Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo of the Day: lemon vodka iced tea

Tallulah's Seattle - Linda has done it again!

550 19th Ave. E.
Seattle (Capitol Hill)
Anyone who knows me knows I have a deep love affair with Brunch.  Brunch is my sinfully rich, drippy sauce, keep the coffee cup full version of a hot pool boy.  I find any and all reasons to host people at my home for Brunch and literally dance a jig at an opportunity to try the brunch menu at a new restaurant.
When our long time friend Chase Jarvis invited us out to Tallulah's - he had me at "brunch".  He then explained that it was a joint venture between himself, his amazing wife Kate, and Seattle restaurant entrepreneur and "odd fellow" - Linda Derschang.  Being a fan of Linda's knack for creating the perfect dive bar, (which hers all seem to be Seattle staples) and having a special place in my heart for the BLTA and Benedict from her popular cafe - Oddfellows, I was in..WAY IN.  Well that and having the urgent need to fill my vampiric like thirst for hollandaise and bloody marys, I found the nearest free moment on our calendar.  
My husband Ryan (RA Scion) and Chase Jarvis
Tucked away on 19th, in one of the still quaint areas of the ever changing and updating Capitol Hill - Tallulah's has a prime location among other foodie hipster heavy hitters like King Fish and Monsoon - and with its large outdoor windows and patio like vibe - adds a much needed rustic but hip feel to that part of the hill.  Its got the feel of - yes we are cool but not trying to prove it to you, if that makes sense.  They were full to the brim - with a small line of people waiting - and though he is part of the restaurant creative team Jarvis explained "We have to wait like everyone else, but that's okay!" but the crew with smiles and gracious greetings - made our very short wait bearable. Lead to a bright table literally in the center of the restaurant amidst such a variety of clientele, it was a nice change from the sometimes exclusive hipster vibe that some of the foodie spots on the hill tend to give.
Our waiter was a sweet man who brought us water and coffee and temped us with brunch type libations - to which I was tempted but stuck with coffee to nurse the over indulging from the night before. I had read reviews about this place being a big loud and busy - but considering my little hangover, I didn't find it distracting or too loud.  It was bustling, just enough to make you excited to be there. 
Chase told us what he recommended from the short but variety filled menu.  I tend to get overwhelmed with too many options, but I do admit there could have been a few more choices on the menu. We ordered a sticky bun to share while waiting for our food.  It was the kind of pastry that when you go to cut it with your fork, the side of it almost crushes it to the plate because its so soft and the gooey goodness gets stuck to the plate.  Perfect little bite to prepare for what was to come.

I ordered the Eggs Benedict because its one of the dishes I cannot resist trying at a new place that I think will rise to the occasion.   The perfectly poached eggs were served on toasted Brioche - which was a nice change from the normal english muffin, a generous slice of virginia ham and the hollandaise was fresh, rich and well made.  Coupled with roasted potatoes - I was a happy girl, literally savoring each bite like a kid at dessert.

My husband ordered the Flatbread with sunny side up egg, Bechamel and Raclette and Chase ordered the GIGANTIC Lemon Ricotta pancake.  Though I didn't taste either, they looked amazing and both men were pleased, happy and full.  The size of the pancake was so ginormous it could easily be shared between a few people. 

 SO pleased with our meal, the service and the atmosphere.  Excited for warmer weather - as Chase explained all the window lined walls open up
and the dining room turns into a patio. Much like the now gone Broadway Grill did - but with MUCH more space and better and more quaint view.  Linda's little touches - from the music, the family type vibe amongst the staff, the unassuming but cool decor (including a record player - which Ryan immediately inquired if it was operational and then offered to spin live music there during the summer - something that would be amazing if it ever comes to fruition) - she really makes it a lovely experience and one I cannot wait to have again.  Looking forward to trying dinner as soon as possible.

RATING: ***** 5 stars - a MUST

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to see The Royal Ballet's Giselle in Covent Garden (almost) LIVE - via a movie theater in Northgate for $15

Royal Opera Ballet
Covent Gardens via 
Thorton Place Cinemas/Northgate

The story of Giselle. Hands down one of my favorite ballets of all time.  The innocent village girl Giselle, who falls in love with the deceptive Albrecht - who is a young nobleman disguised as a peasant.  The ballet itself drips with the pain of heartache and the beauty of forgiveness. It was my first time experiencing not only the Royal Ballet - but the breathtaking talent and emotions of Natalia Osipova.

Partnering with the legendary Carlos Acosta - Natalia, 3 months new to the Royal Ballet - clearly stole the show.  

Her emotions we powerful and raw, coupled with technique that blew the mind of everyone in the audience, both live and in the theater I was in. Just when you think she touched the ceiling of her abilities, she would reach a new height 5 minutes later.

The event was the ROH LIVE Cinema series.  A former dance teacher of my daughters (who is a 17 yr old dancer at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School) messaged me earlier in the day asking if we were going.  Knowing nothing of the viewing or the series - I quickly did research and was delighted to find that its a monthly event, all over the country! The viewing isn't LIVE, its preempted so we could see it at a decent hour, if that makes sense - but its from the day of the show.  Such a lovely experience, with an intermission (complete with a static camera shot in the audience) and interviews with the choreographer and artistic director.  At one point even showed a candid of audience members sneaking a snack (obviously not allowed) and dropping their candy ha! Was pretty humorous! 

Back to the dancing.  As I said, I attended with my daughter who is a dancer, and ended up sitting next to another former teacher, arguably one of the most respected teachers in Seattle and a former member of the Martha Graham company, dancing with Graham herself, so the exclamations and gasps were from fellow dancers, which is how I (being a NON dancer) knew they were valid :)

Natalia Osipova is a beast.  Her ability to show strength, flawless technique while showing a level of emotion and frailty - had us all in tears and left us speechless. I often felt like her sheer will to push the limits of perfection was mesmerizing.  The strength put into some of her turns and jumps and then land them like sinking into quick sand, quietly and fluidly.  

It is clear the Royal Ballet is filled with amazing talent, but they all faded into the abyss with the Wilis it seemed, as Osipova danced circles around our hearts and our brains.  

I often have questions for my daughter when we see shows such as these - as far as what I think seemed "Amazing" to what she says actually WAS amazing - based on the art of ballet and what is more difficult to do etc.  The following variation from Act I made my daughter jump to the edge of her seat, gasp and cover her mouth with shock and awe. "Mom, what she just did there, is hard to do for anyone, and to make it look as easy and beautiful as she just did, is near impossible!" :

Not enough words can be said about Natalia's level of emotion that at times was almost palatable.  She had played this role before with the Bolshoi ballet, so the experience was there. Her seasoned experience was mixed with small pieces of her own heart that she was cutting out and leaving all over the stage there in Covent Garden. 

A huge success for Kevin O'Hare and his company and a great new event on our calendar now thanks to the Royal Opera House! 

Such a great idea and wonderful opportunity for lovers of dance - that is clearly not promoted well and or underutilized.  There were less 30 people in the theater and I could name about 20 who would have come to something like this in a heart beat.  Lets change that - because their schedule for upcoming premiers is gigantic:  I was SO excited to mark my calendar for April 28th - when they PREMIER the full length of The Winter's Tale by Christopher Wheeldon at the Live Cinema. Visit the website to see what else is coming up as well as to sign up for their text updates.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Crash Reel - Its not how many times you fall, but how many times you get back up...

The Crash Reel
Release: December 13, 2013
Director: Lucy Walker
Ever see a new Documentary on HBO before bed and think, 'oh its not too long, I am just going to watch it'? Next thing its 2am and I am lying in bed, with a tear-stained face, not able to get Kevin Pearce or his family, out of my head. I am not a Snowboarder but I am a fan of snow sports in general, grew up skiing and hanging out with people that were considered dare devils, that built and went off huge jumps, hiked into back country and even a few that dared to jump small cliffs.  Though I never did those things, I was an avid snow skier and I GET what that speed and sport does to people, the feeling you get and the need to do it over and over.  Like a part of your life vein, it becomes a part of your survival you love it so much
                                                This movie is the story of Kevin Pearce 
2010 Olympic hopeful - literally winning competitions over Shaun White and his other fellow competitors. At 17 he was the dark horse that came out of nowhere, the amazing young talent that was shocking everyone.  As him and his friends were preparing for the Olympics, they took video of their training process, and you see tons of the video footage in this movie. 
 Which is why they were able to catch his tragic boarding crash on December 31st, 2009 - that injured his brain - on camera. This documentary follows the sport and how the bar is consistently raised in difficulty and the risk that is involved in a sport that creates such a shock value in the media - which honestly, was the part of the movie that I expected...

What I didn't expect, was to fall in love with the Pearce family as a whole, the way I did.  Kevin's amazing parents, Simon and Pia - were just what we all hope to become as parents.  The grace in which they handled this event that rocked their foundation...lovingly, at his side every second.  They are glue that holds the Pearce family together, with an amazing combination of unconditional love, support, spirituality and kind realism. 
  Who truly reached in and touched my heart were his brothers, David, Andrew and Adam, who made me weep with their tireless worry and support for their brother. David, who has Down Syndrome, spoke with SUCH maturity and wisdom when he would speak about both his disability and his sadness about his brothers injury.  Adam was in almost every hospital scene you saw, by his side in the recovery process.  At one point in the movie there is a family meeting about the fact that Kevin wanted nothing more than to get back on his snowboard and compete again.  The agony and pain on the family members faces and the tears and words that they use to express their feelings to him, is truly heart wrenching.  I found the way they juggled kindness and patience with sharing their pain and worry for Kevin, both inspiring and astounding.
The movie was released last month and is on HBO right now. Even if you aren't a fan of snowboarding, its really not about that - its about the human spirit and the struggle between knowing what is safe and respecting our family and our need to do what inspires us and what takes our souls to that place that no words can understand. 
RATING: ***** 5 stars. SEE THIS MOVIE

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Romeo et Juliette - my breath was taken over and over...

** I am re-posting this review - Pacific Northwest Ballet is opening this ballet on February 1-10th, 2013, then taking it to the NYC Ballet on the 15th and 16th! Do NOT miss your chance to see one of the most beautiful versions of this classic and timeless love story! Click here for tickets: **

Romeo et Juliette

Pacific Northwest Ballet
Choreographer: Jean-Christophe Maillot

*This original review was written in 2009*
I know I usually write about movies - but this is also visual entertainment, so I classify the same, well actually BETTER and more satisfying.

After seeing commercials on TV and reading a few reviews, I had decided I had to see this show.

Peter Boal has took over as Artistic Director of Pacific Northwest Ballet, almost 5 years ago - and since then, has taken a new and brilliant turn with the choice of productions and shows each year.

When I got the tickets, I was preparing myself for the classic, old fashioned Shakespeare set and vision - too many frills, too much everything - but that is the beauty of the classics. This however was MUCH different than expected.

Different, beautifully poetic, modern, minimalistic and simply breathtaking. First of all the sets - large shapes - all straight angels and clean lines. Linens draped on the sets and used for costumes - they were just perfect. It was just appealing enough to the eyes to remember, but subtle enough for you to really focus on the artistry.

First off the Choreography -- Maillot's vision was clear - beautiful lines, smooth transitions but also strong and gut wrenching moments that are severe and gorgeous. Every muscle movement was so intentional and used every ounce of energy the dancer had.

The dancers. Peter Boal has a company of 48 amazing artists. The people chosen for this show were phenomenal, each in their own right. First of all - the two main parts.

Juliette was played by Brazilian born Carla Korbes. This was her first time in the role of Juliette and I must say she literally became the character. She gave so much of herself and really dedicated herself to the story. I felt her pain, I cried her tears and I felt her joyful and undeniable love. She showed the wonderful coy, playful and naughty side of Juliette - and really had fun with it.
Her ability and artistry were superb. She was strong, yet soft - fluid yet severe when needed. The art of dance is so special when it is done right, and its radiated rather than performed. Carla truly radiated the amazing attributes that Shakespeare himself envisioned his Juliette to be.

On to Romeo. Romeo was played by veteran
Lucien Postlewaite
- was Romeo in the last PNB production of this piece 2 years ago. We were lucky enough to be part of a Q & A session with both dancers after the show - and Lucien was asked the difference between this time and last time for him. He said the first time he was very busy worrying about making Romeo "his own". He said this year he really got a chance to give himself to the story and choreography and be who he was needed to be.

It was very clear on stage. My 13 year old (who is a dancer at the PNB school) while watching the "love" scene when they first kiss and really "devour" each other. She said "Wow mom, they really seem like they LOVE each other. Its so believable you almost feel like you are watching something that is just meant for the two of them...". I agreed with her observation. It was never Uncomfortable. Rather it was so intimate and tender - small gentle touches, radiated such love and unconditional bliss. It literally made me miss my husband and want to go home and feel the same way!

Lucien is a gentle but ripped power house that brought such chivalry and strength to this role. I have often seen the role in the past as one of an impulsive and boyish lover who made bad choices. On the contrary - Lucien gave reason and meaning in every movement and made you quiver every time he touched Juliette's skin. The additional opportunity to play this part I think was beneficial in the depth of the character. He truly danced with his heart and let every person in the audience see and feel what true love should look like.

Other amazing dancers that I must make note of. (*Please note that there were two casts for several parts, so I can only speak on the cast I saw - but I am sure the other dancers were just as amazing!)

Carrie Imler - played Juliette's Nurse. I adored her portrayal. Playful yet so loving and sisterly to Juliette. Her playfulness with Romeo and the men was also hilarious. She is incredible animated and played the part with a joyful beauty that was evident throughout the theater. I could tell by her lines that she is an amazing dancer and I wish I could have seen more of her in this production.

Arianna Lallone - Lady Capulet. She was stunning, brutal, cold but passionate at the same time. SO regal and SO intense. The scene where both friends die - she has this amazing modern mourning solo that is just riveting. Gut wrenching and raw, she showed us the epitome of pain and heartache. It was impossible to stay dry eyed through the solo. At one point my daughter whispered to me "She reminds me of old videos of Martha Graham the way she is dressed and her dancing style". I again, concurred - it was severe and gorgeous.

Karel Cruz - Friar Laurence. Karel as the thread throughout the story, and as the guide to all the other characters - was amazing. As one of the tallest (if not the tallest) dancers in the company - the mostly modern choreography for his character was paired with severe and dark costumes that really showed his lines. He portrayed an amazing internal struggle and showed so much power in his movements. Again reminding us of old Graham dancers - his lines of sorrow and anger were especially amazing.

There isn't much more to be said about this show that hasn't already been said. I am sad to say, this show is no longer showing at McCaw Hall. HOWEVER - "Directors Choice" did just open - featuring 4 beautiful vignettes showcasing a wonderful variety of tastes, talents and artistry within the company. I saw it tonight and will be writing a review for it VERY soon - so people will go and see it! I leave you with photos from the performance and rehearsals from this breathtaking show and ask you to keep your eye out for when Peter Boal decides to bless the NW with a rerun of this spectacular production.