Thursday, April 17, 2014

Grey's Anatomy: The Harper Avery Award

Last week I was in Miami for the start of my little sister's wedding weekend so I didn't get to watch Grey's. As a result, this week you get a double dose of recap.

Off to Seattle we go!

Last week:

The episode opens with Meredith and Cristina waiting for calls about the Harper Avery Award at 5:00am. I love that they still have slumber parties.

Cristina gets the call that she is a finalist and later that day the entire hospital staff raises a glass in her honor.

At the close of the episode, she and Owen share a bottle of champagne in their old happy place - over the vent. It reminded me of the beginning of their relationship. I got a little misty!

Also on the couple front, Callie and Arizona both decide they want to have another baby.

We resumed the previous episode's two main patient story lines, starting with Brayden, the young man with no immune system. He is basically stuck in isolation because there is, "No treatment for your disease." That is until Dr. Bailey has an epiphany and starts working away on a solution.

This hour the family with three heart sick children is also back, this time with their son needing a transplant.

This episode felt like a set up for bigger plot twists to come, am I right?

Tonight: 

It's Harper Avery Awards ceremony day and Cristina is giddy. She teases Meredith, "Tomorrow I won't have time to talk to you. I'll be too busy being better than you."

While she is still at the hospital, Cristina is monitoring her heart transplant patients, two siblings. Ivy, the oldest daughter, begins to reject her transplant. Cristina checks on her and her leg seems a bit off. It's so messed up Cristina can poke a visible dent in her leg. Ewwww!

Later in the hour, the family's third child, Frankie, is found passed out on the floor. Turns out she needs a transplant too. All three children have weak, failing hearts.

Derek spends most of this episode trying to teach the residents a complicated neurosurgery. After they complete that procedure, they have to remove a pair of scissors from a man's head. Derek says, "We'll do this with one very careful, very precise yank." Ouch!

On the relationship front, Kepner and Jackson are arguing like crazy. First over their spending, then their hypothetical child and then religion. The fight turns very ugly and Kepner leaves, asking to stay with Callie and Arizona.

The closing scene of the show has Cristina all alone at the awards gala. Clearly she was getting dressed alone because any decent friend would have told her that her hair do was insane. She looked like a bird!

I loved when she panicked and called Meredith, "I made a mistake. I don't want to be here alone. You should be here. We should be drunk. Why aren't we drunk? And I want Owen here. He could hold my purse and tell me things. And tell me to wear deodorant! I forgot to wear deodorant and now I stink!"

Sure enough, when she goes to take her seat, who is there? Meredith and Owen, waiting for her at the table.

In the final seconds of the episode, we learn Cristina did not win the Harper Avery. I thought if she won, that is how she would exit the show. I assumed the award win would mean she got a new opportunity to lure her away.

Next week's episode will be Cristina's last in the series. I can't believe it. I am positive I will cry.

Did anyone else notice that this season's trend of strange cover songs continued tonight with not one, but two, covers? The Police "Every little thing she does is magic" and Tears for Fears "Everybody wants to rule the world."

Anyone want to take a guess on how Cristina's character will exit the show? New job? Fatal accident?

*Images courtesy of Facebook.com/GreysAnatomy. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dining Out: Mexican Passover At Rosa Mexicano

On Monday night at sundown the Jewish holiday of Passover began. Traditionally, families observing the holiday gather together around a dining room table to retell the story of the Jewish people's exodus from Egypt. The holiday is most commonly recognized by it's primary food, matza.

This year Passover began the day after my sister's wedding. Knowing we would be way too tired to cook or to host (my family usually hosts every year) my parents began researching alternatives.

Lucky for us, Rosa Mexicano was hosting their 12th annual Mexican Passover dinner at all of their locations, including their two spots in Miami. My parents booked the private room at the South Beach location and we quickly spread the word to all of our family coming to town for the wedding that if they would like to extend their trip and join us for the first night of Passover, we'd be giving the usual tradition a Latin twist!

We arrived on Monday night and the restaurant had a chalkboard sign in the entry way advertising the special menu.

I've now been to Rosa locations in New York City, Miami and Boston and I love to see the different decor in each place.

I am obsessed with the light up orange ceiling!

Outside the door to our private room was the guacamole cart. Always a good sign.

Inside the private room there was a menu at each place setting.

The people at Rosa are so sweet. They printed custom menus that said, "Galler Family Passover Seder." 

I snapped this picture right before we began reading. We had twenty relatives and friends join us.

Though it was Passover, we still had Rosa's signature guacamole. This batch had a great kick to it and much to my surprise, it tasted excellent on matza.

There were bowls of guacamole all the way down the table, but we also had a seder plate at each end, provided by the Rosa team. Could they make it any easier?

My cousin captured this moment of me pointing out each of the items on the Passover seder plate as my dad explained their meaning. You can see my three year old cousin is totally enthralled.

One of the traditional Passover foods is called haroset, made from apples, nuts and spices. The Rosa version was sweet and garnished with pomegranate seeds and slivered almonds.

They also prepared a very creative twist on maror (bitter herbs) which was a salad of roasted beets, scallions and avocado in a horseradish dressing. I didn't get to taste this because my grandmother was sitting next to me and devoured it, but judging by her behavior, I'm guessing it was delicious.

For the first course, each person was served a bowl of matza ball pozole soup. Instead of the traditional chicken broth, this broth was a deep red color. My cousin commented, "It kind of tastes like spicy V8."

Others called the soup "smoky" and "salty." Another shouted down the table, "I really love the fresh cilantro."

Also to start, we were served a salad with grated carrots, sliced cherry tomatoes, radishes, oranges, avocado and a honey-lime vinaigrette.

There were three entree options: one chicken, one meat, one vegetarian.

First up, the milanesa de pollo (chicken milanese) with matza breaded chicken breast, arugula, tomatoes, jicama salad and salsa verde.

The whole table agreed that, "The chicken was surprisingly moist and great with the matza breading. The arugula and the salsa verde really punched up the plate."

When the following dish arrived, I wasn't sure what it was because it was hidden inside white paper wrapping. The mixiote de barbacoa de res was a roasted brisket of BBQ beef wrapped in banana leaves with dried fruit tsimmes.

My mother said, "This brisket was so tender. It fell apart in the best way. It also made me want a half sour pickle." My cousin chimed in, "It tasted great with the guacamole on it too!"

Last, but certainly not least, the vegetable skillet tacos. I have to say, and my whole family agreed, this veggie dish was the best of the night! My cousin's husband called it, "A total home run."

A rectangular iron serving dish housed the grilled portabello mushrooms, sauteed Brussels sprouts, winter squash and asparagus topped with ranchera sauce and apple pico de gallo.

The veggies also came with three salsas, my favorite of which was the red hot tomato salsa (in front).

The veggies were so good, even the meat eaters were fighting over them.

The menu also included three yummy side dishes: refried black beans, green beans with shallots, jalapeno and almonds and noodle kugel.

The noodle kugel came in a very thoughtful presentation. I love the circular shape.

Though everyone was full to the brim, there was still dessert left to enjoy! The specialty for the Mexican Passover menu is copa de mango, which is a fresh, whole mango scooped out and filled with diced mangoes and coconut ice cream, then topped with raspberry sauce and served with a side of bunelos (which are like sugary wontons).

I am really not into fruit dessert, so I skipped this one, but those who sampled it said it was the perfect combination of tropical flavors.

I was so impressed by the Mexican Passover menu at Rosa. They did a great job infusing their signature flavors into the traditional Passover dishes like the haroset, the maror, the matza ball soup and the chicken.

I also have to give a major shout out to the Rosa South Beach team, who made our evening personal, special and a wonderful ending to a fantastic wedding weekend in Miami.

If you're interested in trying the Mexican Passover menu yourself, it is available through Tuesday, April 22nd at all Rosa Mexicano locations.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Dining Out: Cinquecento

I love dining in the South End, but admittedly, I don't venture in that direction as much as I used to, mostly because the parking situation is so tricky.

Two weeks ago a friend and I were trying to decide where to dine for Restaurant Week and after perusing all the menus, we selected Cinquecento on Harrison Ave.

The best part about Cinquecento is that the restaurant has a free parking lot. Not just a few spaces, an entire lot just for their patrons. In the South End, that is what we call a game changer.

The entrance to Cinquecento is very cool. From the street, you walk through a covered space with the restaurant's name painted onto an exposed brick wall. I also love the oversized building number down at the bottom. Cinquecento is Italian for five hundred.

When you enter the restaurant you walk up and illuminated staircase.

The dining room is absolutely gorgeous. It has dim, romantic lighting. My favorite feature is the backlit red liquor bottles surrounding every column.

We were seated in a cozy booth in the corner of the dining room. Our waiter brought us the Restaurant Week menu and the regular menu.

How fun is the wine menu? There are four different consumption options, each marked the shape of the drinking vessel.

We ordered one glass of wine each, Montepulciano for me and Pinot Grigio for her.

Each wine glass is marked with the number 500, right where the bartender should stop the pour. I've never seen that in a restaurant before.

To begin, our waiter brought us a plate of bread with a side of olive oil and salt. The bread was that perfect combination of doughy inside and crunchy outside.

First we shared the ricotta cheese with grilled bread. Can I just say, all bread should be served grilled. Holy yum.

The ricotta was actually pretty bland in flavor, which was disappointing.

Next up, the tri colore salad with arugula, endive, trevisano, gorgonzola cheese and balsamic dressing. After a few bites, we couldn't find the gorgonzola cheese. It was actually sliced into a stick and hidden beneath all the greens. The dressing was excellent and brought the whole plate together.

The salad plate was branded with a 500, just like the wine glass.

We agonized over what to choose for our entrees because there were so many A+ choices. My friend ultimately selected the fettuccine with foraged mushrooms, truffle butter and basil.

A few bites in she commented, "I have to say, to enjoy this dish you have to really love mushrooms. That is definitely the strongest taste. It has a delicious, earthy taste to it. I do love that the fettuccine is al dente."

 I went with the caramelized squash and ricotta ravioli with brown butter and toasted sage.

The dish was so sweet and rich that is actually felt more like eating dessert. I wish the plate had some kind of crunch to it. It needed something like crostini or a sprinkle of finely chopped nuts.

Though Cinquecento does have a dessert menu, I had an overwhelming craving for Pinkberry, which my dinner date was happy to oblige.

Overall, I was impressed by the creative design and decor at Cinquecento and nothing trumps a free parking lot. Nothing.

I will say, I've had much better meals in the South End (The Beehive, Masa, Metropolis, Tremont 647), but it was fun to try somewhere new.

What's your favorite South End spot?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Now Open: The Greenway Carousel

Happy Friday everyone!

On April 1st the Mobile Eats program returned to the Greenway and today, the Greenway carousel is open once again.

You may remember I wrote about the grand opening of the carousel back in September. Each of the ride's 14 featured animals are natives of the land, sea and sky of Massachusetts.

I particularly love the gondola and the oarfish that snakes up the side.

In the month of April the carousel will be open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Hours on Friday and Saturday are 11:00am - 9:00pm and Sunday from 11:00am - 3:00pm.

During April school vacation week, the carousel will be open daily from 11:00am - 9:00pm.

Beginning Friday, May 23rd, the carousel will be open daily from 11:00am - 7:00pm, Sunday through Thursday and 11:00am - 9:00pm Fridays and Saturdays.

One ride is just $3 dollars. I have to say, from personal experience, that is $3 dollars very well spent.

Happy spinning!

*First image courtesy of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dining Out: Tiny's

On Tuesday, April 1st, I had the incredible honor of serving as witness when my sister and her fiancé tied the knot at City Hall in New York City. The big bash is this weekend in Miami, but they had to make it official before flying south.

We woke up bright and early to get on the train from Harlem and head all the way down to the Financial District. We wanted to be at City Hall right when it opened at 8:30am.

Knowing we'd likely finish around 9:30-10:00am, my sister, ever the researcher, looked up every possible breakfast option in that neighborhood for us to share a celebration meal after their "I do."

Beaming with happiness, we walked from City Hall to the bride's choice, Tiny's.

I knew I would love the place when I saw the pink exterior and you know how I feel about chalkboard signs.

Inside, the restaurant has an eclectic mix of decor.

Beautiful, fresh flowers greet guests at the hostess stand.

The wall space is shared by album covers and Victorian style portraits.

Orange booths line the walls and gold tables add a touch of glamour.

I love the gilded tables set against the white exposed brick.

Everything about Tiny's is adorable, including the menu.

The back of the menu has a NYC cityscape etched into the wood.

When we sat down, my sister asked the waiter, "I know it's early, but is there any chance we could order mimosas?" Then, like a person with tourettes, I shouted, "They just got married!" Our waiter smiled and said, "Congrats, guys. Absolutely. Coming right up."

The mimosas were excellent. They were the ideal ratio of champagne to OJ.

The Tiny's breakfast menu is small and we basically ordered one of everything. My now brother-in-law and his older brother both requested the biscuits and gravy.

I asked how it tasted and they described, "These are definitely solid. We only wished the gravy had more chicken sausage."

The meat eaters at the table wanted bacon. One serving, considered a side dish, was only two strips. Is it just me or is that crazy?

We also got two sides of the crispy potatoes. I could have gobbled up one of these bowls all by myself.

My sister and I each ordered the two eggs with toast, but somehow I forgot to photograph it! The scrambled eggs were fluffy and so delicious. The toast was a generous slice and tasted awesome slathered with a combo of butter and raspberry jam.

The celebration meal continued with two croissants. The almond croissant actually tasted more like a danish. It was stuffed with what we believe was almond paste.

The chocolate croissant was a buttery, flaky dream. We inhaled it and then picked up every individual flake that was left behind on the plate.

For our final course, the newlyweds each ordered a Cafe Au Lait. After a few sips, my sister gushed, "This coffee is so so so good."

Tiny's is, as the name suggests, tiny. There are four tables in the front window and then a narrow hallway that leads to about four more tables in the back.

That back room has exposed brick and a charming fireplace. Rather than burn firewood, the fireplace is adorned with small, flickering candles.

This was the perfect spot for our morning toast to the bride and groom. The staff was so wonderful and seemed to be genuinely joining us in the celebration.

You can visit Tiny's at 135 West Broadway, between Thomas and Duane, in Tribeca.
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