The Little Dog Did Indeed Laugh

Went last night to see The Little Dog Laughed - a recent off-broadway play that won acclaim and moved itself onto the Great White Way. The story follows the adventures of an aspiring movie star as he tried to come to grips with his homosexuality through the help of a male prostitute and his amoral agent.

The performances from 3 of the 4 cast members were very top notch. Julie White stole the show as the agent (delivering many of the most comedic moments in the show) and will undoubtedly be nominated for a Tony Award. Johnny Galecki, who originated the role of the rent-boy off-broadway, shows that he can act with the big boys on a Broadway stage. I loved Ari Graynor as the rent-boy's on-again/off-again girlfriend. I recently had seen her in the off-Broadway Dog Sees God and thought she was great in that as well - she's very comedic and I think she has a good career ahead of her - especially on the stage. The only disappointment to the show was Tom Everett Scott as the movie star. He didn't seem to have the sensibility of a straight actor playing a gay character. Also, there was no sexual tension at all between himself and Galecki, more on his part. Had this role been better cast, I think the show would've been even stronger than it already is.

I have to admit, at times it was a bit too hokey/Brokeback Mountain for me. However, it was refreshing to see such a hip modern play on Broadway. The sets and lighting we great. Many of the jokes, both the one liners and the big-builders, were extremely timely and much of the script was very smartly written. Plus they threw in a little gratuitous full frontal from Galecki and Scott which made it all the more scandalous.

In the end I give this one a thumbs up. If you're looking for something to see on Broadway and aren't into the musical stuff this one may be for you!


Holiday Movie Reviews #1

While I was up in Boston I started playing catch up at the movies.

First up - The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet, Cameron Diaz, Jude Law and Jack Black. Even though it's this years mandatory holiday chick flick, I really enjoyed this one. Basically, it's the story of 2 women who are having man trouble and decide to go on holiday to escape it, switching houses for a week. Of course once they switch, they each meet another man who gives them a whole new set of issues to deal with. The acting in this was pretty top notch. As usual, I loved Kate. Jude is starting to grow on me and his character here is very endearing. Jack Black surprised me - he was great and a bit endearing as well (I'm definitely looking forward to checking him out in Nacho Libre). Poor Cammy though - the rest of the cast sort of ate her alive. She wasn't bad - but she wasn't that good either. I had a bit of trouble believing her. At times this movie seemed a bit long, but then again it is basically 2 full separate stories. I really didn't find much that I felt could've been cut out to shorter it - in fact just the contrary, I found myself wanting a bit more. If you're up for a little holiday lovey-dovey, I say check with one out!

Next up was one off of my list of Golden Globe must-sees - Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. I went into this one expecting a lot due to friend's rave reviews as well as Jerry Seinfeld's recommendation saying it was one of the funniest movies ever made. Nice try Jerry. It was good - but not that good. Did I laugh - yes. Did I feel like I had seen a lot of the jokes before - yes and yes. I, like everyone else who has seen it, did enjoy the few scenes that are not in the previews since they are WAY TOO RACEY! SERIOUSLY SCANDALOUS! (For some reason the day I went the audience was filled with a lot of elderly people - I can only imagine what they were thinking!) Overall, I think Sascha Baron Cohen is great - I have since I first saw a DVD of his show years ago at Suz's flat in London before he crossed the pond via Madge. Sadly, though, I don't think that any of the characters he plays really show enough depth to warrant an entire movie. In the end, Borat is definitely not worth the price of a NY admission (especially with a running time of a mere 84 minutes). If you're still lingering for the holidays in some small enclave that has 1/2 price matinees at the local theater though, then maybe (just maybe) it's worth checking out. In the end, it ain't all that bad!

Drinking Smokey Beer

I forgot to blog about this a while back but Kimmi K revisited it recently. I totally agree with her review. It was nausiating! Avoid at all costs!


Happy Holidays!

That's it for this week. I'm outtie for Xmas but will return next week with a few more postings before the end of the year! Happy Holidays everybody!

Lunch @ The Modern

A couple times in the past I've blogged about how much I love going for drinks at the bar at The Modern. Today I finally went to try out the food at lunch. I have to say, in typical Danny Meyer fashion, it was very good, but definitely not one of my favorites. As stated before, I love the setting - a very sleek room inside of MoMa. However the food which consisted mainly of overpriced small portions left a bit to be desired. We started with a tarte flambee for the table which was a good itme to share - a flat bread pizza with pancetta and carmelized onions. Next up for an appetizer I had the wild mushroom soup with chorizo raviolis. The soup reminded me a lot of the amuse bouche from Gordon Ramsay at the London. The addition of the raviolis on the side however did make this appetizer extra special - in fact, it was the best part of my meal. For a main I did the crispy yellowfin tuna with carmelized cauliflower, endive and charred onion consomme. This was nothing special and to me the tuna was a bit too fatty. For desert I went for the modern chocolate tarte with vanilla ice cream - the ice cream was outstanding, but the tarte a bit weak on the chocolate. Accompanying the food was an excellent Cote d'Rhone. Would I go back? Yes, if someone else is paying as it can get pricey. Basically it's an ultrahip setting with decent (but not that notable) food.


2007 Golden Globes

Since I was out of the office last Thursday, I totally neglected to post info about the Golden Globes. The show will take place this year on Monday January 15th (MLK Monday) on NBC at 8pm. Some nominations I'm excited about:

The Weeds/Ugly Betty head-to-head. Not only are the show up against each other, but so are the 2 best actresses Mary-Louise Parker and America Ferrara. For me this one is too tough to call (and it's really the only thing worth mentioning on the tv side of things)!

On the movie front, again best actress is the toughest category (what can I say - this year it's all about the women!). Will it be Meryl Streep, Annette Bening?

As usual, as of now I've only seen a few of the nominated movies but will be trying to get as many in before the show as possible. On the top of my list right now are: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Dreamgirls, The Departed, The Queen, and Little Children (even though it's gone virtually unnoticed in the theater).

Best Midtown Burger

Today I had lunch at St. Andrew's, my work neighborhood Scottish local. My department frequents this place because the burgers R-O-C-K! I always go for the blue cheese on top. Best of all they come with french fried onions (homemade ones, not the canned ones) on top! DE-LISH! If you're looking for an upscale pub (where the bartenders wear kilts!) in Midtown, this is yer place!


Pardo's Chicken

Pardo's, a 20-year-old Peruvian restaurant chain featuring rotisserie chicken, recently opened in my 'hood so we decided to give it a go on Saturday night in the form of take-out. As usual, we skipped anything on the bone and went straight to the peruvian spiced grilled chicken breast ($7) and the chicken nuggets ($6) - both of which were accompanied by a Peruvian hot sauce reminiscent of aoli. Sides are ordered separately so we went for the fries and fried plantains ($3.80 each). Overall, I'd give this place a thumbs up and a warm welcome since it's nice to have another takeout option in the area (even if their menu has pictures on it!). If you're in the W. Village it's not a bad place to eat-in either - it's an informal, warm space that has been consistently busy (especially with South American transplants) since they opened.


Last week my office party was at the new Flatiron tapas joint Boqueria and we took over the whole place. I really liked the space - a small, long room with a bar in the front and high tables in the back circling the outside with a communal table in the center.

Lots of delicious tapas and pinxtos and drinks were had by all! Some notable items included: patatas bravas (spicy potatoes - these were my favorite!), cojonudo (fried quail egg and chorizo on toast) , datiles con beacon y almendras (dates stuffed with almonds and cabrales - a tangy blue cheese - and then wrapped in bacon, tortilla espanola (spanish omlette with potato), pimi entos del padron (blistered padron peppers with coarse sea salt) and of course croquettes with various fillings. Sangria came in 3 varieties - red, rose and white - personally I liked the white best (of course I tried them all!). The menu prices seem to be reasonable for tapas and they also have larger dishes as well. I would definitely recommend this place if you're looking for a bit of Spain downtown.


The Sisters Come Home

Tickets went on sale this morning for the Scissor Sisters March 3rd gig at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. If you've never seen them, check 'em out (they're always good live even if the latest CD Ta-Dah didn't quite live up to expectations . . . plus the venue is pretty cool!). Oh, and tune into NBC on February 8th to see the Sisters guest appearance on the soap opera Passions!

SAS Holiday Sale

If you are looking to travel to Scandanavia in the near future (or anywhere else that SAS flies), check out their Christmas calendar sale. Each day they put flights on sale to a different one of their destinations (today is Paris).


Back From Jamaica

Well, we're back from Jamaica. As usual, it was wonderful. Not much news to report - just relaxing and gorgeous as usual. The Lady's birthday celebration was crashed by our friend Marvin from Costa Rica so that kicked it up about 10 notches. I don't think we've EVER partied that much there as we did this year. Lots of good food - especially lobster fusilli and jerk chicken fajitas - was had by all. One of the best presents the Lady got was a whole lot of eye-candy courtesy of the D.C. United soccer team. It turned out that one of their hardest working mid-fielders (who shall remain nameless since it was all very hush, hush) was getting married on Saturday so the atmosphere around the Cliffs throughout the week was all very Footballer's Wives (sans Tanya Turner). Well, we're already booked in for same time next year, but until then, I can't urge you all enough - GO visit The Rockhouse ALREADY!


And Away We Go . . .

I'm off on Sunday with the Lady Spence for our annual birthday retreat at The Rockhouse in Negril. Since I won't be here on the actual day (Monday) to post it - Happy Birthday Lady!

Dinner @ Gordon's

Last night it was finally time to cash in on my highly anticipated reservation at Gordon Ramsay at The London. I dined with Kimmi K and as she said in her review, we were both looking "smart" (I broke out my new John Bartlett suit for the occasion - oh wait, that was because Gordon's orders are that jackets are required for men). Upon arrival, we were immediately whisked through the more casual London Bar dining area into the formal and more intimate (there were only about 10 tables) main dining room. The decor is all very muted green and stiff - reminded me of sitting in a grandmother's formal room in Miami in the early 70's. Lots of mirrors with green leather chairs. Not really my taste.

First up - the champagne cart. Sommelier: "Would we care for any of the selections?" Us: "Um, no thanks - bring on the martini's!" (which were perfectly done!). When the drinks arrived they were accompanied by chicken liver foie gras and truffled sour cream with crostini - rich & DELISH! This was followed by the amuse bouche - a frothy white bean & mushroom soup served in an espresso cup - again, DELISH! Wow, the dinner is going to be SICK we thought! The sommelier returned and helped us pick out a great and somewhat affordable wine from the extensive list (it was a Largen from the Whitcraft Winery - kind of a cross between a Cab and Pinot Noir which suited us perfectly). After opening it, he transferred it to a gorgeous decanter which remained on the table.

For our meal we decided to go with the a la carte menu since it had more choices. For a starter I had the hand dived sea scallops with sauteed new potatoes, truffle sauce and mixed herb salad. My first reaction was this: there is a truffle on the plate that is extremely misplaced (it obviously had rearranged itself while being delivered). All I could think was minus 1, if Mr. Ramsay had seen this he would've had somebody's head. I was VERY tempted to send it back. This dish was very unremarkable. The scallops were nicely done but there wasn't much flavor to the dish overall. KK had the lobster ravioli, poached in it's own bouillon with celery root cream, shellfish vinaigrette and chervil veloute. This dish was better, but still not amazing. I will say though that the portion sizes on both were perfect - 5 scallops and lots of plump lobster meat in the single ravioli.

Next up, the main course. In keeping with our fish theme, I had the pan fried fillet of John Dory with slow roasted eggplant, tomato, parmesan, grilled zucchini and sauce vierge. This was light with a very Mediterranean feel (although honestly, it didn't hold a candle to the halibut at Extra Virgin). KK had the line caught turbot poached in St. Emilion with creamed potatoes, braised salsify, braised baby leeks and civet sauce. This was probably the best and most interesting of the 4 fish dishes we samped.

Next up was the intermezzo - a pallet cleaner of sweet pineapple granite. YUM! Very refreshing! For dessert, I had the bittersweet chocolate mousse with coffee granite and a light ginger cream. I LOVED this - mainly for the rich coffee flavor. Kimmi had the Pain Perdu, baked apple, Griotte cherries and pistachio ice cream. This didn't do much for me since it's not chocolate but she seemed to like it a lot.

Overall, the best things I have to say about this restaurant was that the service is outstanding, the room intimate with good accoustics (i.e. you could actually hear your dining companion and didn't have to yell like in most NY restaurants). It is indeed a first class operation all the way - I just wish the food had more "fireworks" (as an editor of a competiting epicurean title recently stated). I won't be returning anytime soon though. I'm also not sure how long it may last - seeing that as at any given time during our 3+ hour dinner at least 3 of the 10 tables remained vacant (even though they are supposedly sold out for the first 2 months).

I left a little sad since I never got to speak to Gordon. I did spot Ms. Caroline however eating in the London Bar section. She said the tapas-sized portions were miniscule and again not so amazing (so if you are going to go, I'd say to go for the main dining room - or even better - pass by the front door and head over to Joel Rubuchon at the Four Seasons instead).

Oh, and one more thing - the doors on the unisex individual bathrooms are EXTREMELY difficult to lock and I saw more than one person get walked in on so be forewarned!

After dinner drinks were at my new fav Midtown bar at The Modern. Some type of party at MoMa was just letting out when we arrived. Spotted in the crowd were: Emmy Rossum, Glenn Close, Michael Nouri, Stephanie March, Richard Belzer, Ice-T, Frances Sternhagen and Piper Perabo. Still No sign of Gordon though . . guess I'll just have to hope I bump into him at some epicurean event . . .