Chocolate Souffle

1/2 cup cream
5 oz chocolate
heat cream, melt chocolate
3 egg whites, whisked with 1 tablespoon sugar
fold in chocolate/cream mixture
bake 12 minutes 350 degrees
courtesy of Jacques Pepin, the recipe makes a “moist” souffle according to Julia Child. She is absolutely right. Delicious!

The Devil in the White City

Daniel Burnham’s extraordinary effort to build the White City for the Columbian Exposition, Chicago’s answer to the Parisian First World’s Fair. H. H. Holmes (nee Herman Mudgett) and his murder castle, luring single young women to their deaths by chloroform and gas. The Chicago fair of 1893 brought hordes of people to the city, keeping the Chicago police too busy to notice the disappearance of the women.
Larson does a good job weaving the Holmes story in between the tale of the building of the Fair. Olmstead’s landscaping dreams, Walt Disney’s father working as a carpenter for the fair (and his stories no doubt influencing Walt’s later Dreamword of Disney), the first elevator unveiled, the Ferris wheel’s introduction to society.
Average wordsmithing keeps this book off my recommended list, but it is intriguing at times. To think, my high-school paper on HH Holmes and his murderous ways broached this subject 10 years ago.

Continue reading “The Devil in the White City”

Square Sanders

At the table across from us at San Tung was a gentleman wearing a white polo shirt with an intriguing logo: “Square Sanders.” This classification fit him so well that I don’t even need to describe what he looked like. But I will. A shortish, balding man with glasses and a Southern mouth, wearing white shirt tucked into brown trousers neatly pressed and loafers. He was taking a call on his cell when I noticed the “Square Sanders” logo and began teasing Matt by calling him a Square Sanders.
By Southern mouth, I mean a turtlish mouth that you can imagine a drawl escaping from. His wife sat directly to his right, engaging the rest of the table in conversation and making the head bobs and sympathetic glances which solidified my conception of them as “Southern.” The rest of the table was comprised of grandma, a younger son, and an older daughter with her boyfriend. (They smooched shortly after I decided they were involved, which helped me cement my story of them). Now what was this family doing at San Tung, a Chinese restaurant by Chinese people for Chinese patrons? This hidden gem in the Sunset was a secret spot we had discovered through word of mouth, and if this family was Southern, how did they find it?
I decided they were tourists, first off, based on mom’s choice of gray socks with a casual shoe. Nothing against gray socks, mind you, but it was the combo of those and red shirt and a general vibe I was picking up on. But them being tourists made no sense, b/c San Tung is 180 degrees from the tourist route. I finished off my Mu Shu and thought about it further.
The lightbulb went off and I excitedly explained to Matt that they were dropping off the daughter at college, as mid August is the time for these types of goodbye dinners. They all travelled from the South to wish her well, even bringing along her boyfriend for good measure. Taking a few more bites of my meal, this hunch was confirmed when her Cal Berkley student ID was passed around the table for all to view.
Then, they got a doggie bag. This complicated matters, as visiting parents don’t eat leftovers, and how is the daughter going to schlep the food back to Berkeley and then heat it up? Regardless, if the parents took the bag, it meant they were local. The bag was passed down the table to the daughter. Whew. The story still stood.
As they got up to leave, I perked my ears to gather any vocal clues to their hometown. They silently filed past our table, but I leered into the young boy’s face and looked at the t-shirt he was wearing: Boyle Park Tennis. This plus Square Sanders would be enough clues to google their existence.
Now I’m in front of google, and Square Sanders turns into Squire, Sanders, and Dempsey law firm (with offices in SF, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus), and Boyle Park is a tennis court in Marin (Mill Valley). ‘Twas fun dreaming up your story, Square Sanders, but the truth is not as interesting.

Watching TV in the park

On our way home from dinner in the Sunset, Matt and I cut through Golden Gate park to return to the Richmond. Our path took us by the baseball fields, which when passed earlier that night were alive with activity. Night falling had forced players and spectators alike to find other playful pursuits, but as we approached the fields we noticed a strangely familiar glow in the darkness. As we got closer, we confirmed our suspicions, and passed by a group watching a TV in the stands. Diffrent Strokes pulsed through the night as the three of them huddled around the glow for entertainment. They had plugged the TV directly into an outlet on a pole in the bleachers. Homeless or not, they were enjoying the intoxicating glow of the boob tube, free of charge, on the city’s energy bill. This, on a day in which NYC was recovering from the largest blackout in history, is somewhat amusing.

Popcorn!?

A man’s journey to fulfill his dream of getting into the Guinness Book of World Records. Aaron Fischer’s quest for world’s largest popcorn container. Check out the website.
I saw this documentary over a year ago on KTEH, channel 54, on video i. see it if you get the chance.

Winged Migration

Birds in flight, migrating north in the spring and south in the fall. It is glorious to behold, with no special effects, but breathtaking shots achieved with mini-helicopters and hot air balloons. Cranes moments before landing, with their legs outstretched and flailing; penguins swimming enmasse, like salmon going upstream to mate. Geese geese geese. Other birds I don’t remember. A visual treat, with minor voiceover and subtitles detailing bird names and migration lengths.