Creamline: Boozy Shakes, anyone?

20180104_170351RESTAURANT:  Creamline

DATE OF VISIT: 1/04/18

ADDRESS: Chelsea Market 75 9th Avenue New York, NY 10011 (Two locations in Manhattan)

GENRE: American – Burgers & Shakes

AFFORDABILITY: Pretty decently priced. $6.50 shakes in NYC are pretty good considering its Manhattan. Though the Boozy shakes do seem expensive when you compare it to a regular shake, given that they are smaller than regular shakes with just a shot of alcohol in them. The Chelsea Market location does have a “Chelsea Combo” you can take advantage of as well.

VENUE: It’s an open-air restaurant in Chelsea Market with a classic diner feel. There are standing tables, bar seating, high tables, and regular tables. It’s a nice venue in Chelsea Market, but probably fills up quickly during peak hours.

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly.

GENERAL: Creamline prides itself on being locally sourced and all-natural with their burgers, fries, and shakes. My friends and I only ordered the shakes, and it’s pretty cool because they have some alcohol infused shakes aka Boozy Shakes.

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THE FOOD: I ordered the 16 oz. Two-Cookies Shake. The two cookies seemed to be crushed Oreos and crushed wafer-type cookies. The milkshake was absolutely delicious – nice and creamy. I definitely do recommend. Do it was frustrating that the cookie pieces got way too big for the straws towards the end (ended up just scooping them out with the straw, which was delicious).

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My friends ordered the Honey Nut Boozy Shake. Unfortunately, they were out of Amaretto (it was a Thursday late afternoon… I guess they sold out but slightly disappointing nonetheless) and they replaced the Amaretto with some other liquor. My friends said it was strong, but probably would have tasted better with the Amaretto. The boozy shake idea is a cool concept though and it’s priced the same or cheaper than a lot of NYC cocktails so can’t really complain too much about the almost $13 price. You can do custom combinations too (one side of the restaurant is literally a bar with milkshake offerings). Plus it comes in a nice cup (that’s actually plastic). That was both unexpected and cool. Shame it’s smaller than a regular shake though.

ACCOMODATIONS: They have vegetarian burger options.

OVERALL: Overall, I definitely recommend! If you’re in Chelsea Market, a shake plus some mini-doughnuts from the Doughnuttery make perfect desserts. You definitely will not be disappointed with the creaminess! And of course, the Boozy Shake concept is pretty cool!

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Zinburger: Good Vibes and a Tasty Meal

Blanco BurgerRESTAURANT:  Zinburger

DATE OF VISIT: 1/14/18

ADDRESS: Barracks Shopping Center 973 Emmet St N, Charlottesville, VA 22903

GENRE: American – Burgers & Bar

AFFORDABILITY: The burgers range from around $10 to $15 which is borderline starting to get expensive for a filling, gourmet burger with no sides. A little on the pricier side compared to some other Charlottesville burger places, but you’re not going to walk away hungry. Shakes are about $6 but are quite large and filling.

VENUE: The restaurant was large and had an earthy and contemporary bar feel. It was really nice, with large fireplaces near outdoor seating and a variety of indoor seating including a full bar, high tables, low tables, and booths. Definitely different from a lot of the darker-themed burger places in Charlottesville.

From my experience and observations, the restaurant seemed LGBTQ+ and POC friendly.

GENERAL: I came into Zinburger with literally zero idea of what the restaurant was and I was really pleasantly surprised. I walked in right after a basketball game finished and so a huge crowd was rushing in. They handled the influx of people beautifully (also props to them for being open late on a Sunday night).

I didn’t catch my server’s name, but he was absolutely incredible. He explained to my table the background of the restaurant, explained the VIP rewards program (which is pretty awesome, I recommend signing up), and went through the menu options. He double checked for allergies and was super accommodating to all of my table’s needs. He even reassured me when he handed me my shake that one of my substitutions was made even though it didn’t look like it was, which was really nice. He really set the tone for a great meal and I was super appreciative of that.

It was also cool how they have Burgers of the Week, Shakes of the Month, and other specials that change up their menu everytime you come.

Truffle Fries

THE FOOD: For appetizer, my table ordered Truffle Fries and Sweet Potato Waffle Fries. They were good and as expected. I especially liked the truffle aioli dipping sauce, that was especially tasty, even with the sweet potato fries. I guess the only downside is that the burgers themselves do not come with fries or any sides so you have to pay more if you want some.

Sweet Potato Waffle Fries

For my burger I ordered the Blanco Burger (Pepper Jack Cheese, Pico De Gallo, Guac, Lettuce, Chipotle Mayo) with a Turkey Patty. From what I understand, they create all the patties (beef, turkey, and veggie) in the restaurant. It was probably one of the tastiest patties I have ever eaten. Turkey can be especially dry and they did a superb job making it juicy and soft and absolutely scrumptious. Overall the burger was really tasty. The chipotle mayo wasn’t overpowering and the pico de gallo and guacamole tasted fresh. Though I think next time I’m going to order the similar but slightly different El Diablo (Fire Roasted Jalapenos, Pepper Jack Cheese, Braised Onions, Lettuce, Chipotle Mayo).

Bars of Zin Shake

For my Shake I ordered the Bars of Zin (Chocolate Ice Cream, Hazelnut Spread, Kit Kat Pieces, Fresh Whipped Cream) but I substituted the chocolate with vanilla ice cream. That substitution was definitely a good one, because I think otherwise the shake would be far too chocolatey. I didn’t expect the kit kats to be blended in the shake, but that was really nice because it added a slight chocolate-grain texture with each sip. It was a great filling shake and I definitely recommend.

ACCOMODATIONS: They have veggie and turkey patties that can be substituted in all their burgers. They also will try their best to accommodate to food allergies and were really great about making substitutions as needed.

OVERALL: Overall, I recommend! It was a great full-service dinner experience for a really nice price. The TVs are broadcasting sports on the walls making it a great place to grab a drink or have a nice meal while watching sports. It’s also a very spacious restaurant which was nice. On a warmer day, I think I definitely would want to sit outside next to the fancy outdoor fires, I think that would be a lot of fun. It’s a good place to get a tasty burger and delicious shake in a nice, clean restaurant more upscale and warmer ambience in Charlottesville.

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Afterglow the Play Review: Come for the Curtains, Stay for the Feels

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PLAY: Afterglow

WHERE: The Loft at Davenport Theatre

When I decided to make the trip to Manhattan with friends this January, all the Broadway and Off-Broadway buzz made me realize we had to watch two shows. The first being the Spongebob Musical. The second being Afterglow: a one-act, off-broadway play that has extended its run three times. Afterglow even had a mention on SNL, which is pretty awesome!

The story revolves around a married couple in an open relationship, a third person entering the relationship, and how they deal with all the complicated emotions and drama involved, especially with unfaithful utterances of “I love you” and a baby on the way for married couple.

The 90-minute play is honestly one of my favorite shows, and I think part of that is because it is relevant and relatable to anyone of any gender or sexual orientation who has ever been in or plans to be in a relationship or is trying to figure out what they want to do with their life. One character is a 25-year old masseur struggling to afford living in Manhattan. The other is a 30-year old well-off Theatre Director. The third is a graduate chemistry student who is exhausted at the end of each school day. The script expertly uses the three characters’ backgrounds to create relatable scenes from everyday life sprinkled with casual, subtle, direct, and flirtatious humor.

A lot of reviews of the show I don’t think do the show justice, which could be because, although still relatable, it’s laughable for an older audience member that the character Josh is having a mid-life crisis at the ripe old age of 30 (also other reviews focus too much on the nudity, which enhances but is not the focus of the play, instead of the emotions). While I cannot speak for older audience members, I think the show is especially relevant and relatable for younger, more millennial audience members. One idea brought forward is the prominence of dating apps and “with all the options out there, we’re kind of paralyzed by the illusion of choice.” There’s a struggle for many millennials between giving up choices, or at least the illusion of it, for the security in a relationship that so many millennials want. Beyond dating apps, other themes are explored such as what does it mean to be in love, to be in a relationship, to have friendships, what does it mean to be loyal, and more. Or it could be relatable because there’s a joke about naming a plant and lots of millennials name plants.

THE CHARACTERS and CAST: Brandon Haagenson played Josh and was superb. Josh reminded me of the cool uncle – fun most of the time, but also a “real adult” at times too. Haagenson did an exemplary job of displaying a wide-range of emotion throughout the show, which was really great to see.

Joe Chisholm played Alex. Alex is sort of the more serious uncle, for lack of a better metaphor. Chisholm did it beautifully. I think it can be really difficult not to overdo frustration on stage, but Chisholm executed showing Alex’s frustration with ease and I could really feel his exhaustion from his long days in school (but perhaps I’m also drawing from personal experience…)

Patrick Reilly played Darius. Darius was young, free, flirty, and cheeky. Reilly did a great job showing off the youth of Darius in the way Darius would approach Alex and Josh with his concerns. The scene to note that I thought was especially great in showing Darius’ young and free (but also goodhearted) attitude was the laundry-folding scene. Within minutes Reilly displayed a rollercoaster of emotions that I thought was especially impressive

I thought the actors were magnificent in their roles and really did a good job on making it all feel real. What was also cool is that the three actors did all of the set changes themselves, while interacting with each other and remaining in character. That was a great touch to help keep it all feeling real.
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THE SET and COSTUMES:  The Davenport Theatre is a repurposed firehouse, which already is especially cool. As you go up three flights of stairs you enter a room with a small stage and seats surrounding it. This was especially cool because the audience literally surrounded the three actors and the stage.

The curtain at the beginning was really pretty and I’m not going to ruin the surprise here (though pretty much every other review talks about it), but I did not expect what was in it when I was walking past it to get to my seat.

The set piece to note was the built-in waterfall shower in the middle of the stage, which was really cool and something I have never seen before on a stage. The use of lights to create roof scenes and stargazing scenes and cool apartment vibes was also really great.

Every piece of clothing the actors wore were seemingly deliberate, making 25-year old Darius look even younger and the 30-year old married couple even older (which is good, because some critics have poked fun at the five-year age gap). The clothing choices did a good job in differentiating Josh’s and Alex’s personalities too.

OVERALL: As the director, S. Asher Gelman, had wanted, “What you bring into the show from your own life is what you’re going to take away from it.” I think this holds especially true. Overall, I think the show is great because it gets you thinking and makes you feel things and draws things from your own experiences. One of my favorite shows I have seen by far. Plus, it isn’t too long, and tickets can be found for a great price (over 60% off) on sites such as TodayTix. And you’re right in Hell’s Kitchen for a delicious dinner right before or cocktails right after, which works out perfectly.

I definitely recommend if you are in New York to read up more about the show and watch it!  The ending is appropriately left open-ended and you’ll walk out of the theatre thinking for hours about what you just saw.

 

Spongebob Squarepants Musical Review: My Trip to Bikini Bottom

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MUSICAL: Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical

WHERE: The Palace Theatre

The Spongebob Musical, amidst dozens of highly positive reviews, has been one of the most controversial musicals currently on Broadway, whether because of its costume choices or budget or the megastar artists who wrote the songs or the fact that it’s a musical about Spongebob. Every person I had talked to who had seen the show would always just tell me a seemingly positive (but also neutral) “It was something else, you need to see it for yourself.” And so I did.

In the first ten minutes alone, I was just like WOAH. I was taking in a lot at once, from voice effects to sound effects. But by the end of the first song, I knew this was going to be nothing like I had ever seen before.

I may be one of the few millennials who did not watch Spongebob growing up. Though I have seen around 10-20 episodes. But even still, I did get most of the references (whether quotes or sound effects) to the show. And the ones I didn’t know, I quickly figured out were a meme or show reference due to the audience’s loud applause.

I sat as far up front with the cheapest tickets I could buy. The Palace Theatre is a three-tier theatre, which isn’t my favorite, but from the third tier balcony you can see the entire stage (the only part you can’t see is the very front which is only used for actors to walk across the stage). It was a unique experience for me because there were lots of kids everywhere, and I had never attended a musical with an audience like that. But it was cute how excited they all would get, and anything that gets kids to Broadway is a winner in my book.

I will admit the show does a feel a bit long (especially because intermission comes fairly late into the show).

THE MUSIC:  With songs written by David Bowie/Brian Eno, Steven Tyler/Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Cyndi Lauper,  Sara Bareilles, John Legend, Plain White T’s, T.I., Panic! At the Disco, Lady Antebellum, Yolanda Adams, Jonathan Coulton, TMBG, The Flaming Lips, and more, how could the music not be great? The harmonies are wonderful. The tunes are modern and catchy.  The lyrics are clever. There are modern pop songs, there are traditional Broadway songs, there’s hip-hop, there’s rock, there are emotional duets. And you have two iconic songs from the Spongebob show.

THE CHARACTERS and CAST: The cast was great. The voice effects they were able to do were remarkable. Special shout out to Ethan Slater playing Spongebob – his upper body strength in the Musical for some of the scenes was incredible and man can he sing. Wesley Taylor was a hysterical Plankton, he did an amazing job. Jai’len Christine Li Josey has some pipes and was extremely impressive in the role of Pearl Krabs. Another standout voice was Gaelen Gilliland as the Mayor of Bikini Bottom.

Also, I’m a huge fan of representation, so it was great to see multiple colored actors and actors of Asian descent in the show!

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THE SET and COSTUMES: The set and costumes were incredible. One of the big “controversies” were how Spongebob wouldn’t be in a square costume. But this isn’t Barney or the Teletubbies. The yellow outfit he wore was perfect in my opinion. Sandy, with her hair, looked just as Sandy should. Patrick looked like Patrick. Mr. Krabs, with his boxing glove claws, looked great. Mrs. Puffs looked like Mrs. Puffs. Special shout out to Squidward’s legs – that was really cool how they gave him multiple tentacles.  The random sea creature costumes were superb.

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And the set was genius. It was superfluous and out there in every way it should be for a show like Spongebob. You’re going to have to see it to believe it. There was one set choice for the Mountain in the show that I wasn’t exactly sure why it was portrayed the way it was. Maybe I missed some symbolism? But overall, very creative use of set pieces.

The creativity for set and costumes, from ladder volcanoes to skateboarding on stage, is what makes Broadway wonderful and I think Spongebob exceeds in that creativity.

STAGE-DOORING: I went to a matinee show on one of the coldest days of the year. So, understandably, they were not stage-dooring that day. But some actors did come out  to greet us and did sign playbills.

The stage door is around the corner from the main entrance (take a right from the front door and another right).

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Bubbles! Footage courtesy of Luka Jelenak

OVERALL: This show is extra in every sense of the word. There’s no other way to put it (and may be why it rubs some viewers the wrong way. Also keep in mind, they sneak in some innuendos, but it is a show meant for all ages.) But extra isn’t a bad thing at all. Great cast. Phenomenal music. Creative costumes. Beautiful set pieces. The story was original and cute and conveyed a great, positive message. Though I completely understand why people say the show is something else, because it really is unlike any other show I have seen on Broadway. The show definitely makes you wonder at points whether you’re actually enjoying it, but you probably are, because again, it’s nothing like you’ve ever seen on Broadway.

It is “extra” and that extra-ness is great. It is bound to win some Tony’s in the Spring. I definitely recommend watching it, especially if you’re a fan of the Spongebob Show. Prepare to have the Spotify playlist on repeat on the ride home!

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Mean Girls Musical Review: I Got to Sit with the Plastics

Meangirls Playbill

MUSICAL: Mean Girls

WHERE: Pre-Broadway run at the National Theatre DC (Oct 31st to Dec 3rd)

Previews begin on March 12th, 2018 at the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway with the official opening on April 8th.

THE MOVIE vs THE MUSICAL: As many millennials would say, the Mean Girls movie is probably one of the most iconic movies of our childhoods. Almost every other line from the movie is quotable, and many have become ingrained in our 21st-century culture. So naturally, I had to see the musical in its pre-Broadway run in DC (and if I didn’t have enough of a reason to love Tina Fey’s work, Fey is an alum of my University #Wahoowa).

I’ve watched several Broadway adaptations of movies: Lion King, Waitress, Groundhog Day, and now Mean Girls. What makes the Mean Girls musical different from the rest is that I think having watched the movie enhances the musical experience. I hadn’t watched the movies that inspired Waitress or Groundhog Day, but I made sure my entire family watched the movie before I brought them to watch Mean Girls. While I do think people will definitely enjoy the film “irregardless” (as Gretchen Weiners says in both the movie and musical), having seen the movie will definitely allow you to appreciate the references a little more.

But just how similar are the movie and musical? They are definitely not identical – the musical added a ton of additional dialogue and hilarious jokes. But what about the iconic references? Almost every single one – from Damian being “too gay to function” to October 3rd to the “You can’t sit with us” to Danny DeVito and “Four for you Glen Coco” – was made in some shape or form. The only funny moment from the movie that I immediately noticed was missing was an early scene in which Ms. Norbury mistakenly welcomes the wrong student in the class as Cady Heron. Some lines from the movie had a word or two changed, or some slang was brought up to smart-phone-era equivalents (because of course, this is the North Shore HS of 2017, not 2004). The projector-room sex scandal was changed to an even funnier location, we had a Zombie Hillbilly instead of a Zombie Bride, and some minor plot changes were made to the second half. But don’t worry, Grool and Fetch made the cut! It definitely was cool to see how smart phones, Trump as President, modern lingo like “Basic AF”, and social media/emojis would play out in the Mean Girls world, a world now devoid of three-way calls. Some of my favorite parts were, just like the movie, when the scene suddenly went from the calm human world to the violent, wild animal world!

 

 

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THE CHARACTERS and CAST: I really believe the show was brilliantly cast. Erika Henningsen played Cady Heron amazingly well. Grey Henson stole the show early on with the crowd-favorite Damian; the audience was cheering Damian on after everything he said or did. Barrett Wilbert Weed played Janis Sarkisian with great attitude and toughness and humor. Kyle Selig’s interpretation of Aaron Samuels was great – Aaron was thoughtful and just really genuine. He wasn’t just the good-looking love interest. While Taylor Louderman’s Regina George was definitely different than Rachel McAdam’s in the movie – Louderman’s interpretation was great. Louderman’s Regina was much more sultry, singing “I’m Regina George, and I’m a massive deal”, but just as conniving as Regina ought to be. Ashley Park played the insecure Gretchen Weiners perfectly – at multiple points I actually felt really sorry for Gretchen’s situation. Kate Rockwell was also spectacular as Karen Smith – if you thought Karen was funny in the movie, she is hilarious in the musical. Rick Younger and Cheech Manohar embodied the personalities of Principal Duvall and Kevin Gnapoor respectively exactly as audiences would want them to. Kevin G. especially I think is really hard to play. Manohar didn’t replicate the character exactly like in the movie; however, his interpretation of why audiences love Kevin G. was spot-on. Kerry Butler, as expected, was fantastic as Mrs. Heron (Cady’s Mom), Mrs. George (Regina’s Mom), and Ms. Norbury. Honestly I would’ve thought she were three different actresses. Her Mrs. Heron was just like the movie’s, and I literally thought she was Tina Fey as Ms. Norbury – she nailed that role. And her Mrs. George was definitely a “cool mom”.

Also, I’m a huge fan of representation and diversity in the performing arts, so it was great to see multiple actors of Asian descent in the show!

THE MUSIC: I think one concern people had before watching the show was the music. I’m here to squash those qualms! The music was “so fetch” that I wish the Broadway Cast recording was out right now so I could jam along. I think many musicals lately, such as Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, Waitress, Groundhog Day, etc, have been doing a great job of creating music with both modern and classic Broadway elements. Mean Girls does exactly that. The music was upbeat, catchy, and really demonstrated every performer’s amazing vocal range. Karen had a hilarious song, Gretchen’s song made me really feel and connect with her, and I know that my mom sitting next to me was getting emotional relating to Mrs. George’s song. The songs were wonderful additions to the show and the choreography, from beats with red cafeteria trays to twerking and step dancing, was lively and energetic. The only thing I wished for was more of Kevin G’s rap during the talent show and more time to process the hilarious mayhem that was happening during the end of Rockin’ Around the Pole.

I would say there isn’t any one single standout showstopper song though, and perhaps that is something this great score is missing.

Stage

THE SET and COSTUMES: The technology on set was awesome with full moving LED screens, 180 degrees around the back of the stage, that allowed for endless possibilities. The cafeteria tables and classroom desks on wheels brought a dynamic element to the show and were really well utilized. And of course, the costumes were as fetch as they should be. Shout-out to the Bud Knight Halloween costume and the amazing, transformational re-enactment of a fan-favorite movie during the first act of the North Shore Talent Show. Aided by the LED walls, the set expertly flowed from the North Shore hallways to cafeteria to classrooms to the gym to Africa to a shopping mall to Regina and Cady’s homes to the street where (spoiler?) Regina gets hit by a bus.

Signed Playbill

STAGE-DOORING: I had an amazing time meeting so many cast members after the show. I had great conversations with many, and they were all so kind to spend time the night before Thanksgiving signing Playbills and interacting with the fans. And I always love when performers are especially nice to little kids at the stage door – adorable to see. Nothing else to say but that the performers are all both talented and extremely kind!

 

 

OVERALL: Definitely a must see (“because that’s just like, the rules of feminism”, right?) As a fan of the movie, I may be a little biased, but they definitely did the movie justice and added tons of additional jokes and moments beyond the movie coupled with amazing music to make it so very worthwhile to watch. If you’re a fan of the movie or if you’re a fan of live theatre (or both!), grab yourself a seat with at the table with the Plastics as soon as you can!

(Oh, and don’t forget to wear pink, especially if you watch the show on a Wednesday like I did)

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Groundhog Day Musical: A Show You’ll Want to See Again and Again and Again

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So I know this is a food blog, but I also happen to watch as many musicals and plays as I can and using the hashtag #AnanteaterTheater was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

MUSICAL: Groundhog Day

WHERE: August Wilson Theatre on Broadway (Closed on September 17th – but going on an 18-month US Tour in 2018)

THE DETAILS: I have had the opportunity to see quite a few Broadway Musicals and I have to say this show is definitely in my Top Five Favorite Musicals of All-Time list.

Based on the classic Bill Murray movie of the same name on the events of February 2nd every year in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, Groundhog Day takes you through the day of Weatherman Phil Connors over and over and over again till he gets it right.

This musical will make you laugh and make you cry, taking you on a roller coaster of emotions that you expect from every great musical.

One of the most impressive parts of the musical is the use of technology and special effects. Most of the choreography is based on a multi-circle rotating platform in the center of the stage which allows seamless transitions from set to set. During the song “Hope” was one of the most impressive special effects I had ever seen on a stage. It was almost like magic how the main character Phil, who (spoiler?) is starting to get depressed living the same day over and over again and is waking up again in the same spot in his bed no matter how many times he commits suicide, literally would “kill himself” in one part of the stage and somehow, a second later, wake up in his bed in the middle of the stage. The choreography does such an artful job of keeping your eyes focused on certain aspects that it’s like you are watching a Hollywood movie and Phil is literally teleporting around the stage. Likewise, the song “Nobody Cares” had by far the most creative and funniest car-chase-scene I have ever seen on a stage. The creativity is off the charts.

Of course, I can’t talk about a musical without talking about the music. It’s a wonderful blend of Rock and Pop and classic Jazz and Broadway tunes all in one. The beginning “Overture” starts off with a tune you’re just going to wish kept going on and on. The harmonies are some of the best I’ve heard on Broadway and the lyrics, such as in the hilariously catchy song “Stuck” or (my favorite) “If I Had My Time Again”, are absolutely brilliant. For those who don’t listen to Broadway music often, I would say this soundtrack does such a great job of combining genres that it is a great first soundtrack to listen to if you want to get into listening to Broadway music.

Another great thing about this cast is how diverse it is. Broadway has a reputation for being very white, and it would have been easy for the show to mirror the cast of the original movie, but they chose not to do that. This article goes into much more detail on the show’s diversity, but in summary, the cast consists of a female-lead-of-color, an Indian actor, and Asian actor, and fuller figured performers.

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Speaking of the cast, they are all incredibly nice. Most of them came out to the Stage Door after the show to greet fans waiting for them – I don’t think I have ever gotten as many signatures at a stage door. They were all super friendly and I had a great short conversation with Vishal Vaidya about how he had once performed with the Hulabahoos, an a capella group at my University. I had a great conversation with lead Andy Karl about his hysterical interview on Side by Side with Susan Blackwell and lead Barrett Doss was incredibly grateful to meet all of us (making sure she got to spend some time with each and every person who was waiting). I witnessed several members of the cast being incredibly kind and patient in their conversations with some younger fans who were a bit shy to talk with them – speaks a lot to their great character.  By far one of my more memorable “Stage Dooring” experiences.

It’s unfortunate that this show ended its Broadway run so soon, especially before its first show on Groundhog Day. I feel like they didn’t really perform their most appealing/mainstream songs at the Tony Awards and in their Good Morning America performance, which were missed marketing opportunities in my eyes. It’s a shame, because I think this is a show that really will appeal to all audiences and has a real powerful lesson to teach.

But overall, the cast is incredibly talented, the story is emotional, the lessons learned are powerful, and the music provides some of the best harmonies on Broadway today. I definitely recommend watching this musical if you ever get a chance in London or on its tour – over and over and over again!

Best part is – I bought a shirt that I’m pretty much going to be wearing every February 2nd for the rest of my life.

2/02/18 Update — I finally saw the original movie (Wow. It was simply amazing.) and I will say this Musical did do it justice. I understand why Bill Murray had to come back the next day to watch it a second time after his first time.

The album is available on Spotify – definitely give it a listen!

Honey Pig: Centreville Korean BBQ by the Dish

Honeypig Food

RESTAURANT:  Honey Pig Korean BBQ Centreville 

DATE OF VISIT: 7/2/17

ADDRESS: 13818-B Braddock Rd Centreville, VA 20121 (Four locations in the DMV area)

GENRE: Korean BBQ

VENUE: The restaurant is a lot larger than expected. Industrial feel and loud.

Honeypig Meat on Grill

Meat on the grill — they will help cook it for you!

GENERAL:  Getting seated was an efficient process. Picked up a ticket and waited for my number to appear on the LED-screen. Only took a few minutes. At this Korean BBQ restaurant you order appetizers and meat by the plate and the servers will come and cook the meat for you on the grill.

AFFORDABILITY: This is a tough question. I am a big fan of Korean BBQ and often go to the all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurants which often are around $25 to $30. I spent $25 here at Honey Pig and was definitely filled and the food was delicious. Some parts were definitely tastier than the all-you-can-eat restaurants, but I don’t know if that really justifies coming here and spending as much or more for less variety than the Korean BBQ buffets. Might be more worthwhile for larger groups of people who aren’t looking to get absolutely stuffed.

THE FOOD: We ordered Seafood Pancake and for our meat, my friend and I shared the boneless rib. We also both had rice, which is a little extra money.

Honeypig Banchan

Banchan

The meal comes with Banchan which are Korean side dishes that often are free at Korean BBQ joints. They vary per restaurant, but the ones here felt pretty standard for the area. The kimchi was definitely the best I have had! The salad, steamed egg, mashed potatoes, and sauces were also great.

Honeypig Seafood Pancake

Seafood Pancake

The Seafood Pancake was the size of a small pizza, definitely way bigger than expected. It tasted absolutely great; super filling and a great amount of seafood in the pancake. Crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside. Definitely will order again.

The meat tasted great too! It was cooked just right, not too chewy and not too tough.

ACCOMODATIONS: It is a Korean BBQ restaurant but there are vegetarian options for those who need them.

OVERALL: Enjoyed this restaurant a ton and do recommend! Many of the side dishes and the food was definitely high-quality; I probably enjoyed it more than some of the all-you-can-eat Korean barbecues.

Though with the comparable prices and the lack of variety, I don’t know if I can justify coming here too often unless I definitely know I do not want to eat a buffet. At least not without a large group of people. May return for that Seafood Pancake though, absolutely delicious!

I hear they give out Groupons a lot, so that definitely might make it worthwhile.