As per Rachel Eggers' 2011 review, Fuji Bakery's head baker Taka Hirai* spent three years at Joël Robuchon's three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Tokyo, and this expertise is reflected in everything at Fuji (except maybe the decor). They use a particular European cultured butter; they make their own yeast. Japanese-meets-French offerings include curry buns, green tea danishes, and baguette sandwiches with fillings such as smoked salmon, milk cream (!), and mentaiko butter, while the straight-up French stuff—croissants, tiny quiches, etc.—is WAY better than some so-called French bakeries.
Did you like Devil in the White City? Of course you did. Who doesn't? Chicago By Day and Night: The Pleasure Seeker's Guide to the Paris of America was a guidebook published for visitors to the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. Daniel Burnham might've picked it up, though he's never once mentioned (the book was written before we began to worship architects as artists). H. H. Holmes's hotel might've rated a mention, had it been built when the book was composed. If you're a DitWC fan, this book will complement your enjoyment of Larsen's.
CBDN guides potential visitors to "free and easy" shows, saloons, carousels, masquerades, and other fun things to do away from the Fair itself. It's a fascinating artifact of the late 19th Century, when any woman who flirted with a man on the street might be an "adventuress" who planned to take him for all he was worth, via blackmail, the badger game, or the panel room. A taste from that chapter, with our notes after the jump:
The term adventuress is applied to women of careless reputation who, being much too smart to endure the ignominious career of professional demi-mondaines, resort to various shrewd schemes to fleece the unwary. Some of their class work in concert with male partners, and in such cases the selected victim generally becomes an easy prey. The confidence man may be dangerous; the confidence woman, if she be well educated and bright, as well as pretty, is irresistible except with the most hardened and unsusceptible customers. The shrewdest old granger of them all, who steers safely through the shoals and traps set for him by male sharpers, will go down like the clover before the scythe under a roguish glance, as it were, from a “white wench’s black eye,” as Mercutio said. There is no mortal man in this universe of ours, be he never so homely or ill-favored, who does not cherish in his heart of hearts the impression that there is a woman or two somewhere whom he could charm if he wished to. It is the spirit of masculine vanity that forms the material upon which the adventuress may work. With the art of an expert she sizes up the dimensions of her victim’s vanity the instant she has made his acquaintance and plays upon it to just the extent she deems expedient and profitable. If it were not for masculine vanity, the American adventuress could not exist.
Along with my colleague Paul Durica, I've introduced, edited and annotated this fascinating bit of history. Some key features you might like: lots of dirty jokes, along with serious economic history (the chapter on gambling, for instance, includes the Chicago Board of Trade as just another way to lose your shirt, along with back-alley craps games or faro banks in saloons). Reminders of how cities change, and how they stay the same. Very cool illustrations, and lots of double-entendres (watch for the "delicious lays").
But all in the service of scholarship. Pre-order! Use the code DURICA13 for a discount.
J & D's Foods, a Seattle company that also makes bacon lubricant—which "began as an elaborate April Fool's prank and was never intended to be a real product" but nonetheless persists out of sheer novelty—has topped itself by offering a pork-flavored prophylactic.
I've been watching Star Trek: Voyager on Netflix streaming. While I've seen almost very episode of the preceding three series (the original series, Next Generation and Deep Space Nine), I'd only ever watched one or two episodes of Voyager. Now, five seasons in, I can safely say my suspicions were confirmed: this is my least favorite Star Trek series. (Though I have yet to see even one episode of Enterprise, which is next on my list, so maybe I'll change my mind. Deep Space Nine remains my favorite of the shows.)
Look, I love having a female captain, and Janeway has her moments, no doubt. And The Doctor is kind of delightful. But Andy Dick was a guest star, you guys. And then there's the moment where Chakotay is trying to revive Janeway on an away mission and he literally yells, "Breathe, damn you, breathe! Don't you die on me now!"
ANYWAY please vote in these binding Slog polls. (You may remember our very important DS9 poll from December.) Be sure to tell me in the comments how wrong I am about preferring DS9 to Voyager, and why Neelix is the most interesting of all Star Trek characters ever.
by Jen Graves
on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 11:02 AM
People have been extremely interested in talking about the Holocaust denials of Nazi-imagery artist Charles Krafft, which I first wrote about in The Stranger a month ago. I was asked in a podcast last week whether I'd smash it if I owned it. The answer to that was easy: I wouldn't bother martyring it. What I would do with it was a slightly harder question. I answered that I guess I'd hide it behind objects by better artists, and let it moulder in shadow. I'm pretty tired of talking about Charles Krafft.
But many people are not, and I understand that, too. The questions now are mainly about the fate of the objects. About what they mean now. About how to think about a teapot in the shape of Hitler's head, or a perfume bottle stoppered with a swastika and titled Forgiveness, or, for that matter, any of the works Krafft has made that are on their surface not directly related to the Third Reich or war or violence—although there are surprisingly few that are indirectly not related to those subjects. For me, they've become one hell of a lot less interesting now that I know they all spring from the mind of an aspiring demagogue claiming to be a victim. Dullest. Trick. In. Book.
Dine Around Seattle starts this weekend, that thing in March and November where you can get a $30 prix-fixe dinner (and some $15 prix-fixe lunches) at certain restaurants, Sunday to Thursday. (Not be confused with Seattle Restaurant Week, where something similar happens at a larger number of restaurants on a shorter-if-not-quite-eponymous timescale, as it lasts 10 days.)
After 10 years, the event changed hands last fall, making this is the second DAS run by the nonprofit Seattle Good Business Network, which kicked things off last night with a party for food-related people. The big news: SGBN has partnered up with FareStart, an amazing program that provides culinary training and job placements to homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Rather than previewing the restaurants' menus (as the invitation seemed to suggest, but beggars/choosers), the party featured appetizers designed and prepared by students of FareStart’s 16-week course, including bulgogi beef skewers, lemongrass chicken meatballs, cold veggie frittatas with tapenade, and chocolate chip cookie sandwiches with mint cream (those cookies, oh man).
Dine Around Seattle restaurants will be providing info about FareStart, and some will ask patrons if they want to add $1 (or more) to their bill to support the organization. A good cause, for sure, and worth giving a dollar (or more) to, but the overall price-point question about Dine Around Seattle remains—is this a great opportunity to try out new places, or a gimmick wherein you don’t get to choose what you eat and don’t necessarily save money? At some of these restaurants, putting together a nice meal for $30 per person isn’t much of a challenge. And one can always donate to FareStart independently or go to one of their fantastic guest chef nights.
"I went to the symphony last night. There were only four pieces, and there were three standing ovations. I think you should treat standing ovations like you only have three to give in your whole life."
"You know what I hate? How all the kids on sports teams get trophies now. Fuck 'em!"
There's an amusing forum row between two people going by "miaomiao" and "Woofwoof" over a new restaurant opening in Wallingford called Chabela's. Most people believe that the Chabela's trademark looks too much like the Cabela's trademark...
Maybe not news of the world, but definitely an amusing half-hour of Wallingford neighborly absurdity.
This morning, when I walked in to work carrying a bottle of what looked like the Jolly Green Giant's diarrhea sample—and feeling pretty okay about it—Cienna took one guilty look at me and said, "Um... I owe you a hamburger." WHAT THE FUCK? As she told you all already, she has fallen off the juice-fast wagon in less than one goddamn day.
I am still going strong! Yesterday was okay. By the time I got home, I was kind of done with juice. But I had one left, and so I drank it, and it was weird (kale + celery + parsely + dandelion + ginger + lime). It tasted like, oh, I don't know, if your front lawn came to life and you gave it a BJ, and then you found out it had grass STIs. You know how if you eat tons of celery, it'll sort of start burning your mouth? My mouth felt like that for an hour.
When I woke up, I was hungry. I had a juice. It was orange + almond + alfalfa. It tasted like a watered-down Creamsicle that came from a farm. I was still hungry. Everyone keeps asking me how I feel, but the answer is just hungry and ennui-ridden. Yesterday, I got really sad and emotional about what is the point of life, anyway? I'm pretty sure it was juice-related.
Now I am two juices into the day, and I have two juices to go. I'm so hungry I want to drink both of them immediately, but I have to ration, because holy shit, that is all I have left to "eat" for the rest of the day. I miss chewing, and I miss coffee.
I'm going to start eating on Friday night, and I can't wait. I also can't wait to have the alcohol tolerance of a toddler. It's gonna be great!
As Anna mentioned, the two of us are not eating solid foods this week for what started out as a $250 joke and calcified into sad, plodding reality. Anna agreed to do the straight juice cleanse because I think juice cleanses are stupid and also because I have no self control.
You know what I take very seriously, however? Curses.
A few weeks ago, I received an anonymous package in the mail. The package contained a zip-locked baggie of a powder that smelled like horse. A hand-written note inside read, "Cienna. 100% curse remover. Nullifies most powerful curse. Take back your life! Sprinkle on juice."
What an incredible gift! I would've sent the sender a thank-you note but there was no return address.
Now, my mother has begged me not to partake in this 100% curse-removing liquid cleanse, mostly because I suspect she doesn't want me undoing years of hard work on her part. But I'm doing it. AAAND: I'm going to be a little bit more healthy and deliberate than Anna and her hoity-toity juice cleanse.
2. Be Bold with Garlic and Onion [double-duh]... take a cue from Top Chef winner and Mexican-food expert Rick Bayless and add roasted garlic too [this actually sounds worth a try]...
3. Use Fresh Cilantro and Limes [DUH DUH DUH]...
4. Take Smart Shortcuts... Add a couple spoonfuls of your favorite jarred salsa [I sometimes do this just for the hell of it, but in addition to everything else, not as a shortcut]... If you are really in a rush—say with only 5 minutes left until halftime is over—grab a package of premashed avocado, available in the produce department of some markets [does this really exist? YUCK].
azcentral.com says: "Ultimately, it's your palette that dictates the perfect guacamole." If you've got a dictatorial palette, I would like to come over and witness that, but I might not stay if it's the one saying what should go in the guacamole.
One thing that is good in guacamole: a big spoonful of organic sour cream. And when I worked as the cook at the Roanoke, Tom the bartender taught me the right way to cut an avocado, which is as shown in this video, except without the kitchen towel for safety:
Two days ago, I slogged about the Season 5 premiere of RuPaul's Drag Race, featuring Seattle starlet Jinkx Monsoon/Jerick Hofer.
In the post, I noted how Jinkx came out as narcoleptic on the episode, and asked "Seattle's premier Jinkx Monsoon historian" Adrian Ryan, "Is Jinkx Monsoon a narcoleptic, is Jerick Hofer a narcoleptic, or neither? (My secret dream is that he's faking it as a hilarious character trait for Jinkx, but let me know what you know.)" Adrian's reply: "oh hell no, he's totes faking it. it cracks me up."
Well, it turns out Adrian Ryan is actually Seattle's premier Jinkx Monsoon fabulist, as I learned when I put the above question—Is Jinkx narcoleptic, is Jerick narcoleptic, or both or neither?—to Mr. Hofer himself. His response:
Jerick is Narcoleptic, so Jinkx is sometimes narcoleptic. It's less of a Jinkx characteristic and more of a, the person who plays Jinkx is narcoleptic....To answer it simply, Yes. Jerick Hoffer has narcolepsy and has since he was 17. My sleep attacks are not fake. They are edited conspicuously on the show, but that's for ratings. Fact of the matter is, that's real.
Oh my God! Would you be up for answering a couple more questions? I'm mostly just interested in what it's like to navigate the world of live performance with the potential for sleep attacks part of your life. The fact is, you do navigate it, incredibly well, full-time, professionally and brilliantly, and that you're doing it with this sleep disorder is amazing and I'd love to know more if you're up for talking about it. (And if you don't care to discuss medical concerns with members of the media, I understand and totally no hard feelings.)
Well, to be honest, my case of narcolepsy is fairly moderate. Only a very small percentage of the narcoleptic community experience ALL the symptoms at an extreme level. A larger portion experience SOME of the symptoms at varying degrees of severity. I manage my specific case by taking naps when I can, natural/homeopathic remedies, nutrition and stress control.
So narcolepsy as a daily obstacle, but a manageable one while my symptom level is at where it's at. But ask anyone in the cast of RENT, whenever I wasn't rehearsing, I was sleeping. Ha ha. (Ben DelaCreme can attest to this as well.)
Not to shit all over Goldy's toes or anything—I know how invigorating he finds a good Seattle Times editorial fisking—but I have to call out this blatant lie in this most recent ham-fisted screed:
Bruce Harrell of the Seattle City Council—and now a candidate for mayor—is working on a bill to help ex-prisoners find jobs. His motive is good: Ex-inmates need to find work. However, his initial proposal would unduly restrict employers’ ability to check applicants for criminal convictions or pending charges.
State law already forbids employers from asking most applicants about criminal convictions unrelated to the job. As proposed, Harrell’s legislation would forbid an employer from any check of criminal background until after a job was offered. The employer would be forbidden to cancel the offer unless the applicant’s background had a direct bearing on fitness for the job.
I am taking issue with the bolded sentence above (never mind that the previous sentence DIRECTLY CONTRADICTS IT). I have no idea whose ass that uncited "fact" was pulled from—these editorials are unbylined, ostensibly so no one's held accountable for making shit up—but based on my reporting on this issue, that's wrong wrong wrong. The editorial board is most likely referring to WAC 162 12 140, but as one employment lawyer told me, "they're grossly misstating the law." A law which, by the way, has been invalidated by two of three Washington state appellate courts.
In fact, employment for ex-offenders is such a complicated issue that the ACLU of Washington has an entire program devoted to helping ex-offenders navigate employer background checks.
"Most employers do background checks," reads the first sentence in their Guide to Criminal Records and Employment (.pdf). "You may not be fully protected by anti-discrimination laws unless you answer the employer’s question accurately."
I'm just back from three weeks in Burma/Myanmar (the country so nice, the military dictatorship named it twice!), where electricity is often intermittent and access to internet can sometimes require renting a motorcycle just to drive to a shack with a dial-up connection. So I'm out of the blogging rhythm and find myself wanting to post a poem about a play. (I'm pretty sure that's not how this is supposed to work.)
I'll post more notes on Myanmar later (where I had to invent a fake resume just to get a visa, since reporters are not welcome). But uppermost in my mind this afternoon: in my jetlag-insomnia, I've been re-reading Hamlet and stuff surrounding Hamlet.
Since this year is Greek poet C.P. Cavafy's 150th birthday, here's his deadpan (with some buried glimmers of glee) synopsis of the play. The poem, King Claudius, reminds me of an entry I once read in a theater calendar that described Glengarry Glen Ross as a play about a contest in a real-estate office.
If Cavafy had been a theater-calendar editor, he might've described Hamlet as "an elaborate lie told by an enabler named Horatio to cover up for his mentally ill friend."
Anne Hathaway is the only good thing about this movie.
PLEASE NOTE: As the headline says, this post is for musical-theater nerds only. For people who already know the show. Otherwise stop reading. Don't scream at me about spoiler alerts because Russell Crowe kills himself!! OK? Kills himself. He dies. He's dead. Dunzo. Along with almost everyone else. Although some of them come back from the dead to sing about Jesus.
1) Going to see Les Miserables with someone who doesn't realize it's a musical is a hilarious experience. "Wait, is this a musical?" said my friend about one minute, five seconds in. He was the one who chose the movie. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
3) Russell Crowe's stiffness puts taxidermy to shame. It's like Russell Crowe wasn't available so they got Madame Tussauds' Russell Crowe to play Russell Crowe playing Javert, and the wax statue was all, "Yeah, I can sing. I can sing!! LET ME SING." Also, how satisfying is it when his body, post-jumping-off-building, lands on the side of that fountain and makes that crunching sound? Gah! That was so satisfying. And possibly an inside joke from the sound effects people about his stiff performance.
4) Anne Hathaway is amazing. As in, one is amazed how much better the movie gets when she's in the frame. I could watch her just standing there sewing for the rest of my life. Also amazing: how much better a song gets if she sings it. Who knew Fantine was even a character? Who in history has listened to "I Dreamed a Dream" all the way through—the most skippable song on the original cast recording, which has, let's be honest, a lot of skippable songs? "I Dreamed a Dream" is the worst. Until this movie. Where it is the best.
5) Helena Bonham Carter + Sacha Baron Cohen = not funny. They play the Thenardiers, the "comic relief," but in this case the comic relievers have been relieved of their comic relief duties. Or something. Mathematically, they cancel each other out? It's weird. It's almost riveting how boring their performances are.
“And they even admit this is about banning the ugliest guns, it’s about cosmetics and it has nothing to do about how a firearm works,” host Ginny Simone said toward the end of the segment.
“Well, you know, banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago,” Hammer responded. “But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It’s just bad politics.”
Of course, how guns look do equate to things like how many bullets they can fire and how fast. Just like Knife Control. Smaller is OK because it has more practical uses. I suppose you could use a samurai sword to open your mail, but it's not the obvious tool for the job. Similarly, you could behead someone with a pen knife, but it's a lot tougher than with a sword. But that's got nothing to do with how blades work, it's just discrimination based on size and looks.