A Good Yarn

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cold Enough for Ya?

My friends outside of Minnesota and it's neighboring states, count yourself lucky this weekend. It's currently -11 and it's not going to get all that much warmer today. I've been really hankering for a new puppy since the holidays, but I have to admit it's days like today that made me decide to wait until spring to embark on puppy training.

On the knitting front, I joined in on Jeanne and Chell's annual preemie cap effort this year:

I'm kind of embarrassed that it took me two weeks to knit that little thing. It's sitting over an onion, by the way. I've often heard that preemie heads are about the size of an orange or a grapefruit. I ate all my oranges before I managed to finish up this cap and it was a little too small for the grapefruit, so I figure onion is close enough :-) I used their pattern for this one and I encourage everyone to whip up a little hat or two for the cause - it really doesn't take that much time, as long as you sit down and actually knit! I'm going to make at least one more before the end of month, hopefully two more.

I also had the pleasure of a really fine dining experience this week. A friend and I tried out Il Vesco Vino in St. Paul and I would heartily recommend this place. The restaurant is on Selby Avenue, in the space where The Vintage used to be, if you're familiar with that. It's a gorgeous, romantic space - if you're looking for somewhere special to dine on Valentine's Day, this would be an ideal spot. The food was really delicious too. I had the fixed price three course dinner - you choose a soup or salad, a pasta and an entree. I had a romaine salad, gnocchi with tomatoes and cheese and a beef tenderloin with tomatoes and capers and roasted potatoes. The salad was good, but nothing special. The gnocchi and beef tenderloin were outstanding, however. Sometimes gnocchi gets a bit chewy, but it was a perfect consistency and the "sauce" (not really a sauce, more of a topping) was delicious. The beef tenderloin was done perfectly, moist and tender. I tried my friend's beef shortribs with a potato puree and loved those just as much. Even though I was completely stuffed because I had to eat every bite of my dinner, I wanted to try dessert, so I ordered the tiramisu. It was very good, but still not as good as the one I had in Italy, which is always the measuring stick for me. There is a nice wine list here too, though not as extensive as in The Vintage days. They sell wine by the quarter and third carafe too, which I always appreciate, since one glass of wine is usually not enough for me. Dinner wasn't cheap, but it wasn't horrendous, either. I would highly recommend this spot for your next fine dining event.

I also managed to scoot out of work and to a late matinee yesterday. I saw this film:

I thoroughly enjoyed it. The film is set in 1980 and it stars Tom Hanks as Charlie Wilson, a Congressman from Texas who hasn't had much to show of his 6 terms in office when the film starts, but certainly enjoys the perks of being in Congress, namely it's cache with the ladies. Julia Roberts plays a very wealthy Texas woman who sometimes dallies with Congressman Wilson and clearly contributes quite a bit of money to his campaigns. She's a right wing religious anti-Communist true believer of the type that were taking over the GOP at that time and she lobbies Wilson (who is one the defense and intelligence committees and thus has great sway over the purse strings for any sort of covert operation)to begin funding the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan to defeat the Russian army who has invaded the country. After Wilson visits Afghani refugees in Pakistan and sees the conditions, he believes strongly in the cause and starts cashing in some of the good will he's stored up over the years of doing nothing much in Congress. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the CIA operative who is running the show in Afghanistan. The whole thing is just fascinating. Even though it's a pretty complicated story about funding and weapons and political factions, it moves really quickly and you don't get bogged down in details. It's written by Aaron Sorkin, whose tv shows I greatly admire, and I thought he did a great job with this film, too. Philip Seymour Hoffman is just brilliant in his role. He's hilarious and smart and just completely real. I'm sure you'll hear his name when the Academy Award supporting actor nominees are announced. If you enjoy politics and a good story, I'd really recommend this film.

I still have a couple more films to see before I do my final Top Ten of the Year (I'm sure you're waiting with baited breath!). Talk Cinema is today, but it's a foreign film, so I guess I'll have to get to a couple more films soon. Look for a bonus post next week since I have Monday off! Stay warm!!

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