Sunday, July 13, 2008

astounding

we saw "wall*e" today. it is an astounding, astounding, film, and well-deserving of all the accolades its getting. it didn't start auspiciously. we had to wade through some terrible, terrible previews. derivative, overly precocious, asininely pop-cultured reference riddled, terrible, terrible stuff like "chihuahua in beverly hills" and "space chimps" definitely filled me with trepidation, but i should have had more faith in pixar. i loved "the incredibles" and really really liked "ratatouille" but this was just breathtaking.

the visual elements alone! the level of conceptualization and imagination required to pull together such a complex, intellectually engaging, dystopian reality and imbue the characters with such humanity and life is nothing short of a feat. it's one of the best exercises in speculative fiction that i've ever encountered. the decision to trim the majority of the talking to maybe 10 minutes only shows how adept the pixar crew are at writing and executing real, expressive characters. it's surprisingly dark. it's very, very funny. its references to popular culture and other science fiction before it are clever, well-timed, and cheekily apt. the film manages to transport you and keep you completely rapt from the first minute to the last. finally, the thing i like about pixar is that the writers always manage to strike the right moral/thematic tone. the mores and values in pixar films are always a fine negotiation between not accepting mediocrity, the individual, the power of imagination, the power of coming together, responsibility, community...basically everything i hold dear and near and believe represents the best that humans have to offer.

go see it! i want to see it again! the last few pixar films have really represented this gigantic leap forward. better than "toy story" better than "finding nemo" or even "monster's inc." these are sophisticated films. and if major studios could produce 10 of these a year and STOP giving the greenlight to "chihuahua in beverly hills" then we'd be all the better for it.

last night's dinner was good, but could use some tweaking. i brined the chicken in a buttermilk brine first. that resulted in juicy, flavourful flesh. but i also salted the seasoning flour, which resulted in slightly over-salty chicken. the coleslaw was really good. and the biscuits were flaky, but a little tough. i'm going to use all pastry flour next time with a similar technique (this one had you layer and fold the biscuit dough with softened butter and create "turns" similar to making puff pastry) and see if the biscuits are a little more tender. the lemon meringue pie though, was my piece de resistance. no weeping! i could have par-baked the crust for maybe 5 more minutes...but the lemon was puckery and tart and the meringue was a majestic cloud of non-weepy, foamy, burnished goodness. we sat and chatted and talked and bwong brought over cheeses and pure 100% chocolate for us to taste and then went off on a rescue mission. me and the dotytron went to bed around midnight, and the roomie, P and the roomie's friend M went to cutty's hideaway on the danforth, where they have a live reggae band and the roomie said it was pretty hype. she kind of sometimes has wacky ideas about stuff, so i take her opinion with reservations. but i'll definitely go and check it out sometime...as live reggae in a place called "cutty's hideaway" frequented mostly by reggae aficionados of a certain age dressed in their sunday best is very appealing.

this morning we met A & C at saving grace on dundas west for breakfast. we showed up for 10:00am, right when they opened...and there were already people milling about waiting for them to open! it's crazy! throughout the breakfast there was a steady stream of people lining up to put their names on a clipboard. the queue was constant and lengthy. i had the old cheddar, avocado, tomato and lettuce (sometimes served with bacon, but they were out today) on toasted cinnamon raisin bread, served with mixed greens (first picture). i also ordered a side chipotle sausage. this sandwich was quite nice, and may have brought me around on cinnamon raisin bread. however! i was expecting a panini, with melted cheese. it was tasty and pretty satisfying. i didn't eat my mixed greens (the dotytron and i ate half and then swapped plates). it was $8. minus points for being out of bacon. the dotytron got the scrambled eggs of the day, which came topped with a scallion-ginger pesto, asparagus, avocado, and hot capicolla, sided with buttered, warmed baguette and homefries. he also got a side of breakfast sausage. this was also pretty yummy, with extra points for the inventiveness of the ginger scallion pesto. the homefries were nicely salted, but kind of flaccid and under-crisped. A got the waffles, which came with peaches, and raspberry butter, also with an extra side of chipotle sausage. C got the frittata which had gouda, corn, and pumpkin. C's frittata was exceptionally nice, with the sweetness and crunch of the corn adding a textural counterpoint to the creamy eggs. overall, i'd go back. but i found the price point a *little* high and i certainly wouldn't wait in line like a chump. the stuff was a little different from the ordinary, but served in a bare-bones, no frills atmosphere on a pretty desolate strip of dundas, regardless of what breathless real estate agents and "toronto life" would have you believe.

we're continuing our great "beatles versus stones" listening session. we went and picked up two albums. we're slowly working our way through the catalogue. we go to a second-hand record shop and pick up one stones album and a roughly contemporaneous beatles album and do a side by side comparison, rating the songs on a scale of 1 to 5. we'll see who comes out on top! i love these sundays with the dotytron in the summer...more than most things in the world. i love when we can hang out together all day and have nothing we *have* to do. it's so nice and private and fun.

tonight for dinnie i'm making burgers with horseradish mayo and cheddar cheese. with macaroni salad (dinosaur bbq recipe) and more lemon meringue pie for dessert. maybe a radish, cucumber, and dill salad alongside.

fin.

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