30 May 2010

museo, museo, museo

After my conference ended, I made my way up to Seville to meet my dear friends Cole and Victor, who live in Madrid, and came down for the weekend to meet me. Two of the "must-see" sights of Seville qualify as museums.

The Seville Cathedral is, of course, mostly a shrine to torture and sexual abuse of children.  There is, however an art pavilion when you first pay your admission to enter the building.   And before you take issue with my characterization of the Catholic Church as an institution that has ruined the lives of millions of people around the world, let me just suggest that the first thing you see when you walk into the Seville Cathedral's art pavilion is this:


Yeah.  So, basically, all the art that they took out of the cathedral over the years is in this art pavilion.  No one speaks of pavilions anymore, and that truly saddens me...

Inside the church, there's this crazy ridiculous altar that is, um, well, crazy and ridiculous.  The remains of Christopher Columbus are there, too.  So, you know, "Yay, genocide!"  And, later on, when you get to the treasury, you can see lots of things made of gold--mostly things that they use in their little torture and child abuse rituals, I think.

The other big attraction in Seville is the Alcázar, which was a palace built by Moors for a King known as Pedro the Cruel.  Eesh.   The palace and its grounds are stunningly beautiful.  And there are things in cases there, too, making it more than just an old palace--it's also a museum, of sorts.



I know it's not technically part of the museum challenge for my project, but I feel like I should mention the gardens.  They were stunning.  Here are a few pictures.  NOW.

 

There's one more museum I went to in Seville, and I actually liked it the best.   Even though it's late, and I'm not quite in my right mind just now (I'm actually sitting in my hotel room drinking sherry in my bathing suit, while the tv plays a news story about some little boy in Russia who went feral), I wanna make sure I get to it.

The Museo Palacio de la Condesa de Lebrija is a palace owned by this countess who traveled the world, collecting antiquities.  I don't know what to say about it, aside from the fact that it was fabulous.  Roman mosaics installed on the floors.  Bookshelves stuffed with documents resolving disputes over inheritance of titles.  Shards of pottery.  Tile on the walls that was salvaged from a monastery.  Chinese jade and porcelain.  The only set of a particular Spode pattern outside of Buckingham Palace.  It was nuts.  Just nuts.  And the building itself was centuries old.  Wow.  



 I've got one day in Madrid before I have to go home.  Maybe I can knock off a couple more museums, while I'm here.  Wish me luck.

28 May 2010

minor progress on other fronts

So, in the week that I've been here, in Spain, I've made minor progress on a few other fronts.

I've not watched any tv whatsoever on two days.  Mostly because our days have been chock-a-block full of meetings.  Also because aside from BBC News and CNN International, there aren't any English Language offerings.  There were a few German channels (my German is somewhat rusty), so I did watch a half-hour of the German version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire."

Also, I saw a terrific documentary about some underground guerilla video journalists in Burma, who practice journalism under the most difficult and impossible conditions imaginable.  The film is called Burma VJ and it was nominated for an Academy Award.  I'd recommend it to anyone.









I'm at a bit of a loss as to how to categorize this one. I saw it projected (though not technically in a theater), but I was sitting with a number of other people in a theater-like setting, so I think it counts for that.

26 May 2010

museo

Those of you who are playing along at home may recall that visiting an average of one museum per month was on my first list.  You may also recall that in spite of my best intentions to knock it off my first list, I fell five museums short.  Frankly, I could have completed it in one afternoon on the Upper East Side, but my last week was hectic, I had to work (even though I was allegedly on vacation) and my car got all wrecked up, and, well, I didn't do it.

So, I've added those unvisited museums to my tally and now I've got to go to a total of 37 museums in the next two and a half years or so.

This week, I'm at a conference in Cádiz, Spain.  It just so happens that the conference is being held in an old tobacco factory, in a conference center that also serves as a small art museum.  There's a permanent collection of art on the second and third floor, and on the ground floor, there's a temporary exhibit of photography of amputees in Africa, playing soccer on crutches.

I'm not going to express an opinion on the artistic merit of the photographs.  I'll just tell you that it's very, um, unexpected to see someone with one leg trying to kick a ball.

So, while I'm here, I imagine I'll manage to visit more museums (I'm here through the Memorial Day weekend), but this is my first museum of my second 1001 days.

22 May 2010

no television

In addition to seeing the Cremaster films yesterday, I didn't watch any television.  I was hustling to get out the door in the morning, and then, in the evening, we went to see Colleen McHugh's incredible tribute to The Carpenters.

Oh, my God.  If she ever (EVER!) does that show again, you have to go.  I mean, you really, really, really have to go.  It was crushingly awesome.

21 May 2010

cremaster 1 and 2


Many years ago, I went to an exhibit at the Guggenheim devoted to Matthew Barney's Cremaster Cycle.  I thought the project was fascinating, even if I didn't fully understand it.  It has something to do with symbols and the reproductive cycle and a bunch of other things that are pretty elusive if you don't have someone telling you what it's about.  The exhibition at the Guggenheim was mostly composed of props and stills from the five films in the cycle.   At that point, I was really eager to see one of the films.


I kept it in the back of my head that I wanted to see it, and kept hoping that somehow I'd be able to come across a DVD of it, but no such luck.  Apparently, the films will never be on DVD.  I put it on my first list, but the films are shown so infrequently, I never had the chance to see one of them.  So, on my second list, I upped the ante by requiring myself to see two complete Cremaster films.


I got lucky.   The films are making the rounds at art houses in a few select cities.   Including New York at the IFC theater in the Village, until the end of the month.  Even so, it's still not that easy for me to see it because it just started on Wednesday, and I'm leaving for Spain tomorrow.  Fortunately, Cremaster 1 and Cremaster 2 aren't very long, so I just took a long lunch, ducked out of the office (which is totally legit because I'm going to be working for the next ten days, so don't try to bust my nuts about it), and saw the first two films in the cycle.


Cremaster 1 according to the IFC listing, "symbolizes a still-androgynous sexuality, a state of pure potential."


I don't know about that still-androgenous sexuality bit, but I can tell you that it had blimps and flight attendants who smoked cigarettes in a blimp (isn't that how the Hindenberg disaster happened?) and Busby Berkley musical numbers on a blue astroturf football field, and a woman in a sort of linen womb eating grapes through a hole in the table.  It was fun to watch.  Pure visual interest.  Like a trippy MGM musical number, but with dirigibles.


The IFC described Cremaster 2 as a "gothic Western that introduces conflict into the system. On the biological level it corresponds to the phase of fetal development during which sexual division begins."  So, basically, what this means is Gary Gilmore, bees, Harry Houdini (played by Norman Mailer, which is the only thing that actually made sense to me, because he wrote The Executioner's Song), an execution rodeo, a weird vehicle-filled hanger in the Canadian Rockies, and, well, lots of other stuff.


With both of these films, I felt like it was probably just best for me to let them wash over myself, and not worry too much about making sense of it.   I've got a book at home, and I can always go and read more about what everything was suppose to signify.  But in terms of experiences, it was really a lot of fun.


I wish I had time to see the other three films before they leave New York.  Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen.  I'm particularly interested in Cremaster 3.   Maybe I'll be lucky enough to catch a screening in another city before they disappear.


Oh, and since I saw them both in a theater, I can bump up my stats on item #1, as well!

18 May 2010

lull

Those of you who are playing along at home may have noticed that I haven't posted anything to this blog in a little while.

You may have thought to yourself, 'Self, I wonder if he's given up on the second 101 things list?'  Or maybe you asked yourself, 'Self?  Has he decided that it's easier to do the project without blogging every possible DVD he sees or restaurant he visits?'

No.  Neither is the case.  You should stop spinning your wheels in the mud worrying about me, and instead, you should seek professional help for the way you engage with your inner psyche.

The truth is that I've been trying to figure out ways to shoe-horn in things on my list, with my crazy work and travel schedule, and I've just not been able to do it.  Sure, I'm nominally closer to accumulating two million frequent flyer miles, and I'm arguably closer to getting an out-sized raise because I'm working my ever-lovin' fingers to the nubbin', but to be perfectly honest, it's just the nature of the project.  Sometimes you go for weeks without making progress on any of your list items.  And this week has been one of those weeks.

I went to Atlantic City to speak at a conference.  I forgot to put "play craps" on my list, so I couldn't do that and check it off.  Instead, I dined at Il Mulino, which happened to be in the Trump Taj Mahal.  I'd never been to Il Mulino in New York, and for some reason, I thought it was on my list.

It was not on my list.  I only thought it was on my list, because David has talked about wanting to go there.  And besides, the Il Mulino in New York and the Il Mulino in Atlantic City can't possibly be on the same level as each other, can they? 

Well, I hope they aren't.  Because my meal at Il Mulino in Atlantic City was a bit of a disappointment.  It wasn't bad--and the bartender (forget his name, but he likes hockey) was a gem, but it was only good and not great.

Then, I went to Miami.  I thought maybe we could go to the track and bet on a pony.  Except it's May, and they don't do that in Florida after the end of April, apparently. 

I made lots of progress on other non-list things.  I bought all new underwear, which was necessary, but not on my list.  I went to Centro Vinoteca with my dear friend Christa, who was visiting New York.  But dining there with a friend who lives on the West Coast was not on my list, either. 

Bottom line:  extraordinary things happen in my life all the time.  Every day, even.  But if they're not on my list, it's not that they don't count.  They just count in a different way.

10 May 2010

strip house

Part of my "need to eat there" item has the potential to shift over time.  That's because on my list of "need to eat there" restaurants is any restaurant on the Eater 38 that I haven't yet patronized.  The Eater 38 is a list that my favorite food blog maintains of the 38 essential restaurants of the moment in New York City (they do a similar list in LA, San Francisco and Portland).

My sister's boyfriend was visiting New York this week, and we were looking for a nice place to have dinner.  I thought it might be an opportunity to chuck off one of my "essential restaurants."   When they suggested that we find a nice steakhouse, I looked at the Eater 38, and...hey!  There's a steakhouse on my list after all!

Strip House is just south of Union Square.  It operates like your standard up-scale steak house, I suppose, though now that I think about it, I don't recall ever getting an amuse bouche at any other steak house (Strip House gave us a crunchy, not particularly creamy mac-n-cheese ball).  Inside, it's very dark--so dark that I couldn't take a picture of our meal or anything to post here (my phone doesn't have a flash, and I wasn't gonna ruin anyone else's meal by blinding them).   It's got a very clubby feel.  There are old head shots of movie stars on the deep red walls, though the place is too new for Jack Benny to have actually eaten there.   It feels very old-school steakhouse.

The food was very, very good.  The lobster bisque was sublime.  Our waiter told me that the bone-in filet mignon was very unusual, and that it might be my only opportunity to have a filet that had been dry-aged.  It was a truly terrific steak.  Medium rare was exactly medium rare.  Having a bone in the filet was a little weird, but as good as it was, that's a steak I could get used to.

The sides were a mixed bag.  I loved the mushrooms and the black truffled creamed spinach.  The broccoli was boring, and the whipped potatoes had been whipped to within an inch of their lives.  Unfortunately, in this case, whipping them didn't really build character; the potatoes are about as good an argument against corporal punishment as I've ever encountered. 

The service was good.  The waiter was helpful with the wine list, and didn't steer us wrong with recommendations.   It's not exactly a cheap meal, but it was very much worthwhile.

07 May 2010

eat at in-n-out burger


A while ago on a trip to LA, I mentioned that I'd never been to In-N-Out Burger.  A colleague immediately gasped and announced that In-N-Out burger was really good, and that I was really missing out if I didn't go there.  So, when making up the list, and considering that I have frequent trips to LA, I put it on the list.

In-N-Out has the smallest menu of any fast food place I've ever patronized.  Literally, the only things on their menu are burgers, fries, soft drinks and shakes.   That's it, folks.  If you want grilled chicken or a salad or onion rings, you're S.O.L., here.

My strategy for eating at any new sit-down restaurant is to ask the waiter for his or her three favorite things on the menu.  My strategy for eating at any new fast-food restaurant is to order the "number one" meal.  My theory is that you eat best at a strange fast food place if you order the signature meal of the restaurant, and that signature meal is usually a "#1."   At In-N-Out burger, there were only three meals.  #1 was a "Double Double" which is a double cheeseburger.  #2 was a cheeseburger.  #3 was a hamburger.   All with fries and a drink.  Really, that's all they serve, so you couldn't come up with a fourth meal combination if you tried.   I stuck with my plan and ordered the number 1.

I love a good burger.  In-N-Out has a good burger.  I didn't think, however, that the burger was great.  So, through the transitive property of loving things that are good, I guess I loved it.  But, still, this isn't a Shackburger.  It's not even a Five Guys.  It's kinda like a cross between Wendy's and Steak & Shake, if you ask me.   The pros are that it's fresh, flavorful and made to order.   The cons are that it's got a lot of hype to live up to, and there are a lot of people (including the aforementioned Shake Shack and Five Guys) that are selling burgers that verge on the sublime these days.  I've even had better (and more interesting) burgers in LA at Umami Burger.

Word of warning:  If you go to the In-N-Out near LAX, there's only one way to turn coming out of the parking lot.  That way does not lead directly to the Hertz rental car return.  In fact, you have to drive a really long way before you can make a u-turn on Sepulveda.  If you're like me (and I know I certainly am), you know only one way to find the Hertz return at LAX and if you approach the airport from any other direction, you're inevitably screwed.   Guess what happened when I couldn't turn left?  Yeah.  Fortunately, I left lots of time before my flight, so even though I took a slight detour into El Segundo, I still made it to the AAdmiral's Club in time to down a tumbler of bourbon before my flight.

Now I'm gonna get on a plane and come back to New York.

riding in a convertible in california


I mentioned in my post about Campanile, that Hertz gave me a convertible on this trip, and that we drove to the restaurant with the top down.   Riding in a convertible in California with the top down was something that I'd put on my first list, but didn't accomplish.  I put it on my second list that I'd have to ride twice in a convertible, just to up the ante a little bit.  Well, yesterday on my way back to the hotel from the LA office, I put the top down again.   Yet another thing off the list!

I've always loved convertibles.  When I was a teenager, my mom bought a Chrysler convertible for us as our second car.  It was my senior year, and I got to drive it.  My mom said, at one point, "I think every teenager should have a convertible to drive at some point."  That may have been the coolest and most strange thing she ever said.  I mean, who thinks like that?  Certainly not my mom.  But, you know, she said it. Honest.

Several years later, my college roommate got married in Santa Fe and I drove nearly cross-country with my friends Karen and Paul in that convertible.  It was a really fun road trip.  We had the top down most of the way as we drove through Oklahoma, Texas and into New Mexico.  We all got sunburned on the way there and back.  Karen bought a terra cotta sun face sculpture and a chair of some sort (really!) and we crammed all of that in the car along with the three of us on the way back.  Good times.  Good times.

Then, when I became an adult and could get any car I wanted, I bought a Jeep Wrangler.  I was living in Chicago at the time, and it was my childhood dream come true.  I'd always wanted a Jeep.  Having something with four wheel drive in the winter was great, but the real fun was taking the top off in the summer and riding around with my roommate, Jane, while we blasted Dionne Warwick's greatest hits and sang along at the top of our lungs.

After I moved to New York, I dated this guy and we planned a trip to Northern California to visit friends in San Francisco.  I rented a convertible, and we drove up to Sonoma one day.  It was beautiful.  We had a terrific lunch, tasted wines and drove back into San Francisco across the Golden Gate Bridge.  It was really special.  Ironically, when we were breaking up a year or so later, one of the big arguments about our compatibility centered around the fact that I didn't let him drive the convertible as much as he wanted to.  Frankly, since he wasn't on the rental, I probably shouldn't have let him drive at all.  But, whatevs.

So, I've kind of got this long nostalgic history of driving with the top down, which is probably why it was on my list.  Maybe when we get to the "buy a new car" thing on my list, I'll have to consider a convertible.   

Also, I didn't watch any tv yesterday.  Didn't turn it on in the morning in my hotel, and didn't turn it on in the evening when I returned.  So, one more day closer to knocking that one off.

06 May 2010

campanile

Like any good foodie, I keep a list of restaurants that I really want to visit.  Yeah.  It's an actual list.  There are a lot of Manhattan and Brooklyn restaurants on the list, of course, but I've also got lists for some of the places I travel frequently for work--specifically, my DC list and my LA list. 

The great thing about keeping a list is that you can always refer to it to remember the things that you intend to do.  The problem with keeping a list is that once it's on the list, it's easy to feel like you don't have to actually do it, because just having it on the list is enough.  So, in order to remind me to actually go to these restaurants, rather than just letting them sit on a list indefinitely, I decided to put it on this list that I must eat at 10 of my 'need to eat there' restaurants over the course of this project.

One of the LA restaurants on my list is Campanile.  Those of you who are watching Top Chef Masters this season, may recall that the Mark Peel, who's the chef at Campanile, was competing this season.  (Don't worry, if you're DVRing and behind--no spoilers, here).

Campanile happens to be pretty close to my LA office, so when a couple of colleagues suggested that we have dinner, I went to Open Table and snagged us a reservation.  It wasn't hard to get one.  On a Wednesday night, the place wasn't crowded at all.   That makes me wonder what's wrong with the people of Los Angeles that they're not lined up around the block to eat this kind of food.  Maybe it's because it was Cinco de Mayo and everyone was out eating Mexican food, instead...



I ordered the rabbit.  This photo really isn't lit well, and it doesn't do justice to how absolutely gorgeous the plate was.  I asked the waiter (who was lovely and friendly and knowledgable, but wearing some pretty strong after-shave, actually) what he recommended, and though the prime rib and pork chop were his personal favorites, he suggested that the rabbit was not a standard offering on the menu and that it would be excellent.

I love rabbit, but I don't know that I've ever had it prepared as perfectly and served with such delicious complimentary veg and starch.  The puree was like silk, and the greens were perfectly cooked--not too soft, not too crunch.  The whole dish was buttery and thoroughly delicious.  Now that I know how easy it is to get in there on a weeknight, I'm gonna have a difficult time going to the other LA restaurants on my list.

We had a little bit of trouble leaving, because there was some sort of bomb scare in front of the restaurant.  It turned out to be nothing, but the manager was offering complimentary drinks to anyone who was trapped inside.  Half of the LAPD was on La Brea trying to figure out the best way to blow up a homeless person's abandoned bag.  Eesh.

Oh!  One other thing.  On this trip, Hertz gave me a convertible.  So, I rode to the restaurant with the top down.  Which is half of one of the other things on my list.  Score!

05 May 2010

sherlock holmes

Being on an cross-country flight is always a good time to watch a movie, particularly when I get the upgrade and have one of those portable video devices with a boatload of movies to choose from.   Yesterday, I flew from NY to LA for work, I got upgraded (yay!) and there were a few things I was interested in seeing on the device they passed out.  I settled on Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law.


As the movie started playing, I got distracted by the d-bag sitting next to me.  He'd already started to annoy me before the plane left the gate, because he was having a conversation with his boyfriend (who he kept calling "baby"), and was saying things like, "Well, baby, you can have anything you want.  I just don't want you to say, 'oh, he got me this really expensive, mediocre gift.'"  After the conversation about how this guy in business class was gonna spend a shit load of money buying his boyfriend a present, we took off.  Even though the flight attendant told the guy to put away his iPod, he continued to watch a movie on it while the plane took off.  He was sneaky about it, though, so the flight attendant didn't see what he was doing.

Then we got in the air, and he pulled out his laptop.  The first thing he did after logging onto the plane's wi-fi, was to go to Facebook and send his boyfriend a message.   The second thing he did was to pull up a generic yahoo landing page with news and stuff.  The third thing he did was open up a second window with a bunch of gay massage/escort listings.  And then, for the next couple of hours, the guy scrolled through page after page of hustler listings in Los Angeles, trying to set something up for when he landed, quickly minimizing the window of headless torsos and bubble butt photos, and switching to the yahoo page whenever he thought a flight attendant might be coming by.

One he had his hooker booked, he turned to doing some actual work.  Sent some e-mails and wrote a couple lukewarm performance reviews for people who report to him.

So, all that was going on while I was watching Sherlock Holmes, with Robert Downey, Jr. and Jude Law.  I can't really tell you what happened in the movie, except RDJ and Mr. Law were both smokin' hot, and unfortunately, they did not do secks with each other in this movie.   And there was some sort of ritualistic religious rite going on that they had to stop.  So, I think there was some theme of "reason and logic" versus "religion and mysticism" that played out in a fairly clunky way.  And there were some fun action sequences, too.

But mostly, what happened in this movie was that the guy sitting next to me made plans to cheat on his boyfriend with a rent boy and acted like a turd throughout the entire flight in a way that distracted me from actually paying attention to other things.  Since it wasn't hard to see what he was doing, I know all sorts of stuff about this asshole.  I know his name.  I know his boyfriend's name.  I know which entertainment industry company he works for.  I know what kind of performance review he's about to give someone on his staff.   And I know what he likes when he pays for sex.  So, if your boyfriend was flying to LA last night, and you think this might be him, drop me a line, and I'll tell you whether you should be worried.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my review of Sherlock Holmes.

OH!  Eva Mendes was on my flight, too.  She's gorgeous!

02 May 2010

rummage sale

Ugh.  If only I'd done this two weeks ago, I could have checked it off of my first list, and then I wouldn't have to hold another one sometime in the next three and a half years.  Because, lemme tell ya--I'm exhausted.

Over the past couple of days, I pulled a bunch of stuff out of the basement.  David's a bit of a pack rat, and we've had boxes set aside for a few years (!) of things we wanted to sell.  I've got even more things that I still need to sell, but I haven't been able to dig them out of our basement.  I haven't had a rummage sale since I moved to New York from Chicago, which was over 10 years ago.

Our dogwalker, Jan, had some things she wanted to sell, as well, so she brought things, including a lot of jewelry.  We put Jan up toward the front, and our stuff was in the driveway alongside the house.

Lemme tell you...people show up early to a rummage sale.  Our first customers were there before we were even done putting things out.  Perhaps because of our neighborhood demographics, about 75% of the people who came to our sale were Russian.  Maybe it's cultural, because they seemed to be extremely hard bargainers compared to the other 25% of our customers.  We were interested in getting rid of stuff, so we pretty much accepted any counter-offer we got.  Jan was a bit more ruthless...sending people away if they offered her too little for something.

We sold a lot of stuff.  We still have things left over for our next sale (maybe in the fall).    All of the hundreds and hundreds of CDs were purchased by one guy, named Boris, who offered us $350 for the whole bunch.  David seemed to agonize a little bit about whether that was enough, but accepted the offer.  I noticed, though, that he didn't haggle much when someone offered us $80 for my table and chairs, which were probably worth at least double that.  Hrumph.

The lady who bought that table and chairs tied it to the roof of her mini-van, because the inside of her van was full of junk that she'd bought at all of the sales she went to on Saturday.

All in all, we did pretty well.  We sold at least half of the things we put out, in terms of volume, and we netted a little under 700 USD. 

Not too shabby.  Not too shabby, at all.   One rummage sale down, one to go...

01 May 2010

making pasta

In addition to streaming three movies yesterday, I knocked one complete item off of my list:  making pasta from scratch.

A year and a half ago, my sister bought me the kitchen aid pasta maker attachment for my mixer.  And even though I've thought about making pasta many, many times (and I know it's not that difficult), I still hadn't broken the pasta maker out of the box.

Then, while perusing the internet, I saw that one of my favorite food blogs, Serious Eats, had posted one of the signature dishes of one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Brooklyn, al di la.  The recipe was for Casunsiei, or Beet and Ricotta Ravioli.

I knew what I had to do.

I started in the afternoon and made the filling.  I roasted and chopped up some beets, added the egg, the ricotta, the parmesan and the butter.  I didn't have the poppy seeds, so I skipped them.  One thing, though.  The recipe's a little unclear.  Only 1/4 of a stick of butter goes into the filling.  The other stick is for the sauce.  I erred and put the entire amount in the filling.  I don't think it made a huge difference in the finished product, but I felt stupid.


I put the finished filling in the fridge and waited until David got home to make the pasta.  In the meantime, I pulled some things out of the basement for Sunday's rummage sale, and decided to bring up my mixer and the pasta attachments.  When I looked at the boxes that I got for Christmas, however, I realized that the only thing I'd gotten was the pasta cutter, and not the roller.  So, basically, the one attachment I needed was the one I didn't have.  I called David in a panic, and he checked with the local Bloodbath and Beyond to see if they had the roller attachment, and they did...but only in a set that included the cutter, which I already had. 

After a little back and forth, David and I decided that it just made sense to buy a hand crank roller.  Once again, David saves the day.   And by "the day" I mean "dinner," which is, let's face it, pretty much the meal by which any day stands or falls.

David got home just from work right as I was about to make the pasta.  I think I've seen my friend Lance do this once or twice, and I know for certain that I've seen it on cooking shows, so I was very excited to be making a "well" in the flour for my wet ingredients.


Then I poured in my eggs, olive oil and milk.


And I swirled from the center with my (clean) hand, until I had pasta dough!


While the dough was resting, we set up the roller, and I chopped up some sage from our garden, because even though the recipe didn't call for brown butter sage sauce, I didn't have poppy seeds, and I thought brown butter sage would be ideal for the beets.


We rolled out the pasta, and then I filled it with a scoop of filling, and sealed a bunch of pockets of beety ricotta-ey goodness.


And voila!  Ravioli!

Yeah.  Maybe they're not the prettiest ravioli ever made, but I prefer to think of them as "rustic."

At this point, the water was boiling and the butter and sage were browning.


And five minutes later, we had dinner!  Pasta -- ravioli, even -- made from scratch.

It was pretty good.  Definitely better than ravioli out of a can.  And, since there was no meat in that (nor in the grilled cheese sandwich I had for lunch, or the egg-in-a-hole that I made for breakfast), I was also able to knock off one more day of vegetarian eating!  Score!

two more streamed movies

I made full use of my last day of staycation (not counting the weekend) and watched two more streamed movies off of my Netflix queue.

Foul Play

It'd been years since I'd seen this movie, but from the moment the movie started, it all began coming back to me.  Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, swingin' San Francisco in the 70's with not a gay person in sight, Dudley Moore, a plot to kill The Pope.   Hijinx ensue.

I don't feel like I need to say much about this movie, except that I remember that when it first came out, it was probably one of the first movies that I saw that was for "grown-ups."  It's very much a product of the late 70s, and I think it's attitudes about being a single person living in an apartment in the city really informed my seventh-grade concept of what it meant to be an adult.

Oh.  I didn't remember this before, but there's a chase scene in the movie, too.  It's not nearly as good as the chase scene in What's Up, Doc?, which is, as we all know, the best film ever shot in San Francisco.   Actually, I think it's probably the best film ever made, for that matter.  And, according to John Hensler, it's coming out on Blu-Ray soon (in case you're looking for a gift for me).



Three Days of the Condor

I guess I was in a 70s rut, so I decided to watch Three Days of the Condor.  I'd never seen it before.  It stars Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway and Max Sydow.  In this spy thriller set in New York City in the 1970s, Robert Redford plays a CIA researcher who comes back from lunch to find that everyone in his office has been murdered.  Over the course of the next three days, he tries to figure out why everyone he knows is trying to kill him.  

In many ways, I think this movie sets the tone for a whole genre that really hit its stride in the 90s.  I loved it, but couldn't help marveling at how retro the technology was.  The computers, the existence of payphones, the length of time it took them to trace a license plate number...all of it just had my mind spinning thinking about how different things were.  Compare it to a movie like Enemy of the State, and you wonder how much less suspenseful (or more suspenseful?) it is for me than for someone who was watching it in the mid-seventies when no one had a cell phone or a laptop.
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