Wednesday, February 18, 2015

LESLEY GORE: After The Party

I wrote this article in 2006. My how the years pass so quickly.  

It'’s this season'’s final episode, “Left Hand Of The Goddess” of The L Word, when Shane is confronting her father’s lack of fidelity and departure. As in many of the L Word scenes there is a background song. This one entitled, “Words Don’t Say” is being sung by Lesley Gore (“Words we don’t say/Trying to hide night after night/Drifting away”) and one of several tunes from her new CD, “Ever Since”.

In the 60’s, Gore was one of the most successful solo artists of the “Girl Group” topping charts with: “It’s My Party”, “Judy’s Turn To Cry” and “You Don’t Own Me”, a song revived by Bette Midler in the movie, “First Wives Club”.

"“You know what I’m going to say when people ask me what I'’ve been doing for 30 years? ‘Practicing’”," said the now deeper voice and out-of-the-closet performer. Yes, just in case you haven’t heard, Gore told the world that she is a lesbian and has been with a partner for over 20 years.

Maintaining a constant touring schedule across the country, Gore'’s recent gig took place at Queens Theatre In The Park in New York City, where I had the pleasure of seeing the vivacious vocalist. The 90-minute show introduced many of her new songs and brought nostalgia to anyone old enough to recall the original “Bandstand”. “Ever Since”, the title song, is made to draw us back to “It’s My Party” (“All the weight of nights and days too long to list/All the parties I'’ve been to you were missed/ I'’ve waited ever since” bring us forward into the world that she now inhabits.

Better Angels”, written by Blake Morgan, was featured at the close of the season premiere episode of CBS’s hit show CSI:MIAMI as Horatio Caine (played by David Caruso) is visiting a confessional booth. Blake is both her pianist and arranger as well as the producer of her new CD.

You Don'’t Own Me” is an even newer rendition and sung in a jazzy ballad flare. This one seemed to have an added stanza of “You don’t own me/I want somebody who will be true/You don’t own me/You don’t own me and I don’t own you.

Leslie and her brother Michael were responsible for composing “Out Here On My Own”, featured in the Oscar nominated Fame. Perhaps it might have been a reflection of her personal life change (“Sometimes I wonder where I'’ve been/Who I am do I fit in/Make believing is hard alone/Out here on my own”).

A few of her other new songs were sung, but as she promised, she ran her former hits single-fashioned and not as a medley. For those who may have forgotten, they included: “She’s A Fool”; “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows”; “That'’s the Way Boys Are”; and “Maybe I Know”.

The stage performance adds a backup vocalist, while she and Blake do the backups on the CD version. Although I enjoyed the songs, I found that the live rendition gave a much fuller sound to each of her numbers. She’s still got it even at the age of 59.

Leslie Gore'’s West Coast tour will take her into San Francisco where she will be performing at the Brava Theatre Center, on Sat., April 22 and Sun., April 23.
April 15, 2006 - MGW Magazine

Monday, February 16, 2015


Having a total variety of cuisines from Asia, I recently ventured to Thailand Kitchen located at 86-05 Jamaica Avenue (718-847-4700) to sample more than my usual Pad Thai.  Please keep in mind that the sampling was not done in one sitting or on the same day.   Yes, I do get full.

I tend to judge a Thai restaurant on its Pad Thai, a dish consisting of Thai rice noodles sautéed with egg, dried bean curd, bean sprouts, ground peanuts, and green onions. With an added choice of chicken, beef, tofu, vegetables or vegetarian duck, I tend to find it to be a “safe” dish as well as “passing my test”.   

Spicy food is not my thing, but I do want to be fair.  In fact I take my friend Deveka along with me as nothing seems too spicy for her.  I chose one safe salad and one spicy soup. Glass Noodle Salad uses translucent vermicelli noodles that are made from mung bean starch. Add minced chicken and shrimp, chili, onions and cilantro, topped with a lime dressing.  Per my request the chili was not added.

On another occasion, we sampled the Mango Salad of julienne mango and carrots with red onions and lime dressing.  Me thinks that I communicated my spicy situation regarding the glass noodles and forgot to mention on this salad as the dressing is quite hot but so tasty.  I viewed chili flakes.   My Thai iced coffee was of great use having the milk in it.   

Lemongrass Shrimp Soup, better known as Tom Yom, is a hot and sour soup with lemongrass and galanga root, a white-fleshed root from Thailand that can be used as a substitute for ginger. What makes the soup hot is the chili pepper. However, I found that this particular chili doesn’t circulate around my whole mouth and make it unbearable. It hits that back of my throat and within a few lovin’ spoonfuls I am able to build up a tolerance and appreciate the excellent flavors of the soup.

As a change on soup choices, I did order the Coconut Chicken Soup that uses coconut milk, galanga, kaffir lime and scallions. It’s quite good and not as spicy as Tom Yom.

Back to the appetizers.  Spare ribs here on not of the Chinese ilk.  They are deep fried with garlic and pepper, accompanied by a sweet and spicy sauce for dipping.  No dipping for me.   I found them to be tender and savory. 

Crispy Spring Rolls seem to be made different in each Asian cuisine.  Thai style is filled with glass noodles, cabbage and vegetables.  I also loved the Shrimp Fritters, a sort of fried wontons filled with ground shrimp and chicken served with that sweet chili sauce. Then, there are the Chicken Wings in the sweet Chili sauce.  They were not coated with bread crumbs or flour and the sweet chili sauce, scallions and cilantro gave it an added flavor to the freshness of the wings.

Deveka was being “vegetarian” for a while. Thus I ordered the Emerald vegetarian dumplings served 
with a ginger soy sauce. Quite a good mixture in the dumplings tasting just fine without any meat. 
At this time I stray from the Pad Thai and selected the Drunk Man Noodle dish with chicken.   Wide wheat based noodles are used in this vs. the Pad Thai cooked with rice noodles.  It was sautéed with chili, onions, vegetables and basil that is not the same as basil used in Italian dishes.  Dealt with the chili to find how delectable the combination is.

Sauteed is another group listed on the menu and one of many groups that you choose from: chicken, tofu, veggie, duck, beef, or shrimp and priced by the chosen protein.   We opted for total veggie with the Japanese Eggplant in Hot Sweet Basil.  It was sautéed with fresh garlic, onions and chili with a basil sauce. Tofu was the protein.  Deveka was thrilled and I loved it as well.

On a different visit I guess that I was in the mood for chicken as the Grilled Lemongrass Chicken was one of the Specialties that I opted for.  The marinated half of a chicken is served with a plum sauce and some veggies. The marinade is not spicy and the plum chili sauce is perfect as even though it had a bit of spiciness, the plum adds a bit of sweetness.

I did one more time as I wanted to stray from the usual with something “more challenging” and ordered a lunch of the Massaman Curry dish with beef having tasted this type of curry before.  It’s a sweet and mild curry with potatoes and peanuts.   The secret’s in the sauce. There was only a bit of kick due to some red pepper flakes.   Otherwise, the curry seemed to have a base of coconut milk.     

I decided to sample another lunch special of chicken Hawaiian Fresh Ginger with onions, ginger, scallions, vegetables and mushrooms in a ginger sauce.  Ginger is in thin strips.  Rather than their regular jasmine rice, I opted to splurge for the coconut rice.  I associate Hawaiian food with having pineapple or poi.  I guess I need to look into Hawaiian cuisines more.  Despite my wanting to feel like I was in Hawaii during these cold days, the food only warmed my stomach. 

There are only a few desserts to choose from, one of which is the fried ice cream.  Vanilla ice cream is thickly coated so that when fried, the crust becomes crispy without the ice cream melting.  Topped with whipped cream and some chocolate sauce swirls.   I’m full just writing about this!

Thursday, February 5, 2015






Here comes that romantic holiday of hearts, flowers and chocolate.   They should have mistletoe for this one as well.  There are various outlets for purchasing the food of the gods. 

Large manufacturers such as Russell Stover are available just about everywhere producing mass amounts of boxed chocolates.   Those are the kind that people tend to either bite off a piece or stick their pinkies in the bottom in order to determine exactly what is in the center.  You also have companies such as Godiva and Lindt with local shops. Oh right…Lindt bought up Russell Stover.

Unless you live near a company such as Hershey’s (who now owns Scharffenberger) obtaining chocolates that are made on the premises is less common.   Here in Queens there are two “Mom and Pop” stores, Schmidt’s located on Jamaica Avenue in Woodhaven and Aigner Chocolates located on Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills.  Schmidt’s obtains there chocolate from Merckens , whereas Aigner uses a blend of Merckens and an Italian chocolate.   The chocolate is melted, tempered and either molded or hand dipped.  Chose a box, choose your chocolates.  

If you want to impress by making your own, you have three candy supplies places in Queens all which provide Mercken’s wafers and everything else to create the love.  However, these wafers are not considered to be “real” chocolate as vegetable oils are either added or replace the cocoa butter in order to melt easier and skip the tempering part.  Fun Stuff is located on Metropolitan Avenue in Middle Village, Meadows Chocolate and Cake Supplies on Liberty Avenue in Ozone Park and Drip Pour Drizzle on Crocheron Avenue in Auburndale.

Xin Nian Kuai Le (Sheen Nyan Kwai Luh) is Chinese for “Happy New Year” as we approach the Year of the Goat…or Wood Goat…or Sheep…or Ram.  Lunar New Year, the most important East and South East Asian holiday, is the longest Asian holiday, celebrated for 15 days beginning this year on February 13.  February 19 is the actual holiday when “Gong Hei Fat Choi”, basically wishing one “good luck”, is exchanged.  The color of red represents “luck” with envelopes of cash and lanterns.  

Flushing Town Hall will certainly be celebrating the Lunar New Year beginning on the February 14 with a Lunar Bazaar from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Expect performances, workshops, and food.  This is a free event.

Meanwhile, the Sheraton Hotel on 39th Avenue in Downtown Flushing will be making their signature Lunar New Year cakes.  It’s what you bring to families to share…much like when one brings bagels and lox or a deep dish of lasagna.  You have to order them in advance as they take two days to prepare.  Go to the 6th Floor temporary restaurant…a new one is coming up in a few months.  Pastry Chef Lily offered three to choose from.  If you are not sure how they taste there will be an opportunity to sample the cakes as the hotel is sponsoring a Lunar New Year Expo on February 14th and 15th from 10 am to 6 pm, open to the public. 

Let’s add that Japan Week, a public-private partnership event.
Japanese culture and cuisine, is bringing back its annual program spotlighting unique features of Japanese culture and tourism. Delectable regional foods, technology exhibits, traditional arts and performances aim to inspire greater understanding of Japan. The festival will take place at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall from Feb. 18-20

A Delta Air Lines sweepstakes that will offer 20 free round-trip 
tickets to Japan’s Narita Airport from JFK in addition to sweepstakes offered online at
A week of various cultural programs such as a performance from the Takafuji Dance Company, a tea ceremony with tea master Souheki Mori, and luxury wedding kimonos that will be modeled by a different New York couple each day. 

The Depachika Food Emporium featuring sweets from nine regions across Japan and samples of authentic Japanese eats, including ramen noodles, mazemen noodles, miso soup, green tea, tofu, and takoyaki octopus balls.

A Sake Bar, curated by the Japan Sake and Sochu Makers Association, featuring sake from more than 15 breweries across Japan.
Exhibits by various Japanese organizations and brands, including NHK, Sun Noodle, Sharp and Sheiko.

This will take place at Grand Central Terminal, Vanderbilt Hall, 89 E. 42nd St.  Wednesday, Feb.18, 11am to 8pm; Thursday, Feb.19, 10am to 8 pm; Friday, Feb.20, 10 am to 7 pm.


Sunday, February 1, 2015


Photos taken at Fun Stuff

Next are the ones taken at Aigner

Taken from products purchased at Fun Stuff to make your own chocolates