Executive Chef Terry Lynch at El Segundo Sol, flanked by two loyal fans
Absolutely no detail is too small for master of food and beverage, Terry Lunch. When the famed partner-chef of the much celebrated Mon Ami Gabi Restaurant (inside Paris Casino) opened up El Segundo Sol, which offers highly-customized Mexican fare, he chose his recipes and ingredients carefully.
Take rice, for example.
That’s right — rice.
One doesn’t normally pay much attention to rice in Mexican cooking. Think of the typical spicy brown rice that comes with beans next to enchiladas. It’s a staple hardly worth noticing.
But when Lynch decided to head south of the border for his next cooking phase opening up this ideally-situated restaurant four years ago, he considered about 50 different varieties of rice. Fifty! After sampling everything on the market, Lynch finally found the perfect accompaniment for his one-of-a-kind cuisine — a jasmine rice he infused with garlic which makes for a special taste all its own.
Of course, no one comes to El Segundo Sol for the rice. But this story is emblematic of the overall approach this wonderful restaurant and its head chef takes with every preparation — from the bar to the kitchen. Only the freshest ingredients are selected and served. Cliche? Yes — but in this case it’s accurate. Everything is made in house, from scratch. Even the dairy products come from a small boutique supplier, Straus Dairy in Sonoma County (California).
I just returned from a special screening of the five live-action short films nominated for this year’s Oscars.
Allow me to tell you a little bit about them.
It doesn’t matter that you probably won’t ever see any of these movies. Which is a shame. You may not even be interested in the subject matter. Your loss. You might think movies are purely for entertainment and escapism rather than to gain awareness and insight about our world. Stay stupid.
Okay, I’m being provocative with a reason.
Short films differ from regular movies for a number of reasons. First, they’re usually a truer reflection of the storyteller’s vision, because budgets are small and “there aren’t as many cooks in the kitchen,” as one low-budget filmmaker put it. Furthermore, short movies have to jolt you quickly. There’s no time for much story or character development. Conflict is almost immediate and pronounced. This often makes live-action shorts intensely powerful and moving. Third, most short films are created in places other than Hollywood, which gives audiences a much wider (some would say more authentic) portrayal of the subject mattter.
The lasting impression this year’s Oscar-nominated five short films left upon me was compelling, albeit in different ways. I’d like to try and convey my emotional reactions to each film, as well as the audience’s general response (the screening I attended included about 100 viewers). My intent isn’t to rehash the stories as to make a case that these “different” kinds of films should be much more widely seen and celebrated rather than largely ignored, which is now too often the case.
STOP READING NOW if you plan to see any these films and don’t want elements of story and surprise ruined.
Most of us who watch the Academy Awards every year have our eyes glaze over when certain film categories come up.
Let’s face it — few people know or care about movies that “no one sees.”
And that’s a shame, really. Because aside from the customary two-hour big-budget movies produced by the major studios, there are lots of wonderful “little” movie gems out there, usually made by unknown people with big dreams and small budgets.
Tonight at 7 pm, Century Suncoast 16, located inside the Suncoast Casino in Summerlin, hosts a one-time special screening of all five of the Oscar-nominated “Live-Action Short Films.” I haven’t seen any of these movies yet, which come from five different countries. For the first time in a long while, no American films were nominated this year. Most Live-Action Shorts tend to be about serious subjects and are intensely powerful, since the entire story must be compressed within a limited time frame (usually 15 minutes or so):