guest post by my proxy movie reviewer and neighbor Stephen
Short Spoiler Free Movie Review: A couple of weeks ago I attended an advanced sreening of the latest Disney movie to relaunch previously-existing stories--"Into The Woods". Unlike most other Disney fare, this story is not based on a single fairy tale; rather it is a mashup of multiple stories featuring a cornicopia of classic characters including Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Jack (of the beanstalk and not of the candlestick although it wouldn't surprise me if a live-action movie was made about a nimble Jack having to quickly jump over a candlestick for some reason. Hollywood--if you steal my idea please give me royalties, or at least put my name in the credits). But I digress. "Into The Woods" originated as a Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine with Bernadette Peters as the Witch. Although I saw a recording of the Broadway version in band back in high school as well as a live performance some years ago at my alma mater (and one time Final Four competitor!) George Mason University, I have forgotten many of the details so that I cannot now point out any changes Disney may have made.
But let's get "into the movie" and state that the Disney movie sports an all star cast--wiith a short, but relatively memorable, appearance by Johnny Depp as the granny-eating wolf. It was also nice to see Tracy Ulman (whose comedy show back in the 80's gave "The Simpson's" their start) working again and playing Jack's mother. Jack is played by a boy who reminds me of the lad in the movie version of "Les Miserables"--the most recent version starring "Wolverine" and not "Qui Gon Jinn"--and that is probably because it ended up being the same actor. You've also got Meryl Streep under layers of makeup as the witch and Pitch Perfect's Anna Kendrick as Cinderella.Chris Pine stars as a charming prince and appears in a scene with another prince--splashing around and hamming it up with tongue-in-cheek bravado and chest baring that had me laughing out loud. All they really needed in that scene to further "cheese it up" (in a good way) was to have "Two Princes" by the "Spin Doctors" playing in the background.
Speaking of songs, the music is enjoyable but I don't think the younger set will necessarily memorize any of the lyrics besides those that I know which consist of "Into the woods duh dah dah duh duh dum dum dum duh dah dah dah into the woods duh dum duh dum duh dum!" Please note that the only line I really remember is "into the woods".
Speaking of kids, they probably would enjoy the movie; I think I would have enjoyed it even if I hadn't had a complementary ticket for an advanced screening. Adults will likely appreciate a scene involving women fighting over Cinderella's slipper that is vaguely reminiscent of brides-to-be tussling over dresses in "Filene's Basement". All-in-all, you'll probably have a good time if you go Into This Movie.
On Saturday night, we met up with some friends for a double date to check out Medium Rare's Capitol Hill location in the now trendy Barracks Row in DC. I was actually at a tasting on Monday night and another blogger had been boasting about the great bottomless brunch that Medium Rare offers (only $23!), so I was pretty excited to check it out.
After a long day at work on Friday and then fighting the traffic to get IN to DC for our 7pm reservation, the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and read a 10 page menu of what my dinner options were. Medium Rare offers a $19.75 prix fixe set dinner menu including Artisan Rustic Bread, Mixed Green Salad, and Award-Winning Culotte Steak and Hand-Cut Fries with their secret sauce.
The waiter made it easy for us and said he only needed to know two things:
"What do you want to drink?" & "How do you like your steak cooked?" That makes it easy, eh?
About 10 minutes after our dinners were served, our waiter came back with a hot skillet of steak and fries to replenish our plates with a customary Medium Rare second serving.
My advice to you: request extra sauce and dip your fries in it. The sauce is top-secret information, with only the owners knowing exactly what’s in it. Also, you can order a secret "adult" sundae off the dessert menu with a 21+ sauce.
The atmosphere was relaxed and casual -- and the owner, Mark Bucher, was a top rated radio DJ and makes his own playlist for diners to listen to. The restaurant is geared towards hosting families and friends and will be will be hosting it's 2nd Annual Pajama Brunch Party on New Year’s Day -- bring the kiddos!
Fore more info, you can check out www.mediumrarerestaurant.com or tweet @MediumRareDC.
Thanks to the Medium Rare team for inviting us in!
I've spent this past week as a professional eater -- and Saturday night was my last reservation of the week at Tazza Kitchen in Arlington. Nestled in Arlington Ridge right between Shirlington and Crystal City, this is a hidden gem inspired with Mediterranean and Baja flavors. Having only been open for 3 weeks, I have to say that Tazza Kitchen had the most incredibly well-trained staff for a brand new establishment. The atmosphere was upscale, but casual, with lots of families gathering around and an active bar area where the 'Skins game was showing.
We started right off with drinks -- I had a custom Jalapeño margarita, and he ordered a Black Manhattan off of their specialty menu. Tyler, our waiter, then brought us a sample of the appetizers including the most amazing meatballs and marinara, queso flautas, and brick oven Brussels sprouts with bacon jam and pickled mustard seeds. We also shared a small crunchy potato and arugula salad.
On site, Tazza Kitchen has an authentic Neapolitan wood fired pizza oven -- so expect a nice crispy char on your pizza. Tyler recommended the spicy sausage and black pepper honey pizza, which was a deliciously bold flavor profile for a hearty pizza -- even B loved it!
For the main course, I ordered the Shrimp & Crispy Polenta with roasted cherry tomatoes, leeks, and scallions. With two pieces of crispy polenta served -- one piece was submerged in the rich shrimp broth for added flavor.
He ordered the Chicken Rotolo stuffed with prosciutto and served with a celery root puree, tomato reduction, and fresh herbs.
As if we could eat any more, Tyler brought us his favorite from their dessert menu: salted caramel gelato with an almond and orange flourless cake and fresh basil. So delish! I am pretty sure that If I had eaten any more, I would've needed to be rolled out of there.
If you're looking for classic comfort food with a bold twist of Mediterranean and Baja flavors, I would definitely recommend checking out Tazza Kitchen's newest location in Arlington. They'll also be opening their next location Richmond in 2015.
For more information and menu details, you can check out www.tazzakitchen.com or follow them on twitter: @TazzaKitchen. Thanks to the Tazza team for inviting us out!
The biggest New Years Eve party in DC is BIG NIGHT DC hosted anually at the Gaylord National hotel -- and we've got 2 tickets to give away!
This spectacular event is one of the biggest New Years Eve parties in the COUNTRY! The event includes:
FIFTEEN Themed Party Areas, FIVE Dance Floors, Awesome Band Lineup!, Huge DJ Lineup, Midnight Celebration, Party Favors, FINE Gaylord Cuisine, VIP & Velvet Rope tickets available, and much more!
Tickets are available online: www.bignightdc.com
Feld Motor Sports® announced today that tickets for Monster Jam® at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. are now on sale. Monster Jam is the world’s premier Monster Jam truck series, and features favorite trucks such as Grave Digger and Iron Man.. Monster Jam events are affordably priced for the whole family with seats starting at $25 for adults and $10 kids (ages 2-12). Pit Party Passes for Saturday and Sunday are also available for purchase. Tickets are available at the Verizon Center box office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at 800-745-3000.
Monster Jam will be performing at the Verizon Center on:
Saturday, January 24 at 2:00 P.M.
Saturday, January 24 at 7:30 P.M.
Sunday, January 25 at 2:00 P.M.
Approximately 12 feet tall and about 12 feet wide, Monster Jam trucks are custom-designed machines that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and weigh a minimum of 10,000 pounds. Built for short, high-powered bursts of speed, Monster Jam trucks generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Monster Jam trucks can fly up to125 to 130 feet (a distance greater than 14 cars side by side) and up to 35 feet in the air.
The Party in the Pit on Saturday, January 24 and Sunday, January 25 from 11:00 A.M. to 12:30 P.M. will give fans the opportunity to get a view of the massive Monster Jam trucks up close and meet some of their favorite drivers. Pit Passes are $10 and must be accompanied with a ticket for the 2:00 P.M. show.
For more information on the Monster Jam, log onto www.MonsterJam.com. To follow Monster Jam on Facebook at Twitter, log on to Facebook.com/MJOnline and Twitter.com/MonsterJam.
Giving is the new receiving -- and I'm LOVING these SCOUT Bags! I've already gifted a few bottles of wine at holiday parties in these super cute wine bags.
SCOUT Bags is a small company headquartered in Georgetown, Washington D.C. They're built on fashion and function, and offer a line of tote and travel bags, storage bins, travel accessories, and coolers for everyday use - their products are in 1,700 stores across the country, as well as on their website.
Today is the LAST day to personalize your gift if you're looking to order in time for Christmas delivery. Check out www.scoutbags.com for more info!
This is how I spent my Saturday night... Rumchata + party bus = my future sister in law's Bachelorette party!
Thanks Canon for the #northpolepixma cookie delivery! You can find details about North Pole Pixma: www.northpolepixma.com
I woke up super early on Saturday morning to host my 3rd annual Sensory-Friendly Santa at Fair Oaks Mall. Super excited to be able to bring the Santa experience to 60 families that have children with special needs! A HUGE THANK YOU to Fair Oaks Mall for allowing me to do this event and for generously gifting each family with a free photo package! Each year, I partner with the Parents of Autistic Children- Northern VA Chapter to make this event a success.
Thank you to Maria of M.Shakir Photography for coming out and snapping some shots of our Santa event at the Fair Oaks Mall Ice Palace on Saturday morning! To see the full album, click over to Maria's site:
Are you getting ready to update your look for the holiday season? Hair Cuttery recently reached out to me to check out their services as part of their #MyHCLook campaign -- and since my brother is getting married next week, I just got my hair done. So I reached out to my friend, Bronwyn, to help me out with this project!
Bronwyn has been going to see Ginger at Hair Cuttery in Fair Lakes for her cuts -- and asked Ginger to help her with a darker color that would compliment her skin tone and help hide the grays. Ginger used a split bowl with two colors to create the darker look. I absolutely LOVE her before and after - so much warmer and fuller, her new color looks great!
*promotional consideration provided by Hair Cuttery.
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
Official Ambassador of MediaKits.com.