The nephews visited us last Saturday and Sunday, and we had a really great time. The only thing rotten about our weekend was that we saw a matinee of new musical Something Rotten on Saturday.
The show was fun, but I didn't outright love it, and after having slept on it, I realized the second-biggest problem I had was that it was just too conventional. You might be thinking that if I'd wanted something unconventional, I should have gone to an Off-Off-Broadway show. And if you are, you're right.
The biggest problem is that it just wasn't as funny as I'd hoped. I got some laughs, and there was much clever wordplay from book writers Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell and lyricists Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, but my belly wasn't hurting from laughing so hard. And I wanted my belly to hurt, dammit!
The acting was all very good. Tony complimented short-blonde-with-the-big-soprano Kate Reinders, who played Portia, by saying she's the next Kristen Chenoweth. (In the New York Times, Ben Brantley dismissed her by saying she was "doing an impression of Kristen Chenoweth.") And there were two big song and dance numbers featuring most of the cast that were really enjoyable.
I'm not saying you shouldn't see SR because it didn't live up to my expectations, but if you had the same expectations, realize you, too, might not find it to be all of that and a bucket of rotten tomatoes.
M&M both said they enjoyed the show after we left the theater. I prodded them via text on Monday to tell me whether it had lived up to their expectations. Matt said it was better than he expected. Mike gave a complicated answer, as is his wont, but he said it was a great, not just good, show.
M&M&I had gotten lunch at the fairly new Gansevoort Market in the Meatpacking District. It had been on my list of places to take the 'phews ever since I became aware of its existence back in February.
We wandered around a bit to ponder our selections before settling on taqueria Tacombi. I thought that day it might have been the same brand of taco restaurant that's in the Gotham West Market, but it's not. I realized today, having walked past it again after having gone to a fun barbecue at Mark McC's place, that there's an outpost on 24th Street that goes by the name Tacombi Café el Presidente.
We enjoyed our food, but the portions were rather small:
Matt got pork tacos, and Mike and I both got Corn and Poblano Quesadillas. I thought to ask whether one taco would be too little to eat, because it was so cheap, but I didn't ask that about the quesadillas, because they were $2 more. I think we all would have appreciated at least one more of what we got. I asked the 'phews if they wanted a slice of pizza from a nearby stand to help full them up, but they said they'd be all right.
We did get dessert, though. I had a mango sorbet cone from Il Gelato, and they both had Aunt Butchie's Cheesecake Cones:
Frozen cheesecake in caramely cones. They really dug them.
Here's part of the market shot from the entrance as we exited, with the pizza place we would have gone to if we were still starving in the foreground and the skylighted seating area in the back:
For dinner that evening, we went to a pretty new Thai restaurant on 8th Avenue in Chelsea called Rhong Tiam. It's one of at least four Thai spots on 8th Avenue between 14th and 23rd streets. It caught my eye because signage in the windows tout its gluten-free-friendliness.
I didn't realize until the hostess took our order that this Rhong Tiam (creator Andy Yang has a few outposts throughout the city) acts like a takeout-only place; even though it has seating, everything arrives bagged like you're taking it home.
The food was decent, but I was bummed that the appetizer they gave me was different than the one I'd requested (no Chicken Curry Puff!) and my green curry was super duper spicy-hot. The latter issue was totally on me; the hostess had said it was the hottest of the curry offerings, so I was forewarned. But the yellow curry I'd originally requested was unavailable that night.
Tony went back to RT for pad Thai last week, and he said it was the best he's ever had.
When we got home, we played Menu Mash-up, a game I gave the boys for Christmas in 2013. I won the Surprising & Satisfying card—and the game, with five cards to everybody else's three—by serving up Bacon Puree With Chocolate Pancakes.
Here's one of Tony's creations:
His strategy is to dump a bunch of crappy cards in one gross dish that he's pretty sure has no chance of winning the round. "Honey," "Mustard," "Carrot", and "Salsa" had potential for later rounds, if you ask me.
The next morning, I made a pot of oatmeal for breakfast. When Tony and I eat oatmeal, we almost always mention Granny, who for a while there was fond of telling us how her mother would cook up a big pot of oatmeal and then push it to the back of the stove to keep warm for Granny and her siblings to help themselves whenever they were ready to eat. It's a nice, comforting memory for her, about comfort food.
We put out a bunch of toppings for M&M to put on their oatmeal: crystallized ginger, honey, cinnamon, agave syrup, golden raisins, and Tony's—and many a Scandinavian's—favorite, lingonberry jam.
I put the jam in my second, smaller bowl of oatmeal. In my first, I went with the crystallized ginger, golden raisins, and a squeeze of agave:
The 'phews helped me make more of the Mint Brownies I wrote about in my previous post. They weren't Double Mint Brownies because I didn't use any peppermint extract, and they were plenty minty from only the chocolate mint sprigs I clipped from the garden:
Like last time, I infused the mint into ghee, not whole butter, so Tony could also eat the brownies, which turned out like this:
For lunch, after Tracey arrived, we had as our main course the same chicken dish I made when Eugene, Lou, and Mark came over for dinner last month (aka two posts ago): chicken breasts dusted with California Seasoned Pepper and covered in chopped leeks, which I've come to call Chicken Buried in Leeks. We also had braised kohlrabi and sautéed baby bok choi:
I put Penzeys Tsardust Memories plus additional marjoram on the kohlrabi, and the combination was splendid. I'd first tried the kohlrabi–PTM&M combo the Tuesday prior in a very similar meal I'd made for Tony that substituted a salad of red-speckled green lettuce for the bok choi. That salad had also featured radish sprouts, French breakfast radishes, and a lime–Sweet French Basil dressing:
Continuing with that Tony-and-me-only meal, we drank a bottle of Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay that Jack had brought us. I really liked it; it was too oaky-buttery for Tony. We both felt ourselves getting pretty buzzed from a white wine, so we wanted to check the percentage of alcohol. I couldn't make out the tiny numbers, so I took a photo and blew it up on the screen of my phone:
Optometrist, here I come!
Now back to the lunch with Tracey, Tony, Mike, and Matt:
We ate the brownies with more of the Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream that I'd also mentioned in my previous post. Mike said this ice cream is his favorite; Matt likes Vanilla With Chocolate Chips the best. Here's a photo of my serving of dessert:
Before they headed back to New Jersey, Tracey and the boys posed for a picture for me on the terrace in front of one of our serviceberry trees:
As I had mentioned in this post we would be doing, that Friday evening before the 'phews arrival, Tony and I caught the movie Peggy Guggenheim—Art Addict in the Tribeca Film Festival. Parts of the movie could have been better—for instance, there were times when subtitles would have been really helpful—but overall, it was a fascinating glimpse into the life of a fascinating person.
I didn't know that PG spent the last years of her life in Venice and actually spent very few years of her adult life in New York. Only during World War II, when she had to escape to the U.S. from the Nazis, did she reside in the city where she was born and raised.
For only $40,000, PG accumulated a collection of modern artworks that she'd planned to display at her own museum in Paris and that are now worth billions. She was widely dismissed by critics at the time as a rich woman without taste who'd bought a bunch of worthless junk. And the Louvre denied her request to help her get the works out of harm's way during the war by saying they weren't worth saving. The lasting value of those paintings and sculptures, which are on display in her museum in Venice, proves those critics were jerks and fools.
PG did what she wanted and didn't give a damn what people thought. She had two husbands and many lovers, including some of the artists she nurtured. She wasn't gorgeous—thanks in part to an incomplete nose job that she insisted be halted because she was in too much pain—but she had a magnetism that drew lovers to her. (Her money probably didn't hurt either, but she was nowhere near as wealthy as the other Guggenheims, including her uncle Solomon, for whom the Guggenheim Museum in New York is named.)
The movie has fascinating tidbits about her crazy-ass family and insights from people in her orbit and those who followed in her wake. Tony and I enjoyed the clips of Mercedes Ruehl, who won an Obie for portraying PG in the play Woman Before a Glass a decade ago, and wished there had been more of her in the movie.
You should see Peggy Guggenheim—Art Addict when it goes into wide release.