The Village Voice's Michael Musto is probably my favorite gossip columnist. He's got more drag-queen news than I've got use for, and he may not get the Imelda Marcos scoops that Cindy Adams does, but he manages to straddle the divide between mainstream and demimonde in a rare manner. And there's a real person somewhere under there; today he has a right-on rumination
on 9/11 and after.
PBS does Sun Records
News of Corporate America, Where The Few Enjoy Lavish Lifestyles in Exchange for Low Pay for Employees and Bad Products and Services for the Public, Installment 38999:
Excite@home has petitioned the Bankruptcy Court to void its Internet service contracts, effective Nov. 30, with Comcast, AT&T, and other providers of cable internet service to a total of 4 million customers (including yours truly). I just got a very lame email from Comcast giving me their backup plan "in the unlikely event" my email, webspace, and Internet service are suddenly rendered inaccessible: (1) Back up my website to CD or hard drive. (2) Set up a "temporary" ISP account with NetZero via phone modem.
That's rich! Five months ago Excite@home's supercilious technicians were trying to get me to disconnect my NetZero phone connection so I could "get better service with my cable."
Some of you may remember Hellen, Edgar Oliver's sister and my girl friend back in the 80's in the EV. Hellen Carson Oliver's middle namesake was a 2nd cousin C. McCullers
. The magazine version has a photoportrait of CM
. HCO's physical resemblance is strong.
, a fearless and passionate cook who helped to free French cuisine in the United States from a hidebound orthodoxy while influencing a generation of chefs and food lovers, died yesterday in McLean, Va. He was 55.
I'm starting to get my very own Disturbing Search Requests! Samples from my log: "thumbnails of people living in slum environments"; "musical play about a Morrocan (sic) guerrilla group." Google indexed every post from 2001 on the same page (my URL/date/2001), so there's a huge pool for random word combos.
Liberty State Park News
Liberty State Park is a vast amount of open land, reclaimed from old industrial and railroad land, facing the Statue of Liberty in New Jersey. Walking through the (barely-used) facility most days is quite eerie (and beautiful): the lower Manhattan skyline appears to be sitting all by itself in an empty field.
Unfortunately, developers have been salivating to carve up the land since the park's inception. They apply constant pressure to put in water parks, golf courses, amphitheatres, and other money-making ventures--so far with no results, thanks to vigilant friends of the park.
Recently, though, I've noticed three separate encroachments on the park's open space. After the 9/11 tragedy, a triage area was set up in the old railroad station, but the anticipated flood of emergency cases never materialized--it's now something called the "WTC Family Assistance Center." This occupies a small amount of space, but for some reason a huge adjacent section of the park (including a pedestrian bridge along the Hudson) was made inaccessible through barricades and permanently stationed cops. Park benches, walkways, and waterfront have all been cordoned off. Not to be unpatriotic, but I can't see any purpose for the land-grab, other than "because we can."
Another big chunk of grassy land was torn up next to the Marina for a permanent parking lot; during working hours it's used as a bus transfer and pickup point, but the rest of the time it just sits there. This huge expanse of asphalt was "prettified" with little stunted pine trees held up with stakes, and hundreds of feet of plastic white picket fence.
Finally, within the last week, "Mount Liberty" suddenly appeared in the landscaped area across from the bus lot. This twenty-foot-high, hundred-foot-long mound of dirt--fill material for some as yet unspecified project--was just plopped on top of the grass (the same spot where I saw the pheasants a few months back). It's covered with straw and some kind of turquoise powder, and fenced in with crappy-looking sheets of plastic. In order for dumptrucks to access it from the cobblestone road, white gravel was poured willy-nilly on the grass.
I hate to say it, but giving the public a park and then taking it away whenever it's convenient is just low-class; New Jersey ought to be capable of better.
November 21, 2001
Up there with best meals ever, which I normally donít associate with fine dining situations being more prone to romanticize the sausage and bread by the side of the road in Italy over any starred situation: Mju in the Millennium Hotel, London on Sloane Street. The Japanese/Australian chef Tetsuya Wakuda serves his fare in a hotel room reminiscent of some starship bridge crossed with a crusty hotel dining room, i.e. ugly, but this did nothing to detract from the tasting menu whose courses ran into two digits. In fact I began to enjoy our strangely incongruous surroundings. The tasting itself was beautifully orchestrated (I usually balk at these assaults on the taste buds and digestive process) with modest portions that built in flavour to a crescendo leaving us all uncharacteristically speechless. Some of the courses came two at a time. He is one of those smart chefs, reminiscent of a certain hirsute one on Clinton Street, that understands perfectly the harmony of flavor, texture, and the visual elements of food. I kept thinking of Huysmans; Iím not ready for redemptionóy et. You eat whatever is being served but the kitchen will accommodate requests/allergies. Here is the full confession: tomato tea consomme; oysters with ginger & mirin dressing; salad of tuna, orange, shiso sauce; some mousse/lobster concoction; tataki of venison, truffle peaches with rosemary & honey; roast langoustine with tea & shellfish oil; confit of wild Scottish salmon with marinated celery; carpaccio of sea scallops with foie gras & citrus soy; lobster ravioli with seaweed vinaigrette & shellfish essence; shitake & buckwheat risotto with grilled foie gras; steamed razor clams with cauliflower and broccoli florets; double cooked de-boned spatchcock (Scottish poussin) with braised daikon & bread sauce; Scottish Black-Angus beef with shitake mushrooms on truffle mash; sorbet of lychee & strawberry; floating island with vanilla bean & praline anglaise. Great wines too, one of which was apparently absurdly underpriced, a Rousseau Grand Cru that the wine detective spotted and which they were gracious enough to serve at the listed price. 50 English pounds for the tasting. Go while the fares remain low.
Weasels at the Helm
From "Today's Papers" on Slate:
Rumsfeld said that the U.S. plans to "incentivize a large number of people to begin crawling through those tunnels and caves." The plan is being broadcast over Afghanistan and dropped in leaflets:
"Attention people of Afghanistan! Up to $25 million reward is being offered for information leading to the location or capture of Osama bin Laden or Aiman al-Zawahiri."
Quote of the day (from Page Six) has second-string Catwoman Eartha Kitt
, who almost ruined her career in the 60s by publicly opposing the Vietnam War, opining:
"This war against the terrorists in Afghanistan is nothing like Vietnam. I support this war unequivocally. We were attacked on our soil. We have to bomb these people until we teach them not to hate us."
On the road to NOLA
I'm packing up the computer and Yoyo the geriatric cat to drive to New Orleans. I'd like to fry
up a turkey while I'm there.
just (randomly) heard our friend phoebe doing the voiceover in a visa ad for the winter olympics. its about snowboarding in the wasatch valley with a remake of Surfin USA as the soundtrack. nice work if you can get it.
ARGENTINA IS MY 50TH COUNTRY/TERRITORY
Santiago lunch 11/17
baby bay shrimp in garlic
salad of lettuce w/roe, scallops, toasted almonds, parma cheese, lardons, basalmic vinagrette
spinish pasta ravioli filled with smoked chicken in a pepper tomatoe sauce
lemon fettucini with fruta del mar (hard core mar!!!)
lemon sorbetta with lemoncella
(off to Mendoza)
having a soiree saturday night december 1.
352 east 8th street
on the corner of avenue c
be there or be square.
Medallions of fine dining
6 months into a delicious new year, our critic reviews his top tastes
By Jerry Shriver, USA TODAY
Francis Mallmann 1884 Restaurante, Mendoza, Argentina (1188 Belgrano; 011-54-261-424-3336). Argentine chef Francis Mallmann is one of South America's stars, thanks to his sophisticated renderings of regional produce at his restaurants in Buenos Aires, Uruguay and here in the heart of the Mendoza wine country. He seems completely at home at this spacious, Colonial-style outpost, where my dinner highlights included flatbread topped with bresaola, dried tomatoes, goat cheese and fresh figs; roasted lamb with pureed potatoes; and perfectly simple chocolate mousse.
????guess i will see????