Tuesday, July 28, at 11 AM

Where can you get a three-star experience at one-star prices? Which hot new restaurant merits the scorching hype? The answer to all these questions and more can be found Tuesdays at 11 AM on Kliman Online.

From scoping out scruffy holes in the wall to weighing the merits of four-star wanna-bes, from scouring the ‘burbs and exurbs to hitting the city’s streets, Todd Kliman covers a lot of territory.

Winner of a James Beard Foundation Award in 2005 for the country’s best newspaper column about food, Kliman is food and wine editor and restaurant critic for The Washingtonian. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Oxford American, The Daily Beast and Men’s Health, among others, and he has been selected four times for inclusion in the Best Food Writing anthologies.

He is the author of The Wild Vine, a literary exploration of two entwined mysteries: an obscure grape that rose to prominence, only to disappear, and its present-day evangelist, a foul-mouthed transgendered multi-millionaire vintner on an obsessive quest to restore the legend of an antebellum southern doctor.

Can’t wait a week to talk to Todd? Follow him on Twitter for dining reports, tips, and breaking news from the culinary world. Or write to him: tkliman@washingtonian.com

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TK’S 10: WHERE TO GO NOW

Taqueria el Mexicano

7811 Riggs Rd., Hyattsville; (301) 434-0104

Best Mexican cooking in the area right now. Nothing else comes close. Get the pork in adobo, the mole poblano, the posole, and the sopes. And don’t skimp on the handmade tortillas.

Tazza Kitchen

2931 S Glebe Rd., Arlington; (703) 549-8299

Imagine a Clyde’s, only foodier, cozier, more contemporary, and less focused on pleasing the widest swath of diners. Terrific, attentive service, too. Go for the campanelle bolognese, the mushroom pizza, the shrimp ’n’ polenta, the steak with salsa verde and an egg, and end with an excellent olive oil-topped chocolate budino.

Hunan Taste

10120 Fairfax Blvd., Fairfax; (703) 877-0988

The kitchen works magic. Not all the time — I’ve had a couple of eh dishes over the course of two visits. But then you turn up something like the mushroom casserole with pork (best not to study its long, dark tadpole-like fungi), or fish fillet with bean curd sauce, or Divine Incense Mint Pork (chewy-crunchy strips of pork belly with fried mint) and you simply can’t stop eating.

Amoo’s House of Kabob

6271 Old Dominion Dr., McLean; (703) 448-8500

The kabob is exalted at this Persian stripmall gem. Don’t miss the kubideh, which doesn’t even need a knife, and the salmon, thick hunks of lightly charred fish, cooked to an ideal coral-centered medium. And don’t come at all if you’re not going to spring for at least one of the rice dishes, ideally the aromatic shirin polo, with saffron, currants, and candied orange peel.

Sushi Capitol

325 Pennsylvania Ave. SE DC; (202) 627-0325

Minoru Ogawa was previously in charge of sushi operations at every Mandarin Oriental property along the Eastern seaboard. He shops with the utmost care for his product, and is a purist at the bar, abjuring gimmicks, fads and clutter. When Ogawa is around, there’s no place in the area I’d rather go for sushi.

Casa Luca

1099 New York Ave. NW DC; (202) 628-1099

The most casual of the restaurants in Fabio Trabocchi’s collection, and an immensely assured operation from top to bottom, and from its opening nibbles to its pastas to its dazzling preparations of fish and seafood to its exquisitely crafted desserts.

Enat

4709 N Chambliss St., Alexandria; (703) 642-3628

Best Ethiopian food in the area right now. Every item I sampled on a recent, abundantly topped platter was vibrantly colorful, subtly (but assertively) spiced, and memorable. Vegetarians, take note: this is the spot to go when you’re in the mood for kik alicha, mesir wot, and azifa. The latter, in fact, is easily the best version of the dish I’ve eaten in years — the flavors sharper and more focused, the tang tangier, the mustard bite, more mustardy. It’s also a pleasure to see lentils that are cooked perfectly — no crunchiness, no mushiness.

The Alley Light

108 2nd St. SW, Charlottesville, Va.; (434) 296-5003

The chef at this unmarked speakeasy, Jose De Brito, is a lone wolf in the foodie herd. He thinks for himself, which would be reason enough to pay a visit, but here’s the best part: he doesn’t also cook for himself, to gratify his ego at the expense of your pleasure. Let every other chef fry their brussels sprouts; De Brito mashes them with a bacon-infused cream to create a kind of palaak paneer, then roasts them slowly, along with pearl onions, bits of bacon, and chestnuts that turn soft, dark, and caramelly sweet. He uses sunchokes, those suddenly trendy tubers, to lend a sharpening edge to a fondue-like soup that coats the tongue with the rich, resonant taste of Roquefort. I can’t remember the last time I saw green beans on a menu, let alone as a stand-alone dish, but De Brito shows you how something so unsexy can be made marvelous, tossing the beans in an almond vinaigrette and then showering the plate with a snow the color of putty — foie gras, grated from a frozen block. And that’s just the vegetables.

Le Diplomate

1601 14th St. NW DC; (202) 332-3333

You don’t need to be told, or reminded, about the place, but let me just say that the dishes coming out of the kitchen, under chef Michael Abt, have never been better. The tete de veau is excellent, worth coming for all by itself. It doesn’t go with the burger, no, but you can’t come here and not get the burger, probably the best in the city at the moment. And Fabrice Bendano, the dean of DC pastry chefs, has taken over dessert. If you want to understand why this qualifies as such a monumental hire, order his profiterole, which manages to be both new and old, intricate and effortless, richly satisfying and conversation haltingly dazzling.

KBQ Real Barbeque

9101 Woodmore Ctr. Dr. Ste 322, Lanham; (301) 322-1527

One of the two best barbecue spots in the area right now — the other is DCity Smokehouse — and I go back and forth on whose ribs I crave most. The ones here are soaked in advance of cooking in a housemade mojo criollo, then rubbed with herbs, and smoked slowly out back before hitting the grill. No sauce when they come to the table — they don’t need ‘em.


HOTSPOTS:

Your two MD hotspots are in PG County, and the rest are in DC or Virginia. Are there any hotspots you’d recommend in Montgomery County, or anything else you’re looking forward to opening in MoCo?

Todd Kliman

I don’t think of these places as hotspots. They’re not hot, in the way that word is generally used in breathless, vaguely substantive media posts. I just like them right now.

In Montgomery County, I like Urban Butcher (in Silver Spring) a good bit more than I did when it opened; go for the lavash topped with silken ground lamb tartare and hummus. It’s a terrific dish. Service has improved, too.

I’ve written on here fairly recently of my affection for Mi La Cay, in Wheaton. Best banh mi not in Falls Church, and I also love two of the noodle bowls. One is a yellow curry with noodles, the other is a dish marked out as M9 — a teeming bowl of egg noodles in a rich and spicy beef broth that I would swear has been fortified with crab (the thin, Steak ‘Em-like slices of beef are tossable; the dish is great without them).

At the moment, those are the two that leap to mind. Go. They’re both doing great work right now.

And just a quick note — do with it what you want: most Prince Georgians bristle at hearing the county called P.G. County. They feel it’s belittling and note, not without justification, that other counties in the area are not abbreviated in the same way; there’s, for instance, no talk of PW County.

Also, and this goes for other chatters out there, too — please use your real email address. I promise not to use it publicly. And you won’t — at least I don’t think you will — get hacked. 🙂

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RIBS:

Lots of BBQ restaurants serve baby back ribs – are there any that serve beef ribs and do it right? We’ve had Rocklands and it will do in a pinch, but doesn’t really hit the spot.

Todd Kliman

They don’t, no.

The two best, to me, right now, are DCity Smokehouse in DC and KBQ Real Barbeque in Glenarden (points to anyone who knows where that is without having to look it up on the web).

I’ve seen some press recently, and some social media, too, touting Fat Pete’s in Cleveland Park. Don’t get this at all. I had some tasty burnt ends there, and I love their baked beans (seriously — best baked beans in the area). But the ribs I had were terrible, and the brisket I ordered was dry.

To widen the discussion a little … so many places, now, are trying to do brisket, no doubt inspired by the unprecedented success of Aaron Franklin, a Beard Award winner, at Franklin Barbecue in Austin.

In Texas, obviously, it’s different — brisket is the thing, and has had a hold on the state for a long, long time.

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But you’re seeing brisket, now, all around the country. And a number of places, here, are concentrating on it. We don’t have a brisket tradition in the DC area. We do have a pulled pork tradition, which came up with many of the African-American migration from North Carolina. And ribs have been a part of the scene in Charles County for decades upon decades.

Which do you prefer, brisket, ribs, or pulled pork, and why?

Speaking as a food lover, now, and not as a critic, my preference is for ribs. I prefer the richness of the pork to the richness of beef. I like the contrasting textures, if they’re done right. I like that you have to work at the bone a little.

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REPORT FROM THE FIELD: A BAKED JOINT, IN DC:

I was excited to try out a Baked Joint, but was put off by their firm “no bread substitutions” policy.

They will only serve their chicken salad sandwich, for example, on a croissant. Is it unreasonable to expect them to accommodate a request to change the bread on which a sandwich is served? It wouldn’t bother me as much if the chicken salad was served on regular bread, but to force people to eat a sandwich on a pastry seems particularly strange.

Todd Kliman

Force?

No, not force. You don’t have to order it. No one’s forcing.

And a croissant is both a pastry and a bread. A lot of places serve chicken salad on croissants. The richness of the croissant is a good match for the salad, especially if the salad is served in chunks, as most places do.

I’m with you in that I don’t generally take well to the idea of a place saying you can’t make substitutions with something like bread, but in this instance that seems a little silly. I mean, you’re going into a very high-end shop, a very particular kind of very high-end shop, a very high-end shop that sees itself a certain way and conducts itself a certain way …

If I sounds a little critical, consider this: I had a very good meal there a couple of weeks ago. I liked everything I tried, though I wish the bread for the 80-20 meatloaf sandwich were more durable.

Back to chicken salad for a second … I prefer my chicken salad to be shredded. I love that texture. It tastes like a completely different dish when the chicken is handled that way — or pulled; pulled is good, too. Does anyone else have strong feelings on the subject?

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RIBS, CONT.:

I was at DCity this weekend and they do not serve beef ribs.

The owner would like to serve them but has to figure out the cost. Smokehouse Live in Leesburg serves up some good beef ribs.

Todd Kliman

Ah — I didn’t read the original chatter’s question carefully. My apologies.

Beef ribs.

Sorry. You’re right — not at DCity Smokehouse and not, I don’t think, at KBQ Real Barbeque, either.

They’re not that easy to find.

Interesting to know that Smokehouse Live has them. Thanks for the tip.

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FOOD AND FILM:

Hi Todd,

As a film enthusiast, I’d like to reply to last week’s Netflix topic. I’m a proponent of the service because I don’t want to plan my life around broadcast schedules or worry about my DVR running out of space.

In addition to the brilliant Chef’s Table series, your readers can stream: Spinning Plates, The Fruit Hunters, Kings of Pastry, Somm,The Restauranteur, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Haute Cuisine, A Year in Burgundy, Sushi The Global Catch, Red Obsession, and Le Chef. A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt may be available again soon.

Many documentaries are easier to secure because Netflix is buying from independents instead of large studios with complicated, expensive contracts for distributions. Netflix saw a market that wasn’t being fully tapped into by the larger cable companies. For competitive differentiation, why not invest in a niche market?

How about mentioning other films that feature celebratory food scenes in a visually stunning manner? These are currently available for streaming: Big Night, Like Water for Chocolate, The Trip, I Am Love, Vatel, Today’s Special , Chocolat, The Trip to Italy (sequel to The Trip), The God of Cookery, and Eat Drink Man Woman.

In addition, there is a variety of TV shows about food available to stream. Culinary novices can watch shows hosted by Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern. Regardless of whether you like their shows, there is no denying their positive cultural impact in portraying street foods and obscure ingredients as more inviting to the mainstream audience. Your readers can also stream the award-winning series, The Mind of a Chef, which is relatively fast-paced and provides compelling backstories about why the hosts or guests are passionate about different cooking styles, ingredients, destinations, and recipes.

Let me assist you in finding more films that are better aligned with your interests. What type of director-driven films interest you? What genres interest you other than food?

Another consideration is that many Netflix subscribers don’t fully utilize their queues’ functionalities. If you have both the DVD and the streaming service, then your DVD queue will alert you when a film is available for streaming. Build your queues and you’ll always have preferred films available to watch. I’m also impressed by the improved mail service with next-day delivery for most subscribers.

Todd Kliman

This is great. Thank you so much for taking the time to write something so thoughtful and informative. I appreciate it.

I didn’t know about the next-day delivery for Netflix subscribers. I’ll look into that, to see if it applies to me.

You mentioned The Trip and The Trip to Italy. I loved The Trip. I’ve watched it about five times now. So much more there than there seems to be, and it’s also hysterically funny.
The scenes in restaurants should be required viewing for everyone on here, don’t you think?

I love the bit when the waiter at one of the elegant restaurants they’re dining in rather windily describes the dish he’s just set down, including a line about the scallops resting on a bed of something or other.

Rob Brydon: “Resting? Their days of resting are been and gone. They’re dead.”

The Trip to Italy is good, too, though not quite as fresh or surprising as the original.

I like Michael Winterbottom’s films, in general. I like films like Local Hero. Sherman’s March is one of my favorites. I’m a big fan of foreign films from the ’60s on. Krzysztof Kieswlowski is a genius, and I love the Dekalogue, the Double Life of Veronique, and his trilogy Blue, White and Red (White is so funny and strange and sad; it might be one of my 10 favorite films, if I think about it). I love stand-up, and I know there’re a lot of stand-up films out there now, which is great. I thought Borat was great, I loved Tropic Thunder, Wedding Crashers, The 40-year-old Virgin. I like the Coen Brothers, but not all of the Coen Brothers — A Serious Man, Inside Llewyn Davis, Raising Arizona, and some others. I love documentaries. I’m not a huge old movie buff, but I do love Sunset Boulevard and a good bit of Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch’s stuff, Hitchcock, Orson Welles, as well as things like Singin’ in the Rain and Casablanca …

I hope that gives you enough guidance. I’d love to see what you come up with!

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HIGH-LOW:

With a kid on the way, the wife and I are going to try out your eat at low end (cheap eat places) and save the good dinners for high end places.

Wish us luck!

Todd Kliman

You make it sound as if this is gonna be some kind of challenge.

This was how I used to dine, before I became a critic. And being a critic has only reinforced for me just how much it makes sense.

Keep in mind, it’s not just any high-end or any cheap places. It’s the cream of the cream at both ends.

It’s funny, seeing the response to that piece over the past couple of weeks. So much talk about the high-end of things, very little or no talk about the low-end of things. It’s not going without. The low-end in a city like this, or in Los Angeles, or New York, is full of thrills.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but many of the people who chose to write about the piece have written about it as if I’m suggesting it’s a method for everyone. It’s not. I never claimed it was. It’s for passionate food lovers who, like yourself, are trying to rein in expenses right now or who are always on a budget.

Most people don’t go to restaurants to find thrills on a plate. They go to be comforted. To be pampered. To find escape from a hard day. For them, it’s the total package. Being a food adventurer is not anything that appeals to them. That’s fine. The middle exists to please them and to take care of them.

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CHICKEN SALAD, CONT.:

We used to LOVE the chicken salad sandwiches at Lola’s, along Barrack’s Row. Amazing. Then about 5-6 months ago they changed the recipe. Now it’s greasier, with less freshness. Don’t mess with a good thing.

I am a cubed-chicken person and grapes are a necessity.

Todd Kliman

Yeah, what is it with grapes and chicken salad?

Strange combo, but it does work, doesn’t it?

My mom used to make a version of chicken salad with grapes and sliced almonds. That also worked. (I kind of could go for some right now … )

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BBQ, CONT.:

Prefer good pulled pork, pork spare ribs, and finally brisket.

Todd Kliman

Thanks.

I’d love for everyone to weigh in on this, even if you have something else to put out there or comment on. I’d love to have a good tally …

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BBQ, CONT.:

Personally, I’m a pulled/chopped pork person. Whole hog if possible. There’s just something about the rich shredded pork, some vinegar based bbq sauce worked into the meat as its chopped, countered with the cool coleslaw. Makes for a great sandwich. Wilber’s and Skylight Inn in Eastern North Carolina being amongst the best.

Of course you can’t go wrong with a good rack of ribs!

Todd Kliman

Just reading your brief description of pulled/chopped pork got me hungry.

Smoke, tang, chew, richness, sweetness, depth. It’s all there. And then you add in the slaw, and you’ve got crunch and creaminess, too. Potent stuff.

Thanks for writing in …

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FOOD TRADITIONS:

You spoke of DC having a tradition of pulled pork vs. brisket BBQ. Are there other food traditions you think are connected to this area?

Todd Kliman

Well, there’s the hardshell and softshell tradition. That’s not just a Baltimore tradition. It’s a regional one.

Shad and shad roe, those are regional, too, and the chefs who understand where they are in the world and love local product (not just from the farms but from the waters, too) know to include them on their menus when the season is on.

Bluefish is another tradition. Most people who didn’t grow up here don’t have a taste for it. There are chefs who want to honor it, but who know that it’s a hard sell because it’s so fishy and rich; they tend to turn it into a pate or rillette. I love bluefish. I understand it’s not the most presentable fish — shad is the same way, particularly after you remove all the tiny pin bones and the thing looks beaten up — but I grew up eating it, and would love to see some restaurants add it to the menu.

Did anyone else grow up eating it? Broil it with butter and salt and pepper, and then give it a good squeeze of lemon. I’d love to have that again, soon.

Half-smokes are a DC tradition. You’re not going to find them anywhere else in the country. Be neat if some chef out there were to come up with a quintessentially DC brand of surf and turf of softshells and half-smokes, or bluefish and half-smokes.

I love that Johnny Monis did a half-smoke at Komi for a while. At Komi. Think about that. A half-smoke at Komi. What having it on the menu said was: I understand where I am, and I want to pay honor to that.

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BBQ, CONT.:

Fatty brisket all the way and hold the sauce.

Todd Kliman

Spoken like an aficionado. Right? If it’s good, you don’t need the sauce.

Thanks for chiming in …

We’re getting a good sampling here …

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BBQ, CONT.:

Pork is my top choice as a North Carolinian at heart (born in NC, grew up in FL, but went back to NC multiple times a year to visit family, went to college there, and hope to move there someday). But the best places don’t pull, rather they chop it fresh as pulling, some say, dries it out.

Even though North Carolina is where my heart lies, I don’t take a side on the Eastern (whole hog, vinegar sauce) vs. Western (shoulders only, ketchup in the sauce) debate. I love ’em both, just depends where in the state I happen to be. I have had a lot more Western, however, going to Lexington frequently (the purported barbecue capital of NC). I do love me some pork ribs, as well. Whenever I make sauce I go a bit thicker than your classic NC-style, as I like the consistency better. In Lexington they call their sauce “dip” because of its runny texture.

I enjoy brisket, but it’s so rich that after a while it becomes overwhelming. I’m going to Austin for the first time next weekend so will be sure to sample some. It’s for a bachelor party, though, so no way we’re getting up early enough to get in line at Franklin’s. We have a reservation at Lambert’s, which is easiest since we have a large group.

Todd Kliman

Man, just reading all of your descriptions of good ‘cue …

I find it interesting that of all the chatters who’ve so far responded, not one of you prefers ribs.

Why is that, do you think?

I gotta say, it surprises me.

I know there’ll be people who’ll disagree with me, but I think ribs are harder to do than brisket and pulled or chopped pork. That may explain what we’re seeing in the results. There’re a lot of mediocre ribs out there. Easier to find at least pretty good versions of pulled or chopped pork and, now, brisket.

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CHICAGO EATS:

I am about to head to Chicago for a conference. I’ve got one Friday night where I can escape for a nice meal on my own. Any recommendations?

I will be staying at hotel on North Michigan Ave so somewhere near by or walkable/subway would be nice. I was thinking Girl and the Goat but was wondering what else I should consider that isn’t something I would find in DC.

Open to any cuisine/budget. Just want something delicious.

Todd Kliman

How about Purple Pig?

You don’t see a lot of these kinds of flavors in DC.

I did an interview a while back with the chef, local boy Jimmy Bannos, and we spoke about a dish that has been on the menu there since he opened — his pork neck bone gravy. “It’s pretty much my grandmother’s recipe,” Bannos told me, adding that he’s been eating it since he was 2.

This is the dish: he “cooks neck bones, meat balls and sausage in a big, herbed pot of liquid for hours to produce a thick gravy. When an order comes in, the sauce is warmed up, and spooned liberally onto grilled bread, along with a dollop of fresh ricotta.”

Around the time we spoke, he had just introduced a sandwich made with thin-sliced kidney hearts and topped with giardiniera, a spin on the Italian beef sandwich you see all over town.

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FOOD AND FILM, CONT.:

Re: Food and Film …

With the recent passing of Omar Sharif, a group of us got together to watch the epic Lawrence of Arabia.

At intermission we held a potluck Middle Eastern dinner: rice pilaf, baby eggplants stuffed with chermoula served with couscous, spinach and meat stuffed pastries, baba ghanoush, and freshly baked bread.

Todd Kliman

Sounds fantastic.

What a great night that must have been!

Feel free to Invite me along anytime 🙂 …

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BBQ, CONT.:

Ribs are really big in Tennessee (especially Memphis), St. Louis and Kansas City. They have them in NC, but many places just specialize in pulled/chopped. I do love ribs, but as you said, good ones are harder to come by.

Todd Kliman

Oh, it’s definitely regional — which meats/approaches are popular, that is. And we know that sauces are very regional, too.

The thing with brisket is, I can’t remember seeing it around much fifteen, twenty years ago. Except for Texas.

You’d see pulled pork, chopped pork, and ribs. Brisket was not something that most people attempted. That’s changing, and I think the popularity of Franklin Barbecue is a big part of that. I wonder what else might be going on to account for it.

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FOOD AND FILM, CONT.:

Thank you so much for sharing your film interests. Let me look into the streaming options and I’ll get back to you soon.

Yes, I hope this post inspires more of your readers to watch The Trip. Dinner shouldn’t be too serious of an affair, even formal dinners. But how does a restaurant create a very formal atmosphere without becoming overtly pretentious?

I think you’d appreciate the British fine dining satire, Whites, which is about a once promising chef dealing with the challenges of running his kitchen in a formal country house hotel. It’s currently streaming on Hulu.

Todd Kliman

Would I need to sign up for Hulu?

That sounds right up my alley.

Here’s my email, to continue the conversation about film recs: tkliman@washingtonian.com

Your question about fine dining and pretension is an interesting one. I read a number of reviews of The Trip, and in some, these reviewers would just blast the uppityness of the waiters in the film — blast the atmosphere of pretension of the restaurant. And I would think: I have seen worse. I have seen much worse. And also, to be fair: much better. I have seen much, much better. It’s a hard line to ride, the line you talked about.

A question for you about The Trip — do you see it as a movie for men only or men mostly? It doesn’t strike me as a movie that both men and women are going to respond to. Of course, I have to say this — I don’t think most men are going to like it, either. Only a certain kind of man.

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CHICKEN SALAD AND CROISSANTS, CONT.:

Todd,

I’m going to have to take up for that poster who you dismissed b/c they didn’t want to have a croissant with their chicken salad. The fact is that if you want chicken salad, and on a hot day like today, nothing sounds better than something like that- cool, crisp, and the closest thing to refreshment that a sandwich can offer, like a virtual gazpacho (that is actually good)- the last thing that sounds good is pairing that with a butter-sodden croissant that odds are good came from Costco.

Essentially, you ARE being forced to get that croissant if you want chicken salad. Which, hey, you are also right, nobody’s LITERALLY forcing you to buy a sandwich. Anyway, I’ll go somewhere else for my chicken salad fix.

Todd Kliman

Whoa, whoa, whoa …

Do you know this restaurant? Have you had their croissants? I have. They’re not coming from Costco. They bake them themselves. They have a bakery. And they’re good. They’re very, very good.

I haven’t had this sandwich, but I can tell you that the croissant is nothing like you describe.

But, since we’re venting and talking about chicken salad, this feels wildly appropriate to post right now:


BBQ, CONT.:

Brisket all the way (I don’t eat pork).

Another show that I loved was on CNBC (of all places!): “Consumed”, which followed five restaurants in NYC. As much as i look askance at the whole Reality TV model, I really enjoyed how the show followed a soul food place, a family-owned Italian restaurant that’s been around for five decades, an up-and-coming hipsterish place, a fish-centric hipsterish place (started by one of the partners of the previous place thanks to an acrimonious split), and a high-end Indian/Latin fusion spot in Manhattan.

Todd Kliman

Hm.

I missed that. Was it one of those staged docu-type shows, or a real documentary?

The former shows are the kind where the producers goose the reality, pumping up the drama, making people do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do, all because the folks in charge are either too lazy to explore reality or, more likely, reality is too messy and ambivalent and not shot through with enough spectacle to work on TV.

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BBQ, CONT.:

Ribs first, and very close second is pulled pork, and a very distant seventeenth is brisket.

Unless you’re talking about the version from Rose’s Luxury. I’ve never actually had a brisket that I thought was good until Rose’s, but I’m not even sure if that is true brisket!

Todd Kliman

Oh, it’s true brisket.

When it’s on, it’s about on par with some of the really great briskets you see in Texas.

And ribs!

We have our first vote for ribs.

Thank you. 🙂

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CHICKEN SALAD AND CROISSANTS:

Nicholson just proved my point!!! It’s un-American, I tells ya, to be forced to get a quwhasant with my chicken salad!

Todd Kliman

You mean: un-uhMERican.

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FOOD AND FILM, CONT.:

Hi Todd,

Whites is currently streaming for free. Here’s a link for anyone interested: http://www.hulu.com/whites

Yes, I think The Trip portrays a balanced view of what fine dining can be like in some establishments.

No, I don’t think that The Trip is a movie only for men. I’m a female in my mid-thirties and I appreciated the film. However, I’ll expound on your thought about how it’s a film for a “certain kind of a man.” I think that it’s a film for a “certain kind of person.” That person would appreciate dry British humour and films about food.

Todd Kliman

No, some of that humor is very decidedly wet.

And I’m going to disagree with you slightly about it being for a certain kind of person — though essentially you’re right — just because I think what it captures has so much to do with maleness, with a particular expression of maleness. (I haven’t seen another film capture this. Novels have. I think that’s one of the things that makes The Trip so unusual.)

I think it depends on what you mean — this is Clinton territory, here; caution, Johnny, caution! — by appreciate. I think anyone can appreciate it. I think that it probably speaks to a certain kind of man in a certain kind of way, in touching on male competitiveness, the melancholy of aging, etc. In that sense, I think of it as analogous to a song like Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year.” Many women I know — in fact, all the women I know — hate the song. That’s not to say that all the men I know like or love it. But the ones who do like it, love it and plug into it — its sense of melancholy, its awareness of aging, its yearning …

Gotta run, everyone.

I loved spending the time with all of you this morning and afternoon. Thanks for the great questions and comments and tips. You were fantastic, as always …

Be well, eat well, and let’s do it again in — two weeks! No chat next Tuesday. See you on August 11th …

Oh: and don’t forget — there’s a new Otherwise going up later this afternoon. Enjoy …

[missing you, TEK … ]

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