Tuesday, December 27, 2011

TV Bites: Q: The Winged Serpent

Papatzules w/Chiltomate Sauce (Warmed Tortillas Stuffed w/Hard-Boiled Egg, Pumpkin Sauce & Tomato Sauce)

Why in the world am I celebrating the New Year (from Rome, mind you!) with Larry Cohen's Q: The Winged Serpent? What synergy could there possibly be? Or is there no rhyme nor reason?

Well, here goes. Q, of course, is short for Quetzalcoatl, who was a god of the Meso-American cultures, including both the Aztecs and Mayans. And you know what this new year of 2012 brings with it? You got it! The end of the world as we know it. (At least according to the Mayan calendar - see Background & Context section). Okay, sure it's got the History Channel folks all atwitter, and marketing "geniuses" all ablaze, but I wouldn't sell all your belongings and give away your pets just yet. Besides, I've got Jello Brand Pudding in my refrigerator that doesn't expire until 2013, and you know "Godfather" Bill Cosby would never lie to us.

As for me being in Rome? No reason. Just a whim. But strange as it may seem - especially for someone like myself who doesn't believe in the mystical - today I was at the Vatican (no, the Pope didn't have me over for tea) and after braving the human traffic to see the Sistine Chapel, just before you exit the Vatican museums, there on the right is a small ethnological wing. And what ethnological image is the featured display this month, you ask? Well, I couldn't believe it myself. Yup. A statue of Quetzacoatl himself in all his winged glory. Right there in the Vatican! If I was the Pope, I know I'd be sleeping tonight with one eye open.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tickets Available NOW!!!! - Singin' in the Rain , Feb 11th!!

Time: Saturday February 11, 2012 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my 11th Chef du Cinema class, I'll be presenting the 1952 classic Hollywood musical Singin' in the Rain and serving a menu featuring two celebrity recipes and two inspired by the film.

Starring Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, and Debbie Reynolds, this Academy award nominated film tells the story of two silent movie actors struggling to survive in the new “talkie” era. The title song and dance sequence is considered one of the most joyous and greatest moments ever captured on film. Peter Bogdanovich called it “the most thoroughly entertaining film-musical ever made.” After the cooking demonstration, we’ll watch the movie and enjoy the meal.

Parma Ham, Apricot Preserves and Dijon Mustard Finger Sandwiches
Tossed Green Salad w/ Donald O'Connor's French Dressing
Gene Kelly's Real Irish Lamb Stew
The Hollywood Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake

Thursday, December 8, 2011

TV Bites: The Lady Vanishes

Alma Hitchcock's Crêpes Elizabeth

A shorter version of this post appears on the Criterion Collection website.

Finally, finally, finally! This is finally part two what was to be my Hitchcock double bill.

If you read the previous post on Hitchcock's The Birds, you'll know I recently got a book with some of Sir Alfred's wife Alma's recipes. And since I had all these other books on Hitchcock already out of the public library, I figured why not kill two birds as The Lady Vanishes is just being released by Criterion on Blu-Ray.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

TV Bites: The In-Laws

Grandma's Turkey Split Pea Soup

Happy Thanksgiving!

So instead of a Hitchcock double bill, you get a caper comedy double bill. Not bad....

I've been dying to add this movie to the "Chef du Cinema collection," as it may well be the funniest movie ever made. But the reason I chose it for Thanksgiving was that one of the only foods referenced in The In-Laws is pea soup, which comes in the scene when Sheldon and Vince are in the cafeteria early on after the shoot-out at Vince's office.

Now I have two associations with pea soup. One is that whenever I drive I-5 between San Francisco and Los Angeles, I always make it a point to stop at Pea Soup Anderson's for lunch. The other is that in my family, usually a few days after Thanksgiving, my grandmother or my mother would make this soup with the leftover turkey carcass. The smell of the soup cooking always takes me back to childhood and it's a big comfort food winter meal for me to make ever since.

So then how perfect is it that early on during the commentary track on the DVD, Peter Falk notes: "How many people in America take this picture, The In-Laws, and whether it's on Christmas, Rosh Hashanah – some holiday – and they get the whole family together and they run it? And they run it every year. And they've been doing it for 10 years."

Monday, November 21, 2011

Like the Redesign?

I was doing that staring at the computer screen last night just surfing. no big plan. just surfing.

I found myself looking at several Blogger template websites and I suddenly realized that I should give the web site a little update. The original design I made like the week after the first class and while I found it amusing it was time to make some changes.

So I decided to think about it more in the morning, but instead it had me tossing and turning all night until I jumped right out of bed and had a plan and began to implement it. I finally crashed about dawn and then woke up about five hours later and went right back at it. There really needs to be a good CSS editor on the market. I guess developers have figured out if they DID make on, it would soon put them out of highly paid work. And someone's got to keep the economy going, right?

But I did as best I could. Hope you like it too.

one last peek...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Class: A Fish Called Wanda

Beer-Battered Fish & Chips
Creamy Coleslaw
Homemade Tarter Sauce and Ketchup
Jamie Lee Curtis' Favorite Lemon Cake w/Ice Cream

Well, I lied. This is not part two of a Hitchcock double bill. Well, not really lied... it's coming in December. But today I just saw some rare Hitchcock home movies as part of some screenings during the AMIA film archivist convention that's been here in town for the last few days. My old pal Steve Parr, aka Oddball Film, is staying with me. Good times catching up, but also opportunities to see some rare films from various film archives around the world. Steve had some great footage including an incredible interview by some local tv reporter in the early 1960's with Andy Warhol and someone's home movie of the Jefferson Airplane at the Filmmore West. I also saw some amazing home movies from Douglas Fairbanks, John Barrymore, and film shot at a costume party given by William Randolph Hearst at his Santa Monica home. The last film featured shots of people like Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, and Carole Lombard all in costume.

But by far the home movies of Alfred Hitchcock, circa late 20's or early 30's, narrated by his daughter Patricia, were quite the sight. A young Hitchcock riding a bicycle, playing tennis, and one really weird sequence which I'm not really capable of trying to communicate, but it was a bit, well, interesting.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tickets Available NOW!! - The Royal Tenenbaums, January 14th!

Time: Saturday January 14, 2012 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my 10th Chef du Cinema class, I'll be presenting The Royal Tenenbaums and serving a menu of recipes I've culled from some of film's stars.

Gene Hackman, who won a Golden Globe for his performance, plays an errant patriarch of a dysfunctional family of geniuses. The 2001 film, narrated by Alec Baldwin, also costars Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Owen & Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Bill Murray, and Danny Glover. Co-written by Texans Owen Wilson and director Wes Anderson, the Academy award nominated screenplay has been described as a “hilarious, touching, and brilliantly stylized study of melancholy and redemption.”

Anjelica Huston's Rustic Irish Soda Bread w/Smoked Salmon & Crème Fraiche
Mixed Green Salad w/Gwyneth Paltrow's Vinaigrette
Gwyneth Paltrow's Sea Bass w/Salsa Verde
Alec Baldwin's Red Beans & Garlic (& Rice)
Danny Glover's Sweet Potato Pie

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Class: Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds

Alfred Hitchcock's Quiche Lorraine
Classic California Caesar Salad
Quick French Bread
Coq au Vin
North Beach Style Zabaione with fresh Berries

Happy Halloween!

Let start right off with an apology... I'm a little upset because since I planned this class, and wrote up and tried all the recipes, I've discovered that Hitchcock's daughter, Pat, wrote a biography of her mother, Alma, and in it included a bunch of recipes! Including one for a roast chicken! ACK!! Well, it's too late, baby. But the good news is that there are a lot of other Hitchcock films to write about, right?

Friday, October 7, 2011

TV Bites: Crumb

Crumb Family Spaghetti Sauce Recipe a la Veronica

A shorter version of this post was originally published on the Criterion Collection website.

In August of this year, Robert Crumb was scheduled to give a talk at the Sydney Opera House in Australia as part of an exhibition of his work at their Graphic Arts Festival. The first issue arose as the federal Attorney General noted, according to an article in the Sunday Telegraph: "that Crumb's work cannot be shown in Australia unless he submits his illustrations for classification. The spokesman said his work would almost certainly be refused classification."

If that wasn't enough to set the publicity and, in general, human shy Crumb off, the article went on to quote an "anti-child abuse campaigner" (as if there are pro-child abuse campaigners? Who knows? I've never visited Australia) who declared with the authority of someone who must spend her life writing dissertations on art history when not abuse campaigning: "These cartoons are not funny or artistic - they are just crude and perverted images emanating from what is clearly a sick mind.... Of all the brilliant artists, cartoonists and writers the Opera House and council could have supported, you have to wonder why they chose Robert Crumb."

The 67 year-old Crumb, of course, now had the perfect excuse to stay at home in his French retreat. He told the Australian, "It was strong stuff and it made me look very, very bad.... All it takes is a few people who overreact to something like that to show up and cause unpleasantness. I have a lot of anxiety about having to confront some angry sexual assault crisis group.... I do these crazy cartoons, I have no defense. I just have to throw up my hands.... I told [the festival co-curator] that I'm not coming and to cancel the whole thing."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tickets Available NOW!!! - A Fish Called Wanda, Nov. 19th!

Time: Saturday November 19, 2011 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my ninth class I'll be taking you on a trip to London, with a classic and easy to make menu paired with the British caper comedy classic, A Fish Called Wanda.

Jamie Lee Curtis plays a diamond-hungry con artist who uses her sexual charm to manipulate a British gangster into stealing a diamond, along with her dim-witted American lover (Kevin Kline). But she finds herself romantically drawn to upright barrister John Cleese as her scheme unravels. The supporting cast also features Cleese's fellow ex-Monty Python mate Michael Palin. Kline took both the Best Supporting Oscar and British Academy Award for his performance. After the cooking demonstration, we’ll watch the movie and enjoy the meal. (Recommended for Mature Audiences.)

Beer-Batterd Fish & Chips
Creamy Coleslaw
Homemade Tarter Sauce and Ketchup
Jamie Lee Curtis' Favorite Lemon Cake w/Ice Cream

Thursday, September 22, 2011

TV Bites: Escape from New York

Isaac Hayes' "Gonna Get Some" Cornish Game Hens w/Wild Rice Stuffing

Had a rough week last week. Caught a respiratory infection from breathing too much smoke and ash in the air from the wildfires, combined with a bad allergy attack, that pretty much turned into a bronchitis. I was down for like five days. But then had to get better because it was ACLfest last weekend here in Austin. I only caught a couple of acts - Manu Chao (at an after show), Black Dub, Stevie Wonder, and Randy Newman (at a separate ACL taping). But that's all I really needed to see.

Now yesterday was the first day of this year's Fantastic Fest, so I thought it appropriate to feature one of my favorite genre films of all time. It's also part two of the September New York double bill. And boy do I love this movie. John Carpenter has sadly been relegated, I think, to being lionized by only genre film fans. And his films - statements about the times he lived in disguised as genre films - as far as I'm concerned, should be studied more seriously.

While this film was made in 1980, Carpenter first wrote the script in 1974, right after Scorsese made Mean Streets. (If I were going to make this a triple bill, the 3rd movie would be The Warriors, for sure.) So yeah, New York was a tough place in the late 70's and early 80's. A park like Union Square - which today is filled at night with people walking their dogs and playing chess - was considered utterly unsafe to enter once darkness came. That Carpenter - and audiences at that time - could believe New York City could shut down and be re-purposed as a maximum security prison - was not so much science fiction. In one interview as it was being released, when Carpenter explains that New York has been turned into such a prison in the film's future-present, the British fanzine reporter quips: "Isn't it one already?" I got to see some crazy s#!t when I was growing up, I tell you. But more on this later....

Friday, September 16, 2011

(shameless self-promotion time again) Great article about a great new movie....

This article was written by one our great American journalists... me. But seriously GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Make It Funky: 'Thunder Soul' Celebrates a High School Impresario
by Ron Deutsch

1969 was a watershed year in America. Richard Nixon took the reigns of the US presidency. It was the year of Woodstock, the Chicago 8 trial, the Stonewall riots and Charles Manson's murder spree. Sesame Street debuted, and the Beatles played their last concert, on a London rooftop. It was also the year in which 55-year-old Conrad "Prof" O. Johnson went to Kashmere High School, in a rough section of Houston known as "the Bloody 5th" Ward, to teach music and lead the school stage band. Johnson needed to reach these kids, and it wasn't going to be through teaching them Tommy Dorsey or even Duke Ellington tunes. So he began incorporating funk and soul arrangements. The experiment worked. Not only were his students inspired, but they won national awards, played internationally and continued to do so until Johnson retired in 1978.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

TV Bites: Mean Streets


Got some crazy chest cold/flu thing the last few days which hit me hard. Lots of sleeping, eating lots of Thai soups, catching up on work, and planning my schedule for Fantastic Fest next week. The best part of Fantastic Fest is that my buddy and director Eugenio Mira will be my house guest for the duration. If you're unfamiliar with Eugenio's work, one of the coolest things he's ever done is actually in front of the camera. In the upcoming film, Red Lights, he got to play a young Robert De Niro! Check it out! That's mighty awesome, in my book. So how appropriate and coincidental that this is the film I chose for this edition....

Tomorrow, the 15th of September is the first day of the Feast of San Gennaro. And there's only ONE movie to watch, and only ONE food to eat to celebrate. So let's get to it....

Friday, September 2, 2011

Tickets Available NOW!! - Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, Oct. 29

Time: Saturday October 29, 2011 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my eighth Chef du Cinema class I'll be celebrating Halloween by demonstrating a California-inspired menu of “fowl” play (chicken & egg), paired with “the master of suspense” Alfred Hitchcock's classic shocker, The Birds. The film, which takes place in the San Francisco Bay area begins as a romantic comedy between a rich socialite and a bachelor lawyer, but then takes a bizarre turn into the apocalyptic, as the world's bird population turns inexplicably against humans and begin randomly attacking us. The film was nominated for an Oscar in Special Effects and Tippi Hedren received a Golden Globe for her performance. After the cooking demonstration, we’ll watch the movie and enjoy the meal.

Alfred Hitchcock's Quiche Lorraine
Classic California Caesar Salad
Quick Processor French Bread
Coq au Vin (made with Northern California Zinfandel)
North Beach Style Zabaione with fresh Berries

Saturday, August 27, 2011

TV Bites: Cul-de-Sac

Donald Pleasence's Fillet of Sole Bonne Femme

A shorter version of this post was originally published on the Criterion Collection website.

I'm going mad, I tell you! Mad! I dream of a bed made of ice. And snow. All the trees are covered in snow. And sweaters. I dream of wearing a scarf. A parka, even. Because it's cold. So very cold outside. I yearn to be only one place. And that place is.... ICE STATION ZEBRA!

Seriously, I finally understand the meaning of the word "hellacious." It is ungodly hot here in Texas. And all I'm going to say in reference to our esteemed governor, is that every time the weatherman says it looks like rain, the governor prays for rain, and then it doesn't rain. I'm just saying. Maybe his god is trying to tell him something?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

TV Bites: Footlight Parade

Joan Blondell's Chicken Chop Suey

I was reading an interview with Buck Henry and he was talking about movies, or scenes of movies, he carries in his head. Footlight Parade is one I've been carrying in my head for like 40 years now. I remember watching it on TV as a kid, and later seeing on the big screen at the Castro Theater in San Francisco whenever they showed it (at least once a year) in the late 70's & early 80's (which often led to visits afterwards to Sam Wo's for noodles). I think Joan Blondell may have been the first movie star crush I ever had. How could you not?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Class: The Harder They Come

Hot Pepper Shrimp
Jerk Chicken
Baked Yams with Sweet Onions & Ginger
Caribbean Cole Slaw
Gizzada (Spiced Sweet Coconut Tart)

When I was a teenager, there was this weird little theater in the quiet suburb of Uniondale, New York called the Uniondale Mini-Cinema. Before the "midnight movie" craze hit the mainstream, this was one of those first experiments in letting young people, especially young people who were influenced by what was then known as "the counter-culture," and certainly those who had a love and reverence for movies, be allowed to program an actual movie theater.

Now remember this was before there were videotapes, or even cable TV. This was the only place where you could stay up all night and watch Marx Brothers movies, the new "concert" films like Woodstock or Jimi Plays Berkeley, and was a home for "outsider" filmmakers such as Robert Downey Sr. and John Waters. Later, after I had gone to seek my fortunes on the West Coast, it was one of the first theaters to do the whole Rocky Horror Picture Show thing. But it was also one of the first theaters to run The Harder They Come.

Friday, July 29, 2011

TV Bites: Blood Simple

Sugar Snap Pea and Cheese Curd Salad

If it wasn't so damn hot outside, I'd still be heating up as I've been in computer hell the last few weeks now, since returning from Montreal. My computer overheated in my bag because it didn't shut down all the way when I rushed to put it away before landing as the airplane steward was tapping his foot and standing over me. Say la vee, as they'd say up there in Quebec. Then I thought it had come with an extended warranty, which it didn't, so I sent it in anyways to Sony, but they wanted more to fix it than I could buy a refurbished model with a 3-year warranty, so I had them send it back. Ah, the disposable society we live in. Meanwhile, I bought a little Acer netbook that was on sale at Target, which worked for four days - just enough time to get it working right and loaded with software - for the hard drive to get burned. And of course, because of the sale, they're all out of replacement units, so I had to wait another day for a delivery to get that replaced. So, I've been working as much as I can on an old desktop but I'm taking it all in stride, mostly because it's too damn hot to go outside anyways, so dealing with all this has at least kept me physically cool, which helps to keep me mentally cool.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Just a little self-promotion.... American Grindhouse DVD

For those of you interested in such things, there are about 20 minutes of never before seen interviews I did in the 1980's with "the Godfather of Gore" Herschell Gordon Lewis & producer David F. Friedman (two of the nicest guys I've had the privilege of meeting) included as a DVD extra on the soon-to-be-released DVD of Elijah Drenner's documentary American Grindhouse on July 26th.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

TV Bites: The Lady Eve

Roast Beef with Ale Jus

A shorter version of this post was originally published on the Criterion Collection website.

I'm a little surprised that I'm back to writing about Preston Sturges so quickly. But it's in the Criterion Collection, and the Museum of Modern Art had an afternoon screening of it while I was up in the New York City last month, and so here we are. Not that I'm complaining, but I haven't even written up one Welles, Kubrick, or even a Scorsese film yet, just saying. But interesting to note, that the only other directors so far to have two films here are Wim Wenders, and Billy Wilder - with Wilder being another writer at Paramount who suffered through having his scripts hacked, I mean directed, by Mitchell Leisen and decided he needed to direct himself.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tickets Available NOW! The Harder They Come Class - August 13th!

Time: Saturday August 13, 2011 · 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my seventh Chef du Cinema class I'll be demonstrating a palate-pleasing Jamaican meal paired with the 1973 classic The Harder They Come. Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff stars as an aspiring young singer who leaves his village for the city, hoping to make a name for himself. But soon he finds himself robbed and in the clutches of a corrupt music producer. He turns outlaw, and winds up topping both the pop music charts and the police most-wanted list. This gritty, groundbreaking film - and its timeless soundtrack - introduced Reggae music to America and the world. After the cooking demonstration, we’ll watch the movie and enjoy the meal.

Hot Pepper Shrimp
Jerk Chicken
Baked Yams with Sweet Onions & Ginger
Caribbean Cole Slaw
Gizzada (Spiced Sweet Coconut Tart)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TV Bites: Best in Show

Honey Roasted Mixed Nuts

You know that game people play where you are asked to pick six (or whatever number) people to a dinner party whom would you choose? Here's one answer I'd pick: Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, and Fred Willard. Of course, Ms. O'Hara would be sitting to my right, thank you.

I once had the pleasure of sort-of meeting Mr. McKean - I say sort of, because it was backstage at a Red Hot Chili Peppers/Meat Puppets show and McKean was invited to introduce the Peppers as David St. Hubbins. He was done up with the hair and outfit from his Spinal Tap persona and maintained the character even backstage, so when I met him, I actually met Mr. St. Hubbins, not Mr. McKean. I met Mr. Shearer several times when I lived in Los Angeles, including once being on air with him, when he used to open the phones to callers on his radio show, Le Show. But lady and gentlemen - dinner invitations are open to all six of you and just give me a couple of hours to whip up some food and you're all welcome to come over.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Class: Slumdog Millionaire

Pear-Apple Chutney w/Goat Cheese on Toasted Naan
Karahi Chicken w/ Tomatoes and Chiles
Shrimp Biryani
Coconut-Chai Sorbet

Once again, a great class. I'd like to thank everyone who came out and the staff at Central Market for their awesome work. After three classes in a row, I'm taking a litte summer break - though I'll be continuing to post on the blog. Next class will be on August 11 - The Harder They Come with a Jamaican menu. Stay tuned for tickets.

I feel very lucky to have gotten to see this film shortly before it was released at a screening during the Austin Film Festival. This was before all the hype, all the nominations, and all the pundits got to it. I was sitting with an old friend who teaches screenwriting at USC. I hadn't seen him for about 15 years and we didn't have much time to catch up before the movie began other than the usual recounting of our successes and missteps and in general being slightly wistful about our lives.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

one reason I love living in austin....

For those of you who don't live in Austin, I feel your pain. I fear going to movies anywhere outside of my zip code as a lovely couple just over a decade ago began with a small theater showing movies they love, serving food at that theater, and offering good times for movie lovers. The only rule they had was "to keep your big mouth shut during the movie." Eventually that rule evolved to including people who can't seem to understand that talking on your cell phone during a movie makes you an a$$hole. And finally, adding texting to that.

Monday, May 30, 2011

TV Bites: Paris, Texas

Chile avec Fromage (Chile con Queso)

A shorter version of this post was originally published on the Criterion Collection website.

In April, a new arthouse theater opened here in Austin, the Violet Crown Cinema. (Our city has several pet names and one of them is the “City of the Violet Crown.” Why it’s called that has been completely lost to history.) Local film director and cinephile Richard Linklater pick eight films from the Criterion Collection as a test run of their facility (and as a benefit for the Austin Film Society). Of the films he chose, the one I was most attracted to seeing was Paris, Texas. First, I couldn’t remember the last time I saw the film but always remembered how much I liked it; and second, I needed to pick something for my post here and was hoping to be inspired by something in the film. And I was.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Class: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Garlic Mushrooms in Red Wine (Champiñones al Ajillo con Vino Tinto)
Fried Eggplant With Honey, Mint, And Sesame Seeds (Berenjenas Fritas con Miel, Menta y Semillas de Sésamo)
Gazpacho de Pepa
Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins (Espinacas con Piñones y Pasas)
Orange & Brandy Pancakes with Cinnamon Ice Cream (Pescajus Naranja con Helado de Canela)

Was very pleased with the class today, though I wished, as always, that we had more people in attendance. Nevertheless, it all went very smoothly. And, as always, big thanks to the staff at Central Market for helping me pull it off.

I've never been a huge fan of Almodóvar's later films, but this one I think is my favorite and his best. It's very skillfully executed but never takes itself too seriously. So many perfectly shot scenes.

The idea to do the film came about because Central Market was doing this whole "Passport to Spain" thing and they asked me to come up a movie to do and this was the first one that popped into my mind, especially for a matinée class. And it was perfect and I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting it and researching the notes for the class.

Monday, May 9, 2011

TV Bites: My Favorite Year

Pot Stickers (Jiaozi)

My Favorite Year is one of those movies I go back to again and again whenever I feel the need for the warm & fuzzy. Even though I wasn't born yet, it reminds me of the New York I grew up in.... when real New Yorkers lived there, not people who say they're from New York but are actually from Ohio (no offense to Ohioans).

In the beginning of his commentary track on the DVD, director Richard Benjamin speaks about how this kind of comedy, those writers and comedians, could only have come from Brooklyn, the Bronx, and the Lower East Side and that they "clawed their way out" of there. Both my parents grew up in Flatbush (part of Brooklyn to your out-of-towners). My grandparents never watched a baseball game after the Dodgers left to Los Angeles. Going to visit them on the weekends was a lot like the dinner Benji takes Alan Swann to in the movie (if only Rookie Carroca was there!). They had the only color television set on the block and, on Sunday evenings, all the neighbors would come over and cram into the living room to watch with us.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Tickets Available NOW! - Slumdog Millionaire - June 11th!

Time: Saturday June 11, 2011 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my sixth Chef du Cinema class, I will be demonstrating a palate-pleasing 4-course Indian-inspired meal paired with the 2009 Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. It’s a story of a teenage orphan from the slums of Mumbai who goes on India’s version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” and gets arrested for cheating. He tells the police the incredible story of his life, and of the girl he loves and lost.

Peach-Apple Chutney w/Goat Cheese on Toasted Naan
Karahi Chicken w/Tomatoes and Chiles
Shrimp Biryani
Coconut-Chai Sorbet

Saturday, April 30, 2011

TV Bites: Amarcord


A shorter version of this post was originally published on the Criterion Collection website.

By this point, you should now I'm going to be doing quasi-monthly Chef du Cinema mini-posts at the Criterion Collection website (see above). When the lovely people there suggested that I just pick something from their catalog I wanted to do first, I was sure I’d be overwhelmed to choose one. But starting with their new releases, the first film on the list was Federico Fellini’s Amarcord, and I stopped right there. I’d been dying to give it the Chef du Cinema treatment as it’s been one of my favorite movies since I first saw it in a theater over 30 years ago. Partly because I love Fellini in general, and partly because I spent part of my youth living in a seaside resort town in New York, and could relate to Fellini’s own memories of his youth in the Italian seaside resort town of Rimini.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tickets Available NOW! - Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown - May 22!

Time: Sunday May 22, 2011 · 11am - 2pm (NOTE DAYTIME CLASS!)
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my fifth Chef du Cinema class, I will be offering up a temptatious 5-course Vegetarian Spanish Tapas menu while discussing the Spanish hit comedy Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. The 1988 film, directed by Pedro Almodovar, tells a story about women and the men who pursue them, finding them, losing them, needing them, and rejecting them.... or something like that. It was nominated for both the Best Foreign Film Oscar and Golden Globe awards.

Note: Film will be shown in Spanish w/English Subtitles.

Gazpacho de Pepa
Garlic Mushrooms in Red Wine (Champiñones al Ajillo con Vino Tinto)
Fried Eggplant With Honey, Mint, And Sesame Seeds (Berenjenas Fritas con Miel, Menta y Semillas de Sésamo)
Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins (Espinacas con Piñones y Pasas)
Orange & Brandy Pancakes with Cinnamon Ice Cream (Pescajus Naranja con Helado de Canela)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

TV Bites: The Palm Beach Story

Texas Weiners

April 17, 2011 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Town of Palm Beach, which was entirely coincidental in my choosing to write about The Palm Beach Story for this particular post. I'd been wanting to do a Preston Sturges film for some time, and in fact, traded some emails with Sturges' son, Tom, who is a friend of a friend. Tom was able to get me a photocopy of the menu from The Players, the restaurant Sturges owned during his time in Hollywood. Plan on seeing a dish from that menu in a future Sturges movie posting. However, there is only one dish that would be appropriate for The Palm Beach Story - watch the movie, kids! - and so it is the Texas Wieinie.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Class: Buena Vista Social Club

Empanadas de Queso y Espinaca
Mango, Avocado & Red Onion Salad with Papaya-Seed Dressing
Roasted Chicken, Versailles Style w/Black Beans & Rice and Fried Plantains
Coconut Rum Flan

Class was great tonight. I want to thank everyone who came out. Also, I just spent a few days up in Dallas for the premiere of the new documentary I co-wrote, OK Buckaroos, about singer/songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker at the Dallas International Film Festival. All was great - two sold out performances! My favorite moment was during the Q&A when someone asked Jerry Jeff a question about which "Green Frog Cafe" writer Guy Clark was referring to in the song "Desperados Waiting for a Train." Jerry Jeff pulled out his cell phone and gave Guy a call.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sound & Vision Radio Interview with Chef du Cinema Now Online!

As I mentioned earlier, I met Mike Etchert of Sound & Vision Radio at South by Southwest two weeks ago and he had me live on their radio program that weekend.

Friday, March 25, 2011

TV Bites: A Fistful of Dollars (Per un pugno di dollari)

Clint Eastwood's Hush Puppies

Well, I survived the "overcrowded & overmarketed" edition of South by Southwest and it's time to get back to work. Though, for Chef du Cinema, it was a very productive shmoozefest. I've got some interesting things in talks for some fun projects - more to come on that. But, if you've been following me on Twitter, you'll know I met with Mike Etchart of Sound & Vision Magazine Radio and I did a live interview with them. But the most exciting news is that I got contacted by the Rachael Ray Show about possibly doing something with them. We'll see what happens, but either way it's all good and it means that Chef du Cinema is moving onwards and upwards. Maybe some day soon, I'll be able to take this on the road and - if you're not in Austin - have a class in your town!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

TV Bites: Sin Nombre

Chile Verde Chicken Tacos w/Creamy Avocado Sauce

Well I survived my month long adventure in Southeast Asia. I am actually starting to work on this during the first leg of my 28 hours total of airplanes and airports before I close the front door of my house with me inside and lay down in my own bed again.

Monday, February 28, 2011

TV Bites: Vertical Ray of the Sun (Mua he chieu thang dung)

Cha Ca Ha Noi (Grilled Fish Hanoi-Style w/Rice Noodles & Herbs)

Well, I made it to Vietnam.

There are some films that change your life, sometimes in big ways and sometimes in small ways. For at least a year after first seeing Vertical Ray of the Sun (also known as Summer Solstice, and/or At the Height of the Summer), I began adding to my morning ritual listening to Velvet Underground's "Pale Blue Eyes" first thing as I did my morning stretches as do two characters in the movie. I was having a particularly stressful bump in my life and the harmony I found in that ritual truly helped smooth it out for me. I still occasionally return to it as a great song to greet the day. So I thank Tran in that way for making this film.

a little bonus....

I'm running a bit late on my schedule of putting up my post for the Vietnam leg of this trip, but it should be ready shortly.

Meanwhile, here's a little video I shot of the best place to get Pho Bo, Ha Noi style in town. Even Mr. Smug TV Travel Food Guy ate here on his episode about Ha Noi. But that's not why I went there, it's a favorite of locals. I took a little cooking class while in Ha Noi and hopefully can recreate this back home. But I'll have another Ha Noi specialty for the movie. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

We're going national, baby! USA Today covers Chef du Cinema!

Thanks USA Today and writer Sharon Jayson for the mention in their article on Oscar Party foods. And a tip of the hat to Joel Salcido for the excellent pictures! (though did they have to pick the one with my mouth open? sigh...)

Our story so far.....

If this is your first time here, let me welcome you.

If you've been here before, you're probably asking: "why is he writing this?"

What's going on is, first off - I'm on a trip to Southeast Asia, and second off - USA Today telephoned a week before I left asking if I could put together three recipes based on three of the ten (I'm sorry, but how lame is it that they went from five to ten?) Best Picture Oscar nominees for an article which is appearing sometime in the next 24 hours from now. And so I thought I should write something and get it ready to post since I'm not going to have great Internet access nor will I have time to write much right when this thing hits the newstands. Why do I care? Because I'd like to give some new folks who might be arriving based on that article, a quick summary of what the heck this is that I'm doing so you won't have to weed through all my ramblings to figure it out.

So... Our story so far.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tickets Available NOW - Buena Vista Social Club - April 9th!

Time: Saturday, April 9, 2011 · 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Location: Central Market North, 4001 North Lamar, Austin, TX

For my fourth Chef du Cinema class I will be offering up an exciting Cuban menu while discussing the award-winning documentary film that introduced the world to the Cuban ensemble known as the Buena Vista Social Club. Directed by Wim Wenders and featuring guitarist Ry Cooder, the film is a musical travelogue chronicling the group’s live concerts in New York & Amsterdam and offering us a window into their lives in Havana.

Empanadas de Queso
Mango, Avocado & Red Onion Salad with Papaya-Seed Dressing
Roasted Chicken, Versailles Style w/Black Beans & Rice and Fried Plantains
Coconut Rum Flan

Friday, February 11, 2011

TV Bites: Citizen Dog (Mah nakorn)

Nam Tok Moo (Waterfall Spicy Pork Salad)

Note: volume on this trailer is high, turn down volume before playing

Well, I'm on the road in Southeast Asia, so posting will be sparse on the writing, but interesting in the recipes.

My plan is that I've written the movie stuff prior to the trip and will fill in some background & context on stuff from my adventures, but most exciting for you is that I'm taking some cooking classes along the way. So I will be posting recipes from them for this post and the next one on Vietnam. In planning and researching this trip to Thailand & Vietnam I went catching up on some indigenous films looking for one that I wanted to chef-du-cinema-ize.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Class: Charade

Audrey's Kippered Herring Salad on Roasted Potatoes
Italian Tossed Salad w/Audrey's Vinaigrette Dressing
Audrey's Spaghetti Pomodoro
Rosemary, Garlic & Sea Salt Focaccia
Fresh Vanilla Ice Cream w/Maple Swirl (her favorite dessert)

Once again I really want to thank everyone for coming. And the staff at Central Market who did a great job getting everything made and served. I hope everyone had as good of a time as I did tonight.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A little mention in Today's Austin American-Statesman...

I'm very happy that people are digging the Chef du Cinema. I'm sure having fun doing it. Got a nice tip o'the hat from Austin American-Statesman food writer Addie Broyles for this weekend's class (I think there may be one or two tickets left!). Thanks, Addie!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

TV Bites: Slacker

Les Amis Cafe Black Beans & Brown Rice

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of its screening at the Sundance Film Festival this week is Slacker where it will be shown again in tribute. So it's time for it to be served up in TV Bites... and to rant about my current hometown a bit.

Monday, January 10, 2011

TV Bites: A Hard Day's Night

Scouse (Beef & Lamb Stew) w/ Sir Paul McCartney's Mashed Potatoes

Earlier last year, the Vatican decided to "forgive" the Beatles with this odd pronouncement written in the L'Osservatore Romano, the official Pope newsletter: "It's true they took drugs, lived life to excess because of their success, even said they were bigger than Jesus and put out mysterious messages that were possibly even Satanic, [but] what would pop music have been like without the Beatles?"