Daily Archives: July 11, 2010

Dites-Moi

restaurant

In 1987 I made my professional acting debut at Lincoln Center, in the City Opera’s production of “South Pacific.”

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Those two months were when I really got “bitten by the bug” (for those of you familiar with the show, I played “Ngana,” the Frenchman’s daughter who sings “Dites-moi”).

23 years later, I’m still acting, and today I got to see the show live, for the very first time.

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I even wore my Polynesian shirt for the occasion!

Just like Lincoln Center in NYC, The Music Center in L.A. is a collection of grand theaters surrounding a fountain.

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Our Uncle Robert and Aunt Heidi were very generous and treated us to the show, as well as to brunch beforehand. We met at Pinot Grill, which was basically our only option for a Sunday matinee.

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It’s in the middle of The Center. This entire seating area got packed, all at once, with theater goers about 5 minutes after I snapped the photo.

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FYI – because it’s outdoors, they don’t have tap water available. You MUST order bottled.

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Heidi got a special “South Pacific” cocktail, the color of the ocean!

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I ordered a Portobello sandwich, subbing the potato wedges for some sauteed kale I saw on the menu.

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Aside from the mushroom, it also had grilled zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, and basil thyme aioli – served on a brioche bun:

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Abe ordered an egg/cheese sandwich that came with meat…

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… so I piled some of the ham onto my veggies for protein, and added a smear of Grey Poupon

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A bite of Abe’s fruit too

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Although the food was pretty good, there were some problems with the restaurant – it took a while, some of the food came out cold, they weren’t able to cook a poached egg longer than runny for some reason, and Abe’s dish came with meat on it (when he ordered it on the side, specifically).

Heidi timed it out perfectly – we got there about 11:30 am and were finished just in time for when the show started at 1pm.

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Seeing “South Pacific” as an audience member was surprisingly emotional for me – I got so nostalgic as I heard all those familiar songs and lines that I remembered hearing over the speakers backstage as a kid. And as an adult, I could finally understand the themes of racism, war, and of course all the sexual innuendos that went over my head at the age of 10.

The cast was terrific – I thought Carmen Cusack did an especially wonderful job as “Nellie.”

We’ve seen more musicals in the last week (“In the Heights” last Saturday) than we have in years. Thanks, Robert and Heidi for Some Enchanted…Afternoon!

Pinot Grill on Urbanspoon

Five and Dime

dessert - dinner - salads - vegetarian

Ever since I first visited Michelle and Quan’s house a few months ago, I’ve been wanting to cook in their gorgeous kitchen. Last night they let me swoop in, helped carry out my vision, and even did the dishes.

Lots of washing, chopping, zesting, and a little bit of roasting…

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While munching on a few appetizers – Food Should Taste Good Cheddar chips and TJ’s Greek Olives

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My free-form recipes, told Bittman style…

Tomato Salad: Chopped cherry tomatoes, can of black beans, diced cucumber, and olives. Add basil chiffonade and reduced balsamic (bring 1 cup to boil, then simmer until syrup-y); season to taste.

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Avocado Salad: Soak thinly sliced red onions in a mixture of cider vinegar, water, and ice for 10 minutes. Add roughly chopped avocado, juice of 1 lime, s + p, and basil oil (fresh basil, olive oil, s + p and a little water in a blender).

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Potato Salad: Roasted potatoes (olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh rosemary/thyme) with zest/juice of 1 lemon, freshly chopped parsley, parmesan, and a little more olive oil to finish.

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Roasted Carrots/Turnip Salad: Chop and coat veggies in Olive Oil and Citrus Basil Seasoning. Roast at 400 for 45 minutes, turning once.

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Green Salad: Arugula and Herb Salad Mix, Sahale Pomegranate Vanilla Cashews (crushed), Organic Dried Bing Cherries, Maple Dijon Balsamic Dressing, s + p.

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Crowned with Le Pain Quotidien Walnut bread (genius presentation idea by Michelle) – use extra basil olive oil from the avocado salad to dip.

Dinnertime – 5 Salads!!!

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My greens…

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…first plate…

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…and second:

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I don’t usually experiment untested recipes on others (aside from Abe) but I was pleased with how everything turned out – the balsamic reduction did wind up burning (and hardening) which made the tomato salad a little bitter, but all in all, a very successful meal.

DeLuscious Dessert time – 10 Cookies!!!

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Yes, that is a clipboard and a pen you see. I was being very official. It was just like “America’s Next Top Cookie!”

A small sample of every flavor…

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Careful consideration

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Note-taking

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Judge’s Deliberation (with barley tea as a palate cleanser)

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Here’s what we loved.

Oatmeal Raisin: very thick, moist, and darker than traditional ones. Not too raisin-y. Wonderful chew.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate: Also thick and chewy. Even with the layer of chocolate in the middle, it wasn’t overwhelming. Very complex in flavor – you could taste the peanut butter, chocolate, and nut individually.

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Chocolate Decadence: Cake/Brownie like and fudge-y. Like ganache or candy, but not insanely sweet. Every bite yielded a new chocolate experience – Dark? Milk? Liqueur??!? Very sophisticated.

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Chocolate White Chocolate Raspberry: Probably everyone’s favorite. Also cake-like texture, with a subtle-y tart/sweet jam-like raspberry topping.

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Although we weren’t raving over every single dessert, everyone agreed they were still good, gourmet, and totally worth their price, especially given the beautiful presentation. I was impressed with the variety, and how unique every single one was – in texture, flavor, size, and mouthfeel.  You can tell a lot of thought and effort went into the design of each cookie – they would certainly make any recipient feel special, and I’m sure they’d be thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. I’ll definitely be giving DeLuscious Cookies as gifts in the future.

If you’re not a fan of cake-y, chew-y, not-too-sweet cookies like we were, you might enjoy their Cinnamon Sugar and Chocolate Candied Pecan (for a crisper option) or the Chocolate White Chocolate M&M’s (uber sugar-y – for the kids!)

The aftermath:

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These babies are headed straight for my freezer – we’ll have enough for weeks! Or, at least, 10 days….

Thank you Michelle, Quan, and DeLuscious Cookies for a fun and yummy Saturday night!