Author Archives: bcarter3

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.

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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 handouts 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.

Crazy Rich Asians Trailer

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Crazy Rich Asians is a frothy, late-summer comedy based on the first book of Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Trilogy. From the author’s website:

Crazy Rich Asians is the outrageously funny debut novel about three super-rich, pedigreed Chinese families and the gossip, backbiting, and scheming that occurs when the heir to one of the most massive fortunes in Asia brings home his ABC (American-born Chinese) girlfriend to the wedding of the season.

“Initiated into a world of dynastic splendor beyond imagination, Rachel meets Astrid, the It Girl of Singapore society; Eddie, whose family practically lives in the pages of the Hong Kong socialite magazines; and Eleanor, Nick’s formidable mother, a woman who has very strong feelings about who her son should–and should not–marry. Uproarious, addictive, and filled with jaw-dropping opulence, Crazy Rich Asians is an insider’s look at the Asian JetSet; a perfect depiction of the clash between old money and new money; between Overseas Chinese and Mainland Chinese; and a fabulous novel about what it means to be young, in love, and gloriously, crazily rich.”

The book was published in 2013 and became an international bestseller, translated into 12 languages.

If the movie is a hit, which seems likely, expect sequels based on the other two volumes of the trilogy, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems.

The release date is 17 August 2018.

Through the Looking Glass — Kevin Parry Dazzles, Again

Best watched fullscreen


I posted an earlier mind-bending video by the amazingly creative Kevin Parry last year.

Parry, who accurately identifies himself as a “Stop-Motion Animator + Video Wizard”, recently returned to his native Toronto after working on Laika Entertainment’s Kubo and the Two Strings and The Boxtrolls in Portland, Oregon.

He went the long way, traveling 5000 miles in three weeks. You can follow along with this video of the “Portland to Portland (Teleporting Across America)” tour, as he tries to get that one perfect tourist picture.

Doesn’t he seem like someone who would be fun to hang out with?

One final video:

Smithsonian Folklife Festival — Catalonia on the Washington Mall

I went down to the Mall last Thursday to check out the Catalonia section of this year’s Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Perfect day for it.

Just a few hours earlier, the Mall had been filled with tens of thousands of people watching the Fourth of July concert and fireworks, but by morning, every trace of them was gone. The Park Service is really good about clean-ups.

This Human Tower Team, Colla Vella dels Xiquets de Valls, can trace its history back more than 200 years. At the Festival, they gave a small sample of what they do. Here’s a video of a somewhat more impressive performance:

Of course I went for the food. I had Catalon Pa Amb Tomàquet, which is garlic and tomato toast, with Serrano ham. Lousy picture, great sandwich.

When US troops arrived in Europe after D-Day in WWII, Europeans were impressed with the height of Americans soldiers. Things have changed since then, especially in Scandinavia and Holland, where the local teenagers now tower over typical US visitors.

The only place in Europe where I’ve ever felt taller than most of the residents was in Spain. I thought about that as I watched the dance of the Associació de Geganters i Grallers d’Oliana.

Powders for street décor. They’re used to create “carpets” like this one:


The image at the top of this post is from the Folklife Festival’s website.