Archive for the ‘FLORIDA’ Category

Toast Restaurant–Fort Lauderdale–Review   Leave a comment

Toast Restaurant Feb 15 2018 collage

In spite of what some people may think I really dislike writing negative reviews of restaurants but I worked in the field 38 years and have eaten out since I was a kid plus having seen, literally, thousands of restaurants go out of business it is not an easy business to succeed in though many think it is.
I worked in this plaza on the diagonal corner in a small Italian restaurant over 20 years ago and no longer exists which was then followed by a very popular restaurant that featured a chef who was on a TV cooking contest and then closed. In the current location where the Toast restaurant opened was another restaurant though I never went there.
So many people refer to Toast as a diner but it is as much as a diner as Peter Pan is which isn’t my definition of one.
In any case, I only have two positive things to say about my first experience at Toast and that consists of all the ladies working there do their best, and succeed, working as a team and making the customers feel welcome. (There was a man ‘working’ there and I wasn’t sure if the owner or a manager but didn’t do anything and when I tried to catch his eye to correct something he never looked or acknowledged me.) The second positive thing was the open atmosphere with the restaurant having many large windows making the room bright and inviting.
Okay, let’s get to the food. Allen and I split a housemade Spanakopita (family spinach pie recipe baked in a flaky phyllo dough $5.95) which, and I agree this is a pretty out complaint, was too flaky ‘flying’ all over the place including table, clothes, and seats. Allen had the ham and cheese club ($11.95), which he complained, with a smile, was too big but he ate it all.
I ordered a Cheddar Cheeseburger ($9.95) but it came without the cheese and was more medium than medium rare as I ordered. (This was when I tried to catch the owner/manager’s (?) eye but without success.) When the waitress came over she immediately corrected the mistake. The burger tasted like it had been under the heat lamp for too long a time. The sweet potato fries were definitely overcooked as were the 5-6 regular French fries that must have been in the fryer that wasn’t cleaned out when the sweet potatoes were put in it.
Allen had a diet cola ($2.45) and I had coffee ($2.45) and the server made sure his glass and my cup were always full which in itself was an accomplishment because the coffee was served in the smallest cup I have ever seen in a restaurant except for a demitasse or cappuccino.
I never did get her name as she wasn’t wearing a name tag and there wasn’t any name on the check receipt (except ‘Server #: 1’). Though normally I would have asked her name I failed to.
By the way let’s not even get into the old cash register type they were using.
As we were leaving the new sign for the restaurant was being put up. I hope it is not a waste of time and money.


A few of my favorite things!   Leave a comment

Posted February 5, 2018 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FOOD, FORT LAUDERDALE, RESTAURANTS, Uncategorized

Go ahead—laugh   Leave a comment

Posted January 19, 2018 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, Uncategorized

Yesterday   Leave a comment

Who says we don’t have 4 seasons in Fort Lauderdale? Last week it was in the 40s and today it will be 81 degrees!

Posted January 11, 2018 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, Uncategorized, WEATHER

“The Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”–touring company review   Leave a comment

Imagine being an actor who is playing 8 different roles, each requiring a change of costume, mannerisms and even gender, while remembering which one who says what and where on stage they should be interacting with the rest of the cast. James Taylor Odom has that job and does it to perfection. Oh, yes, let’s not forget he is singing and dancing also.

Equally in his expertise and talent is his co-star Blake Price who seems to be on stage the whole 2 hour and 10 minutes the show takes. He has a couple of outstanding solos but he, Colleen McLaughlin and Erin McIntyre doing “I’ve Decided To Marry You” stops the show.

The story of “The Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” is about Monty Navarro (Price) having to kill 8 people (all played by Odom) in order to get the title, and all the wealth and respect that goes with it, Earl of Highhurst, while at the same time dealing with a fiancée and mistress.

The story can be summed up easily but the production starting with the opening set by Alexander Dodge, takes a lot of work. The many changes of costumes designed by Linda Cho involving the whole cast, the comedy ranging from satire to slapstick and everything in-between, with choreography by Peggy Hickey who also directs the tour, based on the original direction by Darko Tresnjak, comes down to split timing from everyone on and behind the stage including the 9 piece band directed by Josh Cullen. Adding to the fun and wonder are the art projections by Aaron Rhyne

The book, lyrics and music provided by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak offer the complete cast of 14 to shine plus makes a very unfunny subject of killing people very funny.

“The Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder” is a laugh filled way to start the 2018 theatre year.


Running time including a 20-minute intermission is 2 hours and 30 minutes. The next show of the Broadway Across America series in Fort Lauderdale is “Wicked” opening on Valentine’s Day February 14.

December 2017–my photo diary   Leave a comment

Posted December 31, 2017 by greatmartin in FLORIDA, FORT LAUDERDALE, LIFE, Uncategorized

“Finding Neverland”–touring musical review   Leave a comment

Finding Neverland Dec 2017 collage

In 1897 the playwright J. M. Barrie met the Llewelyn Davies family which had 5 young boys and in 1902 introduced Peter Pan in a novel but it was in 1904 that he wrote “Peter Pan or The Boy Who Wouldn’t grow up” as a play and the world came to know the boy of the title.

“Finding Neverland” tells the story of Barrie’s interaction with the 4 boys (in the show) and how he based the characters on the boys and various people who touched their, and his, lives. The book of the show by James Graham plays a little loose with the truth but keeps the musical running smoothly while the music and lyrics by Gary Barlow & Eliot Kennedy give everyone in the cast time to shine.

The standout is Billy Harrigan Tighe as Barrie singing solos such as the theme of the show “My Imagination” or duets such as “Neverland” with Lael Van Keuren, as the boy’s mother Sylvia, who falls in love with Barrie, or with the boys Peter (Connor Jameson Casey), Michael (Turner Birthisel), Jack (Bergman Freedman) and George (Colin Wheeler) singing “We Own The Night” and is always a standout in the ensemble numbers. Tighe not only handles the acting with ease but as a dancer he is so agile that sometimes you don’t believe the step(s) he just did in front of you.

Lael Van Keuren has a show-stopping number “All That Matters” which allows her voice to soar throughout the theatre and her scenes with the boys and/or Tighe are solid.

John Davidson as Charles Frohman, the producer andmodel for Captain Hook, is a pro nailing every song, every line and even a dance step or two.

The four boys are especially fine playing boys who just happen to be singers, dancers, actors and pirates while Casey as Peter holds his own in a fine duet with Tighe called “When Your Feet Don’t Touch The Ground”.

Kristine Reese as the first Mrs. Barrie, Karen Murphy as Sylvia’s mother and the boy’s grandmother along with various members playing parts of the production company that Frohman runs bringing the characters such as Wendy, Captain Hook, the crocodile and others that children all over the world are familiar with to life.  Dwelvan David playing the family’s dog in the Peter Pan production is as good as, and even funnier, than the real dog Sammy who plays Porthos.

The musical not only presents the magic that Peter Pan has cast over children and adults for 114 years but also shows the magic, not only in scene after scene but in one particular scene set by Air Sculptor Daniel Wurtzel, of the theatre for hundreds of years.

“Finding Neverland” is a first-class production that touches the audience and brings out the kid in all of them at such times like when they are asked to clap to revive Tinkerbelle and at other times touches their heart.



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