Theatre Sunday

Kevin and I got away for a few hours to enjoy the theatre over the weekend. We went to watch the matinee showing of Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder at Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown Los Angeles.  I can totally see how this show won the 2014 Tony Award for the Best Musical — it’s dark but painfully hilarious, and if you’re a fan of Book of Mormon and other shows that’s not afraid to, you know, “go” there, you’ll probably enjoy this one too.

Before the show, we stopped at Pinot Grill, a restaurant that sits just outside Ahmanson, for a quick bite.  Kevin had the soup of the day (potato and celery soup which was delicious), along with quiche and I had a good old burger.

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We love the threatre and although LA is not the West End or the Broadway, we are thankful that a good show like this one eventually makes its way to the West Coast.  We are limited to what we can watch (I wish I can just to go the Theatre District and watch something new ever night) but this will definitely do.

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I Wasn’t Shaken to the Core

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(Photo credits: www.onthesetofnewyork.com and  www.adashofcinema.com)

The movie, “Something Borrowed,” got me interested in Shake Shack. Then I started reading all the raving reviews about the burger shop on the Web and got even more intrigued.  I’m not much of a hamburger person, but I am a culinary ambulance chaser, so naturally, I felt the need to try it and see what the hype was all about myself.

Yet the last two times I was in NYC, I was a pseudo-vegetarian, so I had to forgo the opportunity to decipher the mystery behind a hamburger and frozen custards that seem to bedazzle the entire island of Manhattan. (I go through the “I ain’t gonna eat no meat no mo” phase probably twice a year, which lasts about a month each time, and they somehow always landed on days I traveled to NYC.)

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I walked by Shake Shack on Madison Square Park on several occasions but never got in a (long) line for the famous hamburger. These photos were taken during my trip two years ago, while I slide glanced the patrons enjoying the juicy burger with envy.

This time around, I was committed to trying the burger, once and for all.  Maya and I went over to the original Madison Square Park location hungry and ready to grub on a Sunday afternoon (we even walked 30-some blocks from our hotel in Midtown East to work up our appetite) only to find that the tiny shack that stood in the middle of the petit park was temporary closed for renovation!  What the #$@!##%*&#! cry

Well, when life throws you a lemon, you go for lemon gelato, right?

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We were a little too hungry and annoyed to go over to its other locations so we decided to eat at Eataly across the street instead.  We were bummed about Shake Shack but weren’t complaining too much about the unexpected change of plan because Eataly is pretty awesome, evident from my previous posts here and here.  Yes, we like this place a lot.

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One look at this lovely charcuterie plate (SALUMI MISTI: An Assortment of Artisanal Salumi) and we were saying, “Shake who?” lol

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These are melt-in-your-mouth goodness.

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AGNOLOTTI del Plin con Sugo d’Arrosto: Housemade Meat Filled Pasta with a Veal Reduction, for Maya.

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TAGLIATELLE al Ragù di Manzo: Housemade Tagliatelle with Short Rib Ragù and Parmigiano Reggiano® for me. This was amazing.  We finished our amazing lunch with a few delicious scoops of gelato.

You might think our day ended with this, but not so fast. We actually did make it out Shake Shack later that night.

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We got to go to the one in Time Square, after watching Gigi on Broadway, which, I’m sorry to say, was pretty awful. I thought the actual performance was good but the dialogues were way too long and often pointless, and the story itself was a blah. The theatre was empty so at least we got to move down quite a bit from our original, nose-bleed seats to get our money’s worth.

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Shake Shack was a mad house, even at 11:00 p.m., packed with tourists and locals alike. The line went out the door but it only took a few minutes to get to the front.  Maya spotted an actor in line (I forgot who she said it was), which was very New York!

I ordered the single Hamburger. I guess when you order the hamburger here, you can’t assume that it automatically comes with the usual lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion. Instead, you have to ask for them specifically, otherwise you’ll get a burger just with a beef patty and two buns.  Not knowing this, I ordered mine with extra raw onion (which I always do when ordering burgers) and the guy thought I only wanted a burger with, well, onion slices. Good thing I clarified it with the cashier beforehand or I would have been super disappointed.

Well, speaking of being disappointed, I must admit that I was a bit confused. The hamburger was decent, but mediocre at best.  Even after eating two (don’t judge — I was hungry), I couldn’t understand what all the buzz was about.  I thought In-N-Out was 3,425,462 times better and burgers from other shops, like Counters and Umami, were much juicier and flavorful than then the ones I bit into here.

Perhaps we are too spoiled with so many gourmet burger options in LA and PDX? I don’t know for sure, but you can be the judge if you’re an Angeleno, because Shake Shack is coming to West Los Angeles in 2016.

Maybe the burger just needed a little more Salt N Pepa.

Friday Date Night

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Kevin and I are incredibly disappointed to learn that our favorite curry place in Downtown LA, Fat Spoon, has recently closed its door. 😦 I wish I had known so I could have enjoyed the amazing curry one last time. I almost cried when I saw the closure notice posted on the wall. I really loved this place and I’m going to miss it so much.

We were going to see a show at Ahmanson Theatre that night and needed to find a place real quick, so we went to a nearby TOT (short for Teishokuya of Tokyo) for dinner. Man, I wish we picked a different place because both the food and the service were less than ideal, and everything were overpriced!

I ordered the Tofu Steak with ginger sauce, with French fries, broccoli, and corn on the side. I was so bummed when tofu and corn came out cold (corn tasted like it just came out of a freezer) and the fries were soggy. I was hoping that the food would come out sizzling on the teppan grill but no. Fried squid were okay but nothing special. Kevin said that his Chicken Nanban Bowl Combo was mediocre and not worth the whopping $14.50.

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The service at the restaurant was slow but we made it to the theatre in time to enjoy the show, Anything Goes. I watched this with Maya in New York last year and had a blast, so I was really excited to watch it again here in Los Angeles! I thought the cast was great (Rachel York was amazing as Reno Sweeney), and although I didn’t think it was as good as the Broadway version, this production was still incredibly lively and entertaining! Pon Pon was responding to the music, especially during the amazing tap dance sequence in the song “Anything Goes,” by kicking my stomach! 🙂

I must to admit that it’s getting tougher and tougher to sit in a seat over a long period of time. I didn’t feel uncomfortable when I was here to watch Seminar a few months back, but I guess my body is slowing but surely changing, as I enter the third trimester of pregnancy! I’m so thankful for the seats we have for our annual membership here. They are in the nosebleed section but we have two corner seats so we can stretch our legs a little, without landing an accidental roundhouse kick on the people in front of us.

Happy Friday night, everyone!

Day 2: Anything Goes!

Day 2 of Maya and Hirono’s NYC adventures began with lunch at Eataly, in the lovely Gramercy neighborhood.

When you walk into this place — a food court meets grocery shop (on steroid) — you instantly feel like you have stepped into Italy. There are eateries stationed in each corner of the warehouse-like building, each serving up different dishes, from seafood, to steak, to pasta, to wine / cheese, to desserts.

Maya and I ended up at the Pasta section and had one the best. pasta. dishes. ever.  Our server was a handsome Italian guy with a full-on Italian accent … so we decided to call him Mossimo.  The place felt completely authentic (unless, of course, Mossimo was really from Nebraska).lol

This was spaghetti with simple tomato sauce. The menu had this dish served with penne but I changed it up to my favorite pasta. It was seriously amazing – simple but an absolute perfect meal.

Maya’s ravioli dish was pretty darn amazing too.

After lunch, we walked across 23rd Street to Chelsea Market. We walked by Shake Shack on the way, which has always been one of the places that I wanted go, but now that I don’t eat meat, the burger didn’t appealed to me all that much … but I took a picture of it anyway.

When we arrived to Chelsea Market, the home of Food Network, we made a beeline to Jacques Torres for a cup of hot chocolate. It was nice to relax a bit over a nice cup of Wicked (spicy hot chocolate, aka liquid crack). Maya and I shared a delicious piece of Earl Gray chocolate.

We weren’t particular hungry but we saw a bunch of people eating whole lobsters so we HAD to try it too (we are a total culinary ambulance chasers and we get so curious as to what others are eating) ! We got to choose our lobster from the fish monger who cooked it and cracked the shells for us.  We were glad that the lobsters were already dead … otherwise, we would have felt super guilty, knowing that we were directly responsible for the poor crustacean’s destiny.cry

We named the lobster Oscar … and he was delicious.

Chelsea Market was jam packed with a Saturday tourist crowd, with barely a room to walk, so we didn’t get to explore all that much, but we made sure to stop by Fat Witch for some yummy brownies.

We spent a few good hours shopping at SoHo, after we left Chelsea Market. We went to Purl SoHo (aka mecca) and picked up some new fabrics, and bought the entire Uniqlo store. After we dropped off our stuff and relaxed for a few minutes at the hotel, we were off to see the Broadway musical, Anything Goes, which turned to be one of the most entertaining shows I’ve seen, on Broadway AND elsewhere!  We seriously spent two hours laughing.  I was a bit disappointed at first that Sutton Foster was no longer on the show, but It was still amazing nonetheless.

Then, it was time for late dinner at Gam Mi Oak in Koreatown for some ox tail soup and kimchi. Maya ordered cow’s knees (yep, I guess they’re edible). I didn’t eat the knees but I had some vegetables in the dish and they were awesome.

Ready to go to sleep — it’s almost 3:00 a.m. and we have another busy day tomorrow!