Archive for October 2022

ARBY’S & OUTBACK RESTAURANTS   Leave a comment

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About once a month we go to Arby’s to have one or more of their Reuban sandwiches. A Reuban is made with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island or Russian dressing on rye bread and then grilled. Every once in awhile Arby’s will publish a coupon allowing a customer to buy up to 6 Reuban sandwiches at one time at $4 each. These are good Reuban sandwiches but most people, mainly New Yorkers, think of them as made on deli seeded rye bread while Arby’s rye is a soft almost wheat like bread making it taste different but are they good! With a soda or coffee and fries lunch comes to about $10.

On the other hand like most full-service restaurants Outback’s prices have been going higher every week and customers, especially at lunch, are getting less and less and they have been emailing coupons for specials each week. Three weeks ago they offered a 11 ounce sirloin steak, fries and a soda for $17.99 plus tax and tip and was a good buy except we forgot to tell them to go easy on the 17 seasonings they use but we ate it all!

Two weeks ago their special was a ‘blooming’ onion with a cheeseburger each, fries and a soft drink which I think cost $13.99 Their onion is a treat and though the burger is cooked to order (I like it as rare as I can get it which is not easy to get beef cooked that way in restaurants!) I don’t particularly like all the fillings added.

Last, but not least, week they had a special of a steak or a chicken (the latter Australian ‘done’) breast plus a choice of a side (we each took a baked potato) bread and a soft drink or a glass of beer. (Oh yes, talking about the bread–if you look in the last picture you will see half of a loaf left and 2 butter servings–Allen doesn’t eat butter but we each have a loaf of bread!)

I’ve been looking forward each week to the emails from both companies and all you have to do is send them your email address. Plus Outback has a reward system which I haven’t figured out yet how it works but have gotten 2-$5 rewards so far.

Posted October 31, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD, RESTAURANT REVIEWS

5 dinners in 50 minutes   Leave a comment


Being retired and too busy to eat–no, no—not to eat, but to cook, I spend 50 minutes every Saturday to get my dinners for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday prepared so all I have to do is microwave my main course when I am ready to eat.

First thing I do is defrost the vegetables I will use as a ‘bed’ for the protein and at the same time cook up some rice and noodles and the protein, mainly chicken (breasts and thighs), when they are finished. While they are cooking I take 2 bags of prepared salad, empty them into a large bowl, add chopped onions and dressing, divide them into 5 salad bowls and cut 5-6 ‘grape’ tomatoes, cover each with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge. (Each evening, just before serving the salad I will put a half a teaspoon over the top of the salad.)

Finished with that I take the defrosted mixed vegetables, add a pound of sliced white mushrooms, spread the 5 dinner plates with them, add rice to some and pasta to others plus different sauces (in jars) from salsa to worcestershire to A-1 steak sauce, etc., place the chicken (or sliced beef or meatballs) on top or mixed in the rice/pasta, cover the plates with plastic wrap and into the fridge. Just before I serve a plate I will microwave each for about 5 minutes.

Oh yes, when I want to lose weight I weigh the foods I am eating and keep track of the nutritional counts like calories, sodium, cholesterol, carbs, fats, protein, etc.

After all that I wash the dishes and within 50 minutes I have my meals. Oh, if you are wondering, on Thursdays and Fridays I usually eat out a late lunch–off the menu– and just have something light in the evening—hey carrot cake is light, it is the cream cheese ‘icing’ that is heavy!

Posted October 29, 2022 by greatmartin in FOOD

BOOK REVIEW OF BROADWAY MUSICIAN’S PAUL FORD NEW BOOK   Leave a comment

“LORD KNOWS, AT LEAST I WAS THERE  Working with Stephen Sondheim” by   Paul Ford

Paul Ford made a living playing music at Broadway show auditions, played in Broadway show orchestras, accompanied Mandy Patinkim and Patti LuPone concerts for many years, etc. and is now retired. Instead of doing a regular review of Ford’s book I’ll let him speak for himself.

“I am now a hypercritical, caustic, and take-no-prisoners cynic.” (Page 91)
“I’m a silly, deluded, hopeless, old queen sometimes.” (Page 130)
“What do I think of music now? Today, I don’t want to use the dreaded H words (HORRIBLE or HATE, take your pick), but it is hard to describe how I feel about the world of music today.” (Page 218)
“Between opera/classical and rock/pop/country/rap there is no middle ground. Music has become atonal, formless, dull, humorless, cold, and stale on the classical front, and angry, hostile, mechanical, grotesque, and yes, extremely stale on the popular front,” (Page 219)

“I’m grateful my last show was On the Town, but I will not subject myself to the mediocre, over-priced fare of the modern theatre ever again, one day at a time.” (Page 231)

I found Ford to be very critical of not only those around him but those who worked for and with him plus himself. He was an alcoholic for many years, weighed 300 pounds at one point, was/is very uncomfortable with his being gay and other gays.

I know how hard it is to write a book and I don’t like being negative but I found this a very depressing book to read and if it didn’t have Sondheim’s name in the title I probably wouldn’t have bought and read it and even in that department I found it lacking or maybe I anticipated more.

NEXT BOOK REVIEW: “I WAS BETTER LAST NIGHT”  A MEMOIR BY HARVEY FIERSTEIN He has fought the same battles as Paul Ford and I have  and has led a very productive life at the same time!

Posted October 28, 2022 by greatmartin in BOOK REVIEW, BOOKS

FLAGLER PIZZA & PASTA RESTAURANT REVIEW FORT LAUDERDALE   Leave a comment

It seems that from Broward Boulevard to NE 7th Street is becoming restaurant mile! Just within a block of the Victoria Park Shoppes are restaurants including Jalisco (Mexican), Christina Wans (Chinese), Shuck & Drive (seafood & Cajun),  Jamba Juice (smoothies, plant based foods), Pokehouse (Sushi), SipJava (coffee house), Jersey Mike’s (Subs), Farm to Fork (fresh meal delivery) and, just recently along with Jersey Mike’s both the Flagler Pizza & Pasta House (guess what they serve?!) and Churn & Scoop (yes, ice cream) have opened. And that is just on the east side of Federal.

Last week, with a coupon from the back of our Winn-Dixie receipt for BOGO pasta dishes at the Flagler Pizza & Pasta House, we decided to give it a try. It is a fairly small place with about 8 tables lined up around one side of the restaurant and the open kitchen on the other. The young lady waiting on tables was busy with customers at all the tables and aside from cleaning tables and serving she was answering the phone, taking to go orders, etc. They did have someone delivering orders and people were coming by for take out but they, obviously, need another person on the floor.

I do believe there were 2 cooks and a dishwasher but they didn’t help the server.Regarding the pasta Allen had the rigatoni while I had the linguini with white clams and though both were tasty neither were special and, as in most restaurants today the prices were a bit high and I don’t know whether they were trying to save money but there wasn’t any bread served with our lunch.

With so many Italian restaurants in the area I don’t know how they will make it but having the new Churn & Scoop opened right next to them maybe the pair together will make it. I know we went for ice cream there after the pasta at Flagler!

Posted October 27, 2022 by greatmartin in RESTAURANT REVIEWS

STREAMING REVIEWS OCTOBER 2022 PART 5   Leave a comment

1) “Athena”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 37 minutes–Synopsis: the tragic killing of a young boy ignites an all out war in the comminity of Athena with the victim’s older brother at the heart of the conflict–the older brother, played by Dali Benssalah, has a 2-3 minute scene showing his hurt with a violent anger he can’t/won’t control–a very noisy picture with lots of deaths, an angry movie.
2) “Do Revenge”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 58 minutes–2 high school girls exact revenge on each others enemies–one of the girls is a psychopath–I am not used to the mean girls genre and I guess that this is part of that genre–I enjoyed the film though the ending was rushed a little–of the whole cast Camilla Mendez, as Drea Torres, is a standout and has ‘it’.
3) “Conversations with a Killer:The John Wayne Gacy Tapes”–Netflix–documentary–limited series–3 episodes–3 hours & 3 minutes–60 hours of horror–one of many documentaries showing 33 children, teenagers and young adults being brutalized and killed by a sadistic murderer–Netflix seems to have better ratings with ugly looks at life than beautiful ones–think all those 3’s mean anything?
4) “The Beauty Queen Of Jerusalem”–Netflix–series–season 2–10 episodes–the acting is stronger than it6 was in the first season but the story takes some weird, unbelievable turns–put that aside and you are left with a moving tale of Jewish people in the middle east before and during WW2–season 2 ends with old stories untold and new stories beginning–need to see the first season to understand the second season and I’m looking forward to the third season.
5) “Unspeakable Acts”–Netflix–movie based on a true story–1 hour & 34 minutes–Synopsis: some 50 children, most 2-3 years old, appear to have been sexually molested–this fits in with the Netflix true horror stories but because it was made in 1990 and made for television the scenes are not as horrific as new stories but hearing the children doesn’t make it easy to watch.
6) “The Watcher”–Netflix–limited series based on a true story–7 episodes–5 hours & 32 minutes–Synopsis: in 2014 the Broaddus family received a series of letters revealing details about their families that no one knew–the letter writer claims they are being watched at all times–a very starry cast makes the story interesting but too many people are involved and story is never solved.

Posted October 26, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT

2 NEW ICE CREAM STORES (NOT QUITE PARLORS!)   Leave a comment


Within the past month 2 new ice cream stores (not quite ‘parlors’) have opened fairly close to each other and both are offering different, some ‘weird’ flavors along with high prices. Whether that has to do with inflation or not remains to be seen but how many people can afford $5-6 for a single scoop of ice cream?
I tried to do some research on both but didn’t find out too much except Razzleberries has been in Pompano since 1991 and now seem to have 2 more stores in Fort Lauderdale.Churn and Scoop (658 N. Federal) is in the Winn-Dixie shopping plaza next door to a new Italian restaurant Flagler’s which is how we found out about it going for lunch at the latter one afternoon (with a 2-4-1 coupon on the back of our WD shopping receipt!) Plenty of free parking but watch out for people trying to back in to park!
Razzleberries (901 NE 20th Avenue) is around the corner from Big Louie’s off of Sunrise Blvd. and 5 blocks from my home and  and a few doors down from my cleaners which I pass 2-3 times a week–they are certainly tempting me! On street parking has meters but they have 4 free spots on the south end of the building plus there is free parking in the Gateway Shopping Center.Both offer samples of their ice creams—all home made–and both are very clean with friendly employees. The main differences are the flavors they offer but I am just an old-fashioned vanilla, chocolate, vanilla with chocolate mint or if I feel really wild I’ll get rocky road. If you are adventurous either place will put you in ice cream heaven as flavors include some you could never imagine . Are you ready for peanut butter fudge with bacon ice cream?????This past Sunday the Sun-Sentinel had an article about Churn and Scoop which you can read athttps://www.sun-sentinel.com/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/fl-et-new-restaurants-fort-lauderdale-churn-scoop-ice-cream-20220801-62j732adgvfkzm5tlsptyxljxi-story.html
and here is the web page for Razzleberries  https://www.razzleberrysicecream.com/

Posted October 24, 2022 by greatmartin in ICE CREAM SHOPS

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AUTUMN IN FORT LAUDERDALE OCTOBER 2022   1 comment


#1s) It looks like the ‘Christmas’ cactus is getting ready for Halloween–there are about 25 buds ready to bloom and 5 already have–mostly white but an orange bloom here and there!

#2s) There is a bench behind building B that I seem to be the only one whoever sits there as I did this afternoon reading a book and watching people in boats, canoes, etc., plus I can look down to The Point and see the yachts, catamarans that line the canal–it is just so peaceful.

#3) You might see it if you look very closely but that have the driveway all marked up for the repaving they are going to do the coming Tuesday and Wednesdays. The new company may not give us all the benefits we got the the previous owners but they certainly keep the property in great condition!

#4s) One is the yearly certificate I get for a donation to the Boys Town charity and the other is my web receipt for “Ticket to Paradise” that I saw last Thursday and I still have a smile on my face.

#5) Last, but not least, is the weekly donation my neighbor Cathy makes for me so I don’t get too thin!!

Posted October 23, 2022 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE

“TICKET TO PARADISE”–MOVIE THEATRE REVIEW   1 comment

Synopsis: a long divorced couple come together to stop their daughter from getting married in this romantic comedy! What else do you need to know?

When Julia smiles she lights up the whole theatre and whether you like Clooney or not there is no denying his charisma and the friendship between the two off-screen comes through on screen. When the couple gets drunk or dances together to tunes that were hits when they were teenagers or ‘zap’ each other whether in private, or in front of others, you know they are a fun pair so you just sit back and enjoy the laughs.

Kaitlyn Dever as their daughter and Maxime Bouttier as her intended, Lucas Bravo as Julia’s pilot boyfriend, Arielle Carver-ONeill as Dever’s best friend and Genevieve Lemon as an airline passenger and fellow traveler to Bali, are there basically to set up scenes and laughs for Roberts and Clooney with the script being the weakest part of the film.(I suspect, with Roberts and Clooney being executive producers, they may have ‘helped’ with adlibs.)

The scenic shots (in Queensland, Australia) are breathtaking and when you see the movie, if you can, count the number of costume changes Roberts has just on the island (and how many suitcases she would have needed to carry them all!)

“Ticket to Paradise” is a ‘Hollywood’ romantic comedy and you know what is going to happen and how it will end but put Julia Roberts and George Clooney in the film and it feels, looks fresh plus for an hour and 44 minutes–be sure to stay for the ending credits–you leave the politics, inflation, Ukraine and all the bad news outside the theatre.

Posted October 21, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIE REVIEW

STREAMING REVIEWS OCTOBER 2022 PART 4   Leave a comment


1) “Devil In Ohio”–Netflix–limited series–8 episodes–5 hours & 51 minutes–Synopsis: After a teenage girl with a strange wound is found in Remmington, Ohio, she is taken to a nearby hospital and put under the care of Dr. Suzanne Mathis–cults, fire, the Devil, Satan, evil, blood, knives, white roses, carved bodies, a virgin sacrificed–welcome to hell on earth just in time for Halloween.
2) “End of the Road”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 31 minutes–Synopsis: recently widowed mom fights to protect her family during a harrowing road trip when a murder and a missing bag of cash plunge them into danger–any cliche you can throw into a family in peril movie–Queen Latifah can hold up any picture and make it worthwhile but that’s it.
3) “Human Capital”–Netflix–movie–1 hour & 37 minutes–Synopsis:  the romance of teenagers triggers tragedy when a risky financial investment and a hit-and-run ravage their families–a working man versus a rich man is the capital of the movie and their kids are the human aspect–the story lacks bite and the ending is a ‘so what’ finish.
4) “I Came By”–Netflix–movie– 1 hour & 50 minutes–Synopsis: a graffiti artist who targets homes of the elite uncovers a twisted secret in a hidden basement–another horror movie for Halloween? I saw this too soon after seeing the Jeffery Dahram documentary–another gay man tortures young men–a sloppy screenplay and not worth your time.
5) “Loving Adults”–Netflix–Danish film–1 hour & 45 minutes–Synopsis: the thin line between love and hate turns deadly when a wife discovers her husband’s affair–supposedly a suspense thriller–as the saying goes ‘hell as no fury as a woman scorned’–only thing missing is more of the husband and wife’s background but this make the film tighter and better.
6) “Woman in Gold”–Netflix–British film–1 hour & 49 minutes–Synopsis: 6 decades after fleeing the Nazis Maria Altman sets out to reclaim her family’s stolen artworks–at first I didn’t recognize Helen Mirren–though this film was made in 2015 she is very thin–she always becomes the character she plays and she is truly amazing in this film–no matter how many times I see films about the Holocaust the scenes of lost family and those left behind always affect me–the story is often told but needs to be kept on being told.
7) “The Violent Heart”–Starz–movie–1 hour & 42 minutes–Synopsis: 15 years after his sister’s senseless murder Daniel finds himself falling for a high school senior–at the 1 hour & 15 minute mark what was going to be an excellent film takes a wrong turn–goes right down the drain–do yourself a favor and either don’t watch the film or stop watching at that 75 minute mark.

Posted October 19, 2022 by greatmartin in ENTERTAINMENT, Streaming

CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN PART 2   Leave a comment


The following Thursday we went back to the California Pizza Kitchen for the ‘freebies’  we ‘earned’ the week before due to my belonging to their reward program. I, also, had a $25 gift certificate from mypoints.com

We started off with a 7″ pepperoni pizza ($7) and a spinach artichoke dip with chips ($13.49) plus Allen had a soda ($3.29) and after we each ordered the half sandwich and salad plate Allen getting the fried chicken and I got the California Turkey sandwich each $11.99.

Regarding the food: the pizza was okay while the spinach artichoke dip was excellent. Both Allen and I got busy taking the load of greens off our half sandwiches leaving us with little meat and a lot of bread. The salads were okay. The check came to $40.76 before I pointed out that the server forgot to take off the spinach artichoke dip which he promptly took off bringing the check, with tax, to $23.13 plus a $12 tip (based on 20% of the original cost).

Bottom line? As with most full service chain restaurants the food was just okay, except for the dip which was excellent, and a bit highly priced considering both lunches cost a total of $113.53, with tax  and tip (20% based on original costs), before using the gift card and rewards. Might be another 31 years before we go to the California Pizza Kitchen!

Posted October 18, 2022 by greatmartin in REASTAURANTS

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