No rugby this week. Wow... I am amazed at what a difference not having any rugby this week made. Food for thought.
With some of the time I had this week, I decided to cook. Yep, that's right. No ordering in every night. Actually, part of the reason is I may have overdosed on Chinese delivery last week. Cooking is something that has actually fallen out of favor with me, being single and all. Although I do occasionally enjoy cooking and have a few signature dishes, I am not a really big fan of cooking for myself. But this week was an exception. Maybe it was the weather. The cold, gray, damp weather inspired me to make a beef stew on Tuesday. It turned out quite well... actually extremely well if I say so myself. Some nice cubed beef, a little red wine, beef broth, some tomato paste, barley and veggies with a dash of Cayenne for a little kick all came together just right. OK, it may have had a slight bit too much of a kick, enough to make my nose run... LOL. But that kick was something that I added to my stew recipe a few years ago based on some advice I was given about the flavoring. I made enough of the stew that I put a nice sized container of it in the refrigerator for a future cold spell. Next up is my ham and bean soup.
On Thursday, Big Papi (Queso Grande) and I went to Caracas for arepas. After dinner we went to the Landmark Sunshine Cinema to see Innocent Voices. I hear this movie is Mexico's entry into the Oscars. I heard it advertised on Air America, so I decided to check it out on-line. This Luis Mandoki film features Leonor Varela, who you might remember as Nyssa in Blade II. It also features the young Carlos Padilla in his cinematic debut as Chava, a Salvadorean boy who struggles as the new "man of the house" when his father abandons his family during El Salvador's tragic civil war. You may remember, that I previously posted here and here on El Salvador's horrific recent history on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Archbishop Oscar Romero's assignation. This movie, based on a true story, chronicles Chava's battles to survive in a country torn by violence where the army conscripts 12 year olds into active service in a war where troops kill and torture their own people. It also deals with his relationship with his mother, his first love and his early recognition of what is right and what is wrong. The movie is intriguing and griping and is beautifully shot, even if a tad over theatrical. I strongly recommend it. I guess I am actually starting to make some progress on getting caught up on quality films.
On Friday night, I went bowling with about 20 mates from the Gotham Knights. Yes, that's right. There is a little bit of trailer park heaven right here in the heart of NYC (actually in the Port Authority). Thank God that it was all for shits and giggles, because I really sucked. Last year when we did this, I had the highest score. This year, I damn near had the lowest. I think I am might be losing my redneck touch. There was plenty of cardboard pizza and flat beer to be had. All in all it was a great time. There are some pictures here. After bowling we ended up at what seemed to be, at least on Friday night, the heavily perfumed Gym Bar. Two of my favorite people in NYC work there and it is our rugby team's home bar. Yet I am having trouble finding things I like about the place. Although on Friday, there was one thing I liked... Orlando. I met Orlando while ordering a beer and we talked for a few hours. It was really quite nice.
On Saturday, I thoroughly enjoyed not having rugby for the first time since early September and marked the occasion by spending the day watching college football. Unfortunately my beloved Pitt Panthers had a bye week.
Today, I hung out with Queso Grande, who by the way is leaving us for a brighter future in Tampa. I will miss you Papi. We started the day meeting for Brunch at Cafeteria. However they had a stated 30 minute wait for seating, which if you know anything about Cafeteria would have been at least 45 minutes. So we instead opted for brunch at the equally gay and almost as pretentious, yet not nearly fabulous Dish. Is it just me or is the food at the dish never actually good, but not really bad either. In any event, after brunch we tried, without any success to somehow come across tickets to Wicked. We tried several approaches, but the confluence of Halloween, the play's anniversary and some street fair called "Wicked Day" conspired to make getting tickets impossible. So at the last minute we headed over to tkts to see what they had available. We were able to get 50% off on 2 tickets to see Fiddler on the Roof starring Harvey Fierstein and Rosie O'Donnell. It was very entertaining, although nothing really worth writing home about. Neither Harvey nor Rosie are particularly good singers, and while Harvey can certainly act... Rosie not so much so. But like I said, it was enjoyable. So for a day that included not eating at our initial choice of restaurants and not seeing our first choice in shows, it was a lot of fun. And what a beautiful day in NYC it was.
"Americans are tired of investigations and scandal, and the best way to get rid of them is to elect a new president who will bring a new administration, who will restore honor and dignity to the White House."
~ Then-Governor George Bush on CNN's "Burden of Proof," 9/15/00
I previously posted this picture from a few years ago of then Florida Marlin's catcher Pudge Rodriguez kissing his teammate, pitcher Uegueth Urbina, after a World Series win over the New York Yankees. What caught my eye then was that it was Pudge, who I have a huge crush on. How could I not? Look at that ass!
But now it would seem that World Series victories regularly bring out the homo in ball players, as evidenced by this new picture. It shows Chicago White Sox manger Ozzie Guillen getting a kiss from a well-wisher after his White Sox defeated the Houston Astros 1-0 in Game 4 to win the World Series for the first time since 1917. Upon firther review it would seem that Ozzie has a bit of history when it comes to kissing other men. Not that there is anything wrong with that.
Can you say woof? Grrrr. OK, I am so totally stealing this from my friend. But how can I not have Luisma Molinari on my blog? If you know me, you will know why I say that. I also know that so many friends of mine are going to just drool over this man.
Neither I nor Andres can confirm that he actually plays rugby. But who cares really? I would rather look at him than some of those fake rugby players in a rugby porn that I saw a promo for recently.
In any event, you have to check out this car ad from Argentina. Click on "Mira el comercial." It is in Spanish, so I will also steal Andres' translation. Also check out some of the outtakes linked under the commercial.
This makes me want to run out and buy a Peugeot. OK, not really (unless Luisma comes with the car), but it does make me want to run off and do something else. But I don't need to blog about that.
For those, like me, who are Spanish-impaired, here is a lose translation:
Referee blows whistle and a rugby match ends, Argentine rugby player Luisma Molinari walks off the field pouring a bottle of water over his body. Catches two girls oggling, he looks back, girls are still oggling.
Luisma talks directly to camera:
And yes, it's just like that: [People call me] Luisma, my idol! Rugby player! 275lbs of love! Pure testosterone!
He points at his bruised neck:
You know what this is? This is a hicky from a couple of nights ago. But what could it be? Could it be this [point at his chest]? The fact I play rugby? Or the fact I'm so macho? I even had to get some business cards done!
He points at headband:
You call this a rag? Well, you put it on and you become an indian. Me? [I put it on and become] Master of the Universe! Let's look. They're probably still staring at me!
He looks back at the 2 girls and realizes they're looking at his car instead.
Alright!The car, me.Me, the car.We're like a pact of love! [he clasps his hands together]
He lets out a sigh dissapointed that the girls are not looking at him and walks off the screen. Voiceover talks about the merits of the car.
Have I told you how much I loathe the Bush Administration and this Republican Congress? Grrrrr... it makes me so damn angry. CNN and their slimy conservative brethren over at Fox must be creaming themselves though. What a news week it has been from the political perspective. Here is a review:
Goodbye Harriet - This morning, the totally unqualified crony withdrew her nomination for the Supreme Court. She withdrew because the ultra-conservative, right-wing, bible-beating morons would not have her. But amazingly enough, I have read her letter withdrawing her nomination and listened to the talking heads on CNN and dismayed by what I read and heard. The Republicans are going to try to spin this as if the reason she withdrew was because the Democrats were going to press her for documents she wrote in the act of providing counsel to President Bush as she served as White House Counsel. Bullshit. Good luck with that one.
Tom Delay - What a douche bag and a hypocrite! This man, the suspended House Majority leader, actually had the balls to send out a fund-raising letter accusing the Democrats of engaging in what he calls "the politics of personal destruction." Seriously... this from one of the leaders of the party that conducted the witch hunt of Bill Clinton. They tried to destroy not just Clinton, but his family too. They are also now running TV ads attacking the prosecutor who is pursuing this and are going after the judge hearing the case.
Frist Lies - Senator Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican hopefully for President continues to try and dig himself out of the ethical slime that covers the Republicans in Washington, DC. Frist who is the subject of federal investigations over wrong-doing concerning a questionable stock sale that he ordered, is trying to sell a story to investigators that just does not jive with the evidence in the case. Senate records show Frist was notified that as much as $2.3 million in family-owned HCA stock was deposited into trusts for himself and his immediate family. Those required Senate disclosures clash with some of Frist’s past statements that he didn’t know whether he even owned HCA stock.
Plame-gate - White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove (aka Satan) and his legal team is scrambling to stave off possible perjury charges as part of the investigation over who outed CIA Operative Valerie Plame. It is expected that indictments may be handed down from a grand jury investigating Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff and others in the administration. The good news here is that the special prosecutor conducting the investigation is beyond reproach from either side of the aisle, so if he does bring indictments it is unlikely that Republicans will be able to cry foul play.
2,000 Dead - Vigils were held all over the US yesterday marking the death of the 2,000 US soldier in the Iraqi quagmire. It is clear Bush has no exit strategy and is no longer able to convince Americans that we belong in Iraq. That gurgling noise you hear is Bush drowning in his misguided policy. Unfortunately, we are drowning along with him. He has bankrupted the country over this ill-conceived personal war that is based on lies fed to us by this administration. Because of the billions of dollars funding this folly, we can barely take care of needs here at home. Look no further to how we handled the recent hurricanes to hit the US. And because we are broke, and Bush won't give on his tax cuts for the wealthy, Republicans plan on making the poorest in this country carry the burden on hurricane relief by cutting social programs that they depend on.
Tonight with the ugly, grey, damp, cold weather outside, I decided to stay inside and watch TV. And what a good night of TV viewing it was. Sigh... I love watching my future ex-husband on TV. Although I do enjoy all of the Law & Orders, I watch Law & Order: SVU mostly to see my dream man, Detective Mike Sandoval (Nicholas Gonzalez). I so want to have his babies, or die trying... LOL. I was so happy to see Sandoval on tonight's episode, as he is not always on.
Add to him Detective Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) and how can you go wrong. I still miss the incredibly homo-erotic roll of Chris Keller that he played in Oz on HBO. Come to think of it... I need to buy myself all the seasons of that show on DVD. There are few shows that I would think of purchasing that way, but Oz is one of them.
While I am quite clear that it is not exactly Zagat's, I got some positive feedback on last week's review of Latin eateries in NYC. So this week, I think I will turn my attention to Asian, or more specifically Chinese restaurants. Let me qualify this by saying that I am aware that NYC has like a million Chinese establishments - there seems to be two or three in every city block, and that doesn't include Chinatown, where there are blocks and blocks of nothing but Chinese restaurants. So this in no way is meant to be the "Best of" or anything remotely similar. It is merely intended to just say "hey, here are three or four of my favorites that I have been to." Let me further qualify this by saying that I am not sure what kind of judge I am when evaluating anything other that McDonald's, Burger King or Wendy's. For much of my life, I led a rather sheltered existence when it came to epicurean delights. My few years in NYC has, and continues to expose me to all sorts of new and interesting things. All that aside, here are four of my favorites in the city:
Cross Street: Between 69th and 70th Streets. Directions: 6 at 68th St.
What needs to be said about Cafe Evergreen can be summed up (pun intended) in two words... Dim-Sum! The dishes of mouthwatering dumplings and rolls and buns moving quickly around this bustling Upper East Side favorite makes your head spin. There are carts and trays with all sort of delicious treats going back on forth all around you. You are assured to order more than you planned to because just as you think you have ordered everything you want, you get dish envy over something the couple next to you just got and you decide that you have to try that too.
Mind you, a Dim-Sum place like this is not for novices alone. You should take a guide with you... someone who knows what's what at Dim-Sum... and it helps tremendously if he/she speaks Chinese as well. If you have never been to Dim-Sum, as was my case a few years ago, you will start out feeling a little overwhelmed. But you will leave a place like Evergreen feeling a little overstuffed. A word of caution, it is not cheap. But it is well worth it. Take a group, it is even more fun and you seem a little less hoggish with all the dishes on your table (plus you can sample new dishes that other people order). I strongly suggest you make a reservation if you decide to try this place.
Some of my favorites are the shrimp and scallop dumplings, Shu Mei (pork dumplings), various rice noodle rolls and the BBQ pork buns. I am not a big fan of scallions, but I hear the scallion pancakes are to die for (I used to know someone who could and would inhale them). They also have these Sesame balls and egg custard tarts... mmmmmm.
Cross Street: Between 50th Street and 51st Street Directions: C, E at 50th St
I can tell you what I love about this place, and then I cannot tell you what I could never eat here too. I LOVE the crab meat and pork soup dumplings. As shocking as this might be, I could eat an entire order of these appetizers by myself. Actually, the last few times there, that is what I order as my entree. They are perfectly flavored and just thinking about them makes my mouth water. Now I am going to have to find someone to go out for dinner in Hell's Kitchen tonight.
Then there is the Chong Qing spicy and aromatic chicken. Now if you like SPICY food, you may like this. But to me it is nothing more than a few scant pieces of inedible spicy chicken hidden in a barrel of hot red chili peppers that made my eyes water even having on the table. I will let Eric Asimov's review of the eatery in the New York Times speak for this unusual dish:
"On the other hand, I've never had anything like Chong Qing spicy and aromatic chicken ($9.95), a daunting dish that looks like a mountain of slender red chili peppers embedded with cubes of chicken. The chilies impart a hauntingly smoky aroma to the chicken, which is also seasoned with plenty of salt and Sichuan peppercorns. The result is a true Sichuan blend of spicy, salty and even sweet flavors. On my first try of this dish, I nibbled on one of the chilies. It was mildly spicy, with a wonderful roasted chili flavor. Emboldened, I popped a whole one in my mouth, and the top of my head exploded."
Cross Street: Broome Street Directions: J, M, Z at Bowery; 6 at Spring St
This unusually decorated (with it's pink menus, zebra striped chairs, neon light glass walls, dirty plastic flowers with fake dew drops and it's interesting lighting and fixtures) establishment also has an unusual menu. The funky menu seems to fit the decor. The food is very fresh and some of the fruity sauces are very interesting, although they might be a bit much for some. But there is something for everyone on the huge menu. I personally liked the fried beef strips with mangoes and the pork chops in orange sauce. They also have amazing bamboo boats and hot pots.
Anybody else have any good suggestions on some of New York's best kept secrets when it comes to Chinese food?
"...my feet were hurting and I didn't know why I refused to stand up when they told me. But the real reason of my not standing up was I felt that I had a right to be treated as any other passenger. We had endured that kind of treatment for too long."