Greenwich International Film Festival will screen “Ben Is Back” starring Julia Roberts and Q&A with writer/director Peter Hedges on 12/17

ben is back

The Greenwich International Film Festival (GIFF) has announced a very special screening of  “Ben is Back” starring Julia Roberts , Lucas Hedges and veteran actor Courtney B. Vance. The film was nominated for awards at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival.

The film follows troubled addict Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges), who returns home to his unsuspecting family one Christmas Eve. Ben’s mother Holly Burns ( Julia Roberts) welcomes her beloved son’s return, but soon learns he is still very much in harm’s way. He has decided to skip rehab for the holidays to be with his family. However, during the 24 hours that make up the film, their lives may change forever. It is up to his mother, Holly to do whatever she can in her power to save her son and her family.

The film is written and directed by Peter Hedges (father of Lucas Hedges) and has written several novels, plays and movie scripts such as “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, “About a Boy” and others.

The film will be screened by GIFF on Monday December 17th at the Bow Tie Cinemas in Greenwich.   This special evening will kick off with a cocktail reception at ASHA (409 Greenwich Ave.)  from 6pm to 7:15pm.  ASHA will be donating 10% of all purchases made at the reception to GIFF.  The film will then be screened at the cinema at 7:30 with a Q & A session to follow with director and writer, Peter Hedges.  This promises to be a very special evening, and is just another example of the fine and unique programming that the Greenwich International Film Festival brings to our area.

Not only does GIFF host its annual film festival, but produces great events like this one during the year.  Please consider becoming a GIFF member or give the gift of membership to a loved one this year.  Members are invited to special events and can take advantage of special VIP discounts as well  as have access to fantastic thought provoking cinema.

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For more information on GIFF, memberships, and tickets  please visit:

Greenwich International Film Festival

http://www.greenwichfilm.org

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The Foreigner: an award winning comedy presented by the Armonk Players

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The Armonk Players are presenting on stage  the comedy “The Foreigner”  by Larry Shue now through Saturday December 8th 2018.  The play is a hilarious comedy which had the audience roaring with laughter and applause throughout the two act two hour performance.

The play which has had two off Broadway runs as well as regional theater productions is set in a lodge somewhere in Georgia.  Here we meet Charlie, an Englishman who has tagged along with his friend  Sgt. Froggy Le Sueur of the British army who has business nearby at an American army base.  Charlie is a quiet, nervous proofreader of a science fiction magazine, and has lost all confidence in himself due to his wife’s cheating ways.   He rather be alone at this time, so Froggy hatches a scheme where Charlie will act like he cannot speak or understand English and the owners of the Lodge and the other guests will give him peace and quiet.  Quite the opposite happens.  The owner of the Lodge, Betty Meeks is  fascinated by meeting a real “foreigner” and dotes on him.  Heiress Catherine Simms begins to confide her secrets to him thinking he cannot understand her.  And her brother, the somewhat dim witted Ellard, who everyone ignores, takes a shining to the new stranger and he to him and insists on teaching him English!

Charlie ( Keith Young) is hilarious not only with his body language and facial expressions but his use of his imaginary “foreign” language which even includes references to science fiction names and terms. The peaceful Lodge and its occupants reveal their secrets to their foreign guest including the fact that Catherine’s fiancé, Reverend David Lee is secretly a leader of the local Klan and wants to take over the Lodge and turn into their headquarters.  Can the meek and withdrawn Charlie come to the rescue of Betty, Ellard, Catherine and the Lodge?  Only the audience will know as Act Two comes to its hilarious and explosive conclusion.

A comedy like The Foreigner is a success due to a number of vital factors including the quality of the script, the actors themselves and their comedic timing, and of course the directors ability to ensure that the lines of the actors are paced correctly to deliver maximum comedic effect.  All those factors are present in the Armonk Players production.  An excellent ensemble cast of Chris Jamison as Betty Meeks, Richard Lauria as Ellard, Cassie White as Catherine, Jeff Schlotman as Froggy LeSueur, Zachary Curtin as Rev. David Lee, Scott Brannon as Klansman Owen Musser, and Keith Young as Charlie.  Directed by Pia Haas who expertly guided this talented cast in this fast paced, lively two hour comedy.  The audience responded with a standing ovation at the conclusion.

This was our first time seeing the Armonk Players and we were very impressed by the quality of the production, lighting, sound and excellent set design.

The show runs through December 8th.   For more information and tickets:

The Armonk Players

https://www.armonkplayers.org/schedule.html

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Kashi: New seasonal menu compliments the sushi at this hip, modern Japanese restaurant in Stamford.

kashi

We recently dined at Kashi a Japanese eatery and bar located in Downtown Stamford along Restaurant Row. Upon entering  Kashi Sushi Bar and Japanese Restaurant my impression was of a special and swanky environment.  Modern decor, soft muted purple lighting and a club like atmosphere blend to create  multi-sensory experience. Introduced to the city’s thriving restaurant scene in January of 2016, Kashi’s has crafted a space and menu that is both innovative and artistic in its approach to sushi and Japanese food.

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The Scorpion Bowl cocktail

The bar is creates a hip and modern environment in which to enjoy pre or post dinner cocktails. The list of special cocktails is quite impressive and innovative.  Old favorites can be found there such as the fun Scorpion Bowl which is always a fun cocktail to enjoy with others.

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Grilled Lobster

While the menu is filled with sushi and sashimi favorites, the new Seasonal Special Menu was the reason for our recent visit.  Interesting dishes abound including Grilled Lobster which is prepared with grilled seaweed and a chili sauce.   Seared Yellowtail Tuna  combines a pleasant presentation in a dark covered bowl  and includes seared yellowtail with yuzu, kosho gel and a yuzu dashi sauce.  Delicious.

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Yellowtail Tuna

The Double Wrap was another new and interesting dish with soy paper wraps filled with spicy lobster salad and topped with a mango salmon chili.  This was paired on the same plate with a fantastic cucumber wrap with spicy tuna inside.  The seasonal menu is sure to be a hit and help insert new flavors into the offerings at Kashi.

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Double Wrap

We also decided to sample some of the classic dishes and enjoyed the Thai Basil Chicken, which is prepared in a wok with mushroom, onion, carrot and a chili paste basil sauce.  Though not Japanese, this was a delicious dish.

For sushi fans, the Sushi and Sashimi for 1, is a great dish (and large enough to share).  A wonderful presentation over crushed ice with a light underneath the ice which includes sushi, sashimi and a spicy tuna roll.

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Sushi and Sashimi for 1

Kashi presents food that is only fresh and tasty, but does so in a visually interesting manner.  Add the upscale modern atmosphere that seemingly transports you from your average restaurant to a new exotic dining locale, and you have a winning combination.

Kashi

133 Summer Street, Stamford, CT

www.kashijapanese.com/kashistamford

 

 

Cocktails, a film screening and director Q&A of the the film “Always at the Carlyle” at the Bedford Playhouse

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The Bedford Playhouse in Bedford NY will be hosting a very special evening on December 6th.  “Bemelmans in Bedford” will be a unique  evening  that only the Playhouse can bring to our area.  The evening will  include a cocktail party at 6:30 pm, followed by the screening of the documentary, “Always at the Carlyle” at  7:30 and followed by a live Q &  A session with Director Mathew Miele.

The film is a 90 minute documentary about the The Carlyle, the  landmark Upper East Side hotel and the famous Bemelmans Bar.  This hotel has been a favorite for the jet set as well as a personal favorite of many locals.  This famous spot and its bar has been host to many famous faces over the years including Princess Diana,  Michael Jackson, Harrison Ford, George Clooney,  Queen Elizabeth and many more.

The documentary covers the long history of this landmark, the stories of some of its famous guests and some of its secrets.  Numerous celebrities are interviewed as part of the film.

The night will kick off with a cocktail party in the new lounge at the Playhouse, with  live piano music from Svetlana. The film will then be screened followed by a live Q & A session.  The Q &A will be  moderated by Bedford resident Nancy Steiner, who is a director and producer of documentary films and television.

It sounds like a really fun and interesting evening in the heart of Bedford Village.  If you have not been to the newly restored Bedford Playhouse this is a great opportunity.  The theater has been totally transformed into a unique destination and hosts not only feature films but interesting evenings such as this event.

Tickets are $60

For more information and to purchase tickets:

https://bedfordplayhouse.org/special_events/always-at-the-carlyle-bemelmans-in-bedford

Bedford Playhouse

633 Old Post Road Bedford New York

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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

FeedingWestchester

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