Saturday, January 27, 2018

wine dinners part I

so this weekend is Forks and Corks weekend - a big deal in Sarasota each January.  The Grand Tasting is held at the Ringling Museum on Sunday mid day with more than a thousand guests (too many) after doing the Grand Tasting for a year as regular admission and two or three years as VIP admission we decided to no longer fight the crowds and just to the weekend wine dinners.

So last night we went to a Friday night event at Blue Marlin in Bradenton Beach. The whole big deal is run by an organization called Sarasota-Manatee Originals (SMO)which is an association of locally owned restaurants.  So Blue Marlin being a SMO member was called upon to host a wine dinner and invited us (as known wine folks) to join in.  We had already booked for Saturday night at Michael's Wine Cellar dinner with friends Gene & Mary Ann - which will be part II...

Off we went for the 6:30 event and were greeted by the usual suspects- actually everyone we knew on the staff was there except Vicki.  Dan was pouring and Kelsey was as well, Max was overseeing the food delivery and Adam (the owner) was checking on pretty much everything...  We were seated with another guy from the Chicago area named Ken and a couple named Bob and Nancy, from various places including Louisville/Pittsburgh/Kokomo/State College...LOL

the craziness of F&C grand tasting

and last night's lovely meal-

the carpaccios were served family style and passed before I took a photo but I thought the portobello carpaccio was the single best dish of the evening but they both would serve as the best course!

they also served lovely oysters with sparkling and a mid meal course of veggie sushi with tuna tartare topping... the dessert was from Andrea Spring of Mermaid Pie Company - a nice evening of good food and good company - maybe not the best wines we have ever had but it always interesting to taste things you don't know because you might find some new things to like- the WOE was definitely to my mind the Viognier... which as funny because it was the WOE for the Outstanding in the Field dinner as well - there it was from our buddies Paul Gerrie and Steve Dorner at Cristom...

so tonight off for Italian wine and dinner at Michael's Wine Cellar... usually a wonderful time - we will report back later...

Thursday, January 25, 2018

straight to TV

Straight to TV is where this script should be going but apparently it has already been made into a soon to be released movie.  I don't know why. While it was mildly entertaining absolutely everything about this comedy/drama was predictable. Some of it was predictable from the opening scene and some as things evolved but seriously this is not "think theater" as one of our Chicago theaters bills itself.

Do we really need to see yet another jokey scene where boomers get high on someone else's medical marijuana? Or who still use flip phones? Or make jokes about Viagra? Or references to the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally? Or another angry middle aged woman whose husband left her for a bimbo? Or, the gay guy, a black former athlete, injured when he fell out of a golf cart after "one too many beers on the back nine"? This one pretty much covers all the bases with stereotypical characters.

This was a good to great TV show but it was not on TV.  It is in a theater which aspires (usually) to better.

Exploring the plot- which seems derived from so many familiar movies-

The white guy (a human rights lawyer) whose wife dies unexpectedly picks up a woman at his wife's funeral.  The woman is a grief counselor who has mistakenly gone to the funeral home on the wrong day but doesn't leave so as not to offend.  They hook up and awaken the next morning with the consequences.  She assumes he's married when she finds the dead wife's clothes in the closet.  Turns out the police brought her effects to him just moments before the funeral and he found out from texts on her phone that she had been having an affair with "O".

When neighbor Ollie comes by to offer his condolences to the widower, the white guy assumes this is the "O" of the texts. Turns out Ollie knew Grace (the deceased) from yoga class at sunrise and some other "senior retirement village" activities... I am not making this up..... Ollie is forced to reveal that he is still in the closet because his 92 year old father was homophobic and his fan base from his professional athlete days might be offended by him being gay (in 2018?). He is not that "O"

I think if they had gone further this could have actually been a decent satire but it needed bite to get it there.  The scene where the woman tells the widower about signs from dead people like butterflies and birds skirts it but because this play wants be bigger it misses the mark altogether in my opinion.

Three good performances by the actors - as usual and as usual, the script does not do them justice.
I won't blather on and on- like some aging retired person with nothing to do...LOL... I have a lifelong learning class to get to (only kinds sorts kidding- it was two days ago LOL)

So while we had a few laughs- they were cheap, obvious laughs - I would say skip this one if your social security check doesn't give you a lot of discretionary income you can find better ways to spend your money - maybe sunrise yoga....

Coming up- it's Forks and Corks weekend so we have two wine dinners and also a big ballet weekend with Moving Identities. So more to follow-

"One of the most unique aspects of Moving Identities is the gender split casting for both Graziano's Valsinhas and North's Troy Game, meaning that on any given performance you might see an all male cast or an all female cast of either performance. This program will also marks the first time that Robert North's Troy Game will be performed in Sarasota with an all female cast in addition to the original all male casting."

Sunday, January 21, 2018

as promised...

photos of our outstanding OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD experience today on Anna Maria Island.  A lovely day- finally the weather turned warm after most of the month being seriously chilly for us.  Here is my favorite photo of the venue- the white sand beach on the north end of Anna Maria...

the menu -
 by course-

our starters in walk around reception before picking up our plates and taking them to the table (it was bring your own plate but they washed them before and after the meal)

then when we went to the table we had -

as the sun set we had our meal

an absolutely perfect day on the weather - and the meal wasn't too shabby either LOL...
but stay tuned - this week we have an Italian wine dinner at Michael's and a play at the Asolo Rep and then the ballet  and maybe even a champagne dinner (we are on the waiting list for that one) #lifeisgood

despite the disruption

of putting the condo on the market - we have carried on with our lives... having dinner with friend Neil at Blue Marlin our island favorite, having a lovely meal at indigenous my personal favorite place to eat in Sarasota, going to classes (me), going to the gym (hubby), telling our cat Lucy that it was too cold to go outside.

And so we finally seem to have made it through the worst of the cold and we have a contract on the condo and we are preparing ourselves for the move.  Today we are headed to Outstanding in the Field on Anna Maria Island (ten minutes from where we live)

but before we head off to the beach dinner (no field here - sand in our toes!) - here  are some photos from the last few days- starting with last night- we usually don't go out on Saturday night, especially to hot spots - just easier to do it during the week... but we were supposed to have company for this weekend and already had made the reservation weeks in advance so we went to indigenous by ourselves... poor us LOL-

outstanding arctic char with a yuzu glaze and the lemongrass shrimp dish

a shared dessert of butterscotch brownie with salted caramel sauce and home made ice cream

one of our three starters- the crudo - followed by photos of the pork belly and the mushroom bisque

I love the menu here which changes all the time and the outdoor dining is always lovely

our wines for the evening

we had gone Wednesday during the day to buy some new light fixtures for the new place and stopped at Central Cafe for lunch before heading to the Lyteworks store...

and then some of our great food at Blue Marlin with Neil on Wednesday night-

low country boil (below) and shrimp and grits (above)

a treat from the kitchen clams in a terrific velvety cream sauce

so now we are off to the beach for Outstanding in the Field

more to follow!