The Bau Family
Heidi and David are starting to load up on baby gear. Armed with copies of Baby Bargains (a great baby stuff book by Denise & Alan Fields, 1998) and Consumer Reports Guide to Baby Products, as well as very helpful notes from family friend Mai Mai, they're making the shopping rounds.
So far, with the help of Mom and Dad, they've chosen out a 4-in-1 stroller/carseat. Next, it's time to shop for a crib and other accessories. And, as expected, David can't keep himself away from the gadgets. He is convinced he needs a Diaper Genie to help contain those little diaper disasters... he is also intent on getting a digital camera to take baby pictures (looking at the klunky - but cheap - Agfa 307).
Le Colonial: on Rittenhouse Row. Just about everything is really a treat at this Vietnamese-French dig. The dishes are delightful and unique, and it's an excellent deal for a premium restaurant. We don't order the the curry dishes, not because they're bad, but because they're ordinary.
Siam Cuisine: in Chinatown. Still our favorite Thai restaurant in town; this last trip had a couple disappointments - the soup was not sour enough; some fish was undercooked. But we'd go again.
Passage to India: on Walnut east of Broad. we havn't had a bad meal yet at this restuarant; the soups are excellent, and the meals are always satisfying. We always have leftovers, which always disappear from the fridge quickly.
Beau Monde: Queen Village, at 6th and Bainbridge. they serve nothing but crepes, which is no problem, becaue they're great. We had both salty and sweet crepes at a leisurely brunch. Next time we'll just have the sweet crepes, because that is the really special treat here.
Shiroi Hana: 15th at Locust. Little Japanese restaurant we go to. We like the vegetable box (Heidi likes the little picked veggies) and the soba noodles.
Pamplona: Locust at 12th. A popular Spanish restaurant that serves everything as tapas, appitizer-sized dishes. We like the suprising boiled vegetables that are served whole and intact, but sweet and tender.
Panang: in Chinatown. Heidi thinks the Malaysian food served here is really just like Taiwanese food and nothing particularly special, but this place is clearly popular - it was mobbed Friday evening. David liked the thin, soft, nan-like breads.
Pietro's Pizza: on Rittenhouse Row. They should call this place Pietro's Pasta because their pasta is really their best stuff. Heidi's recent favorite is their fettucini carbonara. This is a bit too rich for David's diet. (Pietro's pizzas aren't bad either, but their crusts are a bit too dark for David's taste.)
Bertuccis: Locust at 15th. This is where we get our take-out pizza - it's across the street from our video store. We think it's a little better than Pietros, even though its a little farther. And the rolls are excellent. Don't skip the rolls.
Lombardis: This brick-oven pizzeria just opened a few days ago around the corner. Their other shops were rated number one in New York City - and we can see why. They cook their pizzas in a 900 degree oven, but they don't burn them like Pietros. They taste great.
Superior Pasta: on Rittenhouse Square. They sell freshly cut pasta and sauces, as well as premade lunches. Excellent for when you feel like cooking a simple meal at home. This place is why we won't buy a pasta maker any time soon.
Korea House: 18th at Sansom. Take out, and don't eat in here because the restaurant is a bit run down. (Looks like Chinatown in Rittenhouse Square.) But the Korean food is lots of fun; this is the place to go if you feel like Bi-bim-bap or Kim-chee.
Le Bus: 18th at Walnut. The best lunch sandwiches around. They're well-known in Philadelphia for their excellent bread, and it's only a few feet away from our house.
Magic Carpet: 18th at Chestnut. A vegegarian lunch kitchen; they run both a food truck outside of Heidi's hospital and a little cafe inside Alaska Ice Cream near our house. Good cheap eats (David likes the veggie meatballs on rice), and packs lots of punch in a small meal.
Santa Fe Burrito: 20th at Rittenhouse. Good burritoes. They have good spicy salsa here.
Szechuan Hunan: 20th at Rittenhouse. A bad Chinese restaurant. But the place to go around here if you've got an unshakable desire for Kung Pao chicken or other Chinsese junk food. They have good velvet corn soup.
Manhattan Bagel Bakery: 18th at Sansom. The best bagels around. David always looks for their frequent "buy six and get six free" deals, then cuts and freezes the bunch of bagels. Better than supermarket bagels, and not expensive when you buy them this way.
Truman Burbank lives under the illusion that he is an ordinary person, living on an ordinary town, with ordinary friends. In reality, he is the most scrutinized human being on the planet. The town: actually an enormous movie set. The people: actually all actors. And God is played by Christof. He is the show's director, and he choreographs every detail of Truman's world, dialing up the weather, and providing the dialog for everybody but Truman himself.
The Truman Show focuses on the struggles of Truman: what happens when he begins to doubt the reality of the world around him. He suddenly notices some of the inconsistencies in his surroundings, and he begins to suspect some kind of vague conspiracy. He believes that somehow, his friends are all lying to him, that he is being set up. But what he is afraid of? This is never clear.
Trouble is, Truman's controlled, antiseptic life is not all that interesting. The real story here is not happening on the set of The Truman Show, but backstage. We want to know about the bizzare world that has produced the Truman show: Why does the worldwide audience continue to watch Truman brush his teeth every day after thirty years? What drives director Christof to such extremes? And what about the cast and crew? When do they get to go home? What does Truman's actor wife think about the on-screen intimacy? These questions are never answered to our satisfaction.
In The Truman Show, we only get fleeting glimpses of the world outside, the story behind the story. "Cue the sun", says Christof; glowing rays cover the world, and we, the movie audience, are delighted by the revealed power of movie magic. "Truman's not going to Fiji", snips one viewer, "he has to have it out with Merill first!" And we, the movie audience, laughs. For these are the moments when the film is at its best: we love to watch the television audience watch Truman, because it is they, not Truman, with whom we identify. So we are disappointed when the movie is not about them. We watching them, like they watching Truman, want to see more.
The romantic movie Sliding Doors answers the question "What would happen if I never...?" by following the two possible lives of an unlucky-in-love woman. In one life, she comes home from work early after being sacked from her job only to discover her philandering boyfriend sleeping with another woman; in another life, she narrowly misses the subway, comes home much later, and doesn't discover the deception. What makes the movie delightful is how well the dual story lines are woven together. There is little confusion as the story switches from one life to the other, following the alternate realities through the same cities, the same haunts, the same parties. And despite protests from English moviegoers, these critics think that American actress Gwynneth Paltrow does an excellent job at playing the lead part of a Brisith woman. ("I think she looks British" says Heidi; "It's a chick flick"; "I like the ending.") It's worth seeing.