Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Angry Faux Updating: The Smurfs Movie?!

First, it’s Monday. Second, it sucked. Third, I hate this movie already. Fouth, NEIL PATRICK HARRIS???


Review: The Friendly Toast

This weekend, I wanted an adventure, so John and I decided to take a tent we found on Craigslist for $10, strap the bikes to the car, and drive up to New Hampshire for some bike riding and camping. After our 9 mile ride (which was actually much easier than 9 miles here in Worcester), we realized how close we were to Portsmouth, and decided to check out The Friendly Toast, as it had been recommended by a friend.


The decor is very…interesting. I would expect as much, as it is in Portsmouth, but I liked looking around and seeing some interesting things from my childhood, both toys and bowling alley memorabilia. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful, as was the menu. Kudos to whoever decided to include “to add to coffee, cocoa, & frappes” to their list of liquers. I started off with chocolate frappe with Bailey’s, and nothing could have made me happier at that moment. Not only could you taste the Bailey’s, you could smell it as well. Truly a drink I would have made for myself.

For dinner, we started with cheesy fries: fries with a mix of provolone and bleu cheese with a side of strawberry-habenero dip. I was quite happy with the fries and provolone (for me, the strawberry in the dip lulled my taste buds into a false sense of security, so they were unprepared for the habanero), but John went so far to say they were the best cheese fries he’s ever had. John followed up with a breakfast burrito (a flour tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, black beans, salsa, the house avacado-lime sauce, cheddar, & a fresh cilantro spread), which he was also quite happy with. I continued with King Cakes: two pancakes with bananas & chocolate chips inside & peanut butter in between, with real whipped cream on top, encircled by a side of (vegetarian) bacon.

One word for this dish: WOW.

In the past, I’ve been a bit conservative in trying out new restaurants, and while I liked everything on the list for this dish, I wasn’t sure how they would all be together. Truly, they are completely decadent and rich beyond comprehension. As the serving sizes on everything were enormous, I took home about 2/3 of the King Cakes, which I sat down to eat this afternoon. I got through another 1/3, happy to find they might have been even better cold, then found they would be rich enough for dessert. I didn’t get a chance to try that; John finished them up for dinner.

After eating here, I wished more than I have in the past three years that I still lived in New Hampshire. But, happy day! They have another location at Kendall Square in Cambridge! Now I have another must-see stop when I come into Boston.

Overall, two entrees, one side, two beers, and a frappe with Baileys came in just under $50. All this food easily lasted two and a half meals, though, so I wouldn’t worry too much about saving up for a trip. Next time, though, I shall be trying the Granny Melt.

The Friendly Toast is located at 121 Congress Street in Portsmouth NH, and at 1 Kendall Square, Building 300 in Cambridge MA.

Thursday Threesome: High Culture in My Backyard

On the Thursday Threesome, I’ll choose a theme and describe three things that have to do with that theme. Wednesday nights after four, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is free, thanks to Citizen’s Bank. I’ve been there a couple times, but I certainly do find some fantastic beauty every time. I think I’ve even been there enough to have favorites:

  1. Van Gogh – Houses at Auvers: Hands down, this is my favorite piece in the entire museum. First, I was just fascinated that they had a Van Gogh! But this one sucks me in every time. I don’t think you can tell that well from the picture, but it is bursting with textures. It was done during the summer he committed suicide, and I can just feel the massive emotion coming from it.
  2. Matisse – Carmelina: The first two times I went to the MFA, she was located in the Hemicycle Gallery, and as we walked through, I was sad to see she wasn’t there. So I was overjoyed as we wandered through the contemporary art and there she was! Again, I like the roughness of this one, and also how it shows not only the model confronting the painter, but the painter himself at work.
  3. Sarah Bernhardt – Fantastic Inkwell (Self-Portrait as a Sphinx): When I saw this one, my first thought was, “Wait, that Sarah Bernhardt?” And the answer is, yes, it is that Sarah Bernhardt, the actress. Apparently a sculptor as well. Aside from being a really neat piece, it was also wicked hard to photograph.

Have an idea for a Thursday Threesome? Leave a comment, and I’ll see what I can do!

Thursday Threesome: Visit These People!

On the Thursday Threesome, I’ll choose a theme and describe three things that have to do with that theme. On my really bad week, I had a couple of nice bright spots in the form of some awesome local businesses. I used to work in training at the Bellagio, which prides itself on their excellent customer service. I’m pretty sensitive as to how easy it is to provide good customer service, and how rarely you find it. But these people are spectacular…definitely go visit them if you’re in the neighborhood and need something from them.

  1. Firestone Tires in Vernon CT: I visited my mom this weekend as my dad was in Singapore and my youngest sister was in town from Philadelphia. On the way out, my tire, which has been going randomly flat, was reeeeally flat. So I sucked it up and went to Firestone to get it checked out. While I was there, I saw they had a decent price on brakes, which also needed to get done. Oh boy did they ever. Keith was fantastic at taking care of me, and everyone in the shop was great about finishing my car just before closing time so I could get home. Sure, I spent a little longer in Connecticut than I had planned, but now my car is much safer and I know honestly what else the car needs to be quite happy.
  2. VCA Animal Hospital in Westborough MA: I stumbled across this vet’s office last month when I needed to take Chewie in on the weekend. I was lucky enough to meet up with Dr. Edward Schettino, who recommended we visit the neurologist at Tufts. We did, but wound up back with him a couple days later to put Chewie down. Dr. Schettino was wonderful…genuinely upset that Chewie was doing so bad and sympathetic to what I was going through. Of course, I will definitely be bringing Beeb in when she needs her shots again.
  3. Chipotle in Woburn MA: One of the things I missed moving back east from Vegas was Chipotle. I’ve was meh on Mexican food before, but it was so yummy out there! And yes, I’ll admit that Lindo Michoacan was much better than any chain could be, but Chipotle was good for fast yummy food. So I was happy to see them opening up restaurants in my area. Even more happy to see that the day before they open they have a free burrito day! But why did I pick the Woburn store? Ooohhh… Of the stores that I’ve visited in the area, they are the best with portions. True, I’m a vegetarian, so it’s probably easier for me to ask for more veggies and get them than for someone to ask for more meat. And they’re a good walk from the office as well.

Have an idea for a Thursday Threesome? Leave a comment, and I’ll see what I can do!

Movie Review: Watchmen

Last night, John and I headed out to meet with some friends, then catch a late-night showing of Watchmen. Since our meeting went to 10:00, we picked up the 10:30 show, getting us out of the theater sometime around 1:30 am. Yes, this was a very long movie…nearly 3 hours with the previews…but aside from my drinking a really big soda, thus nearly exploding by the end of the movie, it was a great kind of long movie. Highly recommended!

First thing: Previews. Star Trek: Will go see it, but won’t hold my breath. Up: Will go see it with Ethan, but why is this trailer attached to this movie? Angels and Demons: Why are you in this movie Ewan MacGregor?!? X-Men Origins: Wolverine: Really want to see it, though certainly not for Liev Schreiber…I’m still mad at him for CSI. Public Enemies: Yay for another Johnny Depp movie!

Onto Watchmen. I’ll admit, I’m a comic book geek. To the point that you don’t even want to get me started on what was wrong with the Constantine movie. And I do own the graphic novel of Watchmen, though I haven’t actually finished it. The reason for this is pretty simple…I have a childhood terror of nuclear war. So I got up to about where the Doomsday Clock was set to 11:59 in the novel and had to stop. I didn’t really trust Alan Moore to not scare me to pieces by destroying the world. (Yes, I realize it’s fiction and set in an alternate 1985, and we’re in the 2000’s now, but still…)

Even so, I loved the look of the movie, and I think they did a pretty good job of capturing the feel of the comic book. One particular thing I liked about the look of the movie was that there were really no “name” actors in the main cast. Really, of the main Watchmen, Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhattan) was the only name I recognized, and he was glowing blue for most of his screen time. Of the rest of the cast, Matt Frewer (Moloch the Mystic) was the only face I recognized as that guy who played Max Headroom.

Three things about the look of the film bothered me. First was Malin Akerman’s (Laurie/Silk Spectre II) hair. You can chalk that one up to personal preference, as I don’t like stick straight hair, and she looked like she was just stepping out of a shampoo commercial. Second was Dr. Manhattan’s…er…nakedness. Not that I have a problem with nakedness, but one of my friends had mentioned Dr. Manhattan’s big glowing blue package, so of course, that was where I had to look. Finally, there was the violence. Yes, I realize it’s a pretty violent comic, but whenever someone punched a chunk of fireplace out, shot a bullet through someone’s leg, or broke a marble counter with someone’s head (without breaking the head, I might add), I flinched. It seemed just a bit too realistic, though I also know those effects were computer generated.

For the good parts of the movie…see the other two and a half hours. As John pointed out when we were leaving, I was rapt. I didn’t know how the story was supposed to end (having not finished the novel), and I was completely sucked in. I wanted to know! Yes, there was a lot of flashbacks and back story, though I think it was worked in well and everything did come together in the end.

Time constraints and really expensive movie tickets aside, I would definitely see this movie again. It will most definitely be added to my DVD collection, which now looks like it should have it’s own comic book movie shelf. Should you go see it? I would say most certainly. I do warn, though, that there is a lot of violence, and quite a bit of sex and nudity to boot.