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Friday, April 30, 2010

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo




On Sunday after our morning Sunday ritual of Murray's bagel, my Dad and I decided, since it was raining, to go see a movie. 



I had mentioned earlier in the weekend that it was supposed to rain on Sunday and if it did I would love to take him to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  He was pretty hesitant. But on Sunday after our delicious breakfast and walking around in the cold rain he eventually decided a movie was a good idea. 



So we walked down Houston to Landmark Sunshine Cinema and stood outside for twenty minutes until the doors opened.  They opened exactly ten minutes before the movie started.  We were a little annoyed, cold and wet. My friend Kristen grabbed a coffee and croissant and hopped in a cab to join us! 


About thirty minutes into the movie my Dad looked over at me and said "Thank you so much for taking me to see this movie! It is unbelievable."  The movie is long. About three hours long actually. The first time I saw the movie was at the Hamptons International Film Festival.  I knew my Dad would love the movie. He explained later he had absolutely no idea what it was about but he was so glad he saw it. He currently just finished the second book yesterday while my Mom started on the first one. 





I read all three books and they were amazing. My favorite was the second. My boss brought back the third one for me from Europe since it is out in hard back there already. I was lucky enough to be able to share the book with my friend Sara who read it in a week. We just couldn't put the books down! I can't wait for Jennie to finish the first book! 

I have heard from some people that it is hard to get into at first because it is so confusing. That is true. There are about four story lines starting off. The coolest part is to see how they all connect. 

Here is the synopsis and a little about the film from the Landmark Sunshine Cinema and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo website. 


THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO is the first of a trilogy of novels by the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson that have become a worldwide publishing phenomenon. Director Niels Arden Oplev’s film version, with a box office of $100 million, has become the biggest grossing European film of 2009.  Subsequent European release of film versions of the other books in the trilogy  – THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNETS NEST – have extended the success of the franchise.
Synopsis
Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her beloved uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) and the tattooed and troubled but resourceful computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) to investigate.
When the pair link Harriet’s disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vanger’s are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves.
The most popular European film of 2009, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is an award-winning mystery thriller based on Stieg Larsson's international best-selling novel about a disgraced journalist and a troubled young female computer hacker who investigate the mysterious disappearance of an industrialist's niece. Forty years ago, Harriet Vanger disappeared from a family gathering on the island owned and inhabited by the powerful Vanger clan. Her body was never found, yet her uncle is convinced it was murder and that the killer is a member of his own tightly knit but dysfunctional family. He employs disgraced financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvis) and the tattooed, ruthless computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) to investigate. When the pair link Harriet's disappearance to a number of grotesque murders from almost forty years ago, they begin to unravel a dark and appalling family history. But the Vangers are a secretive clan, and Blomkvist and Salander are about to find out just how far they are prepared to go to protect themselves. (Fully subtitled) 


When I read Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for the first time, it was nowhere near as popular as the novel is now. I expected a traditional thriller, but as I quickly turned the pages, I found something much more.  It was not only a thriller. It was also a mystery drama with strong and special characters, which develop throughout the story. I immediately felt a strong connection with Lisbeth, the dark rebel, and Blomkvist, the leftist watchdog.
The producer Sören Stærmose came to me with the project. My condition for signing on was having overall artistic control. I saw this as the only way to make a successful film based on such a popular novel. Every decision had to be about making the best possible film.
I wanted a film with strong emotions, high credibility and very realistic characters. The visual style and production design had to convey a cinematic experience. Entertaining yet also edgy and with a distinguished Nordic feel. And I wanted all the small clues and details in Larsson’s book to be there – old still photos, which make Harriet come alive, old footage from the bridge accident and the Vanger family. The pictures convey the feeling of experiencing a whole century.
Larsson wrote about injustice and violence against women. It was very important for me to transfer that to the film.  That’s why the violence in the film feels so realistic.  Lisbeth is the most important female heroine to emerge from Scandinavia in decades and she is a strong inspiration for many women. No matter what is done to her, she always fights back. She never allows herself to become a victim.
There must be a special connection between the actor and the character. An emotional investment which enriches the written character from the script. Michael Nyqvist presents us with the humanity, empathy and heavyweight intellectualness which we expect from his character, Michael Blomkvist. And he does this so well, we want to follow him throughout the whole story. Noomi Rapace transformed herself into her character and breathed her out of every pore, not only physically but also mentally. Her performance as Lisbeth Salander is nothing less than outstanding.
The feeling on the set was that every shooting day was a battle for quality. A battle we were determined to win. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo became the best selling film in Europe in 2009 and the only Scandinavian film in history to cross 100 million dollars.
I hope you will enjoy it as well.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Garden Fun

I know I've been on a roll today but I promise this is the last one! I just had to make up so much. I've been a very busy girl! I even lost my voice for a few days! It was pretty entertaining. 

But, this was just too cute to pass up! Oliver came with me to work today and has been outside in the back garden enjoying the sun and warm weather! 






I hope everyone is having a good day! 

Clover Club

On Friday after shopping in SoHo, having drinks outside at Kittichai in the 60 Thompson  Hotel and a delicious dinner at Bianca with Dad, Sara, Charl and Craig we headed to Smith Street in Brooklyn for some fancy fizzes and punches! 

Sara has been talking about Clover Club for ever! I don't know why I had never been before. I guess I never really went out in Brooklyn. But, now I do! 

Emma met us there and we had an order of the Bread Pudding which was to die for. Probably the best Bread Pudding I have had in New York City. Honestly and Bread Pudding is my favorite dessert. It's all in the sauce! I also hate when people try to get too fancy and throw in chocolate or apples. You all know how I feel about chocolate and I just don't like the crunch of the apples. Now I'm craving Bread Pudding. Sara, Emma, this weekend?

We didn't stay long because Dad got tired, He's gettin up there people. Anyway, the place was awesome. One of the coolest spots I've been to in New York City. The vibe was cool and chill, the atmosphere and aesthetics matched the concept as well as the drinks. The music was a mix between blues and jazz. Obviously my Dad loved it. Totally his kind of place. 

The credit to this find goes to Sara! Thanks again Sara for taking us to the kind of place you would want to go to when you come to New York City, a place you can't get somewhere like Tulsa, OK.  Maybe if there were more places like this in Tulsa I would go back more often. 




History

“Who enters here leaves care behind, leaves sorrow behind, leaves petty envies and jealousies behind.”
So went the motto of the original Clover Club, a select group of Philadelphia journalists who, from 1882 until the 1920’s met once a month at the Bellevue Hotel to eat and drink and talk. The only people the above words didn’t necessarily apply to were their guests, celebrities of the day who were invited to address the club and were heckled relentlessly once they did—the more pretentious or self-important they were, the worse they got it. But they came anyway. Maybe it was because “Major” Moses P. Handy, the club’s president, knew everyone who was anyone and was liked by them all. Or maybe it was the challenge—if you could get over with the Clover Club, you could get over anywhere. Probably, though, they came and took their lumps because of George Boldt. Boldt, you see, was the Bellevue’s manager, and—in all matters pertaining to food and drink, anyway—he was a perfectionist.
To sit at his table was worth a little ribbing. Throw in a couple of the club’s famous cocktails, and you’d be singing along with the best of ‘em: “While we live we live in clover; When we die we die all over!



The decor is great. You feel the concept right when you walk in between the scraped wood floors, tin ceiling, and the wood bar that looks like it used to be in an old wealthy mansion.
The glasses, dishes, silverware even matched the concept. The place was just over all cool. 





Here are some stolen pictures (sorry) of the drinks they serve at Clover Club. 
Don't they just look divinely delicious! 








The menu at Clover Club also looked fantastic. As I mentioned earlier we had just eaten at Bianca and didn't have much room in our bellies except for dessert. When don't I have room for dessert? Never. 
Next time I go back, I will save room for brunch or dinner. They do have quite the nice Liquid Brunch menu! 














Liquid Brunch











Quote of the Day


"You already know that I'm done waiting
Going crazy hating myself for loving you
At least the one side of you I thought I knew"

- You Already Know, Train 

Balaboosta





What is a Balaboosta?


Balaboosta (n.)(bah-lah-b00-sta) A Yiddish term meaning the perfect housewife, homemaker, wonderful mother, cook, and gracious hostess. She does it all and does it well.

Last Thursday my Dad came to visit for a long weekend. After a great lunch with my coworkers and Oliver my Dad and I went to Equinox to workout. I was dragging him to Amy Amato's spin class. He's heard all about it for over a year now I figured he needed to check it out himself. 

After our hard work we decided we needed to treat ourself to some delicious food.  And that we did. Amy, my Dad and I checked out the new restaurant Balaboosta.  I chose this restaurant because it is between my apartment and Equinox. So, about 2 blocks away from each. And boy, are we glad we did! 

When we first walked in they were so welcoming and had no problem seating us even though Amy wasn't there yet. Unlike most restaurants who won't until the entire party is there. So we sat in a large round corner booth and ordered a pitcher of white sangria. We decided on the white because the server described it as crisp and very refreshing, and after spin that is exactly what we needed. If you know me well, you know I am not a big drinker but, oh my gosh was this stuff good! We ended up having a second pitcher. 

When you first sit down there is a small bowl of chips with seasoning. I forgot what they were but they were something like a vegetable with amazing seasonings. There was also volcanic black salt from Hawaii that was amazing. I never salt things but I wanted to just because this salt had such a great smoky taste. 


The decor and ambiance of the restaurant was great. It had a very homey feeling that made you feel comfortable and relaxed. The atmosphere was calm and not too noisy. I loved the stained concrete floors, wood beam ceiling and brick walls. However, I probably would have left the brick exposed instead of painted. 


I love the pendant light fixtures above the bar along with the bar stools. Very industrial. My kinda style! I also love the exposed pipes, old fashioned shelves with glass bottles. I also loved the change of material with the ceramic tile on the wall and ceiling around the bar. 


Our server was very nice. Great at recommending dishes and amount of food for the table. Everything was delicious. We wanted to dine rather than rush. So we ordered a few shared plates to begin. 

We started with the Roasted Cauliflower with currants & pine nuts which was probably the best cauliflower we had all had. 

We got an order of the hummus as well.  It was like they made it right in front of you. That's how fresh it was! The home made bread was so moist and perfectly seasoned as well. It was wonderful! 


We also had an order of the Falafel wrapped Meatballs with green tahin. They were amazing.


For dinner I had the Butcher Steak with roasted sweet potato & cumin slaw. It was cooked perfectly and very tasty.  


Amy and my Dad were a little more adventurous, actually only compared to me, and they had the Civeche special of the day which was shrimp and the Mussels in harissa broth, Gr& Mariner, shallots & parsley. However, I did try both and the Mussels were actually good! I enjoyed the Ceviche as well! 


Amy had the Fettuccine which is not on the current menu below but it was amazing. The pasta noodles were flat but wide and the sauce was perfect! 

My Dad had the Grilled Whole Fish with seasonal greens. It was exactly that, a whole fish. It was cut in half and when you opened it up there were spices and greens inside.  They even de-boned it for him. He said it was absolutely delicious! 

Obviously we had dessert.  Amy got the dessert that is equivalent to a chocolate lava cake. Of course it was delicious. 


As everyone already knows I am not big of chocolate girl so I got the berry crumble with creme fresh. It was huge and amazing. When I am craving dessert I know where I am going to go from now on. 



MENU

SHARED PLATES
Pickles a variety of Balaboosta house made pickles 6
Spicy Nuts a selection of spicey nuts 5
Fried Olives with labne & harissa oil 5
Roasted Cauliflower with currants & pine nuts 6
Quinoa Salad dried cranberries, herbs & preserved lemon 8
Hummus Whole Garbanzo, Roasted Garlic 8
Shrimp Kataif, flying fish roe sauce 11
Falafel wrapped Meatballs with green tahini 9
Chicken Liver Mousse with daily confiture 8
Grilled Merguez, red pepper & corn relish 9


APPETIZERS
Sunchoke & Chestnut Soup with yogurt & nigella seeds 9
Mussels in harissa broth, Gr& Mariner, shallots & parsley 9
Smoked Eggplant with herb salad & silan 10
Dave’s Grilled Pizza carrot purée, caramelized 9
onions, goat cheese & cilantro Daily Ceviche 12
 Market Salad 9 

ENTREES
Bouillabaisse crab dumpling, saffron aioli 23
Pasta with calamata olives, cherry tomatoes & Ouzo 17
Grilled Whole Fish with seasonal greens 21
Butcher Steak with roasted sweet potato & cumin slaw 24
Boneless Half Chicken “under a brick” with paella 19
style barley, pine-nuts, apricots
Lamb Two Ways grilled lamb chops, & chard wrapped 26
tenderloin, with sunchoke purée & Persian lime sauce
Here are pictures of some of their other dishes that look fabulous! Trust me I will be going back soon. It was our best dinner during my Dad's trip! 







COCKTAILS
Bala 
White Wine, Apple, Cardamom, Lime 8

Boosta 
Red Wine, Orange, Cocoa, Spice 8

Tayer 
Lillet, Lemonade, Orange Blossom Water 8

Aromat 
Champagne, fresh pineapple, Sage leaf 8

Kush 
Champagne, Blackberry, Vanilla, Lemon 8

Balaboosta



214 Mulberry Street, New York NY 10012 (at Spring Street; map); 212-966-7366 
Service: Competent and brusquely friendly
Setting: Like a spacious, urbanized living room 
Must-Haves: Fried olives, shrimp kataïf, half-chicken 
Cost: Small sharing plates $5-9, entrees
in the $20-30 range
Grade: A-


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