Sunday, November 30, 2008
Back in the ski house in North Conway, NH, my friends and I talked about and watched our favorite Christmas shows. Mine are those animated ones from childhood like the Grinch. Some people like "It's a Wonderful Life" and my friend Joel introduced me to White Christmas. It was a singing and dancing extravaganza with a very happy ending. When I saw it was going to be on Broadway this year, I HAD TO HAVE TICKETS!
The Marquis Theater is in the Marriott Marquis Hotel, and it is a very nice theater. The seats are not designed for 12 year olds so we were very comfortable.
When I looked at the playbill, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the lead was Kerry O'Malley. She is Mike O'Malley's sister. I went to college with Mike and was in Godspell with him. I consider him one of my token successful friends - his long running TV show was "Yes, Dear" and he currently does Time Warner Cable ads. A very funny, talented and kind guy. Anyway, Kerry did a wonderful job in the Rosemary Clooney role :)
The show was great - the dancing was amazing (when do you get to see really good ensemble tap dancing??), the sets were incredible - a wonderful job of making you believe you are there, the costumes were rich and colorful, the actors and emsemble were very talented and well rehearsed, and of course the story was heart warming.
It was a great Christmas show and we very much enjoyed it!
Last night we went to the Capital Grille near 42nd and Lex. Rick wanted to go to a steak house, and I do want to try Strip at some point, but tonight we are heading to a show as well, and Strip is on the other side of town. I had been to the Capital Grille in Boston (it was fabulous), and I really wanted to hit a place that was not a chain, but wasn't able to find one in mid town or in the Theater district.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Lunch started with miso soup - exactly like what you would see at any asian restaurant. While we were enjoying the soup, 7 little dishes of food appeared - the server placed them in the middle of the table. We noticed everyone had them. The waitress indicated that you mix them in with your entree.
Our entrees came in heated stone bowls - very very hot - along with a side of chili scallion sauce. The server showed us to pour the sauce on and mix everything (the rice and seafood and sauce) together very well. She did Marlene's and I did mine. I ended up using all my sauce - it was very nice. We tried all the little dishes. 2 used potatoes - one was like a potato salad with mayo, the other was like roasted potato in soy sauce. Then there was a sweet pickled cabbage - that was very tasty! And some fried tofu we thought - it tasted a little like chicken. Then there was bok choy cooked with a spicy chili sauce - I liked this one. Marlene didn't try it as her tummy can't take spicy stuff. Then there was a brown kind of gelatin. Marlene tried it and didn't like it so I passed on that. The last part were some kind of sauteed or steamed greens. Now all the condiments were maybe 2 or 3 tablespoons of food - it was like our own mini buffet :)
It was very interesting - unfortunately the take out menus are only in Korean, so I couldn't really tell you what we ate, but I think I will go back again sometime to try more :)
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Rick stepped right up to the plate, used his blackberry to find the number for Parlor (across the street from the apt, and made us a reservation for 2:00. Parlor was serving a traditional Thanksgiving dinner in addition to their regular menu. Rick decided to have the 3 course special Thanksgiving meal and I decided to join him. We were not disappointed - it was absolutely amazing.
We started with the roasted sugar squash risotto - I love risotto and I've never made it. This had the squash, just a little firm, in a large dice mixed into the risotto, with roasted pumpkin seeds and freshly grated parmesean cheese on top. Wow. So good. We brought home about half of what was served.
The entree was dark and light turkey (boneless roasted turkey) with baby carrots, green beans, traditional stuffing (yum - no sausage - just like I like it!), whipped potato, sweet potato, cranberry sauce and gravy. Woo! And there was PLENTY of turkey - quite a few sandwiches will be made with mayo that will be feeding us this week!
With both the appetizer and the entree we had a wonderful Mendicino Pinot Noir. It has a big sunflower on the label and I probably wouldn't pick it out from a wine shop just for that reason, but it was amazing - especially with the turkey and stuffing!
For dessert there were 2 options. Rick had the Pumpkin Creme Brulee with almond nugatine ice cream. I had the cranberry pear cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Both were very tasty. Yes, they were not chocolate cream pie, but they were good!
So - if you are considering Thanksgiving dinner, go to Parlor - exactly what you'd expect :)
Rick tried not to smile while he ate an apple fritter from Starbucks.
Woo hoo! It's finally 9:00 am - the parade is starting!
New Smurf balloon!
Hey! That's Dora the Explorer! At the parade she had her own special cheering section :) She brought Map and Backpack too!
The very special music balloon
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Since we were here to have a quick nibble, the French Onion Soup on the regular menu seemed appropriate. I will say that the bartender said these were the last 2 servings for the night (???) so maybe they weren't as good as usual. We waited a looooonnnnnggggg time for our soup, so that may have affected our ratings as well. I'll rate the Uptown again when things go as we expect so you can take an average of the 2 :)
Out of 5 stars:
Presentation = Traditional onion soup crock, stringy provalone cheese melted over the top (stringy), a paper napkin caught spills which was kinda yucky. 3 ***
Broth Flavor = I thought the broth was onion-y sweet. 3 ***
Bread/Crouton = Usually the croutons are cripsy still in the soup. I think because this was the last serving, maybe they subbed something else? 3 ***
Onion Content = Not many onions at all - again maybe because it was the end of the pot? 3***
Cost = $6 - not bad! 4****
Total = 3.2 Stars
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I took the prepared Beef Braciole from the Grand Central Terminal Marketplace, and let it get to room temperature. I sauteed what onion I had in my La Cruset dutch oven. Once they had some browning, I browned the braciole (leaving the onions in there in a pile on the side). Once all sides of the braciole were browned, I added a can of Hunts Low Sugar tomato sauce. Once it stopped splashing me (crap that was a new sweater too), I put the cover on and popped it in a 325 degree oven.
The butcher in the Grand Central Terminal Marketplace indicated the braciole had garlic, ramano cheese and parsley rolled inside it. Sounded good to me as that meets the low carb requirements for Rick.
I let the meat simmer in the oven for an hour and a half. At the 60 minute point I put a cookie sheet of trimmed and halved brussell sprouts and mini peeled carrots all rolled in olive oil in the oven. I made sure the cut side of the sprouts were down.
We enjoyed the braciole and the veggies, but I think next time I'll treat the braciole more like a pot roast and braise it in wine and onions rather than tomato sauce. I'll bet both will be good, but it's nice to have variety :)
After we checked our coats, we were shown to a very nice table. It was probably around 1:00 and on Sunday they serve Brunch all day. The restaurant was about half full. I'd imagine after Thanksgiving it will be tough to get a seat.
We chose tap water over bottled, and I splurged on a mimosa. It was very tasty :) Warm crusty french rolls appeared with room temperature butter. Rick is eating low carb these days, so he left his roll there. It was tasty, and Rick took a bite of mine for the experience. He's lucky that he can have just a taste. He thought they were pretty amazing too.
We elected to have soup. I had a cream of mushroom soup garnished with chicken salad and cheese fondue. I had to have this special of the day just to see how they would do the "garnish". Plus I love mushrooms :) My soup came, and the rimmed soup bowl had a dollop of chicken salad covered in cheese in the middle of the bowl. Initially I was a little confused as I didn't see the pitcher that the server brought with her. The server poured the creamy mushroom goodness all around the chicken salad and cheese. mmmm mmmm good. Wow it was seriously delicious.
Rick chose the French Onion Soup. It came in a traditional crock with well browned cheese over the top. I like it when the cheese is actually browned and not just melted - it adds to the rich flavor. The soup was rich and sweet and very complex. It did have a lot of bread, which Rick would prefer not to have - he left it behind. But the flavor was exquisite, and inspired me to ask Rick if he would be up for tasting French Onion Soup all over the city looking for the Blue Ribbon of Onion Soup. He agreed. So far we've tried this one and the Uptown.
I've asked Rick to comment on aspects of this soup, and then we can average them all together for a score.
Out of 5 stars:
Presentation = Rick loved the presentation with the browned cheese wrapping the soup, and the service. Cheese was not stringy and you didn't have to fight with it. Traditional onion soup crock 4 ****
Broth Flavor = I thought the broth was onion-y sweet and yet complex. 5 *****
Bread/Crouton = There was a lot of bread in the soup, and it didn't seem to be toasted, which I prefer. 2 **
Onion Content = Onions were very small, and the bread interfered with the onion pieces. There were no long stringy pieces of onion (bonus). 4 ****
Cost = $11 - kinda pricy. 2**
Total = 3.4 Stars
If you find yourself here, definitely order the soup :)
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I ended up buying a few items (which was not my intent at all). The amazing cocktail rings here were so sparkley and gorgeous. I thought of buying one for my mom for Christmas, but I haven't had too much luck picking out rings for her. I remembered her fingers are smaller than mine, and when they didn't have a size smaller than a 7, I figured it was kismet and she would enjoy something else this year (though Mom, if you do like these rings I can always go back - tell me asap :)