Monday, February 25, 2019

New (to me) Worlds

I've seen three very exciting pieces over the last week and before I fly off to Texas for a work trip (hopefully it will be interesting enough for a report when I return), I thought I'd jot down some thoughts.

I went to an early preview of If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka at Playwrights Horizons.  I have my subscription, you know, and I've also heard about the playwright, Tori Sampson, for a while, so I was happy to check it out.  It tells the story of Akim, the most beautiful girl in her African village, and of the people around her.  The story is told very stylistically and, at times, rather like a folk tale.  There are heightened sections with music and dance throughout, and I've never seen anything like it!  I thought it was funny and thought-provoking and really really fascinating.

We first meet Akim when she comes downstage to give a monologue about her beauty and feeling for our ugliness.  It's all really smart and charming and a bit pointed - the ideas of beauty and the power of it are very well-done.  There are other girls in the village, who each get a monologue to talk about their different types of 'beauty', plus we also meet Akim's parents, who want to keep her locked up in the house, and a young boy who has his eye on Akim.  The fact that one of the other village girls has her eye on the young boy is sort of what sets the story in motion.

Notions of female power, female jealousy, parental unawareness, and societal pressures on young girls are everywhere in the piece.  There's a lot to laugh at and a lot to seriously ponder.  I'll admit that I was a bit confused by a section towards the end, and the ending might be rather controversial, I don't know.  I'm not sure what I thought about it, but I do know that I was completely engaged and thoroughly taken with If Pretty Hurts....  I'm thinking of going back after it opens (I have a friend on the production team and she said there have been quite a few changes made - I'd be really interested to see them).  But I don't think you'll see another story told in quite this way, and I think this playwright has a singular voice, so I recommend you check her play out.

I went to Signature Theatre to catch the revival of Lynn Nottage's By the Way, Meet Vera Stark.  The original production at Second Stage was one of the first reviews I ever blogged (you can check it out HERE).  I just think Lynn Nottage is one of the smartest, most terrific writers around and I'm so grateful to Signature that I can watch some of her 'old' stuff while I look forward to her new plays.  

As you can see from my review above, I really enjoyed Vera Stark the first time I saw it - I think I liked it even more this time (since I lay out the plot in that post, I don't need to do it again).  I thought the cast was really fantastic all around and time has made the differences between acts one and two even more pointed.  In the aftermath of #OscarsSoWhite and other nonsense that more and more people are finally beginning to notice, the struggle of women of color in Hollywood continues to be an issue, and Nottage's use of the past and present is even sharper.  Who can play what roles?  And what are the consequences of playing them?  Or NOT playing them?  So many fascinating ideas.  The play is still fast and funny, but it's also biting and sad and very true.  The production's run has been extended and you should definitely check it out.  

I have friends who are participating this year in the Cherry Lane's Mentor Project, and when I went to the kickoff celebration, the Cherry Lane offered a discount if you bought a ticket to all three shows.  Last Friday was the first in the series, by a writer I'm not familiar with.  But you can just bet that I will be keeping my eye on Kareem M. Lucas - I thought he was FABULOUS!  His piece is called The Maturation of an Inconvenient Negro (or iNegro).  Lucas is an actor and performance artist and he's been working on a trilogy of plays about 'The Poet,' and he's been working with poet Craig 'muMs' Grant as his mentor.  The piece is about a young man working through issues of understanding himself, the world, and of being seen as his authentic self.  Lucas plays 'The Poet' and has a charming, very ingratiating performance style, but when it's time for him to be intense and focused, he is laser-sharp.  The piece begins rather informally, with Lucas walking through the audience, talking about how "he wants to write a piece so Black that..." and then he shares an idea.  They start off pretty funny, but then he has bigger and bigger ideas about what he wants his piece to be.  I especially laughed at (my paraphrasing) that he wants to write a piece so Black that Roundabout will only cast it with white people, and that he wants to write a piece so Black that it won't be performed unless there's a certain percentage of people of color in the audience.  These were a couple of the lighter, earlier thoughts - they got deeper and darker as the piece went on.

He engaged with the audience throughout (he had one line about how a one-night-stand turned into a bad three-year-relationship and there was a girl in the audience who clicked her fingers; he looked at her and said 'you clicked for THAT?!'  It was pretty funny) and spun a tale of a young man desperate to find himself and where he fits in the world.  But it wasn't like any other story I've ever heard.  His impassioned letter to Disney about how they're ruining young minds was inspired.  Much of the piece was inspired and I was so glad to have been there.

After the piece, there was a talkback and I was just as impressed with Kareem Lucas after the play as I was during.  He made sure to engage with all of the young people in the house who asked a question - he asked them their name and said it was nice to meet them and he thoughtfully gave very smart and detailed answers to all of the questions.  He made a lot of fans that night, including me.  Though I'm more jazzed about all of the young people who are now fans of his, I'm sure, after a terrific show and a terrific bit of engagement.  iNegro runs until March 2 and I highly recommend you see it.  Again, it's something I haven't seen before and my eyes are a little more open than they were last week.  That's always a grand thing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Preview Thoughts on Boesman and Lena

I'm very fortunate that I have a lot of good theater coming up - I'm always trying to keep my eyes open for new work that will stimulate my brain.  But there are also my favorite authors whose plays I absolutely will not miss.  Athol Fugard is one of those writers.  If you're interested, you can remind yourself of my rhapsodic reviews of BLOOD KNOTMY CHILDREN, MY AFRICAPAINTED ROCKS AT REVOLVER CREEK, and MASTER HAROLD...AND THE BOYS.  I always find his work utterly compelling and devastating - they tell of a world that is foreign yet familiar to me and the language he uses continually breaks my heart.  I admit that I have never seen, or even read, Boesman and Lena, so I was especially excited to get a chance to see it at my beloved Signature Theatre.

Boesman and Lena is a tough tough play, very surreal and almost Beckett-like (there's even a Waiting for Godot-ish tree on stage).  There's violence and ugliness throughout (there's also humor and beauty, but it's fewer and farther between).  It's very dialogue-heavy and it's a little over two hours without intermission, so it's a commitment.  I saw an early preview, so I'm sure the pace will tighten, but this play certainly isn't for everyone.  In the interest of full disclosure, there were quite a few walkouts the night I was there.  Happily, I wasn't one of them.  I saw much of Fugard's timeless depiction of despair tinged with hope throughout, although I do admit that there were small stretches where my mind wandered.  Spoilers will be in my thoughts below - you have been warned.

photo credit: Joan Marcus
This production begins with two bedraggled characters entering through the house, seemingly carrying all of their belongings.  They stop and look around and seem to be looking right at the audience - are we becoming complicit?  Are we the ones who set them on the journey?  It was never actually clear to me who we (the audience) were supposed to be, since we were also gazed at during the last scene as well.  The characters, Boesman and Lena, end up on stage and start to build an encampment around the tree.  We hear that they have been evicted from their homestead (the play takes place in South Africa during apartheid) and have been trying to find a new place to settle.  Lena complains about how long they've been traveling, about how violently Boesman treats her, and is frequently just trying to work out her life to herself aloud.  Her monologues are a bit rambly and repetitive, but still harrowing in parts.  The bits she told us about all of her babies who have died are heartbreaking.

Boesman is violent and belligerent, and Lena clearly resents the treatment, yet they are still spiritually connected.  This changes when the third character, an old man the other two call Outa, appears.  He doesn't speak their language, but his very existence is something Lena has been yearning for - someone who doesn't hit or hate, but someone who listens to her, who seems to have empathy.  She even teaches him to say her name and the happiness she radiates when he says it is quite lovely.  Throughout the rest of the play, the centers of power shift, surprisingly, until an unexpected event stuns all three.

Even though the play was written during the time of apartheid, the idea of these wanderers, refugees almost, looking for their place because white people keep taking their place away, is hard to confront.  The play is directed by a South African woman and it seems to me she has a special ear for their dialogue and what is underneath their dialogue.  She also shows compassion for all three characters, even though on the surface, the angry Boesman perhaps doesn't deserve it.  His behavior isn't excused, but there is underlying pain that explains.  His monologue about becoming 'white man's rubbish' is again really hard to hear.  Maybe that's why so many people walked out?  I guess we can't know.

I don't think Boesman and Lena gets performed as often as some of Fugard's other plays - its density could be a reason, or its patches of unrelenting despair.  But, as usual, Fugard's compassion for these people shines through and his dialogue contains wonderments.  The actors are all excellent, but still seem to be finding their way.  I'm sure by the time the play opens next week, all will be as harrowing as it should be.  This isn't an easy play to watch, but it's a valuable piece to experience.  Especially now.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!

(I started this post yesterday, so please forgive the lateness and the inaccuracies...)

Yeah, I don't know why I named this post for a holiday I don't much enjoy.  It's probably worth a blog post someday, but today's not that day.  Although I do pass out goofy little valentines at work, so...I don't know.  Hope springs eternal and you all remember my avoidance/denial way of life.  I thought I'd fill you in on a few things I've been up to and hopefully can get myself back on a schedule.  I've actually been writing so much during the workday that it's hard to blog after work.  My brain is pretty empty most of the evening now.  But I promise to try harder.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from the NY Philharmonic, completely out of the blue.  I have a ticket to a concert later this year, so I guess they just emailed their entire single ticket list - they were offering two-for-one $25 tickets to their Lunar New Year concert.  I looked at the program and saw that they would be presenting the US premiere of a new concerto by Tan Dun.  You may remember that I took myself a couple of years ago to a concert of his music and enjoyed myself greatly (you can remind yourself of my thoughts
HERE).  Their other offerings also looked interesting, and hello, $25 for two tickets!  Why not?!  I took my dear IHBB and we had a grand evening.

After a delicious glass of cotes du rhone at Epicerie Boulud across the street from Lincoln Center, we braved the nasty rainy weather over to David Geffen Hall.  The security at the venue has been ramped up and it was rather a mess down there in the lobby, which I'm sure was made worse by the bad weather.  But there were confusing lines all over the lobby and very few staff members there to direct patrons.  Thankfully, we had gotten there early-ish so we could find the restrooms before the concert started, so we made it through the lines and the metal detectors in plenty of time.  Also, I had gotten several emails and even a voice mail from the Philharmonic, telling me that the concert would have no intermission and they couldn't guarantee any late entry, so that was another reason to be there a little on the early side.  Other unfortunate audience members didn't pay attention to those details, I'm thinking.  People were being let in after the first and second pieces, which wasn't a huge deal, but my seat neighbors were quite incensed to have missed watching them live.  Anyway.  Oh, and before I forget, the playbill at the Philharmonic is awesome - it has descriptions of every piece and a little boxed 'in short' section that tells you when/where/duration/more about every piece.  I liked that very much.

The first piece on the program was a sweet little overture called "Spring Festival Overture," by Li Huanzhi. It was brief, lilting, and a nice start to the evening.  The piece was written in the 50s, but is frequently performed at the Philharmonic, which is nice.  After that piece was the Tan Dun violin concerto, "Fire Ritual - A Musical Ritual for Victims of War."  There was an extended break between the first and second pieces; the musicians changed out and something else happened that I didn't notice until well-into the second piece.  The lights went back down and something incredibly complex began...

photo credit: Xinhua
There was the sound of a solo violin, almost disembodied, and I could tell they weren't on stage because the conductor was facing out and conducting into the audience.  I realized that the violinist (Bomsori Kim) was walking up the aisle, playing strange and beautifully dissonant music - she was the shaman (according to the notes in the program) and suddenly you heard more music from around the house.  I suddenly noticed that musicians were positioned inside the house, to the sides of the audience, playing gorgeously strange sounds.  

I thought this piece was fascinating and thrilling at times and I so want to hear it again.  I felt as if I couldn't take in everything Tan Dun was trying to do.  Occasionally, the instruments sounded like birds; the musicians hummed and stamped their feet; there was even a bit where the orchestra shook the pages of their score to signify the sound of wind.  It was all so interesting and beautiful and complicated and very moving.  There was an interesting promo video for a CD of this piece (which I just purchased, btw, I can't wait to listen again!) that you might enjoy:  VIDEO.  The piece really defies description but I highly recommend your listening to it.

Next up was the Queen of the Night's famous aria from Mozart's The Magic Flute.  I have a recording on my phone of Sumi Jo doing the aria and I love it.  It was fun to finally hear it live, though.  It's quite a showpiece for a soprano.  I thought the soloist, So Young Park, did a beautiful job with it.  The trills and all those high notes seemed to come pretty easily to her, but she wasn't smug or showing off about it.  It was lovely.  She did a second piece, "Shin Arirang," which is a traditional Korean folk song.  It was also very sweet, and she had a nice easy smile on her face through the whole thing.  I found So Young Park to be lovely and I'll be looking for more of her recordings, too.

After the arias came a suite from Stravinsky's "The Firebird," which is one of my favorite orchestral pieces/scores.  It's just so thrilling with its sounds of danger then forgiveness.  I admit to getting a tear in my eye at the start of the last movement after the Lullaby.  It's exciting to listen to and I frankly forgot there was another piece after.  It was also very nice, "Train Toccata," which was also being premiered with the Philharmonic.  It was brief, about five minutes, with mournful sounds of a train whistle alongside the forward-moving beat of the toccata.  I might have preferred hearing it before the Stravinsky, but that's probably just me.  

I forgot to mention that the evening was a debut for conductor Kahchun Wong, as well.  He is a recent winner of the Mahler Conducting Competition and seems to be making debuts all around the world.  I found him to be delightful - he was obviously enjoying himself throughout the evening and seemed to relish the work by the musicians.  After each piece, he would go around to the various instrument sections and ask the soloists to stand up and take a bow, which was very sweet.  I enjoyed watching him very much and look forward to keeping an eye on his career.  The audience was very enthusiastic at the end of the concert and even though the house wasn't quite full, it still felt warm and happy inside while it was cold and rainy outside.  I'm glad I took the Philharmonic up on their generous discount offer.

Wow, this post is pretty long already!  I'll just briefly add a couple more things:  I took one last Winter Restaurant Week fling, a dinner at Bobo, a very cute French restaurant in the village.  It's tiny and they seated me at a very cramped table in the front, which was annoying at first because a person who was supposed to have left before I arrived was still sitting in my seat.  I stood there and she said just a minute then continued to sit there.  Sometimes I hate people.  She finally got up and left and I tucked myself into my corner table.

Like most fairly-authentic French restaurants, the service was, uh, leisurely.  My server came to chat with me whenever he had a mind to, so I was there for quite a while.  As I describe my courses, imagine them being spread out over around two hours.  I got there during happy hour, so I was grateful to have a steeply-discounted glass of another delicious cotes du rhone.  For my first course, I got the butternut squash soup, which had pieces of roasted butternut squash at the bottom of the bowl, along with a smattering of toasted pepitas and a drizzle of creme fraiche.  It was really yummy, very earthy and rich, and the crunch of the pepitas was just right.  I enjoyed the soup very much.  I'll include some pictures, but the part of the restaurant where I was sitting was pretty dark, which is good for taking pictures of yourself (candlelight is always flattering), but not so good for food.  

I used the photoshop on my phone - you still can't tell how great it looked
For the main course I got the cassoulet, because when else can you get cassoulet?  And MAN was it good!  Cassoulet is basically a stew/casserole that has white beans and lots of pork, covered in bread crumbs.  I mean, seriously, what could be bad about that?!  This was SO delicious, I can barely describe it.  It was presented in a small cast-iron skillet, but was so full of rich, meaty flavor, I couldn't finish.  I'm thinking there were chunks of pork belly in there (SO GOOD), and also some duck (SO GOOD) and some garlicky sausage (my least favorite ingredient, but still good).  The bread crumbs were crunchy and buttery and the perfect accompaniment to the stew.  Well, not really a stew, since there wasn't much liquid, but there was much flavor.  I would totally get that dish again - I've been thinking about it ever since I had it.

For dessert, I got the lemon tarte, with a swirl of pomegranate molasses.  This was lemony and tart and delicious.  For me, it maybe needed a touch more sugar in the lemon curd, but it wasn't a big deal.  It had huge lemon flavor, and the thick shortbread crust was delicious, too.  I almost thought about getting some tea to go with it, but I was fine.  I was seriously stuffed after the meal - so much good food and good wine!  I was also reading a charming book on my Nook, though I did have to put it away because I was too busy eavesdropping on my seat neighbors...

About my restaurant seat neighbors - it was a couple of gal pals, probably in their late 20s or early 30s.  They finished two bottles of wine while I had my three course meal, so they got increasingly loud as the evening went on.  One of the ladies has a new beau, as far as I can tell, and they spent most of the evening dissecting a text he sent.  ONE TEXT.  They were a bit exhausting.  And very TMI.  I learned entirely too much about their methods of contraception and why they chose them.  They also asked me about every course I ordered, but didn't order any food themselves.  It was...interesting.  When I left, they bid me farewell and called them their silent food partner.  I guess you just never know.

I also went to see a new play at the Cherry Lane Theater:  God Said This by Leah Nanako Winkler.  You may remember I saw this play at the Humana Fest last year - here's what I said about it then:  "Our last play of the day was God Said This by Leah Nanako Winkler.  This play recently won the Yale Drama Prize and will be at Primary Stages next season, so it's maybe the most high-profile of the Humana line-up.  I enjoyed it quite a bit - it's a moving story about a family, illness, redemption, and sacrifice.  It's quite human, very moving and terrifically acted.  A fractured family comes together around the gravely-ill mother, trying to finish her last round of chemo.  The father is a recovering alcoholic, one daughter is a born-again Christian and the other has been estranged from her family for seven years.  It sounds a bit 'been there, done that,' but it's all done with great humanity and wonderful acting.  I thought the father's monologues, as if he's speaking at an AA meeting, were very well done, and set the tone for the play.  The physical production, and the direction, were very good, too.  I was happy to be back in a good place after the earlier play."     

photo credit: James Leynse
I kept considering going back to see the play, but since I had already seen it, and enjoyed it (as you can tell from my thoughts above), it wasn't at the top of my list.  Then, I saw a thread on Twitter about a particular review of the play.  The review was so stupidly racist, while trying to seem so 'woke,' it pissed me off.  The producing company, very smartly, offered a new discount code and put it on Twitter.  So I bought another ticket and actually, I'm really glad I did.  I thought the play seemed much richer and deeper this time around.  It's the same cast, so they've lived with these characters for a long time.  But also, being done in a proscenium production at the Cherry Lane (instead of in-the-round at Humana) really heightened the feelings of frustration, helplessness, fear, and fury.  Because the space was more contained, the emotions seemed bigger, because there wasn't as much air.  Does that make sense?  Anyway, I'm sorry that the stupid critic was so stupid, but I'm glad I saw God Said This again.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the playwright brings us next.

I guess that's enough for now.  I've got some new plays and musicals on my calendar, so hopefully, as I keep saying, I can get back in the blogging groove.  It's actually a little bittersweet to think about sharing my posts on Facebook anymore, because one of my most loyal readers, and a dearly beloved teacher at my college, passed away recently.  He always emailed me after reading my thoughts about a show - I will miss that.  And him.  But thanks to the rest of you here for sticking with me.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Winter RW 2019 - Charlie Palmer Steak and Bombay Bread Bar

Yay!  Restaurant Week is here again!  My consumption of new food has had to decrease because of the cost increase, but that's ok.  So far I've enjoyed two meals and I have one to go.  Since I don't have any new theater to talk about, let's chat about food!

I had forgotten that I've already been to Charlie Palmer Steak, but when a co-worker suggested we go there for a RW lunch, I happily accepted.  Their menu looked very tasty and yummy food is yummy food, whether I've been to the restaurant before or not, right?  Off we went last week for the now-two-course lunch (I do miss the desserts, but oh well).  If you want to refresh your memory about my previous trip to Charlie Palmer Steak, which included a little chef fangirly-ness, you can see that HERE.  

For some reason, we were again seated near the entrance instead of truly inside the space, which is strange.  The space inside didn't seem full, and it would be nice to actually be seated near the kitchen area to watch the chefs, but oh well.  At least the food was very tasty.  For my first course, I got the fresh tagliatelle with roasted chestnuts and crispy guanciale.  Oh, good golly, this was grand.  At first, when the very nice server set the bowl down, I thought 'that's it?!'  The serving seemed quite small.  But the dish was so yummy and satisfying, it was actually the perfect size for a first course.  The pasta was beautifully made, with a terrific chew, and the ragu of chestnuts and guanciale was unique.  I thought the taste would be heavy-ish, but it was actually very light and tender.  The saltiness of the guanciale was offset by the meatiness of the chestnuts, and their dice was so small and precise, everything just melted in my mouth.  It was delicious.

For my second course, I almost got the pork belly (I mean, hello, pork belly), but then I thought I didn't need to have pork in both courses.  I probably overthought it.  Anyway, I decided to get the MSG Charlie Palmer Steak Sandwich.  It is a seared New York strip, with caramelized onions and the chef's signature sauce (apparently the MSG means that the sandwich is the official steak sandwich of Madison Square Garden; uh, ok).  I will pretty much eat anything that features caramelized onions, because yum.  The sandwich was really good - the meat was cooked and seasoned perfectly and the onions were sweet and delicious.  The signature sauce had a little bit of a kick to it, which was nice.  It seemed ketchup-based, which is fine by me.  Fries came on the side; they were a nice surprise.  The fries were just the way I like them, crispy and salty.  So good.  Again, the serving size seemed small at first, but the flavors were so satisfying, I couldn't finish.  So I need to stop thinking like an American when they put a plate of food in front of me...

Even though I was sorry there was no dessert included, I was so full, I probably wouldn't have been able to eat dessert anyway.  Though it would've been nice to have a little something something sweet after the meal.  Oh well.  But I again enjoyed eating at Charlie Palmer Steak and would be happy to go back, even not during RW.  I really do think my daddy would enjoy it.

For years, I've wanted to eat at a Floyd Cardoz restaurant.  I never got to Tabla, which was a bummer, then I saw him on Top Chef Masters (I miss that show, I wish it would come back; did they run out of Masters?) and found him delightful.  I've been waiting to be able to taste his food and I'm happy to have finally had the chance.  Bombay Bread Bar is his new-ish spot, replacing Paowalla down in the Village.  It's a pricey place, but I was happy to use my jury duty reimbursement check to pay for my RW dinner there.

What a fun spot!  It's all brightly colored and cheery, with cool art and funky decorative touches all around - even in the restroom!  The staff is friendly, without being too obtrusive, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly.  The cost puts Bombay Bread Bar into the 'special event' category, but that's ok.  I was texting my sister photos of my meal and she wants to go the next time she visits, so that will be a special event!

I did a little internet research before going, so I would have a little more detail on the food items on the RW menu.  I had my choices narrowed down to just a couple of dishes, and the very pleasant server helped me make up my mind.  As soon as I sat down, though, I needed to order a cocktail.  Which, of course, is not included in the cost of a RW meal, but it was so bloody cold out, I needed some alcohol to warm up.  I chose the tamarind margarita, which was DELICIOUS.  Just perfectly balanced, and smartly only puts salt on half the glass rim.  At least it's smart for me, because I can never finish that salt.  The drink was amazing by itself and also tasty with my food, so thumbs up on that cocktail.

Every table gets an order of rosemary naan with three chutneys - tamarind, tomato, and mint cilantro.  The bread was so light and airy, yet crispy, too.  And the chutneys were incredible, even the mint cilantro.  I don't really enjoy cilantro, but that chutney was so light and clean-tasting.  I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.  But tamarind chutney will always be my favorite.  

For my first course, I ordered the Sindhi Dal Pakhwan, which had lentils, spiced chickpeas, spicy yogurt, tamarind chutney, crispy puri (crackers), and pomegranate seeds.  OK, this was SO good.  Again, so much going on, with textures and spices and flavors, it was delightful.  It was almost like a Indian version of seven-layer dip (I know, I'm such a Midwesterner), but I loved it.

I was hesitating between ordering the short ribs or the halibut for my second course - when I asked my server, he did not hesitate.  He recommended the halibut as something very special.  OK then.  Boy, was he right!!  It was amazing!  It comes coated in some kind of puffed rice, in a tomato broth with roasted butternut squash and a crispy split pea.  It was served with a side of lemon pilaf.  This will definitely be going onto my favorite dishes of 2019 list!  I couldn't have imaged how amazing halibut coated in crispy rice could be, but IT IS.  The fish was cooked perfectly and the broth had just the right amount of acidity.  The crispy split peas were also really tasty, and the sprinkling of little pieces of soft butternut squash was perfect.  Just incredible.

For dessert, I was indecisive for about a minute, then I ordered the Gulab Nut, soaked in old monk rum syrup and served with pistachio cream.  I had no idea that Indian doughnuts were what I needed in my life!!  After the first bite, I immediately posted on Facebook that I am now dating that doughnut.  It was soooooooo delicious, sweet and cakey, boozy and creamy.  Another nominee (and it's only January) for best dish of the year.  Even though I was practically ready to explode, I couldn't stop eating that delicious thing.  Thumbs WAY up for the doughnut.

Obviously, I loved my meal at Bombay Bread Bar.  I wish it were a little less pricey there, but I will definitely be back.  I had a book (which coincidentally is set in India - synergy!) and enjoyed a nice, leisurely dinner.  I highly recommend your going.  Having said all that, though, maybe I should point out that I'm a wimp when it comes to highly-spiced and/or food with a lot of heat.  For me, the food at Bombay Bread Bar was perfect, because it was subtly spiced and not too hot.  I found it tasty and delighfully complex, but perhaps people looking for a more authentic chili experience would be disappointed. I sure wasn't.  My only problem was that I was so full, I couldn't get on the subway right away after I left the restaurant and it was awfully cold to walk around, but I did.  It all worked out well and I hope to get another unexpected reimbursement check in the mail and I'll use it for more delicious food by Floyd Cardoz.

I want plates like this one

my first course

even the bathroom was cool!

from my walk to the subway

I do enjoy lights