The Official VM Girlfriend‘s birthday was on Thursday, so I did some nice stuff for her this weekend. First, I picked up the first season of Deadwood, a show she loves. The new season started earlier tonight, so we spent the weekend watching the first season (I hadn’t seen it): all 12 one-hour episodes.
It’s a heck of a show, with its Hobbesian portrayal of frontier life. For some reason, critics harped on the excessive profanity of the characters’ speech, but I really didn’t notice it. Of course, I tend to curse like a sailor, to the point at which I made it a routine question when I was interviewing potential associate editors last year: “Do you take offense at profane language? Because if you do, this is not a good working environment for you. I can just about guarantee that you’ll get offended and quit before I get around to changing my ways.”
So the language on Deadwood wasn’t too shocking to me. The means of exploring “the city and man,” on the other hand, was pretty vibrant and compelling. Ian McShane’s performance as Al Swearengen is amazing and complex. Amy & I talked about it Saturday night, during a conversation about how this show was sorta impossible before The Sopranos, and it reminded me of that show and how I realized that it was about an evil man who loves his family (at least, in the first season: I heard subsequent seasons of The Sopranos sucked ass, so I never watched them).
It’s so hard to get depth out of evil characters in our art, as opposed to simply justifying their evil by bringing up their hard childhoods or something. But portraying the complexity of an evil person is heck of an accomplishment; those two shows do it in different ways, while also tackling larger subjects. Deadwood, as I said, really seems to go after Hobbes’ view of reality, the way that law and governing arises out of lawlessness and chaos. I TiVo’d the first episode of the new run tonight, and will give it a whirl tomorrow, I figure.
As I mentioned, I did some nice stuff for my girlfriend. In addition to spending twelve hours on the sofa watching the DVDs with her, I also treated her to dinner at one of the finest restaurants around: CafÃƒÂ© Matisse. My publisher had told me about this place for years, but I’d never gotten around to it. Saturday night, I realized the error of my ways.
I had one of the finest dinners I’ll ever eat. Here’re the details:
Gil’s appetizer: Lump Crabmeat Croquette – orange glazed seared scallop and shrimp with citrus salad vanilla oil, chili oil and cilantro
Amy’s appetizer: Thinly Sliced Rabbit Tenderloin – roasted braised garlic and caramelized shallot manchego, thyme timbale with sour dough crostini and balsamic burgundy butter sauce
Gil’s entrÃƒÂ©e: Parmsean / Olive Crusted Veal Loin Medallions – with roasted garlic potato confit, grilled artichoke hearts with tomato infused demi glace
Amy’s entrÃƒÂ©e: Roasted Venison Loin – with carmelized foie gras, cardamom infused parsnips, candied pearl onions & currants with red wine date demi glace, zinfandel syrup
My dessert was a chocolate/marshmallow/espresso ice cream confection that nearly finished me off. Amy went with the vanilla crÃ¯Â¿Â½me brulee. We also had a bottle of Ristow Cabernet Sauvignon (2000).
Now, those of you who know me can attest to my near-inability to discriminate, when it comes to food. I don’t have high tastes, and I have a propensity to eat whatever’s in front of me, or nearby. That said, as my girl realized Saturday night, “You really are a Foodie! It just needs to be some of the best food ever prepared!”
So it was a learning experience for both of us. I seriously advise, if you’re in NJ (or close enough), have some money to spare, and are looking for an unforgettable meal, to get thee to CafÃ¯Â¿Â½ Matisse. I have spoken.
In other weekend news, I bought a new bed (frame only) last Saturday. It was supposed to arrive in about 6 weeks, but the retailer called mid-week and explained that they were ready to deliver the same model to another place, but were informed that that house wouldn’t be finished for 2 more months. “Would you mind if we delivered the bed to you on Saturday?”
“You’re going to get me the bed ONE WEEK after I ordered it?”
“Sure thing!” So they did. I managed to heft the king-sized platform bed out onto the balcony, a last remnant of Dad’s mid-life crisis, back in 1981. It’s a legendary platform bed: alternating stripes of matte & gloss black, plus a fluorescent light tube under the overhang of the platform. I think Rick James used to own it.
Anyway, I hefted it out and it’s now been replaced with some Zen.
And I got an estimate for a new garage door; after 37 years, it’s time to retire the current one.
So here’s the weekend: watched a ton of Deadwood, ate one of the best meals ever, and got a new bed. It ain’t a bad life.