life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't you hate it when

You listen to the morning drive time show on your car radio and one of your favorite performers is chatting with the DJ's and promoting his upcoming guest apoearance on a tv show. . . And it turns out he plays a murder victim who dies 5 minutes into the show. . .

Monday, February 25, 2013


And in yet another "birthday" celebration....

We got together with a group of friends at Minado.

This is a Japanese buffet.  Somewhat on the pricy side, but well worth it. 

They feature sushi, fresh seafood and many cooked dishes.  Great for our group, since some of us love sushi and some of us (like Drew) would never order it. 

Be forewarned -- if you order hot tea, it's green tea.  I like green tea, but Drew prefers Chinese tea.

Of course I had to start with the sushi and sashemi.  So many choices!  Including items you might not usually see on a buffet, such as smelt roe.  The spicy mayonnaise was perfect - just enough "bite" without overwhelming the delicate flavors of the fish.

I wasn't particularly impressed with the salads, but one friend raves about the mango salad.  None of us tried the soup or udon noodles.

There were about four different types of dumplings.  Very light and delicate.

Loved the tempura and the coconut shrimp, bbq ribs were ok, but the best cooked dish of the night was the beef teriyaki.  The beef was so tender...

Desserts -- in an Asian buffet they tend to taste...well. like cardboard.  Not here.  They offer a variety of fruits, small squares of cake, soft serve ice cream...friends raved about the green tea ice cream, but I don't care for cold tea.  Loved the red velvet cake squares and the oreo cake squares. 

 Overall another great dinner.

Minado on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Some day I will actually eat here in the summer, when you can sit on the dock and enjoy the harbor view.  I've only been here in the dead of winter.  We come here every February so that Drew can enjoy a lobster for his birthday.

The place is large, almost cavernous, with dark wood decor.  Service is impeccable.

The lobster bisque is, I think, the best we've every had on Long Island.  Smooth  and creamy, with nice chunks of lobster and just enough cayenne pepper to give it some bite.  Drew had a whole lobster, 1 1/2 pounds, which was served with an ear of corn.  I ordered shrimp with linguini in a plum tomato sauce.  Very nice, mellow dish -- I brought half of it home.

Small complaint about the bread basket.  It's artisan bread, heavy crust.  Ours was reheated so long that it was impossible to get through the crust to the soft interior.  The second batch they brought was better, but still hard to break apart.

No room for dessert, as usual. 

Overall a nice dinner.

Louie's on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Matchmaker, matchmaker

So Jen is learning about an old tradition - matchmaking.

The synagogue where she works is having its annual dinner dance, and she's the only female employee who isn't coming with a husband or a boyfriend. She told me how some of her coworkers, some of her older coworkers, want to fix her up with their sons or nephews.  she was a bit surprised and bewildered.

I said: "but of course they want to fix you up!  You're smart and pretty and fun to be with and you're Jewish.  You're a wonderful girl, and you're Jewish."

What could hurt if she connected with the guy on Facebook, if she chatted with him?  I told her, "So talk to the guy, and if you don't like him, don't go out with him.  But if you do like him, enjoy..."

So for my daughter:

Thursday, February 21, 2013

But at least. . .

. . . the roommate wars are over.

The wonder twins

You laugh at my stories about the crazy mixed up family I was born into.
Truth is, it's actually sad.
The other day they told me that I am "nothing", that I am "not their sister", that this house is "not my home", and that I "deserve nothing because I contribute nothing".
You would think, from what they said, that I am the most selfish and self centered person on the face of the planet.
I try to give them a lot of leeway these days.  After all, my father needs a lot of hands-on care now, and we manage without a home health care aide because my sisters have taken on the role of caregiver.    I know it's not easy, and they don't get much of a break.
But honestly . . .

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More crazy, mixed up family stuff

Rolling my eyes at my sisters. 

They seems to think I'm the crazy one.

Stupid domestic issues that have become all-encompassing.

Example --

Jen is 22, a college graduate, and majorly underemployed. All of her money goes to her car and grad school tuition.  I've been helping her out a lot with other things.   At the beginning of the winter Jen went shopping with my sister A and found a winter coat.  Jen  asked me to pay for the coat and I agreed.  A short time later my sister found a second coat for Jen, whipped out my mother's credit card and bought the coat.  The other night my mother said to me "A laid out money for Jen for that coat, when are you going to pay her back?" 

So you bought something for my adult daughter.  Something lovely and useful, but not necessarily something she needed.  You didn't ask me if I would pay for it before you bought it.  You didn't ask me to pay for it after you bought it.  You just expected me to pay for it because Jen is my daughter, I am "responsible for her" and my mother "shouldn't have to pay for [my] children".

Did you think that because I agreed to pay for one coat I should be expected to pay for another?

But I am the one engaged is sophistry?  Or as F said, "sopicism".

Yes, my dear sister is now Mrs. Malaprop.



This show is my new guilty pleasure.  I'm not much of a cook, I can manage to get a meal on the table but it's not my passion.  but I love watching how these professional chefs transform seemingly unrelated ingredients into amazing dishes.

And the back stories of some of the chefs...really designed to tug at your heart strings.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Birthday at "The View"

We celebrated my birthday yesterday at "The View".

We ate at The View for our first wedding anniversary, back when dinosaurs walked the earth.  We hadn't been back since the 80's. 

The View is the restaurant at the Marriott Marquis hotel.  Readers of this blog will know that Drew and I spend a lot of time at the Marriott, it's a good place to hang out and kill time between dinner and a show, but we usually eat elsewhere.  But last night we rode the glass elevators through the atrium, all the way to the 48th floor, and were seated at a table right next to the window.  I could see the Chrysler Building, and Drew had a clear view of the Empire State Building, lit up red, white and blue for President's Day.  At first you don't feel the subtle movement as the restaurant revolves, but during the course of our meal we moved to a downtown view, then the Hudson River and the New Jersey, then uptown and finally back to Times Square.

We had to try their signature cocktail, the Fizz -- vodka, champagne, mango and berries.    Wonderful. 

It's a prix fixe menu, appetizer, entree and dessert.  We both chose the jumbo shrimp -- two enormous shrimp, plated with cocktail sauce and green dressed in a vinaigrette.  Heavenly. 

He ordered:

Grilled NY Strip Steak
Creamed Swiss Chard / Truffle Roasted Fingerlings / Au Poivre Sauce

I ordered: 

Broiled 7oz “Sterling” Filet Mignon
Buttermilk Whipped Potatoes / Haricot Verts /Tomato Marmalade / Demi-glace

Both steaks were excellent.  Drew raved about the Swiss chard. 

Dessert....well, our waiter decided to make my birthday special.  Instead of the usual dessert items, he brought me a special dessert -- chcocolate mousse cake with a chocolate ganache, with white chocolate decorations.  Somehow he knew that I am a chocoholic!  He also brought a portion of their yummy cheesecake.  Both desserts were decadent.

A note about changing dress codes.  Back in the 80's, people dressed up to eat at this restaurant.  I mean guys in suits and ties, women in skirts or dresses.   Last night most of the patrons were "dressy casual".  A few looked like they were headed to the Rangers game instead of a nice NYC restaurant.  The world has changed a lot, hasn't it?

View Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 18, 2013


Right now I should be waking up on the Liberty.  Breakfast at Punchliners or in the Lido deck.  A lovely day at sea.  Drink of the Day in my hand as I watch the show.  Dinner in the main dining room.  Birthday cake.


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yo quiero tacos

Taco King on Urbanspoon
Storefront restaurant, they prepare fresh Mexican food, served in styrofoam withplastic utensils. So casual . . .

I had a quesadilla with jack cheese and a steak platter -- it came with rice, black beans, soft tortillas, some shredded lettuce and diced tomato, and salsa and sour cream.

Drew had a quesadilla and an enchilada platter, also served with rice, beans, lettuce, tomato and salsa.

Inexpensive Mexican, more choices and better quality than the chain restaurants like Moe's or Chipotle. No wonder it's among our favorites.

the phantom emerges

Yesterday afternoon he came out of his room, spoke with me for about 10 minutes, then put on his coat and went to work.

Friday, February 15, 2013

now it's starting to get scary

Room mate hasn't come out of his room in days.  He hasn't gone to work in a week, we have no idea if he still has a job or what.  A mutual friend called but he wouldn't pick up the phone.He answers his emails, but his response are short and terse. 

This is not going to end well.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


So ok, I drive an old car.  I bought it new, back when dinosaurs walked the earth.  Love it and will drive it until it literally falls apart.  Old car, you expect a few problems to crop up.

But it aggravates me beyond belief when something avoidable happens.

One night last winter I had a minor problem while at a friend's house.  When it was time to leave I couldn't get my car door open.  There was ice in the door lock.  Nothing to panic about,  it's happened to this car before.  Car just needs to warm up enough to melt the ice.

One problem, though.  It's the driver's door that froze.  My friend, who is much thinner and more limber than I am, walked around to the passenger side (which wasn't frozen), got into the car and climbed over the center console.  Once behind the wheel she started the car.

All well and good.  Until she decided to try to force the door open from the inside.

The door handle snapped off in her hand, leaving only a stub.

I got a quote for the repair, but it was a lot of money.  The stub was functional, so I decided that I didn't need to fix the handle.

The stub gave up the ghost this morning, trapping me in my car.  In the parking lot at the train station, of course.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


What I bought for Drew for Valentine's Day: a stuffed animal (a cat with a heart in its mouth), three cards (cute and funny) and a heart-shaped box of candy -- Skittles, because he doesn't eat chocolate. What Drew bought for me: a stuffed animal (a dog with a heart in its mouth), three cards (cute and funny) and a heart-shaped box of candy -- Dove chocolate, my favorite. We are so in sync.

Monday, February 11, 2013

it feels like a divorce

So I mentioned awhile back that Drew and his roommate had a stupid argument and were making mountains out of molehills. It's gotten really bad around here. Room mate is spending all his time upstairs in his room, with the door closed. Won't talk to Drew, won't talk to me. When they had to deal with practical matters, such as paying the rent or shoveling snow, they e-mailed each other. I'm starting to call him "the phantom". It's a shame, really. These two have known each other since the 70's. They've been living together for many years. Sigh.

Saturday, February 9, 2013


They're calling this storm "Nemo".  They named a huge nor'easter after a tropical fish.    A Disney fish.  Irony?

I'm at Drew's house.  We got a mere 18" of snow.  Further east, by my parents' house, there's 30" of snow on the ground.  Major roads are closed as they try to plow out.

This morning Drew had a few avian guests.  His patiois fairly sheltered.   Two sides of the patio abut the walls of the house, and an awning covers it. There's a small pile of logs on the patio for the fireplace.  That's where the 8 visitors were sheltering from the storm.  I think they may have been doves.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Italian feast, Americana and Glass Slippers

Let's start with yesterday's lunch, a business lunch in Jersey City:

Porto Leggero on Urbanspoon We were a large group, so we ordered appetizers for the table. Fried calamari and fried shrimp, served with both a regular marinara sauce and a spicy marinara sauce. Both were lightly breaded and not greasy. Wonderful. I ordered the papardelle con vodka, broad flat noodles with pea pods and prosciutto in a tomato vodka sauce. Very nice, but I think I would have preferred a more traditional penne or rigatoni. I didn't care for dessert -- fillo brushed with chocolate and stacked with a very heavy chocolate mousse. At least the berries were fresh. I found myself envious of my coworker's creme brulee. After work, it was time to continue the birthday bash. Drew and I had theater tickets last night, and so planned to eat in the Theater District. We are both Guy Fieri fans, watch him on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. We both read the critic's reviews of his new Times Square restaurant, as well as diner reviews on websites like Urbanspoon. Although the critics clearly didn't like the place, diner reviews have been mixed. We're Guy's fans, though. We knew we had to try Guy's place: Guy's American Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon Maybe we're easy to please, but we liked it. I'd put it in the same category as Bubba Gump's or Planet Hollywood, kitschy and cute, with a menu designed to appeal to a broad range of people. don't rely on the menu that's posted in the window, they've dropped a few items and renamed others since they opened a few months ago. Our appetizer was "Awesome Pretzel Chicken tenders" - the chicken was very tender, the coating very crispy, and the dipping sauce had just enough "zing" to it to be interesting without overpowering the chicken. Drew ordered "Motley Que Ribs" -- meat was falling off the bone, seasoned fries were crisp, and he described the cole slaw as both sweet and savory, with something he couldn't identify but really liked. I ordered the "Huli Huli Roasted Chicken" -- half a chicken, roasted and brushed with a sweet BBQ sauce. Rice pilaf was very basic, but worked well with the sweet sauce on the chicken. Onion straws were light and crispy. Mango salsa was ...well, it was a small serving and I barely noticed it was there. Not a bad meal, we'd definitely go back. And for the evening's main event -- Rodger and Hammerstein's "Cinderella". I've seen the Julie Andrews television production from 1957 and the 1997 Disney television production starring Brandy, but I'm not familiar with the 1965 television production, which starred Leslie Ann Warren. I am sure I saw it when I was a kid, but I don't have a clear memory of that. I'm told that this staged version is closest to the 1965 production, but there are obviously a few modern updates to the story line. Still, the music, the singing and the dancing are amazing. Stuart Weitzman designed the glass slippers, and they are absolutely gorgeous. Glass slippers are so back.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The art of teppanyaki redux

It's February. That means Drew's birthday, followed by my birthday 11 days later. That means free stuff from lots of restaurants. We eat very well all month long.

Benihana's birthday gift is $30 towards dinner. The coupon can be redeemed on weekdays only. So we headed out tonight.

At Benihana, as at most Japanese teppanyaki restaurants, your meal also serves as your entertainment. The hibachi grill is set into the dinner table, which you share with other diners. The waitress brings drinks (Drew really likes the saki sangria), soup (a clear broth with mushrooms) and salad (I dislike the ginger dressing, so requested oil and vinegar instead).

And then comes the fun part. The chef comes to the table. He smiles. Chats with the diners. Juggles his knives. Then begins to cook. He slices and dices with remarkable speed and accuracy. First comes the shrimp appetizer -- and the applause as he tosses shrimp tails into his chef's hat. Next come the vegetables, including the volcano made from onion slices. Fried rice is molded into the shape of a heart. . .

Then it's serious cooking time, as he concentrates on the various entrees.

Afterwards the waitress bring green tea and takes dessert orders.

Tonight I ordered an appetizer from the sushi bar - a crunch roll, whose main ingedient is shrimp tempura. Excellent! Drew ordered the hibachi steak and lobster tail, I ordered the hibachi steak and collosal shrimp. As always, both were cooked to perfection and served with two dipping sauces -- ginger and mustard.

Because we were celebrating Drew's birthday, there was a candle in his ice cream sundae, and the staff serenaded him.

Another great dining experience, and with plenty of leftovers for lunch. . .

Benihana on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 4, 2013

She's so excited

Becca just called, she's so excited she can't contain herself.  She just got an internship she really really wanted.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Belated birthday bash

There is a small group of friends, we get together for dinner whenever one of us is celebrating a birthday. Well, we missed a few birthdays last fall, so today the group got together for a belated birthday bash.

To Fu has been here in Commack for as long as I can remember, but until today I never ventured inside.

You don't expect a huge crowd at 3 pm on Super Bowl Sunday, but we were the only customers in the place. The staff hovered a bit too much.

Let me preface my comments with the statement that everyone else seemed to like this place, but I was a bit disappointed. The fried noodles tasted a bit stale. Won ton soup was ok. I ordered a "house box" which contained three fried dumplings (would have preferred steamed), a California roll, house salad with ginger dressing (gave that to Drew, I don't like ginger dressing), white rice and my entree, sesame chicken. Most places bread and fry the chicken, but here the chicken was fried without breading, and it was overcooked and dry. Sauce was ok though.

We were going to order ice crean for dessert, but the room was so cold . . .

I didn't hate the place. But I just didn't like it. You can get much better food elsewhere.
To Fu Japanese Health Food on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mickey, Peter and David ...

Yesterday Drew called me and asked if I wanted to see "Mickey, Peter and David" in concert.

This was a little confusing to me.  When I hear those three names, I immediately think "the Monkees".    But that, of course, is impossible.

So he told me:

I have seen Mickey several times, both as part of the Monkees and as a solo act.  Saw Peter once, back in the 80's.  Never saw David in concert, though I did see him on Broadway, in Blood Brothers.

My inner ten year old is beside herself right now.

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