while waiting for inspiration…

What a great read by Andrew Davis. The Back Room: http://www.koveda.wordpress.com

The Back Room

(I wrote this piece while I struggled with the recent book review. The previous words were eventually scrapped and I started fresh. This was the writing exercise that helped me to refocus.)

And then nothing.

Lost inspiration and frustration in not getting the right groove back. And so agonizing the search to reclaim my brain.

So here I sit in this early afternoon on the sofa, with windows opened everywhere, catching cross-ventilation splendid to my bare shoulders. I’m drinking orange juice while being soothed by the pre-1990 Angelique Kidjo recording. It could just as easily be a pint of Guinness and Wes Montgomery. Delightful conditions for inspiration.

(courtesy of Bi Tra)

I knew I would need gasoline this week so I went to the bank machine across the street last Friday. The tank finally fell below 60 miles to go, as read on my dashboard, so I pulled into a…

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New Orleans: The First Day

“America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” – Tennessee Williams

I am beginning to believe Williams! New Orleans…..love, love, love it! What a city!

The Back Room

Near Jackson Square. Near Jackson Square.

New Orleans’ French Quarter in the summer is like NYC in the summer circa 1987.  Lots of panhandlers accosting you in friendly or not so friendly ways, the smell of warm garbage wafting through the air or a combination of garbage and cigarette smoke, and tourists dressed minimally and looking more like they are going to a baseball game or bar-b-que when entering an elegant restaurant.  Throw in Southern hospitality and the constant blast of hot air from the Mississippi River and you’ve got the Quarter.

My bride and I just completed a lovely week in Louisiana’s charming city.  On the first day alone we went on a food tour visiting old restaurants and eating po’ boys, seafood gumbo, jambalaya, beignets and muffulettas!

Muffuletta Muffuletta

Jambalaya Jambalaya

Our first night we ate at Arnaud’s, a family owned and operated restaurant since 1918.  We had the Shrimp Arnaud, cold, fresh…

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Jeremy will go to school!

Jeremy and Annie in Chad.

                                Jeremy and Annie in Chad.

A friend of mine who I have known since high school (25 years ago….yikes!) just shared a fundraising website to a group of friends. Her husband “Jeremy Smith, just found out that he got accepted into SUTROFOR (Sustainable Tropical Forestry), a 2 year Masters degree that is tough to get into. He applied for the scholarship, he didn’t get it but he was high enough on the list that they sent him an acceptance if he can get 8000 Euros to them (University of Copenhagen) by May 1.”

I thought that I will share this with the WordPress world. Please support my friends’ dream! AND feel free to share!

http://www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/help-jeremy-smith-learn-to-support-subsistence-farmers/337056

Jeremy

Jeremy

Friday the 13th: Light Dinner at Brasserie Cognac, New York City.

My husband was already waiting for me at Brasserie Cognac, 1740 Broadway in New York City. I was walking as fast as my short legs are able to. Walking three avenues to the brasserie in this very cold New York City weather can be quite a feat for me. I made it, thankfully. My handsome husband was already at the bar with a bowl of warm French onion soup for both of us.

I order my drink: the Le Pasion–a passion fruit and flavored vodka cocktail. My husband orders a glass of Kronenbourg beer on tap.

The food at this brasserie is so amazing. We had a croque monsieur/madame that is made with emmenthal cheese, sourdough bread, french ham, and truffle bechame. The second appetizer we ordered was the yellow fin tuna tartare made with wasabi marinated avocado, sushi grade yellowfin tuna, topped with potato crisp and micro greens (YUM!).

We will definitely be going back for more delicious food!

Croque Monsieur/Madame

Croque Monsieur

Yellowfin Tuna Tartare

Yellowfin Tuna Tartare

Reviewing “Dear Thief” by Samantha Harvey

Sounds like a very interesting thought-provoking book! Will check it out!

The Back Room

 thief

You can tell me you’re angry.  You can use your words, hearing yourself say whatever you feel you need to say.  You can look at me or not look at me, giving me ample opportunity to take all of you in as I welcome your abuse.  You can show me how your physical body reacts to your own words.

But to me it is empty because your words do not truly reveal what you feel.  For that I would have to see your writing.  In your writing, you can explore the myriad avenues of emotions in all directions, simultaneously.  In your writing you hold nothing back.  You could share an intimate secret while standing naked in front of me, tears streaming down, and it would still not compare to the volume of emotion you keep locked inside.

I pick at your locks all the time.  Inspecting its security, testing…

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SELMA

This movie made me cry!

The Back Room

Tuesday night.  Movie night with my bride.

Selma.

Movie trailers can be calculated pieces of art.  They attempt to be the perfect first date, hoping to tantalize just enough for another time.

Not currently cable subscribers, we saw the trailer for Selma online.  It wasn’t the perfect first date but enough to pique our interest.  Stirring scenes of violent beatings and chin-raising acts of defiance with Oprah Winfrey’s silent scream and Tim Roth’s stern posturing.

One thing trailers have is the neat, tight, movie in a box.  They are rarely messy.

Selma is messy.  It runs overlong, clocking in at over 2 hours.  And I can see how the time is justified, to illustrate the extent of a man’s struggle, however it takes away from the film’s necessary momentum.

Selma is quiet.  Films rooted in contemplative speeches and long shots of dialogue-free scenes letting the film’s soundtrack do the talking…

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Dinner at Cuban Pete’s, Montclair, New Jersey

Cuban Pete's

Cuban Pete’s — a Montclair restaurant with an extremely friendly and fast service. The food was so delicious–just ignore the noisy environment. This is the closest my husband and I can experience what seems to be “Cuban”–through food and restaurant ambiance. One day we can visit Havana (in my dreams!) and get real Cuban food. But for now, Cuban Pete’s will do!

Tapas

Piquillo peppers stuffed with sausage and fried plantains.

Piquillo peppers stuffed with sausage and fried plantains.

Bite-size cuban sandwich.

Bite-size cuban sandwich.

Crispy ribtips with mint chimchurri.

Crispy ribtips with mint chimchurri.

Entrée

Guarapo marinated skirt steak and spicy chimichurri.

Guarapo marinated skirt steak and spicy chimichurri.

Spicy creole jumbo shrimp.

Spicy creole jumbo shrimp.

If you love the theater you will love Birdman

This movie is awesome!

The Back Room

If you love the theater you will love Birdman.  This film follows the movie stars, the strivers, the Broadway successes, the camera operators, key grips, the critics, the agents and the audiences through a narrative of mid-life crises and choices often taking us down into the underbelly of a theater as if perched on someone’s shoulder.

I’m gonna smack the play A Delicate Balance around some more.  In a coincidental stroke, one of the actresses, Lindsay Duncan, who brought much-needed life to the stiff play appears in Birdman as a theater critic as feared as Addison DeWitt, delivering a scathing response to Michael Keaton’s character’s heartfelt plea for mercy, icily leveling the building full of Hollywood actors and actresses who storm Broadway’s domain disregarding the painstaking craft of theatrical acting, getting special treatment and an audience that could care less with the play and more with celebrity.

Then there…

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Missing “Just Like Mother’s”

just like mother's restaurant

Just Like Mother’s Restaurant (Photo Source: http://www.justlikemothers.com)

Tucked away in Forest Hills (Queens, NY) was a Polish restaurant named “Just Like Mother’s“. I thought that it was one of the best restaurants in Forest Hills. I used to live nearby and would go there sometimes for a Saturday or Sunday brunch–a plate of sauerkraut and mushroom pierogies, cheese and fruit blinztes or a small stack of banana pancakes. Oh, so delicious! And after work hours in Manhattan, I would at times have dinner there–for my usual, the Hunter Pork’s Chop. A  moist breaded pork chop that had been stuffed with sauerkraut and mushrooms. Yep, I love mushrooms! Can’t go wrong with mushrooms mixed with sauerkraut!

I love this hole-in-the-wall Polish restaurant so much that I had taken my husband (the boyfriend then) there for dinner. He ordered the Long Island Roast Duck (half). It was stuffed with green apples and served with cranberry sauce and fries on the side. Ohhhhh…..the duck meat was so succulent–it just melted in your mouth.

just like mother's duck

Long Island Roast Duck (half). Stuffed with green apples and served with cranberry sauce and fries on the side.

And what did you think I ordered? Yep, the Hunter’s Pork Chop with an order of spinach.

pork chop

My husband and I wanted to go back there again, but unfortunately, it is now closed. Per the restaurant’s website, they were unable to “reach an agreement” with the landlord.  Sigh. I get so angry and sad at the death of another restaurant that serves such delicious food. We will definitely miss this place.