Monday, December 12, 2005
Well things have improved greatly in Brussels since my "Bedlam in Brussels" posting! My flat has electricity once again so I actually was able to complete a lot of reading this past week having completed two more books and chipped away at a huge third book. A full report of all the books I have read in 2005 will be posted at the end of December when I reflect on the past year.
Beyond attending numerous think tank events in Brussels this past week I visited a few restaurants and saw some films which I review below:
"Il Pasticcio" restaurant -- located at Rue Marie de Bourgogne 3 near the Hotel Leopold is probably my favorite Italian restaurant in Brussels due to ambiance, wait staff performance/attitude, and food quality. After leaving the "World Class Gym" I had a light dinner of minestrone soup for a starter and their antipasto misto for my main course which was excellent especially the piece of ricotta cheese, ah my little vice!! I will rank them with a strong "4.5" rating for the evening.
"L'ultime atome" restaurant -- located in the St. Boniface area of Brussels by rue du Troon and Toison d'Or. I actually hosted back to back meetings at this location so I had a scampi with pasta dish and their curry chicken salad. Both dishes with excellent and I loved the restaurant's art work/decor. The wait staff was good but absent for too long between table visits but I still will give them a "3.5" rating and plan to visit again when I don't have a meeting so I can take in the area a bit more.
"The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada" by Tommy Lee Jones -- I decided on this film simply because I showed up at the UGC cinema right before it was beginning and because the box office person recommended it which turned out to be good advice. I guess I would view this film as a "buddy film" because the over-arching theme was about friendship and commitment with the sub-theme perhaps "non-commitment" since the married waitress was involved with three men!!! :) I probably most enjoyed the US Southwest/Mexican setting since I really enjoyed the year I lived in Phoenix where I hiked several different venues.
"Collateral" -- with Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx was chosen as a result of jet lag/insomnia one night but overall this was a good serving of "brain candy" since it was an intriguing thriller with a nice story line. I was most interested in the duality of Tom Cruise's character - cold blooded killer yet a mentor in a way -- and Jamie Foxx's character's evolution due to this mentoring albeit not a mentoring style that the YMCA would approve of I am certain :)
"Suspect Zero" -- starring Ben Kingsley and Carrie Moss who of course is better known as the skin -tight leather suit wearing "Trinity" from "The Matrix" ( a great film handicapped by sequels) who fine "brain candy" and another thriller. In short Mr. Kingsley has a real gift or handicap in terms of violent crime/missing persons. I watched this film with my friend JZ who is living in Brussels part-time so he and I plan to screen several more films in the future so ideally I can recruit him for the "Spinal Tap" watch party that I have discussed with Oliver, my flat mate.
My last comment on Brussels this week is a reminder how small the world really is given my conversation at the World Class Gym after a workout this past weekend. Most of the staff is Swedish, Polish, and Belgian at the gym so one of them asked me where I planned to spend Christmas to which I replied, "back home in the State of Iowa............" which prompted one staffer to say, "hey do you know Emmetsburg? I used to play college basketball there........" As it turns out two of the staff at World Class Gym (both are Belgians) played basketball at Iowa Lakes Community College. I replied, "yes I know the college since that is about 2 hours from my home town and close to Lake Okoboji, http://www.vacationokoboji.com/2002/index2.html, where I spent a lot of weekends and money!!
Hope to see you at Okoboji Homecoming,