Saturday, December 18, 2010

Great Expectations

I went on a bit of a Broadway binge a couple weeks ago.  There are so many shows closing shortly after the New Year, and although I saw two of those (The Merchant of Venice and The 39 Steps), one that I desperately wanted to see for ages, had evaded me.  I had attempted the lottery for West Side Story about 1 1/2 years ago when I was visiting friends in the city, long before I actually moved here.  I failed multiple times at the lottery.  I recently decided to try again, this time with an old theater friend from high school who was dying to see it as much as I was!  We both put our names in for 2 tickets to a Wednesday matinée show, and her name was picked!  Mine, as usual, wasn't, haha.  But no matter, my friend (whose name, conveniently, is Maria, like in West Side Story!) won, and so we both won!!

She didn't know about the lottery, so I shared my knowledge with her, and in turn, she shared her luck :)  We saw the amazing revival of this timeless musical!  Did I mention we had front row seats?  Well we did!  We were practically in the orchestra, and could see one too many crotches from our angle, and when people were laying on stage (ahem, at the end... *tear*), we couldn't really see them (I'm also seriously short)... but we were right in the action!  We could see every drop of sweat!  And for only $26.50!  The cast in the video below is from 2009, and the 2010 cast is different, but they were amazing.  I totally balled at the end.  I mean, I'm a huge baby, but whatever.  Definitely the experience of a lifetime!  It met and exceeded my expectations.  Now that, my friends, is a Broadway show...

Mario's Trattoria
493 9th Ave
(between 37th St & 38th St)
New York, NY 10018
(212) 239-3394

Before seeing West Side Story, Maria and I headed to Mario's for some warm (thank God) Italian food.  She had been there before and recommended it.  A diner at a nearby table suggested the pizza, but I think I'll save that for next time.  We both had creamy, comforting pasta dishes.  Hers was tortellini in a cream sauce, and mine was their take on Carbonara, which they served with fettuccine, large pieces of bacon, sliced onions, and a sauce more similar to Alfredo than Carbonara (which is egg-based and occasionally includes cream, but not heavily).  It wasn't Carbonara by my standards (or traditional Italian ones), but it was pretty good for pasta in a cream sauce with bacon and onions :) I wish they had simply called it that, but both of us needed that decadence on a freezing afternoon, and nearly polished our plates clean.  I would consider heading back here again, as the menu is enticing and the prices are fairly reasonable (compared to my other favorite Italian spots in the city).  I wouldn't order the Carbonara, as that's not really what it is, but I would love to try some other menu items and see what else is up Mario's sleeve... Maria recommends the eggplant parm :)

Tortellini in Cream Sauce $13

Fettuccine Carbonara $13

And onto great expectations there were not met at Florencia 13.... :(

Florencia 13
185 Sullivan St
(between Houston St & Bleecker St)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 677-6830

I lived in Los Angeles for 3 1/2 years after college.  When Florencia 13 was recommended to me, I was enthusiastic because it is named after a large Los Angeles-based Latino gang.  Yes, that may seem like a silly reason to get excited, but after living in the gang (and Mexican-food-outside-of-Mexico) capital of the world, these familiarities are welcome.  So based on their knowledge of Los Angelino "culture," if you will, I expected the food here to remind me of the incredible Mexican food I remember from my LA days.  I imagined it would be as authentic as I could find this far from LA.

Strawberry Margaritas $6 during Happy Hour or $8 regularly

Sadly, the restaurant's name is the last of the LA comforts.  The food is uninspired and sadly very bland.  The "spicy guacamole" lacked any spice whatsoever, and while we're at it, it lacked acid and salt as well.  No wonder it was turning brown before our very eyes.  Super bland.  The freshly fried tortilla chips weren't salted either.  So no salt all around.  A pathetic platter for $9.

Spicy Guacamole with Chips $9

My friend and I both chose the Chavez Ravine Taco and Enchilada combo, which came with a hard taco (we asked for soft instead, though) and enchilada, along with beans, rice, and more guac.  The guac was no different than the appetizer we had, practically brown by the time it got to us.  The beans were completely unseasoned.  No salt, no flavor.  Even the queso crumbled on top was very mild, so no real flavor there.  The rice was actually seasoned pretty well.  It was the best seasoned item on the platter.  The enchilada was topped with a sauce that reminded me more of a gravy than a sauce intended for enchiladas.  It wasn't red or green, but rather a brown color (but not a mole), and it too lacked any spice or seasoning.  WTF?!  The taco was okay, but nothing special, no spice, nothing noteworthy.  I was so bummed!  This was not the nostalgic LA Mexican food experience I was seeking, not at all.  I'd like to say the saving grace was the strawberry margaritas, which were good, but quite frankly there was no saving grace after the lack of flavor served to us.  What a shame... I was ready to fall in love.

Chavez Ravine Taco and Enchilada - Steak Soft Taco, Chicken Enchilada, Beans, Rice, and Guacamole $13


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...