It’s the weekend and Hooman and Bryn brought their Persian carpet and Vietnamese ninja stars points. The movies in question are John Wick: Chapter 2 and Fifty Shades Darker.
I know many people will have different opinions on what makes a movie the best picture of the year. I mean I never thought I would see something as wonderful and beautiful such as La La Land and I actually did. La La Land is my favorite movie of the year without a doubt but […]
Film review by Jason Day of the latest Star Trek film, Star Trek Beyond starring Chris Pine, Zachary Qunito and Idris Elba, directed by Justin Lin. To like this post, comment on it or follow this blog, please scroll to the bottom. Use the search function on the left of the screen to look for other […]
I am no Trekkie (or Trekker, as Wikipedia suggests describe fans ofStar Trek) so I had to do a bit of prep for this film beforehand, namely watching the previous instalment, Into the Darkness, a viewing of which had hitherto eluded me.
One thing I was immediately struck by on seeing Beyond the next day is how similar the two films are.
We start with a comic action sequence and are then re-introduced to the crew and the ship. We receive a familiar mission statement about an alien form attacking someone and are then off to boldly go god knows where to sort this out, the drama peppered at regular intervals by thrilling action set pieces.
It is the Philadelphia phenomenon television show that real Philadelphians actually laugh along with, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The show is back in town filming for their new season to premiere on FXX and for some a chance to see their favorite dysfunctional family, Danny DeVito, Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson and Glenn Howerton on a walk about the city’s streets. Friday, the show was filming downtown at 11th and Market. Even though the street was shut down for the filming, there were still some fans who found their way to get into the action such as when a Duck boat rode by with passengers waving to the actors.
The show originally aired in 2005 and no one would have guessed the success that the show would have. Offbeat and original the show is filming its 11th season and has been renewed until its 14th season. It was in season 2 that the show added the quintessential Danny DeVito as the father, Frank Reynolds, the legal father of twins Dennis and Sweet Dee. It was then the show became the cult favorite of so many. DeVito said of the effect of the show on his life as “These guys from Always Sunny have added so many years to my life,” continuing DeVito remarked, “What am I gonna do just sit on the porch and get bit by mosquitoes and wait for the ice cream man to come around?”
One reason for the success of the show as DeVito sees it, is the relationship between himself and his co-stars. For one he doesn’t act like his fellow actors as a father type figure. No, DeVito stated that, “I’m more like a combination of an instigator and a father but I like to think of myself as a brother,” he said. “Sometimes I let the father figure stuff go because I’m too excited about the craziness that we’re going to do and I allow myself to instigate really crazy things that we shouldn’t be doing.” The city of Philadelphia has taken quite a shine to DeVito’s Frank Reynolds. The Philadelphia Phillies had him throw the first pitch in a game against the San Francisco Giants which DeVito said he was proud and happy to do.
The Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa of Atlantic City offers a huge variety of foods and restaurants. In the past few months, 2 of the Borgata’s have shown great strengths and a few drawbacks. Bobby Flay’s Steak along with the Fornelletto Cucina are both fine dining establishments but there are vast differences in decor, food and atmosphere. At the Borgata, there is a restaurant for every taste and every mood. There are two that are stand outs but of very different reasons.
First, Bobby Flay’s feels more quick paced. It is a New York kind of vibe. The restaurant is beautiful with the wood beams in the ceiling and the artistic direction of the wood throughout the rest of the restaurant. The drawback of the Flay’s is that feeling of being too close and too crowded. On two occasions the noise level was a bit much. The seating a bit too close. On both occasions we shared our conversations with the couples on either side of us. There is no room for a private moment. Seating is so close that it is difficult to pass by without bumping into another diner.
The food though, at Bobby Flay’s is good. On two occasions with parties of 4 and then a party of 2 so the menu was thoroughly tested. Our server for the both evenings, Frank Cucuzza and he is superb. He provided great depth in his knowledge in the description of our dishes. When there was one problem at the first seating, he remedied the situation quickly and was for better words, top notch. Starters include clams on the shell, kale and romaine Caesar salad, Shrimp Cocktail and many others including the choice of a lobster cake which was good but didn’t reach the level that one would expect at such a fine restaurant.
The main courses chosen over the 2 different visits included Rack of Pork, a bone in Ribeye, shrimp scampi served with polenta, porterhouse lamb chops, Philadelphia style strip steak and a Hangar steak. Sides included sweet potato gratin, (to die for), onion rings, Brussel sprouts with cranberries and fries. The steaks were all equally good. The aged beef and just the right seasonings made the steaks undeniably very good. What was surprise is the rack of pork which beat out all of the steaks for flavor. The rack of pork was served beautifully and easily could have been spilt between two. According to the menu the pork is served with bourbon sauce, green chile apple butter, wild mushroom mashed. The bourbon glaze in a word, perfection. The pork was, in a sports euphemism, a homerun. The sides were good but lacking. For instance we had to send the fries back as they were not crispy or warm. They seemed to have been left out under a heat lamp like a McDonald’s fry would be after 5 minutes. That is when Frank our server stepped in removing the item from the ticket and the house did offer a free desert to make up for the problematic fry. Bobby Flay’s was good not great. Our server made the experience even better though.
On the flip side stands the Fornelletto Cucina. If Bobby Flay’s is New York, Fornelletto is Rome. It is a romantic, quieter and the level of light so perfect for two although still very enjoyable by larger parties. Again on two occasions the Fornelletto was visited with first a party of four and then a party of two. The feeling of rush that was felt at Flay’s nowhere to be found at this gem of restaurant. Set up as a wine cellar which is actually is, it is charming and once again the restaurant had a server who made the experience even better. The Fornelletto offers both hot and cold starters including one of the best calamari dishes to be served anywhere. The Calameretti Fritti is served with dried olives, pine nuts, and aioli. This is what calamari should taste like all the time. Perfect! Another starter that should not be missed is the Arancini Al Ragu which is Sicilian rice balls, veal and prosciutto, ragu, and peas. Unbelievably good, no not good, great.
The dinners that were chosen over the two different occasions included chicken Parmesan, veal Parmesan, scallops, Sicilian lamb, veal Milanese, and seafood spaghetti. When given the chance to go to Fornelletto don’t deny yourself the seafood spaghetti. It is a treasure of seafood, shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, San Marzano tomatoes and served with a dash of olive oil. Amazing elaborate, complex and yet there is an ease in the meal. Served with a wonderful bread there isn’t anything better. For the two Parmesan dinners, the chicken Parmesan actually was the tastier of the two. Both are good but go for the chicken. Much better. The noise at the Fornelletto is undeniably so much quieter than Flay’s. The lighting, the atmosphere is exact opposite of the experience at Bobby Flay’s. Our server for both evening was a gentleman who identified himself as Z. Z was what a great server should be, helpful, informative and personable. For those who want a faster pace, and aren’t looking for an intimate dining experience Bobby Flay’s is good. If you are looking for the intimate dining atmosphere, with low lighting and a much quieter experience, you have to go to Fornelletto. Fornelletto was the favorite for sure.
In the world of used auto sales there are plenty of horror stories of unscrupulous salesman and a lot of lemons. In Upper Darby, there is one used car dealership that is a stand out in helping the buyer get their money’s worth. Veteran Motors located at 155 Garrett Rd, Upper Darby, is owned and operated by Hugh Farrell, an Upper Darby native and graduate of Penn Wynne High School. Veteran’s Motors isn’t just a name to Hugh though. He named his dealership after those who fought to defend our country including his dad John Farrell who fought in the Pacific during WWII, Hugh’s uncles, 5 of them who all served their country including his Uncle Jerry Farrell who was a paratrooper during the Korean War.
Hugh, himself, is still in the Army Reserves. Hugh is a Platoon Sergeant in the 367 MP CO. Hugh has served in Afghanistan and Iraq. As Hugh tells it calling his car dealership Veteran’s Motors was done, “as an acknowledgement of my family, myself and also the sense of identity it resonates with the community, honesty, integrity, and overall customer service.” For Hugh, taking care of his customers is number 1. One customer remarked that with Veteran Motors, “Found a great pre-owned car at Veteran Motors and they got me financing when big franchise dealerships in the area said they couldn’t help me. The owner was great to deal with and he’s in the military, so why wouldn’t you support his business when he risks his life for our country?!” Another customer said of Veteran’s Motors, “I want to thank this man for making my purchase an easy process. My Tahoe runs great. This gentlemen helped me get a loan when I thought it was impossible with my current financial situation.”
If you are in the market for a new used car there is no better place than Veteran’s Motors. Open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. You won’t be disappointed
This past weekend Will and I got to visit one of my oldest friends and her fiance in Philadelphia, PA. I’ve been to Philly once before, but I was working and didn’t get to fully experience it. Not at all the case with this trip. We spent two and a half days walking, eating, and drinking our way through the city. It was probably because we had such good tour guides, but I can’t remember a recent vacation when we had such consistently mind-blowing food. These dishes were the stand-outs that I’m going to have to recreate at home until I can head down again.
Bud & Marilyn’s. This is a lively and trendy spot in center city. The really memorable dish was the salad we ordered to balance the pu pu platter: “grilled heirloom carrots with red quinoa, shaved sunchokes, orange, pickled raisins, cumin yogurt.”All of the toppings were piled on a bed of the yogurt. The carrots were nicely charred, but not overcooked. The pickled raisins added a nice tang. The whole thing was not overly sweet, and I would return just to order this (though the sage derby smash cocktail was worth repeating too).
Federal Donuts. They do two things – donuts and fried chicken – and they more than excel at both. We started with a strawberry lavender donut off the hot menu (which they fry to order). It was exactly as I want a donut to be: cakey and just a bit sweet. Then we split the chicken sandwich (which only comes one way (perfect): with buttermilk ranch seasoning, American cheese, pickle, and rooster sauce on a potato roll) and the za’atar fried chicken (which you can also get with other dry seasonings or glazes). Oh my goodness. Both were crunchy, juicy, salty, and indulgent, but not heavy (likely a bad thing, because I want to eat this every day forever). The fried chicken comes with a honey donut, which was a delightful counterpart to the chicken (like a biscuit….but better because it is a donut).
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