Monday, August 31, 2009

Restaurant Week Aug '09 Part 2....

Cue Cafe Atlantico

I'm not sure if you all are like me. My guess is that none of you are like me, but may have a few common habits with me. One is watching television that I never thought I'd watch as a child: History channel, Discovery channel, HGTV, the food network and especially the travel channel. Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations is as good as programming comes in my opinion. He travels the world learning of different cultures, focusing on their culinary traditions. Recently, he came to DC during season 4 and visited a few local establishments you may have heard of: Ben's Chili Bowl, Busboys and Poets, Eamonn's to name a few. But, most importantly, at least for the purposes of this post, Mini Bar.

Minibar is a restaurant within a restaurant (kind of cool concept if you like that elitist type of thing) that is upscale in every possible way other than appearance. The restaurant it's in was the destination of my 2nd of three restaurant week reservations, Cafe Atlantico. The restaurant is located off of 8th and Pennsylvania which is hidden by a large fountain/outdoor area. Pennsylvania Avenue has a number of great restaurants that you should check out if you're ever in the city and want to try out a quality dining establishment. To name a few that I've been to, I would probably revisit Central, 701 restaurant and Chef Geoff's in that order.

Centralized by a Latin American theme, the restaurant spans three stories and is much smaller than one would assume when walking in. You are greeted immediately upon entry with what seemed to be 3 hostesses and a general manager (I'm sure this was just the case because it was restaurant week and it was even more high traffic than usual). You walk up a flight of steps and immediately see into an open kitchen with several chefs hard at work. Similar to Central, I like the idea of an open kitchen. It seems to be the recent trend and I approve. It seems silly, but it almost shows a confidence in what you're doing, even if no one really pays attention to what the chefs are doing. The tables are tight and the ambiance is lively. It being not the quietest restaurant, it almost adds to, not detracts from the experience. On the second floor, in the corner is an additional small kitchen, this, is Mini Bar. There are 6 seats located there and reservations are near impossible to get. With 2 separate reservations times a night, an intimate group setting for you and a date or small group of friends. This is a post about Cafe Atlantico, so I'll save more discussion for after I am able to procure a reservation.

Luckily thanks to yours truly, I was able to get a reservation for 10. I was shocked when I could not make the reservation on open table, but it seems the restaurant does not allow reservations of over 6 or 8 to be saved online. A couple phone calls later, we get a table on the third floor right by a back kitchen and we are on the side, almost getting a more private setting. The artwork on the walls were great, simplistic and somehow giving off a South American vibe. So after some good talk, it was time to start with the meal.

Starting off with some drinks, we pick out a couple of bottles of cheap wine, a malbec and a pinot noir, that everyone joins in to taste. Two of the girls order signature cocktails: an infamous passion fruit martini (orange rum and passion fruit juice with a ginger jalapeno infusion). I had a taste and I generally like 'stiff' drinks over sweet ones, but this one was a winner. No shock to anyone, Jon got a sweet martini as well, this one was of the magic variety. The Magic Mojito is poured atop a tuft of cotton candy, adding a sweet replacement to the traditional sugar cane. I must admit, it was pretty cool to see. After enjoying a few spirits, it was time to hit the menu...

The Appetizer

Carrot Soup: organic Tuscarora carrots, passion fruit

Heirloom Tomato Salad: watermelon, Cotija cheese, sherry dressing

Tuna Ceviche: coconut milk, avacado

Dominican Conch Fritters: jicama-avocado raviolis, passion fruit oil

At first glance, I really took a liking to the Tuna Ceviche. I love raw fish and love any sort of tartare dish. That being said, coconut milk scares me a bit. Not really anything scary about it, but it reminds me of thai food and how thickening it can be and wanted something a little less dairy. With my options now limited to three, I went with the Conch Fritters. I've only had conch once before at the airport at BWI (probably not the best location) but figured it sounded intriguing. I cannot emphasize enough how good of a decision this was. The fritters came out, I believe 3 or 4 puffy crunch pieces on a plate. It looked a little lackluster to be honest, but once you cut it open, you instantly began to salivate. The conch was prepared to perfection, a beigish color of sauce flooding out, balanced so well with the fried shell. Perhaps it was the passion fruit oil (I've never used or had this before), but it was a phenomenal start to the meal.

The Entree

Duck Confit: brussels sprouts, apples, raisins, pine nuts

Portobello Mushroom: huitlacoche, Chihauhua cheese, roasted beets, beet oil

Braised Beef Short Ribs: grilled eggplant, squash

Salmon, Veracruz Style: tomoatoes, olives, onions, and capers fresh lime and avacado

Grilled Skirt Steak
: mushrooms, green beans, truffled potato espuma

Being able to choose from an option of five different entrees showed me that Cafe Atlantico wasn't a restaurant that participated in restaurant week to merely get bodies into and out of the restaurant, but it was to impress those that came in. Providing a full gamut of types of food, I decided to select the Skirt Steak. It's funny because I chose the Skirt Steak because of an earlier experience at Georgia Brown's. I wasn't completely sold on any one particular dish, and defaulted to the skirt steak. A similar situation happened at Georgia Brown's, but i did NOT select the skirt steak. It turned out to be delicious and exceeded everyone's expectation. Although my steak was quite tasty, I was not wow'd. The food was tasty and the sides were crunchy and provided a little spice. The meat itself was very familiar and used a flavor I could not pinpoint. That being said, it wasn't a new flavor for my taste buds to dance around about. The green beans were in fact solid, however, definitely complimenting the steak well and adding to the overall satisfaction to the meal. The table actually did a great job of trying everything but the mushrooms and if I were to have another go at ordering, I'd order anything BUT the skirt steak. The salmon looked quite appetizing with a lemonish foam on top of the cut of fish. Cafe Atlantico is known for its use of texture with foods and restaurant was no different. The braised short ribs looked flavorful and seemed to fall right off the bone. Robby's duck confit was a large portion, with a colorful array of vegetables acting as a bed underneath. Again, don't get me wrong, I was not disappointed with my meal. It was one of those situations where you don't dislike your food, but all you are interested in is eating everyone else's dishes.

The Dessert

Warm Chocolate Cake
: warm chocolate cake, banana

Sorbet of the Day
: Mango

The dessert came and the chocolate cake was filled with warm chocolate fudge. The portion was sizeable and the cake was moist. Assuming that they probably served this to everyone that was in the restaurant, having so many well baked desserts is kind of impressive. A few people tried out the sorbet and enjoyed the mango, but I will admit seeing orange ice cream was kind of funny.

So that was it, Cafe Atlantico. It was tasty, good lively date spot, but I probably won't go back until I get a reservation at Mini Bar. Although the restaurant was high on the ambiance, I think the food was above average, but not exceptional. Maybe its the Latin American tinge, maybe it was just that it was restaurant week and the chef's didn't bring their 'A' game. I would never say that I won't go there again for dinner, but I'd probably choose to go to the plethora of new restaurants that I have yet to visit before making a repeat appearance.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Restaurant Week Aug'09...Part 1

I learned about restaurant week a few years ago and will admit that I am quite hooked. Perhaps its my desire to be a chef some day, or the idea of going to high brow venues, but i tend to make several reservations each season. This year was the first time I planned one for lunch though. Boy do I not regret it. I was slightly tentative because some restaurant's portions at dinner even are small and petite, so I can only imagine what it would be at lunch. I decided in order to really pull off a mid-day lunch that is 2 hours long, I should invite those whom I work with, that way they can't yell at me for taking too long. The trouble was that a trip into DC would take up WAY too much time, especially using the metro. Some of my coworkers don't ride the metro, so then they would have to buy metro cards, blah blah. DC nixed. Where then? Arlington has several restaurants, but I tend to believe the purpose of restaurant week is to try new places you wouldn't normally try or need a reason to patron. So, I'm left with NOT DC and NOT Arlington. Doesn't give me many options. Falls Church it is.

Cue 2941.

Where to begin? The restaurant is located off of Fairview Drive which is between Falls Church and Vienna. It's off the beaten path, close to the beltway, off of what seems to be an office park. The turn is hidden and to be honest, you would have zero chance of stumbling upon this restaurant, although you would be pleasantly pleased if you did. You drive up what seems to be a private drive and are greeted with complimentary valet parking. Always a nice touch. You walk up to a restaurant who's walls are made of enormous panes of glass. It takes up the corner of what seems to be an office building, with a small walkway above an enormous Koi pond. I don't know how much you know about Koi, but they are not cheap. These were the largest Koi I have ever seen. The pond was full of them, dozens. To the left you see how it trickles into a large waterfall into another small pond. Off in the distance is a man-made pond that is quite large, leaving what I would imagine an incredible view at night with the lights.

The interior was just as visibly pleasing. The restaurant was open, not too crowded, but you could see it wasn't enormous either. Tables were spaced far enough apart so that you could have private conversations. Immediately upon entering, you are wow'ed by a large glass/plastic 'jellyfish' looking display behind the hostess. The ceilings must be 20 feet tall, adding to the spacious feel. To the right is a small bar area that is intimate for perhaps a cocktail or two prior to your meal. I was astonished by the sheer size of these expansive mirrors 15 feet off the ground that lined the interior walls. Above one entryway, there was a classic painting of nude women. If you see artwork that includes nudity, you know you're at a high-class establishment.

Enough about the ambiance. Why did I really want to go here? The food. The restaurant is ranked No. 14 in Washingtonian's top 100 and No. 2 for restaurants in VA. Knowing this going in, my expectations were high and I will be the first to admit, I was not disappointed. The menu, although limited, still supplied a great range of dishes.

The Appetizer

The restaurant decided to give a typical 3 options:

Local Beet Tartare
: pickled cherries, Sicilian pistachios, petit salad

Hawaiian Red Snapper Carpaccio: citrus gelee, cilantro, heart of palm

Chilled Pea Soup: poached shrimp, summer truffle, orange oil

Out of those, I went with the Red Snapper Carpaccio that I'm sure most people would. 3 out of the 4 of us ordered this, with one ordering the pea soup. I'll discuss more about soups in the upcoming Charlie Palmer's post, but soup is underrated.

The appetizer was probably one of the most amazingly delicious appetizers I have ever had the treat of consuming. The taste was light, the heart of palm was tasty and balanced the flavors of the fish while adding a little texture and crunch. The red snapper was prepared to perfection with subtle flavors that seemed to balance so well with gelee. I can probably write about this appetizer at length, merely reiterating the same ideas of light and balanced, but I won't. I've eaten a lot of things in my day and I stand that this was incredible. If it was possible, I would have just eaten this as my meal.

The Entree

Veal Cheeks Ravioli: tomato confit, butter poached lobster, parmesan

Grilled Pacific Monchong
: lightly grilled and stained with turmeric, basmati rice, lychee, curry leaf

Grimaud Farms Guinea Hen Duo: crostini rillette, roasted breast, Jerusalem artichoke, natural jus

Based on the number of links that are included above, some of these dishes are not your spaghetti & meatball type of dish. I am always confused why particular restaurants make their dishes sound so overly complex, but if you read up on each of these topics, it makes sense. I think it just sounds complex to a lot of us because we don't come across it often or prepare food in this way.

First choice with the Ravioli is what I ended up going for, but I had trouble not choosing the monchong. I've been in a seafood kick recently and I had never even seen this type of fish offered before. The ravioli was delicious, as it sounds. The dish came back and the ravioli were not your run of the mill, typical ravioli shape. These were almost rectangular box. Each ravioli was filled with ground veal that was perfectly cooked (not under or over cooked). I was surprised by the number of ravioli (6 to 8) given the amount of food jammed into each pasta casing. It seemed that half of the plate was covered with balsamic vinegar and the other half filled with the tomato confit. It wasn't your thin, runny pasta sauce, but more of a finely chunky tomato sauce you would encounter at Ballston's Tirolo. The butter poached lobster wasn't mixed into the ravioli as I had expected, but rather strewn throughout the dish in little chunks to add into bites at your leisure. The entree was presented cleanly, of a good portion, and satisfied all.


I'm not the biggest dessert person. I've definitely gained a sweeter tooth for chocolate cake (although I dislike chocolate in general), which has opened up my ability to order desserts at restaurants since they are often chocolate focused. Again, the table had an option of 3:

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Sandwich: Westmoreland County sweet cherries, sable breton

Pennsylvania Raspberry Parfait: fromage blanc panna cotta, lemon balm, warm madeleines

Semolina Pudding Cake: tulip poplar honey mousse, blueberries, sweet corn ice cream

Each one of these sounded delicious. It was not an easy decision, because if the Ice cream sandwich was not mint chocolate chip, and just regular chocolate chip, I think I would have pulled the trigger for that, however, with my sudden obsession with raspberries, I went with the Parfait.

I'm not exactly sure why, but I did not think the desserts would be overly classy, maybe just a little flair on the dish with some powdered sugar or chocolate syrup, but in reality, they were aesthetically beautiful. My parfait, which I assumed I was going to get in a sundae glass with the madeleines on top, was actually a bar, with layers of ingredients with the madeleines and raspberries placed on the plate with class (a touch of raspberry sauce strewn about). It was a good portion (not too large so you still had room for coffee) and was delectable. The lemon was not overpowering and the panna cotta had a great consistency.

I should have mentioned this earlier, but the restaurant also specializes in bread. The head chef bakes his own personal bread blends everyday that includes a multitude of different ingredients. I believe the blend we had was some sort of olive. Even his fresh baked wheat bread was tasty and I am not a fan of wheat bread at all.

The service was impeccable. Continuously ensured our glasses were full of water, any finished plate was immediately removed and even dusted the table for crumbs between courses (a personal pet peeve of mine that I love). There were so many people working it seemed like each table had their own personal server.

Immediately afterwards, I knew that this restaurant would be the winner of this restaurant week season, even though I had reservations at a couple of other great restaurants... In hindsight, my gut instinct was right.

Next up...Cafe Atlantico

Monday, August 17, 2009

One of those moments

I had one of those moments. You know, the moment you might come across while watching the history channel, or discover channel, or national geographic channel. Maybe its reading a biology text book. Maybe its watching/reading anything Carl Sagan ever did. The moment when everything comes into perspective. On a day to day basis, you never think about the world, or yourself, you go on living your life the way you do. I'm currently reading a book called The Mind of the Market by Michael Shermer I'm not sure why I got it, but every few months I hop onto Amazon and buy 3 or 4 books. This happened to be one of them months ago and I'm just now getting to reading it. I'm only 20 pages in, and I can assure you its not exactly what I thought it was. Well it is and it isn't at the same time. The underlying tone and message I think is on point, but the supporting arguments are a little unexpected.

I came across this excerpt (bear with me, its not short):

Life is a self-organized emergent property of prebiotic chemicals that came together in a manner that allowed them to be self-sustaining and capable of duplication and reproduction.

Complex Life is a self-organized emergent property of simple life, as when simple prokaryote cells coalesced into the more complex eukaryote cells of which we are made, which contain within them organelles that were once prokaryote cells (such as mitochondria, which have their own DNA).

Multicellular Life is a self-organized emergent property of single-celled life forms, which merged together as a cooperative strategy for more successful survival and reproduction.

Immunity is a self-organized emergent property of billions of cells of our immune system working together to combat bacteria and viruses.

Consciousness is a self-organized emergent property of billions of neurons firing in complex patterns in the brain.

Language is a self-organized emergent property of thousands of words spoken in communication among language users.

Law is a self-organized emergent property of thousands of informal mores and restrictions that were codified over time into formal rules and regulations as societies grew in size and complexity.

Economy is a self organized emergent property of millions of people pursuing their own self-interests with little awareness of the larger complex system in which they work.

So I can see how the author tried to explain how economies are organic, a product of evolution over time, but it made me think about life in general. Its like when you watch a Carl Sagan documentary and you realize how small our planet is within the universe. And then you think about how small you are in comparison to the planet. And then you think about what you are actually made of. It's utterly amazing. And you have to think that this impossible coincidence of chemicals and environment a billion years ago has to have occurred elsewhere. I think that those who believe there is no other intelligent life in the universe is an idiot. Plain stupid. Will a District 9 scenario occur? (see what I did there bringing this back to a movie) Probably not in our lifetime, but that doesn't mean it won't ever happen.

I don't often think about things like this, but I doubt I'm the only one that ever does from time to time. It was just one of those moments...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Movies Galore

I don't tend to write as many posts about upcoming movies as I should, but with all the hype and press that District 9 has been getting, it's gotten me excited for what else is on the horizon. I may have written about a few of these in the past but just deal with it. Nothing beats 30 minutes on Apple trailers every few weeks to see what else is coming up. I don't really buy Entertainment Weekly or any of those types of magazines so I don't necessarily read up on as many movies as I would like. So without further ado, here are some upcoming movies I look forward to and why they strike my fancy, click on the movie name to see the apple trailer:

District 9: August 14
This sci-fi thriller is based on aliens reaching our planet 20 years ago. They have been quarantined in South Africa and you may have seen some if their viral marketing with no alien signs etc... on park benches, buses. The renowned Peter Jackson (King Kong, Lord of the Rings) is the producer working alongside the major feature debut of Neill Blomkamp. It was rumored Neill was going to direct the currently scrapped project of Halo, but worked on this converted short film, Alive in Jo'burg, instead. Rotten Tomatoes currently has it rated as an 87% by Top Critics if that convinces anyone to go, but to me, reviews are useless.

Inglourious Basterds: August 21
Talk about a recipe for success. Quentin Tarantino. Brad Pitt. Enough said. An over the top film that takes place during World War 2. A secret band of soldiers that goes apeshit on Nazi Germany. Gratuitous violence? How can anyone say no. Guys will go for Tarantino and the bashing of Nazi soldiers. The girls will go to watch Brad Pitt.

Extract: September 4
Mike Judge is making movies again. Its been 3 years since his last film Idiocracy. I don't think it was a crowd favorite, and I will admit that I did not like it the first watch through, but after the second viewing, it was pretty damn smart. I have a lot of faith in his new project 'Extract' with the help of talents like Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristin Wiig, and J.K. Simmons. I never really liked Kristin Wiig at first, but she's really grown on me as a comedic actress. Jason Bateman was involved in the greatest sitcom the world has ever seen, Arrested Development. Mila Kunis seems to be transitioning well onto the big screen from her tv career. After watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall, its clear she can handle herself and carry a film with a supporting role. Oh yeah, and Ben Affleck is in it, but that doesn't really add much for me.

Law Abiding Citizen: October 16
Just recently came across this film mostly because I have a small man-crush on Gerard Butler. Most of you know of him as Leonidas from '300', but most recently you might have seen him in a preview for the romcom 'The Ugly Truth'. I normally watch films based on the actors included, and not always because of the story and I will definitely see more of Butler's movies. (Maybe not Gamer, which seems to be like Death Race in a different medium). The most recent film I saw him in was Shattered which was well done. But back to the point. Gerard Butler seems to be back to his bad ass role in 'Law Abiding Citizen' after his child was murdered and the judicial system doesn't work the way he wants it to. Jaime Foxx finally moves away from his most recent trend of 'Ray' and 'Soloist' roles into a lawyer or detective that needs to figure out what's going on and stop Butler. F.Gary Gray directs the film which also makes me think the movie will work out. He's come a long way from his award winning Waterfalls music video. He's directed other well known films such as 'Friday', 'The Negotiator', and 'The Italian Job'. Hopefully everyone reading this has seen each of those movies.

The Box: October 30
Although you might think so, this is not a porno film. It pains me to admit to it, but wanting to see this movie means that I want to see a film that stars Cameron Diaz. Getting over that hurdle, this has cool movie written all over it. The concept is fantastic, but executing it well might be tough. Richard Kelly writes and directs in this suspenseful supernatural thriller about a box that kills a random person in the world, but then betters their life. It seems to be from the trailer more of a movie about good and evil and how it plays out with humanity, but Frank Langella stars as what could be the devil. I think what really excites me about this film (again it has religious undertones) is that Frank Langella stars as the creepy old guy. I thought his role in 'The Ninth Gate' (a favorite Johnny Depp movie of mine) was fantastic which seems to have a similar genre to this upcoming film. We'll see how much press this movie gets in the upcoming month or two, but I wouldn't be surprised if it flops. Although Kelly also wrote and directed Donnie Darko, a cult favorite, he was also behind the movie 'Southland Tales' which was absolutely horrendous. I'll cross my fingers on this one, but wouldn't be surprised if I couldn't find anyone to head to the theater with me.

The Book of Eli: January 15
Since I was just talking about Mila Kunis, it seems fitting she made it onto a second upcoming film watch of mine. Denzel Washington stars as one of the few survivors after the end of the world. The trailer is pretty light in plot, but it seems has has a book that holds the balance of the fate of humanity (seems like a lot of movies use this plot). Gary Oldman stars as the evil villain, and to be honest, he plays this party so well. Other than his role as Sirius Black (if you don't know who that is, you should be ashamed) I can't really think of any 'good guy' roles hes played. He was an awesome bad guy in 'The Professional' and in 'The Fifth Element'. Both movies you should see immediately if you haven't done so already. Denzel has a good track record with movies. Especially with badass roles. 'Man on Fire' comes to mind, another film that's a must watch. I even liked his recent film 'Deja Vu'. So I think its pretty safe to say that even if this isn't an oscar worth film, you won't regret spending a couple hours to watch it.

Legion: January 22

I don't know what it is about me, but any sort of religious movie always gets me. I'm trying to think of examples, and they are few and far between, but movies like 'Stigmata', 'End of Days', and 'Constantine'. I went to catholic school as a little kid and although I'm not very religious, it all fascinates me a great deal. Paul Bettany plays the Archangel Michael who is out to save humanity from all other angels. You may recognize him from classic films such as 'A Knight's Tale', 'A Beautiful Mind' and 'Wimbledon'. Enough movie name dropping. It looks as though there is the typical special child that will save humanity and its a religious war to end all wars. Story seems simple, but I never get tired of it. Scott Stewart directs for the first time from a very successful visual effects career which leads me to believe this is going to be very fun to watch. And if you need another reason to go see it other than my backing (which I'm sure you all do), Kate Walsh is in it and what guy isn't in love with her?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Ip Man

More than likely, not a single person reading this blog is going to know a lick about this movie. But often times, that does not mean that its not worth watching. A lot of smaller indie films have a lot to offer, not that this movie fits into that category. Since you know nothing about this film, I'm going to tell you a little secret, I didn't know anything about this movie either. All I knew was that it was a kung fu movie, and really, even bad kung fu movies are good.

So this movie took place in some province in China (probably northwest) in the early 1930s. Master Ip is a renowned martial arts master, who is very humble reserved. It seems that theme of most of these old chinese movies, kung fu isn't as much about the physical power and speed, but about the psychological control. Watching him, you can see how balanced he is at all points in time. Even when he fought. Never a break of sweat, everything is so intentional and methodical. All of the townspeople know of his greatness, but there are several other martial arts masters in town, all with schools.

Throughout the film, he shows his utter calmness and is very humble. He gives his friend money to start a cotton factory, and asks for nothing in return, and to pay him back when he can. Years go by and the Japanese invade. The town turns to shambles and everyone is poor. and he is too proud of a man to ask for any help.

Enough of the plot, I didn't watch this film because I thought it was going to be awe-inspiring or the film of 2009. I watched it because Kung Fu movies are the shizzy. The fight scenes are amazing. It seems that actual Chinese movies always do a better job of the choreography, maybe its because they don't have rules out there and they are actually beating the shit out of each other. I'm not sure exactly. At one point in the film, he's at a facility with Japanese solders who are studying kung fu and the General watches sparring matches. He is pissed off since he watched his friend die at the hands of the Japanese military, so he asks to take on 10 fighters. At the same time. One word, wow. He holds nothing back as he just destroys these poor oppressing souls. I'm not sure if you have seen Ong Bak before (see US title: The Protector) but its similar in nature of badassedness. I know its not a word, but it should be.

The final scene to the film was a little anti-climatic. The fight scene was good, he re-unites the Chinese and is a living legend to this day (he trained Bruce Lee among dozens of others), but I wanted more out of the fight. I guess when you have two very well trained Kung Fu masters, there isn't a lot of beating the crap out of each other because they are too good for that. A lot of defense and lack of hitting/blocking. But well done nevertheless. There was only one portion I didn't believe which seemed really odd.

SPOILER (He gets shot in the shoulder and passes out? He's too strong for that.)

All in all, I'd give it 2.5 out of 5 Manatees. You won't feel like you wasted your life, but its nothing to write home about.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I don't think I've ever been so traumatized by a film like I was with this. It was winner at Sundance back in 2007 for best actress, a young and upcoming girl by the name of Jess Weixler. Most likely haven't heard of her, but she was in 7 movies in 2009, so hopefully she gets some more press in the coming years.

It's True, Vagina Dentata!!

Best line of the movie, but it was very fitting. When I heard this, I didn't think there was a chance in hell that this was real, but I am a man that believes in wikipedia, and by golly, it was on wikipedia. Yes, I just said by golly. So its apparently an old folklore of women that have teeth, in their, well, I think you get the idea. For any man, this is the scariest thing known to man. The idea of it makes me shutter. Without getting to direct and graphic, teeth are already a problem with one type of sex, both types really just scares all parties involved.

Let's talk about the movie in general. The idea of it is actually a good theme. Remove the horror comedy aspect, and you have a film that explores the vulnerability of women. The teeth represent an empowerment that she could have over her interactions with men. She starts off as part of a celibacy group. Promise to god to stay pure. She meets a guy in her 'group' who obviously going to be the biggest sexual aggressor. Isn't it funny how that always works out? Catholic school kids are always the most messed up. There are always exceptions to the rule, but its a rule because it happens a majority of the time. The first appearance of her 'teeth' comes when she's getting raped. Clear sign that this is her need to protect herself. She's out with a guy from her celibacy group, and she's not even safe there.

The movie gets more and more bizarre and obscene. There was the one 'loser' that 'conquers' her and it turns out he wasn't the nice guy at all, but a sexual predator who had a bet to get her into bed. BOOM! Teeth make an appearance again. She was able to protect herself again.

The creepy step brother that always wanted to sleep with her? Protection. The random old guy that gave her a lift? Protection. You watched her transform from the start to end of the movie. From scared, helpless girl who was freaked out, to a girl that was confident, calculating, empowered.

There were a lot of graphic scenes (I know I keep saying this, but I can't say it enough) but all in all I thought it was a pretty solid movie. This movie poster to the right kind of gives you an idea... Will I ever look at a girl the same way? Probably not. But nevertheless, I would in fact recommend it for its weird premise and awesome visualizations.

I give the movie 3.5 Manatees.

Monday, August 10, 2009

When you're at that age...

So everyone hits that age when they feel like they are at a crossroads. It might be right before you go to college, it might be right afterwards, or it might be where I am now, a few years after you graduate. Some may call it a quarter-life crisis, but maybe its just growing up.

I'm on my second job since graduating, but only held my first job for about 9 months. Four and a half years into Job #2, I've done well for myself, but is it really what I want to do for the next 5 years? Probably not. Do you move jobs? Do you go back to school? Everyone has a lot of friends that have been real good about continuing their education. I have lawyer friends, friends that have gone back to get their MBAs or some other graduate degree. But I don't really want to go back to school just because I don't know what to do, that seems like a horrible idea. Recently I've had a few friends head back to school and some have been rather confident that I'd like it, but with my undergrad GPA, is it worth going to a school that isn't a top 20?

I feel like a lot of people my age find themselves doing something because its a paycheck, and not because its their career. How long does one wade water before its time to move on? I grew up right outside of DC and that's where I find myself today. Does a new job mean a new city? Perhaps, but where do I go? In the past few years, I've found myself traveling to places like Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, Boston, New York. Do any of them fit me? I feel like you never know until you try it out. But maybe I'm just scared. Moving to a new city by yourself is never easy. I'd like to think of myself as not a chicken shit, but maybe I am. I look at a few of my good friends and I have Ari who moved out to LA because he wanted to. Raf went down to Argentina for a couple months and is now moving to China. Yousef is moving to Chicago to start his acting career. I envy these people. I respect them for their ability to do it. All these people in all these places. I guess I have options, but where do I even start.

I contemplate this quite often, but continue to stay on my current course, not knowing where I'm going. How do I leave all my friends and all that I know? I get jealous when I see people traveling the world or doing something that they love for a minuscule paycheck just because they are enjoying life. It sounds trite, but I try and live life, not watch it go by. The words I live by are that I work to live, not live to work. But can I ACTUALLY do it? Maybe one day I'll have the courage. When I do, who wants to start anew with me in a new city and where should we go?