Friday, March 16, 2012

NEW REVIEW: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

All year long I was just waiting for a movie to love. I was hankering for that film which was not necessarily the most riveting, the most astute, or the most affecting---just the most lovable.  For me, Midnight in Paris was certainly along those lines. It was lovely and transporting; it put a smile on your face and a song in your heart. Still, it was just a hair short of being "that film".  Remember Little Miss Sunshine? Slumdog Millionaire? Sure, film academics can complain about trite, predictable, happy little movies. F-them. Two hours of  joy, love, and humor to lift us out of our tedious lives is a gift.

Obviously, I loved Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. It is absolutely adorable. Yes, the story is simple, predictable---a bit uninspired, I am sure some will say. BUT, it's also positively lovely all the way 'round.

Ewan McGregor is at his most attractive. He's handsome in a regular-guy sort of way and he gives a genuinely terrific performance. His comic delivery is spot-on in all spots. Emily Blunt is delightful. She has some touching scenes which really tugged at my heartstrings.

The rest of the cast is also wonderful. Kristin Scott Thomas is a kick-in-the-pants. Amr Waked, who plays the sheikh, had the older ladies sitting behind us practically swooning! Others in supporting roles were also quite funny.

You know how I enjoy traveling in movies. Well, my sister and I were in full-on vacation-movie mode. We were smiling and laughing and oooohing and ahhhhing. And then, all of sudden, a very intense scene comes along and we are thrust to the edge of our seats. Oh, no! What will become of us? (Because, of course, my sister and I are sitting right there in Yemen with them).  BAM.

Fifteen minutes before the end of the film, the projector bulb dies. There we are---still on the edge of our seats; hung out on a line like refugee's from a broken dryer.

Well, they did give us free passes to come back. But, it's a bit sad because you build up a certain connection with the characters and you definitely need that emotional momentum to experience full movie-satisfaction. However, even with all that, I still give this one two big thumbs up.

(Sorry, Roger Ebert, for borrowing your thumbs)

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Okay!  So, I was skeptical about this "Guy Fieri" restaurant for a few reasons:
  1. Chain. Need I say more? (But, I am no food-elitist. Remember, I love Chevy's).
  2. Guy Fieri. Not a fan. Not an anti-fan; just not a fan. 
  3. Had a less-than-stellar meal at The Lady and Sons (Paula Deen's restaurant). I love Paula Deen, but when we were in Savannah, we had a much better meal at The Old Pink House. So, going into Johnny Garlic's, I was prepared for a potential Paula Deenesque experience. Well, I figured those tv chefs might just all have nothing-special going on in their restaurants.


Sitting at a high-top table at the bar, checking out the diggs, I'd call it mildly upscale-burger-casual. Kitchen looks very clean. Place is crowded. Servers and hostess are very friendly.

Phase One: 

Server brings small basket of focaccia.
Sheeeeeet, that stuff is goooood. Right out of the oven: light, airy, toasted with onions and garlic on top. I don't even like onions. Glad they only gave us four pieces, 'cuz I coulda downed about ten.

Phase Two: 

I order the American Kobe Flank Steak (Half-Grill). 
Server says, "Oh, did they leave the lunch menu in there? We only have half-grill at lunch. But you can get the whole one."  
No. Too big.
"Well, since the lunch menu was left in there, I'm just gonna do that for you."
Ten points for her. She was really nice about it.

Meanwhile, table-neighbor's dinner arrives and it is looking great. As a matter of fact, seated in full-view of the kitchen, everything coming out looks great. They are clearly conscious here about plating; the presentation is quite nice. I don't like seafood, but I saw a lovely seared-ahi, skewered atop a bed of rice, drive by. Mmmm, surprising.

Phase Three 

My dinner arrives: a beautiful, darkly-marinated and grilled piece of meat, laid across a generous helping of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, surrounded by crisp, whole green beans, served on white rectangular plate drizzled with the Kobe glaze.

Honest to god, I finished my dinner in about ten minutes. I have a terrible "wolfing" problem sometimes. It was really, really delicious. 


Well, that was fun! 

This particular Johnny Garlic's was in Santa Rosa. I noticed that it received a higher Yelp rating than other Johnny Garlics. Who knows, maybe they just got it goin' on in Santa Rosa.

Either way, I'll be giving Johnny Garlic's another try.