Monday, March 24, 2014


I obviously wanna go to all my favorite places that I have already been, but these are new places I wanna go ...

These are places that seem "in scope" now, I just need to pull the trigger. Things I could do in a week or 10 days and could do well like that.
  • Scotland
  • Norway
  • Estonia/Latvia/Lithuania
  • Hungary
  • Croatia
  • Turkey
  • Malta
  • Russia
  • Egypt
  • Morocco
  • Israel
  • UAE
  • Nepal
  • Cambodia
  • Vietnam

These are places I am probably going to have to wait until I finish my MBA, because when I do them I want to do them right and take 2-3 weeks to really travel around and see and do everything (since the flights are so expensive to just GET there).
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Fiji
  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Peru
  • Brazil
  • South Africa

And then there are tons of places that I want to go back to to finish seeing things I missed on my previous visits. 
  • Iceland (the northern half)
  • France (north of Paris, wine country)
  • Italy (Tuscany, Cinque Terre)
  • Thailand (the beaches, the coast)
  • India (outside New Delhi, Goa)
  • Netherlands (outside Amsterdam)
  • UK (outside London)
  • Spain (everywhere ... again)
  • ... you know what? ... i just want to go everywhere that I love again ... all the time ... I just want to travel for a living ... all the time ... the end ... 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

MIA Matisse Madness

Through May 18th you can see a really great exhibition at the MIA - Matisse: Masterworks from the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

This exhibition quickly made its way to the top of my "favorite special exhibitions that have come to the Twin Cities" list. Really, a great special exhibition. The exhibition is quite expansive with many high quality pieces showing a strong range of Matisse's work - everything from his early work to his later Jazz work. The collection is really quite remarkable and very full. Many times, at special exhibitions, they maybe have a few good pieces and they surround them with other works that are inspired by or inspired the work, etc. But these were all Matisse, just a really good cross-section of his work. 

I really enjoy Matisse's work, always have. So colorful, full of life and energy. You can see the energy in the lines and movement they portray, even in static poses. I always enjoyed his use of black outlines to depict shapes and details and his ability to make facial features look so soft even when rendered in black outline. And the later paper cutout work is so cool, like Icarus, the Cowboy, Lagoon, etc. And Matisse's writing is so beautiful and flowing ... I took ons of photos and have made it my background on my phone and iPad. 

Definitely take some time to check out this exhibition. 

The Great Brunch Quest .14 | Spoonriver

Spoonriver has been a favorite of my family's for awhile. We discovered it one day when we wanted to grab brunch before a matinee at the Guthrie right next door. No matter what else I have to say about this place, the location and convenience to the Guthrie is great. But with that being said, after this visit, my parents and I officially decided we are done with this place. No matter how convenient it is, we would rather go further away and spend some more time traveling to the Guthrie after eating elsewhere. I'm just over this place - the food, the price, the menu. I am bored.

Location - 4.5/5
Like I said, in terms of location and proximity for the Guthrie, the location is great. Also, for a nice walk by the river or across the the Stone Arch Bridge. Really, the location is great. During the summer the location is also great because of the weekend farmers market at mill city.

Atmosphere - 4/5
Since I've always been there before the theater (which is much of their crowd) you can kind of guess at the time of patron that the restaurant sees. Overall, the atmosphere is nice and the space is cool - long and narrow and full of light with huge windows facing the street. Also have great outdoor seating for nice weather and it is a great place to do people watching at the market and watch the activity and listen to the live music. 

Service - 3/5
Sometimes hit or miss. I was super upset on this last visit because I had a Living Social deal and they refused to honor it. Absolute crap. 

Food - 1/5 
As much as the menu is organic and all natural, it is also boring. It hit me this time around after having tried such delicious and flavorful items on other menus around town. The menu is small (which is not necessarily a bad thing), but it hasn't been updated in years. Years. And I've tried a fair number of things. While I always know that the food I am eating is good for me, it isn't necessarily good tasting. Just bland. Bland bland. I had the poached eggs (which were properly cooked, I'll admit) which came with a blah salad and blah potatoes.
My mom had the quiche ... I took a bite and it was decent, but nothing to write home about. 

Overall - 2/5
Like I said, I'm done. While the location is great, the bland food counteracts that benefit. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Movie Review | Melancholia

Have you seen this movie by Lars Von Trier? I had been meaning to see it for awhile because I really like Kristen Dunst and always enjoy her films, and finally this weekend I go around to watching it on Amazon Prime. Definitely one of movies you have to be mentally prepared to watch due to the subject matter and the pace. Not what you should be watching if you are looking for something light and funny ... uh ... no.

Melancholia is about two things really - the relationships and struggles of the main characters (particularly sisters Claire and Justine) and the looping arrival of a new planet - Melancholia - that will be passing by Earth.

I'm not giving much away here by explaining the plot to the end. The movie actually opens with the ending, so you already know what is going to happen. The film is split into two parts - the first focuses on Justine (Dunst) and her wedding reception after her marriage to her new husband Michael (Alexander Skarsgård). During the reception at her sisters massive estate you realize just how depressed Justine is and the strange things she does and says. All in all, she is just not in a good place, and in the end Michael leaves her right then and there. The second half of the film focuses on Claire - Justine's sister played wonderfully by Charlotte Gainsbourg - and her husband (Kiefer Sutherland). Justine is depressed and cannot do anything for herself, so Claire brings her to her home to get better. While this is going on, a planet known as Melancholia is heading for Earth. While Claire attempts to help her sister get better, she also frets over the looping Melancholia and believes the planet will hit Earth. While her husband assures her this will not be the case and Justine begins to do better, Melancholia looms closer and closer and strange things begin to happen. Just when you think everything will be ok, you find out that they are not out of the clear yet. The film ends as Melancholia hits the earth and everything explodes in a great ball of fire.

The characters and the actor's portrayal is exceptional. Seriously. Especially Kristen Dunst. She plays this girl who is so lost and depressed and helpless and so full of self-destruction. And they live in this isolated world that seems so fabricated and suspended in time. Yet you know that they are just one small corner of the world, and that the whole world is being impacted by the looping destruction brought on by Melancholia. But you never see that, you never see the great chaos that is going on - it is all just graceful, quiet contemplation and eventual acceptance. That is a central theme in the film - destruction. Whether it is one person destroying another, self-destruction, or the more grandiose destruction of earth - it is there on all levels.

So if you have a few hours and can take a little bit of sci-fi and a whole lot of depressing subject-matter, I really recommend this film for its amazing acting and strong attention to detail.

Movie Review | Divergent

Let me start by saying, I have not read the series yet. I just couldn't get myself to read another series about a futuristic world where people are split up into certain groups/factions/areas/etc. I do want to read them at this point. And probably will, perhaps on my next vacation.

Also, what is it with YA books-turned-movies having the best soundtracks? Seriously! All the Twilight movies, Catching Fire, and now Divergent. Great great music! Yup! Got home and bought the soundtrack and have been listening to many of the songs on repeat (including Beating Heart by Ellie Goulding and Lost and Found (Odesza Remix) by Pretty Lights.

So, the movie.

I really like Shailene Woodley, I think she is a great young actress and was happy to see her in the role. Also, awesome job getting Kate Winslet on board. And helloooooooo Theo James ... I had no idea who you were before this film, but I sure do now. These were not Oscar worthy performances by any means, but they did a good job in the roles. I thought it was all good.

And the movie itself does the YA genre proud. You have teen angst, sexual tension, a heated kiss that makes the audience go "oooooooo" and lots of adventure and an ideal of good overcoming evil. I know the movie is only getting lackluster reviews, but I really enjoyed it. Definitely makes me want to a) read the books and b) see this movie again.

So, not a great movie, but a movie that does what it sets out to.

The Great Brunch Quest .13 | Good Day Cafe

Today things got a little crazy up in the Great Brunch Quest. We venture to ... drumroll please ... the suburbs! Cray-cray, I know. Seriously though, I got together with some of my really good girlfriends who all live in the burbs and it was much more convenient to go someplace like this. And to be fair, Good Day Cafe is not that far into the burbs ... you can still see the city from there, sort of. And I had heard good things about this place, so it made sense all around. This place turned out to be great, but it was my girlfriend's company that truly made this brunch experience awesome!
Location - 2/5
Yeah, sorry, that address is not Minneapolis. In all seriousness though, this just isn't an area I would normally be at on the weekend. I suppose I could stop at Costco afterwards ... but I do my grocery shopping there during the week after work. There just isn't much to do right in that area. With that being said, if I am out and about on the weekend and want to meet up with friends, then this is fine. I'm in the car anyway. I just wouldn't go here alone.

Atmosphere - 3/5
Very full of life and energy filled. Lots of people everywhere - in the massive dining room, waiting at the front, etc. I can't really describe the decor, but it is bright and cheery. The table has a checkered table cloth and one of those center spin things with ketchup and tabasco and such. Kind of has that diner feeling. While not the kind of place that has a great atmosphere for sitting down with a book, it was perfect for sitting down with girlfriends! We had a round table that was perfect for 5 and perfect for talking and laughing!

Service - 5/5
Our server was super nice and thoughtful. And she was totally cute and old ... not some young, hipster server like a lot of the other places I have been. 

Food - 4.5/5 
Delicious. I went straight for the Eggs Benny of course, and they had 4 options - classic, crab cake, "paisley's favorite", and a wild mushroom one. No crab cake benny could ever been Harriet Brasserie, but the paisley one and the wild mushroom one sounded really good. Other items on the menu all looked good as well.

So, the Paisley's Favorite Eggs Benedict came with two english muffing halfs and two poached eggs on top of tomato and guacamole and topped with Hollandaise. What??? I know, how does that all work together. But it DOES! It really does. The eggs were perfectly poached (cooked white all the way through, runny and gooey and delicious golden yolk). And the combination of egg with guac and tomato was super fresh and cooling. And the hollandaise sauce with it all just worked.

With all the guac and sauce and yolk, there was a lot going on ... so it was a good think I had those delicious oven roasted potatoes to mop up some of the extra. Yum.

Also got a half older of chorizo sausage (because ... hello ... it has the word "chorizo" in it) and that was excellent.

And finished off my meal with beignet. It was light on the powdered sugar, but pretty good nevertheless.

Overall - 4.5/5
The food was great, but the place itself was crazy busy! I would come back here in exactly this kind of situation with girlfriends coming from all over the city area ... but I probably wouldn't venture here myself at any point on a random weekend. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Great Brunch Quest .12 | Loring Kitchen & Bar

Another weekend, another brunch. This weekend, I scoped out another location I have already been to a few times, but isn't part of my normal repertoire - Loring Kitchen & Bar right on Loring Park, near the Walker. I should probably mention, it was the Sunday of St Patrick's Day weekend ... so that may have impacted my experience re: atmosphere. But I cannot say for sure, that place has always been busy when I've been there.

Location - 4/5
Right on the fringe of Loring Park, this place is pretty convenient for Uptown or Downtown, but not great for walking to either. But if want to spend the afternoon after brunch enjoying a walk at Loring Park or the Sculpture Garden or going to the Walker museum, this place is excellent and very convenient for those things.

Atmosphere - 4/5
When I have been here in nice weather, one of the things I like best is all their outside tables facing a nice quiet street with the park opposite. A really great place to sit outside! And they have these wide doors that open for great indoor-outdoor dining. Love that. As for the indoors, it can get a little busy/rowdy/loud during brunch peak hours (blame the bottomless mimosas). I like the decor and the overall feeling and this is a really good place to come for a social brunch, but not as much for a solo afternoon with a book. Though, I will say, they set me off in the corridor between the main dining room and the outside terrace, and it was a lot quieter out there. 

Service - 5/5
Just fine. Though I did wait about 20 minutes to sit. But I got started on my bottomless mimosa drinking and enjoying my book. 

Food - 4.5/5 
Plenty of good looking items on the menu, including an entire SECTION for Eggs Benedict. A-mazing!!! They have 4 different types of EBs - classic, biscuits and gravy benedict, huevos rancheros bendict, and jumbo crab benedict. They all sounded really good and I almost went for the classic, but decided to venture outside the classic EB box and tried the Biscuits and Gravy Benedict instead. I have tried biscuits and gravy at a few places around town and never really been super impressed. So I figured this would be the ultimate test.

Overall, I was very impressed. My plate came with two half biscuits with poached eggs and the sausage gravy. Also had a side of what was listed as hashbrowns, but were more of a cheesy potato then anything else. The biscuit was very good. The eggs were perfectly poached with cooked white and perfectly gooey and delicious golden center (yay!). The sausage gravy was actually quite good. It was not too salty or overwhelming, and there was not too much meet. Overall, I really enjoyed my choice and would definitely get it again. I would also try the other options, for sure. 
I also got the lava cake for dessert, with Izze's oreo ice cream. It was ok ... not spectacular, but it was chocolate and perfectly fine. As for the mimosa, well, it was $10 and bottomless. Need I say more? 
Overall - 4.5/5
This place is perfect if that is the neighborhood I want to be in and I think I will definitely be coming here more often in the future, especially when the patio is open and I can enjoy a post-brunch walk around the parks. I was very impressed. But again, more of a social brunch place versus a solo afternoon with a good book.

Movie Review | Frozen

I have to laugh. I have seen this a few times online from my friends/various viral sources. Basically, the "quote" is - You know you're a mom/dad/parent when the ONLY Oscar nominated movie you've seen is Frozen. (I think some creative parents even made a YouTube video to this effect).

Well, on the flip side, in my world you know you don't have kids when the ONLY Oscar nominated film you have NOT seen is Frozen. Ooops. Dallas Buyers Club ... 12 Years A Slave ... American Hustle .... Wolf of Wall Street ... check check check. Frozen .... not so much.

I am not against animated films or anything. I like them well enough, but I just rarely take the time to watch them in theater. They are a rental for me. But recently I decided that I could not watch another parody/variation on Let It Go without actually seeing the movie myself. So I took myself to the theater for a Saturday matinee. 

Let me say that again ... a Saturday matinee. Oh my gosh. I have never been surrounded by so many children. Seriously. But they were all so enamored of what was happening on screen that they said nary a peep. I will say though, it was absolutely hilarious when I was laughing at adult-only jokes and the kid next to me was looking at me funny like "why are you laughing, that wasn't funny". Believe me kid ... it was. (Example: when Kristoff asks Anna if she knows Hans' foot size and she say "foot size doesn't matter" .... heheheheheh)

Ok, back to the movie.

I was impressed. Thoroughly impressed. I was skeptical going in that I could really enjoy this movie, but I did. It has all the classic makings of a good Disney movie, including that music (yes, that darn Let It Go song is good). But what I really liked about it are all those things that weren't part of the typical Disney equation for an animated movie. You know ... classically bad villain that dresses all in black, love at first sight, and overcoming evil with a kiss. But this movie managed to get around all those things, which I love.

I was actually super disappointed at first when all of a sudden it seemed like within the first 15 minute Anna and Hans were in love and it was soooo typical. So I like how they movie overcame that.

I also really like how the "bad guy" wasn't really bad in this case. She was just lonely and afraid and unsure of herself. 

And, most of all, I really like how Anna saves herself in the end. And how Elsa doesn't get the traditional happy ending that all Disney princesses do (she is still single ... woohoo ... they should have closed with some "All the Single Ladies" in the last scene). 

And I also loved the visuals. I love a good ol' winter wonderland and this is just amazingly beautiful. 

So yeah ... I liked it. And yeah ... that darn song is stuck in my head. 

P.S. This movie brought back memories of my first ever CD. Sigh. It was on my birthday ... at our house on Pleasentview Drive. My parents got me a CD player (thing big, round, with a handle) and my first ever CD ... the Pocahontas soundtrack. Boom. Let's just say that I definitely painted with all the colors of the wind ... on repeat ... for months.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Great Brunch Quest .11 | Harriet Brasserie

The Great Brunch Quest continues!!! Need to catch up? Check out the overview of what the heck the GBQ is and the reviews to date here on the special tab I set up just for this adventure.

Last Sunday my dad and I met up before he had to head to the airport and we had time for brunch to celebrate his birthday. So I asked him - "where do you want to go?" His response - "you have to ask?"

Translation: He wanted to go to Harriet Brasserie.

Harriet Brasserie is one of the places on my list that I have been going to for years and that I love love LOVE. This time around, I made sure to capture the review so I could officially write it up for GBQ. Very important. Alas, I was so distracted with having such a lovely time and talking with my dad about some important things that I forgot to really take photos of anything much. #fail. I'm sorry ... I'll grab pics of the space and other details next time and update this post.

I first discovered Harriet Brasserie with my friend Erin and we both agreed after the first visit that this place was an amazing gem in the city. Such a cute place tucked away by the lakes on a quiet street. Not too big. Super nice staff. And ... amazing food! I have since taken many friends, dates, and boyfriends to experience this place. And while those relationships may not have lasted ... my relationship with Harriet Brasserie sure has!!! Who needs a boyfriend when you have a solid brunch go-to destination!!!

This place is just so sunny and cheery and happy and yummy. Yup ... that about sums is up!

Location - 4.5/5
Pretty darn perfect. Two blocks from Lake Harriet. Three minutes from Lake Calhoun. A quiet little side street where you can actually sit at an outdoor table and NOT be annoyed by the sound of cars driving by.

Atmosphere - 5/5
The restaurant is actually a converted old firehouse. How fun is that! The main room is on the small side, but that just makes it intimate and cozy. They have these great benches across the two sides and chairs and tables crowded between (but it doesn't feel crowded). Lots of natural light comes in from the floor to ceiling windows that makes up one entire wall! That is one of the things I love ... the way the light comes into this place. Lots of great dark wood and fabulous details throughout, like the brick, the mirrors, and the chalkboard.

And when the weather gets nice and they have those tables placed outside ... sheer heaven. Sitting outside with quiet all around, sun shining down. Amazing. 

Service - 7/5
Yes. That's right. 7 out of 5. At first I was gonna do 6, but that didn't seem like enough. It's gotta be 7! This place seriously has some of the nicest and best service I have ever encountered. They are all super nice and patient, attentive, prompt and kind. But there is one woman in particular - Amanda - who is just plain amazing. Seriously! She is there 9 out of the 10 times I have been and she always remembers us and remembers everything and is just so darn nice to us! She remembers how much my dad likes bacon and commented that I cut my hair (when my own father didn't even notice!!!!). Really, it doesn't get any better than that! Thank you, Amanda, for always making my visit that much better!!!

Food - 5/5 
Yum yum yum yum.

Maybe I'll just stop there.

Ok ok ... I'll elaborate.

Over the years, I have had a lot of the items on the menus ... at brunch and lunch and dinner. On this particular visit I did go for the Eggs Benedict for the purpose of the official GBQ, but I will elaborate on some of the other items I've had, too.

  • Eggs Benedict - From the beginning, you must be impressed with Harriet Brasserie because they don't just serve Eggs Benedict. Oh no, that would be too easy. They have created their own special and unique version - the Crab Benedict. It includes one soft poached egg sitting on a crab cake and white corn blini with avocado-bacon emulsion and roasted poblano hollandaise swirled around. Sounds fancy-shamancy, right? But don't worry, it all works! In one word: perfection. As I have mentioned before, the proper cooking of the poached egg is essential to EB ... and HB gets it right on the money! It is perfectly cooked with the yolk being perfectly golden and rich and gooey and the white cooked all the way through. Check out that photo with the richness just oozing down. Yummmmy! Then there is the crab cake this sits on - delicious. And a perfect blending of flavors when you put some of that with the egg and have some of the yolk and sauces on there. Oh. My. God. My mouth is salivating just writing this. (It doesn't come with a side, which I wish it did, but I always order a side of hash-browns, which are delicious). 
  • Scone of the day - Everyday they have a sweet and a savory scone of the day. Limited supply ... so you may not get one if you are too late. We always get one to nibble while waiting. Always yummy, regardless of what the flavor is that day. 
  • Tostada - I actually may get the Tostada more often then I get the Crab Benedict here ... shocking!!!! It is two eggs however you want them (I get them poached because HB does such a good job of that) on two crispy tortillas served with pinto beans, salsa, queso fresco, avocado and lettuce. The flavors and combinations work really well together and it tastes fresh and refreshing and is perfect for a hot summer day! Definitely a must try!
  • Hill Burger - As burgers go, this does not disappoint! In fact, I think HB's Hill Burger has won some awards. Juicy and yummy and served with delicious cheddar, bacon, sautéed mushrooms and truffle aioli. I'm sorry ... say what?!?! Bacon and aioli? And not just any aioli ... but TRUFFLE aioli. How can you go wrong????
  • Bauru - This is my mom's favorite, thought I will admit I have never had it. But she loves it and get's it every time! It is a steak paillard with mozzarella, tomato, onion and aioli on baguette. What she does is adds an over-easy egg on top and she says its amazing!
  • Standard egg breakfast - My dad get's this every time - he raves that the eggs are always cooked just right and the hash-browns are delicious and the bacon is "the best in the city". And believe me, the man knows his bacon. He also says the sausages are really really good. Sometimes he gets the bacon with the meal ... and orders the sausage on side as well. Hmmmmmm. 
  • Dessert - Ummmm. Chocolate cake. Dulce de leche cake. Yummmmm. 

Overall - 5/5
I KNOW without doubt that I will have a good experience and be happy when I go to Harriet Brasserie. I can default to an old favorite on the menu or try something new, either way I'll be happy. I can get something that will warm me up in winter or something that will refresh in summer. And I know, without doubt, that the atmosphere and the people will make the experience truly great each and every time. To me ... Harriet Brasserie is at the top of the Twin Cities Brunch Must Do (and the dinner ain't bad either ... and by that, what I really mean is ... the dinner is just as amazing!).

*Special shout-out to the amazing Amanda at HB! I hope you had fun at your Oscar party that night and did well with your winner predictions :)

The Great Brunch Quest .10 | French Meadow Bakery

Oh my goodness. Can't believe I am writing this post. This is the one that I was dreading and excited for all at once. This is the one that started the WHOLE thing ... the brunch tradition years ago and the need to seek out new brunch places (and therefore creating the need for the GBQ).

French Meadow Bakery & Cafe

This is where it all began. Senior year of uni I came here for the first time and had Eggs Benedict and fell in love. I loved the food and the vibe. The cozyness. The music. I loved it all. I knew the owner at a glance and he knew me. It was a little piece of my life. And I kept going back again and again and again. Many Sundays over many years. Sometimes with friends. Sometimes with family. Mostly alone. When I was studying for my GMAT I would bring my study books and spread them out and study. Once I started my MBA I would bring textbooks and read. My kindle. My laptop. Blogging. It's all been done there. First dates and fifth dates. When the weather gets nice and they put the tables outside, I would sit out seek the sun. In winter, I cosy up by the window looking out at the pretty snow coming down. The chalkboard menus. The desserts. The pop culture order signs (and always hoping I get a good one that represents me ... like the Oscars ... or I Love Lucy).

Can you tell that FMB has a special place in my heart? I truly enjoyed going there, for the atmosphere and the food. Over the years I started being a regular at other places like Yum, Harriet Brasserie, Spoonriver, etc ... but FMB was still there and I still frequented its doors.

But within the last year, I just wasn't feeling it anymore. Don't get me wrong, still love the place and people and many of the items on the menu, but my key brunch staple - the Eggs Benedict - were declining. And with Sunday's visit, I can officially say I am done order Eggs Benedict there. But that won't stop me from going back for other items like the Breakfast Burrito. But I juts need to get over my tradition of EB at FMB ... it's just no good anymore.

And now ... onto the formal review ...

Location - 4.5/5
Pretty darn good all around! It is about halfway between my flat and Uptown, so I can be there in less than 5 minutes. It is convenient for going to the MIA, the Walker, Downtown, Uptown, shopping in the burbs ... everything. It's right on Lyndale and close to other "stuff". All good! The one negative about the busy Lyndale Ave location is that the traffic noise in the summer when sitting at an outdoor table can be a bit annoying.

Atmosphere - 5/5
I think you can tell from above that I love the atmosphere here. Lots of tables, eclectic crowd, fun music, and awesome details. Everything from the chalkboard menus to the twinkly lights and the order signs ... it all just has that personal touch. The owner and wait staff are all super nice. And they have big windows to let in light an a bar area that is great for single people like me! And when the weather is nice, the outdoor tables are great! Also, unlike a place like Hell's Kitchen or Lowry, this is the kind of place I feel like I can come by myself with a book or even a textbook and just relax on my own and indulge in a lazy day ... I love that.

BUT ... on the flip side ... this place is very popular and this sometimes means a) long lines and b) hard time getting a table. On this visit, I waited so long for a table that the waiter actually came out with my food while I was still standing around waiting. Thankfully a table opened up right then!

Service - 5/5
Good as always. Order at the counter, take your fun sign, they bring the food out to you (with a smile). Lovely. 

Food - 0.5/5 
I hate to give this score and it KILLS me to do so, but I cannot lie and give them what they don't deserve. This score is only for the Eggs Benedict and does not reflect my opinion of other items on the menu, many of which are very good and deserve higher. I would probably give most other items on their menu that I have tried a solid 3-4/5. But alas, the Eggs Benedict have been disappointing me visit after visit, and this last Sunday has to have been the single worst. (I'm sorry FMB ... I love you ...)

So ... what went wrong?

Let's start with the eggs. You've heard (read) me say before - the secret to a great EB is to have a well poached egg. The yolk cannot be cooked all the way through and hard ... nor can you leave the entire thing so runny that the white is uncooked. Well, my plate on Sunday managed to have BOTH issues! Seriously! Usually places fail because they either have one issue or the other, but this one managed to have BOTH problems at the same time. What?!?!? the first egg I cut into (below, left) was cooked solid all the way through. Then I cut into the second egg thinking it would be the same, but it was super runny and the white was uncooked to the point of grossness (bottom, right). I was so grossed out by the runniness that I didn't eat that one at all.

Then there was the hashbrowns. I could actually smell the burnt potato ... that's how burnt the top layer was. They were black. And the stuff underneath was just white and barely cooked. I was unimpressed. I didn't eat much of them. 
The "after" ... I ate the one cooked egg and picked at the hashbrowns. But I didn't actually enjoy any of it.

Overall - 3/5
I am giving the overall score based on everything BUT the Eggs Benedict. The rest of the food, the atmosphere, the location, the people ... all those things merit a good review. But the Eggs Benedict still get a .5/5.

(I'm sorry FMB. This one hurt to write ...)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

New post over on the IUnique blog!

Check out my latest fashion post on the other blog! One dress ... many ways to wear it! Never be afraid to mix up patterns and have some fun with statement pieces ... even more than one in a single outfit!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Movie Review | Non Stop

After the failure that was 3 Days to Kill, the next weekend found me right back in the theater for another action movie. Thankfully, this one actually delivered on what it promised - action, rockstar lead actor, totally unreasonable plot that somehow still worked, etc.

Seriously though, I am a firm believer in movies that just do what they are supposed to do. Some movies are truly great films that have amazing actors/story/directing/etc. Some movies are light and funny. Some movies are romantic sob-fests. And some movies are just about plain old fashion action. That last one is where Non-Stop falls. Right along with the Transporter movies ... and pretty much any Jason Statham and Liam Neeson movie in general.

And ... as a bonus ... I know feel like I have a very well rounded "in case of a travel emergency" knowledge based on Non-Stop and the Taken series. I'm good ... whether it is an in-flight situation or a kidnapping ... I got this covered.

Seriously though ... this movie is not great by any means, but it was entertaining and kept me guessing for most of it as to who the bad guy/gal/person was. And I really like Julianne Moore. Can't believe that this was the movie that Lupita Nyong'o chose to followup her epic role in 12 Years A Slave. Hmmmm. It's a tiny bit spot. 

As for dear Liam, what can I say? He's great as the down-on-his-luck good guy who can totally take action as/when needed. He just needs that push to right a wrong ... 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Movie Review | 3 Days to Kill

Yes. I saw it.
Yes. It was a bad as you would think it would be.
It didn't even manage to fulfill the "I know it will be bad, but as long as it's entertaining and does what it's supposed to do it will be fine" need.


3 Days To Kill.

More like "3 Words to Kill".

Don't. Even. Bother.

Seriously though, there were so many things that bothered me in this movie. It just didn't make sense. Any sense. There were so many random characters and scenes and lines and everything. I found myself saying "why" and "huh" all the time.

And the film takes place in Paris. The car chase/driving scenes are hilarious. One second we are on one side of the eiffel tower then the next we are by the Louvre, and then we are back on the other side of the eiffel tower. Ummmm ... someone should really have been using a map during the filming. Just sayin' ... 

(Poor Kevin Costner ... he has three movies in a few months out this year, and I've seen them all. The only good one was Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, mostly because he is not the the one that carries the movie.)

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