Several days before Y2K failed to materialize, bob and ani turn on the Bravo Channel (basic cable TV channel with independent/foreign films etc) only to discover that it has been replaced by the Food Network, a.k.a. the cooking channel, cooking all day every day. Incensed at loosing Bravo, bob calls the cable company customer service line to find out what happened and receives the happy news that it only displaced (not replaced) Bravo to another channel. Finally we too have the cooking channel! (Cheering crowds heard in the background.)
We'd seen it at the brother-in-law's in the neighboring cable monopoly district but never imagined that one day we too would be able to tune in any time and see food in the making half hour after half hour until we couldn't take it any more. But ... how will we survive this constant temptation? Will we finally succumb to the boob tube after valiently resisting for so many years. (Well, not very effectively, but enough...)
Several days after Y2K failed to materialize, ani has a rare Monday off from her wage slave job (since New Year's Day fell on Saturday) and ani and bob get to explore center city philly for lunch. After circling several times we go to our usual parking garage a bit farther from the target zone and start walking. Ani had only one place in mind and bob quickly got the message: Brasserie Perrier, the less economically damaging partner of the infamously expensive Le Bec Fin where renowned chef-owner Georges Perrier is king. It was the perfect lunch. Although the finishing touch small warm chocolate tart was possibly just a bit too much for bob's lunch quota. How could anyone possibly survive the real thing, with an unlimited dessert cart at the end?
Being in center city on a weekday a perfect opportunity arose to consider embarking on an adventure to find the still young but already legendary Moore Brothers Wine Store bob had read so much about in various philly rags (started by the ex-Wine guy at Le Bec Fin) but which seemed impossible to reach since it required crossing the Delaware (River) into our neighboring state of New Jersey, where it requires careful directions from other wiser inhabitants to find the New Jersey Turnpike to get anywhere over there. Crossing any of those bridges requires real courage. We call our cell phone information number and connect to the store for directions. bob's short term memory not being perfect, we had to call again through information when we ended up at a dead end. Not to worry, just return to the beginning of the street and we are there. Luca gives us the intro tour, we are impressed and go for the wine sampler and a Madame de la Mas we recognized from his friend Laurant's store The Princeton Corkscrew up in Palmer Square, also in New Jersey, where for several years we had been getting an occasional case picked by either Laurant or the other guy. (Does this mean we are cheating on Laurant?) But this place is so much closer than the hour drive it takes us to get to Princeton, where we only go occasionally for other reasons.
To return to our western burb nest, we had to face day 2 of the increased Benjamin Franklin Bridge toll fee feeding (the infamous Philly state politico) Vince Fumo's Delaware Port Authority/politically questional slush fund operating already several years without the benefit of our departed Inquirer columnist Steve Lopez's muckraking commentary or other adequate independent taxpayer oversight. Which kept us waiting a bit in bumber to bumper traffic to get through the insufficient number of open toll booth lanes, delaying the moment in which yet again we would become outlaws in the State of Pennsylvania, "land of giants" (Steve's ironic reference to our midget-minded jokester politicians) for illegally transporting alcohol across the border. Where the clear majority of the voting public would prefer some free market policy in the alcohol economy from which we are protected by the infamous State Store system and its lobby.
Well, there had been a lot of hype about this millennium crap and the Y2K Achilles heal of our technology driven civilization. But so far we have escaped relatively okay. Time will tell.
Several days later the front page of the philly inky (our affectionate local nickname for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper) had an article about the PA wine iron curtain focusing on a recent raid of the Le Bec Fin wine cellar by the Liquor Control Board (LCB) and armed state troopers (okay, they are always armed when on duty, but really...) and another somewhere that I lost track of on the midget-minded politics responsible for philly's poor highway system and the incredibly idiotic situation of not being able to easily go from center city to NYC through NJ ("you can't get there from here"). A search of the web for Steve Lopez shows that instead of keeping tabs on our politicos, he is out in California writing stuff like "The death of the sitcom". Who can blame him after some 10 years of fighting the system here.
We were soon addicted to Gordon Elliot's Doorknock Dinners on the Food Network, then Mario Eats Italy, although it conflicted with Ally McBeal so we often had to tape it or wait for the rerun season, which seems to be most of the year as we start the third millennium. [And how about that funny food intellectual Alton Brown on Good Eats!?] And then there was Rachel Ray, the darling of the Food Network. Who could not love her?