The Motherf*ckers with the Blog

So Amber and I went to go see The Edge Theatre’s production of The Motherfucker With the Hat by Stephen Adly Guirgis. Guirgis is one of our favorite playwrights- we did a production of his show The Last Days of Judas Iscariot our second season. Guirgis is not for the faint of heart. Guirgis makes you squirm in your seat, laugh out loud, blush and cry.  This playwright has an amazing way of hitting you straight in the face with a truth in your life that you maybe didn’t want to acknowledge or conquer just yet. So hats off (see what I did there!?) to The Edge for trying to tackle one of his plays.

This was my first time in The Edge Theatre and the set is impressive! Most of the show takes place in two different apartments and they had a revolving stage to accomplish the two looks. A revolving stage in a small black box theatre space? Pretty damn impressive. It made me excited to see the show.

Now this production was very up and down for me. I feel as though the tone set by The Edge was one of outright comedy… their cellphone reminder contained the words “Motherfucker” numerous times, getting a huge laugh from the audience. However, The Motherfucker with the Hat is not really a comedy. Does it have very comedic parts? Yes. Does Guirgis always do an amazing job with balancing the powerful and heartbreaking with the shocking and hilarious? Absolutely. But is this a comedy in the laugh- out- loud traditional sense? No. Or at least it didn’t feel like it. So the tone going into the play felt off…

Now the two leads in the play, Kent Randell as Jackie and Karen Slack and Ronnie, had some power behind their performances.  Nominated for the 2011 Best Play Tony Award, this story is a darkly comic view of addiction, friendship, and love. Jackie, a petty drug dealer, is just out of prison and trying to stay clean. He’s also still in love with his coke addict childhood sweetheart, Veronica. Without spoiling the plot for you, the final scene between Jackie and Ronnie is heartbreaking and beautiful. And these two actors had me engaged with a lump in my throat. They did a stunning job with a very hard scene.

The supporting actors, however, didn’t seem right for their roles- don’t get me wrong- they all seemed like talented actors in their own right, but I wasn’t buying what they were selling.  Most of that comes from the setting of the play and the hardened characters that Guirgis has written.  I think it is important to remember that Guirgis writes very distinct characters.  The older couple, Ralph D and Victoria, are supposed to be ex-drug addicts, seemingly trying to live out a new clean lifestyle, but clearly encountering many temptations and road blocks along the way. In the production I saw, they seemed like two older people from the suburbs trying to play tough. The lines didn’t read as smoothly as they needed to and it made the situations hard to believe.  There was a cultural aspect that just wasn’t there. The intention was there but the execution faltered.

Overall, I’m glad I saw the production. I think that with a bit more purpose behind the direction and with a better pace (it was 95 mins without an intermission, and it seemed like the actors felt rushed) that it had a bunch of promise. Again, The Edge Theatre took on a show that not many people would try based on the name alone. That’s brave.

When The Motherfucker with the Hat first came out, it came out to mixed reviews. Though not my favorite Guirgis show, I think that his views on the complexity of any relationship (with loved ones, with your mind, with your health, with your vices) are spot on: nothing is black and white and nothing is easy.

Check out the clip of the premier on Broadway to get a better idea of the plot and characters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xF4KaR7D2ZY

The Argyll Adventurers

BLOG WORLD HI!

Amber here with a review of Argyll Whisky Beer in Uptown and ALLOW ME TO SET THE SCENE FOR YOU, DEAR READER.

Mel and I are day five into the New Year and, of course, hungry. The weather is atrocious – freezing temperatures and blowing snow – but does that deter us? Never. Our food game is far from amateur, friend.

We agree on a restaurant about two blocks away and decide to brave the weather and walk. Mel is bundled up like a tiny babushka lady and I realize in the most terrifying fashion that my boots have no traction. I’m fairly certain trekking the arctic circle is maybe as difficult as our walk to this restaurant, but who knows. I’m prone to wild exaggerations.

And of course, the restaurant we’d hoped to visit was closed. Only open for dinner. We yelled, “NO!” into the snowy sky. That part is actually not an exaggeration.

Luckily, Argyll was next door and, more importantly, open. So in we went.

Argyll is a gastropub, specializing in classic British pub dishes that have been classed up quite a bit. They’re also known for their excellent beer and alcohol selection (that I did not take advantage of in order to maintain a dry January due to the nonstop festival of drinking AKA The Holidays).

It’s a beautiful restaurant – warm design and nice touches like dark tabletops, heavy cutlery, and cloth napkins. And my favorite part – a kitchen exposed to the restaurant so you can watch the chefs work their magic! LIKE REAL LIFE FOOD NETWORK GUYS!

We start with a Scotch Egg at Mel’s encouragement. Typically, a Scotch egg is a hard boiled egg wrapped in sausage, covered in bread crumbs and deep fried. All things we love. And theirs wasn’t bad – Argyll’s egg was actually soft boiled, leaving all that wonderfully luscious yolk to ooze everywhere. The sausage had great flavor though lacked salt, and the fried exterior was a great contrast of textures. It was served with a wonderful salad of fennel, apple, and pickled onions. There was also a side of mustard orange aioli that was AMAZING. Like maybe I want to put that aioli on all the food all the time. JAYSUS.

Then our meals arrive. Mel ordered the a Rosemary Ham sandwich and I got the corned beef hash.

The Rosemary Ham sandwich was wonderful – a super crusty, chewy baguette coated with butter and a fruit mustard that complimented the sweetness of the ham perfectly. Excellently done fries – thin and crisp and SO MUCH MUSTARD AIOLI! Excellent stuff.

My corned beef hash was also delicious – perfectly poached eggs on a hash presented as crisp rounds that were tender and perfectly cooked on the inside, served with a greens that cut through the richness of the meal very well. And, obviously, a delicious mustard sauce on top. A beautiful plate with well-balanced flavors. Would I eat it again? I would eat it right now if I could.

To our ham sandwich or corned beef hash aficionados – do yourself a favor and try Argyll. You will not be disappointed.

… Then, after all was said and done, Mel and I – babushka baby and purposeless-boot lady – opened the door to the cold, unforgiving tundra that lay ahead. We trekked and trekked and eventually returned to the outskirts of civilization, where a bag of gummy bears and The Mindy Project was patiently waiting for us.

9th Door to My Stomach

So Amber, our dear friend Catherine, and I went to The 9th Door, a tapas place on Lincoln. Now as a huge foodie, tapas is my dream because instead of only trying one food that may or may not change my life, I get to sample a bunch of foods that hopefully will fulfill me in ways never thought possible.

First of- great atmosphere. Very nice seating- high backed booths to make you feel like when you’re gossiping, no one can hear you.  The waitstaff was super kind- it was the day after New Years Eve and so the last thing any of us wanted was a drink- and yet our waitress didn’t try to move us out quickly. She let us sit, chat, and really enjoy our meal.

Now. This meal. A quick low down on what we had and how I felt about it (As you will soon learn, I love me some lists.)

Aguacate: Flash-fried avocado with fresh pico de gallo.  This was amazing. The avocado was crunchy on the outside and warm, melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. And this pico de gallo. Wars were probably started to win this pico de gallo’s heart. Tangy, fresh and just perfectly paired.

Patatas Bravas: Crisp, spiced potatoes with three sauces.  The potatoes were really crispy and the three sauces were delicious and varied. The potatoes were a bit bland though without the sauces- I def. needed to get my salt on.

Filete con Cabrales: Beef filet with Rioja wine reduction and Cabrales blue cheese sauce. This wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for… the meat was a little soggy or mushy, but the gravy and blue cheese combo was delicious. This just might be because I like my meat as well done as a hockey puck…

Manchego Con Tapenade: Spanish cheese, olive paste, and extra virgin olive oil. This was heaven in my mouth. The cheese matched the saltiness of the olives beautifully. There was a perfect ratio of cheese to tapenade. The crunchy toast with the creamy cheese and tapenade created a wonderful texture in my mouth. A+.

Mussels in a butter sauce: These mussels were delicious AND on a happy hour price ($6). They were perfectly cooked in a creamy, rich butter sauce. Did I eat all of the mussels and then dip some crusty, fluffy soft bread into the sauce? Yes. Yes I did. Get these. If you go here (and I urge you to!) get these.

Finally dessert:

Higos Rellenos: Chocolate covered almond stuffed figs with candied orange: I loved these and so did Catherine. Amber thought it tasted like soap (a bit dramatic if you ask me… :)) So…if you like soap, eat up! I liked the candied orange flavor (popular in Scotland, where I grew up) along with the crunch of the fig and nuts.

Chocolavá: Warm chocolate cake with a rich ganache center, served on an orange crème anglaise. This was the clear dessert winner. MY. GOD. Decadent. Rich. Molten. Chocolate. Lava. Done and Done. I’ve seen heaven and it is made of this chocolate cake.

Overall a great place to go! We had another happy hour item, I can’t find it on the menu, that was only so-so, but the experience was wonderful. Out of 8 different tastes, only 2 of them were disappointing.

So instead of being boring and going somewhere to eat only one meal, be smart and try out 9th Door. You can order like 12 different things and since it is really only a bite or two, does it count? No, no it doesn’t.

Rah-Rah-RAMEN

Here it is, food blog number one.

Amber here – hihowareyou – and Mel and I recently visited Tengu in the up-and-coming River North district. How was it, you ask? LET ME TELL YOU HOW IT WAS.

Mel and I were on our way to a Holiday Dress party, hosted by the lovely folks over at Happy Leaf Kombucha highlighting a selection of 50 Dresses by Tess Vigil and we wanted to try something new. It was also chilly out, so we wanted something warm. And we didn’t want to drive all night, so something close was a plus. And we were maybe on a timeline. And a budget.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “my my, Amber, you two are awfully picky.” And maybe we are! But now you know how high the stakes were for us.

So, we get there. Kind of. After several minutes of fumbling with smartphone maps and driving through an unpaved parking lot, we find it. The Westword wasn’t kidding when they called the restaurant’s design minimalist. The sign outside was the size of a person’s hand on the far end of a large building. Which was OK because after having trekked through a slightly uncomfortable chill and fully regretting our footwear decisions and lack of pants, we found it.

When you walk in, the seating style is simple – tabletops line the walls and bar with bar stools beneath.  A sizable banquet table runs down the middle of the room and a few freestanding tabletops are put in where they fit, all with stools. It seemed appropriate, given the weather and cuisine, that we’d be hunkered down over a steaming bowl of something or other, closely nestled to one another.

We take a look at the menu – five ramen options, one curry option, three appetizers and the usual cast of non-alcoholic beverages. So of course we take a look at the drink menu, which had almost as many items. Mel orders house-made sake and I get something pink, which seems about right. We also order some pork gyoza (or, if you’re Melissa Leach, GOYZAA!). And let me just say conversation has all but halted because we are so hungry.

The drinks come – mine is delicious. I have no idea what’s in it. Rum? Pineapple juice? Lord knows what made it pink. Probably unicorn blood and Maraschino cherry juice. Same, same, though. And Mel’s sake was great. I’m no connoisseur of the stuff but this particular batch wasn’t too acerbic or, for lack of a better word, alcoholic. It tasted smooth and clean.

Cocktails were easy to drink, which is why we had a second round.

Then the GOYZAA came out. The insides were just wonderful. Well-seasoned deliciousness all around. But for me, the true test of these SOBs is how the wrappers are cooked. Typically, gyoza are pan-fried until the bottoms are crunchy and golden brown. Then some water is put in, a lid is put on, and those tasty bastards steam until the insides are cooked and the skins have that distinctly-chewy, bottom-crunchy texture. These were delicious! A+ on your pork gyozas, Tengu.

Then – the moment we’d been waiting for.

RAH RAH RAMEN!

Mel ordered the vegetable ramen in a miso broth while yours truly got the pork ramen in a chicken/pork broth.

Mel’s soup was great and the bowl had a generous portion of nori that speckled throughout the oodles of noodles in her bowl. She also put, like, a cup of sriracha in it  and it was the perfect addition. My bowl was also pretty delish, though I confess I preferred the miso broth over my own chicken/pork. However.

HOWEVER.

This pork. THIS FRIGGEN PORK. It was delicious. Like, melt-in-your-mouth-salty-fatty-i-love-you-pork. Like bacon’s softer, more subdued sister that you don’t see quite so often now that you moved but every time you come back to visit like for holidays and stuff you remember why you guys were such good friends in the first place and got along totally fine even when bacon wasn’t around. This was really good pork is what I’m trying to say.

AND THE NOODLES! Oh, the noodles.

Let me tell you something – Mel and I can talk forever about pretty much anything. But once food hits the table, that’s it for at least the next several hours – we just talk about food. Then take momentary breaks to stuff our faces. And then talk about it all some more. And that is what we did with these noodles. They were perfect.

The thing about ramen that I’ve found is that if everything has the same texture, it’s a difficult thing to enjoy. For instance, my bowl was chock-full of that delicious, pillowy pork, tender bamboo shoots, boiled egg, and Mel’s had soft, meaty mushrooms and cabbage. Which was all wonderful and delicious, but itself doesn’t feel like it could fill anyone up.

But these noodles were wonderful. They were chewy without being too firm, a perfect texture to really sink your teeth into, bite through, and know it’s something that will sit stick to your ribs and make you feel full. They had a great mouthfeel. Is mouthfeel a word? It is. I googled.

And the best part? Our drinks were more expensive than our food. Which is actually not the best part for us, but on a day when someone just wants a hot bowl of ramen to hold them over, you won’t pay much more than $10, and that’s pretty dang good for what we got.

So. How did it Tengu fare?

New? Check. Warm? Yep. Close? Very. Timely? Uh-huh. Cheap? You betcha.

I’d give it a ten-gu out of… Ugh. I won’t finish the terrible pun. Sorry guys.

Wins on all sides, Tengu! See you again soon!

Amber + Mel = foodies and theatre nerds.

So this is our food and theatre blog. For years Amber and I have been looking for an excuse to try out every new restaurant in Denver and one night it came to us: FOOD BLOG. Surely the masses want – no, NEED – our opinions about food. We LOVE food. The smell, the look, the texture, the taste… I was born to eat.  So the idea of a blog was born.

Then we asked ourselves, what pairs with food? (Besides, you know, everything.)  Our other passion, theatre! Amber and I own The Three Leaches Theatre company in Denver and always like to go support other small theatres. Why not combine our two passions and create a food and theatre blog?

Okay, so we had this idea for a food/theatre blog and then we thought, “We are creative and witty people- what shall we name said blog?”  I immediately said, “Food for thought!” and then swelled with pride for my clever idea. This was soon shot down because I’m sure every food blog in America is named “Food for Thought.”  I hung my head in shame and thought harder. Then it dawned on me. I had just seen the JCC’s production of “Little Shop of Horror” (Wonderful production, by the way! An entire cast of students ranging from 10-18 years of age. Absolutely charming.) and thought, “Feed me, Seymour.”  feed-me

Amber, being the brianiac of the two of us, made it a hit with, “Feed me, see more.”  Clever, fun, and perfectly describes what we want to discuss.

So here we are. Two foodies who want to spend even more time together (if that’s even possible) doing the two things we love most: Eating and watching some theatre. Then getting snacks afterwards and talking about it.

Please enjoy!

Mel