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August 26, 2020:

DISSERTATION ON THE STATE OF BLISS, BEEF TACO-WISE

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, let’s just get it right out in the open, let’s just lay our cards on the tables, let’s tell it like it is: There is nothing more satisfying, food-wise, than a great beef taco.  There, I’ve said it and I’m glad.  However, I have found that finding a great beef taco is not such an easy task.  I have had many, from fast-food tacos to great Mexican restaurants, here and elsewhere as well as elsewhere and here.  My first Mexican restaurant memory was a jernt on La Cienega just south of Pico, called Casa Cienega.  We went there quite often and what I really remember strongly about it was the smell and the warm corn tacos, which we would slather with butter and sometimes put beans in.  I have no memory of having a taco there, but probably had enchiladas.  The first fast-food taco was, of course, Taco Bell, sometimes in the 1960s.  Then, in either late 1962 or early 1963, I was doing a cheesy production of Once Upon a Mattress at what was then called the Rancho Playhouse (later the Century City Playhouse), and next door was a jernt called Rebozo’s and it was at Rebozo’s that I had my first great beef taco.  All the food there was great, but oh those beef tacos – I was addicted and ate them every day after rehearsals and performances.  And all through high school we went there quite often.  After they closed down, I ate beef tacos everywhere one should – El Cholo (mediocre), El Carmen (no), El Cayote (absolutely no), Ernie’s Taco House (no), El Torito (no), Acapulco (no), Don Cuco (not bad), and on and on.  But it wasn’t until I finally ended up at Casa Vega in the Oaks of Sherman, sometime in the late 1980s, that I found the BEST beef taco, the equivalent of Rebozo’s.  I have had their beef taco on every occasion that I’ve eaten there, which, over the years, has been a LOT.  The reason for this dissertation on the state of bliss is simple: Yesterday, I called Casa Vega and ordered two beef tacos and rather than my usual cheese enchilada, rice, and beans, I had an ala carte enchilada ranchera that was fantastic.  They gave me guacamole and sour cream for the enchilada, and even some chips.  They are serving outdoors – they outfitted both parking lots with tables, and at three o’clock in the afternoon the tables were all taken.  So, I picked up the food and brought it right home and oh those beef tacos – heaven on Earth, I must tell you, pure heaven on Earth.  And there you have my little dissertation on the state of bliss.

Yesterday was a bit of a muddle and a hot muddle at that.  I was awakened at ten by the phone ringing (spam), and at that point I’d gotten six hours of sleep.  I got up, answered texts and e-mails, and then at noon I went back to bed and slept another ninety minutes.  Once up again, I moseyed on over to the mail place, picked up a package, ordered Casa Vega, picked it up, brought it home, ate it all up, and then began doing the things I needed to do.  I did Kritzerland show stuff and did work on the computer and other stuff.  Then finally, I sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I finally saw a motion picture on Blu and Ray entitled Separate Tables.  I’ve started it any number of times – on VHS, laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray – I’d watch the titles and then shut it off.  But last night, I finally watched the entire thing.  It is, of course, based on two connected one-act plays by Terence Rattigan, first staged in London and then on the Broadway with much the same company of players, only one of whom would do the film, May Hallatt.  The minute she entered I knew I knew her voice and face and maddeningly could not put my finger on what movie.  It wasn’t until just before the end of the film that I realized she was Ayah in Black Narcissus.  John Gay, who worked on the adaptation, skillfully morphed the two plays into one screenplay.  The conceit of the two one-acts was that the four principal roles, two male, two female, were played by the same actors.  Here, of course, they’re all played by separate actors.  Since it’s a British play, they had to adjust the Burt Lancaster and Rita Hayworth characters and backstories, which they do just fine, but for me neither of them come up to the performances by David Niven and Deborah Kerr, as well as the wonderful Wendy Hiller.  Gladys Cooper and Cathleen Nesbitt are also wonderful, and a young Rod Taylor and Audrey Dalton are good, as is Felix Aylmer.  Well directed by Delbert Mann and shot by Charles Lang, it looks great and has a nice score by David Raksin.  So, I enjoyed it very much but certain things about it I found odd – like a song over the main titles, Vic Damone singing Separate Tables – and some of the scoring seemed cliched in a way David Raksin never is.  Well, they ported the Delbert Mann commentary over from the DVD and I listened to it, and all the stuff that bothered me is all due to Burt Lancaster, whose company produced the film – he took it away from Mann and re-cut it, losing several of Deborah Kerr’s early scenes so that his character can appear sooner, forcing Raksin to rescore scenes with more cliched music, and insisting on the song for the titles.  Mann does not mince words about Mr. Lancaster.  The transfer is mostly fine – some weird stuff occasionally, but mostly it gets the job done.

After that, I ate the chips that had come with lunch with a little salsa for my evening snack, then listened to the commentary and relaxed.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, do Kritzerland show stuff, I’ll hopefully pick up packages, eat, and then watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same as we move towards our show date – this show is a little more contemplated than the others, so I want to make certain it all runs smoothly.

Let’s all put on our pointy party hats and our colored tights and pantaloons, let’s all break out the cheese slices and the ham chunks, let’s all dance the Hora and the Monkey, for today is the birthday of our very own dear reader Jrand.  So, let’s give Jrand a big haineshisway birthday cheer to our very own dear reader Jrand.  On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OUR VERY OWN DEAR READER JRAND!!!

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, do Kritzerland show stuff, hopefully pick up packages, eat, and watch, listen, and relax.  Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old questions you like and we get to give any old answer we like.  So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have written my dissertation on the state of bliss, beef taco-wise.

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