Sunday, February 15, 2015

Foodie Pic of the Week

Breakfast Sandwich made with their homemade savory biscuit, an egg, white cheddar, arugula, tomato, creme fraiche and your choice of ham, bacon or vegi patty. Absolutely delicious. Kind and helpful staff, quick service and yum food. Go visit.

I will support any business where the motto is "Eat. Drink. Be a Good Citizen."

706 Taylor Ave. N.
Seattle, WA.
Queen Anne Neighborhood

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Don Quixote - PNB's offers low price to a magical destination

January 30 - February 8th
Pacific Northwest Ballet
McCaw Hall
Artistic Director: Peter Boal
Choreography: Marius Petipa, Alexander Gorsky, Alexei Ratmansky
Music: Ludwig Minkus (performed by the wonderful Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra)

I wouldn't call myself well versed in all the classic ballets, but I do think I have seen a lot of the greats. One I had never seen was Don Q. I was expecting a storybook ballet, because well it's from a classic story right? No. What I experienced was SO much more.

Start with the sets. Breathtaking, from the quaint town, to the dream scene and wedding scene, huge production quality and gorgeous. Costumes were so beautiful and made each character that much more exciting. Special mention: Gamache: his over the top pink silk suit with bows on his shoes had me in fits of laughter. BOWS on his shoes. Also Kitris red color blocked tutu is worth the ticket price alone. Simply gorgeous.

Now to the dancing. I watched dress rehearsal and witnessed the rising star soloist Liz Murphy in the role of Kitri. She was so lovely. Such a wonderful great actress, and so comical I had no idea she could do that so well. She played the character with such an innocent playfulness but also with a very deep soul. As someone who has watched her over the last few years it was so special to watch her shine and portray her own version of this special character, so well. She was strong, yet meek, funny, yet vulnerable and her emotions showed her excitement for this opportunity to show her abilities. It was a great introduction to me to the role of Kitri.

The men were so impressive all night. From the leads, principal Seth Orza as Basilio, and Batkhurel Bold as Espada with their strong, testosterone filled jumps and cape whipping, to their soft and doting support of their female leads, they were perfect mates. Bold and his beautiful Mercedes danced by the incomparable Carrie Imler were steamy every time they were on stage. So much chemistry and fierceness. The return of Rachel Foster was a sight for sore eyes, giving quick precise technique as Cupid, and the duo of Sarah Orza and Margaret Mullin as Paccilia & Juanita were fluid and gorgeous.

The character roles were what had me in stitches. I had NO idea that this ballet was SO funny! My abs hurt the next day from the amount of laughing. PNB brought back award winning actor Tom Skerritt and Allen Galli in the roles of Don Q and Sancho and they showed so much range. For actors that are used to having words to help their craft they did a fabulous job. Skerritt showed brilliance as the mad Don who battles his demons and dreams of nymphs and monsters. Galli often stole scenes with his hilarious side man ballet interpretations and physical comedy. But who stole the entire show was Principal dancer Jonathan Porretta as Gamache. His level of sassy panache had our entire group in tears. The costume, the wig and the attitude served such over the top amazing comedy, it was perfect.

The entire company, corps dancers and students all shined so brightly. There have been talks of this company having small numbers right now in their corps but I think it's quality over quantity. Peter Boal made smart casting choices and everyone was strong and impressive. I would much rather watch a small stronger corps rather than a larger average group of dancers.

This is the last weekend to catch this gorgeous production, get your tickets at and get your cheap trip to Barcelona for a magical evening filled with laughter and gorgeous dancing. ❤️ *photos by Angela Sterling

Friday, January 30, 2015

Photo of the Day

Homegrown - Turkey + bacon + avocado + cheddar on a French baguette

Crow - fierce & fancy Lower Queen Anne gem

823 5th Ave. N.
Reservations encouraged

We went to a Crow for the first time on a sunny warm afternoon. Had reservations (grateful we opted to do that as they filled up quickly and turned lots of people away)! We were seated at a window spot, with their large windows open it made for a lovely seat! This restaurant has a revolving and changing menu, so. Check their website to see what is in season before you go.

So pleased with the service, not too hipster or snooty but just cool enough to give you space and privacy whilst keeping the customer happy.

We started with the curried mussels, which were so amazing. Served with two crustini's they were perfectly seasoned and a great portion, and left us excited for the next course.

Next was the Green a Goddess salad. It had lovely Buttercrisp lettuce and watermelon radishes and was tossed with the goddess dressing. Soft, fresh and the perfect amount of flavor.

For our main course I had the NY strip steak. It was cooked perfectly and topped with a rich amazing horseradish chive compound butter. Laid on a bed of grilled asparagus and roasted potatoes, I let the butter melt over it all, it was pretty perfect.

We finished off the delicious meal with the chocolate truffle cake with candied coconut and homemade amaretto ice cream. I swooned and may have lost consciousness while eating it lol. The ice cream was creamy and sweet and made the perfect pairing with the rich truffle cake.

Our meal was spectacular. Don't let the prices scare you away, it's a bit pricier than average in that area because the food is better than average, plain and simple, you get what you pay for with this establishment. The drinks are strong, and they have an extensive wine selection. Only rule: be sure to make a reservation!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Choice of the Director Proves to be Brilliant

Pacific Northwest Ballet's
Artistic Director: Peter Boal
Nov 7-16
McCaw Hall

The Director's Choice is exactly what the title states - the choice of the director. They are pieces of art, collected in the travels and experiences of the director of said ballet, that he/she would like to bring to his company and patrons. To share the work of said Choreographers and that they think would bring a richness to their company and season.

I love this rep for this reason. It really shows you how the Artistic Director's brain works, even if its just for a split second - because we all know the rest of the time they are the hardest people in the ballet to figure out ha! It shows you what inspires them, what speaks to them and what they believe in.

With my daughter as a young adult in the PD Division now - I regretfully don't find myself waiting long hours at the ballet any more for pick ups and drop offs...and as sarcastic as 80% of that was - part of me does miss it - because its how I would catch glimpses of the upcoming reps, hear the music from new pieces, hear the rumblings of what new artists and choreographers people were talking about that day.  So that when I did see the rep - I knew what was coming. I don't like to be surprised, forever the cynic always assuming surprises will be bad.

However this was one of those good surprises.

Kisses.  I had seen David Dawson's A Million Kisses to my Skin a few times before. Its always taken my breath away.  But each time I see it I find something new in it. This time it was ALL LEGS. SO many long gorgeous dancers in this piece. The watery flow of literally EVERY SINGLE female dancer (Lesley Rausch, Lindsi Dec, Elle Macy, Sarah Orza, Sarah Pasch & Margaret Mullin) was oozing with lovely.  Newly promoted Jerome Tisserand really stood out as such a graceful and supportive male to me, he has really risen up with his promotion. Such a joy to watch. Its funny but my most favorite moment watching this piece this time around, was a small detail...during a quiet moment with all 6 women on stage, between the notes of the orchestra and between their movements  - you could hear the women breathing. Its was a detail that some of us take for granted but I felt added a moment of realness to the whole thing.

Before After.  I had only seen this done one other time...and I was dreading seeing it again - only because the original time I saw it danced it was danced by the choreographer herself, the incomparable Annabelle Lopez Ochoa with one of my favorite male dancers ever, Lucien Postelwaite.  I am friends with the dancer I was about to see perform it - Angelica Generosa, but wasn't familiar in the least bit with her male counterpart, Raphael Bouchard. I am not the type of friend to sugar coat anything but will just refrain from saying anything. That said....ANGELICA WAS FIERCE.  She did Annabelle and her work so proud. She had a level of power and clean movement that made her little frame fill the stage. As for her partner, this was my first time seeing him in a lead modern role. He was STUNNING in this choreography.  I literally leaned over to my daughter and whispered "OMG WHO IS THIS PERSON!?". He was strong, fierce and they complimented each other so well, so much chemistry and beauty in both of them. 

---Intermission---  I am noting this break because of what is to come next. I walked into the lobby and the ever chatty patrons that were sitting behind me in the theater - were sipping coffee near me and I overheard their conversation about the next piece we were about to see, Rassemblement.  "Its boring. You probably won't like it. I think its weird..." So immediately I was intrigued.  Pulled out my program and realized I not only had never seen it before but I was only vaguely familiar with Nacho Duato's work.  I literally had NOTHING to draw on as to what I was expecting. No music peeks. No costume visuals. Read the casting as the lights were going down...

English translation definition: gathering, unity, parade, rally.
This piece BLEW MY MIND. SO many amazing images and words flew into my head - as having NOT read the program notes and not knowing what it was about - I listened to my own experience. Struggle, Freedom, Mysticism, Folklore, Primal Instincts, Raw Beauty and most of all, Power.  ALL of the dancers literally left their hearts on the floor in this piece.  The women literally took me to "clutch my pearls" with a gasp: Carrie Imler, such precision and power, almost gut wrenching at some moments. Elle Macy - SO much energy and at times seemed to forget we were there she danced with such abandonment. Jahna Frantziskonis - SO much movement and space filling for the smallest of the women. So many moments she seemed taller than any of them from how she was flexing and feeling all the way through her fingertips. And finally but not lastly - Leah Merchant - She was electric, her legs seemed to go forever. The men were all so powerful and primal but Jonathan Porretta and Jerome Tisserand really stood out - they resonated a level of strength mixed with exotic. Even the two male small parts - were so powerful because of the moment in time they represented - restraining and what seemed to emulate beating of Jerome by Charles McCall and Dylan Wald - made me hold my breathe. The entire piece has my mind racing again today. So so great and dare I say the best part of the entire rep.  At the intermission I so badly wanted to find the woman I had overheard talking about their piece being boring and weird and pick her brain as to why she thought so. But alas I know that all art is subjective and not everything appeals to everyone.

Debonair.  There had been a lot of talk regarding NYC Ballet's Justin Peck's choreography for PNB - that was premiered just a few weeks before at the famed Joyce Theater in New York City.  I had seen clips from rehearsal, heard some background and I was ready. The piece was gorgeous. Long lines, a lovely contemporary ballet that is quick footed but at the same time rich and juicy with movement. The costume on Lindsi Dec had me mesmerized. The skirt, combined with her legs for days, made her already fluid watery movements seem as she was melting into transitions. All of the dancers seemed to weave in and out of each other seamlessly - melting into one another. Margaret Mullin was like a little burst of amazing - her energy was steeped into her movements, it was contagious. Sarah Orza and Chelsea Adomaitis also stood out as super gooey and lovely in Peck's rapid but graceful choreography. It was truly a gift to watch.

Artistic Director Peter Boal has really given the patrons a gift in this rep. 4 pieces of contemporary genius. He gives you an eclectic and balanced foodie dance plate that will leave you not wanting for more when the curtain goes down - except to maybe see it again. 3 more shows remain - tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. Get your tickets at