Saturday, May 25, 2013

For this man (and others) you must GO SEE Star Trek

I saw the latest of the Star Trek movie series today, Star Trek: Into Darkness.

OMG, wow, fab, etc.   I truly appreciated Chris Pine's beauty in this film more than previous ones.  All of the actors (Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Benedict Cumberbatch, etc) are really in fine form and the film has a great script.  Even the Star Trek original series icon, the original "Spock" Leonard Nimoy, makes an impressive, albeit short, appearance.

We saw the 3D version of tho movie.

I am not usually predisposed to these kind of films.   What I mean is that I am not interested in testosterone movies are only about killing destruction, violence, etc, that are geared for  Neanderthal, straight men or their pre- or pubescent counterparts.

As kid, I grew up watching Star Trek (and then the Star Wars films since).  Star Trek always had a before-its-time "hormonal" balance in its characters (although its humor and its scripts reflected the mores of the times). Men could show tenderness.

The plot/script of this movie is great.   The film's ensemble all deliver excellent performances.   Most of them with an homage/slight hint to the their character's personality on the original television series, where applicable.

Chris Pine is as gorgeous in every frame as an actor can be, as was Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook.

You should not miss this.  It was one of the few, and best, testosterone films that I've enjoyed in decades.

Monday, May 20, 2013

BEST new show on TV: Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown on CNN

I always thought that restaurateur, author, chef, Anthony Bourdain, was a bit of a prick, although I like that sometimes.   Especially his very personal attack on Food Network's chef Paula Deen (didn't disagree with his issue about her diabetes, but the rather nasty way he treated her.

I was totally shocked when I watched one of the first shows of his new show, Parts Unknown, on CNN and was completely enthralled.   The first episode that I saw was the Korea Town in LA.   I became addicted immediately.  I've watch every episode since.

Bourdain, a dude who captures my heart with his profanity
First of all, the dude has a sailor vocabulary that he shares unabashedly on the show.   He said 'fuck' several times.  He said 'shit'.   He said 'god damned'.   I relish others who swear the way I do.  I fell in love with the show instantly with the first 'fuck' that was uttered.

Myanamar episode

But more importantly, Parts Unknown, is a very intelligent sociological, journalistic show in addition to being a "foodie"-oriented show.   The essence of the show is about discovering food in all sorts of exotic far flung places.  But like I said, the show transcends a food discovery show.

Last week's show from Libya, was perhaps some of the most impactful reporting I've seen since Gaddafi's death.  And yet, it ultimately made my mouth water.
Libya episode
One example, a breakfast item, which is sort of a flattened "donut" fried with an egg or to in it.  Another segment at a seafood shop made Seattle's Fisherman's Wharf's vendor offerings pale in comparison.

Dish from the Los Angeles Korea Town episode
Since the first LA Korea Town episode I've watched with more and more obsessiveness shows profiling:  Colombia, Canada (Quebec), Morocco (Tangier), Libya.   In fact, I've viewed each episode multiple times.
A Tangine from the Morocco episode

Canada (Quebec episode)

Libya episode
I'm bored with television for the most part.  I've lost any interest in the faux reality shows (Housewives, etc).   But this show is as real as it gets.   And Bourdain, who often looks haggard in a dashing way, is so very erudite, humorous, and ballsy, that you must check out this show.

After only a half a dozen episodes CNN has renewed the series for a second season.  It seems that I'm not the only viewer impressed with Parts Unknown.
Bordain in the Morocco episode
The show is on at 9pm Eastern on Sunday.   Please go to the website to learn more (click here).  But more importantly, give yourself a gift, and became a viewer of this show.  You'll become a more educated foodie, but more importantly, you'll be eminently aware of the diverse world in which we live.

Food from the LA Korea Town episode

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Proposed Mumbai Skyscraper Will Be Its Tallest and Greenest

 Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture‘s proposal for Mumbai’s tallest building, the Imperial Tower, which will be a slender 116-story, 400-meter residential skyscraper. According to AS+GG, the svelte structure the extremely tall and thin tower is designed (two adjectives you don’t normally associate with sturdiness). 

All images courtesy of AS+GG
The tower, if built, will include "sky gardens," which have been designed to "dampen" wind eddying about the tower helping the structure to stand strong against a sudden gale. 

AS+GG designed the skyscraper to minimize its effects on climate change. Environmentally friendly features include rainwater harvesting, gray water recycling, and exterior cladding to limit solar heat gain. A fascinating aspect of the design is the possibility that the apartments’ kitchens and bathrooms could be prefabricated by a local factory.

It's beautiful.......wonder if it will be built.

All images courtesy of AS+GG

All images courtesy of AS+GG

All images courtesy of AS+GG

All images courtesy of AS+GG

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

ME WANT! Coming soon--FLYING CAR

Terrafugia, a Massachusetts based firm, has announced they are developing a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle called the TF-X which could, in theory, hop over traffic and fly for 500 miles. The vehicle would cost approximately $300,000.
The TF-X will travel at 200mph powered by a 300 hp jet engine.  On the ground, the TF-X is a plug-in hybrid and drives like any other automobile.  I'd love tooling around in this and all of the stares and gapes it would garner.

It also can take off vertically.

The car on the street and highway with the wings folded.

Here's a video:

The company also offers a propellor version of this car/aircraft know as the Transition®.
This version is in a more advance stage and is a more economical version.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The MOST beautiful actress of all time: AUDREY HEPBURN

It's really hard to narrow down the most beautiful screen actress of all time......there have been so many stunningly beautiful women.   But one, Audrey Hepburn, had a presence, a serenity, a magnetism, that the others were only second too.

I have always been obsessed with Audrey Hepburn, since I was a little kid.  I watch Breakfast At Tiffany's every six months or so.   This is the most quintessential Hepburn film of all.  It evoked the sophistication and uniqueness of the actress.


Today is the actress' birthday.  She would have been 84 years old.

Vanity Fair has a great article about the actress with great photos.  The article is titled:  "Audrey Hepburn’s Roman Street Style:  from outdoor cafés to sporty convertibles, the Roman sites and scenes frequented by Audrey Hepburn, resident of the Eternal City." (see the cover article, click here)

Please see an earlier blog posting on Breakfast At Tiffany's: click here.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

OMG.......where the pho-ck has PHO been all my life.

A friend just recently introduced me to the Vietnamese soup, named 
pho (phở pronounced [fəː˧˩˧] (  listen)).

It is the most heavenly dish ever.

I think it is the broth.  Or, maybe it's the rice noodles.....or maybe it's the beef tendons.  No, maybe it's the garnishes.  All of these things together create the most amazing culinary experience.

Pho is served in a bowl with a specific cut of white rice noodles in clear beef broth, with slim cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket). Variations feature tendon, tripe, or meatballs in southern Vietnam. Chicken pho is made using the same spices as beef, but the broth is made using only chicken bones and meat, as well as some internal organs of the chicken, such as the heart, the undeveloped eggs and the gizzard.

The broth for beef pho is generally made by simmering beef bones, oxtails, flank steak, charred onion, charred ginger and spices. For a more intense flavor, the bones may still have beef on them. Chicken bones also work and produce a similar broth. Seasonings can include Saigon cinnamon or other kinds of cinnamon as alternatives (may use stick or powder), star anise, roasted ginger, roasted onion, black cardamom, coriander seed, fennel seed, and clove. The broth takes several hours to make.[14][15] For chicken pho, only the meat and bones of the chicken are used in place of beef and beef bone. The remaining spices remain the same, but the charred ginger can be omitted, since its function in beef pho is to get rid of the "cow's smell".

The spices, often wrapped in cheesecloth or soaking bag to prevent them from floating all over the pot, usually contain: clove, star anise, coriander seed, fennel, cinnamon, black cardamom, ginger and onion.

Careful cooks often roast ginger and onion over an open fire for about a minute before adding them to the stock, to bring out their full flavor. They also skim off all the impurities that float to the top while cooking; this is the key to a clear broth. Salt, or preferably nước mắm (fish sauce) is added toward the end.


Typical garnishes for phở Sài Gòn, clockwise from top left are: onions, chili peppers, culantro, lime, bean sprouts, and Thai basil.

Vietnamese dishes are meals typically served with lots of greens, herbs, vegetables, and various other accompaniments, such as dipping sauces, hot and spicy pastes, and a squeeze of lime or lemon juice; it may also be served with hoisin sauce. The dish is garnished with ingredients such as green onions, white onions, Thai basil (not to be confused with sweet basil), fresh Thai chili peppers, lemon or lime wedges, bean sprouts and coriander or culantro. Fish sauce, hoisin sauce and chili sauce may be added to taste as accompaniments.

Several ingredients not generally served with pho may be ordered by request. Extra-fatty broth (nước béo) can be ordered and comes with scallions to sweeten it. A popular side dish ordered upon request is hành dấm, or vinegared white onions.

I have to thank my friend Zack for introducing me to this culinary experience. Where the phock have you been my entire life, Pho?