Original Cinema—By day, Tom Hart is the mild-mannered deputy director of the California Redevelopment Association. But on weekends he’s been known to turn into a recalcitrant zombie, tough-love football coach and perplexed small-town sheriff. Hart is a part-time actor. He’s played principal, supporting and featured roles in high- and low-budget films and videos “mainly for the fun of it,” he tells me over a recent lunch at Spataro. So far, he’s been in 17 films, eight TV projects, two Internet shows, a corporate video and some commercials. “The nice thing about doing these is that you’re part of a team, whether you have a big part or just appear as an extra,” he says. The principal difference between making an expensive film (he appeared in HBO’s Path to War and Turner Cinema’s Wallace) and a shoestring indie (he also was in Lunatic Messiah and Kill Jane Doe)? “There’s no real difference,” he says. He then looks at his forkful of pasta and it prompts him to reconsider. “Well, they certainly feed you much better on the big-budget movies.”

Punishing the Envelope—At a recent meeting I had with Terry Borchers, founder and president of Roseville-based Newsura Insurance Services, he took out a box that contained hundreds of postage stamps dating back to the 1960s. His late father, whom Borchers calls “Wild” Bill Borchers, made it a point to buy a sheet or two whenever he went to the post office. Borchers says that while the designs are fun to peruse, the stamps’ value—among the cache are 1- and 2-centers—is strictly face-deep. “If you wanted to use these to send a letter today, you couldn’t fit them on an envelope,” he says. When he divided the dubious treasures among his three siblings, Borchers designed typography for each boxful and merrily branded the collection “Postage for Life.” (My suggestion: When Borchers mails a letter, he should write, “Stamps continued on next envelope.”)

Walking Lunch—My wife, Candy, and I have been doing a lot of weekend walking. It’s given us a chance to discover some nearby ethnic restaurants whose owners refuse to be culturally pigeonholed. For example, at 33rd and J streets is Formoli’s Bistro, which sounds like an Italian/French eatery but is co-owned by chef Aimal Formoli, a Persian who was born in Afghanistan, and his wife, Suzanne, who was born stateside but is a stunning mixture of Italian and Spanish heritages. (To add to the international flavor: One of Suzanne’s brothers, whom we ran into on our first visit to Formoli’s, is the physically formidable Philip Ricci, a 6-foot-9-inch basketball player who’s dribbled for teams in Le Mans, France, and South Korea.) Aimal says he doesn’t like to categorize his restaurant’s menu. “It’s sort of Mediterranean and sort of French and whatever else I decide to do that day,” he says. “Everyone expects a restaurant to have a ‘concept.’ I don’t have a concept. I just want to make good food.” The young couple are often asked when they plan to start a family. Suzanne laughs and makes a sweeping gesture with her arm. “This,” she says, indicating the restaurant, “is our baby.” Probably keeps them up at night, too.

Meat Marketing—One recent Sunday, Candy and I stopped for lunch at Riverside Clubhouse after a foray to the farmers market at Sixth and V streets, where we’d bought a tenderloin we didn’t want to leave in the car. Our hostess agreed to refrigerate it for us until we left. The best news? No porkage fee. 

Ed Goldman’s Fear of Frying: Understandable Recipes for the Cookbook-Challenged is online at Two new recipes are offered every week.