Monday, May 19, 2008

Macbeth Goes Gluten Free

Every once in a while I get fed up with the hustle of New York and I’m ready to throw in the towel, pack up and move to a small South American country, leaving no forwarding address and not looking back. And then I get an opportunity like I did this past Sunday. My best girlfriend managed to get us tickets to see Patrick Stewart in Macbeth at the Lyceum Theatre.*

To truly appreciate this event you have to understand Alyssa and I. We met in college and took British literature together. She LOVES Patrick Stewart and has been raving about a performance of Othello that she saw him in 10+ years ago. Me, I’ve seen Macbeth four times already. We know what we’re talking about. We were geeks in paradise last night.

Set in Stalinist Russia this is by far the sexiest, bloodiest Macbeth I have ever seen. Stewart made an amazing, introspective, tortured Macbeth, much more depth and emotion than I’ve ever seen portrayed before. And no Macbeth can live up to his potential with out a strong Lady Macbeth; Kate Fleetwood’s young wife brought a May-December aspect to their relationship that was phenomenal.

As always, ultimately it’s the director’s vision that makes or breaks any performance. Rupert Goold’s use of the stark stage and projected images allowed the acting to shine through, no fancy props aside from a refrigerator, two gurneys and a sink that ran water from one tap and blood from the other. His insertion of the Weird Sisters into scenes where they have no lines was impressive. If you’re in New York in the near future and you have a chance to see this production, we highly recommend it.

After the show I took Alyssa to Lilli and Loo, site of the first Worry Free Dinner, to share my find with her. Since it was our evening out we decided to splurge and share an appetizer and two meals, thinking we’d have plenty of leftovers. They have a whole separate gluten free menu so we didn’t need to worry about picking items out of the main menu.

The food was so good, there was nothing left to take home. Obviously we were in the mood for shrimp. We ordered Shrimp Tempura, Masaman Shrimp Curry and Saigon Shrimp. It’s so nice to eat with someone who understands and accommodates your dietary restrictions and is game to try whatever you want to. I love tempura, and this one wasn’t quite as light and crispy as I remember the very best being, it was definitley equal to most tempura that I’ve had, and the citrus mayo was a nice touch. It’s hard to go wrong with a curry, sweet, creamy and rich, Alyssa would have liked it to be a little spicier. The Saigon shrimp was covered in a richly textured, spicier glaze that really hit the spot. We topped that with a gluten free blueberry cake and left with full tummies and sated taste buds.

An evening of great theatre, great food and fellowship was just what the doctor ordered. By the end of the evening, I felt like I was completely over my cold.

*note that Alyssa's apple martini is not gluten free, but she insisted it appear in at least one picture.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Trattoria Vivolo, Harrison, NY

In Loving Memory of Lilian Shreve

My great aunt’s viewing was held last Saturday. Afterwards we did exactly as she would have wanted: we celebrated her life with a raucous family dinner at her favorite little Italian restaurant, Trattoria Vivolo.

We have eaten at Trattoria Vivolo many times and no one has ever had a bad experience. As soon as we were seated I spoke to our waitress and explained my restrictions. She asked intelligent questions to make sure she understood me.

When she brought the bruschetta to the table, I saw a light go off above her head. She hurried back with a small dish of the fresh tomato topping for me. I ordered the Salmone con Carciofi- Roasted salmon, artichokes, Gaeta olives, lemon, herbs, olive oil, white wine and it arrived sans croquet, which she told me was potato rolled in bread crumbs. Along with our coffee we ordered several cannolis to share, and the waitress brought me a plate with just a little bit of the cheese filling.

Now, I realize that it sounds silly to go to an Italian restaurant, but at the good ones there are many pasta/gluten free options. And in this case, circumstances called for a visit to The Little Italian Restaurant.

The staff of Trattoria Vivolo are very friendly, thoughtful and helpful. The chef is willing to make modifications to recipes when it’s practical. Next time I go, I’m going to see if the can prepare gluten free pasta for me. I will of course call ahead and speak to the chef.

If you’re in the area and have a hankering for Italian, there are many worse places to go.