QOTD: "More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly." - Woody Allen
Reading: Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians
Listening to: Afro Celt Sound System, Volume 3: Further In Time
Decluttering accomplishments: did laundry, cleared off more papers from the living room floor, caught up on household finances
This is an entry of much food pornography and a bit of other debauchery. But first, I want to note that one of the winners of the MacArthur Foundation Grants (the so-called "genius grants") was David Wilson of the Museum of Jurassic Technology, which is the coolest place in Los Angeles, if not in the known universe. It's good to see real genius recognized - especially the sort that can create an exhibit about a bat that uses ultrasound to fly through solid objects.
Monday I got together with a friend from college, who was in town for a conference. I picked him up at the airport and we went to Magic Carpet to eat Yemenite pizza for lunch. It's really called melawah but it's easier to explain as Yemenite pizza. It's made on a flaky crust, somewhere between a thin pancake and phyllo pastry. The version I got was the spicy one, topped with a tomato, garlic and hot pepper mixture. It was very very good. Michael got the za'atar melawah, which is far tamer. (Za'atar is similar to oregano.) It was a nice meal and a nice get-together with someone I hadn't seen in roughly 20 years. He's remarkably unchanged, although his career path surprised me. He got an interdisciplinary Ph.D., involving nuclear engineering, political science, and history of technology - and ended up doing computer consulting. After lunch, I drove him downtown to his hotel, providing an opportunity for me to demonstrate that my sense of direction hasn't improved since college.
Tuesday morning, I had an interview for the other transfer I applied for. I'd give my odds as roughly 50% as I have only some of the background they're looking for. Then, I was off to Boulder, which allowed intense book buying debauchery as High Crimes was open that evening for a Sisters in Crime meeting. I didn't care about the meeting, but I took advantage of the store being open to stock up on mysteries. It is very very helpful that they ship! While we were downtown already, Mary Joan (who bought only a few books, as she had engaged in her own book buying binge there a couple of weeks ago) and I had dinner at Jax. Their ahi was as close to perfection as it gets, but the really notable dish was the grand marnier souffle, drizzled with chocolate, that I had for dessert.
Wednesday night I talked Suzanne into Ethiopian food at Ras Kassa's. We shared the vegetarian feast for two, which started off with a tasty hummous and chips that appeared to be baked injera, along with "Ethiopian style lager." Being a compulsive label reader, I discovered that the beer was actually from New Jersey. But it was actually quite nice for a light-tasting lager and a good accompaniment to the complex flavors of the food. That was followed by injera (of course), with spicy red lentil stew, a very tasty roasted beet dish, a somewhat bland dish of yellow split peas, something with either sweet potatoes or butternut squash or both, something very tasty that was green and sort of lemony and that I will never be able to get again because that's a stupid description of it, and a few other things that I'm even vaguer on. The waitress had told us what everything was, but there were a couple of dishes that she'd been unsure of. The special includes dessert and I was immensely curious as to what an Ethiopian dessert would turn out to be. It turned out to be Italian - a choice of chocolate gelato, coffee gelato or blackberry sorbet. The sorbet was nicely refreshing after the spicy food. Overall, it was a very enjoyable change of pace.
Back at the hotel, I watched The Amazing Race on TV. This is one of those things I never watch at home, but I was too tired after a long day of meetings. And I am completely puzzled by something that nobody else will even notice about this show. Namely, where's the part where everybody has to hang out for two days continuing to go back to the embassy to get the visas to go to India and then finds out that they have to go back the next day because of a national holiday that nobody ever bothered mentioning before and, by the way, it will be an extra $75 to expedite the visa because they have to fax back to the U.S. and verify that you aren't a criminal? (I am not particularly picking on Indian bureaucracy here - but it is a country that demands visas of pretty much everybody so I felt like commenting on it.) Sadly, the scenes they showed of Delhi (and the Red Fort is in the Old City, not in New Delhi) accurately match my experiences there. It's a fascinating country but also a frustrating one and not really well suited to doing things quickly. So I can't really blame the contestants for getting as frustrated as they did. Incidentally, Taj is a major chain of luxury hotels in India, so it isn't all that surprising that taxi drivers don't make the connection between the Taj Khema Hotel and the Taj Mahal.
Thursday night did not include any bad reality TV, but featured more ahi - this time at Zolo. They did it as well as always. I also tried a very strange dessert. It was called a chocolate tower and consisted of chocolate cake, filled with mousse, and served with whipped cream. What made it strange was that the mousse was chocolate-chipotle. I'm glad I tried it but it was too odd. It did have the heat of chipotle peppers, but it was also too sweet. Oh, well, at least I satisfied my curiousity. And it lent new meaning to the term "hot chocolate."
My weekend has been far more prosaic, filled largely with housework, reading and napping. I am also making rapid progress on the cross-stitch that I bought in Anchorage three years ago. Then I can work on the other couple of dozen unfinished projects lying around.
Copyright 2001 Miriam H. Nadel