Monday, March 16, 2009

lovely lovely

i had a perfectly lovely weekend that was nicely balanced between being social, having home time, being productive, and (most importantly) eating good food.


saturday night we stayed in and watched the movie 'milk' i really enjoyed it, for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that my beloved, james franco, put in a thoroughly endearing, tender, soft performance as harvey milk's long-time, long-suffering partner, scott. the roomie and i were clamoring for more and there was a noticeable vacuum when he wasn't on screen. "bring back scott! bring back scott!" was our refrain (scott leaves when the trials of being a political wife become too much.) sean penn completely disappears into the role - his mannerisms, physical tics, the way he holds his body, the cadence and intonation of his speech...it was a well-deserved oscar...though i still have to see 'frost/nixon' to balance out that opinion.

as a well-educated, solidly middle (if not slightly upper-middle) class, left-leaning liberal, it's hard not to feel a little shocked, getting re-acquainted with blatant homophobia and the battle for civil rights. on an intellectual level, i know that this stuff is still going on (prop 8 being one example) but i feel so insulated and inured to the real battle for visibility and acceptance being waged by marginalized peoples. which is TOTALLY part of the problem. people don't get invested the same way anymore...and it's mostly on the side of the complacent and soft left, cushioned by our middle class blubber, drifting idly in our inner-tube of taken for granted rights in a lazy river of consumer desires. it's hard for us to be stirred up as we've been given just enough lee-way to pursue our immediate desires that we don't feel tangibly oppressed enough to be stirred from our torpor (foucault alert!)

it's quite troubling. what you have is richard florida's exalted "creative class" busily downloading apps to their iphones, leaving the true work of policy development and social change to the sycophantic chorus who refused to critically engage with their own praxis and adapt to change (provincial ndp: andrea horwath? really?!?) i'm as guilty as anyone. i feel like i'm still capable of being stirred up (my own long-suffering scott corollary, the dotytron, would no doubt attest to this) - i just don't feel like there are suitable channels and outlets for my way of contributing to the discourse.

anyway, the long and short of it is the film is really entertaining and i love the way it was shot - with that hazy, grainy, low-res texture that i adore. great performances all around - josh brolin is a consistently high-calibre actor and should be recognized as such.

on sunday morning, the dotytron and i ventured out to morning glory for breakfast. the original plan was bonjour brioche, but people rate morning glory so i figured i'd give it a try. it was a mistake. $32 (incl. tip) for breakfast for the two of us. it was pretty poor. i wasn't really interested in a lot of the menu offerings, the short card was pretty uninspiring.

the dotytron finally settled on the omelette of the day, brie and sage. it was DISGUSTING. imagine a handful of RAW julienned sage littering an omelette and assaulting your nose and mouth with it's dusty sageiness with every bite. it was SO GROSS. it came with toast and potato rosti and he ordered a side of farmer's sausage patty, which was one thin patty that had a decent flavour, but tough texture.


i had better luck with my order, a western omelette sammy, served on ace ciabatta with their homemade ketchup (which is quite nice) and aioli and a leaf of romaine lettuce. the ciabatta kind of made the sandwich. realistically - it was a western omelette. i mean, it's no better than anything i could do at home (really no better) and the environment isn't all that nice...you're eating with corktown yuppies with smug babies. it was kind of gross and off-putting. i doubt we'll ever deign to go back.

when it comes to brunch spots...you want a few things: either something super-cheap that's as good if not slightly better than what you would do at home, or something that's a little special that you wouldn't ordinarily do at home, or a neighbourhood place that's easy to get to and doesn't require anything of you. in the super-cheap category i would put a place like zorba's on the danforth. you get 2 eggs, meat, and homefries (i don't usually do homefries at home - somewhat paradoxically) for $5 or thereabouts. plus, you don't have to sit in close proximity to annoying yuppies who think that by virtue of having babies, that makes them any less insufferable. sample conversation at morning glory:

a duo with a baby strikes up conversation with another family with a baby seated at the next table. pleasantries are exchanged. duo w/ baby (DWB) asks family w/ baby (FWB) if they live in the area. FWB pater familias replies: "oh, we used to, but then i got a house in the beaches." he continues, semi-apologetically, "i know, i know. i love this area [corktown] - something about the beaches just doesn't sit right, i feel so - my friends call me a yuppie now"

karl lagerfeld, esquire, silently mouthing to the dotytron: "his friend is right" lol! it's not like living in the beaches makes you a yuppie. being an annoying, inane butthole (we had listened to more of the preceding and subsequent exchange to determine this) does.

anyway, zorba's is amazing. in the something special you don't get everyday, i would put bonjour brioche. i would not normally make fresh baguettes and a savoury quiche with a ultra-flaky crust at home. in the neighbourhood spot that doesn't require anything of me, i would put a place like three's company, on the danny, where i can get a serviceable plate of eggs benny for SEVEN DOLLARS.

morning glory was definitely not worth the drive to acton [corktown]

then i had a visit with my prof J, hubby S, and their outlaw sister S who is slightly closer to me in age (i think) to drop off a baby sweater i had knit for their daughter for her birthday. i had a delicious slice of chocolate cake S had baked that featured mascarpone in the frosting. it was a classic, double decker, chocolatey cake...the kind of thing that looks perfectly at home next to a cold glass of milk and set atop a cake stand on a kitchen counter in anytown, u.s.a. loved it. i don't usually make those kinds of cakes but i sure do appreciate them when they pass by.

then we played dodgeball. i've been getting out a lot lately, because i've been trying to work on my catching skills. i've realized that catching is the most important skill in dodgeball. above throwing and dodging, because it allows you to get someone out and bring one of your own back in. so i've been trying to catch everything that comes my way. it was a hard fought battle...we came back from being down 10-3 to tie it up but lost the final, deciding game. tragique! there's also talk that we might only play one night a week next season which has me somewhat frantic trying to find another activity to take up. i might take a hip hop dance class.

yesterday we had our st. paddy's day meal. i found a recipe online for BAKED corned beef which was AMAZING. it's topped with a brown sugar/mustard glaze (i used creole mustard instead of the sweet hot honey mustard in the recipe). the recipe was the corned beef and cabbage recipe from simply recipes. the author provides the baked way with sautéed cabbage and the more traditional boiled way with boiled cabbage.

the baked descriptor is a little misleading because you actually bake it in a foil pouch, which results in a baked/steamed combo, allowing the moisture from the steam to thoroughly tenderize the brisket. it was DELICIOUS. alongside, i made champ (mashed potatoes with leeks or green onions.) this might have been my favorite element of the meal. the dotytron was hovering and had obvious misgivings about my methods because he had worked in an irish pub 15 years go, and i had never had the dish before in my life. i cut the green onions into 1" pieces and poached them in a butter-cream mixture before adding all of the liquid with the now-poached scallions to the potatoes for mashing all together. the end result belied its humble origins and provided a solid return in the taste department. i also sautéed up some white cabbage as a side.

the boys (we had dinnie with the roomie and her bf) had black and tans to drink and we listened to irish ditties, which were kind of the worse. my comment: "now you can see why they went buck for like, the cranberries" lol!

for dessert i made a gingerbread with guinness from claudia fleming's gramercy tavern dessert cookbook. it's the darkest, spiciest, stickiest, most mysterious gingerbread i've ever had. to lighten it i added cream cheese frosting. it was the best!

then we all watched 'nick and norah's infinite playlist' (which holds up to a second viewing) and trundled off to bed.

perfect!

tonight me and the dotytron decided to take a break from all the meat we've been eating and to celebrate his freedom from the yoke of teacher's college tyranny in the form of march break by eating sushi for dinner.

fin.

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