The Younger Me

My brother recently bought a program that lets him copy VHS tapes on to DVDs and so, as a result, he’s been copying our precious and dangerously banged-up home movies on to DVDs these past few weeks. One tape in particular is my favorite: it features my great-grandmother Helen laughing her head off as my dad teases her, it features my brother and I building blocks to John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy” only to have the scene devolve into fratricidal warfare, and it features a trip to Disney World complete with parade footage. Here, for your viewing pleasure, is a clip of me showing off the vegetables we planted in our backyard. This is when we lived in Oceanside, NY and planting vegetables in your backyard was something you could do:

And as a bonus, here’s footage of my brother, Michael, telling a story while eating an Entenman’s chocolate donut. The chocolate donut means it’s blog appropriate because it’s related to food. Plus he’s really cute:

**WORLD PREMIERE** The Paris Films: “J’Eat Paris” & “David Lebovitz in Paris”

It is with great honor and self-aggrandizement that I present to you two of the greatest films to hit the internet since Pamela Anderson uttered the words, “Tommy Lee, I do.”

Dragging a video camera through Paris takes work and effort, and here is the product of that work and effort. The first film–“J’Eat Paris”–stars John (on the right), his brother Chris, and myself as we eat our way across Paris.

The second film features the renowned David Lebovitz as he treats us to one of his much sought-after chocolate tours, but starting with a tour of his favorite Paris market. The man is a consummate professional.

David expressed concern over my choice of music, but I think I handled that issue nicely. These films, if not future Oscar winners, will certainly survive as my own special, personal souvenirs from a fantastic trip. Hope you enjoy them too.

Bulimic Tomato

This is a slightly offensive film about a bulimic tomato. It features an original song and various locations. Thanks to Lisa for her work with lyric writing, singing and tomato manipulation. Click the tomato to experience “Bulimic Tomato.”

Memorial Day at Coney Island featuring the Poignant Cinematic Masterpiece, “Coney Island Days”

Take the F train or the D train downtown to the very end of its run and suddenly you’ll smell the sand and surf and behold the wonder that is Coney Island. Today being Memorial Day, our train was packed and Coney Island was choc-full o’revelers. My whole life I’d always heard of Coney Island, but I’d never been there (except for the one time dad drove us through there to show us where he used to work—he used to work across the street from Nathan’s!) And while Coney Island is certainly a far-cry from its more reputable days, it was fantastic to walk along the boardwalk and to behold sights like the enormous and somewhat timeless Wonder Wheel:


Liz, Lisa, John and John’s friend Michael joined me for a Coney Island adventure today. I had planned for us to eat at Totonno’s pizza but, sadly, Totonno’s is closed on Mondays. So our primary eating destination was Nathan’s. Here’s the crew out front (Michael, Lisa, John and Liz):


It was John’s birthday today (happy birthday, John!) so I offered to treat him to his share of hot dogs, corn and lemonade. One drawback was that the line for Nathan’s was ENORMOUS. I’d say we spent 65% of our time at Coney Island waiting in line at Nathan’s, if not longer. Look at my frustrated crew:


We eventually split into two lines to see which line would move faster, and this woman tried to cut in front of Lisa—but Lisa held her ground. Still, the picture is worth preserving:


Finally—and, really, it was such a relief–we reached the window and ordered our food. For myself, I ordered two hot dogs and for the table we ordered two large fries. We secured ourselves a table and we dug in. Honestly, these hot dogs were delicious:


It’s hard to believe that hot dogs–a pretty generic item–can be that much better in one location than they are in other locations. And I grew up at Nathan’s: Nathan’s in Oceanside, New York and the Nathan’s in Boca Raton, FL. But these were the best. They were plump and juicy and bursting with flavor. I read a list recently (anyone else read it?) that listed the 50 most important things to eat before you die and one of them was a hot dog at Nathan’s on Coney Island. I feel so fulfilled!

We then made our way around, filming the video you’re about to see. We spied this sign on the back of a schoolbus and found it very funny that it was necessary!


Our last stop was the confectionary store, not Phillips (which is, apparently, closed?) but Williams–right next to Nathan’s. Here’s Lisa with a candy apple and Liz with cotton candy:


The candy was great as was our day on Coney Island…

But don’t take my word for it. Lisa, who as it happens is a grandmother and 80 years old, put together this video of our time there. We hope you enjoy it!

Elyne’s Chinese Feast (featuring the soon-to-be-a-hit film: “Elyne’s Chinese Feast”)

Something very special happened this past Thursday and I’ve been waiting a few days to tell you about it because it’s so big and interesting and exciting that simply posting it on a Friday would have been bad showmanship. No, I waited until tonight–Sunday night–so you could start your Monday with this dazzling account of a true, exotic, magnificent Chinese feast prepared by my friend Elyne at the home of our friend Brian. Here they are making wontons:


Yes, it started with the making of wontons. I arrived at 5 pm, as per Elyne’s instructions, so I could watch the process. Elyne purchased wonton wrappers from Chinatown (I missed the Chinatown shopping spree) and prepared a mixture of shrimp, water chesnuts and scallions that were then spooned into the wrappers and folded, wonton style, as documented in the feature film “Elyne’s Chinese Feast” which you can view at the end of this post. The wontons were placed in a huge pot of boiling water and after only a few moments they floated to the top, we scooped them out and here they are:


Yes, they look a little bit like brain matter but they were utterly delicious. In fact, they were so delicious that guests at the party stuffed their faces with them so enthusiastically, they had no appetite for the rest of the meal! (Whole dishes were scratched from the menu, including a whole fish that was to be cooked in a wok–(this was a huge disappointment, I was totally psyched to see that)–and an eggplant tofu dish (that one I wasn’t so sorry about)).

Let’s examine the dishes that WERE made…

Stir fried duck served in endive (you can’t see the endive here and Elyne acknowledges that endive isn’t particularly Chinese, but they worked terrifically well–call it fusion, if you must):


Spicy chicken with cashews (not photographed)

Shitaki mushrooms and bok choy:


(The mushrooms were stewed for two hours in a mixture of vegetable stock and sugar that came from what looked like a sugar rock, I’m sure there’s a name for it, but I don’t know it–sue me.)

With dessert, we drank my contribution: Litchi wine that I purchased from a wine store with Asian characters on 23rd street near the subway.


I love lychees–I think they’re my favorite fruit (though my friend X, who shall stay unnamed, rather uncouthly suggests that they look like—and prepare to be offended—mini-abortions)–and this wine captures their subtlety and perfume without being overpowering. I think everyone enjoyed it.

Finally, Elyne prepared rice dumplings in cane sugar syrup (that’s what it was, cane sugar, editor: please fix that in the mushroom paragraph):


Look at Elyne with her tray and her rice dumplings in cane sugar syrup, isn’t she adorable? Let’s give her a round of applause and then watch her in the guaranteed smash hit “Elyne’s Chinese Feast” featuring the hit single “Slow Boat To China” as performed by Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby.

Thanks Elyne and Brian for a fantastic meal!

Miracle Almond Cake

I received an e-mail recently telling me that my movies have a “good choice of music/motion” but that I “need to work on the special effects.” So tonight Lisa and I labored over this film which features such dazzling trickery, Speilberg’s bound to call at any moment. (Well, at least the music’s fun.) Hope you enjoy it!