Sunday, February 16, 2014

LA Times Feature Story: Emilia Clarke

The LA Times magazine did a profile on Emilia Clarke from HBO's series Game of Thrones. I'm not familiar with the show, but I liked the way the author framed the intro. She discusses Clarke's role in the series with specific emphasis on the actress's portrayal of a woman who possess "inner strength and authority". Instead of focusing on the generalities of her acting career or whatever, the author frames Clarke's story using what makes her and the character she plays unique. She ends with a quote that reinforces the author's main point.

Emilia Clarke has a certain kind of nubile beauty that’s irresistible to casting directors. She’s one of those child-women who’s all bee-stung lips, broad brow and soft, round visage, a facade of über-innocence that’s always hiding anything but. On an actress like Mila Kunis, a baby face is the alluring mask of a bad girl. But in the case of Game of Thrones star Clarke, it’s the portal to a type of young female character you’ve rarely seen, one whose womanly side isn’t largely expressed by her sexuality but by a solid core of inner strength and authority.


Indeed, Clarke’s admits to currently “dating her work,” and she’s grateful for the unusual platform it provides. “One of the many things I love about Dany,” she says, “is she’s given me an opportunity to fly the flag for young girls and women, to be more than just somebody’s wife and somebody’s girlfriend.”

Friday, February 14, 2014

Eat at BurmaSuperStar

Bring on the Samusas

Does anyone actually know where Burma is? I’ve never been great with geography myself. So, naturally when I opted to spend my Monday night dining at a Burmese restaurant, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I’d heard good things from a few different people—plus I’m always excited to put new food in my mouth.

My three friends, who are always looking for an excuse to go out to eat, joined me for dinner. They were an awfully picky bunch, however, and I had some initial trepidation about allowing them to accompany me. I’ll try and eat almost anything; as a foodie, most things please me, and I wanted all of us to order a variety of dishes to sample. Even though I didn’t get my way on the lamb samusas, our selections were definitely worth a second trip.

The restaurant was small and casual, but there was no lack of hungry customers. When we arrived there were three other groups waiting outside under the tiny awning for a table. I thought a crowd like this on a Monday night must mean good things…and good it was. Collectively, we probably took a solid 20 minuets to decide what we wanted—the menu was huge and everything sounded tasty.

We started out with the restaurant’s famous Burmese SamusasI was confused at first because I’d eaten a samosa from an Indian food stand before and loved it…but what was with the one letter difference? We ended up throwing caution to the wind and take the risk. The samusas came out 3 to a plate. Their exterior was crispy, thin, and flakey, similar to the fried outside of a Chinese egg roll. The insides were filled with spiced mashed potatoes, lentils, and onions, so perfectly textured they practically melted in my mouth…I think they must have tasted like the way silk feels. They were served with a thin, spicy sauce, similar to buffalo sauce. The table out voted me, so we got veggie samusas instead of lamb. That was probably the biggest disappointment of the night. Next time I visit this place, I’ll be sure to go with someone more strongly stomached. It’ll be someone like me, who doesn’t have any moral issue eating lambs.

I’ll forgive the lamb thing for now. When it came time for entreés, each of us ordered something different and shared the dishes family style. According to the menu, the Vegetarian Samusa Soup had been featured in both Food Network and the Bay Area Backroads. In my head I pictured Burma SuperStar featured in Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the annoying host with frosted tips yelling about how much we all HAD to try this soup, and I was convinced. It was served in a large bowl, perfect for sharing. The broth tasted almost like Japanese Miso soup mixed with a mild yellow curry. In it were small slabs of potato, lightly pre-baked, onions, shredded cabbage, pieces of fried falafel, and topped off with several mini samusas. The small flakey pastries soaked up the broth and were so easy to bite into that they almost melted in your mouth. Over all, I was a fan.

Next came Lettuce Cups, like the samusas they came three to a plate. They were presented so simply, it almost looked like there was no way they could be anything more than bland. Three romaine lettuce leaves were stacked together next to a pile of chopped veggies and cured pork. Each of us took a leaf and filled it with the minced creation and readied ourselves for the plunge…then something amazing happened. Never in my life have I tasted something so deliciously cured. The dish’s plain appearance completely threw me for a loop. The crispy crunch of the lettuce combined with the warmth and flavor of the pork and veggies was almost too much to bear. Chopped pieces of pork, spiced tofu, mushrooms, pickled radish and water chestnuts have never been combined in a lettuce leaf in a more perfect way. Maybe it was the sauce the meat was cured with; it tasted almost like teriyaki, a sweet almost smoky flavor. I obsessed over the lettuce cups so much that one of my friends gave me hers. She passed it to me with a look of amusement, “you need this more than I do”.

Finally, with our plates fully cleaned and not one morsel of pork left to be found, we gathered ourselves together and took turns rolling each other home—I don’t think I’ve ever been so full or content. All that’s left to do now is to count down the days until I can once again return to Burma SuperStar.

Burma SuperStar:
309 Clement St
San Francisco, CA
Credit cards: all major
Appetizers: $8-11
Entrees: $12-16
Atmosphere: conversational, great for groups

Service: friendly and efficient