Friday, August 15, 2014

Broken Circles

I take off my wedding ring. Beneath it, the skin is white and smooth, like a scar. Contrary to what is said on your wedding day, circles do have a beginning and an end. They can even be broken. You have to look closely for the cracks. That's the spot where if you pull hard enough and tug long enough, it will snap off. The two sides will never meet again, at least not precisely the way it lined up before.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


The water is really electric blue, I thought to myself as the cruise ship docked at the Royal Dockyards in Bermuda. I can't wait to float on my back in those waters.

I had left New York City where the humidity weighed down on my skin like a hot, damp towel. Fire trucks and ambulances shrieked down Broadway. The hot air making the sirens louder. The sound bouncing from building to building.

Yes, electric blue. The salty waters will be easy to float in and when the water covers my ears, all I'll hear is my heart beat.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

Below is a list of upcoming events, seminars, and venues you may be interested in checking out:

Chef Marcus Samuelsson will be signing his new book "Yes, Chef" at the Whole Foods Bowery location in Manhattan on Thursday, August 16, from 6:30-7:30 PM.

Free Music and Food Trucks can be found at LentSpace, a small "park" in the Hudson Square area located at Varick and Canal Streets from 11 AM - 3 PM. Live music is performed from 1-2 PM with lunch provided by Kimchi Taco, Rickshaw Dumplings (my favorite), Juice Pirate, and Andy's Italian Ices, to name a few.

The Film Forum ( will pay tribute to filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles on his 80th birthday Tuesday, August 21 at 7:30 PM. Admission is $12.50. Go to their website to purchase tickets.

Aspiring writers: Screenwriter and novelist Guillermo Arriaga ( (Amores Perros, 21 Grams) will be in New York City, September 22-23, teaching screenwriting. Go to his website for more information.

Aspiring actors: An acting technique that was once only available in Los Angeles is now taught in New York City. The Academy Award(r)-winning Chubbuck Technique is an intensive, transformative approach to scene work based on the book, The Power of the Actor. The 10-week class is conducted in a theatre setting by Maria Psomas who is officially accredited to teach the Chubbuck technique, and many of her students have booked film and theatre work using this acting technique. Please go to her website ( to learn more and check out her Facebook page (

For my West Coast friends: A little birdie told me there's a great spot for oysters and beer by the bay. Mission Rock Resort 817 Terry Francois Blvd (near Illinois), San Francisco, California. ( If you get the chance to go, let me know what you thought of the place.

If you have any tidbits (events, information) you'd like to share, send them to me as a comment.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Dinner with a View

Alma Restaurant/B61 Bar

Head over to 187 Columbia Street in Brooklyn, New York, and take the back steps to the rooftop deck for cuisine of Mexican tradition with American and Asian influences. I recommend starting with guacamole and chips, and wash it down with your choice of 12 beers on tap, margaritas, or one of the bars signature drinks like Tavern Lemonade or Hard Palmer (vodka, triple sec, lemonade and iced tea).

While waiting for your food, take in the panoramic view of Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and Governor's Island. This is a fabulous venue for dinner and a sunset. The rooftop is open year-round with a canopy cover in the summer to block out the sun and heated in the winter to take the chill off.

Check out the menu at but also ask the waitstaff about the specials.

If you're looking to relax after work, stay downstairs at B61 Bar. Named after the MTA bus that travels down Columbia Street, enjoy the jukebox, pinball, and free billiard table. Limited menu available with 12 beers and tap, along with their signature drinks. Happy Hour is 4-7 PM with $1 off all drafts & well drinks, and $2 Yuenglings.

Il Fornetto

On the opposite end of Brooklyn, located at 2909 Emmons Avenue, Sheepshead Bay, enjoy Italian cuisine at Il Fornetto. A friendly staff will walk you through the menu of wood-fired brick oven pizza, pasta dishes, fresh fish, and desserts. I found the dishes with the least amount of ingredients tasted the best: tomato, mozzarella and basil; rigatoni with meat sauce, although all the other dishes looked amazing.

Come early to score a table by the window for a view of the marina and a ballet of swans. A prix fixe menu is available every day.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Smokin' Hot Celebration

This past Thursday night at SMOKE Jazz Club (Broadway betweeen 105th and 106th Streets) felt different. There was a palpable buzz in the air as everyone waited for the arrival of Thursday night regular, Gregory Porter. Performing at this venue every Thursday for the past year or so, he's usually greeted with the usual "Hello" and "How are you?" from the crowd.

On Wednesday, Gregory Porter received a Grammy nomination in the Best Vocal Jazz Album category, so it was no surprise he was saluted with thunderous applause when he took the stage. "I hope you will forgive me. I had to take a tranquilizer so I can calm down and perform for you tonight," Mr. Porter said jokingly. We forgave him as he gave us another unforgettable performance.

Learn more about the velvet-toned singer at:

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lowcountry South Carolina

Observations walked the beach of Hunting Island where years of erosion have pushed the shoreline inland, destroying trees and taking beachfront homes with the high tide. Despite the destruction, the beach is hauntingly beautiful, with trees along the shoreline that look like museum-quality sculptures.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Harlem Nights: Welcome to the 5 & Diamond

Observations is reporting from Harlem USA at the 5 & Diamond Restaurant, located at 2072 8th Avenue (or Frederick Douglass Blvd.) and 112th Street. Just two blocks from the B and C Train 110th Street station, open the glass doors to dimmed yet warm lighting and a lively bar scene where you're lucky to get a seat. Believe me, it's worth standing. The fully stocked bar offers a specialty menu of 5 drinks called Signature Liquid Creations and snacks, including a full platter of cured ham, thinnly sliced to delight the tongue, with a complimentary dish of olives.

Small plate appetizers ranged from salads to butternut squash risotto and everybody's favorite comfort food, Mac & Cheese with Gruyere and fontina cheese. I tried the Tomato Salad with arugula, basil oil and balsamic granita.

The main courses are your usual meat, seafood, and pasta dishes, but the flavors coming from the kitchen are unique. My dinner companion had the Housemade Pappardelle with lamb ragout, slow roasted tomatoes and fontina cheese. I had the Berkshire Pork Tenderloin with apple wood smoked bacon, sweet corn, wild mushrooms and black mission figs and matched it with a 2008 Mosel St, Riesling.

Only two desserts are available: a chocolate lava cake or New York cheesecake. The 5 & Diamond does not have a Web site, but reservations can be made through Open Table or by calling the restaurant at (646) 684-4662.

After dinner, we trekked up to 120th Street to close out the night and people watch at Chocolat with--what else--a chocolate martini. Chocolat, located on the NW corner of 8th and 120th Street, is a beautiful open space with a neon blue bar that snakes almost the whole length of the restaurant. A separate room is available for private parties.