this is the descendants

*I'll admit I went into The Descendants with high expectations. When I had first seen the preview a month ago, I had told myself, "there's no way in hell I'll watch a movie in which the most action-packed scene is George Clooney blundering down a Hawaiian road in sandals" (yes, I have very specific criteria for movies), but after the umpteenth recommendation to watch it, including many whole-hearted assurances that this was one of Clooney's best performances, I gave in.

(Let me add here that I am not an avid fan of George Clooney, so I'm not sure why this assurance was at all convincing.)

*As a result of my expectations, I spent the duration of the movie waiting. Waiting for a crystallizing moment in which I would feel the weight and pathos of the quiet tragedy around which this movie revolves: a wife and mother's comatose state. But that moment never arrived, and the whole narrative of the movie was underwhelming. Like Little Miss Sunshine, The Descendants seemed to point to the absurdity of ordinary tragedies, like having to steal your dead grandfather's body from a hospital in order to get to a beauty pageant on time (Little Miss Sunshine) or discovering that your unconscious wife was having an affair with a real estate agent of second-degree connection (The Descendants). Both movies explore the interrelational dynamics of families whose dysfunctions were previously buried and unspoken, but finally realized in the wake of a tragedy. But unlike Little Miss Sunshine, there was hardly anything endearing about the characters in The Descendants, who should have been more interesting than they were presented as being. And that's all the more devastating for a movie like this, when as an audience member I want to know a character more, but the character development is so lacking that I'm left in want, a want which eventually dissolves into ambivalence...

*For me, the most palpable emotions of any character were that of Matt King's (George Clooney) father-in-law, a cantankerous old man who gives King grief for being a bad husband and father. It's so obvious to me how some of the deepest sadness can only be manifest through anger and bitterness because we don't know how to distill the sadness in any other manner. There's one scene in the movie where King is being reprimanded by the father-in-law, and the father-in-law is so obviously wrong, but King bears the old man's anger, as if he understands that the most terrible sadness is that a father has in having to face his dying daughter. That, for me, was the most touching scene in the entire movie.

*But aside from random moments, the entire movie seemed non-confrontational. Sometimes a lack of confrontation can be thought-provoking in its modest and understated nature, but for me this movie hardly had the substance or pathos to be that. The witty repartees and one-liners were nice to chuckle at, but as a whole the movie was a jagged and fragmented aggregate that seemed to hold back a little too much.

*But let it be known that I appreciated the Hawaiian shirts, a pattern and texture that carried nicely as a visual motif throughout the entire movie. That was a nice kitschy touch.


this is Christmas dinner

*Naomi and I spent all afternoon prepping and cooking dinner as a Christmas gift to our parents. Labor of love, man. Better than any material thing, right?

*It was a good meal with bad lighting, so I'll let you imagine what it looked like. It tasted delicious.


*The night ended with shots of espresso, and then Naomi and I headed out for a late-night screening of Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Intense, dark, violently graphic, but I liked it. More on that later.

*Here's to the few remaining days of 2011...


this is shame

*In Steve McQueen's latest film Shame, the sex scenes do not feel frivolous or passionate. Sex in this movie cannot really be equated with love-making, and it certainly is not the fuel for or byproduct of any romance. Instead, it feels violently and strangely ascetic, as if sex, despite its normal linkage with immediate gratification, were a negating act and its repetition an attempt at clarifying the hollowness that was discovered in previous iterations. Whereas sex provides escapism for the characters in Shame, the sexual acts are confrontational for the viewers, and our response is intensely visceral: we oscillate between coiling away and staring back intensely. One moment we are sympathetic, perhaps even empathetic, and the next we are utterly disgusted. This is a movie that is concerned with the psychosis of human nature, the reality of how we unravel as we run away from ourselves.

*Michael Fassbender plays Brandon, a 30-something year old working in New York City. He is unexpressive and piercingly cool, and his life is manicured like the urbane, cosmopolitan version of Pleasantville - if not for his raging sexual needs, which play out like a crack addiction.

*His younger sister, Sissy, played by a haunting and alluring Carey Mulligan, comes to live with him, which disrupts the patterns of his life. Her emotions constantly spill out, whereas his emotions are obscured by the motions of his daily life. She's wrecked and she knows it; he represses his wreckage and tries to wash it all away, through sex, through classical music, through pornography.

*The reason why this movie felt so ascetic, and at times, even antiseptic is not because of the subject matter. In fact, the subject matter makes the asceticism all the more ironic. After all, asceticism is tby definition abstention from worldly and sensual pleasures, and Brandon's "indulgences" are extreme and untempered. But the end-goal of both religious asceticism and Brandon's sexual activities , no matter the derangement of the means, is similar: mind-body transformation and a peace of mind, which some might call sanity. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote an essay called "What Do Ascetic Ideals Mean?" in his book On the Genealogy of Morals in which he discusses the paradoxical nature of asceticism and ascribes it to the category of "Christian decadence." According to Nietzsche, asceticism is a mechanism used to preserve life, to prevent perishing from the pain of life. There's one scene in the movie where Brandon, after a tumultuous night that ends in tragedy, is at the edge of a dock, soaked in rain, fallen on his knees, crying out in anguish. This is one of the most emotive scenes in the movie on his part, and it evokes images of The Scream by Edvard Munch, or that one scene in Little Miss Sunshine when the Nietzsche-obsessed brother discovers he is color-blind and screams his head off in a ditch on the side of the freeway. Whatever the associations, it's a scene that embodies both the raw agony and the sigh of relief that follows a C-section pregnancy - at least that's what it feels like. I mean that seriously.

*The attempts to anesthetize and antisepticize that precede this release reminded me of the emotional tenor that resonates through the plot lines of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange and Richard Yates' Revolutionary Road (the novel forms of both). Unlikely connections, but the fundamental idea of not being able to face oneself, or not knowing what to do with oneself - an idea that poses a problem without an answer - is present in all three. You find yourself in a helpless body with a mind of its own or a mind out of control; as a result, the characters are more sympathetic and relatable than one might think a sex addict and a wrist-slitting, homeless jazz singer would be. But what propels Shame forward more than anything else are the scenes that are not shown and the words that are not spoken, the ones that are understood but are too violent, too unbearably real to be plotted out onscreen. And somehow, Steve McQueen conveys these absences impeccably, in a way that is more striking and more graphic than any of the sex scenes in the movie itself.


this is here and there in the kitchen

*I always imagine my time at home as one long lull, an unbroken interlude of nothingness in between time at school. This is the last one, I guess. It's strange to think that I've been in school for seventeen years, and that once I graduate in May, I will no longer be able to place specific short-term markers on my life, like I've done for so long. "In two years, I'll graduate." "I go home in two weeks." "Summer vacation is in three months." "Twelve days until the semester ends." I've lived my life so long knowing the next place I'll go and the next thing to do. Of course, I could continue to live my life that way - as so many of my classmates are, but there's something about not knowing that is unbelievably freeing and surprisingly thrilling.

*This break, my last official "winter vacation," I had planned on spending a good deal of time in the kitchen, but surprisingly, there has been little to no time for that - which is not regrettable because that time has been spent well, mostly in the company of good friends - but I've made a few things here and there.

*Three greens pesto: rosemary, pumpkin seeds, kale

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Three Greens Pesto
Makes around 1 cup

1 sprig rosemary
2-3 kale leaves*
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
5 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup EVOO, or more if needed
1/4 cup parmesan or nutritional yeast for vegans**

*The raw kale gives this pesto a very grassy taste. I like that, but if you don't, sub 1/2 cup fresh spinach.
**I used nutritional yeast, but if you can eat cheese, I would also suggest a hard pecorino, which would kick the flavor of this pesto up a notch.

Strip the leaves from the rosemary and discard stem. Blend all ingredients in food processor until smooth (or you can leave slightly chunky). Add additional EVOO until pesto is desired consistency.
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*Rosemary-roasted spaghetti squash, sauteed with spinach and three greens pesto.


this is a loaf of love

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*this is a dense loaf, heavy with the strongest of platonic loves, inimitable traditions, walks on cold winter mornings, unspoken romances, cheap thrills, twinkling eyes, wednesday afternoon light, and mutual understandings.
*other ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, sugar, baking powder, sea salt, vanilla extract, vanilla bean, dried lavender buds


this is a Thanksgiving curry

The gastronomic traditions of the stereotypical American Thanksgiving feast have never really worked their way into my family. Because my church back at home held annual winter retreats during Thanksgiving, most of my childhood and teenage Thanksgiving meals consisted of Chinese take-out or cafeteria-style comfort food served en masse at campsites up in the Santa Cruz mountains. It wasn't until my sophomore year in college that I had a taste of what I thought a Thanksgiving feast should taste like, and that was at the home of my photography professor. 

That Thanksgiving was one I will never forget. My roommate and I had both decided to stay on campus, even though most students returned home for Thanksgiving. Our homes were farther than most, and out of convenience and frugality, we traded airplane rides and family members for movies, which we borrowed from the university library and watched one after the other on our pink, stained futon (the movies were memorable; we watched Amelie, Ghostworld, Breathless, Clueless, and Requiem for a Dream, among others). On Thanksgiving night, we headed over to my professor's house in Cambridge - and though the food that graced the table was, in a sense, conventional: turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes (with the exception of a delicious and buttery carrot-turnip mash, which is supposed to be a specialty of Isle of Man, where my professor grew up), pumpkin pie, and pecan pie; the company was not. My British professor, a short, gap-toothed man who spoke always with sharp wit, dry humor, and a cunning smile, his American wife, his half-Asian, flamboyantly gay stepson (who showed us that he had embroidered his name onto the back of his jeans; we also braided his hair that night much to his delight), and his British friend, an older bachelor who otherwise would have spent Thanksgiving alone. The food alone was sufficiently memorable, especially as a first American Thanksgiving feast, but the company made it even better - which is true of any situation, really. The people matter most.

It might seem strange that for having partaken in such non-traditional Thanksgivings, Thanksgiving is actually one of my favorite holidays. But I think the spirit of it is unmatched in its simplicity and parity. Thanksgiving is not as commercialized as Christmas; it is the beginning of the holiday season. It is warm and cozy, and the message is simple enough to be both thought-provoking and understood. The real challenge is carrying that message in action and thought beyond Thanksgiving days - to times when gratitude is difficult and loved ones are too faraway to be appreciated in an immediate and palpable way. 

Thanksgiving this year was particularly special because I spent it with my family back home in California, and my mom and I cooked a simple but comforting meal that combined elements of a traditional American Thanksgiving meal with Asian home-style cooking. It epitomized the culture I grew up in - one that I considered an amalgation of the best things both American and Asian culture have to offer - and for that, I will always be indebted to my unconditionally loving parents. This was one dish that I made that the family enjoyed alongside rice and vegetables. It was based off of a recipe from the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit, but I did away with the pumpkin puree and included an entire roasted butternut squash instead. It has the warm, rich flavor of pumpkin which is made even richer by the creaminess of the coconut milk - both of which are enhanced by the spice of the red curry. This is a great dish for fall or winter, to be enjoyed as a hearty stew or as leftover lunch for a cold day.


Butternut Squash Shrimp Thai Curry
adapted from Bon Appetit magazine
serves 4
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
1 small tomato, diced
1 small butternut squash, roasted and diced* (about 3 cups)
2 cups vegetable or chicken stock.
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
2 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined
Lime Juice

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-heat.
2. Add onion to pot and sautee for about 8 minutes until translucent.
3. Add garlic and ginger. Sautee 2-3 minutes until slightly browned.
4. Add tomato and butternut squash. Sautee for 5 minutes until tomatoes are soft and butternut squash begins to break down. The goal here is to let the flavors of all the ingredients meld together and create a deep, rich stew-like thickness over time.
5. Add stock, coconut milk, curry paste, and fish sauce to the pot. Stir continuously for a few minutes, and then bring the mixture to a boil.  Turn down heat to low and let simmer with lid on for at least 30 minutes - the longer the better. I let the curry sit for about 2 hours with the lid on. It will get progressively thicker.
6. 10 minutes before you plan on serving the curry, bring the curry to a boil, add the shrimp, and cook for 5 minutes.
7. Serve curry with rice, lime juice, and cilantro.


this is moneyball

Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) is the general manager of the Oakland A’s, and his biggest problem is putting together a winning team on a minimal budget, especially when teams like the Yankees and Red Sox are buying out his most valuable players. Billy is tired, frustrated, and resigned to the fact that the flow of money also determines the flow of the “best” players, so when he comes across a new method of configuring baseball teams through statistical analysis, he instantly latches onto it. This new method comes by way of Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), who is pudgy and socially awkward and has recently graduated from Yale with a degree in economics.

The plot is highly predictable but enjoyable. Billy Beane’s new methodology goes against all traditional processes of choosing players, which not only upsets the scouts but brings him negative press—in part because if Billy does succeed, the entire game of baseball is threatened: the fear that sport is not about talent but about statistics would be realized. Yet his methodology does succeed in part—and Peter Brand helps him realize this success.

Beyond the plot however, the most compelling part of the movie was the character development of Billy Beane and then Peter Brand, who is in some way Beane’s foil. Billy Beane is past the brink of glory, a could-be baseball success story who failed miserably after choosing the big leagues over a college education. Still, Billy Beane is the “cool guy,” who is brash, hard-headed, and at times unwieldy. Peter Brand is brainy without Beane’s brawn, and he is initially portrayed as timid and meek. But what I found interesting was the way each character’s confidence was unraveled: Beane’s confidence is so concentrated at the surface—in his interactions with the scouts, in his brazenness, in his quick decisions—yet he is unable to let go of his failed past. This inability is probably the biggest blow to his confidence. Brand, on the other hand, is taciturn not because of a lack of confidence in his beliefs, but a lack of courage that impedes action (and his character reeks of repression). Beane and Brand are at once foils and complements, and they educate one another in both explicit and implicit ways. Sometimes Brand’s character felt two-dimensional though, and I wanted to see more of him—I wanted more complexity and depth. But for what it’s worth, as someone who has little to no interest in baseball, this movie kept me engaged all the way through—much thanks to Billy Beane and Peter Brand.


this is marcy may martha marlene

The Catskills. I think about that life sometimes. A life away from the city, out of suburbia, the kind of pastoral life I could find on a patch of land somewhere far from civilization. Anonymity but not the faceless anonymity of urban streets. No, I'd be tucked away somewhere, in a community, living day to day, doing simple tasks like cooking and cleaning and gardening. Quiet nights with guitar-playing and singing. Summer afternoons spent jumping into swimming hole with no clothes on, floating around in the water with other bodies feeling free and unhindered.

This picture of Arcadia is fully realized in Sean Durkin's movie Marcy May Martha Marlene. Every individual part of this Arcadia is present, yet there is something terribly wrong with this commune. At first, what we see of the commune seems merely outdated: the women are dressed in cloth-like sacks, the men in overalls; the house is dirty and wooden, and the women can eat only after the men finish doing so. But the gut feeling that there is something sick and twisted happening becomes increasingly palpable as the movie winds its way through what should be placid, bucolic images. You think to yourself that in theory, asceticism should be purifying, it should be peaceful, but what is asceticism that violates in the most terrifying, gruesome of ways? What is devotion if it it is disgusting and dignity-wrenching? And the quietness of the Catskills is haunting because you know it has the power to dwarf even the most curdling of screams - the scream that is the cry for help, the scream that devolves into a hellish gnawing.

That's what I felt during the entire movie - a hellish gnawing, brought about less by the explicit acts of sexual violence, more by the silent acceptance of it all, and mostly by the indelible nature of memory. Martha (played by Elizabeth Olsen), who is also Marcy May (her name given to her by the leader of the cult-like commune) and sometimes Marlene (the name that must be given when answering the telephone in commune) escapes the cult life and winds up in the pristine lakeside house of her older sister Lucy, whom she hasn't seen in two years. However, Martha's physical escape precludes a true mental and emotional escape, and the movie is a series of scenes that flow seamlessly between the life she left behind and the life she is trying to adopt. Even her name changes from place to place (and in this movie, name signifies ownership), and her sense of self is lost somewhere between the two. How terrifying it is that the most ordinary activities and objects and sounds become nasty triggers for a past-life that was, on the surface, dream-like, and at its essence, nightmarish. Her paranoia feels like delicate glass that is about to crack, and she is always teetering on the edge of reality - mainly because the realities of her past and present are indiscernible. At one point in the movie, Martha asks Lucy, "Do you ever have that feeling where you can't tell if something's a memory or if something's a dream?" 

The emotional narrative of the movie is complicated by both the juxtaposition of the grotesque and serene as well as the conflation of the two. It seems almost subversive that one can be injected into the other or pass from one to the other so breathlessly. Like cutting from a rape scene to one in which the rapist is singing a sweet folk song for the girl he raped. And how bodies can be so free and unhindered and be so dominated and tamed at the same time. Martha's transition away from the cult is difficult because her memories of the past two years are layered and complex, and there is no gauge for what is truly "normal" anymore - because even in the bourgeois comfort of the lake house, there is something so stifling and strange about "normal" life: the standards that govern propriety and behavior are in some ways more restrictive and narrow than those from her previous life, and so many of the quotidian rhythms: the house chores, the swimming, the gardening - those are all the same.

When you watch Marcy May Martha Marlene you are swept into both a landscape and a mindscape, the former so idyllic and picturesque, the latter so raw and unrefined. Interweaving the two together is unsettling; existing in both simultaneously is absolutely terrifying.

(*Elizabeth Olsen is absolutely magnetizing onscreen. The quiet, glazed-over countenance, the bottling of emotions that want so desperately to erupt, the way her body moves and hangs and flops, how her terror becomes your own - these are all thrilling and captivating.)



this is fragrant and floral





Serendipitously stumbled into this little flower shop while walking down Beacon Street. A curated selection of colorful flowers, mostly in glass bottles filled with water, candles, and delicate potted plants. Will become more necessary as a destination once winter arrives.

Bow Street Flowers
108 Beacon Street
Somerville, MA 02143


this is the nature of existence

This is Part II of my trip to Walden Pond.
 Retreat: (1) : an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable (2) : a place of privacy or safety : refuge

When we talk about retreat, we almost always mean going into nature. We mean escaping from our modern lives and going somewhere we consider more primal, more basic. In giving up certain forms of stimulation (e.g. technological, city crowds, store facades), we find another kind of stimulation - and this second kind of stimulation is not so easily comparable to the first. It's just as immediate, but in a different way. It can be as overwhelming, but maybe more gently so. Perhaps it is a stimulation more resonant, more powerful, more enduring. Over time, the former becomes more grating (til we consider ourselves jaded) while the latter seems to dissipate (til we tell ourselves we're bored).

It's nice to escape now and then and not think too much about where you are going or what you are going to do, finding yourself in nature and just being curious and looking around. It's nice to find yourself in a moment where you're not concerned with lofty things or big ambitions or what's next on your to-do list, to just pick red mushrooms you find on the ground and touch the funny-looking things sticking out of tree trunks.


This Saturday in September was a remnant of summertime. It was hot and a bit muggy, and Caroline and I walked the circumference of Walden Pond. It was hot and we were dirty, and a swim in the pond was not only desired but necessary. So we peeled off our clothes, shoved them into a a crevice in between the rocks on the water's edge, and tip-toed our way in. We doggy-paddled and floated around for awhile, not really thinking about much, not really talking much either. Accidentally gulping a little bit of water here and there in between gulps of air. In the water time seems to stop. Another world, another time. Physical and emotional and mental purification. Draining and rejuvenating.



The worse part of course, is getting out of the water. I like being in the water, but I hate being wet on dry land. I feel like an exposed mermaid, with water dripping out of my hair and down my back, with my damp feet picking up dirt that will stick for hours. Sweat mixes with leftover moisture from the water, and I am reminded that this retreat is over, fleeting sweetness that becomes a memorial treasure to dig out every now and then when I feel tired and worn out.


this is fresh water

This is Part I of my trip to Walden Pond.

This is what Thoreau had to say about Walden Pond:
"The scenery of Walden is on a humble scale, and, though very beautiful, does not approach to grandeur, nor can it much concern one who has not long frequented it or lived by its shore; yet this pond is so remarkable for its depth and purity as to merit a particular description. It is a clear and deep green well, half a mile long and a mile and three quarters in circumference, and contains about sixty-one and a half acres; a perennial spring in the midst of pine and oak woods, without any visible inlet or outlet except by the clouds and evaporation. The surrounding hills rise abruptly from the water to the height of forty to eighty feet, though on the southeast and east they attain to about one hundred and one hundred and fifty feet respectively, within a quarter and a third of a mile. They are exclusively woodland."


Imagine my surprise when we arrived at Walden Pond and found this: what looked like a theatrical beach scene out of the 1920s. Loud and colorful and plasticine, the colors of the visitors so disarmingly jarring against the grain of the sands and the green of the woods.


Luckily, that was only the entrance, and as we made our way around the pond, on the dusty trail in the woods, we found more solitude and more nature. There were little pockets of people here and there who had found small openings to jump into the water. It makes sense to walk until you've found a comfortable distance from the main shore, until you've found a space of privacy for a placid dip or swim. Then you can claim Walden Pond for your own. There in your own little swimming hole you can be in nature without reservations and without any disturbances.

And it feels more like the Walden Pond that you imagined. The Walden Pond that Thoreau described.


Having grown up in California, I'm so used to swimming in salt water. Our sandy shores were always on the coast, always at a beach. The ocean always greeted you loudly, with waves crashing onto the sand and white foam spreading onto your feet and then running away as quickly as it came. Even if you weren't in the water swallowed up by the cold, rough waters, you were at the mercies of the salty breeze, which enveloped you and left its residue in your hair, so even when you left, you always brought a little bit of the beach back with you: the sand nestled into your scalp and the salt that crusted the hairs on your arm.

After tiptoeing down rocks and inching into the water, after dunking my head and coming back up for air, I was surprised. Not by the temperature of the water but by the lack of salt. The purity and freshness of water was at once unfamiliar and thrilling. The water was so still and I could see through it, not like the ocean that is dark and white and so powerful it could sweep you away. This was a different kind of power: the quiet resonance of stillness. I felt like I could float on the pond forever, like in a dream, and I felt like the world had stopped and that in the water, everything was timeless. Because I think in some sense, these bodies of water are timeless and the way they make us feel is timeless too.


"Perhaps on that spring morning when Adam and Eve were driven out of Eden Walden Pond was already in existence, and even then breaking up in a gentle spring rain accompanied with mist and a southerly wind, and covered with myriads of ducks and geese, which had not heard of the fall, when still such pure lakes sufficed them. Even then it had commenced to rise and fall, and had clarified its waters and colored them of the hue they now wear, and obtained a patent of Heaven to be the only Walden Pond in the world and distiller of celestial dews. Who knows in how many unremembered nations' literatures this has been the Castalian Fountain? or what nymphs presided over it in the Golden Age? It is a gem of the first water which Concord wears in her coronet."
Henry Thoreau, "The Ponds"


this is an end-of-the-summer tartine


*I'm saying goodbye to California with this beauty of a tartine. This weekend I am leaving sunny California, with its beautiful people, fresh produce, and lovely weather, and am arriving in Boston just in time for Hurricane Irene. Joy.

*Before the hurricane hits, I'll enjoy the last bits of California - storing up the good vibes so I can bring them over to the east coast with me. I'll certainly need them.


Ricotta, Fig, and Arugula Tartine
Serves 1

1 slice sourdough farm bread
2-4 figs, sliced into rounds*
2-3 Tbsp ricotta cheese or spreadable goat cheese**
1 handful fresh baby arugula
1 tsp honey
cracked black pepper

*If desired, bake sliced figs at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 10 minutes to allow the juices to caramelize. The fig centers will turn yellow and the sugars will seep out. I used a combination of baked figs and caramelized figs.
**I used ricotta cheese because that is what I had on hand, but if I were to make this again, I would definitely use a sharper cheese like goat cheese or labneh for more tang. As such I recommend using a sharper cheese to accent the arugula and figs. Then again, if you like the mellow smoothness of ricotta, use that (I realized that I don't!).

Toast bread. Let cool for 1 minute. Generously spread ricotta cheese on toast. Sprinkle with cracked black pepper. Layer arugula on top, then the sliced figs, and finally drizzle with honey. Eat immediately (it's best with some milk tea in the morning or some red wine in the afternoon or champagne if it's brunch-time), put on some Beach Boys, and think about California.