Sunday, October 11, 2009

skiing: Shane McConkey

Tonight's CBS 60 Minutes had a great segment on wingsuit jumps off mountains (watch it). At 8:15 JT Holmes reminisces about his friend, skiing icon Shane McConkey. Shane died last year when he couldn't release his skis in time — he was combining skiing and wingsuit flying just as he earlier combined skiing and BASE jumping. Fly like a bird, about 1 in 400 risk of dying doing what you love.

there's something about McConkey box shotThe only ski movie I own is
there's something about McConkey:
From ridiculously exposed mountain goat descents to Alaskan peak straightlines, from full-twisting switch backflips in the terrain park to double backflips off cliffs, from building base jumps to swinging on helicopter skids, from rock skiing to stream skiing to the inebriated shenanigans of Saucerboy, ...
The film focuses on the abilities, attitudes and antics that have made McConkey a hero for a generation
Indeed when he died, messages boards were split between "He died doing what he loves, he's my hero" and "He had a wife and kid, unlike a fireman he risked his life for nothing, he's no hero", which shows “hero” has both the Greek ideal for-the-greater-good and an ironic worshipping-false-gods meaning.

After that movie he tried skiing on waterskis which led to his invention the first reverse camber ski, the Volant Spatula, followed by the K2 Pontoon and now a whole category of reverse camber and rocker skis.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

food: vegetables arranged to have IQ of 142

Back to Millennium Restaurant. Interesting to compare and contrast with an earlier visit. No single standout ingredient like the mushrooms to end all mushrooms.

Start simple
Roasted Beets
Then move to
Cauliflower & Cipollini Onion Pakora
spicy coconut & cilantro chutney, cardamom scented pear-curry leaf relish
yummy, creamy, delicious fusion food but you could imagine other restaurants like Tangerine getting lucky and delivering this.

Now main course, read very very carefully
Smoked Cherry Chard & French Lentil Roulade
crisp olive oil crust, black chanterelle & merlot reduction, Meyer lemon & rosemary roasted artichoke & potato gratin, fried capers, grilled endive & blood orange
Any good restaurant would be overjoyed just to come up with the artichoke and potato gratin. Greens Restaurant, fine though they are, would have put the chard and roulade (a slice of a roll) together with the fried capers and been well satisfied. But Eric Tucker's kitchen is taking your mouth places you didn't know existed. The endive is so tart and bitter it's close to a wincing bite of grapefruit. It makes you return to the other elements to experience them anew. The blood orange is another taste juxtaposed with the rest.

My date had a similar tongue overdrive.
Seared Emerald Rice Cake
sauté of jerked seitan, crisp plantains, brassicas, baby erbette chard, ginger scented coconut & winter squash puree, Seville orange & habanero coulis
The moist chewy rice sits in repose at the center of a solar system of tastes and ingredients, and all the planets align. Anyone else would have focused on the habanero, but here it's just a slight harmonic. I re-read the menu over and over to make sense of all the ingredients.

It was so stimulating that I circled back for another starter
Grilled Maitake Mushroom Flatbread
seared baby onions, fava greens, pine nuts, cashew garlic cream, bitter green salad
Unlike the main courses this dish wasn't smarter than its eater, it was almost a pizza. But the bitter, peppery green salad brought each mouthful to life, and the touch of cashew garlic cream was soft, warm, unbelievable.
You're a vegetable, you're a vegetable
Still they hate you, you're a vegetable
You're just a buffet, you're a vegetable
They eat off of you, you're a vegetable
-- Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' Michael Jackson off Thriller (25 years old)

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

snow fun

At night, cold tired and aching after a day mining powder all over the mountain, shredding my skis in the deep. The little black dog is dancing on her hind legs trying to bite fluffy snowflakes. Which is a guarantee of more of the same tomorrow.

Another peak moment for the databank. I almost whipped out a camera to re-stage it, but as John Mayer wrote in his only great lyric so far Today I finally overcame tryin' to fit the world inside a picture frame. Reaching back to 70s cliché:
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

food: tastiest mushrooms ever

I hadn't eaten a memorable meal in ages, since some toasted gnocchi a year ago. Another pasta, another fish, some fresh vegetables on the side, a novel sushi combination, yadda yadda. Have I become hopelessly jaded?

Or maybe most restaurants don't work hard enough. We returned to Millenium Restaurant for a sensational meal.

Orange Glazed Exotic Mushrooms
toasted crostini, herbed lemon pesto, cherry tomatoes

sounds like any other bruschetta-type appetizer, but those were by far the best mushrooms I have ever tasted.

Blackberry BBQ Tempeh
warm roasted corn, sweet pepper & brown rice salad, orange vinaigrette, ginger cucumber pickle, toasted pecans

was exquisitely tasty. I sat there for an hour grinning like an idiot making subvocal grunting noises (a habit I picked up from one of our dogs, it's his version of purring). My significant partner other domestic had a crazy dessert of avocado and red Hawaiian salt and lemon zests that tasted like nothing else. Millenium's chef Eric Tucker is operating on a higher plane than a merely fine restaurant. And it's a vegan restaurant.

I shouldn't be surprised, years ago at Millenium's old location I had a warm chocolate cake that brought tears to my eyes.

Like skiing without the effort.

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Saturday, January 28, 2006

snow: shockingly pleasurable

Cold and snowing. Down Red Dog, hard left under the top of Far East Express lift, take a line down into the trees next to the dog leg. I make three and a half proficient turns in deep, nearly unskied powder that gets steeper. The slough from my first turn races down the hill, I turn back into it and through a mini explosion of snow, before I outrun it, balancing muscle and g-force to surf gravity.

Stop. Silence. I'm chilled, but not from the cold. My blood has left my extremities to pool in the pleasure center of my body, somewhere between the heart and head.

Not as purely pleasurable as 1999's "I need a tissue and a cigarette now" six turns down Cornice II (by far the most pleasurable experience of my life, beyond orgasmic), but I'll take it!

Head left onto Christmas Tree run for more powder turns between the trees that were merely awesome fun.

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