Monday, July 24, 2006

Gastronomy: the art of living well

Ebony came to visit me these last few days, making it a nice, long food-rich weekend. We ate our way all through DC, North Arlington and even West Virginia. Ebony and I share a very important philosophy about vacationing: eating well makes every trip better.


So let's review the goodness:

Dim Sum in Chinatown (enough said)
Wine festival, with acres and acres of vineyards backing up to the Blue Ridge mountains, and ten different wines to try
Ben's Chili Bowl: DC landmark that completely lives up to its reputation for the best chili half-smokes in the land
The brunchiest of brunch places in DC, with books to peruse beforehand, and pancakes and eggs benedict during the brunch hour...

...and the crowning jewel in our gastronomic adventures:
Lebanese Taverna (oh sweet wonderful essence of all things yummy...this was a GOOD meal): involving spicy stuffed baby eggplant, hommous with pine nuts, chicken shwarma, kibbeh yoghurtlieh, and Lebanese chilled white wine, served al fresco in the gorgeous summer air

Seriously, food does make all trips better. Served up with great company and some cooperative weather, and I didn't even need to leave home to have a vacation.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

In seeing the new Superman movie, I have developed a little bit of a crush. It's not on Superman himself, although he is certainly worthy of a crush, but it's on a rather unlikely person. John Williams, to be exact. One of the most thrilling parts of the whole movie - the part where I decided I already loved it - was when the "Superman" theme began to play with the opening credits. The music is so amazing! And Mr. Talented Composer didn't just do this, no no no, he has done so many more: ET! Star Wars! Schindler's List! Raider's of the Lost Ark! Harry Potter! The list could go on and on.

I've noticed a trend lately (with myself) that inclines more and more to instrumental and/or classical music. It's really the background music to my childhood - if you dropped into my parents' house right this moment, they would have on the classical music station or a similar CD (assuming they're home, of course). And then there were 14 years of ballet lessons, all performed to classical music. This also has an interesting side-effect, in that I can hear Chopin or Grieg, and immediately my muscles want to launch into a barre routine. Frappes! Degages! Musical memory is a strange thing indeed.

Don't get me wrong: I still love my rock'n'roll and all the others, but there's something so soothing about music that is purely instrumental. You don't have pay attention to or be distracted by the words, because there aren't any.* It leads me to one of my favorite quotes, which I collect for moments such as this: "It is only that which cannot be expressed otherwise that is worth expressing in music." (Frederick Delius). Beautiful.

*I sort of lop opera music into this category as well, because there are words, but I can't understand them.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Things That Rock

Tomato, basil, and mozzarella salad (with hearts of palm)
Superman Returns
Tank tops
Oscillating fans
Plans to see a matinee on a Tuesday
No more rain
Federal holidays