Lunch at Lavo

lavoI recently had the opportunity to dine at the fancy Lavo (Nightclub and Restaurant ) for Restaurant Week lunch. Inside, it’s beautiful, elegant and spacious.

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For my appetizer, I chose the Tomato Bufala Mozzarella Salad. It consisted of yellow and red tomato slices with mozzarella in between, topped with Parmesan-crusted crostini and onion on the side. Even though it was a simple dish, the presentation was lovely and I really liked the pop of colors. It tasted quite wonderful as well– Fresh, flavorful, and delightful.

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For my main course, I had the sliced strip steak with green peppercorn sauce. The steak, already cut was absolutely delicious– Juicy, tender with a mouthwatering sauce. The only complaint I had was that the meat had quite a bit of fat on it still and I prefer lean cuts of meat. The french fries had sprinkle of Parmesan and were skinny (just the way I like them), warm, perfectly crispy and incredibly good.

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My chosen dessert was the Oreo Zeppole with a Vanilla Malt Shake, while my friend had the Gianduja Budino, a chocolate pudding. The pudding was rich and extremely chocolatey but I preferred the zeppole. The oreo zeppole were delectable warm little morsels that melted in your mouth. The zeppole had an oreo filling with fried dough around it… They tasted sweet and perfect. The vanilla shake came in an adorable little cup with an oreo inside. The shake combined well with the zeppole, but each were delightful on its own.

I truly enjoyed my meal at Lavo! The service was pretty good, though it took awhile to get mayonnaise (for my fries) and I had to ask more than once. Otherwise, a lovely dining and culinary experience.

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Lavo
39 E 58th St
New York, NY

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The Met: Beyond Fashion

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I headed to the Metropolitan Museum to check out the Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibit, which has since ended. Blair Waldorf of Gossip Girl said it best: “Fashion is the most powerful art there is. It is movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be.”

{Shameless Plug: I recently created a Gossip Girl Instagram account; please follow me @gossipgirlsparkles}

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Charles James is a “British-born fashion designer known as ‘America’s First Couturier.’ He is widely considered to have been a master of cutting and is known for his highly structured aesthetic.” Which can definitely evident in the examples of his work below.

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We had to go through back to the main floor and through quite a few rooms to find the last part of the fashion exhibit, but it was worth it to see the truly gorgeous dresses on display. This one may well be my favorite: Elegant, exquisite and unique. I love the sweetheart neckline, the flattering shape, the white satiny backdrop and that black & white pattern at the waist, down the back coming back around in the front and the way the gown fans out.

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This was my other favorite: Deeply romantic and sweetly classic.  Once again the sweetheart neckline, the ruching, the pale pink/plum color, the luxurious material and tulle skirt.

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My next favorite was this amazing geometric feat of beauty. Truly stylish, graceful, polished and refined. The material shined bright, the cut is simple but perfect and the black velvet swirl dances in front of you.

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Photo Credit: @metmuseum Instagram

Then there was this little number: Regal and sexy at the same time. Beautiful deep red color, velvety top with satin draped skirt and white tulle.

metfashion_dress3“Charles James: Beyond Fashion” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was one of the best exhibits I’ve ever been to at any museum and I was so happy to catch it while it was there.

 

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RW: Sofrito | Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse | Bar Eolo

Summer Restaurant Week (July 21-August 15) is in full swing and so far, I have had the opportunity to have dinner at Sofrito (Pan-Latin), lunch at Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse and dinner at Bar Eolo (Sicilian Kitchen).

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Dinner at Sofrito

Appetizer: Empanadas… I chose beef filling for one of them and shrimp filling for the other. They were both quite tasty, but I enjoyed the beef one better. I also got to try my friend’s yucca crusted chicken which was wonderfully crunchy and came with sweet and delicious passion fruit dip.

Entree: Carved roast pork with Spanish rice and peas, as well as sweet plaintains. This meal was huge! I was only able to finish maybe half of it. The pork was tender like butter and the skin was incredibly crispy with great flavor. It would’ve been even better if there was more sauce. The rice was pretty good and went well with the pork, but the plaintains were just okay.

Dessert: Tres leches cake with whipped cream and strawberries. This was delectable: Intensely sweet, especially soaked in the wonderful cream and the fruit was a perfect companion.

Atmosphere: The dining area was chic and roomy, but we were not expecting the obnoxiously loud club music playing in the front. This made it extremely difficult to to hold a conversation and dampened the overall experience.

Service: Quite good… The waitress was attentive and nice.

Lunch at Nick + Stef's Steakhouse

Lunch at Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse

Appetizer: Chilled pea and lemongrass soup with peekytoe crab and garlic croutons. I was not a huge fan of the soup, but I did like the crab and croutons on top.

Entree: Steak Frites. (What else would you get at a Steakhouse?) The skirt steak came already cut up for our convenience, and was herb marinated with pesto sauce. The steak was delicious and full of savory flavor. The fries were thin and crispy, just the way I like them.

Dessert: Chocolate Mousse Cake. Rich, chocolate layered cake that melted in my mouth was sweet, soft, delicate and delightful.

Atmosphere: Classy, white and elegant

Service: Wonderful!

Dinner at Bar Eolo

Dinner at Bar Eolo

Appetizer: I was looking forward to trying the calamari but it was no longer on their Restaurant Week menu, so I had to settle for the saffron risotto ball. I was disappointed because there was only one risotto ball. Also, I couldn’t taste the saffron at all, but did like the cheesiness of it and enjoyed the beef and pea ragu in the center.

Entree: Seared halibut with roasted potatoes, tomato, mushrooms, capers with olive oil and sauce. The halibut was cooked to perfection, with a bit of crispy skin that tasted so good. I also really enjoyed the potatoes, sauce and everything combined together nicely.

Dessert: Warm flour-less chocolate cake with strawberries, pistachio cous cous and pistachio ice cream was well worth the $4 additional fee. The chocolate cake was truly delectable: Melt in your mouth, finger licking delicious. It was rich, velvety and tasted of pure chocolate. The pistachio cous cous was underneath the ice cream and tasted light, subtly sweet, luscious.

Atmosphere: Lovely, cute restaurant in Chelsea with outdoor seating.

Service: The hostess and waitress seemed to be a bit confused throughout the meal, but they meant well.

 
Sofrito
400 E. 57 St
New York, NY

Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse
9 Penn Plaza
New York, NY

Bar Eolo
190 7th Ave
New York, NY

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Weekend in Warwick

I spent the past weekend in Warwick, NY with a bunch of friends. Here is an account of the fun and crazy times through pictures…

Arrival on Friday:

Barnyard that we stayed in

Outside the Barn House we stayed in

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Posing in nature, outside the Barn House

A view of the garden

A view of the garden

Inside the spacious, roomy, high ceiling loft-like barnhouse

Inside the spacious, roomy, high ceiling loft-like Barn House

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Posing at the stairs

Dinner on the grill

Dinner on the grill

Snap shot of some of us

Snap shot of some of us

Saturday:

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Hanging out in downtown Warick

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Time Flies… Love Stays

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Clock Tower on Main Street in Downtown Warwick

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Afternoon at the beach

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We had a lovely time at the beach

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Enjoying ice cream from Bellvale Farms Creamery

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Close up of the Bellvale Creamery ice cream: White chocolate with raspberry and dark chocolate chunks and Dark chocolate with fudge brownie and peanut butter flavors

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Snap shot with the Bellvale Farms colorful cow!

View of the valley from Bellvale Farms Creamery

View of the valley from Bellvale Farms Creamery

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Snap shot of the valley, clouds & sun

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Saturday Night at the Warwick drive-in movie theater to see the deeply emotional “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

Sunday:

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Having fun on the wooden swing and the trampoline

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Eating well: Raspberries and salad

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Group photo of all of us who stayed at the Barn House this past weekend in Warwick, NY

The weekend may have ended, but the memories will last forever!

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Dining at Traif

I had heard a lot about the restaurant Traif, in Brooklyn and finally had the chance to experience it with a friend the other day. It didn’t disappoint. It was explained to us by the waitress the items on the menu are small bites meant to be shared so we chose a few items. I started off by getting a drink: Pomegranate juice, which was full of pure pomegranate flavor and not too sweet.

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Our first dish was baked Muenster cheese with smoked chorizo and green apple, as well as crostini to dip. The cheese was warm and extremely delicious, along with the chorizo at the bottom. It paired perfectly with the apple and bread. We were even given more bread to finish the rest of the cheese.

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Next came the strawberry-cinnamon glazed baby back ribs, which were as delicious as it sounds. The ribs were coated with just the right amount of seasoning and sauce, and we could really taste the cinnamon spice. The meat came off the bone easily and tasted tender, hearty and a mix of savory and sweet.

traif_ribsAfter that was the BBQ braised short rib sliders with smoked paprika aioli and sweet potato fries. The short rib was incredibly juicy and had a burst of mouthwatering BBQ flavor. And the sweet potato fries were perfectly crispy, crunchy, and delightful. Some of the best I’ve tasted!

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Last was the broccoli rabe, which we thought would be a good, healthy choice but it came smothered in aged asiago, portobello truffle toast and fried egg. Each component tasted great on its own but combining the strong flavors of sauteed broccoli rabe, mushroom, cheese and egg is what made it a wonderful masterpiece.

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The dessert was maple bacon mini donuts with coffee ice cream and this was amazing! Warm doughy, sweet, chewy donuts, glazed with caramel and sprinkled with bacon bits– What could be better? And the ice cream was very yummy, with authentic flavor of milky coffee.
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The meal at Traif, from start to finish, was exquisitely decadent, delectable and delicious! The service was spot on and attentive. I would go back again in a heartbeat to try other menu items.

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Traif
229 S 4 St
Brooklyn, NY

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Afternoon in Williamsburg

I don’t go to Brooklyn often, but I visited my friend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the other weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Loved all the cute shops, great restaurants, cool graffiti. Plus, it’s very close to Manhattan, which is a big bonus. I got to check out my friend’s new loft and rooftop.

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The rooftop had gorgeous views of the city: Lovely buildings, Williamsburg Bridge, what used to be Williamsburg Savings Bank (now used as a premiere luxury events space)…

williamsburgThere were a lot of beautiful sights on that rooftop. This heart shape in the chain link fence, right in front of the gorgeous domed Williamsburg Savings Bank is one of those sights.

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For lunch, we headed to an Indian restaurant called Mahal Kita.  The interior was spacious and elegant, with chandeliers and brown/tan color scheme.

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As per usual at any Indian restaurant, I ordered a Mango Lassi drink. Since my friend frequents the restaurant, we got our drinks for free which was an unexpected and gracious gesture. The Mango Lassi was tasty, refreshing and not too sweet.

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I chose the marinated rack of lamb with potatoes and peppers for my main course, which was delicious. The lamb was juicy, succulent, full of flavor in a delectable sauce and was slightly charred which is the way I like my meat. The medley of vegetables in an orange sauce was quite wonderful and paired with the lamb well, giving it an extra layer of flavor.

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The meal at Mahal Kita was wonderful, the service attentive and they had a 20% off dine in special!

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After our meal, we stopped into Pies n Thighs, the restaurant well known for its Southern cuisine which usually has an hour long wait to be seated… Luckily, they have desserts that can be purchased to go, so I got myself some apple pie (which I ate later). It was flaky tasty cinnamon spiced apple pie with a rich all butter crust… That crust was amazing.

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Then on my way back to the L train, I had to stop at Williamsburg Creamery, known for its homemade ice cream. I selected the White Raspberry with chocolate chunks and it was delectable and oh so mouthwatering and sweet! I also had the Vanilla ice cream with fudge and peanut butter, which I expected to like a lot more. It was actually too plain for me- The vanilla didn’t have enough of the fudge and peanut butter mixed in.

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Mahal Kita
184 Havemeyer St
Brooklyn, NY

Pies n Thighs
166 S. 4 St
Brooklyn, NY

Williamsburg Creamery
201 Bedford Ave
Brooklyn, NY

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Screenings at the Academy Theater

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I’m not a member of the Academy, but I sure felt like one when I attended two screenings last week at the Academy Theater (that’s right, the official theater for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!) There’s even a life-size statue of Oscar, the Academy Award! (Pictured above).

The first screening was for Obvious Child (aired at Sundance Film Festival) and the other screening was Third Person (aired at Tribeca Film Festival).

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Obvious Child tells the story of a female comedian who becomes pregnant after a one night stand. It starts off kind of raunchy and raw but I grew to love the main character, Donna Sterns played by Jenny Slate. The film was watchable, real, brave, laugh-out-loud hilarious and tells this age-old story in a different and matter-of-fact narrative rarely seen on screen. The question was not whether Donna would have an abortion; it was about whether she would open her heart and be vulnerable to those she loves, as well as those who want to love her.

I truly adored Max’s character played by Jake Lacey. He was both sexy and sweet, the type of guy I would want to be with. Then there was Nellie, Donna’s outspoken best female friend played by Gaby Hoffmann. She was perfect as the best friend: Supportive, loving and always there when needed. And then there’s the gay best friend, Joey played by Gabe Liedman who was wonderful and fun. Donna’s relationship with her parents (who are separated) is complicated and deeply real. She has a closer relationship with her father (played by Richard Kind) who is warm and fun loving, while her mother (played by Polly Draper) is a little more distant and seemingly judgmental. This perception of the mother is changed during a key moment in the film, which I will let you discover for yourself…

Without revealing too much, the ending of Obvious Child is beautiful and speaks toward new beginnings.

AcademyTheater_Third Person

Third Person is romance psychological thriller drama with an excellent ensemble cast: Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Kim Basinger, Adrien Brody. The basic premise is that there are three couples living in Paris, Rome and New York City and have interlocking stories. The film is compelling, intense, extremely well acted and really pulls you in as more and more is revealed about the lives of each couple. There is a fair share of heartbreak and pain within the stories, as well as shocking revelations.

In Paris, Michael, a married writer played by Liam Neeson and a Anna, single woman played by Olivia Wilde sadistically toy with one another. Michael is moody and dark, while Olivia is gorgeous, sexy-crazy and a breath of fresh air. After learning about a different relationship she has, the audience begins to see the motivations behind her actions. Then there is Sean, a corporate thief played by Adrien Brody in Rome who meets a beautiful gypsy woman who may or may not be lying about her situation to steal his money… Lastly, in New York, we have a Julia, a mother who is estranged from her young son and Rick, the father who has both moved on and has custody of the son, played by Mila Kunis and James Franco, respectively. Julia is unreliable, emotional and constantly late, making it look like she doesn’t care, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

At the end, the parallels between the three stories become evident and the climactic scene is quite a whirlwind. You’re also left thinking about the film and trying to piece it all together.

I had a great experience viewing Obvious Child and Third Person at The Academy Theater. Both are now playing in theaters, so check them out!

AcademyTheater

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