Archive for April 2019

Croissant Time French Bakery   1 comment

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I have a ‘thing’–well a few things–when it comes to restaurants such as I like a scoop of vanilla ice cream after spicy foods or  if I find a restaurant I like I will continue going even if, for whatever reasons, something goes wrong ONCE, twice I won’t go back. I, also, will tell an owner or manager, in a place I am familiar with what went wrong and in many cases, they want to pick up the check or take the item off the menu but I won’t allow it if I ate the food or accidents–like a drink spilled on clothes–didn’t happen.
 
Just as an aside: if anyone went out of their way I will also tell the manager/owner that as they like to hear the good things along with the bad especially they usually get a lot more of the latter.
 
Okay, what’s this all about? After eating at Fat Boyz BBQ I wanted something sweet, preferably ice cream. By the way, the last 4 restaurants we ate in the area didn’t have ice cream(!) and between where we were and the Broward Performing Arts Center except for a DD and Baskin Robbins store there isn’t an ‘ice cream’ store unless you want to fight the hassle of going, parking and enjoying Kilwin’s before going to the theatre and even at the BPAC they serve all kinds of snacks in lobby but no ice cream! We decided to go to Croissant Time though it isn’t the easiest place to get to from the BBQ restaurant. 
 
Walking in the center part of the store you can be overwhelmed by the sights of French pastry in all sizes, colors and aromas but to the left is a small ice cream section. Allen headed to the pastries and I headed for the ice creams. It turned out there were 6 flavors of sorbet (makes sense in a French place) and 2 ice creams. The ice cream choice was easy for me as 1 was coffee and as much coffee every day I don’t like coffee ice cream. As it is I don’t even remember the flavor though looking at the picture I want to say that is butter pecan under the wild black currant sorbet. Allen had 2 pastries with his sorbet.
 
Two things made my order a disaster! The first was how hard the ice cream and sorbet was and I mean HARD!! I seriously thought the poor guy scooping it out would not only break the scoop but his wrist also. It was understandable that the scoops were very small but the butter pecan was like ice–not ice cream–and the sorbet was gritty.
 
I will definitely go back to Croissant Time but will stay in the center of the store!
 
Any easy to get to places in the downtown area for a good ice cream treat?


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Posted April 30, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE, RESTAURANTS, Uncategorized

Fat Boyz BBQ–Fort Lauderdale–Restaurant Review   1 comment

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It has been a bad week for movies and restaurants! As creatures of habit, we usually go to Quarterdeck before attending a show at BPAC but they are closed while making a transfer to their newly built location so we decided to go to the newest of 4-5 restaurants that have been in this location before.

It doesn’t look much different than the last two BBQ places there and as they did at the end of their run Fat Boyz BBQ is also a fast-casual restaurant which when you are paying $15.50 plus tax seems to say that they should be full service but that’s not my main quarrel with this place.
I ordered the 5 dry rib bbq which came with 2 sides. The ribs are served on paper on a tray with the 2 sides in small plastic cups and you help yourself to plastic knives and forks and get your own soft drinks.

On the plus side is the order taker, Tatty according to the receipt, who was pleasant, told us to take our time and after paying handed us a number stand to take to the table. (That’s the first trip the customer has to take to the table, then you go for the drinks, then you go for plastic ware, etc.) Oh, by the way, there are menus around but most customers will get a crick in their neck looking up at the written menu on the board above the bar.

The ribs were good and there are 3 sauces on the table. The two sides I ordered were Cole Slaw and mac ‘n cheese. The slaw tasted as it came out of a gallon premixed bottle and, the nicest way I can put it is the mac ‘n cheese was the worst I ever tasted! It was like a ball of glue so I didn’t say anything as at least it was only a small scoop!

I wonder what will be the next food place in this location?

Good, bad and other news!   1 comment

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1)The first day of Spring has officially arrived at Gateway with the blooming of the first Queen Crepe Myrtle tree. (‘Lost’ a few with new owners and we were concerned we may lose them all but, so far, we haven’t!)
 
2) I was NOT included in Time’s list of ‘The Most Influential People’!
 
3) Nor was I included in People Magazine’s list of ‘The Most Beautiful’! Needless to say I am NOT renewing my subscription to either!
 
4) ABC in its documentary series “1969” has neglected to note that I went to visit Memphis, Tennessee, the  first time over the July 4th weekend that year OR
 
5) that I moved to Memphis, October 12, for the best decade of my life!
 
6) Had my quarterly physical last week and the doctor said that if he didn’t know better, from my bloodwork he would have thought that it was from a 65-year-old man
 
7) I told him how depressing that was considering I was going to only 21 next year!
 
8) Did I tell you that I got a complete refund for my sinemia subscription? Of course, I won’t believe it until I see the new bill with a credit on it!

Posted April 28, 2019 by greatmartin in LIFE, Uncategorized

It’s ‘almost’ done!   4 comments

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I prefer to think I have lived so long that my brain is overflowing with information and there is no more room for anything rather than think I am just an old man who doesn’t remember. This is all a reason to explain if I am wrong about dates!
 
A couple of years ago—early 2017–the new owners started working on changing, improving and, using their words, make things ‘uniform’ at Gateway. After tearing out 99% of all the flowering trees, bushes along with resident’s gardens that many had worked on for years and we didn’t/don’t know if and/or what they would replace them with.  Banana plants, orange, lemon, Birds of Paradise plants 3 stories high along with dozens of palm trees, Queen Crepe Myrtle trees were gone but more about that another time.
 
There were a lot of great improvements inside the apartments such as the wide hurricane windows that replaced the old ones. In the kitchen and bathroom we got new cabinets along with sinks in both along with a new toilet–guess where?– and we also got vertical slot blinds in all the rooms. Among other things, we got a new electric fan/light in the bedroom and while we had air conditioners in the bedroom and larger room it wasn’t exactly an improvement because they took out the bedroom but didn’t replace it so we now had 1 air conditioner doing the work of 2 and not nearly being as effective.
 
It took them some time but eventually finished that and then went on to painting the buildings and having problems with a few companies, if not still having them! Our building was one of the last ones to be painted on the outside and looking around they are certainly uniform and, let’s see, oh drab would be the word. Next came painting our individual apartment doors of which I have 2. So far it has taken 10 days, 2-3 people working and they still haven’t finished on 2 doors.
 
Seems our owners have been picking many bad contractors but the work is getting done and now MY main concern is starting to take place–the landscaping! Mulch has been placed around all the buildings and remaining trees and I hope they don’t stop there. Right now Gateway smells like—what is the word to use in 2019?–oh, yes, poop!
 
Will keep you up to date on the ‘landscaping’–keep your fingers crossed for me and the other residents!
 

Posted April 27, 2019 by greatmartin in GATEWAY, Uncategorized

“Her Smell”–a movie review   1 comment

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I don’t want to say it but I can’t help myself–forgive me! “Her Smell” should have been entitled, “She Smells”. For the first hour and a half, we watch a rock star spiral down from fame after too many drugs, not being able to handle fame, care for her daughter,  losing her ex, not showing up on time for concerts if even showing up at all, doing a recording session, basically having a complete breakdown. The director, Alex Ross Perry, shows us all of it through a regular camera, a handheld camera, a phone camera while traveling back and forth in time not to forget having all the cameras swirling, upside down, going ever each way.
 
The director, who also wrote the script, convinced us, showed us, that she was having a breakdown but instead of telling it in 15 minutes he took 90 minutes. Perry is the sort of director that if he shows two women kissing he has to show them kissing 10 times just in case we missed the point! I was ready to leave at the 30-minute point and said so to Allen at least 5 more times!
 
For the last 40-45 minutes of the film, we see her recovery and then get to the ‘Hollywood’ ending.
 
Elisabeth Moss has proven herself an excellent actress and draws many audience members to see her television series but if the audience at today’s showing is any indication, 3 of us, she isn’t a movie draw! Okay, will give her a benefit of a doubt because the final Avengers did open today also.
 
I won’t rewrite my opening play on words but this film is definitely on my worst films of the year but “The Climax” is still in first place!

Synopsis

Becky Something (Elisabeth Moss) is a ’90s punk rock superstar who once filled arenas with her grungy all-female trio Something She. Now she plays smaller venues while grappling with motherhood, exhausted bandmates, nervous record company executives, and a new generation of rising talent eager to usurp her stardom. When Becky’s chaos and excesses derail a recording session and national tour, she finds herself shunned, isolated and alone. Forced to get sober, temper her demons, and reckon with the past, she retreats from the spotlight and tries to recapture the creative inspiration that led her band to success.

Movie Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PMlHDNdLGU8

Posted April 26, 2019 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, FILM REVIEWS, MOVIE REVIEW

“Anastasia”–touring company review   1 comment

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One of the joys of theatre-going is the occasional surprise that makes you hold your breath and feel as if you are the only one experiencing what is happening on stage and tonight, at the opening of “Anastasia” at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, it happened when Beth Stafford Laird, as the title character, sang “In My Dreams”. I don’t know if the other over 2,000 people in the audience even knew that she was an understudy for the lead who couldn’t go on tonight but it didn’t make a difference because we all fell in love with her. Playing Anya, who may or may not be the only surviving member of her Russian Imperial Romanov family consisting of her father, mother, 3 sisters and a brother all who were killed by the Bolsheviks when she was 17 in 1917.
 
We follow her life when she is found in 1927 as a woman who has no recollection of her previous life and is making a living sweeping the streets in St. Petersburgh. There have been many rumors that the youngest daughter had survived and many were impersonating her in order to cash in on the riches her grandmother the Dowager Empress, now living in Paris, has.
 
Two con men audition many girls to be Anastasia, finally deciding that Anya has ‘something’ that will work and they go about teaching her, yet there is something in Anya that makes her believe she really is the granddaughter of the Empress.
 
Based on two movies, one an animated film, it is an easy enough story to follow and has many stereotyped characters but Beth Stafford Laird makes you believe in her so the story works. It certainly helps that she has a voice that reaches up to the rafters but you also see her gain strength as she believes in herself more and more.
 
Tari Kelly and Edward Staudenmayer take stock musical characters and bring them the freshness and fun they require while Stephen Brower as one of the con men, and a love interest for Anya, has a strong voice and an earnestness the role requires. Jason Michael Evans has a very underwritten role that leaves you wondering whether he is an alternative love for Anya or villain out to get her.  His singing of 2 solos, plus duets and ensemble pieces, soars over the auditorium. Joy Franz as the Dowager Empress shows the steel and softness the woman is called upon to show to whomever she is facing.
 
The book by Terrence McNally, the music by Stephen Flaherty and the lyrics by Lynn Ahrens do their job but words must be said about the projection designs by Aaron Rhyne that have set a high standard for part of theatre productions today.  The musicians under the direction of Lawrence Goldberg give the singers a chance to be heard by not overwhelming them but underscoring them.
 
I walked away from this production hoping that Beth Stafford Laird will be returning to Fort Lauderdale soon in another show!
 
“Anastasia” will be playing at the Broward Center until May 5. The show runs 2 hours and 35 minutes with a 20-minute intermission.
 
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Another one of my favorite things!   1 comment

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When I was able to afford it I ate out a minimum of 14 meals. As much as I use to love to cook, and did, I love eating out more. Unfortunately, restaurant prices have gone up way more than my income has so I usually am confined to 2 meals a week dining out, except when I have a show to go to and then it is an extra, usually at the Quarterdeck in Fort Lauderdale for their great Jambalaya and Denny’s in Miami because of time and I-95! There are very few foods I won’t eat so I can be as happy in a 5-star restaurant as I can in a fast food place though I admit I prefer a full-service place after 38 years as a waiter.
 
Of the 5 places above my favorite is the Peruvian Cabo Blanco that has an excellent Shrimp with onions and peppers over noodles made in a soya sauce for $11.95 at lunch and they are not stingy with the shrimp! Plus they serve some homemade soup as part of the meal. Groupon and/or localflavor usually have a 2-4-1 coupon. By the way, they have about 30 specials for lunch of which I have tried 20 and  have not had a bad yet.
 
For Mexican food I will either go to Tequila Sunrise or Tipico, both having very good Fajitas at reasonable prices, and this past week we went to the former where I had their lunch special of Seafood Medley with Mahi, shrimp, scallops calamari on rice which was more than tasty.
 
Though a chain I do enjoy Outback for their steak, ribs and bread. Then there is IHOP which I have been going to for decades for their cheese omelet with a short stack of pancakes if not one of their ‘breakfast’ combinations or sometimes a cheeseburger.
 
I, also, enjoy trying new places and not knowing the owners of the Quarterdeck were branching out and started the Good Spirits I did get a 2-4-1 coupon so we tried it. I would rather go to Quarterdeck!
 
Due to the fact that restaurants are too expensive, I usually look for coupons for those I go to and new ones. Of the 5 above I had coupons for 3 of them and regarding the Quarterdeck though I didn’t have a coupon I do have one of their reward cards and we will get a free dinner after buying a certain amount, which we would have done anyway (but don’t tell them!)
 
Will be going to see “Anastasia” on Tuesday and where we would normally go to the Quarterdeck we won’t this time as they are building a new restaurant and their old one will be closed. All I can hope is that their prices don’t jump up because of the new location and what it costs them to build it!
 
Might try a new bbq place that is opening this weekend though if a place is jinxed it might be that location where they have had 5 restaurants that failed and that plaza has had a few more failures but, being an optimist, this one will prove to be an exception!
 

Posted April 21, 2019 by greatmartin in FOOD, RESTAURANTS, Uncategorized

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