Thursday, February 03, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

Hoppy Year of the Rabbit (see what I did there?)!

Yesterday was a snow day - the first one in 12 years for the TDSB. This meant that when I woke up, the Dotytron was doing a little happy dance that involved much swiveling of the hips - trust me, his hips don't lie. This also meant that me and Master T had the unexpected pleasure of having the Dotytron home with us ALL DAY. It was GLORIOUS! But the time went really quickly - it just made us realize how it would be so nice to have a whole week of snow days.

A lot of our time was spent preparing the house for Chinese New Year, which meant cleaning the house from top to bottom. You're not supposed to sweep on New Year's day, as you're "sweeping" away all your good luck/prosperity, etc." For similar reasons you're not supposed to shower or bathe on New Year's day. I had originally planned on making this lamb and eggplant stew with tadiq (the crusty bottom on Persian rice), but the Dotytron kept balking at it and kept wanting for us to go out for Chinese food for dinner. I didn't want to brave the questionable downtown Chinese restaurants after navigating the questionable, post-storm downtown streets in the Captain, so we settled on a compromise, going to T&T, where we assembled a hodge-podge Chinese meal of randomness, behold:

We made dumplings (pot stickers and soup-filled), and steamed gai lan, and made rice with Chinese sausage (lap cheong), and bought prepared tofu with mushrooms and roasted bbq pork. It was a very pork heavy meal. We followed it up with pan-fried gow (a sweet cake, we bought 2 - 1 coconut and 1 osmanthus flavoured) and black sesame ice cream, because the Dotytron is OBSESSED with any and all things black sesame flavoured. He loves it more than anything. I went a little crazy at T & T and quickly filled up a basket full of random goodies - at one point, as I chucked a tray of coconut buns in the cart, I turned to the Dotytron and said, "I'm going a little crazy here" and he gave me a deadpan, dry, intensely sarcastic, "No. No. Please stop." As we all know, T & T is like the Dotytron's mecca. He loves it there and he loves Chinese food like few other things on earth.

This is what else we've been eating around here:

This was a random meal of homemade falafel balls with tahini-yoghurt sauce, served low-carb in Boston lettuce leaves (I had been remiss in defrosting the pitas.) It ended up working out rather well - I think I might actually prefer this way of eating falafel balls. Makes everything less bready. Alongside I made quick pickled beets.

We were supposed to host our friends S & A for dinner before things went all haywire with our weekend. I was planning a Southern-style menu with a baked ham, zucchini casserole, biscuits, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, etc. Upon my return home, faced with a fridge full of zucchini, I turned it into a pasta with whole wheat fusilli, T's chilies, ricotta, and zucchini. It was really tasty - creamy and spicy and chock full of tender bites of zucchini in every forkful.

We watched The King's Speech on the weekend. It wasn't my cup of tea (snork, British reference, snork!) I found it kind of stilted and predictable and Oscar-baity. The performances were decent but I was strangely unmoved by Bertie's plight. I think the real story would have been more stirring - the reluctant monarch who needs to rally the country during a time of crisis crippled with a speech impediment...but the film's depiction was lacking a certain momentum and urgency. They didn't manage to draw me in and make me care. Although I did particularly respond to Helen Bonham Carter as the future Queen Mum - she managed to convey the repressed cheekiness and twinkle the Queen Mum always had in her eye.

We also watched Blue Valentine. Opinions on this film are mixed in the Dotytron-Lagerfeld household, with Lagerfeld pro and the Dotytron con. Lagerfeld feels that the film is beautifully acted and beautifully shot - gorgeous, naturalistic shots suffused with the golden light of sunset on the Brooklyn bridge, or the eerie blue tones of a cheap, future-themed room in a campy sex hotel. I also loved the performances - so real (a lot of the dialogue was ad-libbed) and believable. The Dotytron contends that the story is uber-depressing and he has no interest in seeing these kinds of movies (an opinion shared by Dr. Rei, who has recently come out as wanting only to see movies about extraordinary people and/or the Harry Potter universe.) I believe that sometimes, the art of a film is in its exploration of the mundane. Watching Williams and Gosling (two of the finest actors of their generation) inhabit so fully the roles of Cindy and Dean as they meet, fall in love and subsequently fall out of love, is a treat, as is the dissection of a relationship in decline. The early love is so beautifully depicted - much has been made of Williams' charming tap-dance to Gosling's ukulele-accompanied warbling as one of the more charming scenes of nascent, young, sort-of-poor love ever and it's made all the more poignant by being cast into sharp relief with the rancor that follows.

The nuance in their relationship, the push and the pull of two people who have grown out of love sharing equal blame, is really well done. I can't say that I loved this movie - but I really liked it and thought it was worth watching. I'd take it over the pap of The King's Speech any day.

Tonight we're having dinner with the Roomie and L'Armi at their place. A late dinner as we have a contractor coming by to quote us on some stuff we can't afford.


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