Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Friday, March 30, 2007


On the house, details soon.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rainbows & Puppies

Well, we have a verbal offer from the job place.

I will be going to work as a Violent Crimes Analyst for the gov. What that means is that I will be gathering data from violent crime scenes; fun stuff like homicide, suicide, gunshot wounds, sexual violence, bioterrorism and the like, then analyzing it in the context of surveillance and prevention on a national level. Basically CSI, America.

Its a life of rainbows and puppies for me! :)

I will move to Atlanta in May.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

קדוש (Kadosh)

My youngest friend in Dallas is 26. Its near impossible for me to relate to the inner-workings of a 26 year old mind, but he is good person just the same. He goes through boyfriends every two weeks. He wants me to meet each one because they are "the one". I usually wriggle out of that since there's little point in meeting them, considering they will be replaced shortly with a slightly different version of the same.

I hadn't heard from The Young'un since January so I figured he was taking a break from the dating game, or he had settled into a meaningful 10-week relationship. It was the later.

Young'un: You have to meet my new BF, he's the one.

Me: Seems like Ive heard this before, lol.

Young'un: Cynical bitch, lol! No really, its different this time.

Me: Oh OK, lol.

Young'un: No really, hes not even blonde.

Hmm, well that is different since The Young'un is Latin and has tunnelvision for blondes.

Young'un: And he's taller than me too.

Hmm, that is also different. I always thought it was odd that The Young'un would not date anyone taller than him.

So I met new BF, nice guy. Tall, dark and Jewish. Since meeting the Jewish BF, The Young'un has been asking alot of questions about Judaism, like I'm the freaking Oracle for all thing Jewish, lol. But I answered all of his questions the best I could and pointed him off to some internet sites for future reference. I think he is trying to impress Jewish BF, we'll see how that works out.

Since the Young'un has a new interest in things Jewish, I invited him over the watch this Israeli film.

Kadosh (Sacred)

Its a heady piece about 2 sisters living in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. Each sister has some struggle against their Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community, in terms of marriage and other affairs of the heart.

I liked this film on a technical level; the cinematography, direction, script and acting are all top-notch. What I found disturbing was the portrayal of the Haredim as backwards, uninspired chauvinists. I'm sure that attitude exists in the Haredim, as it does in other communities, but this portrayal seemed a little extreme.

I kinda got over that when I saw this guy, who plays Yaakov. Nice. I'm glad I speak a little Hebrew, you know, in case I run into him in Tel Aviv :)

Sami Hori

After it was over I asked The Young'un what he thought.

Young'un: Wow, it was good but they are kinda rough on their women.

Me:I think that might be an isolated event rather than the norm.

Young'un: Yeah, oh, I liked the hats, I want one.

Me:What hats?

Young'un: You know, the kind those guys with the curls wear. You know, the Curly Q Jew hats :)

Obviously we are going to have to work on terminology, soon.


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Monday, March 26, 2007

A Use For Carrots

I've been working on this one for a couple of days. I had a big bag of leftover carrots so I decided to try to make something out of them. Ironically I had to get even more carrots and now I still have leftover carrots.

This is my favorite soup so far this year, even better than the sweet potato one from a few months back. I think this one will be nice for DC Mom's reception. (Suzy, you will have to let me know what you think. )

Carrot-Cumin Soup with Avocado-Lime Cream and Chipotle Oil


  • 1 2-lb bag Carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 1 Russet Potato, chopped
  • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 32 ounce Vegetable (or Chicken) stock
  • 3 t Coriander
  • 2 t Cumin
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Black Pepper

Avocado-Lime Cream

  • 1 large Avocado (or 2 medium)
  • 2 T Lime juice
  • 3-4 T Whole Milk
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper

Chipotle Oil

  • 3 T Olive Oil
  • 1/4 t Chipotle


  • Cilantro, chopped

1) For Soup: Put all the soup ingredients in a stockpot and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Take a hand liquidiser to the soup or alternatively put the soup through a blender in batches. Return to stockpot and keep hot.

2) For Avocado-Lime Cream: Mash avocado, lime and milk with a fork then wisk until desired consistency. Season with salt/pepper. Keep cool.

3) For Chipotle Oil: Wisk oil and chipotle together and let sit for 30 minutes.

4) Assembly: Ladel soup into bowls. Top with a couple T of avocado-lime cream, drizzle with chipotle oil and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Servings: 4

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Patron State Of Shootin' Stuff

Completely forumla and very entertaining.

More action-n-suspense than blood-n-guts.

Obligatory half-dressed Mark Wahlberg scenes.

Priceless comic relief scene half way through with some memorable one-liners (hence the post title).



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Friday, March 23, 2007


Since its Spring now I'm sure you realize there are some things you need to change. Most importantly, your wine. Right, stuff those big, heavy winter Cabs away, or just polish them off in one sitting like I do. Now is time to break out the Zins.

In other wine related news, I finished my taxes today. Quite the ordeal since I have had 4 different contracts, some w-2, some 1099, house stuff, education stuff, relocation stuff, investment stuff, home office stuff, etc. To celebrate I had Wine Guy from Wine Shop pick out a nice Spring wine. He suggested this one, I liked it. Its almost purple in color, nice spicy cherry depth and it went well with my Eggplant Shrimp Curry from a couple of days ago. Nice price too, under $15.

Cline Ancient Vine Zinfandel, 2005

I'm sure Ex-3, HD Guy and 4YA Guy have noticed the flowers. No, I did not arrange them. I had Flower Girl from Flower Shop choose and arrange them for me. As some of you know I didn't inherit the flower arranging gene. My "arragements" consist of buying one bunch of flowers, all one color, taking them out of their wrapping and stuffing them into a vase. This has been problematic for some people I have dated. I even remember one morning coming downstairs to see that Ex-3 had reconfigured my flowers so they weren't all one height. Ex-3 is an over-the-top masculine German guy so to see him fussing intensely with flower arrangement just made me laugh. Silently, to myself :)


Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Use For Eggplant

Personally, I love the eggplant. But I am usually on my own when I make eggplant as most people seem leary. I think the eggplant haters I know just havent had it prepared correctly or they had one experience with a bitter one and called it quits.

Baingan Bharta (Eggplant Curry with Shrimp)

  • 1 pound 21-30 count shrimp, peeled and deveined.
  • 2 eggplant
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2 t cumin
  • 2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 T ginger, minced
  • 2 T garlic, minced
  • 2 T sweet curry
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 C plain, full fat yogurt (dont use non-fat)
  • 2 jalapenos, diced
  • 2 t salt
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • Basmati

1) Preheat oven to 450, Slice eggplant in half lengthwise then place on foil-lined baking sheet, flat side down and roast for 20-30 minutes until softened. Remove, cool, peel and chop into bits.

2) Process ginger and garlic into a paste. Heat 2T oil over medium high heat then stir onions and cumin until onions are soft. Add ginger-garlic paste and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add tomato and curry and stir fry for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low then add in the yogurt, jalapenos and eggplant, stir to blend. Season with salt then cover and crank heat to high. Cook for 10 minutes over high heat then reduce to low. Uncover then continue cooking at low heat for 5 minutes.

3) In a separate frying pan add remaining 1 T of oil. Over high heat stir fry shrimp until cooked through. Either add the shrimp to the curry mixture or serve them over the top.

4) Serve with Basmati, garnish with cilantro.

Servings: 4

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Showing the house.
Hurrying up and waiting for the government to put together my offer package.

I love being in suspended animation :)


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Muscle & Blood

Every 10 years a film comes along that sets the standards for a new generation of films. This one is it.

Violent. Sexy. Undeniably stylish.



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Our Boy, Jake

Our family moved to San Francisco in the wake of the Zodiac killer, so I felt a certain obligation to see if this movie accurately represented the mood of the era. It didn't. What it didn't capture was how sincerely freaked out everyone was for years after the killings stopped.


I was expecting alot more tension and drama surrounding this story about the serial killer who taunted the SF Bay Area for years, but alas that did not happen. While historically accurate, Zodiac was sometimes tedious and slow. In the end, this was less a story about the killer and more a story about the reporter (Jake) who was obsessed with finding him.

Jake was good but I find myself comparing each performance to his role in Brokeback. Not nearly as strong, but Zodiac is not nearly as strong of a film. Surprisingly Robert Downey gave a really good performance as quirky and somewhat flamboyant senior reporter working with Jake, he had a very 70's San Francisco look and feel.

If you arent familiar with the Zodiac story it might be worth a view but you could safely wait for it to come out on DVD next month.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Girl Got Skills

Everyone loves a pretty girl who kills people for a living, right?

New York Guy and I watched this one last night and we both liked.

Nikita is a homeless social misfit who wanders the streets doing drugs and robbing people. In the course of a robbery she kills someone, a cop. French police catch her and give her the "choice" of becoming their clandestine agent of death or going to prison. She chooses the former. It was quite a physical transformation for the lead from scrappy street urchin to polished-up assassin.

What I liked about this one was the raw, impulsive, wild animal characteristics Anne Parillaud brought to her role. Then, after she meets a man she truly loves, you begin to see her look at herself in a new way, an irreconcilable way - part passionate lover, part detached killer. She knows one part of her must go, but which one will it be?

Definitely watch it in French with English subs. I tried the English audio track but it sucked.


I know they made a series out of this film. Have you seen it and do you have an opinion?

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Pretty Baby

Pretty Baby is one of the new exhibits at the Modern in Fort Worth. Its a collection of various artists and media all related to children and childhood. Before you yawn and nod off, the exhibit is actually very good. My favorite sequence was the collection of photographs by Loretta Lux.

Photo by Loretta Lux

I'm not sure what she is trying to say about childhood with these photographs. Maybe its that childhood is a beautiful but strange time since these photos, while beautiful and technically noteworthy, are also creepy as hell. I noticed on a few that the images had been slightly altered; eyes a little further apart than normal, head a little too large, arms a little too long. Those alterations in combination with austere settings, vacant expressions, vintage clothing and sometimes painted backdrops at odd angles or exposures make for some long, thought-provoking gazes.

Photo by Loretta Lux

I havent liked a photographer this much since Tina Modotti, I think I will be ordering some prints.

Loretta Lux Site

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

2 True


Story of an FBI agent who sold secrets uninterrupted for a period of over two decades. Noone knows how many lives were lost as a result of his disclosures. Noone will say how much that information compromised our national security.

I liked the film but it was not what I was expecting. It is much more subtle than anticipated, so if you are expecting Bond theatrics or MI action, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Ryan Phillipe is good eye candy and not a bad actor but the person who anchors this film is Chris Cooper. He does great character work and this time was no exception: paranoia magnified, isolation intensified and teetering implosion from the weight of his own guilt.

True story #1


Midnight Express

Story of an American college student visiting Istanbul who decided to strap a couple of kilos of hash to his chest and board a plane back to the states. It might have been easier to get away with that kind of thing in 70's but still. Naturally he gets caught and thrown into a Turkish prison.

Just in case you have Turkish prison fantasies, I should warn you that you won't after this one. Un be lievable accounts of how he was treated inside the system of corruption known as law enforcement in 1970s, anti-Nixon Turkey, how crafty he was at planning the logistics of escape and how cruel life could become when those attempts were uncovered by prison officials.

What is most amazing is how he eventually worked his way into Greece and then back to the US.

Brad Davis, who plays the lead, aside from being quite the scorching 70's stud, won several awards for this performance. Sadly he would eventually die of AIDS in 1991, 13 years later. Its a shame (another), he was really a good actor in this one, particularly the bathroom scene where he goes ballistic on a two-faced cellmate. Makes me wonder what he would have done later in his career.

(If you are a product of the 70's you will recognize the Gorgio Moroder theme music straightaway)

True Story #2


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Friday, March 09, 2007

Phone Retard

People, please.

When I call you and you don't have time to talk, just let it roll over to voicemail. I'm kinda familiar with the voicemail concept and it lets me communicate to you whatever was intended. Please stop answering your phone to tell me that you don't have time to talk. And for the love of all that is holy, please stop answering your phone to tell me that you don't have time to talk and then proceed to spend the next 45 minutes telling me all the many reasons why you are SO busy and you don't have time to talk.

Hopefully we all see the irony in doing that, lol.

Thank you and have a nice weekend.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Use For Proscuitto

DC mom is getting married in the Fall. Her daughter, Suzy and I have been tossing around food ideas for the reception. This one I have been playing with for a couple of weeks and I think its ready for production. Basically its a Caesar Salad you can eat with your hands.

Caesar Spring Rolls

1/4 C Light Mayo
2 T Romano, grated finely
1 t Anchovy, minced
1 T Lemon (or kumquat) juice

1/2 C Sourdough bread, cubed
1 T Butter
1 T Olive Oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced

8-10 Rice paper wrappers (8.5" diam)
16-20 slices Proscuitto (very thinly sliced)
4-6 leaves Romaine; lenghtwise cut into 1/4" strips
1-2 C Arugula

1 Croutons - Heat butter and oil over med. high heat. Sautee garlic for 30 seconds then add bread cubes. and sautee until golden. Turn out on paper town and season with salt and pepper.

2 Dressing - Whisk mayo, romano, anchovy and lemon juice in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Store in fridge.

3 Rolls - Soak each wrapper in luke-warm water until soft, less than a minute. Lay on piece of wax paper and blot dry with paper towel. Top each with 2 slices of proscuitto, covering entire wrap. Add a mound of romaine and arugula in a lengthwise column close to one end of the wrapper. Tight roll the wrapper then wrap the roll in saran wrap and stick in fridge.

4 When you're ready, trim the ends off all rolls then cut each into 4 pieces. Stand pieces on end then top each with a dollop of dressing, pressing a crouton or two into the dressing. 8 pieces should do for a serving. Grate romano over the top, add a little fresh pepper. Serve with extra sauce, if there is any.

Servings: 4

(Yes, I know its a crap picture but imagine it as if I had not rushed through the assembly and if I had taken a decent picture.)

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Toxic In Boxers

I lived in the deep south during an interesting time. I was bused from my Wonder Bread white neighborhood about 25 miles across town to a black neighborhood to go to school. Integration was what they called it. What did I care, it was a name and it meant absolutely nothing to me. I liked the bus ride, winding through the less populated, pine-dense parts of southern Alabama. I liked the new school and my new friends. They talked different but they listened to better music like the Isley Brothers, Ohio Players and Funkadelic. I still have music from those groups. On vinyl.

Black and white mixed easily inside the school. It was outside of the school that seemed to be the problem. The black parents threw bricks at our buses, while on the other side of town the white parents protested, often violently, sending their kids to 'that part of town' with 'those people'. It would be the first time I would hear the word nigger. It would be the first time I would experience the disgusting entity known as the KKK. To date, I can't hear either word without feeling a physical transformation in my stomach. I didn't understand the problem then. Still don't.

That said, I was reluctant to see this film because of its underlying neo-Nazi-skinhead theme, but it came highly recommended from Girlfriend X. We have exactly the same taste in film so I decided to detach myself emotionally and plug in.

American History X

Edward Norton gave up his normally muted, school-boy body to play a muscled-up skinhead leader hell-bent on pushing white supremacy. But something happens along the way to make him pause and re-evaluate. Afterwards he emerges on a slightly different path; one he will have to defend, one which will challenge him, one which will cause him to sacrifice to a new level. The theme of the film questions how much will you sacrifice to do the right thing and at what point will you break.

Norton was freaking awesome, it is simply his best performance. In the first half you will want to see him dead. But being the master of manipulation, aided by a good script and good direction, he completely flips the viewer into sympathizing with him.

There is one scene with Norton knealing in the middle of a street, dressed only in boxers, getting cuffed by the police, that is absolutely unnerving. His expression is that of pure evil, big black swasticka tatooed across his pec, wide-eyed sadastic grin and arrogant, stiff-backed determination. Its something I won't easily forget, it was exactly the look of jagged hate I saw in the eyes of adults, black and white, during Alabama's integration period.

Fair warning - this is not for the delicate and it may challenge even the strong.


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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Raw

Before I completely forget, a new-for-me recommendation.

Sushi restaurants come in varieties in Dallas. First we have the crap variety. These are usually buffet style where the sushi has been laid out hours beforehand, leaving it slouching lonely and lifeless under incandescent bulbs. There is something very wrong about the combination of raw fish, prolonged exposure to air and hot lights. And I'm sorry but no matter how cutesy you dress it up, it is always a screaming red flag when you see sushi parading around on any sort of conveyor belt.

Then you have the neighborhood variety. In Dallas, I can't think of a block that does not have a neighborhood sushi joint. These are all varying degrees of good.

Then there are the sushi masters. These are places with incredibly fresh and unique ingredients that have honed preparation and presentation into an art form. Dallas has two: Tei Tei Robata Bar and this place, which just entered the scene last year.

2633 McKinney Ave @ Boll
Dallas, TX

Yutaka really belongs in Manhattan; its a small shotgun space barely accomodating 25 people, 25 people sitting so close to each other they almost know each other biblically by the second sake. But in order to be one of those 25 you will first have to locate the space; it is on Boll near McKinney in an unassuming strip. There is a small sign, no valet and 5 parking spaces. Best to google its location first, park at the Quadrangle and walk over.

The inside is done in comfortable chic without trying too hard or going so overboard that it distracts you from the food or your company. The music is background, not centerpiece. The service is excellent; quiet, efficient and quite limber to move large plates from kitchen to table without tripping over the feet, jackets and bags that crowd the small walking area.

The menu is digestably small. Unlike most other sushi venues, Yutaka does not try to overwhelm you with every possible Japanese food item known to man. Rather, they put forth a couple of items from each section and a decent, navigable nigiri/roll list. What you will be more interested in are the nightly specials, which the server will recite before handing out the menus. You should at least try one of them, they are amazing.

Suggestions, all of which kicked the crap out of the neighborhood variety sushi houses: Black Cod With Blonde Miso, Sizzling Kobe Beef Bowl with Veggies, Yellowtail Roll, Spanish Mackerel Nigiri, Sea Urchin Nigiri.

Yutaka is an event, you should head through the doors expecting such with full confidence. You should also head through the doors with $50-70 per person since quality at this level does not come free.

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Friday, March 02, 2007


Holy crap almighty.

I listed my townhome this past Saturday. Realtor Girl told me to expect about 2 showings per week but its been 3 showings a day since Saturday. No complaints but it makes for a fragmented life when you are stopping everything and cleaning three times a day.

I have decided where I am going. Its a city with an "A" in it, lol.

Details soon.