1/26/2005

a rundown (MoMA) and beantown i just went to the MoMA on thursday. i have to say that, in spite of all the hype and the outlandishly high cost of entry, it is pretty damn amazing. i, for one, was surprised by the density of the collections, as for whatever reason, i'd thought the space much emptier. spacier, if you will. if anything, the sheer number of works requires an extended viewing, perhaps over several days or months even. it's funny that you found the place so uncrowded on a saturday; it was jam-packed on thursday at 11:30am, and there was a lengthy queue at the ticket desk when we left at 2pm. the crowd at the MoMA is a funny one; everyone from retired midwestern high school art teachers (i was with one, actually, and we happened to run into a friend of hers of the same description who had taught in the next school over) to LES (and midwestern and european) hipsters to schoolchildren from PS 127 or whatever in queens. i love it. my favorite floor is the industrial design one (maybe 2nd or 3rd? it was all so overwhelming), but i was psyched to see so many amazing works that i'd not previously believed existed in real life or outside of coffee table books. (and who knew that dali's melty paintings were so small?). and beyond the stuff on the walls, i have to say, my favorite part of the revamped MoMA is the framing of manhattan from the windows. forget aerial views of central park from jean georges or the time warner center -- give me midtown from the 4th floor. thanks to my ever-resourceful food buddy daisy, fred, andy, and i ate at an amazing lebanese place in brookline/allston on saturday. reef cafe has the best shawarma i have ever put in my mouth, bar none. and i'm no prude when it comes to making friends with shawarma, folks. it'd be difficult for me to think of another place with better baba ganouj as well. we also had an enormous plate of oh-so-delicious muhammara (a red pepper and walnut spread). daisy's vegetarian kibbe (made of pumpkin!) was excellent, as was fred's veg combo plate and andy's lamb and rice plate. the very nice son-of-the-proprietor brought us a little plate of a thick white creamy substance that we puzzled over until we sampled and discovered -- whipped garlic! and i'm sorry, fred, that i didn't let you go for the baklava. the chowhounders claim it is the best in boston. i'm sad to say this may be one of the best middle eastern places i've ever eaten in. sad, because my stomping grounds in brooklyn is very much a middles eastern enclave, and everything pales in comparison to reef cafe. go, go, go: reef cafe 170 brighton ave 617 202 6366 and i held us back on the baklava only because daisy had promised some amazing cream puffs from clear flour bakery. apparently this is a sort of secret there (and we are only privy because daisy recently joined the breadbaking ranks). the head baker dude, this guy from japan, covers the usual pate a' choux with a many-layed pie crust dough for bit of crunchy, buttery goodness. and his pastry cream is a very fresh, dairy-tasting concoction, without the cloying sweetness and weight of your usual pastry cream. christ, it's good! why did i never go to clear flour when i lived in this town? by the time i get my italy pictures up, i'll probably have returned. but in the meanwhile, P A R I S.

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