June 25, 2009

A Study in Mediocrity: My Sister's Keeper

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I'm not sure how people come up with these ideas. These horrendous stories that they think people might like. I haven't read My Sister's Keeper. And I don't intend to. For the same reason I haven't read The Notebook or A Walk to Remember. It's not just that they are sad. It's like the author has to drag you through every possible sadness that could happen and then rubs it in your face. It's like when I make 10 pounds of mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving, when 5 pounds will clearly do.

Here's the story: The parents (Cameron Diaz and Jason Patric) have a daughter and a son. The daughter gets cancer. She's very sick and the only way she'll live is if they manufacture a child to match the cancer daughter exactly, so that the healthy child could donate bone marrow, blood, tissue, etc. to the sick child. So the parents do - they manufacture Abigail Breslin. Her character grows up and decides that she is tired of donating herself to her sister and she hires a lawyer (Alec Baldwin) to help her become medically emancipated from her parents.

So we already have a heavy-handed story - ripe for manipulating the audience into squishing out a few tears, or a lot of tears, depending on your sensitivity. You pretty much know the outcome of the movie from the start and anytime the subject of a movie is a dying child, well, it kind of ruins any hope of enjoying your Friday night.

Then we get the cast: Cameron Diaz as the mother. Okay. So you can't see my pinky finger from where you are, but if you look at it real close, you'll see that it has more of a motherly instinct that Cameron Diaz. She is not believable for even two minutes as a mother. She exudes no compassion, no love, no sensitivity. I don't know why - it's just her.

Then we have Jason Patric, whose performance was not noticeably good or bad, he just was. Alec Baldwin, was painful to watch in his performance as the attorney. The script was poorly written, the lines predictable and lazy. One scene in particular made me cringe, when Abigail Breslin yells at her dad in an argument: "What about me dad? What about me?" I'm pretty sure I wrote that line into a civil war romance story I wrote when I was 12.

It was rather like watching a bad high school play - the acting was THAT good. It's not even worth the tears that you will probably cry because you will have had to pay $10.50 to watch Cameron Diaz try to be a mother, which she utterly fails at. She's pushing and pushing and pushing, but no baby/child/performance ever comes out, just air and a lot of dumb show. (Please note that I have chosen pictures which showcase her trying to act. It's noticeable, even in the stills.)

See it? Only if you like overly sentimental stories playacted by people masquerading as actors.

Opens everywhere Friday, June 26th. (That's tomorrow, in case you are buying your tickets in advance.)

June 21, 2009

The Restaurant Formerly Known as Fancy.

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On Saturday, I had a little time to kill. And. I was hungry. It was 11:30 and I walked outside. I remembered that 23 Hoyt (of sparkling water fame) began serving lunch last week. I had also heard that their prices are lower now in an effort to boost business. Oh let's try it, I thought. Lunch won't be as expensive as dinner.

I started out sitting at a table on the sidewalk, because it seemed that it would be nice. Then it started sprinkling, so I moved myself and my very tall diet coke back inside. I ordered the burger with onion rings instead of fries.

Mmm. The burger was cooked medium rare as it should be. The bun was a little large - I couldn't fit my mouth around both the top and the bottom. But the burger - it was perfectly seasoned. And the cheese was mellow, but with a subtle bite.

The tomatoes and arugula were served on the side. And what I loved about those is that they were seasoned. That NEVER happens with burgers, though it totally should. Dressed with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic, they actually added flavor to the sandwich - a fresh contrast to the meat.

Though the bun was problematic, I found my way around it. I ate the burger concentrating on the bottom bun and the meat, then half way through, flipped it over and at the rest of the burger on the top bun. I couldn't finish the whole thing, but I made a valiant effort. My hands were a drippy, saucy mess by the end of my meal. My napkin stained with burger juice, aioli (which I had smeared on the burger because why not!) and tomato juice. As I recalled my first experience at 23 Hoyt, there's no way I would have eaten a burger then, because juicy hands and stained napkins were definitely not a theme on the menu.

The sweet chili aioli served with the crispy and well-cooked onion rings was spicy and creamy. You know how when you get bad onion rings and you take a bite and this huge piece of crunchy onion comes out? This is not how these were. It was clearly an onion ring inside the breading, but it was fully cooked and my teeth cut through it, making it both easier to eat and easier to dip into the sauce.

I loved my burger. And it was I think $9. Which was totally worth it for the quality of burger I got. The staff was cheerful and helpful. The waitress gave a strong recommendation for Away We Go, which I was on my way to go see. She was right. So good. So was the restaurant. I'm happy to see they've toned the Hoyt-y toity-ness down. This was a much better experience than my first and I'll definitely be back to try their new dinner.

23 Hoyt on Urbanspoon

Sweet as Pie

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So much has already been written and said about Whiffies Fried Pies since they opened. Delicious, crusty, addictive.

I have really nothing more to add. I've had the beef brisket with mozzarella, the breakfast pie, the apple and the coconut cream. The first bite is all crust. Which is not a bad thing. The crust is flaky and a little chewy when it gets closer to the filling.

The first time I had the beef brisket, I couldn't stop thinking about it. It was tangy and spicy and the stretch of the mozzarella was long and mellow. It took over my thoughts. I had it for dinner and then all night, after I got home, I wanted more. I was watching a movie and kept thinking about it. That maybe I should go back and get one more. But it would have meant losing my parking space. So I had to forego the second pie.

Since then, I've had more. Many more. And each one just as good as the last. My favorite is the coconut cream pie. Creamy and untouched by the effects of frying, the sweetness is understated and perfect.

I love cream pies and I never eat them. Or at least I haven't until recently. Now they are so close and so available that I'm pretty sure they will become a regular part of my life. Word has it that a chocolate cream pie is coming.

I've yet to try the berry ones, but that's next on my list. The pies are so portable, so easy to eat, that it makes it less of a sin. If Whiffies started selling these to the local stores, I would buy piles of them to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner, probably every day.

And that's how I feel about Whiffies Fried Pies.

Whiffies Fried Pies (cart)
SE 12th and Hawthorne
Tuesday - Saturday, 8pm - 3am

June 20, 2009

Pops and Me Around Town

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I learned good food from my mom. Fresh, gourmet, homemade. I learned junk food from my dad. Chewy white bread, soda pop, processed cheese. Somehow both worlds combined and here I am: a lover of the gourmet, a fan of Velveeta.

Dad had been saying lately how he wanted to find a good hot dog. So I proposed that we take a tour of Portland, trying different hot dogs and comparing them. He reluctantly agreed, not happy that I was going to take his picture and blog about him. But I convinced him.

My dad is kind of a tough guy. He likes to hike a lot. And really when I say hike a lot, I mean crazy hike. Mostly with my brother. The two of them hiked the Appalachian Trail about 10 years ago, from Georgia to Maine, hiking like 25 miles a day, and in the first half, my dad unknowingly had Lyme Disease while they were trekking.

That's a story for another day, but anyway, he's a tough guy, who in recent years has gotten all health-foody. He's not above a day of gluttony every once in a while, though, as long as it doesn't make him sick. I was a little worried that the Hot Dog Extravaganza was going to make BOTH of us sick, but we went for it, throwing caution to the wind in our risky venture. (At least we weren't trying ALL the hot dog places!)

We started out at Zach's Shack. I got the Chicago Style, with a pickle, tomatoes and peppers. Dad got New York Style, with chili, cheese and onions. The dogs here do snap, just as they say. And the flavors of the pickle + tomatoes + peppers were fresh and spicy. Dad liked his, too and immediately said he was up for another one. Good thing. Because next we headed to Nick's Coney Island.

At Nick's Coney Island, there was really only one choice. The Coney. The waitress said it would be like nothing I've ever had before. Like chili, without beans. "Just the con carne," she said. "But way better." Okay, bring it on. My dad had fries with his and I had chips.

The coney sauce was meaty, but like the meat had been cooked so long in the sauce that it WAS the sauce. It was a little spicy and very thick. The hot dog wasn't as good as Zach's Shack (it didn't snap), but I think the sauce was better than Zach's.

We were so full after the Coney dogs. But we'd said that we were going to go to three places, so we kept trekking and headed to SuperDog. (I get my endurance from my dad.) (That was a joke. I hate hiking. But I will endure a hot dog tour of the city with no problem.) My dad wanted to try a different kind of sausage, so we ended up getting just one, to go: a chicken sausage with grilled onions.

We took it back to my parents' house and opened it. Just the sight of it made us want to gag, just because we were so full! So I feel like I can't really give a good review of how it compared because well, we couldn't eat it. My mom ate part of it and my sister, and they seemed to like it okay.

Maybe it should have been a three week tour of Portland Hot Dogs, with one place each Saturday, but it was fun and neither of us actually got sick, so that's a plus. I got to hang out with my pops and that's really what I wanted, more than any hot dog.

Happy Fathers Day!

(P.S. I unofficially declared Zach's Shack the winner, but both Zach's and Nick's were very good and when I want a chili dog, I'll go to Nick's. Anything else, Zach's.)

Zach's Shack on Urbanspoon

Nick's Famous Coney Island on Urbanspoon

Superdog on Urbanspoon

June 16, 2009

I Am Pro-Hug: The Proposal

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I was all set to write a bad review. Sandra Bullock. Rom-com. Ho-hum. But here's the thing: I had a really, really, really bad day. Horrible. Like someone died. Or I had to interact with Satan or something. Or maybe both. (I am not really exaggerating.) And when I sat down in the theater, I did deep breaths while my friend Rachelle was getting me a drink. I had to do deep breaths because I was kind of a mess.

Then the movie started. I really actually liked it from the first scene with the trees. Then Ryan Reynolds came on, the clutzy assistant with the bitchy boss. Did Sandra Bullock take some acting classes or something? She was almost good. I mean I kind of believed her uptightness. My disbelief was suspended. I know. WEIRD.

Then the story unwound and oh it seemed familiar. Then I remembered. It was part of my Christmas-time-stuck-in-the-house-because-of-the-snowstorm-Lifetime-television-marathon. This girl, a writer, gets deported to Canada because she doesn't fill out her paperwork in time. Except in this movie, The Proposal, Sandra Bullock is a publisher who almost gets deported to Canada because she doesn't fill out her paperwork in time. So naturally, the whole time, I was doing a side-by-side comparison of the two artful films.

Just kidding. Once I realized it was the same, I promptly forgot about it because the Lifetime Movie was total crap and The Proposal was actually good. For one thing, it had a great cast: Mary Steenburgen, Craig T. Nelson, Betty White and Oscar Nunez (Oscar from The Office). Betty White (as the grandmother) and Oscar Nunez nearly stole the show. I totally forgot how funny Betty White is. And Oscar Nunez was HILARIOUS as the town stripper/caterer/sales associate/pastor.

You know what happens: Sandra and Ryan decide to get married to keep her from getting deported. They hate each other at first, but then, when they go to Alaska to visit his family and announce their engagement, things take a different turn.

I actually cried a few times, in addition to laughing. It might have been residual emotion from my day, but when Sandra's eyes filled with tears, my heart hurt a little. But even more, when Ryan Reynolds and Craig T. Nelson (as his father) fought with intensity and with underlying pain, it was totally real. At least it seemed totally real.

Okay, there might be one scene that might have been taken nearly word-for-word from While You Were Sleeping, but that movie was so long ago that a little repeat is no biggie, right? I could overlook it, in light of the recent display of handsomeness next to the girl-next-door.

Also. There were lots of great hugs in the movie. First Ryan, then Sandra, then Ryan again. They were so good, that I could almost feel the hugs myself. They weren't like regular hugs, they were rubbing arms and shoulders until all the hurt goes away hugs and you're cold because you just fell in the water so I'm going to hug you until you get warm hugs. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. I was probably imagining it because I had a bad day. But seriously. A movie that give you hugs? You really can't beat that.

And because of all of this, I am banking on a good night of hugging dreams to get me through until tomorrow.

Go see it, especially if you had a bad day.
The Proposal is rated PG-13 and opens Friday everywhere.
You can watch the trailer here.

June 14, 2009

As the Title Says: Lovely By Surprise

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Every once in a while a film comes along that is pretty. Aesthetically pleasant to observe - not just the actors, but the colors, the set, the music. Not just a film, an experience. That is: Lovely By Surprise.

Carrie Preston plays Marian, a writer, who is trying to write about two brothers who are aware that she is writing about them. Her former teacher and mentor (Austin Pendleton) tells her that it's not going to work. She needs to kill the protagonist, he says. It's the best thing a writer can do. Marian reacts emotionally - she cannot kill him! But she begins to think about it, sending her down a road that she is trying to avoid.

Meanwhile, Bob (Reg Rogers) is a very bad car salesman. He talks his customers out of buying cars, in fact. How's your family, he asks the customer. Do you appreciate them? Do you love them? Go home and love them. It's funny, but also sad. He clearly has something weighing heavily on his mind. Maybe his daughter, who he forgets to pick up from school and who doesn't speak at all. Maybe his absent wife, still in his heart. Subtely and deftly portrayed, Bob requests the sympathy of the audience, and gets it easily, despite his poor parenting skills and seeming lack of common sense.

Humkin and Mopekey, Marian's characters in her novel, live on a boat on land. Clad only in briefs, they survive on milk and cereal and nuggets of knowledge somehow received from the world around them. Their relationship, humorous at first, turns sinister and dangerous as the story develops.

The storylines blend together seamlessly, artfully weaving in and out. The colors of the costume design are bright and bold, punctuating the scenes with richness. I think I can say, without any reservation, that you could take a still from any scene in this movie and frame it as artwork.

The music is lyrical and frolics along in the background, providing levity in the sometimes sad story. I really enjoyed the amped up version of "Wound By A Key" from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a somewhat surprising part of the soundtrack, but one that delighted me.

When the storylines all collide together at the end, it's beautiful and meaningful and sad and happy and not expected. Funny at times, tragic at others, Lovely By Surprise is, quite, lovely by surprise.

Lovely By Surprise is opening at the Firehouse Theater in Kingston, Washington on June 19th. It will be released on July 7th on DVD and will be available through Netflix. You can also request it at your local video store.

Watch the trailer here.

WTF? K-Tacos

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That's what the sign says. K meaning Korean. I'd been following KoiFusion on Twitter and I could not wait to taste their creations. Modeled after the famous Koji Korean BBQ trucks in LA (and recently in NY), KoiFusion makes tacos with Korean barbeque meats and tofu. Maybe you are saying WTF now, but you probably will be saying OMG when you take a bite.

When the truck pulled up into the Stadium Flowers parking lot over by PGE park, they were a half hour late. Oh great, I thought, it's going to take them forever to get set up. Um no. They were all set up and put together in less than 5 minutes. Because I had been following them on Twitter, I knew that they had sliders available, so I ordered the pork sliders and a beef taco. About 5 or 6 minutes later, I got my food.

Spicy, juicy, tart, a little sweet meat topped with crunchy cabbage and fresh cilantro and cheddar cheese on a soft roll. One order of sliders was THREE little sandwiches ($6). The beef taco ($2) was topped with bean sprouts and cilantro, and was served with a slice of orange, which I squeezed over the top. Fresh, filling and addictive - I could probably eat these for every meal, every day. And for ridiculously cheap prices, I could afford it!

Friends got tacos and burritos, and they all loved them. Me too.

The truck travels around Portland to different locations. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they are at PSU for lunch and at PGE Park several nights a week. To stay on top of their locations, you really need to be on Twitter or look at their website, because it changes all the time.

The young, enthusiastic owner of the truck checked in with us to see how we liked their food. He talked fast and told us all about how he could see the end coming at his old job. His dad asked him one night, "Why don't you sell Korean tacos?" And the rest was history... well after a few months, anyway.

Here's the thing: you need to find this truck and eat their tacos!

Calling Jodi B!

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Jodi B! You won one of the set of books for the Food Inc. contest. Email me with your address so I can send you the books. Congrats!

June 13, 2009

Bites for Rights

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You know what I love about Portland? There are so many opportunities to give to great causes. It always makes me feel great when I can participate in bringing joy and happiness to others, whether that's by giving my money, my time, or my blog posts.

This time, it's Bites for Rights - a fundraiser for Basic Rights Oregon. And of course it involves eating out. All you have to do is eat at one of the restaurants contributing 15% of their proceeds to Basic Rights Oregon. That's it. YOU can make a difference, just by eating out.

Politics and religion aside, I believe in rights for all. If you do as well, please consider participating in Bites for Right on June 18th. That's this Thursday!

Caught Red-Handed

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I just bought my ticket for Back Fence PDX's June show. I am really excited because I have been wanting to go to one of their shows, but have never been able to make it for one reason or another.

The theme this month: Caught Red-Handed. I'm sure it will be more exciting than the time I got caught stealing chalk from my second-grade teacher.


Wednesday, June 17th
6:00 doors/7:30 show!
Come at 7:15 for the Popina Swimsuit Fashion Show

Free wallets at intermission from Tinymeat!

The Mission Theater
1624 N.W. Glisan
Portland, OR 97209

Alcohol. Food. True Stories.
$10.00 online /$12.00 door

Presenting our storytellers…

VIVA LAS VEGAS Stripper and author

RAEL DORNFEST UX Engineer, Twitter

JAMI CURL Owner, Saint Cupcake

PEMA TEETER Playwright and ghostwriter


NICOLE GEORGES Comic artist and advice columnist

JEFF HARDISON Preacher’s Grandson

Purchase tickets through Brown Paper Tickets. For more info go to: Back Fence PDX.

June 11, 2009

Give me some peanuts and cracker jacks... (from Virginia)

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Tonight while waiting patiently for the Korean taco truck in the Stadium Flowers parking lot at SW 20th and Burnside, I encountered two lovely gentlemen, Herman and Clint.

They just started selling peanuts in front of PGE Park. Salted or unsalted, they've got bags of them. Although they prefer the flavor of the unsalted peanuts, they said demand is definitely leaning towards salted.

As a salt girl, I can confirm! The unsalted ones were not too bad, actually - almost didn't need salt. But I am addicted, so in the end, I preferred the salted ones.

Herman and Clint care for disabled people during the day and just started up this venture to make some extra money. The peanuts came all the way from Virginia - in fact they ordered 500 pounds! So there will be peanuts to sell for a while. And at only $1 a bag, it's a bargain.

Soon they will be offering boiled peanuts as well as roasted. What will they do if they don't sell all the peanuts? They already have that worked out: peanut butter cookies.

I'm not sure of their regular schedule, but if you see the pink sign, totally go buy some peanuts!

June 10, 2009

Food, Inc. Giveaway!

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The movie Food, Inc. is opening on Friday the 12th in selected cities and on Friday the 19th here in Portland at Cinema 21. To find out when it's playing in your city, click here.

This is an important movie for people to see, regardless of your politics, religion or even your eating lifestyle. I saw it a couple of months ago at an advance screening and it really woke my mind up to the realities of the food industry. But what I loved about it is that it doesn't just complain about the problem. It gives you solutions and how you can help and improve the food industry's future in our country.

So. We're giving away two books: The companion book for the movie, Food, Inc. and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, who is interviewed in the movie.

To win, you just need to comment on this post, telling me your most favorite thing to buy at the farmers' market. I'll pick 2 winners on Friday, June 12th (in only two days!) And each winner will receive a set of books.

Can't wait to hear what you like to buy!

Yarp?! is in the News

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My first freelance piece for KATU News has been published on their website. It's an article about one of my favorite food carts in Portland, Yarp?!

Check it out at www.katu.com in the Mind and Money section.

June 8, 2009

I was hustled.

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This weekend, on a lazy afternoon, I walked over to Cinema 21 to watch Paul Newman in The Hustler. I had never seen it before.

The Hustler had more romance in it than I anticipated - it was quite touching, the relationship Paul Newman had with Piper Laurie's character. As they were eating a picnic lunch and she declares "I love you." She is met with silence, and then Paul Newman says, "You need the words?" "Yes," she says, I need the words." He doesn't return her "I love you" then, but he seems affected by it. And it's not awkward or confrontational, as it is in almost every love story you see on screen now, when one person says I love you and it's not returned. This was different - it was truly love, I think and it was understood.

As the movie goes on, and they become more and more cemented together in a sort of alcoholic construction of a complicated relationship, their devotion to each other is evident, destructive and addictive. George C Scott as the scoundrel of a manager breaks in and pokes his hot fire poker around, stirring things up with cruel words and the belief that lovers are in fact disposable and meaningless.

Jackie Gleason also delivers a touching performance as Minnesota Fats. I really enjoyed watching him in this movie - he developed his character subtly and masterfully throughout the movie so that at the end, I was unexpectedly attached to him. Brilliance.

I was immersed in the story and could empathize with the need to gamble, the need to love. It's a great movie. Time went too quickly. Two hours was not long enough for me to be in their world. I don't know why, but this weekend I was particularly vulnerable at the theater and was entranced by the idea of the movie, and the performances. I loved it.

The Hustler is playing through Thursday night this week at Cinema 21.

I found them at Milo's.

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Finally made it to Milo's for Eggs Benedict. I sat at the counter. It's the best place to sit when dining alone. I watched every move they made - restaurant kitchens fascinate me. I've never worked in one, but sometimes I think I want to open a food cart or a restaurant or a diner or something someday. I am endlessly curious about how they poach eggs en masse, what do they prepare ahead of time, how they serve all five people at one table hot food all at once. Anyway, I love watching it all come together.

I ordered fresh squeezed grapefruit juice - was just right. Not too sweet. And the Blackstone Eggs Benedict, with pepper bacon and juicy tomatoes. I watched them poach my egg and grab bacon out of a container on the stove, then I couldn't see them assemble it all the way, but in a jiffy it was in front of me.

The tomatoes were lovely red and juicy and worked together with the bacon for a fresh and salty flavor. They didn't skimp on the bacon either. It was definitely the heart of the dish. The hollandaise sauce was light and buttery. The potatoes were crispy and very hot.

Todd, who had recommended Milo's Eggs Benedict asked me if I have ever had better. Yes, I said, I had. The one time I made it for myself.

And while I would love to make Eggs Benedict every day as my job, it's a relief to know that while I'm stuck in my office job, I can still get some great eggs nearby.

Milo's City Cafe on Urbanspoon

Radio Room coming in loud and clear.

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After the bageldict (stop giggling) debacle from the other night and several other benedictal failures, I was *desperate* for some good hollandaise on Saturday morning. My friend Todd recommended Milo's, which I love for dinner, but had never been there for breakfast. I headed out, looking forward to some excellent food.

"Um ma'am, you can't cross the bridge. It's closed." Damn parade. Have I told you how much I hate parades? Mostly because they impede traffic and cause inconvenience in my life, but also because I cry just a little whenever I see pre-teens in uncomfortable nerdy band costumes marching along, playing their instruments and walking at the same time, which is hard and I'm so proud of them. *Sob.*

But anyway. I ended up crossing the Broadway Bridge and was detoured down side streets until I ended up driving down MLK towards North Portland. I remembered that Matt from the Grilled Cheese Grill had said that Radio Room was really good - and maybe they had breakfast! So I headed over to Alberta St.

I love the inside of Radio Room. The art on the walls is bright and colorful and pop-culture-y, which is right up my alley. There was only a couple of other people in there when I walked in. The cheerful, smiley waitress came over to me right away. Because I was sleepy, I asked for a diet Coke.

When I opened the menu, I knew right away what I wanted. It was called the Playwright's Hangover. Toasted bread, covered in a saffron beschamel sauce, with grilled mixed vegetables and topped with two over-medium eggs. I know my goal was hollandaise, but this pushed all thoughts of Benedict out of my mind. Also. I felt kind of cool. Like I really was a playwright. With a hangover. Eating breakfast with Sam Shepard, August Wilson and um maybe, Neil LaBute for a little color. Temporary insanity due to several episodes of crappy eggs benedict.

The toast was softened, though not soggy, with the beschamel sauce. The mixed vegetables, which included broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, and carrots, were topped with the eggs. The flavors were great together and perfectly seasoned - no salt and pepper needed. (Though I was kind of disappointed not to use the salt and pepper grinders on the table - that's so rare!)

It so hit the spot - but wasn't heavy because of all the vegetables. There was plenty of sauce, but not an overpowering amount. It was all put together just right.

Can't wait to go back for lunch/dinner/latenight/anytime at all.

Radio Room on Urbanspoon

June 7, 2009

Drag Me To Hell. No, really. I mean it.

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I couldn't get anyone to go see Drag Me To Hell with me. Granted, the posters looked terrifying. But Drag Me To Hell is delightful as a horror movie. And nothing to be scared of.

Alison Lohman stars as a young bank loan officer who gets cursed by a needy customer. What follows is a little scary, but mostly awesome. In fact, I think I can safely say that Drag Me To Hell has the best girl fight in horror film history. (I can't think of any others that I've seen off the top of my head, but I'm sure they're there, and I'm sure they're not as good as this one. Maybe.)

Warren P. Cheswick... I mean Justin Long plays the dependable boyfriend and convincingly, will do anything for the girl he loves. He is innocent and young, but stalwart in his love for the girl that most guys would have ditched after the first time she started screaming at her cake during dinner.

The storyline plays out moments of humor at just the right times, to release the stress of the horror. It's really the perfect horror movie. The great balance of evil spirits, romance, grit, fight, triumph and funny.

I've seen a few horror movies - they are not my favorite - but I can appreciate when one is done well. I think Shawn Levy of the Oregonian said that Drag Me To Hell was more goopy than gory. Totally right on. My gag reflexes were on orange alert level during this movie. But nothing that a hand over the eyes and fingers in the ears will not solve. And the blood was minimal.

I'm going to go ahead and name this my favorite horror movie ever. Oh. Except I haven't seen Carrie yet and I kind of want to see that before I make any final decisions. So I'll say that Drag Me To Hell is my tentative favorite horror movie, pending a viewing of Carrie.

Should you see it? HELL YES. (Get it? HELL?)
Now playing everywhere!

Bageldict Humperdink.

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When a place says they serve breakfast all day, I am thrilled. Because I love breakfast. Furthermore, when a place serves eggs benedict all day, I am again thrilled because I love eggs benedict. And. When a place that serves eggs benedict all day as part of their all day breakfast menu is just two blocks from my house, I am again thrilled.

Sadly, this place is Kornblatts. I mean I wasn't sad at first. At first I was thrilled. The waiter was peppy and enthusiastic about the "bageldict." Then I got my order.

I ordered the bageldict (why does that word sound so dirty?) on a garlic bagel, which tasted...processed and chemical and totally overpoweringly garlicky. The bagel was tough and hard to cut through. The hollandaise sauce was surely premade out of a container because it was too bright of a yellow color and tasted like absolutely nothing.

And the potatoes. If they hadn't been left out on the counter overnight, surely they had been left on the counter all day. They were cold, overcooked and just plain gross.

If you can't serve it right, don't serve it at all. I would prefer that you didn't serve breakfast all day if you are just going to serve cold, old leftovers. Do what you do well and stick to that. Of course, I don't know what Kornblatts does well, since I haven't eaten there any other time, but I'm not going back now. Mediocrity is one thing. Utter crap is another.

Kornblatt's Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

June 3, 2009

Hair of the Dog Will Not Get That Picture Out of My Head.

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"Tracy, we f****ed up," Bradley Cooper says as the movie The Hangover opens. Yes, yes you did, former-hottie-from-Alias-turned-bastard-from-He's-Just-Not-That-Into-You. You did f*** up when you put Mike Tyson in your movie. AND Carrot Top. Okay, Carrot Top is technically only in the credits, but seriously, did you need that last kick in the crotch at the end of a long, creepy frat party?

Okay, okay, I'll start at the beginning. (No, it's not a very good place to start, for those of you singing along.) Four guys at a bachelor party in Vegas. What could possibly happen? Drunkenness? Hookers? Drugs? I know - your imagination must be running WILD. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?

Bradley Cooper as Phil, all around bastard and good for nothing, who is also a teacher of children, and husband and father, is the leader of the pack. He has planned a *sweet* bachelor party in Vegas for his best friend Doug (Justin Bartha) and even upgrades to a villa for $4200 a night, courtesy of his friend Stu's (Ed Helms) credit card. The bride's brother, (a very weird Zach Galifianakis) is along for the ride, hitting on 12 year-olds and tucking his gray nature t-shirt into his khaki pants and wearing sneakers for the night out.

The next morning, they wake up with no memory of the night before and a tiger, a baby, a chicken and a big fat mess in their room. Oh. And the groom is missing. The friends embark on a journey to find the groom and figure out what happened to them the night before.

Ed Helms (Andy from The Office) eeks out the best performance in the film, playing an uptight dentist dating Rachel Harris. He constantly refers to himself as a doctor, to which his friends reply, "You're a dentist, not a doctor," and his subservience to his dominant girlfriend to avoid confrontation forced me to laugh several times.

Zach Galifianakis plays the creepy Alan deadpan, which totally increases the creep factor. And somehow, the friends choose HIM to be the one to carry the baby they find in their room. I tried not to laugh because he was SO inappropriate (knocking the baby on the head with a car door, strapping the baby in the backseat), but I couldn't stop myself.

And then, there were the scenes with Mike Tyson, which I can't speak of without cringing. The woodenness of his line delivery was painful and seemed to be contagious among the group. I mean, it's to be expected, but it was way worse when I was watching it than in my imagination.

Oh. And I forgot. The worst female actress on earth: Heather Graham. Guess what her occupation is in the movie? Come on, guess! I bet you'll never... oh. Right. A hooker. Her facial expressions were freakishly plastic and when she tried to get emotional, that really pushed me over the this-movie-really-really-sucks line.

And the closing credits. They are important to the suckiness of this movie. And to the current state of my brain being stained by images that I could honestly have gone my whole life without seeing.

What scares me, though, is that the people around me in the screening were saying words like "perfect" and "awesome" when it was over. Maybe "uncomfortably comical" or "waste of time" or even "okay, since today is not my last day on earth and I still have time to make up for those last 2 hours" but "perfect" and "awesome"? I am pretty sure it was not that.

Should you see this movie? Yes! (if you are a drunk 19-year-old male)
The Hangover opens Friday and is totally rated R.

I just read that Hangover 2 is in production. I'm so curious about the plot.

June 1, 2009

Man do I need to get happy.

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I've been to a few happy hours lately. Here's a very quick rundown on a couple, both enjoyed with my friend Jen.

Bastas: clams (nice, not fishy), pizza and chicken skewers wrapped in pancetta (totally dry and flavorless). Upside: They have have happy hour from 5 - 10pm every day and they have great music playing overhead - singalong type music (like Cecilia, by Simon and Garfunkle and other such greatness). Downside: Food is *meh*.

Serrato: beet salad, burger. The beet salad is fantastic - with crispy chards of garlic throughout. Burger was overdone (no pink at all!) but not bad for being well-done. Fries were thin and crispy.