“Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” is an eclectic and brooding piece of cinema, starring Forrest Whitaker, which chronicles the trials of a mafia hit man. (See a short clip here) I had heard of the film but never watched it, and if it hadn’t been for a magnificent (dare I say “killer”) chocolate chip cookie, I would have missed out on the experience.
I was in San Diego, on vacation, sampling the local cuisine. I steered our rental car up a steep and winding hill into the thriving hipster neighborhood of Hillcrest, and my wife pointed out a bustling little strip mall. We ate Mexican seafood and drank craft sodas. The world ambled by while I smacked my lips on a divine Baja style taco.
We walked out, full and smiling, only to realize that a cookie bakery stood right next door. We exchanged guilty grins and ducked into the bakery. The scent of cinnamon, chocolate, and baking sugar dough wafted over us. I started hand-picking the cookies from my side of the glass deli-style counter–white chocolate with macadamia nuts, dark chocolate with walnuts and M & M’s, peanut butter chocolate chip, and chocolate chips with oatmeal. The girl behind the counter started boxing up the cookies. While she worked, I drifted over to the waiting area. On a square table lay a stack of magazines. I grabbed one. It particularly caught my eye because the RZA was on the cover. The Wu Tang legend posed coolly behind dark shades. I flipped through the article and gave a low whistle of appreciation.
“You can take that home,” assured the cookie girl.
“Nice,” was my only reply. I walked out with the RZA and my box full of chocolate chip cookies.
Back at the hotel, I munched happily on a scrumptious peanut butter chocolate chip. It was sweet and velvety. I read the RZA’s profile while I ate. Every so often, I had to brush cookie crumbs off the slick magazine pages. And there it was–his reflections on Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai. The RZA had composed the original music for it.
“The secret of creative success is completion,” the RZA stated. Hooked on that, I swallowed a chunk of cookie and vowed to watch the movie.
Arriving at home a few days later, I hunted deep through the DirecTV menu guide in search of the movie. I found it, and watched spellbound, head bopping to the RZA’s driving, hip-hop grooves.
In all honesty, the movie left a lot to be desired. It just seemed such an eclectic mashup of blaxploitation, foreign cinema, and a good ol’ boys Italian mob flick. I wasn’t sure where I stood after absorbing the film’s climatic gun battle. (No spoilers!) One thing was for certain, though, if it wasn’t the love and lure of chocolate, I would’ve missed out on a pleasant evening spent indulging in yet another of the RZA creative completions.