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

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Once again, with feeling

Sister visit was a success, she totally enjoyed the downtown experience. We managed to sneak in visits to the Nasher Sculpture center, Dallas Museum of Art and the Crow Museum. Lucky for us they had blocked off the street in front of the Nasher for an Indian street fair. Great food, dancing and people inbetween art museums.

All weekend we developed this eating pattern: have a cocktail and an appetizer somwhere, walk and sight see for 2-3 hours, then stop again. Even today I find myself wanting a martini and calamari with roasted tomato dipping sauce about every 2-3 hours :)

In more trivial news, I have been on the warpath once again to get into the medical research arena. This time around there have been many more interviews - about 20 total with the mother of all cancer research centers coming up this week. I would expect by the end of May I will know where I'm going. If this all sounds familiar then you have been keeping up with me since my ill-fated experience with CDC in 2006-7.

So there are no surprises here is what my intuition is saying about destination probabilities: 10% Dallas, 10% Atlanta, 10% Los Angeles and 70% Houston.

Houston - G-d save me from humidity :)


Friday, April 25, 2008


Sister is coming in today for visit, sans kiddos. I think this is the second time shes been in Dallas during the, yikes, 16 years I've lived here. I wanted her to see my place downtown before I leave, since it is very her.

Oh, that reminds me. I will probably have to take a break from writing about the important things like food and movies and digress into the trivial so I can bring you up to date on new work things, moving, love life, etc.

I'll try to make it brief so we can get back to important matters. :)


Monday, April 21, 2008


Daniel Radcliffe made a bit of a media ripple last year when he decided to do the play Equus. For those not knowing, the main character spends half his time on stage naked. I remember thinking when I heard the news, "Well good for you, Harry Potter, that's one way not to be typecast!". And its worked well for him, apparently the London run was well-received, giving Radcliffe the depth and range as an actor that will keep him around for a long time. Equus is coming to Broadway later this year and I for one am ticketed for the event.

I decided to rent the movie version, circa 1977, and at least get my head around the story.

Frankly, its one of the best psychological dramas ever. The main character, Alan Strang, is a very disturbed young man who takes a job as a stable boy. But during his stint as stable boy Alan does some peculiar things to a group of unsuspecting horses and winds up "under psychological evaluation". The evaluation shifts from Alan to his parents to his coworker to his doctor. In the end everyone is under the lens and noone is innocent.

The role of Alan Strang had to be a difficult one; he's a complicated person with so many psycho-sexual issues its hard to keep track. On the surface he has elevated horses to a god-like stature but there are some sexual overtones to that. Under the surface there is some poking around at sexual norms; how parental influence can complicate the "normal" equation and the distinct feeling that psychology is nothing more than a cult of people who haphazardly decide what is "normal".

I loved the movie for its play-like execution and tone. The actors in this film are incredibly talented, particularly Peter Firth, who plays Strang and Richard Burton who plays his doctor. This was one of Burton's best performances.

I wonder how Radcliffe will do on stage in NYC, without his wand, glasses, or anything else for that matter

Its hard to imagine but I'll find out in September.

Peter Firth as Alan Strang, 1977

Daniel Radcliffe as Alan Strang, 2007


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Sunday, April 20, 2008


Soufflé comes from the french verb souffler, which loosely means to puff up. Appropriate, eh? Quickly glancing over the ingredients of a soufflé might make someone think these are easy to prepare; its just eggs, beaten egg whites and some flavoring like cheese or chocolate. Ha! I've tried making these many times and each time it fails in a newer, more fabulous way!

Good thing Dallas now has a eatery that specialized in just soufflés, I can give those experiments a rest for the time being.

I thought it was a bold move to specialize in such a fringey item. But this place is busy, busy at all times, even Sunday at 230p we still had to wait for a table. But don't let that stop you, they have a nice wine by the glass section and a comfortable waiting area.

I barely recognized the former Lover's Egg Roll space. Gone are the gross smells and sights of the former fast food establishment, happily replaced by something I could only describe as eccentric country-French gone strip mall. I liked it; it was warm, cozy and the prefect environment for what would become almost 4 hours of dining.


There are other menu options but why would you want them? We had nine people so between us we tried everything on the small but delicious menu. The only item we missed was the Lobster Thermidor Soufflé, but we thought at $33, we could definitely wait on that no matter how good it might be. I have to say everything was excellent but my favorites were the wild mushroom variety for the entree and the casis variety for the dessert.

Wild Mushroom Soufflé

Casis Soufflé

Service is friendly and as quick as possible for soufflé; keep in mind these cant be cranked out quickly. Also something different for Dallas, the service mindset is European; they will not rush you out the door when you are done. Its unspoken but understood, after you are seated at the table, it is yours until closing.

If you're in the area and haven't been yet, I recommend going before the pod people discover it. Oh, and you may want to stock up on Lipitor before you go.

Rise Soufflé
5360 W. Lovers @ Inwood Village
(In space formerly known as Lover's Egg Roll)
Dallas, TX 75209


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Sunday, April 13, 2008

קדיש, Ruth and a misbehaving China

My friend, the lovely Joan, lost her father last year. Mourning the loss of a parent in Judaism can be rather involved. She has been going to temple everyday to say kaddish. Not that I'm well-versed on those customs but apparently mourning in this way goes on for 11 months and one day. She had asked me repeatedly to go with her to see the temple but I never acutally made it there until recently.

What drew me to the temple was not so much the temple itself but to hear the guest speaker they had that evening - Ruth Messinger.

You might have heard the name, she's the CEO of the AJWS (American Jewish World Service). Or, if you're a New Yorker, you probably remember that she ran and lost against Giuliani in the late 90's race for the mayor's office.

Messinger is a fantastic speaker; not only can she immediately strike a personal and approachable tone with her audience, she also delivers content that is well-thought and salient. Her topic that night was Darfur. She didn't spend much time discussing what is already known. Rather, having been to the region several times, she started with a photo essay - in other words, just see it for yourself. Fascinating. Brutal. But noone turned away.

This was my favorite photo. It was taken by Ruth Messinger, its Mia Farrow in the picture with a Darfur refugee.

Courtesy of MiaFarrow.Org

What I liked about the rest of her time on stage was that she didn't spend it throwing blame, she only illuminated courses of action that each person could take if they wanted to help bring an end to Sudan's state-sponsored genocide.

What I didn't know was that China buys a huge amount of oil from Sudan, which is the government's major cash cow, which subsequently funds the continuing drama. China's oil indistry, PertoChina in particular, has tried hard to spin doctor their way out of accountability but its in black and white print (she provided her sources, which checked out).

She had a lot of interesting ideas about how each person could act to stop what is happening in Darfur. You can read up on them on the AJWS web site. She specifically listed mutual funds that invest in PetroChina. I checked, I had one - had. I've also been trying to not buy things made in China. But I didnt realize just how much is made there. Its amazing, even my underwear was made in China. (I'm not sure how I feel about that yet, lol)

I think the best part of evening was during the Q&A session. A man from Darfur, who escaped to Dallas 6 years ago, thanked Ruth through his thick accent for her efforts in bringing global attention to the ongoing atrocities in Sudan. He went on and on. Although we barely understood every third word he said, when he was done we all gave him a standing ovation anyway.

And I thought. Here we are in a predominantly Christian country, listening to a black Muslim man thank a Jewish woman (in a temple no less) for work she's doing on a continent most of us have never and will never visit in situation that is as convoluted as it is tragic.

No matter. I think we know what's wrong is wrong and that understanding melts out any other factors involved.

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Saturday, April 12, 2008


Ironic that I live across the street from the original Neiman Marcus store but have failed to go inside. Mostly I find their stuff to be overpriced and unnecessary. But what do I know, I don't keep up with or care about what is fashionable.

Now food is a different story.

I've seen the small NM Cafe along side the anchor store but had never been inside that either. I figured if Neiman Marcus the store is expensive so will be Neiman Marcus the cafe. Some may say that a sandwich costing $9 is expensive but wait until the sandwich wizard plops all 5 pounds of it on the counter. You're basically getting 2 sandwiches; I ate one "half" for lunch and saved the other.

You have choices of everything including 6 meats that have been roasted and will be freshly carved to your liking. I tried the (close your eyes, Israeli family) Ancho Roasted Pork. I had them add a bit of Jack cheese, roasted red bell peppers and basil mayo. All pressed inside of freshly baked (and individually wrapped, in case you want to buy them sepatately) Ciabatta roll.

For better or worse NM Cafe is going to become a staple for me; terribly convenient and definitely the best sandwich around.

NM Cafe
1525 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75201

Friday, April 11, 2008


I don't know why but this photo kills me.
Happy Friday!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Art from Washington

Suzy from Sleepless in Babyland is one of my long-time friends. I have known her since we were both in the single digit years. She is also one of my most talented friends. Sometimes she leaves me speechless with her "experiments" which of course, she casually passes off as "OK" or something "to improve on". Today I received one of her experiments in silk. I know people who could spend a lifetime and never be as accomplished.

This isnt a quilt, its art.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

They're Filming Midgets!

OK, I know the hitman in a moral dilema theme has been done to death in recent years but this is a fresh spin.

I've never been a big fan of Colin Farrell, aside from being so much GenX eye candy, I never thought of him as much of an actor. I stand corrected. Well, when I finish being doubled over from laughing my ass off, I will stand corrected. In this one he completely floored me with depth and range. Nice job!

Farrell & Gleeson, In Bruges

A quick pass at the plot reveals two hitmen, Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, after a botched hit are sent by their boss (Ralph Fiennes) for a little "vacation" in Bruges, Belgium. The vacation is nothing more than a front for one hitman to kill the other. Both hitman face their own moral dilemas, as will the boss when the time comes. In the end all three men are looking for some sort of redemption, each will find it but not exactly in the manner they expect.

What I liked about this film was that even though there are some fantastically brutal scenes, both physically and emotionally, those scenes are equally balanced with some of the best comedy I've seen in years. Of course, if you don't like situational comedy a-la Tarrantino, you may not appreciate the content.

I found the location, Bruges, to be fascinating in all of its quirky small-town and medieval spendor. Not at all where I would imagine a feature film to be shot but I'm glad they did. It was nice that Gleeson, who is happy to be on "vacation", gleefully narrates his way through the city, which is kind of like seeing it through a virtual tour guide.

Farrell, Gleeson, Fiennes, a script that embodies the blackest of comedy and a fascinating location make In Bruges an unexpectedly powerful must-see. And I think from the quanity of one liners I hope to remember, a must-own.

In Bruges

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