O Mandarin: Authentic Mandarin cuisine in the heart of Westchester

Irene pix 1663We have been planning to visit O Mandarin in Hartsdale for since its 2017 opening  the restaurant has been receiving very positive reviews.  We were very happy to dine here on a recent Saturday evening. Even though our reservation was for 8 pm the restaurant was full with patrons, and more were waiting at the bar.

The interior of the eatery is set in warm tones with both tables and elevated booths.  There is generous use of wood and the chairs are carved wood inspired by Ming Dynasty design.  The effect is soothing, comfortable  and sets the mood for an evening of dining.

O Mandarin does not serve cocktails, but there is a list of beer, wine, and saki available from the bar.   Our party of four decided to order and share different appetizers so that we may sample some of the many dishes from the menu.  O Mandarin’s menu philosophy is to provide diners with fine authentic Mandarin cuisine using the freshest ingredients.  The food includes an infusion of spices that gives each dish a unique flavor.   There is plenty to choose from with beef, pork, chicken, shrimp and vegetarian options available.

We sampled such favorites as the Mandarin Glazed Short Rib which was sweet and tender.  We also enjoyed the Cucumber Honey Shrimp, and unique dish of cooked shrimp laced with organic honey and covered in sesame seeds.  Very delicious.

 

The Home Made Dumplings can be steamed or pan fried and these dough filled delights (shrimp or pork) were served in a ceramic rowboat with soy sauce on the side.    Shrimp and Chicken  Lettuce wraps came next.  Prepared with scallion and onion and served with lettuce wraps, this is a nice light healthy dish that can be an appetizer or a main dish.

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 Dumplings

Our main dishes consisted of the hearty and delicious Beef Short Rib with two ribs served in a red wine reduction with ginger and anise.  The meat was soft and tender and fell off the bone.  The red wine and spiced reduction was the perfect complement to the beef.

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Pineapple Fried Rice

Our other main was the Garlic Pepper Shrimp with bell peppers and leeks, and we also enjoyed the Pineapple Mixed Fried rice which was served in a hollowed out half pineapple.  The fried rice was delicious and light and filled with beef, chicken and veggies.  A really great dish.   We were impressed with the variety of the menu, the presentation of the dishes, and the healthy way we felt at the end of the meal.   The use of fresh spices  instead of salt and soy sauce really sets O Mandarin apart.

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Garlic Pepper Shrimp

We learned the owner is constantly bringing in guest chefs from China to infuse fresh ideas into the menu.  With this kind of innovation, we look forward to returning again to O Mandarin.

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O Mandarin

361 North Central Avenue Hartsdale NY

https://www.omandarin.com

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Hudson Valley Restaurant week is here! Enjoy great 3 course, price fixe meals!

Blog_Hudson-Valley-Restaurant-WeekHudson Valley Restaurant week, presented by Valley Table Magazine is back again!The event started Monday October 29th, 2018 and it runs  through Sunday November 11, 2018.   This event involves almost 200 participating restaurants in the Hudson Valley which offer diners special three-course price fixe dinner menus for $32.95 (not including beverage, tax and gratuity). Many of these fine restaurants also offer 3-course price fixe lunches for $22.95 (not including beverage, tax and gratuity).   There will be 116 restaurants participating in Westchester County alone.

Last week we dined at the beautiful Red Hat on The River in Irvington and enjoyed a great lunch and the magnificent views.

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Beet Poke at Red Hat on the River

We also traveled to Harrison to sample the Mediterranean dishes at 273 Kitchen.

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Shrimp cerviche at 273 Kitchen

This is an amazing opportunity to try new restaurants, or revisit some old favorites at a reasonable price. There are no tickets or coupons to buy and the process is easy ! Go to the Valley Table website and scroll down and view the participating restaurants, then choose a restaurant (or more), call the restaurant to make a reservation and then enjoy!  It is advised that you make reservations as this is a very popular event.

Many of the restaurants will have the Restaurant Week Menu  on their own websites.  Each restaurant offers selections off that special menu for you to enjoy the discount and experience new eateries.
You really should not miss this special time get out and dine at some of the fantastic restaurants we have here in the Hudson Valley!
Website for more info on Hudson Valley Restaurant Week  https://www.valleytable.com/hvrw

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Ridgefield Independent Film Festival arrives with parties, great films, and panels October 18th-21st

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The Ridgefield Independent Film Festival is upon us with another great season.  The festival begins Thursday October 18th and runs through Sunday October 21st in Ridgefield Ct.  This very special festival of film will host parties, panel discussions, and film screenings in several locations around Ridgefield.  The locations for the festival are the Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield Theater Barn, Keeler Tavern and the Ridgefield Library.

It looks to be an interesting slate of films at this years festival including documentaries, narrative films (both dramas and comedy), and short films.  There is something for everyone.

We encourage you to check out the amazing list of films and events at the festival by checking out the schedule. See you at the movies !

Link here >> https://www.riffct.org

Feeding Westchester hosts “An Evening of Good Taste” on October 18th to benefit the hungry

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Feeding Westchester a fine organization dedicated to feeding those citizens in Westchester County who are hungry, is celebrating its 30th year of service to the community with “An Evening of Good Taste”.  This event is a fund raiser that helps the organization in their mission to  help feed the  1 in 5 Westchester residents who are hungry and 60,000 of them are children. Your support of this event provides the critical help needed to feed Westchester.

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This very special event allows guest to enjoy a fantastic culinary experience with tastings from the chefs of over 25 of Westchester’s best restaurants.  Some of the restaurants participating will be Ladle of Love, Xavier’s, RiverMarket, Sambal, Tarry Lodge, Tredici North,  Saltaire, Crabtree’s Kittle House, The Cookery, The Whitlock and so much more.

The event takes place on Thursday October 18th, 2018 from 6:30 to 9 pm at 1122 Westchester Avenue White Plains NY.  VIP and Early Access Pass holders may enter the event at 5:30pm. If you cannot make the event you can always donate money to this worthy cause.

for more information and tickets:  https://one.bidpal.net/aeigt/welcome

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Jekyll and Hyde The Musical now at the Music Theater of Connecticut

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The Music Theater of  Connecticut  has brought Jekyll and Hyde The Musical to its stage in Norwalk Ct.  MTC is a great theater that is brimming with fantastic talent and productions.  I have been fortunate to experience several of their fine shows in the last few years.

Jekyll and Hyde The Musical is   a musical horror drama loosely based on the novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Originally conceived for the stage by Frank Wildhorn and Steve Cuden, it features music by Wildhorn, a book by Leslie Bricusse and lyrics by Wildhorn, Bricusse and Cuden. After a world premiere run in Houston, Texas, the musical embarked on a national tour of the United States prior to its Broadway debut in 1997.

An evocative tale of two men – one, a doctor, passionate and romantic; the other, a terrifying madman – and two women – one, beautiful and trusting; the other, beautiful and trusting only herself both women in love with the same man and both unaware of his dark secret. A devoted man of science, Dr. Henry Jekyll is driven to find a chemical breakthrough that can solve some of mankind’s most challenging medical dilemmas. Rebuffed by the powers that be, he decides to make himself the subject of his own experimental treatments, accidentally unleashing his inner demons along with the man that the world would come to know as Mr. Hyde.The epic struggle between good and evil comes to life on stage in the musical phenomenon, based on the classic story and featuring a thrilling score of pop rock hits.

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This musical has only a few shows left with performances ending on October 14th 2018.  The Music Theater of Connecticut is a wonderful venue and the perfect place to experience live theater and wonderful talent.

For more info and tickets:  http://www.musictheatreofct.com/jekyll-hyde

Music Theater of Connecticut

509 Westport Avenue Norwalk Ct

 

 

 

Taste Of Fairfield: a great event for foodies Sunday October 7th.

 

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Looking for something to do this coming weekend?  If you are looking for something different then The Taste Of Fairfield- may be the perfect way to take spend your day . The event is on Sunday October 7th from 1pm to 5pm

Taste of Fairfield  is a great event that brings together in one place restaurants, wineries, distillers, craft brewers and markets.  Samples of their products will be available to taste for all attendees.   I attended the Taste of Fairfield event  last year and had a great time!

 

Taste of Fairfield is the culinary event of the year. Restaurants, specialty markets, winemakers, craft brewers, and others will fill the back lot at the magical Delamar Southport/Artisan Restaurant to serve their signature cuisine and curated cocktails and beverages to foodies .This is a great party space and in addition to the food there will be live music and roving entertainment.  Sounds like a great afternoon!

Tickets:  $55 in advance.  $100 for VIP tickets which includes open bar, valet parking and access to the private lounge with TV if you need to check out the game.  Tickets at the door are $10 in addition to the advance ticket price.  Parking is free.

Taste of Fairfield  a production of Town Vibe, the publisher of magazines in Fairfield, Westchester, and Litchfield Counties.

For more information  http://www.townvibe.com/July-2018/Taste-of-Fairfield-2018/

Tickets:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/taste-of-fairfield-2018-tickets-47856630470?aff=eac2

Taste Of Fairfield

Delamar Southport Hotel 

275 Old Post Road
Southport, CT 

 

 

 

 

Man of La Mancha: the classic Broadway musical now at Westport Country Playhouse

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Philip Hernandez as Don Quixote

The dramatic and stirring Broadway classic Man of La Mancha has returned to the stage at the Westport Country Playhouse in Westport Ct.   This beautifully staged production at the Playhouse is true Broadway quality in every way.  This is a brilliant show that cannot be missed.

Man of La Mancha is a musical inspired by the story of Miguel de Cervantes imprisonment during the Spanish Inquisition and is also inspired by his book Don Quixote written in 1615.  The musical adaptation places Cervantes in a dungeon prison awaiting his hearing for charges brought against him by the inquisition.   Cervantes is a self described poet and play write, as well as a tax collector.  His latter position and his act of taxing  a church has placed him in prison.  His fellow prisoners upon meeting Cervantes and his loyal sidekick decide to have their own “mock trial” and seize his manuscript.  The show is staged in the prison “commons” as the prisoners await trial.  The curtains open to steel bars separating the actors from the sold out audience.  The set is dramatic in both design and lighting and sets the mood for the evening.

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Cervantes demands the opportunity to defend himself before his fellow prisoners and using his skills as an actor and a trunk full of costumes and props, he launches into a virtual “play within the play”.  Along with his sidekick Sancho, the other prisoners become part of this story woven by Cervantes.  Cervantes spins the tale of a noble knight  on a noble quest, and he becomes Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha.   Despite living in an era of fear and despair, Quixote is a dreamer.  He dreams of a world where knights still roam spreading virtue and morals, performing noble quests and coming to the aid of their Lady.  He exclaims he has seen and experienced the misery and tragedy in life, but he rather instead find the beauty and the goodness in life.

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Gisela Adisa as Aldonza/Dulcinea

Quixote is a idealist and a dreamer and the audience (as it has been since its Broadway debut in the 1960s) becomes a fan of Quixote. His idealism for a simpler  and kinder world is in stark contrast to the reality of 16th Century Spain.  Indeed his spirit and  ideals are what attract so many current audience members .

His idealism is manifested brilliantly in the song “The Impossible Dream” which is the hallmark of the evening.  The song is instantly familiar to many, and yet it is so fresh and relevant today.

Philip Hernandez  is masterful in the role Cervantes/Don Quixote (only actor in Broadway history to play both Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in “Les Misérables”; original Broadway casts of “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and Paul Simon’s “The Capeman”)  He has a wonderful  deep voice that filled the playhouse on opening night.  A brilliant and memorable performance.

Gisela Adisa as Aldonza/Dulcinea (Broadway’s “Beautiful,” First National Tour of “Sister Act,” regional theater’s “Lights Out:  Nat King Cole” – 2018 Barrymore Award nomination) is wonderful  in her dual role.    Tony Manna play Sancho Panza  the side kick and faithful companion to Don Quixote(Off-Broadway’s “These Paper Bullets,” “Timon of Athens,” “The Hasty Heart”; Netflix’ “Maniac”).   He brings to the role a sort of humor and warmth to which the audience enjoyed.

This production of Man of La Mancha  is directed by Mark Lamos who has directed  many plays at Westport Country Playhouse since 2008.  His extensive New York credits include “Our Country’s Good,” for which he received a Tony Award nomination. A former artistic director at Hartford Stage, he earned the 1989 Tony Award for the theater’s body of work.   His direction of this production is mostly faithful to the original, but injects  a modern vibe with the costumes of some of the cast as well as a reference in the dialogue to our current political climate that was recognized by the audience.

This is one of  the great Broadway musicals of all time.  Its story is timeless and quite relevant in the world we now live.  Make sure you see this wonderful show.

For tickets and information:  http://www.westportplayhouse.org

Westport Country Playhouse

25 Powers Ct Westport Ct.

Box office at (203) 227-4177, toll-free at 1-888-927-7529,

 

 

 

Ridgefield Independent Film Festival returnd October 18th-21. A must attend event of indie films, documentaries, panel discussions, parties and more!

riff_logo_bauhaus-with_type_blackWe are so fortunate to have a very special cinema event right here in our back yard.  Coming October 18-21st 2017, the Ridgefield Independent Film Festival returns!  The festival , that celebrates independent films from around the world that enlighten, entertain and inspire moviegoers through compelling visual storytelling.   We are so excited to be covering this fantastic event.

RIFF has  announced  its Special Event Screenings Line-up. Keynote events featuring films followed by filmmaker Q&As taking place at various Ridgefield, CT locations throughout the festival’s run include: SAY HER NAME: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland, follows an investigation into what happened to activist Sandra Bland, who died in police custody after a routine traffic stop, directed by Oscar nominated,Connecticut based directors Kate Davis and David Heilbroner;

DANSEUR explores the world of bullying and prejudice towards male ballet dancers directed by Scott Gormley;

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THIS IS HOME: A Refugee Story about four Syrian families struggling to find their way to America directed by Peabody Award-winner Alexandra Shiva

 

VERMONT FANCY about an aging rural farmer who’s struggling with the consequences of his choice to live a life alone directed by Kathleen Dougherty Huxley.

The Closing Night film PURPLE DREAMS, directed by Joanne Hock and produced by Robin Grey, documents the transformation of at-risk, inner city youth attending a magnet charter school in Charlotte, NC that provides arts education. The teenage subjects have the potential to break the cycle of poverty, homelessness and gangrelated violence, when they are given an opportunity to stage the musical The Color Purple. After thescreening, Tony Award-winner and activist James Naughton hosts a talk with Robin Grey.

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Scene from the documentary “Vermont Fancy”

 Tickets to the festival are on sale now at http://www.riffct.org. The 2018 Ridgefield Independent Film Festival runs  October 18-21, 2018.

In addition to all these films there will be special parties to help celebrate the festival.  Check the website for more details of parties hosted at Gallo’s, Aldrich Museum, The Ridgefield Playhouse and more.  Please stay tuned for more details about this exciting film festival bringing  social awareness and fine independent film you will not see anywhere else.   We will be rolling out more information about the festival as the date draws near.

Ridgefield Independent Film Festival

for more information and full film list please visit : https://www.riffct.org

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Phantom: the magic and music haunt the Westchester Broadway Theater

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Every once in awhile a musical comes along that is brilliant for both the drama of its story and the quality of its musical score.  Phantom now at the Westchester Broadway Theater is such a show.  This amazing musical which first ran at WBT in 1992 was a smash hit with over 120,000 theater goers experiencing the magic of this performance.  This revival is just as good as that original production.  This show has been called the greatest Broadway musical  never that was never on Broadway.  I agree.

Phantom written by Tony Award winners,  Arthur Kopit and music/lyrics by Maury Yeston  is based on the 1911 book “Phantom of the Opera”  by Gaston LeRoux.   This musical which was first developed in the 1980s is not to be confused with  Andrew Lloyd Webber ‘s Phantom of the Opera.  This production is written in the classic Broadway musical style (words and songs) as opposed to Webber’s which has no speaking parts. The story is similar and draws inspiration from the novel, but they are not the same.  This production of Phantom has been applauded for being more a true Broadway musical and for the quality of the music and the way the characters have been more developed.

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The story opens with a young woman , Christine selling her songs on the street of 19th century Paris.  Her charm and voice capture the attention of Count Phillippe De Chandon  who is a patron of the Paris Opera House.  He sends her there to learn voice lessons in the hope she will join the company.  Her dreams are derailed as new ownership of the opera house instead hires her to work in the costumes department.  The Opera House has long been rumored to be the location of a ghost, The Phantom of the Opera.  Though the new owners scoff at the idea, they are soon convinced when one of their staff is murdered.

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Hearing Christine  sing, the Phantom finally reveals himself to her   (with his famous mask on) and offers to give her voice lessons.   She accepts and as her vocal talents grow, so does a relationship between Christine and the Phantom (Erik) deep under the Opera House.  But as Christine’s star rises in the Opera House so does jealousy and the owner Carlotta plots to ruin her budding career.  It will be the Phantom who comes to her side to save her, though we learn that this relationship is not to be.

The story has great characters, and is filled with both light moments and heavy drama.  Casting for the show is brilliant with Kayleen Seidl taking on the role of Christine (a role originated by Glory Crampton). She charms the audience as she moves effortlessly across the stage. When she sings, her amazing vocal performance soars through the theater capturing and lifting the audience.  On opening night we witnessed a future Broadway star on the Westchester stage.

Matthew Billman wonderfully plays the dramatic and tragic role of the Phantom and though we never see his face under the mask, we feel his anguish and pain.  His vocals too were impressive and commanding.  A  fantastic cast with Broadway, off Broadway and regional  credits include James Van Threuren (Gerard Carriere)  who gives a warm and touching performance, Sandy Rosenberg as Carlotta who brings not only her vocal talent but some lightness to this drama.  The rest of the cast is fantastic, but the evening belongs to Kayleen Seidl and Matthew Billman with their touching performances and their soulful renditions of this amazing musical score.

Maury Yeston’s music and lyrics are memorable.   Songs such as “Melodies de Paris” are light, flowing and are so catchy that they will stay with you for many years. That is very effective song crafting.   Christine and Phantom’s duet of “ Home” is the one of my favorites or the evening, and is exquisite in its delivery.  The  most dramatic numbers of the evening belong to “You are My Own“, and finally “You are Music” delivered by Ms. Seidl at the conclusion of the show which ranks as one of the most moving musical numbers and performances I  have heard in recent memory.   It truly is a brilliant score.

Phantom is a fantastic show with a talented cast.  Costume design was elaborate and perfectly captured 19th Century Paris.  The amazing set design is a large part of the spectacle on stage.  Complete with balconies, suspended cat walks, a chandelier that crashes to the stage, and of course the elevated stage that appears and disappears and serves as the underworld lair of the Phantom.  Throw in dramatic lighting, fog machines, an underground lagoon and a boat that moves across stage.  The audience was amazed.

The production of this special show runs through November 25th.  Then it will pause and resume December 27th to January 27th.  A three course dinner is included in your ticket price and you dine prior to the show.

See Yeston and Kopit’s Phantom now!

for tickets and information:

https://www.broadwaytheatre.com

Westchester Broadway Theater

One Broadway Plaza  Elmsford NY

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Go Grape Stomping at Robibero Family Vinyards September 22-23rd

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Looking for a really fun and unique event?  Then go grape stomping at Robibero Family Vineyards at their annual Grape Stomping Festival.  This years festival will take place on Saturday September 22nd and Sunday September 23rd 2018 .  The winery is open from 11 am to 6 pm.

At the event you will be able to take off your shoes and climb into a barrel filled with grapes and stomp away.  It is a great photo opportunity and something you will always remember.  No worries as there will be a station to wash off your feet after your stomping.

Your ticket price in addition to the stomping, a wine tasting of their fabulous wines in the tasting room or you may choose instead of the tasting to have a glass of wine and take home one logo glass.

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Robibero produces premium artisan wines that are handcrafted in small batches.  Some of the wines available are Chardonnay, Reisling, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and some delightful hybrid blends.  All the wine is made on site.  Bottles or cases are available for sale at the tasting room.

There will be live music from 2pm to 5 pm both days.   Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the winery, but space is limited.  Kids under 13  can stomp for free!  Non Drinkers can purchase a stomp only ticket for just $10.

There is also live music both days from 1 to 5 pm, food truck, and a bon fire.

Enjoy a beautiful day in the heart of the Hudson Valley and after the winery check out the shops and great restaurants in nearby downtown New Paltz.

See you there!

Robibero Family Winery

714 Albany Post Road  New Paltz New York           tel:  845-255-9463

http://www.robiberofamilyvineyards.com/Home_Page.html

tickets >>>>   https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grape-stomping-festival-at-robibero-winery-tickets-42648945143

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