Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Appetizer Crawl Continues in New York City! Petrarca Cucina E Vino in TriBeCa

Petrarca Cucina e Vino
34 White Street, New York, NY

On a recent trip downtown to catch The Seeing Place Theater's production of Cloud 9 at the Access Theater I was challenged to find a nice restaurant to have appetizers and drinks at  before the show.

Located in what is called TriBeCa in the city (for those of you who don't know, TriBeCa = TRIangle BElow CAnal street) I discovered that just a block away from the Access Theater, which is located at 380 Broadway, was a very inviting restaurant called Petrarca Cucina e Vino. 

The Roxy Hotel
And Petrarca was, to my surprise, across the street from The Roxy Hotel (rated #15 out of 465 hotels in NYC on tripadvisor!)

Arriving on the early side, we were seated at a quiet table with a great view of the restaurant and beyond.

We ordered glasses of pinot grigio as a basket of fresh bread appeared. Note: the bread was gorgeous. The crust was so crunchy delicious that I immediately discarded my low carb diet and inhaled more than my share. But I was smart enough to leave some for what was to follow.

Piatto Rustico
We decided upon a stunning Piatto Rustico with prosciutto, speck, salami & porchetto.
Calamari Fritti
And a we also had a light and refreshing order of their Calamari Fritti, fresh fried calamari with a tangy marinara sauce.

As I devoured the appetizers and the pinot grigio I decided to order one more appetizer. (Hey, the show we were going to see was on the long side, 2 hours and 40 minutes...I needed my nourishment!)

Caprese Salad
So I opted for the Caprese...bufala mozzarella & tomato salad with fresh basil. So light and it really cleansed the palate after enjoying the selection of meats.
A delicious find in TriBeCa and I can't wait to return to Petrarca for a full dinner to experience their entrees and desserts.

Buon appetito!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Production of Cloud 9 by The Seeing Place Theater

The Seeing Place Theater
Performed at the Access Theater
380 Broadway
New York, NY
Through July 16, 2017

If you liked last season's Sense and Sensibility you'll love The Seeing Place Theater's production of Cloud 9.
Gender, race, and age-bending are just the tip of the iceberg when speaking of Caryl Churchill's groundbreaking play, Cloud 9. 

To quote managing director and actress Erin Cronican, “We’re very proud to announce that four of seven plays we're presenting this season are written by female playwrights starting with Ms Churchill’s seminal work which explores power and perception. We see our societal assumptions turned on their head by watching one family in two distinct eras – one that celebrates the patriarchy and one that smashes it. And we’re delighted to be telling this story using the same Brechtian techniques championed by Churchill herself.” 
The full ensemble in Act I
Co-directed by Cronican and Brandon Walker, Cloud 9 stars an extraordinary ensemble cast consisting of Ms. Cronican, Jane Kahler, Bill McAndrews, Sabrina Schlegel-Mejia, Robin Friend Stift, Ari Veach, and Mr. Walker. The play allows the actors to create multiple roles within dueling time-settings while important stage directions and descriptions are narrated on stage by Clinton Powell. 
Robin Friend Stift and Ari Veach as Edward and Gerry in Act II
In Act I, which takes place in a British Colony in Africa in 1880, the Victorian Era's attempt to squash sexuality explodes with delight on stage as unexpected couplings occur and testing of roles in society and power struggles play out. And then in Act II, which takes place in London, England in 1980 we see the same characters played by different actors in 1980 (but it's just 25 years later). It's sounds bizarre, but it works! 
Brandon Walker and Erin Cronican as Cathy and Lin in Act II
I had the pleasure of enjoying the original New York City production of Cloud 9 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in 1981 - thirty-six years ago! So it was an interesting revisiting of this unique play. I hesitate to call the material dated, instead maybe it's because 3 decades have passed but the play created less of a jolt to my sensibilities than it did back then. But The Seeing Place's production, with the destruction of societal roles one had to play and the exploration of countless sexual couplings or triplings (is that a word), still allowed for an exciting night at the theater. 

The ensemble's acting was terrific all around. Each time, as I write this, I've attempted to highlight one or two of them, and then just realize, everyone was magical. 

The Seeing Place Theater's production of Cloud 9 is short lived so if you're in New York City for the next week, check it out at the Access Theater located at 380 Broadway. 

Creative Team: Directed by Brandon Walker. Co-Direction by Erin Cronican. Lighting Design by Duane Pagano. Sound Design by Brandon Walker. Set/Costume Design by Erin Cronican. Assistant Direction by Candice Oden. Assistant Production Design by Robin Friend Stift. Dialect Coaching: Jane Kahler.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Markt - New York City - Foodie Alert!

On a gorgeous but busy Friday afternoon at the start of Memorial Day Weekend in New York City, I took a friend's advice and dropped by Martk restaurant in Chelsea to taste, in particular, their mussels.

Markt Restaurant
676 Sixth Avenue (@ 21st Street)

Just missing the noon day rush, I sat at the bar and ordered a pinot grigio while I perused the menu of this Belgian brasserie.

In regards to mussels, the restaurant offers a heaping 2.2 lbs of these beauties in the shell, steamed with sliced onions, celery, and fresh spices and with it comes a bounty of Belgian frites. Your sauce/herb options are: Blanche - steamed in Belgian white ale, Creme et l'ail - with garlic and fresh cream, Vin blanc - steamed in white wine, Provencale - tomato, fresh basil, peppers, and onion, Coriandre - cilantro, curry and a dash of cream, or Moules Thai - coconut milk and lemon grass. Going with the very friendly bartender's advice, I chose the Coriandre.

Oh my gosh, there were enough mussels for an army but they were so plump and juicy and the broth was so "bottle this up right now and sell it" delicious, that I was tempted to order a second helping!

And the frites were golden, crispy fries from heaven. I polished off the entire cone-full. I'm definitely coming back to try their other versions of mussels. But a reminder, this is not just mussel beach...the lunch menu ranges from beef tatare to hamburgers and lasagna to macaroni and six cheeses with black truffles. Plus I need to taste their Belgian beers.

Bon app├ętit!