Labor Day Food and Film

Another holiday weekend has arrived. Memorial Day weekend last, I drove through six national parks on the way from LA to Chicago with one of my best friends. This weekend? I’ll be marathoning… a Homeland marathon, a Sherlock Marathon and a Downton Abbey marathon. It’s couch potato city with what I am told are the three best TV shows currently available. I’ll keep you posted on the Facebook page.

I imagine many of you will be a little more active. Whatever the case, as with Memorial Day, I wanted to give you food and film and also some books to help you enjoy your weekend.

First, Food:

I’ve written once already about Suzanne Goin, an amazing chef and restaurateur who has created some of my favorite dishes in the world. The recipe below might be my top of the tops. No holiday weekend is complete without grilling and what could be better to grill but burgers? What also could be better than pork? Goin’s pork burgers are the best burgers I have ever had, bar none. And I’ve had, oh, one or two. These burgers take a little prep and work but trust me, the end result is worth a little extra effort. As Food Gal writes, (thank you to Food Gal for this link to the recipe) Goin’s pork burgers are “Heaven on A Bun”.

Suzanne Goin’s Pork Burgers

The recipe comes from Goin’s wonderful cookbook Sunday Suppers At Lucques. I’ve made these a dozen times for friends and the response is always wildly enthusiastic. Be sure to make both the romesco included on Food Gal’s site (sounds strange, tastes divine) and also make some of Goin’s aioli, which is homemade mayonnaise.  In Sunday Suppers, Goin instructs to top the burgers with both. Believe me, the burgers, the aioli and the romesco all combine into “Heaven on a Bun” indeed.

Then, Books:

Earlier this summer I gave you a few great books for summer reading. I’ve received a lot of emails from people who have enjoyed them. Take a look if you missed. Here are two others I love:

Stephen King’s 11-22-63

I posted about this on the Facebook page but the book is so incredible, I wanted to include it here as well. This is Stephen King’s latest, arguably his best (which is saying a lot) and is a powerhouse of a novel, one that carries a surprising emotional wallop. It’s not horror in any way, so those who don’t like scary books, this is the King book for you. As I wrote in one review of the novel, a time travel book about the day Kennedy was assassinated: “You could not pay me to read anything about the Kennedy Assassination. Even though I am a King fanatic who reads each of his novels the day of publication, I avoided this book for months, then started it, then put it down after about 40 pages, because I couldn’t work up the energy to read about ‘Oswald and ghosts’ to quote Annie Hall. Finally, months later, on the recommendation of my Uncle David, I picked it up again and made it a little farther. One particular event happened and I was sucked in. I tore through the first two-thirds, I was so entranced, then went very slow in the final third because I didn’t want it to end. It’s that damn good. And while it certainly deals with the assassination, it is about so much more! The characters are wonderful and real, you care about them deeply. Where the novel eventually winds is genuinely surprising and thought-provoking. I became quite choked up a few times in the final sections and ultimately was deeply, deeply moved. If certain critics and award circles could get over their haughtiness about populist authors, this could be the book that wins King some top awards. He deserves it for this. It’s that damn good.”

Check it out!

Jonathan Tropper’s One Last Thing Before I Go

With the summer reading list, I suggested one of my favorite books of all time, Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave You. His latest, One Last Thing Before I Go, has just been released and, like all Tropper’s books, it is a laugh riot that causes you to suddenly and surprisingly get your heart caught in your throat. It’s a terrible cliché to say ‘You’ll laugh, you’ll cry’ but with Tropper, that tends to be what happens. His books are wildly enjoyable, easy to read and often extremely moving.  A perfect holiday weekend read.

Finally, Film:

Friends of mine have heard over and over that the best BluRay I’ve ever seen is the stunning transfer  of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. You can literally see the mascara on Janet Leigh’s eyelashes and the clarity of the transfer heightens the tension in what is one of the darkest films of all time. A new BluRay, however, may have just become my #1, and not just because it is also one of the top 5 films ever made. Universal recently released the LONG awaited BluRay of Jaws.  As with the Psycho BluRay, this transfer transforms the experience of watching the movie, even for someone like me who has seen the film over 50 times. I’ll probably do a full piece on this brilliant movie one day. But whether it’s been a while since you’ve seen it, or even if you have seen it recently, this BluRay a must. And what better film to watch over a hot, end of summer beach weekend than this magnificent thriller?

(PS: for the Jaws fanatic, this incredible, just released book is also a must:  Jaws: Memories from Martha’s Vineyard.)

Have a wonderful Labor Day! And let us know what you will be doing, eating, reading and watching!

20 thoughts on “Labor Day Food and Film

  1. Sounds like a great way to spend a weekend. Thought u might be in telluride for the film festival. We r on our way to hotchkiss co. With jani and gary to sample all the wineries in the area. Staying at a cool b & b that has its on winery. Will let u know how it is. Might be a fun place for us to meet. Uncle David said to tell u he knew u would like the book once u got into it. Have a great weekend!!!! Aunt C

    1. hey! Would love to meet you there for sure. And there’s always Vegas 🙂 Let me know how your weekend goes, let’s try to talk next week.

  2. Have you ever made the Father’s Office burger? (The LA Times kitchen back-engineered the recipe a few years back.) Would be interested to know what you think….

    1. janet – I’ve not made it but I have eaten it twice. I liked it but did not quite get all the hullabaloo, particularly given how obnoxious the staff is. My favorite burger in town, other than this pork burger, is at The Apple Pan. Wow, I love that one. One other idea for home: go to Lindy And Grundy butchers on Faorfax. They make their own bacon. Then they take their won ground meat and make a 1/2 and 1/2 mix of ground beef and their bacon. It is so good I can eat a bite of it raw. They recommend serving it with caramelized onions, blue cheese, aioli and arugula. My good friend who moved from town? That was his request for his ‘final meal.’

  3. This weekend I will be attempting to persuade my wicked cat to pose for me. I need a good shot of him for an online shop banner. I shall be attempting to do something imaginative with some braising steak, and a small pork chop for Saturday and Sunday dinner. My real job for this weekend is to finally nail down my research for a story that I will be working on for this year’s Nanowrimo.

    I may even dig out my Jaws DVD and have a shark weekend with Deep Blue Sea and another of Peter Benchley’s White Shark (Creature)… dreadfully hammy, but the scenery is beautiful.

      1. Pork chop… I definitely want to do something with apple… Just not quite sure what, yet. I have the book and the DVD of White Shark, it’s definitely not his best work, but I will forgive anything that has the ocean in it (Pretty much.)

  4. Fair warning – Downton Abbey is addicting. One of my favorites and am waiting (not so) patiently for it to come back on! Even Mark got hooked – and that’s saying something!

    1. Carolyn! Thanks for making a visit to onfoodandfilm and, again, thanks for the link : ) Great blog you have, I’ve been looking through it for a couple of days. I am envious of your friends this weekend! Have a great holiday yourself!

  5. Tom you’re going to love Downton Abby I just watched the first two seasons and the Christmas special and bummed I have to wait for season three. And yes even though it’s a BBC show there will be a season three. Hip hip hoooray!!!!

  6. Glad to see another good review of that Stephen King book as I was curious about it. Been revisiting some old King favorites this summer but, since I stopped reading every single thing he wrote around the time Bag of Bones came out, it’s hard to know which of the “newer” ones are worth working through. His books are so long and involved, but some are worth it.

    1. It is worth it, I promise. Which old favorites are you rereading? There are a number of his older books I reread that I love. As for post ‘Bag Of Bones’, ‘Cell’ is worth it, his take on a zombie novel (of sorts). It’s very good. I loved the first 2/3’d of ‘Under The Dome’ but hated the last section.

      1. I re-read Tommyknockers and The Shining, and Different Seasons is up next. I liked Cell. Also liked Lisey’s Story. Couldn’t finish the one about the guy who moved to the Keys and started painting.

        1. My faves are Salem’s Lot, The Shining, The Dead Zone and Cujo. I, too, could not finish Duma Key, though I loved how it started. I remember really liking Tommyknockers, I should try it again, too.

          1. There’s a passage in Salem’s Lot that is my favorite thing he’s ever written, and it’s a description of life in the town that has nothing to do with the horror element. His 70s stuff was so good that sometimes I think he needs an editor now, or at least someone to say “No.” But talking out of the other side of my mouth, Tommyknockers is one of the ones where he emptied the entire contents of his brain onto the page and it worked.

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