Sunday, March 05, 2006

Chock full of reviews

I've been off work this week, and consequently out of the routine of posting. Sorry. I've done all kinds of stuff since last posting, however.

Food Reviews:

Friday night, Trent and I tried the new Tutta Bella location in Wallingford. Tutta Bella is the only pizzeria in the northwest with the "Verace Pizza Napoletana" certification - it's official Neapolitan pizza, y'all. The new location is cavernous, but not unwelcoming thanks to it's wood-beamed ceilings. We called ahead to put ourselves on the waiting list (highly recommended if you're going on the weekend), so we were seated within 5 minutes of arrival. The tables are packed in - this is not a good spot for a romantic dinner, but would be great for a gang of friends. We had a small ceasar salad, which is made with real raw eggs and anchovies like god intended. Yum. Trent order the prosciutto e rucola (argula) pizza, and I had the Campania, which includes Isnerio's chicken sausage, kalamata olives, garlic, and fresh basil on top of the authentic Italian tomatoes and cheese. Both pizzas were very good. The crust was not as crispy as I expected, but tasted pleasantly of the wood smoke from the ovens. It's pleasantly chewy. Trent tells me that Italian flour is softer (lower protein) than our bread flour, and that they don't include olive oil in their crust. I had the house red (a Montelpuciano) and Trent had the "Tutta Bella ale," which is an amber brewed by Pyramid Brewing. It's good, but they serve it too cold. We got some tiramisu to go to share with our friends Roger and Avril. It may be the best tiramisu I've ever had - light, creamy, and just the right amount of each flavor.

Tonight, we ate at the Black Pearl's Shoreline location for the first time. It has the same menu as the Wedgewood restaurant. We skipped the spicier choices because my stomach is twitchy today. Trent had the hand shaven noodles with beef, and I had the mu shu pork. Both were tasty, although his noodles could have used more veg, and I had to send back the pancakes that came with my mu shu because they were soggy. The waiter was extremely accomodating about fixing it, however.


I mentioned that I had checked out some (very) light reading for my time off of work. So far, I've mowed through three books (two romances and a fantasy epic). I feel like I'm going to lose my intellectual credentials admitting to this, but I like genre fiction. A lot. (I feel like I'm at a Reader's Anonymous meeting: "Hi, my name is Melinda, and I have a romance novel problem.)

In the romance kingdom, I got Northern Lights by Nora Roberts from the library. Meh. It's really more of a mystery than a romance, which is normally okay with me. But the mystery wasn't particularly compelling, and there wasn't enough tension between our hero and heroine to make me overlook the staggeringly obvious bad guy. If this novel were about 100 pages shorter (and compressed the timeline), it would be better.

I also read The Truth about Love by Stephanie Laurens. I've liked her books in the past, but the language in this one seemed overly flowery. Still, it kept me entertained well enough, although (again) the mystery angle was stupidly obvious. Laurens writes sizzling sex scenes, and lots of them, so that's probably the main attraction.

I picked a fantasy novel based on what was on the shelf at the library and was the first in a series (I hate reading things out of order). I ended up with Sorcery Rising by Jude Fisher. This was pleasantly better than expected. The writing is low on purple prose and silly plot devices. This is the first of a trilogy, and she tosses about 20 balls in the air. I have no idea how she'll resolve all those plots and characters, but I'm intrigued enough that I put the second and third books in the trilogy on hold at our library.

Knitting News:

Mom got her vest. She loves it, and it fits. I'm thrilled, and so is she. She's going to send me pictures one of these days.

I'm back at work on the Crofter's vest from Folk Vests. Ah, colorwork, how I missed you.

I also finished up some eye-searing roving that's been sitting around forever. I haven't washed the yarn yet.


(Isn't it nice that I save it for last, so you can skip it easily?)

They had to shuffle class assignments around at work, so I went from having the best schedule in the world to having one that is kind of sucky. Compared to a regular job, it's a piece of cake, but after the initial wonderful schedule, it's a bite in the butt. So, now I have to do a bit more course prep than I expected I'd be doing. I also realized that my upcoming film and lit class has entirely male students, so I'm (once again) rethinking what films to teach. Sigh.


Blogger Dorothy said...

I completely agree about Northern Lights. Predictable but mildly entertaining. I was surprised at one element of the ending though. Every overly cute scene with that four year old made me wince at the hackneyed plot, figuring that he had to be the hostage in the requisite revealing-the-bad-guy scene. Then Roberts chickened out and used some random anonymous tourist for the part.

Have you read any Meg Cabot or her adult alter ego Patricia Cabot?

7:46 AM  
Blogger Camera Obscura said...

If you read Meg Cabot's Princess series, do not go see the Disney movies. They are good teen fiction, but I'm not letting Daughter have them until she's 14.

#1-Son is addicted to Terry Prachitt right now. Similar to Douglas Adams, if you haven't ever read any.

If you want quick, fun mysteries with a heroine with serious attitude, go for Elaine Viets. Yes, she was a columnist here back in the 80s, but like Dave Barry she got famous and syndicated and moved to the Miami Herald and then branched out into novels. The Dead End Job mysteries are a series, but she has others.

As for locals who have stayed local despite making the big time, I read Lauren Hamilton and Sharon Shinn. Yeah, bit of a dichotomy, I know -- vampires and weres vs. angels. Come spend Christmas with us and you can meet Sharon.

8:49 PM  

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