Monthly Archives: July 2018

McQueen — Trailer

Alexander McQueen, four-time winner of the British Designer of the Year award, didn’t look like one of the most important and influential designers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

But, like Bowie, like Warhol, he seemed to be living not in the present, but in some vastly more exciting, colourful, and, yes, dangerous future. Like them, his life and vision helped bring that future into being.

A new documentary, titled simply McQueen, went into limited release last week.

McQueen’s October 2009 “Plato’s Atlantis” presentation, featuring his Spring/Summer 2010 collection, showed him at his peak.

Just breathtaking. Other than that, I’ve got no words.

The song at the end of the show, btw, was the surprise début of “Bad Romance”, by McQueen’s friend, Lady Gaga.

Back in 2015, I visited the V&A’s “Savage Beauty” exhibition in London. Here are some of the clothes from that show:

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2018 Cookery Project — Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Cognac Sauce

Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Cognac Sauce

Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Cognac Sauce

In addition to the kindness of strangers, you can always rely on the recipes that have won four-star reviews from the readers of Epicurious. This one, for Seared Duck Breast with Cherries and Cognac Sauce, maintained that high standard.

Despite my well-documented obsession with Duck Confit, I’d never actually cooked any kind of duck dish before this. It’s not the same as cooking chicken or turkey. Duck is a much more fatty bird, and one of the first things to do when cooking it is to score the skin in a diamond pattern, which helps in rendering some of the fat. After doing that, I cooked the duck in a stove top skillet with a little butter.

The sauce made the dish memorable. After draining most of the skillet drippings, I sautéed a chopped shallot, then added chicken broth, honey, butter, pitted cherry halves—which gave me a chance to use my nifty little cherry-pitting device for the first time—and cognac.* I cooked it down to a glaze, plated it with fanned slices of the duck breasts, and served.

I liked the way it looked, with a red, pink, and brown colour combination. Tasted good, too.

*The recipe called for port, but cognac is what I had on hand. Worked fine.


★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

“Fractal Worlds” at ARTECHOUSE

The current show at ARTECHOUSE, “Fractal Worlds” by Julius Horsthuis, is the venue’s most impressive immersive experience since Thomas Blanchard’s “Kingdom of Colors” played last November.

Here’s a brief video I took at the site, offered with the usual apology:  My decidedly low-tech hardware comes nowhere close to capturing the beauty and power of the huge HD projections on the site’s walls. The image at the top of this post is from the program notes, and gives a hint of the clarity and detail of the show.

Some images from the show:

2018 Cookery Project — Bastille Day Cheesecake

2018 Bastille Day Cheesecake

2018 Bastille Day Cheesecake

When I made my first successful Bastille Day Cheesecake in 2016,  I didn’t plan on turning it into an annual tradition, but it’s certainly a tradition that I’ve willingly embraced. I mean, I now have a legitimate, time-honoured obligation to make a cheesecake every July. How could anyone shirk a responsibility like that?

It’s not as if I’m just pampering myself by making one of my favourite desserts. No. I’m doing it for you, my readers, who have come to expect it.

I just hope you’re properly appreciative and grateful.

The Ghosts of Cheesecakes Past

The Bastille Day Cheesecakes from 2016 and 2017

In all of recorded history, no cheesecake has ever been rated less than four stars.

★ Disaster. Inedible. Poisoned the cat.
★★ OK, but once is enough.
★★★ Mixed results. Something went wrong, but might try this again.
★★★★ Good, but lacks that special something.
★★★★★ Excellent. Goes into my “This is a winner” file.

Bistro du Coin — Lunch on 13 July 2018

I got an early start on Bastille Day this year by having a very French lunch at a very French restaurant. Bistro du Coin has been serving first-rate food in a casual environment since 2000, so it’s been around long enough to have become a Washington institution. I got there early to beat the lunch crowd, which meant that I felt free to break one of my own rules and take a picture of the restaurant’s interior. I wanted a shot of some of the Bastille Day decorations, but I didn’t want to infringe on the privacy of any of the diners.

Dining here always brings back memories of my earliest days in Washington. Before Bistro du Coin was Bistro du Coin, it was Food for Thought, a hippie-ish, vegetarian-friendly place that occasionally hosted live music by local performers. The food wasn’t particularly memorable, but it was cheap, and Food for Thought was one of the great DC hangouts for the young counter-culture crowd that considered Dupont Circle the center of the universe. I was a member in good standing of that vibrant little community.

Casserole de Lapin à la Moutarde

Casserole de Lapin à la Moutarde

But back to the present….

I dined on Casserole de Lapin à la Moutarde, aka Rabbit Stew in light creamy mustard sauce with carrots, onions, and mushrooms. Best meal I’ve had in weeks. I savoured every bite. The only downside was that it left me too full for dessert, and I really wanted to try the Pêche Melba.

Next time.

Zack Morris Is Trash

I think that the 1980s television show Saved by the Bell bears a lot of the blame for why the country is in such sad shape there days, and why the Millenials are the way they are.

Think about it. Saved by the Bell ran from August 1989 through May 1993, which means that it influenced the early Millenials at the most gullible, vulnerable time of their lives.* It was bound to shape the thinking and values of a generation

The show revolved around Zack Morris, the smuggest, sleaziest, most irritating character on television, except of course for David Spade. When you look at his crooked schemes and exploitive behavior, it’s like watching the early years of Martin Shrkeli, aka The Pharmadouche.

Some role model for innocent kids!

Fortunately, Funny Or Die has come to the rescue, debunking the show and its repugnant central character with a series of videos containing a detailed analysis of each episode of Saved by the Bell. The video above is just one example. You can find the rest at Zack Morris Is Trash

*And, as if that wasn’t enough to cause permanent mental scarring, Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990 – 2000) was lurking just around the corner, like a predator hanging around a Middle School playground.