a more vibrant green color) let it come to a boil and then I let it simmer for a bit. I then pureed it all in a blender and added it back to the pot and added heavy cream and whisked it all together. I had crisped some strips of Prosciutto and added it to the top as a garnish. Yum! For an entree I did a simple penne pasta with a cream sauce with chicken, pancetta, peas, red pepper, onion, garlic, and parmesan. Double yum! For dessert I cooked down some fresh raspberries and blueberries with orange zest, lemon zest, sugar, lemon juice, and Cointreau and let it cool. Separately I made a simple syrup with fresh orange juice, sugar, a TON of orange zest, and Cointreau and let that cool. When it was time to serve I poured the syrup over some plain poundcake and then served with the fruit compote, whipped cream, and dark chocolate shavings. Triple yum! We enjoyed some mighty good wine that night too. Good times! Good times! I stayed until mid-afternoon or so on Wednesday and drove back down and stopped at the new fantabulous Meijer in Allen Park. I had some shopping to do for the party I was throwing on Saturday.

I spent Thursday and much of Friday cooking for the party but took a break to work at the restaurant on Friday night. Saturday I finished up my cooking in time for my party. I made chili, penne arrabiata, Asian marinated flank steak, fruit platters, shrimp cocktail, strawberries macerated in aged Balsamic vinegar with black pepper, fennel and orange salad with arugula and pecorino, cannelini beans pureed with garlic and sage, a cheese plate, mascarpone cheese with Tasmanian leatherwood honey with strawberries and Kipferl cookies, my chocolate skull**** brownies, and assorted other goodies. I also infused vodka with fresh pineapple, limes, coconut, and a vanilla bean for a week. It came out pretty tasty. I think everybody had a good time and the last person left around 4:00AM (party started at 5:00). I spent some time cleaning up and got to bed pretty dang late.

I then spent Sunday cleaning up and then got a call from the fabulous Kat asking if I was planning on going to Homesick Night at Luna (formerly the Groove Room, formerly 3-D). I said I'd go as long as she was going and she said that Jane and Joe may go as well (the always great Jane and Joe were some of the last to leave the party the night before). Cool. I ended up driving and the four of us got there just after 9:00 and we ended up closing the place just like old times. I barely saw Kat as she was dancing the majority of the night. She'd make an occasional appearance at the table to swig some beer and take a drag off of her inhaler. Jane ended up being kidnapped by Kat for most of the night as well. They were both smiling during their occasional table visits, so I knew they were both having fun. It's worth a late night to see Kat smile. I was the lame-ass enjoying myself watching the purses and talking to Joe at the table most of the night. I regret not facing the other way at the table. I had pretty much nothing of note to look at except darkness and the occasional frat boy. Had I been facing the other way I could've stared at the hot bartenders and other fine YOUNG specimens. I'm almost 35 and I felt like a grandfather among the bar patrons. A dirty old man... The infamous DJ DAVO (our good friend) was in house, but he was not spinning that night. He was making his rounds all night. We ended up crossing the street after closing to the fab National Coney Island...just like old times. I used to have so much fun at 3-D. Those were the days... It ended up being another 4 o' clocker...and I was the only one that had to work on labor day. It was a long day at work on Monday. I was just tired. Dog tired. But worth it for a night of fun. was back to work. But only for a week. I ended up coming down with a wicked bad cold on Wednesday. Wednesday and Thursday were pretty brutal. I've been feeling pretty fine since Friday except for the barely there sniffle. I'm feeling pretty good. Actually I'm feeling pretty damn fine since I'm on vacation again. A bunch of us went out to dinner this evening. I had the Kung Pao Squid. Pretty good. I even managed to eat some of the hot peppers that I wasn't supposed to eat...apparently. At the end of the meal I ended up with two peppers left on the plate. There were more than than when I got the plate. There were a few moments when I broke into a bit of a sweat. This week is going to be pretty low-key. I'll be hanging around mostly. My friends are taking me to Giovanni's on Thursday, I'm working at the restaurant on my birthday, and friends are taking me to dinner on Sunday (Eve?). The highlight, however, will be on Saturday. The trez cool Perl is throwing me a birthday party. I've never had a birthday party in my life. I've gone out to dinner with large groups of people on my birthday before, but I've never had an actual party of sorts. Will I have to wear a funny hat? I'm looking forward to it.

I did watch a few movies...
I watched Pumpkin with Christina Ricci. I thought it was very good and very darkly funny. Killer soundtrack too! I'd recommend it. I also watched Blades of Glory. Not so good. I was hoping for more from Will Ferrell and Jon Heder. It was funny, but definitely not in the league of Anchorman. Amy Poehler and Will Arnett were hilarious though. I think they're the funniest real-life couple around (now that Brittney and K-Fed are splits)! I finally saw The DaVinci Code. I never read the book. Interesting and intriguing, but mostly stuff I've heard before. Entertaining though. Audrey Tautou looked great, but still not like her angelic self in the amazing Amelie.

That's all for now kids...

Random Poll- What's your favorite milkshake flavor?

Random Poll #2- What's your favorite Slurpee flavor?

Random Poll #3- Now that autumn is soon upon us what seasonal dish are you looking forward to most?

Random Poll #4- What's the best church marquee you've seen?

Oh yeah...just in case you're one of the three people who haven't seen the Miss Teen USA South Carolina thing here's a link. Scary/funny as hell!