“Go to the goddamn grocery and get steak. Yes, the grocery. A little ammonia is not going to kill you, you pussy. You want to be all fancy and grass-fed and environmentally conscious, go ahead, I don’t give a shit, just get a fucking steak. Ribeye is good. And, yes, bone-in. Schmuck. Take the steak home. Get a bigass frying pan and put the shit on the stove, cranking the heat up as far as that fucker will go. Take a shitload of salt—rocksalt, you dumb motherfucker, none of that fine-grained crap here—and toss it around the bottom of the pan. When the pan is hot as all fuck—it should scorch the shit out of your finger if you’re stupid enough to touch it—put the fucking steak on there. You can crack some pepper on the top of the steak as the bottom is searing, but don’t even talk to me about garlic or onion powder or COMPOUND FUCKING BUTTER, asshole. This is steak, all you fucking need is salt and pepper. After a bit (3 minutes for pink, 5 for cooked good), flip that shit over and do the same fucking thing you just did with the other side, i.e. sit on your ass and wait for your motherfucking steak to be ready, you useless assbag. When you’re done, sling that shit on a plate. Beringer’s 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Private Reserve makes an absolutely delightful accompaniment, particularly if you’ve taken care to let it breathe a bit before quaffing. Also, make some fucking potatoes, because that’s what you eat with a fucking steak. God, sometimes I just want to smack the shit out of you.”
Why isn’t every single piece of cooking instruction, everywhere, exactly like this
Now where do I even begin with this.
Put it this way: the biggest problem with Bryan Fuller’s Pushing Daisies wasn’t the early cancellation or even Lee Pace; it was that by setting the series inside a reputedly astonishing pie bakery, I left every single episode maddeningly hungry for pie. The episodes generally ended after closing time for most businesses in Toronto, though, so I’d inevitably spend the rest of the night in a state of advanced pie-seeking agitation that could not be fulfilled by a quick trip to Dominion to buy a Flakie Tart.
Now here’s Hannibal, and what’s really freaking me out is how hungry the show makes me.Read more
The evacuation of New York proceeded apace. I was in the city for something like a total of 42 hours, give or take. Some of it - not a lot of it - was spent sleeping. The promised thunderstorms never arrived, at least not in New York proper, although at the moment I turned the keys of the cube truck to start the 11.2 hour drive to Tweed, ON, the windshield first became speckled by rain.
The biggest shock of the whole thing was Adam, who hasn’t looked that good since before he discovered Guns n’ Roses. He’s living in Brooklyn, working in Brooklyn, and already seems like he’s been there for ten years. Sometimes you just find a place, and were from there all along.
I flew Porter for the first time, and read A General Theory of Love in Billy Bishop while waiting for Toronto’s thunderstorm to pass - I guess prop planes don’t do well in those - and after landing in Newark took the train in to Penn Station and got hit with All The New York All At Once. Which was good; it got that whole thing out of the way, and left most of Saturday for things less obvious. Though I never did get up the Empire State Building, which really should have been first order of business now that I think about it.
"How am I going to inject the cheese?" Happy 4th of July, America.
Lake Ferry - Our Mount Doom hike has been scuttled, because the Tongariro crossing is in permanent nastiness, weather-wise, for the next several days. This has left a rather gaping crater in our final week in New Zealand. We’ve ended up in Lake Ferry - a bleak stretch of sand out near the pinnacles, where the hotel (a lovely, barren motel overlooking the sand spit) could be the gathering place for anyone within twenty miles.
Have I mentioned the food here - the food in New Zealand is one hell of a best-kept secret. With exactly one exception, we have not failed to find UNBELIEVABLY good food in every restaurant we’ve visited, largely sourced from local products, and always plated with an aesthetic solvency that would blow the hair off half the Food Network hags. Last night at the hotel restaurant it was prawns and fettuccine tossed in tomato sauce with chorizo sausage and pine nuts, and it was - yet again - one of the better meals I’ve had in my life. No one talks about this place as the culinary centre of the world? Is it because they’re too busy talking about the propensity to jump off bridges?
Have I mentioned the drought? It’s stunningly dry here, and all the highway “fire hazard” signs (of which there are many) are set to “EXTREME.” But more than that, you see it as you move through the land - driving down here, across mile after mile after mile of sun-blasted scrub land, one begins to worry. Demetre was saying that the country is within a stone’s throw of water rationing if they don’t get a good downpour soon. (They should go to Tongariro.)
Wellington turned out to be a compellingly livable, friendly city, with a solid strategy for public art, and walkable streets that are - for whatever reason - replete with pregnant women, suggesting that they have lots of sex there and/or are as fertile as the average fruit fly. Wellington also puts Chicago’s quaint notions of itself as “the windy city” in striking perspective - especially down by the bay, that town has WIND, man. But no one seems too bothered about it. Friday morning the folks heading to work did not seem in any particular rush about it, and Friday night the streets exploded with nightlife to a degree that was more than a bit startling.
We went to the Weta Cave and then I did my Obi-Wan Kenobi straight-line walk to Stone Street Studio without any plan or navigational assistance. The highlight of the stay, though, was going to the Embassy Theatre for a midnight screening of The Hobbit in 48/3-D/Atmos, which would have been a treat in itself, but… THIS THEATRE. Quite legitimately the best movie theatre I’ve ever been to a movie in, with a stunning lobby, tony nighttime bar under the screen (which creates the rather surreal visual of walking into the lobby and seeing no ticket counter or concession stand, but rather a vulva-ish tunnel leading to a brilliantly designed room full of flappers drinking Old Fashioneds), an upstairs cafe and lounge area, and then - of course - a brilliant theatre, with a gargantuan screen, the best sound system I’ve ever heard, and wide leather armchairs bearing the names of the benefactors who sponsored them. (I sat in Liv Tyler’s.) If they played Return of the Jedi on Saturday mornings, it would be like all of my life’s ambitions had crashed together in one place. The Embassy is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and puts Wellington near the top of the list of places in New Zealand now vying for my permanent residence.
The big draw out where we are right now are the pinnacles, which served as the Paths of the Dead and must be seen to be believed. Made up of dissolving towers of compacted scree, the pinnacles seem like a winding labyrinth of crumbling castle turrets and proud, erect penises stabbing the darkening sky. (Also: if the metaphors in this entry any indication, I’ve spent too long absent the company of a woman.) We were in the pinnacles as the sun went down, and the encroaching chill and preternatural silence - broken only by our exhausting efforts to scramble over the voluminous piles of skull-like stones - was immense. I would love to return with a good set of speakers, and bounce the Raiders march off every corner of that large, natural echo chamber.