Thursday, May 28, 2009

Rice Cream Cafe

I just tried some gelato, sorbet and rice pudding from a place here in Queens called Rinaldi's Rice Cream Cafe. The rice pudding was something I never had before. Usually rice pudding is either the typical vanilla or with Indian spices. This one was a chocolate hazelnut! WOW!! I tasted the blood orange sorbet and it tasted just like the blood oranges from Italy. Gelato flavor that I had was hazelnut. When I return from Hartford I'm going there (someone picked it up for me) to try their other flavors.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My latest adventures

I went to Greenwich and Stamford CT to write about same sex marriages. Couples are either going over the border from NYC or traveling as far away as California to tie the knot. Some great spots to do so. Stayed at Delamar Hotel in Greenwich located on the harbor. Elegant small hotel. Ate dinner there (French style food) but had lunch at Morello Bistro in downtown Greenwich. Excellent Italian food. Checked out various places to have weddings and ceremonies.

Lots of articles to write for Edge Publications and New York Blade. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. I will next be off to Hartford to check out the city as a travel and wedding destination. Will do my radio show after I get back.

I still need to somewhat plan my P'Town trip with my friends. Will be celebrating the big 6-0. Then when I get back I'll have a party at my house. Working on the recipe ideas. I would have the whole thing catered but I can't decide on what cuisine that I or everyone else would like.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Not Mine But Funny

A friend sent this to's her cats, not mine

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I saw an off-Bway performance of Danny and Sylvia, The Danny Kaye Musical, depicting the life of Danny Kaye and Sylvia Fine. Brian Childers portrays the comedian, singer, dancer, actor who’s best known for those fast and funny numbers like Minnie the Moocher. Danny Kaye, born Danny Kaminsky, met Sylvia Fine (Kimberly Faye Greenberg) at an audition. Sylvia wrote music and lyrics. The relationship moved on to manager and marriage. Show is being performed at St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 W. 46th St.

The book and lyrics for this show were written by Robert McElwaine and the music by Bob Bain. Fine’s songs are: Anatole of Paris; The Maladjusted Jester; and Melody in 4F. Those who are Danny Kaye fans (like myself) will love Childers’ recreation of the “tummler”. Expect to have Childers on my radio show this week.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


On Tuesday the 12th, Crystal Turpin, the Assistant GM or the New York Sharks, shows up at my house with two kitties from the same litter. Boy kitties. Not so easy to tell them apart. I think she said that they were 6 weeks old. After I saw the kitties Crystal told me to call Andra Douglas, the owner of the team. It appears that she was in on this as well. I think this was planned just about after my dear Mallory went to kitty heaven. Named one Theo (as in theobromine, if that's how you spell it...the chemical that's in cacoa beans that makes you happy. The other is Max, named after my father. They spend much of the time playing with each other...ruff housing. How come they don't bleed when they are scratched? Today I bought a few scratching posts. Better to scratch those then my limbs. I'll have them co-host my radio show in a few months...or maybe sooner. Max is the one on the top left and Theo bottom right.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Woodhaven had its claim to fame with Lewis of Woodhaven, Tony’s Meat Market, Jason’s Toy Store and the Forestview Diner. Nothing could replace Lewis’, Jason’s or Tony’s but Forestview had a few changes, the last now a restaurant called Avenue Diner, at 91-06 Jamaica Avenue.

Being a diner, the cuisine falls toward mostly American, Italian and Greek cuisine. Convenient but what about the food and prices? Let’s begin with breakfast. With McDonald’s just across the street how do you command the price of two eggs, toast and homefries for the price of $3.75…then adding tax and tip? A sandwich of just one egg is $1.75. If you’re hungry you can always splurge for eggs benedict at $8.45. Add a few extra bucks for juice. Coffee? $1.00 for a small but $1.25 if you don’t want the caffeine.

Let me tell you about my own experience. I thought that since they deliver locally it would be a change from the usual Chinese or Italian. I ordered an appetizer of Buffalo wings. Six small wing pieces for $5. There was a blue cheese dressing with no sign of chunks and not even a few pieces of celery. Quite bland for Buffalo wings…not spicy at all, no sauce, and it’s not as if they ask if you want it mild, hot, etc. What a ripoff! I mean cross the street to the Chinese restaurant and five whole fried wings are less than $3!

I wanted to try one of the Greek Specialties. Forget the gyro as they don’t have the facilities for the real thing. For $5.50 you get thawed out strips of a combo of beef and lamb. I figured I’d be safe with the $8 Greek Souvlaki platter of marinated pork cubes and small Greek Salad. Safe it wasn’t. I don’t know who cut up the cubes but I found slivers of bone that I almost choked on. I’m not even sure what it was marinated in but the overpowering garlic in the homemade cucumber sauce might have covered it up. The entire meal, came to $14.10 plus tip and one of the worst meals I’ve tempted to eat. Hey, even a Nutrisystem dinner would have been better!

I called to Michael, the owner, to complain about the bones. He couldn’t understand and asked if I wanted something else as they would have the guy pick it up to return. I certainly didn’t want to chance eating anything from this joint….which all arrived luke warm. He asked if I wanted my money back. Now, you’d think that after discovering the bones that my entire money would be returned.

The delivery guy brings me $8.00! I had to call back! They charged me tax…so why don’t I get that back as well. Michael had stepped out and the co-partner Paul was there, asking about how much of the food I ate. Can you believe that? It turns out that the delivery guy came back with change in his hand saying that he was to give me another 25 cents, but had 70 cents in his hand. What does that say about the delivery guy? So now get this. It cost me $5 plus the tax and tip that I gave for the whole meal for 5 tiny pieces of wings!!! That's more than $2 for a whole wing!!!!

Right now I am experiencing an EXTREME DIGESTIVE UPSET. Perhaps it’s time for the health department to make a trip even though they recently opened. Whoops! I guess they did. On 4/03/09 there were 26 violation points…you’d think they’d learn after Forestview closed because of the extreme failure that led to its closing. Over 25 demands another inspection.

I want to add that Michael said that he would speak with the person that does the butchering to see that it doesn't happen again. My guess is that it had nothing to do with the butchering but the state of the kitchen and that these bone slivers were on the counter and somehow got tossed into the food. Come on now...pointy slivers of bone? Who's to say that it even came from pork? Unfortunately I didn't examine the rest of the pork sitting atop the Greek salad.

Cross Woodhaven Blvd for a sure thing at Mama Meena’s Family Restaurant at 94-20 Jamaica Avenue. Maybe you have pictures of what you think is Filipino cuisine. Fried Calamari at the Avenue Diner will run you $6.95 vs. Mama Meena’s for $5.50. You’ll certainly taste the difference in freshness. Or how about three full grilled squid for only $8!!! So why didn’t I order from them? Unfortunately they do not deliver. Why? The prices are too low. Now, you may think that low prices means low quality….not! They just want to be affordable and serve fresh and tasty food. Check out their blog at

Sunday, May 10, 2009

McCormick & Schmick's Preview

top left Atlantic Salmon stuffed with crab, bay shrimp and Brie. Top right Chocolate basket filled with fresh berries and white chocolate mousse. Bottom left Large Sampler of oysters on the half shell - oysters from: James River, Ware River VA; Carlsbad Blonde, Carlsbad CA; Duck Island, Long Island Sound NY; Kumamoto, Baja Mexico; East End, Peconic Bay New York; Lasquiti Island, British Columbia Canada.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I went to the New York Sharks game and sung the National Anthem. It was that, or "Singing In The Rain"...and since it didn't rain... I hit the notes just fine and simply belted the song without any extra know what I mean. I'm sure you know by now that the Sharks are a women's pro football team. It was a home game at the Sharks' Field located at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. It was their second home game and so far they took three of the four games. The score for this one was 40-14 against the Connecticut Crush. Adrienne Smith (#10) made Sharks herstory by running 98 yards for a touchdown delivered by our humble, but magnificent star quarterback, Karen "Mulli" Mulligan. I'm not sure as to whether that was IWFL herstory...I'll check. Then there was that "crushing" fumble that led to rookie Hanna Williams' (#83) 96 yard run for another TD. As she was fastly approaching the goal line, she then started looking around to see if anyone was near her. She later told me that because she was running so fast she wanted to see if there was any possibility of slowing down...she didn't bother to do so. I certainly don't want to leave out another rookie, Chante Bonds (#80) who returned a punt 56 yards for another Sharks TD. Right now the NY Sharks are 3-1. The next game is at home, on May 16th against the DC Divas!

I have a Sharks mascot toy that sings, "One day or another, I'm gonna getcha, I'm gonna getcha, getcha, getcha..." Not only does the tail move but the mouth opens and closes. We're going to have fun doing interviews with this! Hopefully one will be posted soon on the New York Sharks website in their youtube area...or maybe I'll get it for mine.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What A Contest!!

Now, here's a contest worth entering. You get to write in 100 words or less on Mrs. Butterworth's first name. Like why you think it's her first name. I mean...did they ever name her in the first place? Now wait...If you win you get $500 and a year's supply of this garbage! The $500 will most likely be used towards your dental bills, weight loss program or diabetes shots. Me? Give me pure maple syrup or I might just as well let sugar melt atop each pancake. Now, just in case you want it sugar-free, here are the ingredients: water, Sorbitol, Contains 2% Or Less of: Cellulose Gum, Sorbic Acid and Sodium Benzoate (Preservatives), Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Salt, Phosphoric Acid, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Butter Flavors, Natural and Artificial Maple Flavors, Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium Sucralose, Caramel Color, Mono- and Diglycerides. mmmmmm...doesn't that just sound appealing!

Her first name? Could be in Thelma (Butterfly) McQueen, who people think that the syrup was named for.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


One of the advantages of the locale is that the hotel is noted for its restaurants. Marquis’ lobby is located on the eighth floor where Broadway Lounge faces Broadway. Encore is most noted for an all you can eat buffet. That night they offered an Italian menu for $25 and Katen is the one you want for sushi.

Hop the express elevator on the 3rd floor for the View Lounge and View Restaurant. The Lounge is on the 48th floor, while the Restaurant is on the 47th. Both venues give a 360 degree view of Manhattan as they slowly revolve. The Lounge’s menu offers a buffet of basically appetizers and desserts as it’s the drinks that are the feature.

The View is all about the newest $69 three course pre-fixe menu designed by chef Ron Camillo beginning with appetizers such as: Purple Potato Vichyssoise with lump crab meat and herbed crème fraiche; Grilled Quail with honey almond goat cheese, frisee and a sherry fig vinaigrette; Jumbo Lump Crab Salad accompanied by avocado mousse, mango essence and mache (greens); and Salmon Duo of salmon toro tartar and smoked salmon with a caper mustard vinaigrette. You should note that the crab salad had little added ingredients if any. The salmon duo was plated with a separate toro (fattier) from what appeared to be slices of a more Nova lox style salmon.

Before I get into the entrees I want to tell you about the bread plate. There are two types of rolls offered. The Parker tasted as good, if not better than the original that I enjoyed at the Parker House hotel in Boston and were best served with butter. You should not put butter on the olive bread rolls. Request olive oil. The waiter brings out a “creamer” with olive oil and a small plate of shaved parmesan. Mix the oil with the cheese and then place some on the roll. Now that’s an almost appetizer in itself.

On to the entrees and it was a tough choice. Which ones sparked my taste buds? Considering the salmon appetizer I passed on the following: Pan Seared Salmon with crushed peas, mushrooms and smoked Beurre Blanc; Seared Shrimp and Penne with roma tomato, oregano in a marscapone wine sauce; Steamed Mahi Mahi with chanterelle, summer corn, chorizo and saffron oil; and Sauteed Skate Wing with truffled leeks in a lemon caper sauce. If I was a vegetarian I might have opted for the Vegetable Napolean with Portobello mushroom, eggplant, squash, tomato and asparagus veloute. Down to the choice of a pork, chicken, steak or lamb dish, it was the Roasted Rack of Lamb with black beluga lentils, squash fricassee, and Banyuls Vinaigrette that wound up tingling my taste buds. I was also informed that the Maine Lobster Tail (a $30 supplement) is not of the frozen ilk. Personally, I have never been able to order a non-frozen lobster tail when a full lobster is not on the menu. It is served deshelled and quite a large portion.

Desserts? Top choices: Chocolate Caramel Square with chocolate jelly and cassis ice cream; Pineapple Polenta Cake with grilled banana, cappuchino ice cream and passion sauce; and Mascarpone Brulee with raspberry Croisannt Pudding, raspberry praline ice cream and macerated raspberries.

Hopefully I can get Ron Camillo on my radio show, Whirl With Merle on as the food is a great as the ambiance!


Picture this. It’s the 80’s in a typical business office with a male sexist boss, Franklin Hart, Jr. (Marc Kudisch). Violet Newstead (Allison Janney), having worked there for years, should be next in line for the top position. Doralee Rhodes (Megan Hilty), a wannabe country singer, is always getting harassed by her boss. Judy Bernly (Stephanie J. Block), with her husband having left her for a younger woman, just lied her way into a starting position. Roz Keith (Kathy Fitzgerald), Hart’s not as pretty assistant, would love to have her boss make more than just a pass. Sound familiar? How about the movie, “9 to 5”?

Dolly Parton composed the signature song for the movie and has taken on composing the entire score for this sure to be a hit Broadway musical. For those who need to connect to the movie version Dolly Parton portrayed Doralee, Jane Fonda was Judy, and Lily Tomlin took on the role of Violet. Here is the plot just in case you missed it onscreen.

When Hart passes Violet over for a promotion, she makes her way to a local bar with Judy and Doralee, talking about Hart's epic advances. The women later go off to Doralee's house, smoke pot, and concoct some really funny revenge fantasies. Back at the office, a mix-up leads the women to think they have accidentally poisoned Hart's coffee, due to the box of sugar resembling a box of rodent poison. It eventually leads to kidnapping him to prevent him from blackmailing them or calling the police, while the women use their boss' absence to effect some changes around the office. Enough said.

9 to 5 the Musical, as it is called, is what I would deem as an all around fun and entertaining musical comedy. Hilty may not look like Parton, but she sure got the voice down pat…or, rather, dolly. Each of the women was able to solo a number and all with much applause. Hilty sang “Backwoods Barbie” about how people wrongly perceive her; Block belted out “Get Out and Stay Out”, re her ex husband; Violet felt her revenge with “One of the Boys”; and Roz let herself go lamenting with “5 to 9” the time she was away from her boss. As for Kudisch, I felt he just was a bit short on the role, although his singing was fine and he well endured the “flying”.

The Marquis Theatre, located at the Marriott Marquis Hotel gave it a great venue and use of the stage’s trap doors for changing the sets. Although they were not the most elaborate, the scenery did the trick