Why you should care
The Weekender is a special collaboration between OZY Tribe members near and far to provide delicious recommendations for your valuable weekend time.
WHAT TO WATCH
The Biggest Little Farm — A Green Dream. This is an environmental advocacy documentary masquerading as a feel-good feature film — and it works. Shot over a decade by Emmy Award–winning director John Chester, it shows him and his foodie wife abandoning urban living to start a farm on hundreds of acres of arid soil in Southern California. It’s an inspiring tale of creating a self-sustaining ecosystem from scratch. (Recommended by Fay Schlesinger, Born Farmer)
Case Histories — Highbrow Detective Pulp. This BBC series is only nine episodes but every one is a winner. Set in Scotland, it stars the inimitable Jason Isaacs (aka Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies) as seemingly hard-boiled but actually filled-with-feelings detective Jackson Brodie. Bonus: Author Kate Atkinson, who wrote the book the show is based on, will release her first Brodie novel in a decade this month. (Recommended by Leslie dela Vega, Amateur Detective)
Dead to Me — Friendship, Grief and Intrigue. This Netflix show starring longtime supporting actors Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini is an underrated gem. The thrills are perfectly paced, and the script contains realistic and wrenching depictions of grief alongside belly laughs — which sounds incongruous but actually works. (Recommended by Fiona Zublin, Laughing at Death?)
WHERE TO EAT
Cocoa Bar — Dark, Milk or Whatever You Like. If you’re one of the few people in the world who hates chocolate, we have a restaurant that will change your mind. Take a seat in the cozy Cocoa Bar in New York’s East Village and soak up the bittersweet aroma in the air. Here you’ll find all the staples, like decadent hot cocoa and impossibly smooth chocolate mousse. But you can also try the alcoholic Chocolatini or red wines that pair harmoniously with the chocolate delicatessen. Be warned: The drinks are so delicious you might forget there’s alcohol in there, which can be dangerous … or amazing. (Recommended by Alex Furuya, Sweet Toothed)
Mezyan — Mezze for Everybody. This Beirut spot was born as a small space in 2012 and was known for its regular crowd of Palestinian and Syrian intellectuals who’d gather to drink arak and discuss the unfolding Arab Spring. Now it’s a staple of the bustling Hamra district — so busy that reservations are a good idea. Make sure to go with lots of friends so you can order a lot of mezze, plenty of Turkish coffee … and then see where the night takes you. After 11 pm, the music turns up and people start smoking inside. If you stay long enough, it feels like everyone in the city ends up there, and in a place with little public space it’s nice to feel some semblance of a commune. (Recommended by Mat Nashed, Arak Connoisseur)
WHAT TO READ
A Gentleman in Moscow — A Life Through the Window. This stunning novel by Amor Towles tells the story of a Russian nobleman condemned for his privileged origins and sentenced in 1922 to spend his life in the real-life Metropol Hotel, which predates the Russian revolution and is actually still functioning as a hotel (in case you also want to go live there). What follows is a funny, romantic, tear-jerking, never-boring journey through 30 years of Russian history.
Of course, there’s much more to Count Alexander Rostov’s journey than what’s going on in the pages of Russia’s paper. The fact that he’s living inside a single building means readers spend the book — as he does — discovering his own internal life, which Towles builds into a rich and memorable story. Whether the TV adaptation reportedly in the works will ever happen is anyone’s guess, so your safest bet is reading it. (Recommended by Mark Fiorentino, OZY Fan)
AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DON’T…
Take clear water for granted. Residents of Coal Grove, Ohio, got a shock this week when they turned on their faucets to find the water had turned bright pink. Officials now say they should be careful washing clothes in the sodium-permanganate-contaminated liquid lest they too take on a rosy hue. But authorities insist the water, which should be back to normal soon, is safe to drink. (UPI)
SLIDE INTO OUR DMS
Do you have a killer potato salad recipe that you’d like to share? Think you discovered the next great jam band? Share your suggestions with us here at OZY! Email us: Weekender@ozy.com.