Monday, January 31, 2005

So, we're back from NYC and though it would be tough to try and go over everything we did there, I'll try and throw out the major points.

First off, as most of you know, we headed to NYC to check out two cooking schools, namely:
Institute of Culinary Education
French Culinary Institute

Both of which will, from now on, be known as simply ICE and FCI. Those plans were for Saturday though, so let me start at the beginning.

After a short and uneventful flight, we arrived in Newark on Thursday night. Genevieve's gracious aunt Elizabeth and uncle Bob (who were kind enough to let us stay at their place in NJ, just an hour out of NYC for our trip) picked us up. It was too late for a trip to the city that night and we were dead from the flight, so we crashed and got up relatively early the next morning and headed into the city.

Friday -
After wandering around for a bit and stopping by a few places Genevieve wanted to visit in town, we grabbed lunch at a little Thai Restaurant. My dish, called Massaman (and filled with coconut milk and the curry of the same name) was excellent. I often worry about coconut milk, as the first time I tried it (at Lemongrass in Cleveland Heights), I found the pungent stuff to completely overpower whatever dish it's in. I've, later, discovered this to be something seemingly unique to Lemongrass, as I've had numerous dishes with it where it blended perfectly into the meal. This place was no exception. Genevieve's meal, veggies and tofu tossed with a pretty bland chili sauce, was nothing to write home about though.

For dinner, we headed into the East Village and grabbed some Indian at a place recommended by Genevieve's brother. Haveli (I think). The meal, to me, was kind of a mixed bag. The garlic naan, the surprise small cup of Dal we got with our dinner, simply awesome. The Dal was smoky, earthy and perfectly spiced and the naan was some of the best we'd had. The main course, a Malai Kofta, was a bit on the bland side for me. I could have used a bit more kick in it. That's not to say it wasn't good, it was, it just wasn't anything that blew me away.

Saturday -

My first meeting, at ICE, was at 10:00am, so there was no time for sleeping in this morning. We grabbed an early train and managed to get to the school (which is in, I think, the Chelsea area) with no problem. There, I was met with a tour group, which we would be joining. At other schools, the tours had been a one-on-one matter with a meeting at the end, which I greatly preferred. Here, we were given a tour en masse and then met with the admissions person individually (which resulted in Genevieve and I waiting a good long bit, after the tour, to see him). Though I was not happy with this, I found the school to be pretty nice. The class sizes are about 14-16, which I thought was big, until I saw that FCI had twice that (admittedly, they had twice the instructors, but still..that's a lot of people in one kitchen). The teaching staff have some excellent credentials and education backgrounds (many at CIA) under their belts and their program, time and money wise, is very suited to what I am looking for. It is a 6-month program with the last 2 months spent as an externship at a restaurant. That's not to say it's cheap, far from it, at $24,000 for those 6 months, it's a pretty steep cost. But, compared to FCI's or CIA's $41,000, for the same amount of time (at least at FCI), it is a much more manageable sum. (Of course, there will be mondo student loans involved here). They also have some excellent recreational classes that, as a student, I'll be able to grab for free (including one, coming up in April, hosted by Diane Kennedy, which I will be very sad to miss).

Our appointment at FCI wasn't until 2:00pm, so, even though we were at ICE for a few hours, we had some time to kill and grabbed lunch in the Soho area, at a little Italian place called Boom Restaurant (which, with their relatively high prices, I had to have Genevieve convince me to go to, cheap bastard that I am). Their food was pretty standard Italian fare, no surprises, and my sandwich, served with basil, buffalo mozz, and procuttio, was good (if not overly heavy). They were served with a side of rosemary-roasted potatoes (which is pretty common, though a dish I never tire of) and we grabbed some cooked spinach to share (which was *very* good).

Then, we headed onto FCI.

I'd made a bet with Genevieve, before going in. You see, FCI's big claims to fame are three people: Bobby Flay, Jacques Pepin, and Jacques Torres. Three big celebrity chefs. I bet that, before we left there, we'd see at least one or two large (big big!) pictures of these three folks at the school. I was not disappointed. Walking in, we were immediately greeted with a large screen TV showing..who else..but the above-mentioned folks (and other FCI Faculty) talking about how great the school was.

My problem with this isn't so much that they highlight their accomplishments, through these chefs, but that they honestly make it seem like Bobby Flay is going to be working one-on-one with *you* to help make you a great chef, instead of the truth: that, yes, you'll probably see him. But it'll be one seminar or something, during which he'll talk and you'll listen, but there will be no holding of hands to show you the correct chop and there will be no time, after school, spent teaching you the refinements of what you learned that day.

That said, in some ways, I did like the school better than ICE. The kitchens were bigger and better laid out, there was a bit more name recognition and the program was a bit more intense (I think, for their 6 months, you go to class 6 hours a day, compared to ICE's 4). But, to match, they were also almost twice the cost, had no externship (instead, you work at their restaurant, which is all fine and good, but it's not like they're going to hire you in, like a regular restaurant might, when school is done) and had the much larger class size.

The result:
I am going to ICE (though most of you probably already figured that out).
The session that looks like it will work out best, for me, starts Sept. 19th (our lease ends August 31st), so NYC here we come...

(Oh yea, Dinner that night, our last meal in NYC, was at a Mexican place. It wasn't outstanding, but it was good and cheap and their refried beans were amazing.)


Wednesday, January 26, 2005

On Ladygoat's recommendation, I just grabbed a copy of today's (Wednesday, January 26th) edition of the Plain Dealer, with an article detailing the grim and realistic life of someone with aspirations in the Culinary Industry.

The #1 reason they gave was the unrealistic expectations set by things like the Food Network, which glamorizes the industry. In part, I agree with this. Personally, I watch FN as simple entertainment. When I walked into the restaurant, in which I now work, I had no notion that I'd be casually preparing a glorious dinner for 2 (in 30 minutes or less! a'la Rachael Ray). I knew that the reality was that I'd be doing dishes, lots of dishes, chopping veggies, stocking prep trays, and doing even more dishes..all for very little money. I know that, when I do finally make it to the grill, that 30 minutes would be like an eternity to prepare a dish. As the head chef told me, "it's all about timing. I know this will take this long, and that this other thing, it will take even longer, so I don't want to start the first until I'm halfway done with the second", and that's just one order or the many hanging. I say I only agree "in part" because it seems that the later episodes of Jamie's Kitchen were probably pretty accurate (lots of yelling, lots of cursing, etc.) even if that doesn't
happen, really, where I work now. Though they were inaccurate as, for those who watched the show, a few of those kids would have been sooo fired, very early on.

One thing they did mention were the other, less strenuous, opportunities for those with an interest in the culinary field: food writer, office work, corporate and hotel work <- okay, they didn't mention that one, but I've heard this argument so much, I know the examples. As I was telling Genevieve last night, I don't know if I can do restaurant work, maybe it will be too much, maybe it will drive me to become a bundle of nerves, as everyone says, but I want to give it a shot. If I give up and move on to something else, it's my hope that I will be able to take the knowledge and skills I gained from it to whatever other culinary career I move into. Then again, who knows, maybe the chaotic and intense atmosphere will agree with me.

The point being, though I enjoyed the article, it told me nothing I haven't heard many times before. It's hard work and very unglamorous, but I'm not doing this because I think it'll be easy money, or because I think it will mean I'll spend my whole day preparing great food. I'm doing it because I love food, because preparing food for people is a profession even older than prostitution and one that will get me involved with the sort of folks I'll never meet, toiling my days in a gray on gray office, surrounded by four cube walls.

And I'm doing it with my eyes wide open.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Restaurant Biz - Day Seven

Another Monday. I was, once again, asked to come in last night, for reasons, that, as it turns out, were unnecessary, even if my help was not. Originally, the plan was that the head chef was taking a vacation over the weekend and would not be back until Monday night. The owner, who would have tons of other things to work on, in addition to making orders, would need some help in the kitchen. But, with the weather, the chef wasn't able to take his trip. That's not to say I sat on my ass all night. Though, for most all night, it was really slow, starting at about 8:30 (as if the world decided it was time to go out to eat) our tables went from empty to completely filled, within 15 minutes. I was bussing tables, doing dishes, and refilling prep trays just about as quick as they were being used. I ended up leaving at 9:20, regardless of the crowd. I wasn't get paid, therefore, I wasn't about to sacrifice my whole night.

Which brings me to what happened at the end of the night. I was asked to come in on next Monday, same reasons (though it looks like he'll actually get to make his trip, this time), except...I was asked to close (which would mean staying till about 10:30-11:00pm). This is something I should have known would come up. You can only work at a place for so long before they started *expecting* you to work when they need you. I mean, it makes sense. They need someone on a Monday, there's only one other person besides the owner and the chef who work there now and she has class. I'd have asked the same thing. The problem is this: I'm not getting paid for this gig, a fact I do not mind at all, until they start asking me to come in certain days and asking me to work till close. Because, then, it's not volunteering, it's a job.

So, today, I'm either going to call or stop in and talk with the owner and tell him as such. It's not that I mind working for free, I'm willing to continue to do so, but if I do, that means I should not be expected at any point. I mean, I always tell them when I'll be in next and I'm always on time, but they should not be telling me when I should be in next. We'll see how it goes. I know the other employee I mentioned above is on my side, she told me as such the other day and I *believe* the head chef is, as well (though it's kind of hard to tell with him. Though, he did say, during the night, that I was "part of the team now", even if it was followed with "so you shouldn't need to wait until someone tells you what needs to be done. Check for yourself.").

I'll be sure to update everyone and let you know what happens.


Monday, January 24, 2005

Restaurant Biz - Day Six

Another Friday. These weekend nights are such a mixed bag. On the one hand, we're busy, so I do actually have to work for my keep, but then, the work is the only way I am going to learn any of the real goings-on, so I really do enjoy it. This Friday was not too bad. It wasn't ever crazy-busy, but it was steady from about 7:00pm on. I didn't do much I hadn't done before. Since we were busy, this didn't include much prep. Mainly bussing tables, doing dishes, keeping us in stock of the essentials (rice, beans, cabbage, etc.), so I didn't get a chance to use my new 12" chef's knife (thanks dad!) or even take them out of their carry case (thanks again! ;).

As I was getting ready to go, though, the head chef did come up and ask me what I thought of all of this now:
"Well", I replied, "I like it just as much as when I walked in the door the first time."

To which he replied, "that's good. I'm actually happy to hear that. We'd hate to have you just walk out the door."

So, I am hoping this bodes well. I am working tonight, but will not be working the rest of the week (heading out to NYC on Thursday)


Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Patrick doesn't ever publicize his birthday, so I decided to do it for him. He's 28 today. Send him your birthday wishes in his comments.


Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Restaurant Biz - Day Five

Well, with any job, no matter how much one enjoys it, there comes a day when everything just isn't-so-rosy. Monday was that day for me. Maybe it was because, for some reason, I woke up cranky and my regular 9-5 job, well, my day was not going so hot. So, I was, more than ever, looking forward to heading into the restaurant. I think, in part, that was my problem. I was looking for this other job to somehow make up for the shittiness that happened for the other 8 hours of my day, which, really, is alot to expect.

So, I arrive in to find out that it's just me and the head chef (not the owner, the other cook). Now, as I think I've mentioned, this guy..well, he's not a bad guy by any stretch. In fact, he's damn good at what he does and I think he has alot to teach. It's just that, he's not exactly warm fuzzies. Not that he has to be, but while everyone else that works there is gregarious and friendly, he's often quiet and reserved, doing his job. That said, I've often thought, because of this, *he's* the one I can really learn the most from. Anyways, it's just us, so it was kind of weird for me, as that's the kind of setup I'd expect them to have for paid employees. It's not to say that made it alot of work, it was really dead and he could have easily done the job without me, it was just odd.

I did learn quite a bit though: from how to make their chipotle cream sauce (no, I will not be sharing), marinade their chicken/fish to step-by-step instructions on many of their dishes. Really, the cook talked alot and really made more of an effort, than ever before, to try and pass on his knowledge of the process to me. Probably his biggest piece of advice, to me, was to not get discouraged that I wasn't learning much about the grill:
"I want you to learn the [process] of how we put things together. When you learn the sauces, the ingredients, and how they are all made, you will better understand what you are doing when you are at the grill"

I'm set to go back on Friday, it should be a good chance to really do some hands-on work again.


Monday, January 17, 2005

Restaurant Biz - Day Four (Friday Friday Friday)

There's no denying, the busiest nights in the restaurant business (barring holidays) are weekend nights. So, despite last Saturday being relatively dead, I had high hopes for getting a taste of the flurry and flow of a busy restaurant this past Friday.

It did not disappoint.

The first wave came at the normal time, 6pm-7pm. The small space had people vying for the few available tables and I spent 80% of the time bussing the places of people who had barely gotten up, in order to get the next group seated. Keep in mind, the restaurant has no official wait staff, so customers were kind of left to fend for themselves to grab a table, but I did my best to assure that the next one was ready asap. In this rushing around, I learned one of what I consider the "big lessons" of the business:

You must psychically *know* where all people on the line (cooking) are going, at any given point. This was hammered into me the first time I got in the head chef's way and was shot a look so dirty, it could peel paint. From then on, I watched. For example: From watching him cook these last few days, I knew at what point the chef was going to take that burrito from the grill to the sandwich board and I knew how long he would spend *there*, giving me time to dash the other way and throw the dishes to the dishwasher, without him having to move a muscle to avoid me.

A little side story with that: they hired someone new, who started on Friday. I was, at first, a little hurt, as, well, I'd been working there for a few days, unpaid, now and expected that, upon the first opening, I'd get hired in. But then, as Genevieve brought up, I didn't actually work with the owner until this past week and this new person, very well, got hired before then. It's an odd point of note, though, that while she was on dishes all night, I handled any prep, most of the bussing, and a few drinks, chips & salsas, etc. through the night.

Anyways, just when we thought the rush was done, the second wave of business hit. This was in the form of a whole crew of 20-something's, beer in hand, ready to take over almost half the restaurant. Not that anyone was minding, they ordered lots of food. But, between them and foot traffic coming in, the orders kept flying in. Of course, there reached a point where my usefulness was completely exhausted, not really being able to help on the line. So I was the gopher boy for the rest of the night: throwing some extra beans and chicken on the burner, refilling the prep buckets, putting dishes away, etc etc.

So, thought I really wish I could have helped out the cooks more (I felt especially useless during those times when they were busting ass and I was just sitting on mine), it was definitely an interesting view into the behind-the-scenes atmosphere of a busy restaurant, which is really what I wanted to get out of it.

I return to work today (Monday). I was actually asked to come in this day. Why? Not quite sure, as Monday's are infamously dead (so much so that many restaurants close on Monday), but we'll see. Maybe I'll be suprised.


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Restaurant Biz - Day Three

It was a Tuesday. It was dead. If I worked for anyone else and worked with anyone else that would be the end of today's post. But, I don't. Last night, the owner was working (the other two nights, it was his head chef, so this was the first time I'd gotten to work with him). I walk in to a "you hungry?" He'd made this bountiful bowl of pasta with cilantro, peppers, veggies, and on...all topped with melted cheese and goat's milk. Well, I hadn't had dinner yet and, never one to turn down home made food, I chowed down on this damn good grub and shot the shit with him for awhile. Found out how he got into the restaurant business (musician for a very popular band in the 70's who toured 6 months a year and worked restaurant work the other 6, as he could just split when the touring came again) and had a lengthy discussion with him about the glories of simple, well-made food (he had a book on Parisian cooking with a recipe for beef topped with fried shallots and a side of fries that he pointed to. "See, you have this wonderful dish and it's served with fries. *That's* what good food is all about. You don't have to stack it and make it a work of art. I don't want people to play with my food.") Truly, he loves what he makes. Every order that came in, he'd get it together, with me watching, and ask me "Have you ever tried this one? Oh, I tell you, you'll leave your wife for this dish, it's sooo good."

As the night wore on, a few more people showed up, but honestly, the extent of my real work that day was a few dishes and running up to pick up supplies at the grocery store. Eventually, the place died again and the owned pulled out of a bottle of Margaritas for the three of us to drink. I say, I think I can get to like this! He then saw a friend of his who he hasn't seen in a good number of years come in and spent the latter part of the evening sitting with him, while the other employee (the one who was actually getting paid) talked about food and did dishes.

I'm heading back on Friday. It will probably be my busiest day yet. I'm hoping to actually throw a few tortillas on that evening, but we'll see.


Monday, January 10, 2005

Restaurant Biz - Day Two

This time out, I chose a Saturday to stop in, figuring that the bustling nature of a weekend night would give me a clearer view of the industry. In reality, not much changed, there was just *more* of everything. There was also more trust, luckily. At least, enough so that I was sent out twice with a handful of cash to get change/food stock and trusted to return (even though they actually do not have my last name OR phone #). I was also relied upon to do more prep: chopped some cabbage and shredded more pork and beef that I believe I've ever touched in my lifetime. I even learned to use the cash register and, though I've not actually been taught, I believe I could make one of their burritos with minimal problems (as it's a favorite there and I saw quite a few being made).

I also got sat down by the owner and was given a little talk about the business. The owner is a very traveled fellow and most of the experience and recipes he picked up, he did so whilst traveling around the country. Though this is not going to end up my method, it was really cool to hear how he did it. Oh, if I didn't say it before, this guy is really cool about this whole volunteer thing and seems to want to offer me all the knowledge he can, at every step. I really couldn't of picked a better place. Now, the head chef, who is the one working most of the time, he's been a little more reticent, but he's coming around. I think the fact I showed up for a second day earned a couple points in this book. Though, he did say to me:
"So, you hate it yet?"
-laughs- "Well, not yet."
"It's okay, I will teach you to hate it."

That said, I had a great moment that further cemented my desire to doing work like this. While there was a little down time, everyone there got around to shoot the shit and just started talking about food: about the transitions from the original recipes to the various riffs chef's do on them. It just brought a smile to my heart to be among these people, some awfully jaded, and know that, despite their attitude, they were in it for the same reason I was, the love of cooking and of food. Having a conversation like that and have it be related to my work was so much better than here, where a similar conversation would have to do with a new way to add statues linking

Oh, I did lose a bit of thumb while chopping cabbage. Nothing big though. At the very least, nothing I haven't done before. It's such a pain, though, because I *know* better. I know the correct hand position to use. I just get into chopping, don't pay attention and, next thing I know, I'm shoving my hand in my pocket to keep from bleeding all over the floor. The only added plus of it was that everyone steered me away from dishes from then on.

So, I am scheduled (by me) to go back in on Tuesday. I will let everyone know how it goes.

In other news, I saw the first movie from my 50 Sci-Fi movies DVD set, which I will give a quick mini review here:

The Horrors of Spider Island - The tale of a crash into a deserted island, which leads a man to be bitten by a spider and become a horrible mutant man, bent on MURDER! Okay, that's what it's *said* to be about. What it *is* about is to make as many excuses as possible to see women in their underwear (this was the 50's or so). So, of course, the crash involved not only guy-who-will-become-monster, but also 7 dancers (one or two, of course, strippers) who were going to Thailand, though I'm not quite sure why. Honestly, there is about 45 minutes in the middle of the freggin movie where you don't see any of the monster. You do, on the other hand, see a catfight where (surprise, surprise!) women's skirts get torn and pulled off. You see the women get their chance at being rescued and celebrate by "dressing like natives" (i.e. in tiny bikinis and dancing around with their male rescuers). The monster finally makes his comeback, at the very end, to kill off a few more folks and meet an untimely death himself. Sadly, this movie has 0 to do with Sci-Fi, as it had very little (if any) science, in it. But, that's not to say, despite these "faults", that it wasn't fun. It was actually tons of fun, in that laughable "it's so bad, it's good" way. Honestly, the movie is soo preposterous and silly that you can't help but at least enjoy it, even if it's not exactly high art.

Classic line: "Shee's been strangled! By a spider!"


Friday, January 07, 2005

Restaurant Biz - Day One

As most of you who read this blog know, I have aspirations to work in the food service industry. Though the direction changes week to week, be it catering, restaurant work, hotel chef or personal chef, the passion for the vocation has not. In pursuing these ends, I decided to volunteer at a local restaurant (who shall remain nameless). Now, I know, work for *free*? Well, here's the deal. I have 0 food service experience, I'm a complete newbie. At this point, the only jobs out there for me are chain restaurants. So, yes, I could work at Olive Garden and get paid for it, but that's not the sort of work I want to do and it's not going to give me the knowledge I need to work in the sort of restaurants that I will, in the end, want to work in. So, with that in mind and following the advice of other newbies like myself, I decided to just pick out a restaurant I liked the just ask to work for knowledge. The place I picked out is a small restaurant with a large kitchen (less chance of me getting in the way) and is owned by one fellow, who seems friendly enough.

Anyways, they accepted my offer of free work and I started this past Thursday.

Things I learned:
*) about how many limes you need to press to make 10 cups of lime juice
*) the proper way to wash dishes ;)
*) how to make their guacamole
*) how to plate their chips & salsa dish
*) that I, surprisingly, *like* the frenetic atmosphere of a restaurant when it's busy. This bodes well.
*) how to chop lettuce into strips (granted, I already knew this, but I chopped *alot* more lettuce than I ever have)
*) a handful of the misc. food supply checks, rotation of stock, cleaning of tables, lighting of candles, etc.. that you do upon starting your shift

*) that no one quite trusts a guy who is willing to work for free

Well, I'll be going back possibly this Saturday. This whole volunteering thing is kind of weird, schedule wise. Because, since I am not getting paid, they obviously will not be relying on me to be there at any point, so I can *technically* come in whenever I'd like. At the same time, everyone else there is doing this as their means of making money, so I can't help but feel a bit like a visitor or intruder in their world. That I can go home before closing, while they do not have that luxury. At the same time, they *are* getting paid to close while I, on the other hand, would not. So it's odd, since I don't *want* to feel like I can waltz in and out at my leisure, but honestly, I can, and I'm fooling myself to think otherwise.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Work e-mail is down.

I promise, I promise, food info (and vacation notes) are to come. In the meantime, a few quick movie reviews.

As part of my Christmas loot, I r/c'ed *both* the "50 Horror Movies" as well as the "50 Sci-Fi Movies" DVD collections, thus boosting my once meager DVD collection to over abundance, in just two boxes. How can someone release a DVD set of 50 movies each and still make some cash on the deal? Ah, the glories of Public Domain. Yes, for one reason or another, these are all movies that have slipped into the realm of Free Game, for anyone to pick up, dust off, and release. That doesn't make it a bad thing. After all, there are some honest-to-goodness classics on here: Night of the Living Dead, Metropolis, Nosferatu, the original Phantom of the Opera, etc. Of course, not everyone can be Lon Chaney Sr. and not every movie can be the Hunchback of Notre Dame, so yea, there's some B-movies in there, but, for a b-movie junkie, like myself, this is just part of the fun.

I'll start out with reviews of the two movies I've seen so far.

The Last Man on Earth - I chose this movie because Genevieve was also watching it and, knowing her disdain for truly horrible movies, I tried to pick out one of the best I could find. Starring Vincent Price and based on the Richard Matheson novel "I am Legend", I figured "this can't be too bad." And, well, I was right. Though certainly no Exorcist, it was pretty entertaining. Vincent Price was hammy, as always (I know this was remade as the Omega Man, with equally hammy Charlton Heston and, to be honest, I would rather see Vincent Price ham it up any day of the week) and though the vampires seemed more Zombie-like, the dark and nihilistic tone of the film was obviously something which influenced further "post-apocalyptic" horror films, in specific: 28 Days, which had a very similar ending. The only negative side was that the print transfer suffered from some, at times, bad cropping (but, seriously, it wasn't like I was expecting it to be letterboxed). Otherwise, it was a fun film that I would recommend to any fan of old horror flicks (in particular, zombie ones, even if they weren't *supposed* to be zombies).

Revolt of the Zombies - For this one, I did not have the restrictions of the Vincent Price film, I was watching this one all alone. Revolt of the Zombies was, as you can imagine, a zombie movie...though kind of an odd one. It was one of the older films on the set and, as such, the filmmakers obviously didn't have much Hollywood mythology to go by for their movie. The 60's "Haitian Zombie" films were still far away and "Night of the Living Dead" had not yet come to establish the framework for all tales of the undead that were to follow. So, what we go was Thai Zombies..that were alive. Yea, here, zombies were not the falling apart undead. Instead, they were living humans under mind control (to confuse matters further, the term "robot" is used, as well, throughout the movie). Overall, the movie *was* pretty confusing. In one scene, they are imprisoning a shaman, the next; they are trying to protect him. Maybe there was a scene in there that got cut or lost, over the years. Either way, the poor quality of the print, in combination with the off kilter storyline gave the movie a dream-like quality. So, honestly, I can't say it was a "bad" movie. The modest fx and the subdued acting kept it just shy of "B" status. I certainly wouldn't try and hunt down a better transfer of it, but it was a fun hour and half, worthy of an evening with some popcorn and pizza.