Hall and Oates 2018…

Sorry I’ve been away for a while, but I haven’t been motivated to blog about anything in particular…until now.  FE and I saw Hall and Oates in concert recently at the Hard Rock Casino in Atlantic City.  We also saw Phil Collins in Philly but that’s a blog for another time.  I have to say Hall and Oates was a far better concert, in my opinion.  Don’t get me wrong, Phil was great, but H & O put on a better show.

The venue had a lot to do with it.  This was my first time at the Hard Rock since I believe it just opened recently.  I can’t comment on the casino itself since we went directly to the concert and left when it was over.  It is an intimate venue and we sat in section 206 on the aisle.  We were about 10 rows in on the raised portion, which worked out well because we could see everything and didn’t have to stand the entire time (like attendees on the floor had to do).

The show itself was very well done.  It was entertaining and H & O’s voices sounded amazing.  They opened with Maneater, which is not one of my favorites, but it was a great way to get the crowd going.  My favorite thing about the show was that you can really tell that these two enjoy what they’re doing, and it doesn’t seem like a job to them.  Also, they are versatile in their voices and also the instruments they play.  Hall changed guitars several times and ran over to the piano to play that and sing, and then ran over to  the keyboard and played that.  It was just an all around great time.

My favorite performances were Sara Smile and Say it Isn’t So.  Hall played the piano for the first and Oates joined him on guitar.  It was more of an a cappella performance, unlike the other songs, which really highlighted their voices.  I was disappointed in “She’s Gone”, which is my favorite song by them, only because the music seemed to overpower their voices.

The last song we heard was I Can’t Go for That, since we left before the encore to avoid the crowds (I know, I’m getting old lol).  That was also very well done, with a solo by the saxophonist at the end.

This was H & O’s only night in the area, but I highly recommend checking them out if you can.

Hall and Oates 2018…

Media consumed this weekend (so far)…

“Searching for Sugarman” (2012) Netflix – documentary about a 1970s musician named Sixto Rodriguez who had several hit songs and then was rumored to have killed himself onstage after failing to achieve success;  several fans overseas set out to debunk the rumor(s) and learn what really happened;  highly recommend but do not google it before consumption

“Barry” (2018) HBO – dark comedy I was prompted to binge watch after Henry Winkler and Bill Hader won Emmys for their work in this show;  very entertaining show about a disillusioned hit man who stumbles upon an acting class in LA and may have found his new calling;  highly recommend;  renewed for season two

“Casting Call” podcast (2018) Gimlet – Gimlet set out to find the next great podcaster by narrowing down over 5,000 podcast entries to 3 finalists;  each finalist’s pilot episode is broadcast and the winner will be announced in October;  very entertaining so far

“Bird by Bird” book (1994) Anne Lamott – the author wrote this book to share lessons she learned over the years as a writer – both on writing and life in general;  the title “bird by bird” references her father many years ago telling her brother overwhelmed by a school project on birds to start by taking it “bird by bird”;  highly recommend

My weekend media consumption productivity rating:  A-

Media consumed this weekend (so far)…

Eating in NYC…

FE and I had an opportunity to revisit some old favorites in NYC recently.  We started with a weekday lunch at Lupa, which we’ve been frequenting since 2009.  There’s nothing better than a leisurely weekday lunch on a hot summer day when I’d normally be working.  I went with my usual spaghetti with pomodoro and FE had his usual bucatini all’matriciana (guanciale, red onions, and spicy tomato sauce). We then split the veal saltimbocca, which is ironic, because I typically avoid veal.  However, this dish at Lupa is so thin and so tender I make an exception for it.  We saved room for dessert so we could check out a new bakery.

Mah-Ze-Dahr is located at 28 Greenwich Avenue.  We stopped at this adorable little shop for a caffeine and sugar refuel.  FE had a cappuccino and a brownie, while I had a green tea, a chocolate chip cookie, and a snickerdoodle.  The second cookie was totally unnecessary but I wanted to try it.  Everything was delicious.  It’s a nice spot to have a snack and escape the city for a bit.  When we return, I’d like to try the chocolate cake and the cheesecake.

We had dinner at ABC Kitchen, which is located at 35 E. 18th Street.  As always, the food was superb.  However, the service and ambience was sorely lacking (more on this later). I had the squash and arugula salad, with parmesan, lemon, and pepper.  It was a beautiful presentation and a tasty, unique flavor.  FE had the burger, which had a nice kick to it with jalapeños and spicy mayo.  I had the mushroom and farm egg pizza, which has a gooey cracked egg in the middle.  The food was totally on point.

Unfortunately, the tables were situated on top of each other on this particular night.  The servers had to hover over my back constantly to talk to us, fill water, serve, and remove plates.  It was very disconcerting in a dark restaurant to have someone appear over your shoulder without warning, especially mid-bite or mid-conversation.  In addition, the service was rushed and we didn’t even look at a dessert menu because we just wanted to leave.  We won’t be returning to ABC, except maybe for lunch.  There are too many other excellent restaurants to settle for what we experienced there recently.

For dessert, we stopped at Dylan’s Candy Bar (33 Union Square West).  Talk about a sugar rush!  The kids we saw in there were in a sugar frenzy.  I chose a small bag of loose Swedish Fish, while FE had chocolate malt balls (most of which I ate).  The candy was fresh and delicious, if a tad expensive ($6.45 for 2 tiny bags).  But hey it is Manhattan!

Happy eating!


Eating in NYC…

What I’ve been reading…

I just finished an amazing book by Patrick K. O’Donnell called “The Unknowns”.  It’s a true story about how the unknown soldier was selected, and how the idea came to be in the first place.  The book then flashes back to the men who were selected to accompany the unknown soldier back to the USA, and their respective roles in World War I.

WWI seems to get overshadowed by WWII on tv and in books, so it was a welcome surprise for me to learn more about those who fought in this particular war.  I don’t think I learned anything about WWI in either grade school or in high school, so this was a great opportunity to do so.

The interesting part of the book was that the men were involved in various engagements and in various roles.  For example, one was on a ship that was disabled by a German submarine, and he then became a POW.  Another fought in the trenches in France.

Mr. O’Donnell does a great job of dropping the reader right into the action, and he also makes you care about each man and his mission.

I just started another book of his, “The Brenner Assignment”, about an espionage mission during WWII.  I’m enjoying it so far.

Happy reading!

What I’ve been reading…

What I’ve been watching…

We need to talk about Westworld.  Let me rephrase, you need to talk about Westworld and explain to me what’s going on, and I’ll just listen.  I really enjoyed season two but I’m a little hazy about what actually happened.  Queries:

1.When exactly did Charlotte turn into Dolores?  I’ll have to take a sabbatical from work to watch the season over and try and figure this out.

2.How did Teddy get to the new world?  I thought he was really dead?

3.Will Akecheta be back?  I suspect not but I’m putting my head in the sand on this because his standalone episode was my favorite and I adore Zahn McClarnon.

4.Why didn’t Maeve pause the chaos earlier so her friends had a chance?  That one baffles me.

I’d love your insight in the comments.

I’ll admit I binged the entire second season of Glow on Netflix last weekend.  It was about 110 degrees here on the East Coast so I didn’t feel bad staying in and watching tv instead of baking outdoors.  I was nervous that the show wouldn’t live up to the first season but I was wrong.  Having grown up in the 80s, the show is a great mix of nostalgia, simplicity, and characters.  Marc Maron, Alison Brie, and Betty Gilpin are first class actors and they’re supported by a wacky, talented group of women.

The “Good Twin” episode was epic.  Can’t wait for season three!

What I’ve been watching…

What I’ve been eating…

FE and I have had dinner at Stephen Starr’s “The Love” in Philly a few times since it opened.  It seems that each time we’ve been there, there’s something else we want to try the next time so we make a reservation as soon as we get home.  I guess that’s a good sign?

FE has enjoyed the ribs and the lobster pasta, which seems to be one of their most popular dishes.  I don’t care for lobster but I tasted a bite and it was delicious!  FE thinks this is because they use only claw meat which is more tender.  I say who cares, it was great.

I’ve had the truffle gnudi and the scallops, both of which were tasty.  The gnudi are very rich so you have to be in the mood for a heavier dish.  The scallops were perfectly cooked and were served with a light, savory sauce.

However, the highlight for me was dessert.  I’ve tried both the dirt cake and the cookie plate.  The dirt cake is a bowl of chocolate mousse with crushed cookies and cherry gummies on top.  The mousse was light and airy and the cookies gave it texture.  The cookie plate was my favorite.  It consisted of three cookies, donut holes, various candies, lemon curd, and caramel for dipping.  I’m not a big fan of mixing my food but the lemon and caramel were terrific.

My biggest dilemma is which dessert to order next time!  The Love is located at 18th and Sansom Streets in Center City Philadelphia.  I highly recommend making a reservation.  There is limited outdoor seating available.

What I’ve been eating…

What I’ve been watching…

Occupied – I just finished the second season of Occupied on Netflix.  If you like Scandinavian political thrillers, this show is for you.  I found out recently through ancestry.com that the majority of my ancestry is Scandinavian, so I was particularly interested to check out the second season.

The second season sees Jesper’s former assistant/paramour Anyta taking over as PM.  I don’t want to give the story away but the political intrigue takes off from there.  I especially like how this show depicts various perspectives, from the personal to the political.

The finale set up a third season perfectly.  Occupied is on Netflix, 8 episodes about 54 minutes each.

Flint Town – We’re still watching this documentary on Netflix.  It was filmed in 2016 in Flint, Michigan.  The series follows the Flint Police Department through a budget crisis, as well as the water crisis.  It really gives you some perspective on the difficulties faced by the police, the fire department, the government, and the residents.  I’m not sure there are any solutions but at least this series is shedding light on the issues.

DVR/Netflix/Prime alert – Trading Spaces returns to TLC 4/6;  Bosch returns to Amazon Prime 4/13;  The Circus returns to Showtime 4/15;  Fourth Estate premieres on Showtime 5/27;  Meghan and Harry’s wedding 5/19

What I’ve been watching…