Like some gawker slowing down to linger over a roadside disaster scene or a NASCAR junkie unable to tear himself away from video footage of some particularly spectacular speedway carnage, I find myself returning again and again to the Nov. 2 election results.
Dateline: England—A gang of inept thieves tried to break into an automated teller machine near a gas station in Worcester, using an oxyacetylene blowtorch. A spokesman for the local West Mercia Police summed up the results best: “The attempted theft, which was reported to police at 12:10 a.m. today, resulted in the cash machine catching fire.” With their victim in flames and their loot in ashes, the thieves ran away. Police are appealing for witnesses to the attempted theft.
House Party—On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20, the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill will be hosting the Southwestern premiere of the new horror flick The Halfway House. The film stars cult icon Mary Woronov (Eating Raoul, Rock 'n' Roll High School, Death Race 2000) and is best described as a campy mixture of monster movie, nunsploitation and the ever-popular “girls in prison” genre. The film's writer/director, the one and only Kenneth J. Hall (Puppetmaster, Evil Spawn, Dr. Alien, Nightmare Sisters), will be in town to introduce the film, which begins at 10:30 p.m. each night. Also in attendance will be one of the film's main stars, Albuquerque's own homegrown scream queen Stephanie Leighs (The Stink of Flesh, Pretty Dead Things). Hall and Leighs will participate in a question-
This weekend you can get a jump on holiday shopping simply by taking the 25-mile drive northward up to Placitas. Artists and art lovers of all stripes will be infesting this little burg during the 23rd Annual Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale.
Just after I wrote that whole story on oatmeal, I noticed Quaker Supreme at the grocery store. Quaker Supreme is a line of "heartier" oatmeal packets clearly marketed for adults. It's slightly better than regular Quaker oatmeal packets, but don't be fooled. It's not great. I know I run the risk of sounding like some crazed hippie (or worse, my mother) but when it comes to prepackaged and preflavored things like oatmeal and yogurt, you're really better off making your own. Buy a big tub of yogurt. Spoon as much as you want into a glass and then add your own jam, honey, granola, cinnamon sugar, pomegranate syrup, whatever. It's always better. The same is true of oatmeal. Why would I pay extra for sub-par cinnamon- and pecan-flavored oatmeal? I mean, the stuff is still a white, pasty glop when you pull it out of the microwave, despite the picture on the box. Where is this brimming bowl of dark, richly textured oats? Not in my Radarange. For one thing, the bowl and spoon in this picture are obviously a demitasse cup and its dainty stirrer. That's it. I've had enough. I'm going to start working on making my own recipes for oatmeal and find a way to put it in individual packets. You just wait and see.
You must go eat at Pho #1. Both times I've been to this brand-new Vietnamese restaurant at San Pedro and Zuni (268-0488), it's been packed with a mix of Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese patrons. What's all the fuss about? Well, the atmosphere is nothing remarkable, so it must be the fantastic food. Chef Day Nguyen previously had restaurants in Boston, Mass. and Arlington, Texas, but recently moved here for the pleasant climate. Pho #1 is owned by Nguyen's brother-in-law Hue Chung and their house specialty is the magnificent Seven Courses of Beef. Don't be intimidated by the confusing names of the dishes. Grill Hawaiian loaf leaf beef is absolutely scrumptious, for example; so is steamed beef paste/meatball mixed with glass noodles and spices. It sounds horrifying, I know, and the meatball isn't much to look at either, but I swear it's one of the best things I've eaten in recent memory. Whatever you do, don't miss the beef grilled on your table and served with a lemongrass sauce. It's to die for. Oh, and make sure you have time for a leisurely dinner. Service can be slow for a regular meal, but the seven courses of beef takes a pleasantly long time to get through as well.