Sunday, September 28, 2014

This is Where I Leave You

Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Jane Fonda
Director: Shawn Levy
Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes
Rating: R

Films about dysfunctional families tend to either be hilarious or distressing. “This is Where I Leave You” is a bit of both, but with more laughs than tear-jerking scenes. The all-star cast really carries their weight; these are all incredibly strong performances. The film reminds us that we’re put on this Earth to need people - as much as we may try to distance ourselves from those we call “family,” the unconditional bond is steadfast.
Photo Courtesy of Huffington Post
This film is full of eye candy. (Upon first glance, it may not seem like it, but just wait.) The story line most closely follows Jason Bateman, who stars as Judd Altman, a man whose life is turned upside down when he discovers his wife's affair (with the hilarious Dax Shepard) and his father passes away, within just days of each other. Enter siblings Wendy (Fey, at her best since "30 Rock"); Phillip (Driver, who definitely differs slightly from his role on “Girls”); and Paul (Corey Stoll, from "House of Cards"). Quarreling, joking and reminiscing ensues, as each grieve the loss of their father in a different way.

As the matriarch of the Altman family, Jane Fonda’s breast implants steal more scenes than she does. As does Timothy Olyphant in a supporting role as Wendy’s long-lost love, the one that got away. Seriously, what a babe. Wendy’s brief indiscretion with him isn't the only fling that takes place during the family's Shabas: Judd reunites with high school crush Penny (Rose Byrne) and is torn between just wanting to get back at his deceitful wife and his genuine feelings for this girl. Connie Britton is freaking beautiful as Phillip’s shrink-turned-girlfriend. We see how she easily falls for this tall drink of water, big ears and all, but as the self-described “family screw-up,” we want so badly for him to just grow up. 

I loved this film. The dialogue seemed natural, though a bit heavy in some scenes. As a fan of all these actors, it’s a fun hour and 43 minutes to spend with them.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Dishcrawl: Free Ticket Giveaway!

For my fellow "Walking Dead" fans, I'm so stoked to partner with Dishcrawl Winston-Salem for a free ticket giveaway to their Walking Dead Dishcrawl event on Sunday, October 12!

I'm hoping to see some Blood Orange and Calves Brains in some dishes, but I'm sure the (secret) participating restaurants will come up with plenty of creative, diner-friendly, zombie-themed plates!

Never been to a Dishcrawl event? You're in for a fantastic adventure. I've been to countless (Dishcrawl: Battledish; Dishcrawl: Paleo; and Dishcrawl: Secret Supper, to name a few)!

To be entered into the giveaway, just leave a comment below with your answer to this question:

If and when the zombie apocalypse does occur, what city will it be in?

Read more about the event here, and stay tuned for the announcement of the winner on Wednesday, October 8!

Photo Courtesy:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Banh Mi Saigon

Bahn Mi-Oh My. This place is kind of a Greensboro institution. Maybe you've heard of it, perhaps your friends have raved about it, or you could be a long-time fan. Either way, Banh Mi Saigon is one of the only places in the Triad (if not the most famous spot) to get classic, authentic Vietnamese sandwiches. At Ethnosh's most recent dinner event, I sampled to my heart's desire, and even the items that I thought sounded "questionable" (coconut tapioca black-eyed pea pudding, anyone?) proved to be delicious.

Bubble Tea is basically a tea-based milkshake. The list of flavors gets as exotic as you want (I indulged in Taro) and the tapioca pearls at the bottom are especially fun to suck through the larger than life straw. The Shrimp Spring Rolls taste fresh, clean - you could eat as many of these as you want guilt-free. The fun part is swirling them in a small dish of a spicy peanut chili sauce.

Coconut Tapioca Cake, BBQ Bahn Mi, Bahn Mi Ga and Taro Bubble Tea!
The Baguette that serves as a vessel for these sandwiches stands alone. The only way to really improve it is to add items like pork, pate, cilantro, jalapenos, pickled get the idea. The classic Bahn Mi offers ham, pork, pate, with crunchy vegetables and bright cilantro. There's really nothing else like this flavor combination. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the humble sounding Banh Mi Ga (Rotisserie Chicken) but when such high-quality, fresh ingredients are used, you know it's got to be good. For extra flair and flavor, the Banh Mi Thit Nuong adds a Barbeque dimension. Did I mention that all of these sandwiches are $3? Where can you get a full-sized sandwich for that price these days? I had to do a double take, expecting to see a price like say, $7.95, which would be absolutely appropriate.

As far as dessert, it's worth experimenting. The aforementioned coconut tapioca black-eyed pea pudding was unlike anything I'd ever heard of, but oddly enough, the texture and butteriness of the black-eyed pea was a fantastic complement to the tapioca and flavor of the coconut! Other varieties come with corn and sweet potato. Who knew? Coconut Tapioca Cake is dyed green, using a special food coloring from Thailand. It's gelatinous, a bit gummy, and reminiscent of Rice Krispie Treats. I can't explain it. Once you get past the initial egginess, it's RKT all the way.

Do yourself a favor and get on Ethnosh's email list. They'll introduce you to so many amazing spots that you drive past every day. And go visit Banh Mi Saigon! You will be charmed by the hospitality of the staff and blown away by the authenticity of this cuisine.