When the Best Just Isn’t That Good

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Last night Beth and I had dinner at what Zagats rates as the single best restaurant in Orange County. I won’t name names, because they were nice enough, and I don’t want to slam them. The food was good. The service was good. The wine list was excellent, though unfortunately neither of us was drinking. The seating was wonderfully spacious and private, far better than anything you’ll find in New York, where any restaurant worth eating at has crammed the seats together closer than RyanAir. But at the end of the meal our general reaction was, “That’s the best restaurant in the county?”

The meal was OK, but hardly memorable. It certainly didn’t rise to the level of world class restaurants like The Gotham in New York, Commander’s Palace in New Orleans (at least pre-Katrina; I haven’t eaten there lately and I’ve heard it may have gone downhill), or ‘t Fornuis in Antwerp. Food-wise I don’t think it matched the much less pretentious local Chaparosa Grill. Only one dish, the tuna tartare appetizer, really impressed us; and that was offset by a salad that just didn’t work. The remainder of the meal was about average for a nouvelle cuisine restaurant in this price range.

I suppose that’s only to be expected. When in New York, I wouldn’t expect to find the best restaurants in Westchester County or Long Island. Then again, for years one of the best restaurants in New Orleans was on the West Bank. Maybe we’ll have to try eating in L.A. next time. But still, you’d think there’d be room for one world class restaurant somewhere in the O.C.

Diabolical Ironclad Beetle

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

bumpy black beetle
Diabolical Ironclad Beetle, Nosoderma diabolicum
William R. Mason Regional Park, Orange County, California, USA; July 21, 2008

Indian House Cricket

Monday, July 28th, 2008

Cricket perched on wall
Indian House Cricket, Gryllodes supplicans
Irvine, CA, 2008-07-26

This is an invasive species that’s spreading in Southern California. I found this one on my garage exterior Saturday night.

Ring-legged Earwig

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Brown insect with rear pincers
Ring-legged Earwig, Euborellia annulipes
Harvard Ave, Irvine, CA, 2008-07-21

Neon Skimmer

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

perched orange dragonfly
Neon Skimmer, Libellula croceipennis, female
San Joaquin Wildlife refuge, 2008-07-04

Comic Book Movies 2008

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Last night Beth and I went to see what has got to be the best superhero movie of the year (in a year of relatively good movies in a genre famous for bad ones) and the most visually striking superhero movie ever. It had interesting characters, great action, and almost completely avoided cliché. And unlike The Incredible Hulk or Iron Man, I could not guess where it was going next; and while it didn’t quite surprise me, it at least wasn’t as predictable as a Law & Order episode. It was still basically a summer popcorn flick, but it did border on real darkness, and set up the potential for some genuinely horrifying sequels.

Of course I could only be talking about Hellboy II.