Saturday, January 5, 2008

The best cheese

Burratta mozzarella (sp?) does for cheese what Chuao does for hot chocolate. I love having my little bro. around; I get to indulge any foodie dreams I have when he's here. Today we ventured off on a quest for Chino Farms veggies (so good I've even seen chic places in New York brag about having them and were mentioned in a London Vogue I picked up when I did my study abroad). It's ten minutes from my house through winding roads draped with eucalyptus. But, alas, it was closed. again. for the third time. It's hours are short, it closes for weeks during the holidays, and was rained out today so to make up for the disappointment, I suggested the new gourmet cheese shop nearby. John has been all through Little Italy in NY, and through tons of gourmet shops looking for Burratta, and has only managed to find one place that sells it so he was pretty skeptical. We tried anyway. Success. We also picked up some truffled salt- a fantastic find- and then we headed out to track down some decent tomatoes at Harvest Ranch Markets (they often buy from Chino farms) and got lucky on an incredible bruise-colored lumpy heirloom tomato (tastes better than it sounds). Add some good olive oil, fresh basil, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, and it was a little bit o heaven on a rainy afternoon. A hint: let the cheese warm up a bit before serving so it sort of spills all over your tongue with it's milky goodness. It's been a nice day.

Actually, it's been a nice few weeks thanks to my baby bro. The second half of this year has hit lows not rivaled since those unfortunate junior high days, but as the year closed up and a new began again, things have been good. John's right: food made with love can make life so so so much better.

PS- My borscht turned out really really good. I think I may have won the competition.

PPS- Jerry Maguire was on last night. I'd forgotten how much I love that movie.

Friday, January 4, 2008

two days in a row

but the posts won't last. I did, however, spend a little bit of time away from fiction. I got a pretty pink pedicure, had brunch at the Panikin in Encinitas (a funky former railroad station converted to a coffee shop by the beach), had the next in the Monastery soup marathon (tomorrow is my day to contribute. I'm making borscht), went location scouting for cool places around town to take portrait photos with John, and danced with my baby niece, Bella. It was a lovely day. Now it's time to grade.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I'm writing this while I'm watching Once. I can't stop watching movies. It's like the film gods I've been avoiding for years have caught up to me so after years of devoting my brain-dead-watching-a-box time to tv I'm being dragged into celluloid overload.

John is here from New York and since Momo is in China I get to spend plenty of time with my baby bro. It's nice. But all he wants to do is watch movies. So here I am. I've watched more movies in the past two weeks than I have in the past two years, and I'm thoroughly humbled by the creativity that's out there (granted John is a strict adherent to the Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic guides to life) so National Treasure has not yet made it on the list. Nowhere near it. I'm even having to sneak Once in while he's off making Monastary Mushroom Beer soup. He doesn't like the British. Nor their films. (I also sneaked We are Marshall in last night- I won't even tell you what John thinks about football movies that have garnered a mere 53% approval rating)

but anyway.... this vacation has become two weeks of near equal parts of scrawling on 15 year-old commentaries on Crime and Punishment and movie watching. I have to wonder how many layers back from life I am existing right now. Plato wasn't much of a fan of the arts. He thought making an inaccurate copy of an imperfect life was sort of pathetic. In You've Got Mail (another movie I watched this break on the sly..gotta do something to lift the heavy weights of Eastern Promises, No Country for Old Men, etc.) I was struck by the line she says that was something to the effect of that she keeps thinking that life reminds her of something in a book instead of something in a book reminding her of life. She vaguely supposes that it should be the other way around.

I don't see myself in the movies. I don't see myself in books. Not even TV (although I can find a scene from a Friends episode that will match just about any moment in life.) I think that they're nice pictures and all. I do spend my life in fiction (many may argue in more ways than one) but no matter how high the metacritic rating. It isn't life. Life's so much more. So much harder, and so much better.

Tomorrow's goal: Spend at least four hours totally disconnected from fiction. Find a mini-adventure. Maybe I'll even post the results.

Tonight's goal: Get at least five more essays graded before I go see Sweeney Todd.