Thursday, December 23, 2010

On the Road Again

Threw some food and wine together for the kids before exchanging presents a day early as I hit the road on Christmas Eve to arrive on Christmas day at 6am bearing presents as Santa Claus was really slammed this year, so I offered to fly the 'red-eye'. I am a team player if nothing else. No thanks needed.

So Happy Holidays to everyone. Photos of Christmas and New Years in Paris to follow once I recover from my jet lag and a breakfast of Champagne and more oysters. Beats the Hell out of cookies and milk!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

La Mexicana in Newport

Sometimes you don't have to go to CVG to travel. If you want an authentic Mexican meal head to Newport, Kentucky to La Mexicana on Monmouth between 6th and 7th. It's the real deal and a perfect warm up for "True Grit" but I limited myself to only one cerveza as too many beers during the show leads to a few pit stops and the big screen doesn't have a pause button.

I can't say it's the "best or premiere" Mexican restaurant in town because I haven't tried them all so that would be a lie. But it's the best so far for me and it will due until the next best one comes along.

I have been to the worst recently in Hyde Park and walked out after throwing down $15 for half-eaten enchiladas that tasted like dog food mixed with crumbs topped with Velveeta. It was that bad.

But La Mexicana is great and I will return. Plus the neighborhood is quaint and didn't the Brass Ass used to be a dive strip club. My memories have faded but I think I went there back in the 80s for a bachelor party but we all got thrown out when the six of us put paper bags on our head during the show for some reason. We thought it was funny but management didn't. I think the girls were offended but they shouldn't have been given their muscle tone. Or did that happen in "Hangover"?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Yes, I love to travel but it is important to have a solid home base and it's not just about having a big house, as I have learned recently, it is about having a great home. So Cincinnati is home and although I have only lived here for 35 years, I do get credit for a few past generations who made it their home after the Civil War.

But maybe it's the Danish Viking heritage that lures me to big old homes that remind me of old castles and the solid bones of old houses that catch my attention and conjure up vivid images of having lived there before and walked great rooms with a Lady hundreds of years ago which can be the only explanation of why her hand feels so comfortable in mine. Maybe it was just the crazy movie I saw last night about a somewhat psychotic (and riveting) ballerina. I hope not.

I can see myself prowling these grounds with stone walls and woods and plenty of space for a garden, and a greenhouse seems right and practical if you like flowers and vegetables during the cold months or want to get a jump on Spring before the last frost. In Winter there is a roaring fire in the Great Room and more delicious food (yes, there is always delicious food) and lively conversation, and in Summer there is Bocce in the courtyard (got to have a Bocce court) and food served outside under cover unless the heat and rain drive us inside. And still more lively conversation and good wine, and then standing around the large kitchen cleaning the dishes and pans with friends and family. And music covering the noise of clattering of pans and dishes being dried and put away.

And a lovely smiling face with bright eyes taking it all in and waiting for all the guests to leave.

It must be just the remnants of "Black Swan" but the dream seems so real. Tomorrow I will see "True Grit" and wonder if the dream will have changed. Probably not, except for the cowboy boots and slow drawls. Please check your guns at the door.

White Death Black Swan

The 'white death' in Cincinnati means an inch or two of slippery snow and shear panic to drive the hills. The milk and batteries are swept from the shelves at the local groceries and schools are delayed for 90 minutes, precisely. Life goes on and everyone gets to where they are going eventually.

'Black Swan' is a compelling psychological thriller with an amazing performance by Natalie Portman, who has lived and visited in Cincinnati, but left before she could drive. The plot is non-linear and for most the ending will not be pleasing, but enjoy the ride, like taking a detour on the way home and finding an open parking lot at the country club and letting the car drift into four wheel slides.

The movie is a classic and will need to be viewed many times to be comprehended but the performance is riveting. The drive home was fun too and from now on sitting in the back of the Esquire with conspiratorial conversations with good friends and contraband half-bottles of wine will be de-rigueur. And yes the Champagne/buttered popcorn/chocolate pairing does work. But try it yourself and see the movie to get your own opinions.

And it has been suggested that the little pig outside who is wet and cold should come inside for the winter, and I agree. Pardon granted.