Sunday, September 28, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
In the midst of Apple's release of the iPhone 6 (and plus) this weekend, I happened to get caught in a downpour along Lagoon in Uptown that forced my way into another realm. A little Russian hideaway that I have fallen in love with. However, this is not the Cold War Russian faire with bread lines and MIGs. This is the post-Berlin War era, despite the bathroom poster calling for wealth redistribution through capitalism via gift card purchases (though that would be a gift much appreciated after looking over this menu). The winds of change, after all, had blown me into this venue and I decided it was time to warm up with an Irish coffee, for medicinal purposes.
When is the right time for caviar? It's a luxury, true enough, but if you go through life telling yourself what you can never have, you will never have it. The Hammer and Sickle makes this adventure achievable for many. From domestic roes to true caviar (from Sturgeon), the market price will vary depending on what you select. If you already know what you like, you can order a single caviar and have it presented with the traditional accompaniments. However, this is caviar that is dressed to the 9s.
The only thing that didn't make any sense to me was the huge clove of pickled garlic that was served as a garnish. That was the only item that I sent back to the kitchen. Everything else was a straight 9 out of 10 for me.
The dill infusion vodka is also a must. The wait staff went through an incredible list of choices of in-house infusions, and I was very happy with her recommendation. Incredibly smooth, no queen olives needed.
Up next, one of their small plates, the Kobe beef sliders. In a word, SUCCULENT. Lardons of bacon, farm cheese, micro greens, and their own crafted ketchup. Just about everything served is made in house.
You do get what you pay for here, great service and great food.
So if you are ever in Uptown, want something a little different from your normal routine, live a little. The Hammer and Sickle is a must.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
As I walked on, I wondered if in a strange way it was an unconscious form of self-sabotage. My thoughts tend to want to explore the things we ignore on a daily basis. We edit out these things because of the lack of importance. We ignore what we see all of the time and walk by, blinded. So I started a little game of details. Random little details on my walks, that I would note and it has had a surprising effect. It made me aware of subtle changes that happen continuously. Instead of noticing change in accumulated moments, you can see it happening constantly, becoming more aware of your environment, seasons, surroundings and a form of subtle energy that we are blind to.
We forget how we are like this oasis of life in a 'space desert'. We often get caught up in our life games created here that we forget about everything around us. Intellectually, we acknowledge where we are, see pictures from around the globe, but our limits, well, not everyone has the ability or time to explore.
How does displaced objects relate to all of this mental masturbation? Actually, it relates to my own blindness and for me, highlights where I may have a lack in my perceptive ability. Things are not always what they seem to be. Like the quote from Hesse. I am trying to see beyond seeing. To see more and to see less at the same time. Sometimes a cigar is not a cigar and at other times it is. The difference is knowing and the beginning of wisdom. Then again, I am getting older and I tend to remember riddles.
And then I take a deep breath.
Monday, July 28, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
|@2014 Dreamworks and Harpo|
There aren't too many movies without violence, profanity or gratuitous nudity. There are even fewer movies that tell a story with crisp dialogue. Shot in France and India with diverse languages without subtitles, this is the pure art of telling a story. Through Le Cordon Bleu, I had the honor of an advance screening of The 100 Foot Journey, starring Helen Mirren and Om Puri. The goal of art is to touch you, from a place you can draw off of your own experiences. For those who haven't read the book, you might have fresh eyes looking at this movie, where there are few surprises, and you have a story arc of tragedy and triumph. It IS a "feel good" movie, with another illustration about following your dreams, but also defining your own success and following your heart.
For those of you who read the book, I don't think you will be disappointed as this work translated well to the screen. The rhythm of the dialogue was completely natural, the silent reactions involved the audience. The audience got what they wanted to see, transformation of characters, the clash of cultures as one family emigrates from one nation to another as we grow more culturally diverse wherever we are.
Personally, I loved how it reminded me of my travels abroad, so my nostalgia was sweetened. This movie opens on 8 August, so foodies will love seeing the displays of technique and plating. If you are in the culinary world, perhaps it might remind you that the kitchen is a real place of magic. I am very fortunate to be in school, learning from some incredibly talented chefs that do speak to me about the heart and soul of the kitchen. The very act of creation is something I never get tired of.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Today I had a random conversation with an anonymous stranger who said, "I left Facebook for 6 months and I felt so much freedom. It was like I got my life back." I didn't ask why she went back on, but considered a key remark, "I was so happy." We are in an age of self promotion, tweeting, texting, posting and to a lesser extent, even blogging all about the me, myself, and I...the importance of self and obsess over
what seems to be 'important'. Eleanor Roosevelt is often cited for this quote, "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." Lately, I have been wondering about our world getting so focused on the 'self'. This 'self-importance' that seems to be all about what we can get, what we can do and who we can have in our lives. So lately, I have just tuned out the drama of social media of all types and put my ear to the ground.
Sitting out on the street, drinking a libation or two and minding my own business, sort of, with intrusions of conversations that would wander past. Was Eleanor Roosevelt right or would I hear street philosophers cut through the white noise or garbled thought?
Uptown Minneapolis is a road show of avatars. You see the flash of fashion plates, the indie goth, the 1980 Yuppies, Sid and Nancy punkers, Illustrated men and women, your transitional people, trangenders, fettish people, bikers, desperate housewives, afraid of dying mid-life crisis guy with daughter/girlfriend, visiting UK tourists and then there's me. The native who returns home to see that Uptown Minneapolis is still the same, stuck in the 1980s and somehow is viewed as 'cutting edge'. This is why we are the inspiration for "Portlandia'.
Uptown is uptight when it comes to being Politically Correct and incredibly sensitive about offending anyone. You can find the uptight conservative Harley guy with leather and chains that hugs his M-16 at night sitting next to a guy named "Sue" who used to be a gal with black light tattoos and gages and piercings to ward off personal contact from anyone. The strange and bizarre is glorified with a latte and a vegan lettuce wrap from a sustainable farm to table food truck that is powered by solar energy.
Politics are discussed in hush tones, though it's really no secret that the city is Democratic and the state is Republican. It's kind of dysfunctional, because there is a kind of 'us vs. them' mentality though no one really knows who is 'us' and who is 'them'. Like I said, I am invisible here. I wasn't abroad, or at least when I was in Asia, I tried to be invisible, but was forced to accept the fact that I was going to stick out no matter where I went. It was a good exercise in self acceptance. Here, it's too easy to get comfortable with not being 'anything special'.
When I went abroad, one thing that amazed me was that due to our television industry, I became aware that I shattered the minds of many because of the image of America that is blasted all over the world. "You're not fat, lazy, uneducated, chasing money or (insert favorite stereo-type here of a white middle-aged former military woman, who is divorced with hispanic last name and graying hair)." When we bust up an image that is assigned due to our lack of time (we aren't going to know everyone in the world). We profile people each and every day and we often rely on the views of others to give us a snapshot of how it is.
So, in my small minded way, I have discussed people, events, ideas and myself, because the world is composed of all of it. I am not justifying anything. I am not defending our condition. I am not even saying that Eleanor Roosevelt is wrong or right. We are human and we discuss what we see, what we don't see and what we would like to see. We are still little children that are learning the difference between our wants and needs. We die and a new generation goes through it all again and so on it continues until one day we get it. Hopefully the stuff we don't need doesn't get passed on to future generations and the ideas we do need makes it into the future. Perhaps that is what Eleanor Roosevelt meant for us to glean from this remark, however, she never said this quote. It's one of our great myths. The earliest citation is quoted as an unknown sage. Whenever there is an 'unknown sage' or street philosopher, it's a reminder that wisdom or common sense doesn't need an author, it just needs to be practiced.
So whatever is written about, places, ideas, people, good food or art...it's all related.