Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What To Expect With a Cat Named Chuck Norris

While everyone else is sharing back-to-school photos of their adorable kids, I want to share this photo of my little murderer. 

I went into the bedroom last night to find Chuck Norris standing over the lifeless body of a mouse. When I got over being horrified there might be a dead mouse in the bedroom, I then felt horrified there might NOT be a dead mouse in the bedroom.

What if it resurrects itself when I pick him up to throw him out?! What if it runs under the bed?!

I pondered all of this while Chuck batted the mouse's little dead body around and tried to carry him away. Poor mouse. He was cute. 

Don't let this incredibly handsome face fool you, Chuck Norris is aptly named.  

Art muse, murderer, iconoclast. The cat has plans. 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

It Exists

I thought Jess was joking when she said the cheese plate at Bouquet is called The Motherboard. 

I thought she meant she called it the motherboard because it was the mother lode of cheese and meat or something. Some hyperbole to go along with our happy hour on Friday.  

She wasn't joking. It is called that, and it is the mother lode.    

Four cured meats, five cheeses... 'a multitude of accompaniments,' the menu says. 

Sure, Bouquet offers other Charcuterie plates. But please, but why would you get those when there is The Motherboard.

Jess's urban farm supplies Bouquet (and others) with some of their locally grown vegetables, including squash blossoms. Though Friday's squash blossoms didn't come from Yogi and the Farmer, we still had to have an order.   

Bouquet stuffs them with parmesan mousse and fries them, then serves them with cherry tomatoes, summer squash and chive emulsion. I could have eaten 20 of them, easily. (They come in orders of two.)

They should call them crack blossoms.

Truth be told, whenever we get squash blossoms in our farm-share, I give them to the neighbor. I had never in my life heard of eating squash blossoms before, and I hadn't eaten any of them until Friday night. 

I didn't know what I was missing. 

Before we knew it happy hour had turned into happy hours and it was it 8 o'clock already. (Thankfully I was DVRing the Rio 2016 Opening Ceremonies.) 

If you're looking for a spot in the Cov though, I highly recommend a seat at the bar at Bouquet and the Motherboard. And don't forget the side of squash blossoms.

Also, I'm a bit on a roll in Covington recently. 

Last week I was supposed to meet friends at Otto's but after some confusion with the reservation, we ended up at Lisse instead. Lisse is the brand new steakhouse in the old Chez Nora spot, and the transformation is spectacular. (Gone is the ratty old carpet and sewer smell, replaced with modern fixtures and a bright, clean look.)

They hadn't had their grand opening yet but already it was packed with reservations and folks at the bar. Since we weren't really looking to spend a small fortune steak that night, we opted for appetizers, salads and a gigantic bowl of mac and cheese to share. Good stuff.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Saturday: In Pictures

Saturday was too hot to do anything. Even the pool seemed like it would be too hot. 

I had been feeling a bit deprived of culture, a bit uninspired and in need of art or letters or music to refresh me. So we decided to spend the day in the two coldest indoor spaces one can find (outside of the modern office building): A museum and movie theater. 

The Cincinnati Art Museum was our first stop for their current exhibits

30 Americans and Divine Felines were our top priorities.

If you haven't been to CAM lately, you have until August 28 to see 30 Americans. It is deeply moving and thought-provoking.

From the CAM:
30 Americans showcases art by many of the most important African-American artists of the last three decades. This provocative exhibition focuses on issues of racial, gender, and historical identity in contemporary culture while exploring the powerful influence of artistic legacy and community across generations.


The above installation of Rodney McMillian's "Untitled, 2005", which is an enormous piece of what was once someone's wall-to-wall carpet, was one of the pieces that stood out to me. 

Stained and worn, you can see where the closet would have been, where the couch likely rested, where life took place. It is simple yet arresting — who's lives were lived on this carpet? A million things happened here to people who loved and were loved and now this, just their carpet. We are forced to speculate their entire lives: What happened here? A wall-to-wall Rorschach.

After lunch at the Terrace CafĂ©, we headed to another one of the CAM's current exhibits, Divine  Felines.

We laughed. We cried. It was better than... okay, sorry.

It was truly delightful though. And whoever was the curator, well done. From the hilarious quotes by famous authors who loved, lived and were possibly held hostage by their cats, to the explications and puns through-out, it was wholly charming.

A wall of cat paintings by my new favorite artist, Inagaki Tomoo (1902-1980).


Ray said the above painting is what it looks like when I pick-up Chuck Norris. I love Ray, but he doesn't know what he's talking about. Chuck Norris is the picture of calm contentment when I hold him.

We also spent quite a long time in the Cincinnati wing of the CAM. I had been through it before, except not really because I realized yesterday it just keeps going. Painting, sculpture, furniture, silver, pottery, fireplaces. The collection is expansive and amazing. I don't know how I missed it all in the past.

And something I had never seen before, a bronze model of the Tyler Davidson Fountain, circa 1868. 

And I stopped to see a favorite of mine from the regular collection, Andrew Wyeth's 'Henry Teal.' I am attracted to this painting for so many reasons — the simplicity, the realism, the open table, Henry sunning his serene face against the window. 

For such a simple scene, there is much to absorb.


(I interviewed Wyeth's grand-daughter, Victoria Browning Wyeth, for an exhibit on Christina's World at the CAM in 2007 and wrote a post about it she was so entertaining. She referred to him only as 'grandpa Andy' and talked about his love of black turtlenecks.)

And no trip to the CAM is complete without a photo of Chihuly's cobalt beauty. I read an old Enquirer story that says it's 11-feet tall, 7-feet wide, weighs 810 pounds and consists of 282 pieces of free-blown glass. 

It's also a twisting, alluring, tornado of blue.

We spent the rest of the evening at the Esquire eating popcorn and watching Absolutely Fabulous. I loved the show and watched it endlessly in college, but unfortunately the movie is a dud. It doesn't capture the crazy, frenetic spirit of Patsy and Edi, and the laughs are very few and far between. Too bad.

By the time we finished dinner at Biagio's, the sun was set and it was safe to go outside again. And if you've never been to Biagio's, it's an interesting little Italian joint in Clifton. 

The chef (Biagio, I assume?) cooks everything on four open stove flames facing the dining room, right near the entrance. If you want to know where the second exit is, just ask Ray, as the open flames, the grease and the lack of ventilation to the outside always causes him to double-check where the alternate exit is. (Not that this is unique to Biagio's, by the way, as I've watched Ray scout for exits in hotels, bars and any number of restaurants.)    

But you leave Biagio's little bistro full and smelling like garlic, which I generally consider a dining success.