Archive for peculiar

Chocolate, undressed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 12, 2010 by jganolik

I was in Philadelphia the other day with a couple of friends when, unexpectedly, we stumbled into the Wonka factory. Well, okay there were no fizzy lifting drinks, and no orange midgets singing about the repercussions of watching television or chewing gum, and no, Johnny Depp was not there, dressed as a bug-eyed pedophile. But there was chocolate. There was A LOT of chocolate.

The restaurant is called, “Naked Chocolate,” but with so many varieties and peculiar yet delectable flavors mixed in, the chocolate at this place is anything but naked. However, “Fully-clothed Chocolate” doesn’t sound nearly as enticing. By peculiar flavors, I mean that it is possible to buy individual chocolates filled with lavender or chai tea that go by the names of “Paris,” “Figaro,” and “Vienna.” One that I found most intriguing was called “Mozart,” and was sculpted into the shape of a tiny grand piano, with detailed keys and everything. How is it possible to eat something that artistic? Oh, it’s possible. Or at least it is at Naked Chocolate. And no matter how many pieces of chocolate you order, if you decide to eat in, they are served on a tiny white serving platter, which simultaneously makes the chocolates seem all the more important, and makes you feel all the more guilty for consuming them in less than four bites.

In addition to individual chocolate pieces, there is also an extensive menu of both iced and hot chocolate; the hot chocolate is available in both European and American varieties. European hot chocolate is of a rich, almost-pudding-like consistency, and stunningly similar to the chocolate you can find in Barcelona, minus the churros, of course. The weather in Philadelphia was far too chilly for iced chocolate, but I hope to make a return trip someday to try it. I’ve been craving iced chocolate since I saw the film, Serendipity and was saddened to learn that the film’s namesake restaurant in NYC had been closed down. The existence of Naked Chocolate, however, means that all opportunity for me to pretend I am an Englishwoman named Sara with an absurd yet charming belief in destiny has not been lost. Yet sadly, John Cusack is starting to look pretty old.

Other items on the menu are chocolate covered graham crackers and pretzels, and some non-chocolate things like lemon bars and cupcakes with bright, pastel icing and sprinkles. Also unique is their selection of teas which supposedly complement the chocolate, sort of like the relationship between wine and cheese. And my personal favorite, although I don’t understand the meaning of its existence at all: (….drumroll….) the champagne bottle sculpted entirely out of chocolate.

Upon entering Naked Chocolate, I had the awed desire to try everything- to jump over the counter, take a bite of every chocolate, steal a finger-full of each cupcake icing, and raid the tea selection. However, I was forced to make the more lawful decision to make about a hundred return trips. So if you’re craving chocolate concoctions, lemon bars, or lusting after a golden ticket, be sure to give me a call.


The Satanic Cameos

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 26, 2009 by jganolik

I’m taking a seminar focused on Rushdie this upcoming semester, and back in May I got a pretty long reading list, so as to alleviate reading during the semester. Of course I waited until August to start working on it, and decided to begin with The Satanic Verses, as it seems to be his most heated work. I’m really enjoying it so far; it’s magical realism so a lot of crazy things occur throughout the story. For instance, two people fall from a plane’s height, and by flapping their arms, they are able to slow themselves down. Afterward, one of those two men turns into a demonic goat while the other acquires a halo that floats above his head.

There is also another character in the book who remains unnamed, and who is the subject of this post. He appears on page 292 of my edition, and then disappears forever. He is a “perfectly ordinary looking ‘accountant type,'” who goes home every night with a briefcase and a box of sweetmeats, and every day when he gets home he rearranges his sitting room furniture, placing chairs in two rows with an aisle in between. Then, for a half hour exactly, he pretends that he is the conductor of a single-decker bus bound for Bangladesh. Not only that, but his family is obliged to participate every night. “and after half an hour precisely he snaps out of it, and the rest of the time he’s the dullest guy you could meet.”

Now when I read this I was initially extremely amused (I certainly laughed out loud) but after that started wondering about a lot of things. First of all, what does his family think of this? Have they told him, “Hey daddy, it’s really strange that you pretend to be a bus conductor every evening,” or “We don’t really like pretending to be your passengers every single day, can this please not happen anymore?” or “Robert, buses can’t drive to Bangladesh. There’s water in the way.”

Or maybe they just go with it without complaint. Apparently the entire community knows about this habit, so I’m guessing the family has told everyone about how peculiar this man is? Or maybe people overheard fake horn blasts coming from the house, shouts of, “Next stop is Pakistan!” Does he know that he does this every night, or does he go into a trance during these episodes? And has he seen a pyschotherapist at all?

What I love is that he is incredibly dull otherwise. I mean, what could be more interesting than having a fantasy about driving a bus across the English Channel. And what’s with the sweetmeats? Does he bring home anything else other than sweetmeats? These are all questions I have, but alas he is only mentioned in passing, so I will never learn the answers.

But seriously, what a weirdo.