Thursday, February 24, 2005

The "Sideways" Effect

If you've seen the movie "Sideways," you know that it slams Merlot big time. At one point the Miles character (played by Paul Giamatti) says, "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving. I am not drinking any fucking Merlot."

That's fine and good, since Merlot was way too trendy in the 1990s. But Miles' wine of choice is Pinot Noir. And because of that movie, Pinot sales are surging. I've even been to parties where people made a big deal about serving it, citing "Sideways" as their inspiration. (Today's Chronicle does a good job documenting the phenomenon.)

Here's where we have a problem: Most cheap Pinot is flavorless swill. And since most people I know tend to only drink inexpensive wine, the result is that we're drinking a lot more flavorless swill. At low price points, Cabernet and Merlot typically have more character.

I feel like it used to be an accepted fact that most Pinot was bland and lame. I recall being ridiculed at a North Beach restaurant one time when we tried to order Pinot (the waiter asked why we didn't want to order a "real" wine).

And here's another twist to the story: Apparently the creators of "Sideways" had originally planned to make Miles a fan of Merlot -- or at least one Merlot in particular. His character was going to be obsessed with a Merlot from Chateau Petrus Pomerol, which makes the most expensive Merlots in the world. But the film makers couldn't get the rights from Petrus (which found the script "unexciting"). So instead they made Miles' favorite wine a Chateau Cheval Blanc. But this is clearly a case of using Reese's Pieces when you get rejected by M&M!

Bay Area Hip-Hop Slang

I've come across lots of hip-hop dictionaries on the Net, but this is the first I've seen that's specific to the Bay Area (sorry, the Yayo). The rapper most responsible for developing Bay Area rap lingo is E40 -- he was the first to start adding "eezy" to the end of words -- and you can tell that a lot of the terminology in this dictionary comes from him.

Not sure how up-to-date the terms are, but there's some great stuff in here. Of course, we all know what Hyfee means (if not, see this post). But apparently we're also supposed to call the Hall of Justice "850" (since it's on 850 Bryant). I wish I had known this when I had jury duty!

Some others I liked:

Bama: Someone who does not know how to dress. For example, someone who wears a red shirt with bust up no name jeans.
Da mob: East Oakland residents that put money over b*tches.
Dipped in Butta sauce: Hella fitted, g'd up, creased up from tha feet up.
Fedex: an individual that delivers quick mail (money).
San Francyco: San Francisco
RWC: short for REDWOOD CITY in the Bay Area.
"sch": Adding "sch" to the beginning of a word. Example: 7/11 would be "schemevin eleven." Smoke = "Schmoke." (From San Jo)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Eating In Bed

There are plans to open a restaurant near our apartment that will serve food to people while they recline in beds. In addition, face painters and a masseuse will wander around the place, offering their services. What the heck? I feel like I have a hard enough time not spilling food on myself without eating off my lap while getting a back rub.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Quote of the Day

From a story in today's Chronicle about two women who used to work with Koko the sign-language ape (and were asked to show their breasts to the gorilla as a bonding ritual):
"Koko, you see my nipples all the time. You are probably bored with my nipples. You need to see new nipples. I will turn my back so Kendra can show you her nipples."

Wait, Wait...I Have No Idea

Last night we attended a live taping of the NPR quiz show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" with our friends Tara and Jason. It was a fun and interesting experience -- though disillusioning at times. For one, it became very apparent that they heavily edit contestants' answers to make them seem less moronic.

If you haven't heard the show, listeners call in and answer relatively easy questions about current events. If they get at least two out of three answers correct, they get to have NPR personality Carl Kassell do their outgoing message on their answering machine.

When you listen to the show on the radio, you sometimes hear the contestants struggle to get the right answer. But it's nothing like listening to their unedited ramblings. One guy couldn't seem to remember the name of the retirement program that Bush wanted to partially privatize (Social Security). In another case, the answer was clearly "North Korea," but a woman had no clue. When prodded that it was a country that recently claimed to have nuclear weapons, she declared "South Korea!" Painful.

I'm not sure what to deduce from this. But maybe, contrary to expectations, NPR listeners are actually the STUPIDEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Spare Air

So it looks like the Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission wants to expand its policy of giving free rides on BART during "Spare the Air" days this summer. They want to include all the transit agencies this time, including Muni and Caltrain.

It's a cool idea, and I will definitely appreciate free Caltrain rides this summer. But I wonder: Doesn't this give me incentive to light a rubber factory on fire? Or set off an explosion at a coal plant? Think of the savings!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


Miss Manners provides some advice today on how to politely end instant-messaging conversations (second letter). Her solution: Just write "Bye for now" or "Talk to you later."

Not approved by Miss Manners: "See you in hell," "Smell ya later," or "I'm about to have explosive diarrhea."

Monday, February 07, 2005

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Solving the Edible Glass Problem

In my last post, I mused about how to provide drinks in my all-edible restaurant. Well, this comes courtesy of BuboBlog correspondent Ellen Chrismer, who found it in the Toronto Globe and Mail: An "ice hotel" in the Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops, B.C., plans to let visitors drink champagne out of ice flutes.

So it can be done!

Eat It

As many of you know, I'm a big fan of foods with edible containers, e.g., clam chowder bread bowls, tacos, etc. For a long time it's been my dream to open a restaurant where people would sit down at tables and be able to eat everything that gets placed on that table — the food, the napkins, the utensils made of pretzels. I'm still trying to figure out how we'd serve people drinks, wavering between the idea of shooting it into their mouths with a gun or just using glasses made of sugar or ice. I was going to call the restaurant "I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing" (though I still need to get clearance from the Alka Selzer people).

Anyway, now I fear this guy is beating me to the punch. He has a restaurant in New York where you can eat the menus!

He has some other cool ideas as well:

Mr. Cantu is experimenting with liquid nitrogen, helium and superconductors to make foods levitate. And while many chefs speak of buying new ovens or refrigerators, he wants to invest in a three-dimensional printer to make physical prototypes of his inventions, which he now painstakingly builds by hand. The 3-D printer could function as a cooking device, creating silicone molds for pill-sized dishes flavored, say, like watermelon, bacon and eggs or even beef Bourguignon, he said, and he could also make edible molds out of cornstarch.

He also plans to buy a class IV laser to create dishes that are "impossible through conventional means." (A class IV laser, the highest grade under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's classification system, projects high-powered beams and is typically used for surgery or welding.)

Mr. Cantu said he might use the laser to burn a hole through a piece of sashimi tuna, cooking the fish thoroughly inside but leaving its exterior raw. He said he would also use the laser to create "inside out" bread, where the crust is baked inside the loaf and the doughy part is the outer surface. "We'll be the first restaurant on planet Earth to use a class IV laser to cook food," he said with a grin.

He is testing a hand-held ion-particle gun, which he said is for levitating food. So far he has zapped only salt and sugar, but envisions one day making whole meals float before awestruck diners.