Wednesday, February 27, 2008
REQUIEM FOR A CHICKEN WING
Then we decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants - "Poyo Loco" (sic) - for one of our favorite meals - grilled chicken wings. You have to understand that I love good food. It can be in an elegant and expensive restaurant or it can be in a small dive - as long as the food is really the best of its kind. And "Poyo Loco" was - note the past tense.
My husband used to say that I had the potential to be a really cheap date. We went to all of the fanciest, best and most elegant restaurants in all parts of the world we visited - and I loved the ambience and the service and the food - what divine food we ate. But - and here's the but - if the truth be told I adore grilled chicken wings and anything made with ground beef. Meat loaf - meatballs - moussaka - hamburgers - stuffed vegetables - and chicken wings.
And so it was that after the film Ros and I had our hearts set on "Poyo Loco's" grilled chicken wings. True - there were many other things on the menu too - but we always ate grilled chicken wings - some salads to start (the best cole slaw ever) and then the wings with rice or chips or a baked potato - and that was it. Sometimes we finished with a glezel tay (Yiddish - glass of tea). And when I drove up the street Ros said, "The place looks dark". And it was dark - out of business!! No prior notice - no nothing. Just a sign in front that stated "In this place will be a branch of 'Avazi':"
Now - "Avazi" is a very respectable steakia (a restaurant that serves meat on skewers and cooked on the grill) - but we already have many steakiot (plural of steakia) in the area. What we don't have are any places that serve grilled chicken wings.
I am heartbroken. Ros was heartbroken. And when I called Marallyn to impart the bad news - she was heartbroken, too.
Rest In Peace dear "Poyo Loco" - you have no idea how much we shall miss you.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
HERE WE GO AGAIN
So it was that last Friday my second most important TV stopped working. Why second most important? Because the one in my bedroom is the prime TV and the one in the kitchen is the second - the one I turn on when I cook - the one that keeps me company when I'm chopping and peeling and doing all the mindless other tasks one does in a kitchen.
What to do. First I called Marallyn - why not - her TV had a problem a week or two ago and she managed to get it fixed. Turn on - turn off - push this button on the shalat (remote) - push that button on the shalat. Nothing doing. So I called my cable company -"YES" - told them I had a problem - asked for a technayee (repair man) to come to my house. This, you understand, was after "push 1 for Hebrew - push 2 for Russian - push this - push that - finally push 5 for technical help". Told them of my problem. Asked for a technayee. No - it's your shalat they said. And they don't send a technayee for a broken shalat. I have to go to the Post Office to buy a new one!! But not just any Post Office - only certain ones. Be sure to call first to make certain the shalat you want is in stock. Fine - except that not one Post Office I called answered the phone. By that time it was too late to go anyway as the Post Offices were closed for the weekend.
Fast-forward to Sunday. Marallyn and I went out for an early breakfast so we could get to a Post Office - before it closed again. (Our Postal Service is not the most hard-working of industries, you understand.) Called and called - still not answering their phones - so we took a chance and went to the one in Kiryat Yovel - miles from my house but near to Marallyn's. Exchanged my old shalat for a new one - paid my 50 shekels - and went home to call "YES" so they could walk me through putting the code into the new shalat.
Push this - push that - I finally got hold of Uri. OK - push this - push that - "What's happening?", he asked. "Nothing". "Impossible", he replied, "something has to happen". "Is the middle button on your shalat twinkling?" Twinkling? What about flashing? "It's neither twinkling nor flashing". "OK - you need a technayee", he says. Helloooo??? That's what I asked for two days ago. "You'll have someone there within 72 hours". "72 hours? - I'm not sitting at home for 72 hours to wait for someome to come." I was going out with Yoav to a new restaurant in the shuk (market) and I certainly wasn't going to miss that - we always have such a good time. "Give him my cell-phone number and have him call me first." "Oh" says Uri - "why didn't I think of that?"
Late that afternoon the technayee showed up. Made a million phone calls (maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration) - he pushed this and pushed that - guess what - it wasn't the shalat at all - it was my mameer (the cable box).
So now I have a new mameer and also a new shalat - and the TV is working perfectly, thank you very much.
Today I picked up a new car - well, the kind of car I think I'm getting - and I have it for a week or two to see if I like it and then "ELDAN" - the company I lease from, will buy me a new one. The people at "ELDAN" are fabulous - the best company I ever dealt with. The car is a hybrid - a "TOYOTA PRIUS" - drives like a dream. But - you need a degree in car-ology or auto-ology (is there such a thing?) to work the thing.
No key - just a little thingie you insert into the dashboard and then you push this - push that (here we go again with the pushing) - and the car runs. Finally got that straight.
So I called Ros and asked if she wanted to go for a ride in the new car. Nevermind that she's recovering from a strep throat - she's such a good sport that she agreed. As we were driving ,a cab-driver honked at me and told me that I was getting a flat tire!!! Back to "ELDAN". They took us to the hotel next door - bought us coffees - took the car to have the tire changed - and off we went again.
Not so easy - the radio - for which you need another degree (the whole car is push-button everything - all your functions show up on a screen - don't ask) - stopped working. I had hysterics. Ros - ever calm - took the manual and got the radio to work. We both have no idea just how she did it - but it works. She's the only woman I know who can look at a manual and actually understand it. And she doesn't get hysterical like you-know-who.
Now the question remains - am I going to get this car - or not? I love the way it handles - I think I love the way it looks - it's a hatchback - not my favorite model - but it's a "green" car - uses almost no gasoline because it also runs on a battery - I'll drive it for a few weeks and see. Ros and I were going to take it to Herzliya next week - but they are predicting snow and rain for the next several days - if it snows we're not going. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime - I'll keep on pushing this and pushing that - just so I stay in practice.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
"LONDON HEE KEN MECHAKA LEE"
Nevermind that I thought I'd never get out of Israel. Snow was predicted for the night before I was to leave. And when there is snow in Jerusalem - we're quite high up in the hills - the road to the airport is closed. What to do? I called Ouri and Devora - who live along the coast where there is no snow - drove all the way to their house - stayed there overnight - left their house at 5:00 AM for the airport - drove in pounding rain - but rain - no snow - and made it to the airport.
Nevermind, too, that there was so much air traffic that we were stacked over Heathrow for a long time - we finally landed. And I was picked up by one of the cadre of Israeli sherut (shared taxi) drivers to take me into London. Doesn't matter whom you call and order a taxi from - Shimon, Rafi, Moshe, Amnon - whoever is free and is doing the Heathrow run has your name on his list - in Hebrew, of course - and you are duly picked up and delivered.
It was very very cold in London - only rained one day - very windy - but bright and sunny. And it was wonderful to catch up with all my friends (whom I see often) and my friend's friends - whom I hadn't seen since the last simcha (celebration) about two years ago. So I'll tell you what I did. Went to the Royal Academy to see the fascinating "From Russia" exhibition; went to the theatre with Pearl & Stewart and then out to dinner; shabbat dinner at Pearl & Stewart's; shopping; Marble Arch Synagogue early on Saturday morning to see Stewart get an aliya (called up to the torah) in honor of his 80th birthday; dinner with Zoe and Peter and Nicole on Saturday night; "The Party" for Stewart on Sunday; more shopping and the Wallace Collection and lunch with Pearl on Monday - and back to Israel on Tuesday. Short - sweet - fun - and busy.
P&S took me to the theatre on Thursday night - we saw "The Sea" by someone named Bond. Wonderful seats - great cast - Eileen Atkins and David Haig - listed as one of the top five shows to see. Pearl understood it to be one thing - I understood it to be another - Stewart fell asleep - and I cannot begin to tell you what the play was about. It was absolutely incomprehensible - to all of us - well, to Pearl and me anyway - Stewart was asleep. I think it was about a man who believed that aliens were coming to earth - while he was making blue draperies. I kid you not - could I make something like that up?
But dinner - that was something else. The food today in London is wonderful and we had dinner at "St. Albans" - a new restaurant by the people who own "The Ivy" - a good recommendation before you even sit down. Two years ago the restaurant was owned by someone else - sloppy service and indifferent food - now - aboslutely first rate. I always try to eat food abroad that I can't get in Israel - so for me it was a ragout of white beans, mussels and chorizo for a starter and skate wing for my main course - non of it kosher you understand. And as the owners know P&S - we were treated to delicious champagne to begin and S received his dessert with "Happy 80th to Stewart" inscribed in chocolate on his plate. Nice touch.
Shabbat dinner at P&S's was a treat. Twelve of us - all family and me - Pearl cooked - some kind of ethereal creamy soup (I must get the recipe), salmon with grapes, green beans, mange tout, tiny new potatoes and three kinds of dessert. Great food - great company - great evening.
I watch the Food Channel - you knew that - and I often see Antonio Carluccio on one or another program. He owns several restaurants in London - and - great luck for me - Zoe (P&S's almost teen-age granddaughter) and Nicole and Peter (the sister and brother of P&S's son-in-law, who came in from Stockholm)) and I had dinner reservations at one of his places - "Carluccio's Grocery". A sort of Italian bistro - a bit loud - but - oh, what food. I love to share and stick my fork into every one else's plate - and they can do the same with me - and Nicole and Peter feel the same way. So we shared fried calamari and the most perfectly prepared spaghetti and white clam sauce and some kind of chicken dish and another pasta dish and beautifully prepared chicken livers.
And the food at The Party on Sunday? Gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. Champagne and pass-around h'ors d'oeuvres - miniature quiches that literally melted in the mouth, sushi tuna and pesto-soaked tiny mozzarella balls. The luncheon began with a timbale of green peas - creamy and unctuous with micro-greens and a bit of some kind of red coulis - then a large soup-shaped plate with a bed of puree on which were enoki mushrooms and the most sweet and delicious halibut with a light sauce and for dessert a chocolate and raspberry marquise. And with every meal - wine, wine and more wine.
And now back to real life - and, once again, my diet - which really means eating very carefully when I'm at home so that I can eat really well when the occasion presents itself....which it seems to do very often.