i was supposedly named for a character in casablanca. my mother tells me there is a french prostitute in the movie with my name. after countless screenings, i am still not able to figure out who, or whether or not when she watched it with korean subtitles as a teenager, one of the names was misrepresented. but it is a fun story that i enjoy telling to strangers.
But I’ve got a job to do, too. Where I’m going, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of. Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that. Now, now… Here’s looking at you kid.
but more than anything else, it’s a classic film that i first watched as a little girl at my aunt’s house. and later studied in a film class in college. a film i loved as a romantic story, and criticed as really really blatant war propaganda. in the end, though, it’s a film that can just be appreciated for the gorgeous costumes, amazing setting, beautiful acting, and timeless appeal. and i can almost forget the irony of the french resenting the german occupation in the movie–since morocco was an occupation of france.
so when the local symphony announced it’s plans to screen the movie with a live orchestra, the appeal of hearing max steiner’s score blasted through my soul, set to the film, felt like a singular opportunity. and a good friend of ours was able to get discounted tickets–and good seats.
we rushed to the symphony from work, paid good money to park, and forwent eating dinner to make it on time. the lights went down, the violins picked up, and the silver screen glowed.
i have to say–everything felt a little held back. the orchestra couldn’t play as loudly because of the dialogue. And the dialogue was hard to hear in an acoustic masterpiece of a building designed for music. but it was, after all, a singular experience.
after the curtains fell, we were still starving. it was twilight out and a perfectly, comfortably warm. a good night to wander around downtown looking for fabulous food. we wandered over to sazerac, a restaurant downtown that boasts local foods from the famous pike place market. it was almost deserted, and we had a large, soft, velvety couch all to ourselves. we almost felt like we were at rick’s café américain. and we were still starving.
my husband, of course, had the signature sazerac cocktail–a cocktail made with absinthe and rye. i had a “picnic”–a muddled watermelon and vodka champagne cocktail. we ended on a high note–the ooey gooey chocolate cake–a molten chocolate cake served with a pitcher of cream and fresh seasonal berries–delicious and flavorful strawberries, and red raspberries. the golden raspberries were at their peak–i have never had such delicious berries before.
feeling full (of amazing food and amazing culture) we wandered off to find our car and head home for the night. satisfied from a really exceptional date night together.
to make your own sazerac, you can use the recipe below. if you want the chocolate cake–i suggest you go to the restaurant.
1.5 cups of ice cubes
1 cube of sugar
4 dashes of Peychaud Bitters
1/4 cup rye whiskey
1/2 teaspoon absinthe
1 thin strip of lemon peel
Fill old-fashioned glass with 1 cup ice and set aside. In second old-fashioned glass, stir together sugar, bitters, and ½ teaspoon water until sugar is completely dissolved, about 30 seconds. Add rye whiskey and remaining ½ cup ice, and stir well, at least 15 seconds. From first glass, discard ice, then add absinthe. Holding glass horizontally, roll it between your thumbs and forefingers so that absinthe completely coats the interior, then discard excess. Strain rye whiskey mixture into chilled, absinthe-coated glass. Squeeze lemon peel over drink, making sure oils fall into glass, then drop peel into drink, and serve.