The Weekend Report: October 30 – November 1

Theater

Gin Game opened October 14
Gin Game opened October 14

The Gin Game – Two-time Tony Award winner James Earl Jones squares off with three-time Emmy and Tony Award winner Cicely Tyson in D.L. Coburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Gin Game. I saw the play recently. I am glad I had the opportunity to see these two masters work. James Earl Jones is 84 and Cicely Tyson is 90 so there won’t be many more opportunities. The play is directed by Leonard Foglia (Master Class) in this brand-new Broadway production.

King Charles III opening night November 1
King Charles III opening night November 1

King Charles III – Winner of the 2015 Olivier award for best new play which opens on Broadway on November 1 after a successful West End run.  This drama of political intrigue was written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Rupert Goold. King Charles III has been deemed “the most insightful and engrossing new history play in decades” by Ben Brantley of The New York Times. This production explores the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of Britain’s democracy and the conscience of its most famous family.

China Doll opening November 19
China Doll opening November 19

China Doll (opening night November 1) –  Oscar, Emmy and Tony Award winner Al Pacino and Tony and Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet join forces in a riveting story of a man of means, ready to walk away from it all to start a new life with his young fiancée. Directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Clybourne Park).

Fashion

The James Perse sample sale is back from October 27 to November 1 at 260 Fifth Avenue in New York City. Find signature knits at savings of up to 75% off retail prices. For more information: James Perse Sample Sale

Movies

Rock the Kasbah opens October 23
Rock the Kasbah opens October 23

Rock the Kasbah – Barry Levinson directs Bill Murray in this comedy-drama about a down-and-out music manager who follows a USO tour to Afghanistan to visit his one remaining client, in the process discovering a talented young singer who he sneaks into Kabul to compete on the country’s popular reality talent show “The Afghan Star.”

Suffragette opens October 23
Suffragette opens October 23

Suffragette – In this galvanizing feminist drama, a working-class laundress (Carey Mulligan) in 19th century London becomes radicalized when she meets a brave cadre of women organizing to obtain the vote. Also stars Helena Bonham Carter and Meryl Streep.

Our Brand is in Crisis opens October 30
Our Brand is in Crisis opens October 30

Our Brand is Crisis – This satirical comedy gives viewers an inside look at the high-stakes, win at all costs world of politics. Sandra Bullock plays”Calamity” Jane Bodine who is hired to work on the campaign of a Bolivian presidential candidate that has fallen behind in the polls. She faces off against her rival Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton) who is working on the opponent’s campaign and is looking for every opportunity to antagonize Jane. Produced by Oscar-winning producers George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

TV

Angel from Hell starring Jane Lynch
Angel from Hell starring Jane Lynch

Angel from Hell (premiers November 5, 9:30PM CBS) – stars Jane Lynch as Amy, a colorful, brassy woman claiming to be a guardian angel to Allison, an organized seemingly perfect young woman. Did I mention it stars Jane Lynch?

1962 Aston Martin DB4GT

While the DB5 is more widely known the DB4GT is more sought after by collectors. This model was the 14th of just 19 DB4 GT’s tailor-made by Italian shop Zagato to be lighter and more nimble than its factory counterparts. It was originally delivered to Australia, where it was successfully raced, before being sold to an owner in England who had the vehicle restored to a Concours-winning state by marque specialist Richard Williams and Carrozzeria Zagato.

Aston Martin DB4GT
Aston Martin DB4GT

Aston Martin approached Zagato to modify the DB4GT to help it maintain its competitiveness against Ferrari in the World Sports Car Championships in the early 1960s. Aston Martin unveiled the model at the 1960 London Motor Show and it is considered by many to be the coachbuilder’s finest design.

Aston Martin DB4GT
Aston Martin DB4GT

This car will be included in an aution at Sotheby’s on December 10th.This will be the first time in over a decade that a 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT will change hands.

For more information: Aston Martin Zagato.

Aston Martin DB4GT
Aston Martin DB4GT

Best of Fall TV: Part Two

TV

Casual on Hulu
Casual on Hulu

Casual (now streaming on Hulu) – A bachelor and his divorced sister raise a teenager together and support each other through the trials of the dating world in this dramatic comedy. A funny, interesting and engaging view of dating and family life in 2015 with strong performances by the lead actors. This Hulu original is produced by Jason Reitman.

Saturday Night Live Season 41!
Saturday Night Live Season 41!

Saturday Night Live (NBC) – Somehow SNL has managed to stay relevant (relatively) after 40 years. My favorite is still Weekend Update (although I do miss Tina and Amy). The never-ending presidential election cycle should give them lots of humorous, satirical fodder this year. Check out the October 17th skit on the first Democratic debate.

Quantico premiers September 27 on CBS
Quantico on CBS

Quantico (CBS)- A drama about FBI trainees at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., one of whom is a sleeper agent who will engineer a major terror attack on the U.S. I have watched the first couple of episodes and am intrigued. The story arc looks like it will encompass the full season with lots of interesting individual story lines.

The Affair on Showtime
The Affair on Showtime

The Affair (October 4) – This show had a compelling premise in the first season – the first half of the show was from the male protagonist’s perspective and the second half from the female’s. The second season will include perspectives from an additional two characters. I am a couple of episodes into season 2 – remains to be seen if the show will be able to hold my attention through a second season.

The Good Wife starring Julianna Margulies
The Good Wife starring Julianna Margulies

The Good Wife (CBS) – Still one of my favorites after six years. A great cast headed by Julianna Margulies but also includes Chris Noth, Christine Baranski and Alan Cumming. Must see TV.

American Horror Story: Hotel
American Horror Story: Hotel

American Horror Show: Hotel (FX) – I have a love-hate relationship with American Horror Show. Loved the first season (Murder House) and season three (Coven) but the others not so much. I love the cast (Jessica Lange was amazing). I have high hopes for this season – although Jessica Lange dropped out at the end of last season the cast for Hotel includes Lady Gaga, Cheyenne Jackson and Matt Bomer (got to be hot, right?). Jury is definitely out after the first episode though.

Fargo
Fargo

Fargo (Fox) – Coming off a great first season I am hoping the show will maintain its momentum. The cast is promising – the season 2 reboot includes Kirsten Dunst, Jean Smart, Patrick Wilson and Ted Danson.

Supergirl on CBS
Supergirl on CBS

Supergirl (premiers October 26, 8:30PM CBS) – While I confess to a bit of super hero fatigue (enough Marvel, enough!) I will probably check out this female-driven take on the genre.

Rock Reach House

The Rock Reach House juts out of the rocky landscape like a modernist fever dream. Built using an innovative light-gauge steel system, this short-term rental house sits not far from Joshua Tree National Park. Each of the two bedrooms has its own private patio, enabling guests to soak in the views of the surrounding rocks, juniper, and desert oak trees, and for an actual soak, there’s also a hot tub and outdoor shower. Back indoors, you’ll find a high-end kitchen, a handsome living room, and wi-fi, and when it’s time to unplug, you can enjoy the cool night air from the warmth of the wood-burning fireplace.

Rock Reach House was profiled in the April 2010 issue of Dwell magazine and is the first house built by Blue Sky Building Systems using the Blue Sky Frame®, a revolutionary light-gauge steel frame system.

Rock Reach House
Rock Reach House near Joshua Tree
Rock Reach House
Rock Reach House near Joshua Tree
Rock Reach House
Rock Reach House near Joshua Tree
Rock Reach House
Rock Reach House near Joshua Tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.rockreachhouse.com/

Best Thai Restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen

 

Larb Ubol
Larb Ubol
Larb salad at Larb Ubol
Larb salad at Larb Ubol

Larb Ubol (480 Ninth Avenue, New York) – Larb Ubol features authentic Isan cuisine – a region in the northeast of Thailand which represents about 30% of the population. Hell’s Kitchen has a plethora of Thai restaurants and I stumbled upon this south of Port Authority hole-in-the-wall only recently. Larb Ubol has quickly become one of my favorites in the neighborhood. Best dishes (so far) are the crispy pork and any of the larbs (see picture above). http://www.larbubol.com/

Pam Real Thai in Hell's Kitchen
Pam Real Thai in Hell’s Kitchen
Red Snapper at Pam Real Thai
Red Snapper at Pam Real Thai

Pam Real Thai (404 West 49th St, New York) – Pam Panyasiri opened Pam Real Thai in 2001 and it has long been a neighborhood favorite (as with Larb Ubol don’t expect much investment in the interior furnishings). Most of Pam’s dishes originate in Bangkok, and are less spicy than the cuisine of the south. My favorite dishes are crispy pork, pad thai ad the deep-fried red snapper (see picture above). Bring cash as Pam doesn’t accept credit cards.  http://www.pamrealthai.com/

Wondee Siam in Hell's Kitchen
Wondee Siam in Hell’s Kitchen

Wondee Siam (792 Ninth Ave, New York) – While I have only been here once (the 50s are a bit north for me. . . ) Wondee Siam (or one of its offshoots) shows up on most best lists for HK Thai restaurants. Favorites here are the duck dishes – roasted and tossed into a fruity, savory salad, or fried crisp and layered with herbs and sliced peppers.

Kin Shop
Kin Shop

And last but not least Kin Shop (469 Sixth Avenue) – while the address is more West Village than Hell’s Kitchen no best list of NY Thai restaurants would be complete without it. Harold Dieterle (season one Top Chef winner, chef at Perilla) opened Kin Shop in 2010 and was instantly a critical success. My favorite dishes: Spicy Duck Laab Salad, Fried Pork and Crispy Oyster Salad and Massaman: Braised Goat. http://www.kinshopnyc.com/

Kin Shop Fried Pork and Oyster Salad
Kin Shop Fried Pork and Oyster Salad
Kin Shop Massaman Goat
Kin Shop Massaman Goat
Kin Shop Laab Salad
Kin Shop Laab Salad

The Weekend Report: Recent Movie Openings

Movies

I am a little behind in my usual weekly movie opening postings. Below find a few top picks from recent and upcoming releases.

Mississippi Grind opened September 25
Mississippi Grind opened September 25

Mississippi Grind (opened September 25) – Ben Mendelsohn plays Gerry, a down-on-his-luck, lifelong gambler who connects with sharply-dressed, quick witted Curtis, played by Ryan Reynolds. The two of them plan a road trip to a legendary high stakes poker game in New Orleans. The vagaries along the way reveal the duo’s true characters and motivations and they form an undeniable bond. The movie received great reviews – and I am definitely a fan of Ben Mendelsohn since I saw him in Bloodline – although the critic reviews seem to be higher than audience exit reviews.

The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The Walk starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The Walk (opened September 30) – The Walk is the true story of Philippe Petit, and his group of recruits who together plot and achieve the impossible: an illegal wire walk in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. The critical reviews have been strong – if you can stomach the high wire views (and I can’t) it looks like a good flick. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The Martian
The Martian

The Martian (opened September 30) – Although presumed dead and left behind after a fierce storm during a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies he must find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. While NASA and a team of international scientists work to bring “the Martian” home, his crewmates plot a daring rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Directed by Ridley Scott. In addition to Matt Damon the cast includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs (opened October 9) – Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint an intimate portrait of the brilliant man at its epicenter.

Truth starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett
Truth starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett

Truth (opens October 16) – Cate Blanchett stars as producer Mary Mapes and Robert Redford stars as Dan Rather. The movie tells the true story about the 60 Minutes expose of George W. Bush’s military service in advance of the 2004 election. Producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) received a tip from a source that claimed to have documents proving that President Bush received privileged treatment in the National Guard to avoid service in the Vietnam War. After Dan Rather (Robert Redford) presented the segment, the unverifiable nature of the documents created a whirlwind of controversy pitting Mapes and Rather in a battle for their journalistic lives.

Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks
Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks

Bridge of Spies (opens October 16) – Tom Hanks stars as the American attorney tasked with negotiating the release of a U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over Russia at the height of the Cold War.

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Manhattans: The Perfect Fall Cocktail

I first published this post last winter. With the advent of crisp fall days it seems appropriate to revisit.

The perfect winter cocktail
The perfect fall cocktail

Manhattans have become my fall cocktail of choice. I used to drink exclusively white spirits – premium vodka preferably. But something about brisk temperatures, short days, fires in the fireplace just lends itself to dark spirits.

My first foray was perfect brandy Manhattans (I was weaned on these as my parents drink them religiously). After awhile I decided to branch out and started experimenting with bourbons – Basil Hayden, Hudson (a great small batch bourbon), Eagle and Buffalo Trace (for everyday pours) were all favorites.

A couple of years ago I learned that the original Manhattans were made with Rye. I started experimenting with Rye. And then realized I couldn’t ignore the other key ingredients in Manhattans – vermouth, bitters, cherries (or a twist if you are so inclined). So after many pleasant experiments:

  • 3 parts Rittenhouse Rye
  • 1 part Carpa Antica sweet vermouth
  • dash of bitters
Rittenhouse Rye - the perfect choice for Manhattans
Rittenhouse Rye – the perfect choice for Manhattans
Carpica Antica is the best vermouth for a Manhattan
Carpica Antica is the best vermouth for a Manhattan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 100 proof Rye and the Italian vermouth balance each other perfectly.  A Yarai mixing glass and strainer is also a critical supply should you prefer straight up vs. on the rocks (Manhattans should be stirred not shaken!).

Yarai Mixing Glass + Strainer
Yarai Mixing Glass + Strainer

I normally garnish with a lemon twist, although I recently found Woodford Reserve’s spiced cherry bitters – with the proper cherry (see below) it is an interesting choice.

Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters
Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters

If you like the traditional cherry make sure you do not use the traditional fire-engine red maraschino. Luxardo is a much better choice (and a great measure of the quality of a bar and skills of a bartender).

Luxardo Cherries - the original Maraschino
Luxardo Cherries – the original Maraschino

 

The Lust List: 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing

1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL ALLOY GULLWING
1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL ALLOY GULLWING

The Gullwing is one of the most iconic car designs of all time. Since only 2% of them are aluminum this model is only one of 29 ever built. Along with the sought-after body, this example features desirable upgrades like a Sonderteile engine outputting 215hp, a sports suspension, Rudge knock-off wheels, and a two-piece luggage set.

For both the jet set and the burgeoning sports car crowd, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing,” as it became known reigned supreme. The car was nicknamed for its unique roof-hinged doors. The car had it all – gorgeous proportions, brilliant race-bred engineering, and blistering performance made the Gullwing one of the most desirable vehicles of all time.

This example sold for the mid seven figures earning it a place on the lust list.

 

1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL ALLOY GULLWING

1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL ALLOY GULLWING