The Great Plotnik

Monday, July 31, 2006


It's the last day of July. Sore ribs or not, Plotnik is enjoying the lilies in the garden this year.

The white ones and the pink stargazers have replaced the fading red and smaller pink ones. The daylilies are still going and there's another tall batch of lilies ready to pop -- color unknown so far.

The poppies pooped out early. The wind blows the flowers off the stems so they're pretty much useless. Snow peas are finished but Tuscan Kale and snap peas are still doing well.

There's no doubt about it -- having a sore body means having a sore brain. Plotnik was grumpy yesterday, and he's only marginally merrier today. Better to talk about flowers than big bullies dropping bombs on children.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Is Get Plotnik Week Over?

Plotnik decided he'd go play plotzketball on Saturday, because his knee was feeling better and it was a sunny day. When he got to the court, he had a conversation with Bobby, on the right as we face the three men on the bench in this picture. Bob is from New Orleans and is twenty years Plotnik's junior. He used to play ball on both Saturdays and Sundays, but has stopped playing Sunday because he plays poker all night Saturday and says he is too tired to get up on Sunday morning.

Plot said: "Bob, at some point in the future you won't be able to play ball anymore. You'll always be able to play poker. Take advantage of healthy legs and good weather. Play ball every chance you get."

Then, an hour into the morning's game, Big Reese, in the middle in this picture, who had brought his 14-year-old to the game and was, shall we say, showing off like Dads do when their children are watching, zeroed in on Plot. After a (ahem, particularly sweet) crossover dribble midcourt, Plotnik drove in for (what would have been a beautiful) left handed layup. Reese ran up from out of nowhere, said something like GET THAT SHIT OUTA HERE which is what big, macho guys yell in plotzketball games, and absolutely leveled Plot midair.

Now Plotnik had just had a bicycle spill earlier in the week. That was scary, but didn't hurt too much. This was lights out. The two men collided at full throttle (Reese is probably 6-3 and 230 pounds or so and Plot is somewhat smaller though a wiry mass of muscle). Plot hit the concrete.

That ol' concrete was nice and soft -- warm, too. Plot lay there a long time -- why move? Why bother getting up? He even closed his eyes for a morning nap, but couldn't fall asleep. When they did help him up, he realized his ribs were very sore. This was a nice balance to his sore knee, elbow and shoulder from earlier in the week.

MORE Advil. How many Advil can any one person take, anyway? The bottle says no more than six in 24 hours.

Plot heard this morning that half an hour after he shuffled off the court, Reese leveled Bobby too. Reese was a one man wrecking ball yesterday. Plot hopes Bobby is OK. Plot is rethinking somewhat what he told Bob before the game started.

Today, Sunday, Plot is sore, but thankful, once again, that nothing is broken, or cracked. It hurts to cough, but not to breathe, which is how it would be if he had a cracked rib. He has forgotten about his shoulder, knee and elbow, which is good.

Mummy Plotnik has asked: Maybe you should learn a lesson here?

Well, Plotnik has. He has learned never to drive to the middle when Reese has his son at the game, to never have his bicycle lose traction going down a hill, and also that he has been extraordinarily lucky on the court all these years, never fracturing or rupturing or destroying anything. He is feeling somewhat proud of himself, believe it or not, that he can sustain these collisions and keep getting up.

Some day, when he is unable to, or chooses not to pick himself up off the concrete anymore, he can always play poker. Please forgive the language if not the sentiment of the following statement: Not yet, motherfucker, not yet.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Soup Kitchen

St. Martin de Porres on Potrero Street feeds 150-200 people a day at lunchtime. This is no beans and tortillas lunch, either -- yesterday, which was also The Great Plotnik's first day of volunteering, they served 30 gallons of split pea soup, and when that ran out 25 gallons of black bean soup, plus a serious green salad with avocado halves, chicken sausages (or hot dogs) and fresh bread. Plot and the other volunteers washed and dried dishes, stirred soup, served food, washed pots, pans and serving containers, bused tables, swept floors -- and then Plot noticed the upright piano in the corner.

He asked Charlie, his boss "does anybody play that thing?"

"Why? Do you play piano?" Charlie asked.

"Why, yes I do," Plotnik said.

"What kind of music?" Charlie said.

"Whatever you like," Plotnik said.

"Well, you just head on over there, then," Charlie said, and Plotnik got to take off his apron. After ten or fifteen minutes of playing blues and New Orleans shuffles, Plot has another task to do when he goes back next Friday.

This is an inspirational place. The people who come to eat are men and women, young, old, black, white, Latino. Most but not all are scruffy and tooth-deprived, and all are excedingly courteous. They are also very hungry. Many take a full plate of food, carry it to the back of the line and eat it while moving forward again in line. By the time they get back to the head of the line they're ready for another full plate.

The concrete courtyard is filled with trees and flowers in tubs. It is theirs to use to sleep on benches in the sun, or talk to themselves or others, or spill out and reorder the contents of their russacks, or stare off into space. There are bathrooms and showers. Someone cuts hair in the corner.

The Great Plotnik has tried volunteering before -- his work schedule makes it more possible now. But when he tried the music class, the Red Cross and the garden club, he felt like he was just doing busy work. At the soup kitchen, he feels like he is accomplishing something. He likes feeding people. Perhaps he'll learn to make black bean soup for 150.

These are not temporarily down on their luck people. These folks are hard core. Sure they're crazy. But they're also hungry. Plotnik may have found his niche.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Tortilla Lady

The tortilla lady holds the secret to the secret ingredient behind Tacos Plotnikos "Chubby." You have to have great, fresh tortillas to make Chubbys. The tortilla lady and her friends stand all day at this griddle, forming the masa behind her into good, thick tortillas that get baked and then made into quesadillas, filled with fresh salsa and melted jack cheese and grilled crispy on the griddle. You also buy the torillas and take them home for Chubbies.

Plotnik starts his new volunteer job today. He won't be making tortillas, but he probably will be chopping onions.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


OK, RR The World's Best Behaved Child is showing us the way to cycle safely. Note the Good Luck Kitten in the rear, of his own volition ready to donate an extra life or two for The Cause if necessary.

The Great Plotnik is still rubbing his ribs and constantly irritating his sore fingers and shoulder, but his knee is better and he is, for the lack of a better word, grateful as can be. He's anxious to get back on his bike, though he will have to do some blood doping first, of course.

Yesterday, Plot and Duck went to an exhibition at the Museum of the African Diaspora, which Plotnik hoped to love and want to review, but hated and chose to ignore; last night Plot went to a restaurant that he figured he would hate because of its expected pretension, but instead found it friendly and the chef anxious to please. Then, there was the matter of this dessert: Apple Fritters with a Chestnut/Cointreau Milkshake! He took some pictures and will be returning soon to eat and to review.

So you never know. Great art and great music, great theater and great food are full of surprises. Surprise is what we crave -- anything but the same-o same-o. Love is a surprise. Life itself is one knee-slapper after another. Enjoy every second, and slow down, RR, when you cruise that bike down a hill.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

A Close Call

The Great Plotnik fell off his Plotkicycle yesterday, going full speed down his hill. One second he was passing the UPS truck, the next second the UPS driver was standing over him, twenty feet down the hill, asking him if he was OK. Plot hit the ground so hard, his handlebars were turned backwards, his seat turned sideways and his bike lock ended up upside down in its holder.

Today, Plotnik has a sore knee, but he is counting his blessings. Last night he called Mummy Plotnik and thanked her for his hard head, which, thankfully, he probably did not land on, because there are no marks on his helmet. He has a few abrasions on his right knee, hip, elbow, palm, fingers, and a sore left knee. In the shower this morning he found a few new youch!es out of sight on his back. However many lives he had when he started out yesterday, he most likely has one less now.

Afterwards, The Great Plotnik felt disoriented, confused. He walked his bike back up the hill, opened the basement door, put the bike away and took off his shirt in front of the mirror to count his bruises. A little soap and hot water -- ouch. Then, he sat down on his back steps and -- stared. He kept asking himself: What happened? How many times has he ridden down that hill before? Everything was so lightning fast, so unexpected.

Let's say it straight: The Great Plotnik knows two men who had hideous bicycle accidents: Ralph and Mark. Neither will ever walk again. Both of them say they were probably going too fast on their bicycles when...something happened. Plotnik always thinks about Ralph and Mark when he rides, but yesterday he just forgot. He was probably going too fast, too, when...something happened. But he walked away.

The Great Plotnik promises everyone he will never ride that fast down a hill again. It's just not worth it. Bodies break. Old knees take longer to come back. Concrete streets hurt. Wow.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Plotnik needs to learn how to fish.

OK, you're not supposed to eat Sea Bass because it's non-sustainable. Man, it's good, though, especially when you coat it in a peppery masala and serve it with

Carrots in cumin and cilantro, and accompany that with

The usual cast of Monday Night Summertime salads.

But the sea bass is non-sustainable; tuna, mahi-mahi and swordfish are full of mercury and should not be eaten unless you are a thermometer; farmed salmon is toxic and wild salmon is illegal, unless it comes in frozen from Alaska and tastes like Kleenex; shellfish in this part of the world are watery and bland while managing, at the same time, to be thought of as delicacies...most other locally obtained fish are too small to yield nice, barbecueable chunks.

The Great Plotnik grew up in a time when fresh fish were unheard of. For decades, he despised the taste, smell and even the thought of eating fish. Now that he has changed his tune, he feels very uncomfortable shelling out $17 a pound for sea bass. It's like eating passenger pigeon cassoulet with a side of spotted owl.

So Plot needs to learn how to fish. He has to catch his own. A religious leader should be able to provide for his flock. They won't keep eating granola forever.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Beach Destination

The tiger lilies, an American League plant, are blooming at the same time as the fuschia. Global warming has made Saint Plotniko into a garden spot.

AND: a beach destination. People are flocking to Ocean Beach and Crissy Field. Some TAKE OFF THEIR SHIRTS. Some have WORN BATHING SUITS. There is a rumor that several even WENT IN THE WATER.

At The Great Plotnik World HQ and Santeria Shrine Depot, the brandy, baseball glove and Don Zimmer ball have been removed, and the Sacred Cooperstown Bat been added, to go with Saint Fernando Valenzuela and the Cap of Glorious Victories. NOW we'll see!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

When you Need Mojo, Build a Shrine

The Plotzers need help. It's time for a shrine.

Plotnik has placed his Holy Pophead Doll of Saint Fernando Valenzuela on the Sacred Remote Control Storage Chest.

In back of Saint Fernando, he has set the Conquest Cap of Glorious Victories.

In the rear of the shrine goes the Bottle of Brandy given to Plotnik as a thank you from the parents of his Little Leaguers, many years ago when Plot led the team to one victory in two years. The Bottle of Brandy has Great Power. Plotnik has never been able to figure out how to get the top off, so all the Power is still inside.

And finally, BeeziWeezi's baseball mitt holding the Baseball Signed by Don Zimmer, once a glorious Plotzer himself. The Great FiveHead got this baseball for Plotnik on a trip to the Big Shmapple, and it's Mojo is now being called on.

Repeat after Me. "Ommmmmmm Big Trade Big Trade Ommmmmmm Sacred Screwball Ommmmm Drysdale Ommmmm Koufax Ommmmmmm Kirk Gibson Ommmm Big Trade Big Trade Ommmm."

OK, it's done. Now we wait.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Great Day at the Office

Yesterday, The Great Plotnik got on the Plotkicycle on a hot - but not too hot - day with a breeze blowing off the Bay, and rode down Cesar Chavez to Third Street, dodging two homeless encampments he hadn't known existed, then turned onto Illinois Street and rode down to The Ramp to take a picture. The Ramp's a fun place -- Mushnik and Laughing Bill first turned Plotnik on to the place. Good fries, great view.

Then he turned right on Illinois, and again on Third, crossed the Lefty O'Doul bridge in front of the ballpark, and rode up Third, through the Financial District and into North Beach to take a picture of the great City Lights Book Store, at the corner of Columbus and Jack Kerouac Alley. This is still the number one book store in the world and always will be.

A quick jog onto Grant Street and a left turn, and Plotnik was weaving in and out of a zillion cars, trucks, tourists and merchants as he rode through the heart of Chinatown to get to the Buddha Lounge, where he talked to these three people from Maine ("my name is Weavuh w-e-a-v-e-r Weavuh"), having a drink in the middle of the day...

...and then onto Jackson Street to take a picture of Hunan Home's Restaurant, where the cook sat in a booth in the back smoking a cigarette and the waiter warned Plotnik to look out for taxicabs.

It took awhile to get home, but it was a wonderful ride. Then, last night, Plotnik and Ducknik went to Tamasei Sushi for dinner for Plotnik to review and take a picture. In truth, the sushi is only average and it's a little pricey, but the people are so very nice and the vibe so friendly that Plot and Duck might go back, even if The Great Plotnik wasn't taking his boss's money to have such a wonderful day.

Friday, July 21, 2006

A dream is one thing, but a dream about a dream?

These crawdads in Portland, snapped by Mush and Smiling Bill, have absolutely nothing to do with the dream The Great Plotnik had last night. Something happened in this dream that he has never had happen to him before.

He's riding his bike along a city road, and a police car cuts him off. The cop (hmmm, not wearing a police uniform) tells him he's wanted for murder. Plot asks him what he's talking about and the cop tells him. But here's the strange thing: the crime the cop is talking about actually occurred in ANOTHER dream that Plotnik had several years ago, a vivid and frightening dream at the time, in which Plotnik, cornered by some villain as always, was forced to bury someone in a pit and cover him up, hoping nobody would find out.

Now, the cop in the new dream knows about Plot's old dream. What in the world is going on here?

Does this mean that not only is everything we ever do stored in our brains, but even the dreams we dream? Does this mean that old dream has been on Plotnik's mind for years, even though he had forgotten about it? Has this ever happened to anyone else?

And what does any of this have to do with crawdads?

The Great Plotnik will probably find out tonight when he dreams about riding his bike and being cut off by a plate of crawdads. Yumm. He hopes he dreams lemons.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

July 19: The Amazing Double Whammy

The Amazing Double Whammy returned last night for the first time this year. Two nights of moderate heat means the datura to the right of the bedroom door is in full, amazingly fragrant bloom...

...while the night blooming jasmine to the left of the door is doing its equally sensual thing at the same time. These two plants must be on the top shelf of all the fragrances in nature's spice rack -- not to demean lemon blossoms and honeysuckle, but those two are best during the day. Datura and Night Blooming Jasmine don't start kicking until half an hour before sunset.

Plus...if you pluck a datura flower and put it on your dresser, you will dream of paradise all night long. Or curried green eggplants. It's up to you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


It's been hot in Saint Plotniko. Maybe as high as 80. At noon. On the concrete. Oh, boy, that's tough.

Still, for the first time since moving to The City The Sun Forgot in 1993, The Great Plotnik has worn shorts two days in a row. And when it's hot in The Meatball Kitchen, The Great Ducknik wants tuna fish and potato chips.

She does make a mean plate o' tuna. But since the last time it got hot in this fogbound burg, the Plotniks' taste has changed. Last night, both Plot and Duck found these once-beloved Kettle sea salt and vinegar potato chips to be so salty as to be basically inedible. This is something that happens frequently, especially in restaurants. The prevailing salt threshold appears to be far higher than it used to be.

Salt. Oh, yah, English Maldon salt and French sea salt harvested by Pierre in Normandy wearing rubber boots, yah, yah. It's the Emperor's New Clothes, 2006 Condiments Edition. It's the punch line to the old Mel Brooks joke: "Boy! Could dot guy sell SALT!"

What ever happened to salting your own food? It has something to do with large portions -- a restaurant can't justify charging $11.95 for an omelette if it isn't huge enough to fatten the slob that's devouring it, and he/she won't order it if it's not salty enough to disguise the fact that they used eggs from Pakistan and imitation cheese.

Whenever Plotnik's grandmother, the Late Great Grammy Plotnik, happened to upturn the salt shaker, whe would spit over her shoulder three times ptaa! ptaa!! ptaa!!! to ward off the Evil Eye. That's because to a Russian immigrant, salt had great value. It was to be used sparingly.

She also made great fried chicken. Perhaps Chef Pickle-nik can explain how an old woman from Odessa, Ukraine, came to make great Southern Fried Chicken? Yum, it was good. Come to think of it, it was pretty salty.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The New Studio

Where the walls of the old studio were covered with music memorabilia, the New Studio is developing a nice Travel feel.

The painting over the sofa came from Gilberto in Antigua, Guatemala. His village of San Andres on Lake Atitlan had been destroyed by a hurricane and he and the other artists on the lake were trying to sell their art to try and help the rebuilding of the village.
The two blankets over the arm of the sofa came from these five women in the town of Ollataytambo, Peru, in Cuzco's Sacred Valley.

The blanket over the back of the sofa is the Cheapshit Fit Blanket from Cuzco. Plot and Duck bought it from a tiny shop in an alley ringed with Inca walls, right after they had a Cheapshit Fit and refused to buy the beautiful hanging they really wanted in the Fancy Shmancy Art Gallery. They stormed out of the gallery, waiting for the woman to run after them and say 'OK, Senores, I'll take your cheapshit offer.' But she didn't. Hence, the Cheapshit Blanket from the other shop.

The little coffee-table in front of the sofa is a machinist's chest from the 1930s, bought at a farm auction somewhere in Columbia County, Pennsylvania, when Plot and Duck were rebuilding their old farm house there, back when Andrew Jackson was president. Many of the things they bought at auctions then are still in their house. Most were bought for $5. They are still worth at least half that.

The sofa itself, of course, belongs to Mischief.

Monday, July 17, 2006


The email has been ringing off the hook -- OK, we need new cyber- imagery -- since Plotnik posted the reverse strip tease photos (thank you Chef Pickle for that fantastic image) of Tacos Plotnikos. Here are the ingredients you need to start the sauce for the Cochito Chiapaneco. The top ones are Ancho chiles, from La Palma on 24th Street, which give the sauce body and deep flavor. The middles ones are jocotes that Plotnik brought from this family in the Central Market in Cuzco, Peru in 2004. You can use Mexican guajillo chiles, that are a little larger, but give a similar spicy taste plus a little heat.
The bottom chiles are little cherry bombs Plotnik bought at the Central Market in Antigua, Guatemala this January. Their purpose is to remove all traces of Gringoism from your character. Swallow one of these and you begin speaking Maya and channeling the Great King Chocolate. But when you remove the seeds, they lose much of their heat.

You're going to need 3 lb. of Boston Butt or boneless country style ribs. The point is to reconstitute the dried chiles into a sauce that you use to coat the meat, then bake it slowly in the oven until it comes out looking like this:

The meat is not sweet, like Southern bbq, though it looks the same. It is smoky, and gets better the longer it stays in the fridge.

Here's a recipe for Cochito Chiapaneco, with thanks to Ric Bayless's 'Mexican Kitchen' page 378. This is the best Mexican cookbook in the world, in The Great Plotnik's opinion, better than his later books because he goes into detail about the most important steps: the chili pastes.

Take 3 ancho chiles, 3 guajillo chiles and 1 hot tiny chile (chile pequin, or Thai bird chile, or habanero). Cut off stems and remove seeds. Soak in hot water to cover for half an hour. Drain, but save the liquid. Put the chili pieces in a blender.

2) Add to the blender: a small white, diced onion, several bay leaves, 2 T vinegar, 2 garlic cloves, 2T fresh oregano (2t dried oregano is fine) and pinches of ground cloves and allspice. Blend them into a paste, adding a few T of chile water from time to time so it comes out as a thick paste.

3) Chop the pork into equal sized pieces -- maybe an inch thick and two inches long. It doesn't matter what they look like -- they're all going to cook a long time and be shredded at the end. Put the pork pieces in an oven proof casserole dish and pour the blender spice paste over them. Work the paste into the pork with your hands.

4) Drink a beer. Lick your fingers. This is a very important step.

5) Cook the meat three hours, COVERED, at 325, basting if necessary. Don't let it dry out -- add more chile water if the liquid disappears. The Cochito is done when you stick a fork into a piece and it shreds.

6) Shred the pork with two forks. Drink another beer. Taste the meat. SALT TO TASTE, but under-salt at first, maybe 1/2t and as much as another 1/2t. Remember, the meat's purpose is to blend with fresh salsa, guacamole, yellow rice, tortillas and beans, all that have previously been salted.

Call your Mama. This is the essence of YuMama cooking. We'll go into that later.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pip's Birthday is a Beauty.

The day started off with this warning as Plotnik and Ducknik approached the Golden Gate Bridge, but...

...three hours later they were standing on a bluff overlooking the Pacific at Sea Ranch, watching harbor seals snoozing on the beach below. Pippa's Birthday Party was a trip back to when the Plotniks first moved to the Meatball Kitchen, when The Great BeezyWeezy was good friends with Pippa and Steve's daughter Caitlin. Caitlin and Bronnie are both in New York, so they couldn't make it to the party, but...

...their third friend, Odie, was able to come (here, Odie is standing in the middle next to her Mom, Christine, in the red sweater). The three girls are all out of college. Odie is breeding labradoodles.

Labradoodles are a cross between labradors and poodles.

Pip, the birthday girl, is in the blue sprawled out across the front of the group. It really was a fun day, and although the three hour drive up, followed by a two and a half hour drive back, were long, it was all worth it when the sun shone on Sunday morning and Plot got to play ball two days in a row. Hallelujah (though he may not walk until Tuesday).

Friday, July 14, 2006

Taco Plotniko...the Specialty of the Great Plotnik World Headquarters and Meatball Kitchen.

Wishing he could share these with the Great BeezyWeezy, tonight The Great Plotnik made Tacos Plotnikos:

You take a hot corn tortilla...
...add guacamole...
...add salsa fresca...
...add yellow rice...
...add cochito chiapaneco (pork cooked all afternoon in ancho and jocote chiles and herbs)...
...and top it all off with good queso fresco.

You can work a lifetime to come up with supreme taste blends, and you won't improve on these. Chef Pickle talks about umame. This is yo mama.

The Refugee All Stars

The Great Plotnik was a working musician for several decades, and the thing he probably hated the worst about it was the complaining.

The clients:
The drummer's too loud! The singer's too soft! What, another break? You don't know how to play the Zalbonian National Anthem? Play New York New York! Don't play New York New York! There's no food! You're fired!

The musicians complained too:
The lights are too hot! I can't hear myself! What? New York New York again? Turn ME up! When are we gonna get fed? I'm a singer, I don't have to carry my own mike. I'm a superstar, I can play whatever I want. Sorry I'm late. I have to leave early. If John Coltrane hadn't forgotten my phone number I wouldn't be here. I hate this job. I hate you.

Maybe that's part of the reason Plotnik loved 'The Refugee All Stars' so much. He and Ducknik saw the documentary last night. What a story. What an outrageous wake-up call about why music matters.

These half a dozen or more guys (and one woman), refugees from a revolution in Sierra Leone, where both sides killed and tortured indiscriminately, were now living in a refugee camp in neighboring Guinea and getting together to play music because there was absolutely nothing else to do, when the documentarists, two kids from Middlebury College, found them. One refugee, Reuben, was the writer and singer, and another, Franco, had a guitar, and another, Black Nature, could rap a little bit. Somebody found an old P.A. system and someone else had enough money to buy a gallon of gasoline to power a decrepit generator to get power for the P.A. and guitar. The music flowed.

The songs are about whatever is going on their lives -- sleeping on tarpaulin mats, missing their country, all the dead and maimed friends and parents and children. One of the band members, Mohammed, was forced by rebels may look away here...pound his own child to death in a manner that Plotnik will not descibe.

Ten years of war and nobody can remember what the fighting was all about.

Go see 'Refugee All Stars.' But maybe don't buy the CD in the lobby -- it's badly recorded, and the band's flaws are 'way too obvious. But in the film the music soars, in the same low budget way Paul Pena soared in Genghis Blues, in the same way Jimmy Cliff soared in The Harder They Come. The footage is grainy, the first time filmmakers don't really know what they're doing, the camera goes right into people's faces and the Krio pidgen dialect is hard to follow. But the music takes you to another place, where for a few hours there is nothing in the world to complain about, fools, we've got a story to tell and a song to sing and there's gas in the generator. Walk away singing.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Win a Ride!

Have you ever seen a more beautiful automobile than this one? Who knows what it is, and the year? Make your guesses, and the winner wins a ride down the Champs d'Elysees for the French Victory Celebration.

(Ring) Allo? Oh, oui? Le Head Butt? Ah, Merde. Merci.

Sorry, the Celebration has been cancelled.

But do you know what this gorgeous car is? And why did it pull up in front of The Great Plotnik yesterday next door to Costco? And why did the lady stop so Plotnik had no choice but to get out of the car and take its picture?

When Plottie was but a teensy Plotito, he dreamed of owning an old Morgan, British racing green, with a leather strap across the hood. Now, more mature, he might be willing to exchange this car dream for the other car dream.

(Ring) Hello? Is there a garage at The Great Plotnik World Headquarters and Meatball Kitchen in which to house this dream? Ah, well, not exactly, but...hello? Hello?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tastes for Hot and Cold

When the weather gets warm, and the sweet cucumbers show up at the Farmer's Market in the Civic Center, you can't help but want to make Palestinian Salad. Chopped cukes, tomatoes, parsley, lime juice and olive oil, nothing else. Add a few pine nuts and you've got Lebanese Salad. Add fresh mint and you've got Israeli Salad. It's all good.

Of course, we're talking about Saint Plotniko here, the City by the Bay, where it's freaking COLD right now. No tank tops, just zip up jackets and sweat shirts. So you also need something hot like this delicious Madras Cauliflower. The key is browning the cauliflower in a hot wok with the ginger, cumin seeds and chopped up serrano chiles, so that the spice sears into the white flesh. Then you add coriander, turmeric, salt and tomatoes. If your backyard still has snap and snow peas on the vine, you pick 'em and toss 'em into the pot at the last moment too (otherwise use frozen peas).

Where is Global Warming when you need it? Only a few miles across the Bay from The Great Plotnik World Headquarters and Meatball Kitchen, people are sunning themselves, drinking iced tea, playing badminton, wiping sweat off their foreheads, thinking about a double fudge ripple in a sugar cone.

But Plotnik does not have time for such idle thoughts. He must head out on the ice flow to harpoon a polar bear and cut off a few chops so the meal can be complete. Tarragon. Tarragon will be good.