We are exceptionally lucky to have this very excellent Salvadorean restaurant mere blocks away. It’s incredible food (and most things come with a salad– this is a pet peeve, ordering a meal that doesn’t come with a vegetable. I mean, really!) and the prices are reasonable. Also, I didn’t mention that they will make most of the meat dishes vegetarian if you ask. Our neighbourhood also hosts an annual Pupusa Festival, too. My neighbourhood is awesome.
Archive for May, 2011
I saw both Thor and Bridesmaids recently, and surprise! Both pass the Bechdel Test!
In fact, it is not as simple as chick-flick VS dude-flick. Thor, while it does fulfil the action and fighting part, also manages to be quite a nice family drama. Anthony Hopkins is a great actor who shows up in terrible movies (Hannibal, anyone?), and he makes a very serviceable Odin. But what an appealing God of Thunder they found in Chris Hemsworth! He is certainly beefy enough (and is frequently shirtless to prove it), but he’s also charismatic enough to pull of the godlike thing. It’s pretty easy to dismiss a guy with big muscles as no more than eye candy, but his character is given enough depth (comedic to epic) that he kind of grows on you.
The same, unfortunately, can’t be said of Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster, who we are told is a brilliant scientist but never really demonstrates how that might be. It’s too bad that she’s reduced to just a pretty girl. It’s hinted that there’s something special about her that Thor is attracted to, possibly her intelligence or something. But mostly she aw-shucks herself under his gaze and never really proves herself. Kat Dennings, as her lab assistant, has more moxie. (and yes, it’s these two female characters who chat nicely about science to fulfill the Bechdel requirements!)
Yeah, though: the 3D is as blurry as ever, and the ice giants are fakey. It’s silly, predictable, but still Ok enough to sit through.
Bridesmaids, on the other hand, was much better than I expected.
I try not to read too many reviews before I see something for fun (when I review, I do lots of research). From what I could tell, it was a ensemble comedy with lots of women, but it was a gross-out formula in the Judd Apatow vein. And sure, there’s a food poisoning scene that’s pretty gross. But that’s just ONE incident. It’s no Hangover.
What it does have: female characters, over 30, who aren’t all moms. Women who are as concerned about their friendships with each other, their work, and the meaning of life as they are with their spouses and children. And it’s FUNNY.
There’s lots to relate to. Kristen Wiig is Annie, a slightly washed-up 30-something who is floundering after losing her business and her boyfriend. Her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph, who was so great in Away We Go) gets engaged, and it lets loose all kinds of issues. Helen (Rose Byrne) is a rich, put-together uber-bridesmaid who is perfection to Annie’s disheleved chaos. There’s a rivalry, plus a sense of mourning that Lillian is not the same kid she grew up with. Friendships do change, and there’s no simple way to evolve out of them sometimes.
Add to that a cute love interest (Chris O’Dowd), some puppies, and Wilson Phillips, and of course, a wedding. There will be tears.
It’s an expensive cut of meat, but compared to ordering it at a restaurant, it’s a bargain. Less than a diner steak sandwich, in fact. I bought a nice rack as a treat from Serben Free Range at the Alberta Ave Farmers Market, a little intimidated, but was surprised how easy it was to make a very swanky dinner for two for under $20.
First, I prepared some potatoes for a side. I peeled and sliced thinly a couple of very ordinary russets, then arranged a layer in a buttered pie plate. Salt and pepper. Then a layer of sour cream and some shredded cheese left over from taco night. Then another layer of potatoes. Then more seasonings and cheese. I threw that into a hot oven (450F) while I prepped the rest of the meal.
The lamb was already Frenched, but it doesn’t seem hard to prepare something whole. I’m a little jealous, actually. All that “scrap” meat could be made into a stew or something. But when it’s already prepared, there’s not much to it. Salt and pepper the rack and give it a sear on both sides in a cast iron pan. Then remove the meat, spread some dijon mustard on the meaty side and pat on a crust. I used a mixture of bread crumbs (I used panko, since that’s what I have), finely-chopped fresh rosemary, minced garlic and a little olive oil to moisten. You’re supposed to cover the bone ends with foil, so I did. Then it all goes in the oven for 12 to 20 minutes. At the same time, I roasted some asparagus, and covered the cheesy potatoes with foil so it doesn’t burn.
I prefer my meat on the rare side, I removed the rack after 12 minutes and let it rest for 10 more. I think it could have used a couple more minutes, but I was really hungry! And it was so delicious that it hardly mattered. Impress your friends! Rack of lamb!