Irving Berlin’s White Christmas The Musical

DECEMBER 5-10, 2017 AT THE MUSIC HALL AT FAIR PARK IN DALLAS

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is in town and how great was it that on the night White Christmas opened North Texas FINALLY got some cold weather?!   It was a perfect night to see one of my all-time favorite Christmas musicals and it was a perfect show to launch me into the Holiday Spirit!

The musical is an adaptation of a 1954 motion picture White Christmas that starred Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.  Everything about this critically acclaimed and old fashioned musical is magical – the music (Irving Berlin’s – need I say more?), the dancing is incredible (go just to see the top dancing and ice skating numbers) and the players are perfectly cast.   The sets are fun and the costumes are bright and colorful.  The show will transport you into another time and place where you won’t want to leave.

If you’ve never seen the movie or need a refresher – here’s the plot:   It’s the story of a song-and-dance team (former World War 11 army buddies) in the mid 50’s who find themselves putting on a show in a quaint Vermont Inn barn.  Meanwhile they are romancing the talented and beautiful Haynes Sisters.  Coincidentally their general in the war happens to own the inn and needs some help saving it from the banks.    Costars of note are Martha, the general’s sarcastic inn assistant (and love interest perhaps?) and his adorable and precocious granddaughter.  It’s all so 50’s and I love it.

The musical includes some of Irving Berlin’s finest songs such as “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “Happy Holiday,” “Sisters” (one of my personal favorites) “Blue Skies,” and the unforgettable title song,”White Christmas”.   Starring in the lead roles includes Tony Award-winning actress Karen Ziemba, currently on Broadway in PRINCE OF BROADWAY, who plays Martha Watson.  Sean Montgomery as Bob Wallace, Jeremy Benton as Phil Davis, Kerry Conte as Betty Haynes and Kelly Sheehan as Judy Haynes.  They are all a delight to watch perform.

 White Christmas is like a warm and fuzzy blanket that will wrap you up and make you fall in love with it all over again.   I didn’t even miss the old classic movie it was such a great remake!   Take your parents, your kids, or go with friends to see this Christmas Classic – you can thank me later!

 

DECEMBER 5-10, 2017 AT THE MUSIC HALL AT FAIR PARK

Single tickets for the Dallas engagement, starting at $20 (pricing subject to change) are now on sale at DallasSummerMusicals.org or by phone at 1-800-745-3000. Single tickets can also be purchased in person at the Music Hall at Fair Park box office Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

NOVEMBER 14-19, 2017 AT BASS PERFORMANCE HALL

Single tickets for the Fort Worth engagement start at $44 (pricing subject to change) and are now on sale. To charge tickets by phone, call 817-212-4280 in Fort Worth; 1-877-212-4280 (toll free) outside Fort Worth; or order online at www.basshall.com. Tickets are also available at the Bass Performance Hall ticket office at 525 Commerce Street. For group sales, call 817-212-4248.

#WhiteChristmasDSM  @dsmusicals |@DallasSummerMusicals

 

 

 

 

What are you thankful for today?

There is so much to be thankful for – family, friends, good health, prosperity but it’s easy for me to pick what I’m  most thankful for today.  Today is my twin sons 20th Birthday – on Thanksgiving this year!

20 years today I gave birth to twin nuggets who’s combined weight was a little over 5 lbs.  After 5 weeks of bed rest in the hospital they arrived 9 weeks early and spent the next two and a half months in the NICU under the care of the most wonderful nurses and doctors on the planet.  It was an incredibly stressful time where everyday brought new challenges and fears.  At at the end of their extended stay they came home where they grew, thrived, and secured a forever place in my heart.   I won’t kid you, having twin premature babies was a huge challenge but once they were home I never looked back (who had time?).   I can’t imagine life without these two.    They have been the greatest joy of my life and when they arrived I admit my world shifted and was never be the same.  My needs didn’t come first and I was happy to sacrifice everything for them.   Someone once told me that being a parent meant that you will experience the highest of the highs but you will also experience the lowest of the lows.  I hate to brag but I’ve experienced a lot more highs with these two boys than lows and for that I’m very thankful.

My husband and I have been blessed with two of the most loving and sweet boys any parent could hope for.  They are smart, fun, and hysterically funny.  Jack and Jared are fraternal twins and are different in almost every way.  It was like we got two for one – just brothers born at the same time really.  Different looks (a redhead and a brunette, green eyes vs blue,  and major personality differences and interests).  They have brought joy and laughter and amazement.  They overcame every fear the doctors had for them for being so premature.  God has been so good to us.  These two are our miracle babies for sure and I seriously can’t wrap my head around the fact that they aren’t teenagers anymore – they are 20 YEARS OLD!!  I’m not even sure what that will look like and if it changes anything.  I guess they’re like baby adults now – not 21 and not quite legal.

I am so proud of these two and that they are being pursuing their dreams in college.  They still come home for the holidays and they still call occasionally and ask me questions so I think they’re not quite grown (but I seriously think that goes on long after their adults – I still call my mother and ask questions!).  So Happy 20th Birthday Jack and Jared!   I love you both to the moon and back!

 

What are you thankful for the most this year?

“Wonderstruck” Movie Opens October 27th

Wonderstruck is a truly beautiful film that is based on the imaginative and well crafted novel by Brian Selznick who also created the wonderful “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”.  If you’re not familiar with the book, it tells the story through words (Ben’s story) and very detailed and incredible illustrations in place of words (Rose’s story).  It’s got so many layers of imagery and meaning that it will have you thinking about the movie for long after you see it!

 

Ben and Rose are children born 50 years apart in different parts of the country and circumstances but their lives become interwined after a series of events that bond them in ways that you can never imagine.  They are longing for something that seems just beyond their reach and their search for answers results in journeys for both children.  Ben (Oakes Fegley) lives in Gunflint, Michigan in 1977 and spends his time looking at stars and space and collecting rocks and various other treasures.   He tragically loses his loving and winsome mother (Michelle Williams) in a car accident.  He’s living with his aunt now but he’s longing to find the father that his mother would never tell him about and he’s having recurring nightmares about wolves.  After a freak accident causes Ben to lose his hearing, he sets off on a bus for New York to find his father with the one clue that he has – an address for a bookstore.   Rose (Millicent Simmonds) is growing up deaf hidden away in a wealthy home in Hoboken, New York in 1927 with an emotionally abusive father.  She sad and lonely and fills her isolated days with her own star, a silent film idol (Julianne Moore), watching her silent movies and filling a scrapbook with her image and building paper models of New York City.  Life is pretty bleak for Rose until she sees that her idol is appearing on the stage in New York City and decides to run away to the big city to find her idol.   Ben and Rose’s lives intersect in the wonderful American Museum of Natural History and the connection will blow your mind.

There are many great scenes but my favorite by far is the moment in the movie theater when Rose is watching her idol Lillian Mayhew in a silent film.  To watch Rose’s face as she gazes at her idol’s performance on the silent screen is one of the most pure moments in a film that I’ve ever seen.  Rose relates to the actress acting out her anguish without words but only through her face, eyes, and broad gestures.  Rose is mesmerized by the actress’ performance and she feels that she’s looking at her own anguish in the film.

The performances are all wonderful but  Millicent Simmonds who plays Rose is the real wonder of this movie and is truly amazing to watch.  Millicent is actually deaf herself and she gives an incredible performance.  Her character doesn’t speak throughout the movie but the array of emotions that play on her face gives you the idea of what deafness feels and looks like.   Her face is a reflection of the experiences that she having and it is so expressive that she makes us realize that you can actually listen with your eyes.

Go see it and take your older kids (it’s PG) you will both love the artistry of the film and the message that it has for all of us.  I love the famous Oscar Wilde quote that is highlighted in the beginning of the story.  “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

 

Opening Date for Dallas/Fort Worth is October 27, 2017: 

Angelika Mockingbird Dallas and Plano, AMC Northpark

Additional playdates opening November 3  – Look Cinema 11 Dallas, Tinseltown 17 Grapevine, Legacy 24 Plano, Southlake Town Square 14,

Additional playdates opening November 10 – AMC Parks at Arlington, Ridgmar 13 Ft. Worth

 

For more information about the film go to:

http://www.wonderstruckmovie. com

For more information about the book go to:

http://www. wonderstruckthebook.com/

Carmel-by-the-Sea is Magical

My husband and I recently visited Carmel to celebrate our 23rd Anniversary and it was magical.   The meaning of magical is “beautiful or delightful in such a way as to seem removed from everyday life”.   This describes Carmel perfectly.  Synonyms for the word magical include extraordinary, remarkable incredible, amazing – I think you get the idea.  It was a perfect anniversary trip but I guess that shouldn’t be a big surprise though since Carmel has been rated as #3 “Best City for Romance in the World” by Travel Leisure Magazine!  Our trip was memorable from start to finish!

Carmel-by-the-Sea, called Carmel for short is a small town in Northern California about 150 miles south of San Francisco.  This isn’t your typical California beach town with miles of beach and lots of palm trees though.  Carmel does have a beautiful white sand beach and it is next to the ocean but instead of palm trees it has tall pine trees and wind sculptured cypress trees.  Add the adorable storybook like European style cottages that are scattered throughout the town and you feel like you just walked into a fairy tale surrounded by a beautiful forest.   The town was founded in 1902 and was originally inhabited by a large population of artists, writers, and poets and definitely has a European feel to it.

Carmel is small (only one square mile) but it is loaded with charm and interest.   The town is also known for being one of the most dog friendly towns in the world thanks in part to the actress and dog activist, Doris Day.  Over 20 years ago she and a partner opened the most famous dog friendly hotel of all,  Cypress Inn.   The Inn not only welcomes dogs but also has a “dog parade” each night in the hotel lobby!   Many other hotels, restaurants, and stores welcome them as well.  There are adorable dogs everywhere you go!

Day 1

We arrived in Carmel and checked into the absolutely charming Hofsas House.  Hofsas has so much Bavarian inspired character that you will feel like you just landed in Germany! This family owned hotel embodies European Hospitality and is celebrating 70 years of providing guests with comfortable accommodations and personal service.  There is so much about this warm and welcoming hotel that will delight you in many ways.

Hofsas is one of the larger hotels in town and includes 38 uniquely furnished rooms.  Our room was cozy and roomy with a small fireplace and wet bar.  It also came with a great view that overlooked the beautiful pine trees and a view of the ocean in the distance (ask for the 5th floor).   All the rooms at Hofsas have Dutch doors which allow you to open the top door to let in the cool and crystal clean ocean air.  Being from Texas where it’s frequently hot with the air conditioning going all day long, this was like being in Heaven.

We also had access to a patio area on the top floor where we enjoyed quiet and beautiful sunsets with our wine and cheese pairing (and a couple of extra friendly seagulls).

The Hafsas House provides a delicious continental breakfast each morning with fresh baked pastries from a local bakery and French roast coffee plus fruit and juice.  It is also one of the only hotels in Carmel that has a heated swimming pool which is a great bonus if you like to start or end your day with a swim!  Other amenities include European Style Dry Saunas, pet friendly rooms, wine pairings, Carmel Wine Walk Passports, and much more.  They have a meeting room available that includes a full kitchen and fireplace for gatherings such as family reunions, business retreats/meetings and wedding receptions.

The Hofsas staff was friendly and helpful and the owner, Carrie Theis can answer any of your questions about the interesting history of her family operated hotel (she’s the original owner’s granddaughter) and Carmel itself.  She gave us lots of suggestions on dining and activities.  The hotel is on the west side of San Carlos between 3rd and 4th streets.  For information about Hofsas House go to:  Hofsas House  or call # 800-221-2548

 

 

The downtown area is just a short walk from the Hofsas House and is  loaded with it’s own charm.  The weekend was beautiful (60ish degree weather) and we enjoyed strolling through many of the cute and unique shops.  Carmel has tons of cozy and delicious restaurants, amazing art galleries (over 80 of them), and courtyards that you just want to hang out in for a while and soak in the scenery.   Carmel Valley is home to several wineries and in recent years Carmel has added at least 14 wine tasting rooms to downtown Carmel!  You can buy a Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea Passport and easily walk (at least at first – ha) to all the tasting rooms.  We enjoyed tasting all the different wines, learning about the wineries, and meeting lots of new people!

After our day of shopping and wine tasting we walked down Ocean Avenue to the beautiful Carmel Beach area.  The beautiful white sand beach hugs the width of  village of Carmel and overlooks the Pacific Ocean with a beautiful view of Pebble Beach Golf Club in the distance.  The area also provides scenic paths along the beach for walkers, joggers and dog walkers.  We enjoyed hanging out there for quite a while just gazing at the ocean, the surrounding scenery, and marveling at how lucky we were to be there!

Our first night in Carmel we dined at a local restaurant called The Forge in the Forest that’s been voted “Best Outdoor Dining” in Monterey County for almost 20 years.  The Forge  has tons of history which includes being a well-known blacksmith’s forge that produced much of the hand-wrought hardware that still adorns a lot of buildings in Carmel and served as a meeting place for many famous artists and writers such as Henry Miller and John Steinbeck.  The restaurant’s interior is decorated with antique copper walls and the patio is literally a forest of beautiful gardens surrounded by a canopy of pine trees and vines. The patio has outdoor fireplaces and seating which lends itself to a perfect patio setting and therefore a perfect experience for outdoor dining.   The food and service was wonderful. The Forge is also known for its dog friendly patio called Dog Pound Patio where pooches can order specialty items from their own menu while you enjoy the patio.

Day 2

The next day we got up and grabbed a picnic lunch from 5th Avenue Deli.  The deli is also just a short walk away from our hotel and has a huge delicious variety of sandwiches, salads and desserts.   We chose Point Lobos Reserve just a few miles outside Carmel to do some light hiking and check out the ocean scenery.  Point Lobos is at the Northern end of Big Sur and the scenery is breathtaking!  Jagged and rocky cliffs, beautiful ocean scenes, deep forests, wildflowers, and wildlife galore!  Points of interest in this oasis of beauty includes Whaler’s Cove (where we ate our picnic lunch and watched scuba divers enjoy the cove) and the amazingly beautiful and slightly hidden China Cove.   If you go to Carmel don’t miss the opportunity to see the incredible natural beauty surrounding it!  There are endless places for scenic runs, hikes and walks to be experienced and all of them are breathtaking!  For more information go to:  Scenic Runs Hikes & Walks

Another must see is  historic Mission Ranch Resort.  The Ranch was one of the first dairies in California in the 1880’s and was purchased and preserved by former Carmel Mayor, Clint Eastwood. He rescued this landmark resort from condo developers, and renovated the entire property and turned it into a resort.  The Inn now consists of  unique hotel rooms located within ten buildings on the property and includes a restaurant. This beautiful patch of land has a wonderful view of the Pacific Ocean,  Point Lobos, and a picturesque scene of  sheep grazing in the pasture with the Pacific Ocean in the background.  Does it get better than that?  Mission Ranch Hotel and Restaurant

The second night of our European influenced trip continued with a trip to Switzerland as we dined at Lugano’s Swiss Bistro located in The Barnyard in Carmel.  It was a completely delightful experience!  The large menu includes Swiss traditional cuisine such as fondues, Schnitzels, seafood, salads, sausages, and pastas.  From the creamy cheese fondue through the slightly breaded schnitzels and ending with chocolate fondue, I’m just not sure I’ve ever eaten so much and so well.

Everything was delicious, authentic, and memorable.  Owner Nargis Lengacher and her late husband Andre created this one of a kind restaurant with a love for all things Swiss and the food and interior reflects that.  The red and white checkered tablecloths and a wide array of charming collections of cuckoo clocks and wooden figures make it a fun, warm, and inviting place to be.   The restaurant also includes live music on some nights and has a dog friendly patio.  Andre Lengacher was the originator and promoter of Oktoberfest Monterey Bay for the last 7 years and was known to many locals as Mr. Oktoberfest. For more information about this Carmel treasure go to:  Lugano Swiss Bistro Carmel

Day 3

My husband and I got up the next day and said a sad farewell to Carmel and headed off to the Scenic 17-Mile Drive in Picturesque Pebble Beach with a short stop at one of the most beautiful golf courses on the planet Pebble Beach Golf Course.

After checking out the pro shop and the club house, admiring the incredible view, and accidentally  meeting the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Course owner Peter Ueberroth (what a thrill and what a nice man) we continued our scenic drive.  It did not disappoint.    With every twist and turn of the road  another breathtaking scene is revealed.  Dramatic coastal cliffs, crystal blue water, white sandy beaches all surrounded by huge green forests.  In the middle of this incredible drive is one of my favorite spots on earth, the famous iconic Lone Cypress setting on it’s pedestal over the water.    Magical.

Our trip was perfect in every way and we can’t wait to go back!  It’s hard to explain the magic that you feel when you’re in Carmel but you will understand when you go and experience it for yourself.

Fun Facts about Carmel:

Former Mayor of Carmel

It has been over 20 years since Clint Eastwood, also known to his fans as “Dirty Harry,” was mayor of the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, but visitors still ask “Is Clint Eastwood still the mayor?” referring to his one term that ran from 1986 to 1988. His campaign slogan was “Bringing the Community Together,” and he stressed his desire to build bridges between the business community and the residential community. His strategy worked and though he enjoyed his experience, he did not to run for a second term.

Permit Required to Wear High Heels

Though often mistakenly thought of as an urban myth, the municipal code of Carmel bans wearing shoes having heels more than 2 inches in height or with a base of less than one square inch unless the wearer has obtained a permit for them. While the local police do not cite those in violation of the ordinance, this seemingly peculiar law was authored by the city attorney in the 1920’s to defend the city from lawsuits resulting from wearers of high-heeled shoes tripping over irregular pavement distorted by tree roots. Permits are available without charge at City Hall.

No Chain Restaurants

With no fast food restaurants in the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the city’s charming eateries and tasting rooms offer a full range of cuisine and wine tasting all within walking distance from the over 40 hotels and inns. From Wine Spectator award-winning restaurants to casual eateries and pubs, great dining is abundant, but don’t plan for your typical Starbucks venti frappuccino instead plan a stop at one of the many family owned coffee shops for specialty drinks and your morning cup of joe.

Ice Cream Ordinance

An unusual law of prohibiting selling and eating ice cream on public streets in Carmel-by-the-Sea was on the books and the repeal of the law happened to be one of the pro-business focus points of Clint Eastwood’s campaign for mayor in 1986. He and the new council elected along with him to overturn the ordinance and other similar laws that they considered to be too restrictive to businesses and visitors.

No Street Addresses

Unwilling to see their village become “citified,” Carmel’s founding fathers rejected the practice house- to-house mail delivery in favor of a central post office. To this day, there are still no addresses, parking meters or street lights, and no sidewalks outside of Carmel’s downtown commercial area. Those seeking directions receive hints such as “fifth house on the east side of Torres Street, green trim, driftwood fence” or by the legendary names adorning most houses, such as “Hansel” or “Sea Urchin.” It is, by the way, bad luck to change the name on a Carmel cottage.

Source:  Carmel Fun Facts

There’s so much to do and see!  For more information about this beautiful city by the sea go to:   www.CarmelCalifornia.com and  www.carmelfun.com 

#StrongerMovie Starring Jake Gyllenhaal Opens this Friday!

What happens when we make heroes out of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances?   Find out in the new inspirational and heartwarming movie opening this Friday, September 22nd starring Jake Gyllenhaal called Stronger.

Almost everybody recognizes the photo that dominated the news after the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013.  The photo was taken of Jeff Bauman being whisked away by a guy in a cowboy hat after his legs were tragically blown off by the terrorist’s bomb at the finish line at the Marathon.  It quickly became a symbol of all that is both good and bad about mankind.  This is the true story of an ordinary Boston citizen, Jeff Bauman who became an unwilling symbol of survival and hope for not only Boston but for the world after a cruel and heartless act of terrorism.  This is Jeff’s journey through the destruction as the easy going guy with no real goals and his rebirth as a double amputee who finds himself responsible not only for his family and girlfriend but for world who wants him to be their hero.

We’ve seen the story of tragedy and perseverance before but this movie is different and special in numerous ways.  First of all Jeff is a lovable guy who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He’s every man and it’s easy to see yourself in his situation.  Jeff’s family and city are all supportive of him almost to the point of suffocating him.  Second of all and this is big, Jake Gyllenhaul’s performance is everything in this movie.  He gives a quiet but powerful and award winning performance.  He doesn’t have that much to say about the new situation he finds himself in  (Jeff is not a real emotional guy) but Jake says it all with the wide ranging of emotions that you see in his face but doesn’t have the words to say.   Jeff is suffering in a million different ways but he doesn’t want to let anyone down and your heart will break over and over for him.

The other outstanding performance is by Tatiana Maslany who plays Jeff’s girlfriend, Erin.    This is a couple that dated for a while and broke up.    Jeff wants her back so he decides to show up at the marathon that she’s running in with a sign and faithfully waits to win her back at the finish line.  That might have worked except that a huge thing like terrorism completely destroys them both.  Erin is guilt ridden beyond comprehension that it was her fault he was there.  She wants to help but feels pushed away at every attempt she makes by everyone who surrounds Jeff – his family and in particular Jeff’s long suffering but loving mother who is effectively played by Miranda Richardson.

A pivotal point in the movie is the meeting of Jeff and his rescuer, Carlos – the guy in the cowboy hat who in my opinion is the true hero of this story.  This is the guy that risked his own life and ran towards the bomb to save people and in particular, Jeff.  At times I believe Jeff wished that Carlos hadn’t saved him.  Carlos has his own tragic story of loss and regret and at last Jeff gets it.  Not only did Carlos save him but it gave Carlos a reason and purpose to redeem himself.  This is the moment that Jeff finally understands how important his story is and that he needs to find the strength to do what’s necessary to get on with life and Carlos rescues from himself this time.The director gives a voice to the survivors of this horrific act and victims everywhere.  He creates a subtle but inspirational movie that doesn’t focus on the terrorists and for that I’m glad.  It’s the very personal and inspiring story of one average guy who becomes a symbol of not only Boston’s tough survivor character “Boston Strong” but of Americans’ tenacity in the face of tragedy.  Jeff is the perfect hero for America –  he’s just like us and I’m glad he is.  Go see this important movie.

I attended a Question and Answer presentation after the Stronger Movie showing in Dallas this week with the star of the movie, Jake Gylenhaal and the subject of the story, Jeff Bauman.  The movie was attended primarily by people with disabilities, amputees, and healthcare workers.  There was a lot of gratitude in their voices and their comments that Jeff’s story of recovery as a bombing victim means so much to them.  The movie sheds a light on the difficulty and challenges of recovering from the loss of a limb or a debilitating illness.  It was a very emotional and uplifting night.    The actor and hero did not disappoint, they were both warm, authentic, and caring.   As Jake pointed out that night, we have all been through something in our lives that has challenged us. This movie sheds a light on how one man overcame what seemed to be impossible circumstances.

Website:  www.strongerthefilm.com

#STRONGERMOVIE

Stronger opens in theaters this Friday, September 22 in Dallas/Fort Worth at the following theaters (check for times):

Legacy 14                                                                   Plano, TX
Cinemark West Plano 20                                       Plano, TX
Angelika Film Center and Cafe                             Dallas, TX
North Park 15                                                           Dallas, TX
AMC Village on the Parkway                                Dallas, TX
Tinseltown 17                                                           Grapevine, TX
Southlake Town Square                                        Southlake, TX

The Summer Menu at Jasper’s Gourmet Backyard Cuisine Will Make You Want Summer to Stay

There truly is something for everyone at Jasper’s!  Jasper’s is known for their gourmet backyard cuisine and their use of the finest quality seasonal ingredients.  They feature gourmet twists on popular dishes and enhance them with fresh and premium ingredients.  To make things even better they have added some really wonderful new summer menu items.  Think fresh heirloom tomatoes and Texas peaches used in the most unexpected and delicious ways.

 

My husband and I recently visited Jasper’s at their Shops of Legacy location which is a trendy and happening area of Plano.  I love the restaurant’s interior – it’s contemporary with pops of wood which makes it feel elegant and upscale but warm and cozy at the same time.   The restaurant did not disappoint.  We had an amazing dinner from the creative appetizers to the delicious desserts.

 

To start off, I picked one of the summer appetizers Smoked Texas Peach Bruschetta.  The description sounded intriguing and it was.  It’s made with goat cheese with a honey and balsamic drizzle topped with peaches!  It has that delicious mix of tangy, sweet, and salty which I absolutely love.

My husband picked the Pulled Pork Empanadas (because he loves empanadas) which is a standard menu item at Jasper’s.  He’s now a huge fan.  The empanadas are made with a delicious chimichurri sauce and cotija cheese and the pastry is baked to perfection.  I have to say it’s now a favorite of mine too.

Next up we tried the restaurant’s very popular and award winning Caesar Salad.  It truly is one of the best I’ve ever had.  It was very fresh and light (not like a lot of Caesars which are “over” dressed) with grated Grana Padano and crispy focaccia croutons.  I’ll order it again when I go back for sure.

 

For my entrée I picked one of their summer offerings, the Shiner Bock Honey BBQ Rotisserie Chicken over apple wood smoked bacon and cheddar grits (yes you heard me bacon and cheese grits).  This dish has everything going for it – Shiner, Honey, BBQ, and Grits so it was a big win-win for me.

My husband tried the award winning  Slow Smoked Baby Back ribs with Creamy Baked Potato Salad and Ancho BBQ.   The ribs made Bon Appetit Magazine’s top 3 choices for America’s Best Ribs.  They loved them and so did my husband (he’s still talking about them).  They were fall off the bone tender and are served with a delightfully surprising rendition of potato salad and topped with fried onions – delicious!  For sides we chose the asparagus prepared with gremolata butter and the crispy, smoky brussell sprouts.  Both were delicious as well.

Now let’s talk about desserts.  Oh my gosh do they have desserts.  I’m not sure how we had room but let’s say we managed.    Our very helpful waiter, William, suggested we have the trio which included the Bundt cake which actually melts in your mouth like butter (highly recommend), the Strawberry Tart (it has the cobbler crust that you dream of), and the Cherry Limeade (think key lime pie with a cherry on top)!  Triple Yum is all I can say!

Jasper’s has backyard fresh roots and they seem to be committed to delivering it.  Everything is made from scratch here and is thoughtfully prepared.  I believe it  puts them in a class above a lot of other restaurants.   Jasper’s also has a great wine selection and their cocktails were perfect (I did not have to explain my signature cocktail more than once) and the service was excellent.  Everything was perfectly timed and more than lived up to our expectations.  We will be back.  And you should definitely go before summer is over to try their new summer menu.  It’s available for both lunch and dinner!

 

Jasper’s has several locations at Plano, Richardson, and The Woodlands in Houston.  For their menu and more information go to:

Jasper’s Plano Home

Jasper’s Richardson Home

http://jasperswoodlands.com

Don’t Miss Dallas’ Newest Addition – District 30 Craft Bar and Kitchen!

There’s a new hip restaurant in Dallas called District 30 Craft Bar and Kitchen and it’s officially open and ready to delight you with their unique cuisine.  This new “gastropub” features American, Italian, and combines Tex Mex with comfort food in the most surprising ways.  There is something for everyone here – from standard fare such as burgers, crab cakes, pizza, and salads to unique and creative recipes.

My husband and I recently went for a dinner preview and we had a wonderful experience from start to finish.  The staff was friendly and welcoming and the atmosphere of the restaurant is warm and inviting with wood paneling and décor and big comfy booths.  This will be the place to go this fall to watch the big games because they have lots of TV’s throughout the restaurant.

Everything we were served was delicious and thoughtfully prepared.  For appetizers our favorites included the unique ahi tuna mini crisps that are served with wasabi spiced avocado and pickled  ginger (my husband’s favorite), tasty tempura asparagus sticks, and the stuffed Portobello mushroom caps filled with garlic, spinach, and cream cheese (my favorite).

Next up we were absolutely delighted to sample the restaurant’s incredible Chicken and Jalapeno Dumplings.  This is where Tex Mex meets comfort food at District 30.  The dish features pan roasted chicken breast with jalapeno dumplings cooked in a creamy cilantro sauce.  My husband and I agreed that this was one of our new favorite dishes and we will absolutely be going back just for this fabulous creation.

For the main course we sampled District 30’s signature dish which is the braised beef short ribs.  The short ribs are slow cooked in a red wine sauce over mashed Yukon gold potatoes with green beans.  The ribs were incredibly tender and the wine sauce is rich and to die for and the pairing with mashed potatoes is perfect.  The spring lamb lollipops are pan seared with a cashew and mini pesto crust and are interesting and favorable.  They are served with roasted fingerling potatoes and vegetables.  Also of note were the grilled mahi mahi served with a pineapple pico de gallo and the seared scallops with sautéed spinach, Portobello mushrooms with a really yummy roasted corn and vanilla bean cream sauce.

We followed up with desserts which included a great chocolate nut brownie and a different twist on bread pudding – don’t miss this dessert when you go!  It’s made with orange juice and is much denser than a lot of bread pudding.  And yes I finished the whole thing and part of my husband’s.

 

If craft beer is your thing they have a great selection and they also have some pretty creative cocktails with names like Ginger and Mary Ann – love it!

 

Here’s a little background:  District 30’s kitchen is directed by the gifted Chef Mike Smith who has worked as sous chef at The Green Room and in the kitchens of Arcodoro/Pomodoro, Restaurant 2900. and The Common Table to name a few.  He also created the healthy menu at Utopia Food and Fitness.  There’s a lot of talent in the kitchen at District 30 and you will reap the benefits when you go.

 

District 30 has a perfect location – right on the corner of Oak Lawn and Hall Street.  It has a great patio with a view of what’s happening in this popular area.  And did I mention that the menu is reasonably priced?  Final Conclusion?  This is a great happy hour spot which just happens to have some really wonderful food.  You can’t go wrong here and I’m betting that this place will be a hit.

 

If you want more information before you go here it is:

https://www.district30dallas.com/ or go to Facebook: www.facebook.com/district30dallas/

 

 

The Bodyguard Delivers the Music!

The Bodyguard Jack and Jackie

Dallas Summer Musicals and Performing Arts Fort Worth present the first U.S. national tour hit musical THE BODYGUARD, to play at the Music Hall at Fair Park July 18-30, 2017. The production  will then head over to Fort Worth, where it will play at Bass Performance Hall August 1-6, 2017.

 

If you never saw the movie (you really should see it at least once) here’s the plot:  THE BODYGUARD is the story of a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. They are both used to being in control and butt heads from the get go.   Frank is there to do his job and that is to protect the beautiful mega star from a really creepy stalker – period.  But plans don’t always turn out the way you think they will do they and romance begins to blossom.

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What do you say about a musical based on one of your favorite movies with one of your favorite singers and favorite actors?  Let me just start with the lead, Rachel Marron played by the very talented Deborah Cox.    No one has a voice quite like the iconic Whitney Houston right?  Well, the producers have found a jewel in this Grammy® Award-nominee and R&B superstar.  She has the most incredible voice and does an amazing job singing Whitney’s biggest hits such as “I Wanna Dance with Someone”, “How Will I Know”, “Greatest Love of all”, “Run to You”, “Saving all My Love”, and my personal  favorite “I Will Always Love You”, (and many more).    I shut my eyes a few times during the show and it was if Whitney herself was on stage.    Ms. Cox is also an accomplished performer and pulls off the dance numbers with grace and style.  She lights up the stage and I really can’t say enough about her and her performance.   It’s worth going to the musical just to see and hear her perform.

 

The Bodyguard himself, Frank Farmer is played by Judson Mills.   Although he’s no Kevin Costner (but then who is?) he’s an experienced actor with a long list of TV and movie credits.   But let’s face it, this version of The Bodyguard isn’t really his story, this is all about Rachel and showcasing the songs that made Whitney Houston the megastar that she was.  Bodyguard0429r

Also noteworthy is Deborah’s costar that plays her sister, best friend, and co songwriter, Nicki Marron played by Jasmin Richardson.  She also is a very gifted singer and delivers a great performance.

 

The sets and the ambiance that were created with each set change were simple but effective.   The production numbers and concert scenes had a lot of energy and brought the essence of the movie to life.   I’ll warn you though, the stalker scenes were kind of disturbing and will totally creep you out.  To balance the creep factor out there’s some cuteness provided in the production by Rachel’s young son, Fletcher.  The actor is a pint size bundle of energy and talent.

The Bodyguard

I think the producers did a nice job of transferring this beloved and popular movie to the stage.   It’s hard to live up to the mega hit movie and it’s not perfect but it it is a great tribute to Whitney Houston and the immense legacy of music that she left behind.  It’s definitely worth going to see.   Don’t leave early though because there’s a fun Dance Party at the very end after the curtain calls!

The Bodyguard Playbill

Single tickets for the Dallas engagement of THE BODYGUARD, starting at $25 (pricing subject to change) are now on sale at DallasSummerMusicals.org or by phone at 1-800-745-3000.

Groups of 10 or more receive a 15% discount, priority seating and many more benefits. Please call 214-426-4768 or email Groups@DallasSummerMusicals.org.

Single tickets for the Fort Worth engagement of THE BODYGUARD, starting at $44 (pricing subject to change), are now on sale. To charge tickets by phone, call 817-212-4280 in Fort Worth; 1-877-212-4280 (toll free) outside Fort Worth; or order online at www.basshall.com. Tickets are also available at the Bass Performance Hall ticket office at 525 Commerce Street. For group sales, call 817-212-4248.

Lady MacBeth Opens This Weekend!

Lady MacBeth 1

Don’t be fooled by this period piece’s initial appearance.  The costumes are pretty and the settings are hauntingly beautiful but this isn’t Jane Austen I assure you.   I’d describe it more like Wuthering Heights meets Carrie.  It’s an intriguing and chilling movie which is surprising on so many levels.

 

Here’s the plot:  The movie is set in rural England in 1865 and the very young Katherine (Florence Pugh) has been sold by her father into a loveless marriage with a bitter and cold man who’s old enough to be her father.  Between he and her cruel and heartless father in law Katherine is feeling trapped in her new home like a beautiful caged bird.  She’s not without strong will though and we find out how strong it is after she meets and falls in love with the handsome and cocky groomsman, Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis).  None of the players in her life have any idea what the seeming innocent Katherine is capable of but they are soon to find out.  She becomes a force that we have rarely seen in period pieces and she’s not willing to stop until she gets what she wants and what she wants is Sebastian.

Lady MacBeth 2

Don’t confuse this story with the Shakespearean wife who encourages her husband to further her ambitions by killing a Scottish king.  It’s actually based on a Russian story from 1865 about a discontented, and ultimately violent, young bride.  Believe me this bride is not happy and she’s about to unleash havoc on everyone who she comes into contact with.

 

The young actress Florence Pugh who plays Katherine carries this movie with her incredibly chilling performance.   Despite her understated performance, she gives you a glimpse now and then of what must be going on in that sweet heart shaped head of hers.  She somehow is able to elicit our sympathy and our revulsion both at the same time.  The actress who plays the black maid Anna (Naomi Ackie) is also a stand out among the performances.  She is sole witness to Katherine’s transformation from the young, innocent bride to the incarnation of pure evil and she can’t comprehend it.  Her performance will break your heart as you watch her crumble under the stress of the dark secrets she has to carry and the cruelty she has to endear because of her position in life.

Lady MacBeth 4

This movie has all the elements of a classic.  It examines many issues of the period, such as the huge inequality between men and women in the 1800’s, race, spousal abuse, class division, sexual frustration, and mental illness.  Go see it and the next time you’re feeling trapped by your job or your challenging roles as a wife and a mother think about Katherine.  On second thought maybe you shouldn’t think about Katherine.

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LADY MACBETH will open on Friday Jul 21, 2017 at the following Theaters:

Magnolia located in Uptown  3699 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204

Angelika Film Center Plano  The Shops at Legacy

Check listings for times.

July Happenings Around Dallas

The 4th of July festivities are over, now what?  There are still lots of exciting and fun events coming up in Dallas in July!  Here are just a few suggestions that will make a great date night or girl’s night out!

THE BODYGUARD is presented by Dallas Summer Musicals July 18-30, 2017 at Music Hall at Fair Park.

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Who didn’t love the romantic hit movie THE BODYGUARD?  Now it’s on stage and it stars Grammy® Award-nominee and R&B superstar Deborah Cox.  The musical’s storyline is the same as the movie –  former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, (and dreamy) Frank Farmer, is hired to protect the beautiful superstar (control freak)  Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker.  Despite their many differences they unexpectedly find themselves themselves falling in love., THE BODYGUARD features a host of incredible  classics including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and one of the biggest selling songs of all time – I Will Always Love You.  This is one of my all time favorite romantic movies and I can’t WAIT to see it!!   
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The show will head over to Fort Worth, where it will play at Bass Performance Hall, August 1-6, 2017. 

Content Warning: Suitable for ages 12 and up

For tickets go to:  http://dallassummermusicals.org/

 

México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde at the Dallas Museum of Art – March 12, 2017 to July 16, 2017

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Hurry before the exhibit closes on July 16th!

This major exhibition exploring 50 years of Mexican modern art makes its first and only stop in the US at the Dallas Museum of Art following its successful presentation at the Grand Palais, Paris. Organized in collaboration with the Secretaría de Cultura de México, México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde highlights new narratives in Mexico’s modern art history. This sweeping survey, the result of a combined cultural endeavor between Mexico and France, features almost 200 works of painting, sculpture, photography, drawings, and films that document the country’s artistic Renaissance during the first half of the 20th century. The traveling exhibition showcases the work of titans of Mexican Modernism alongside that of lesser-known pioneers, including a number of rarely seen works by female artists, to reveal the history and development of modern Mexico and its cultural identity. México 1900–1950 showcases how Mexican 20th-century art is both directly linked to the international avant-garde and distinguished by an incredible singularity. The exhibition features work by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, Ángel Zárraga, Tina Modotti, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, among others.

Frida Kahlo_The Two Fridas (Las dos Fridas)

For more information go to:  https://www.dma.org/art/exhibitions

 

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Dallas Arbor Playing With Mama, Dominic Benhura

Summer at the Arboretum has so many things to do this summer!  If you haven’t gone yet be sure to check out the ZimSculpt the largest collection of Zimbabwean stone sculptures, known as Shona sculptures, in the U.S.   The collection includes more than 100 hand-carved stone sculptures throughout the garden. The contemporary pieces, some weighing more than a ton and reaching 7 feet tall, are carved from various types of serpentine and semiprecious stones. Marvel at this amazing art form from dozens of Zimbabwean artists and sculptors, and take a free-with-admission guided ZimSculpt garden tour with the curator at 10 a.m. every Thursday through July 31.

The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden also includes other fun  outdoor adventures.  Check out Family Fun Fridays every Friday until July 28 for live music, face painting and a petting zoo.  Garden Gigs July 14, 21 and 28 for late-night access to the gardens with music and food trucks to enjoy throughout the night.

For more information, visit:   dallasarboretum.org.

 

So Many Music Concerts in July!

Neil Diamond

Indoor concerts are always a good choice for a July date or night out.  You can stay cool and see your favorite performers.  Check out who will be at American Airlines in July!

July 3rd – Roger Waters

July 18th – Neil Diamond

July 19th – Shawn Mendes

July 22nd – Don Henley’s 70th Birthday Celebration

July 23rd – Earth, Wind and Fire

July 29th – Kendrick Lamar

http://www.americanairlinescenter.com/events

Boston Concert

 

 

This is my husband and I at a recent Boston and Joan Jett concert at Starplex!  American Airlines and Starplex are just a couple of music venues in Dallas – there are many many more.  Check them out!

https://www.livenation.com/venues/14364/starplex-pavilion

https://www.guidelive.com/concerts

 

 

Go to these sites for more Event Options in July!  Enjoy!

http://www.dallasobserver.com/calendar

http://www.visitdallas.com/things-to-do/events/index.html