Tag Archives: Broadway

A Pre-Birthday Celebration: Liholiho Yacht Club and Into the Woods

13 Apr

The Saturday before my birthday James and I had a fancy(ish) night out. I’d gotten rush tickets for Into the Woods that morning, so it was a bit of a last minute decision to move my birthday celebration a couple of days earlier.

We started with dinner/drinks at Liholiho Yacht Club – an upscale Hawaiian restaurant in Nob Hill. We arrived about 10 minutes before it opened and the line was already around 20 people long. Luckily we were among the last people who were able to get a seat at the bar.

I should have taken a photo because the restaurant interior was gorgeous (and super spacious!). Have some entrance floor tiles instead.
IMG_20170318_190135We only saw them on the way out, and James sagely (and somewhat drunkenly) said “it means hello and goodbye”. Thanks James, for that piece of information that LITERALLY EVERYBODY ALREADY KNOWS.

We ordered a couple of cocktails before dinner (and then during dinner). Unfortunately a lot of them were rum-based, which James is historically not a fan of. I liked them though! No photos, but my favourite was the Coconut Telegraph ($13).

We started off with the Tuna Poke ($17.50). It was small but delicious.IMG_20170318_173230Poke seems to be everywhere these days.

Anyway, next we had fried oysters and beef carpaccio ($14.25).
IMG_20170318_174047
Then some duck liver toast with jalapeno and pickled pineapples ($11). IMG_20170318_174622
I was worried James wouldn’t like it because he doesn’t really like pineapples but he did!

Beef tongue in a poppy seed bun ($14)
IMG_20170318_173801Our main (to share) was grilled shortribs ($42.75)
IMG_20170318_180036The marrow was amazing – it was very cheesy but lactose-intolerant James had a bite anyway and started laughing because of how incredibly full of cheese it was. I had major food envy when I saw the rib-eye that the couple next to us had ordered – maybe next time!

James wasn’t quite full yet so he ordered some sashimi ($17.50).
IMG_20170318_182102 (1)And I had dessert (that James couldn’t share because of the ice cream). It was a Baked Hawaii ($11).
IMG_20170318_183450Isn’t it pretty? It looked like a little beehive. =) It was so densely packed with ice cream that it tipped me from “pleasantly” into “roll me out the door” full. No regrets.

Afterwards we made our way to the theatre to see Into the Woods. The seats were pretty good – here was our view:
IMG_20170318_193845

We both enjoyed it but felt the second half dragged a bit. It was supposed to be a stripped down/minimalist production but the concept was more clever than effective I think.

We were both super exhausted afterwards (because we’re both so very old now), got a car home, and pretty much went straight to bed. It was fun to do a full night out – dinner, drinks and a show to herald in my 34th. =)

Advertisements

Hamilton!!

16 Mar

Like much of the US I’ve been obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack. And also like much of the US I’ve been unable to see the Broadway show because tickets are freaking impossible to get.

I was briefly excited to find out that Hamilton was coming to San Francisco (from March until early August) but almost all the (regularly priced?) tickets sold out to theatre members before they were released to the public. Our friend’s girlfriend actually became a member just so she would have guaranteed early access to Hamilton tickets.

The venue released some $850+ premium tickets, but ugh. I didn’t want to pay that when we’d paid $200 for similar seats for Book of Mormon and Jersey Boys.

Not really expecting much, I entered the Hamilton lottery … and won it on my second try! When I collected our tickets the guy at the box office told me that over 27k people had entered! James called me his lucky cricket. =)

(He actually calls me that more than you might assume)

IMG_20170312_130222Yes, tickets were $10! Alexander Hamilton is on the $10 note – that’s why it says Ham4Ham. I saw on the venue website that shitty partial-view seats  were $200 (I checked out the vantage point after the show – those seats were terrible) so this was an absolute bargain.

We arrived early to take in the atmosphere and take photos outside. (It was sunny and 24C that day – James said he had intense jacket regret).
IMG_20170312_120152This spot on Market street was in great demand for photo taking (also note James’ lack of jacket in this later photo).
IMG_20170312_121017It was at the Orpheum Theatre, which isn’t too far from our place. You can kind of get an idea of the crowd about 30 minutes before the show.
Burst_Cover_GIF_Action_20170312120722And here was our view!
IMG_20170312_124054I think the best seats would probably be 10-15 rows back. But for $10 I had been expecting the aforementioned shitty, partial-view seats, so the seats we got – 2nd row and right in the middle – were amazing and far exceeded my expectations.

It was interesting being up close. You could see the performers sweating and, at the emotional parts you could see the tears in their eyes. I didn’t realise that the singers wear microphones – I’d always assumed they were just amazing at projecting their voices!

This was part of the orchestra pit – I’ve never thought to look in before and it was really cool.
IMG_20170312_125509The performance was sooo much better than just listening to the soundtrack. Honestly, if I’d bought the $850 tickets I don’t think I would have been disappointed. The choreography added so much to the music, and I was enthralled during songs I know word for word. During Satisfied I think my mouth was open the whole time. I’ve seen a fair few Broadway musicals and this blew them all away.

The stage had a giant lazy susan that they used a lot during the songs. James and I had both thought the performers were just really good at walking on the spot.
IMG_20170312_144444The atmosphere was really great – everyone there was obviously a huge fan, and we were all so excited to be there. Every song got huge cheers (except It’s Quiet Uptown but I think that’s because everyone was too busy crying to cheer).

It was such a memorable show. It was sad, funny, witty, wise – just an incredible performance and I feel so fortunate we were able to experience it. Best $20 I ever spent!

A Visit to Google NYC

15 Dec

James has to go to New York several times a year for work and sometimes I decide to tag along because we both love the city.
IMG_20160713_135543Though I love it a lot less now I know how humid it gets in summer. I’m not sure if New York is particularly disgusting when it’s hot or if living in Seattle and San Francisco has spoiled us. Probably a little from column A and a little from column B.

But yeah, James worked during the day, and in the evenings we did fun touristy things like …

Book of Mormon!
IMG_20160714_184320We got pizza afterwards. =) The top one had pepperoni and honey and it was delicious.
IMG_20160714_220500On one of James’ travel days we visited the Museum of Natural History. The insanely massive Megalodon was my favourite – it was so big its head was peeking out of the room.
PANO_20160715_114010
The t-rex was also cool.
IMG_20160715_103154But the main reason I joined James this trip was because I’d managed to get dinner reservations to Eleven Madison Park!

Here are our pre-dinner cocktails:
IMG_20160713_174615The food (and wine matching – with frequent refills!) was wonderful. These were our appetisers – the boxes were handmade and arrived stacked on top of each other.
IMG_20160713_175313When stacked, they looked like the chandeliers above us. =)
IMG_20160713_201044I am such a sucker for fancy butter – I just spoon it into my mouth like ice cream. The bread was also amazing and they kept offering me more and I kept taking it.
IMG_20160713_181022This one was really fun. A picnic basket was delivered to our table with little jars of condiments. (The drink was the only dud of the night. I thought it was cider but it was some sort of gross tomato flavoured thing)
IMG_20160713_184030
Fast forward to the end, and this was part of our dessert being made:
IMG_20160713_202649The second part was a chocolate game (apparently dessert used to involve a magic trick so I was a little bit bummed … until I saw how much chocolate they gave us!)

There were four bars of chocolate and we had to guess which was which out of coffee, smoke, maple syrup and chilli.
IMG_20160713_204922James and I guessed identically … identically wrong. We only got one out of the four correct. =(

We couldn’t finish that much chocolate so we asked for a little bag for the leftovers and they were like “oh we’ll give you a fresh set!” (We ended up taking that extra set AND our chocolate leftovers – because duh).

Afterwards we went to a swanky bar with James’ coworkers and made them play the chocolate game while we all drank cocktails. It was an awesome night. =)

James also gave me a tour of the Google NY campus. He always talks about how much cooler it is than Mountain View, and how it must be so disappointing for the NY employees whenever they visit HQ.IMG_20160715_151912The building is opposite the Chelsea Market and basically takes up a whole city block:
IMG_20160713_140539There was a cool lego room where people could make and store their own lego projects:
IMG_20160714_123900And a project display wall and a weird ladder that only Google employees were allowed to climb:
IMG_20160714_123927Someone made a replica of the Google building:
IMG_20160714_124041The area also had a lego-themed micro kitchen:
IMG_20160714_124238 With brain food.IMG_20160714_124224James really liked the temporary work spaces at the New York office. He said he normally goes to a high floor and sits somewhere with a nice view of the city but he was also fond of these impressively orange honeycombs:
IMG_20160715_160841We also found a couple of trams:
IMG_20160714_124726James was super jealous that the New York office has Killer Queen. It’s an awesome 10 player arcade game that our friends introduced us to. There’s one at Brewcade in San Francisco … but it’s not free like this one! There were a couple of guys playing while we were there so our group joined in and we had a mini battle (we won, primarily because of James’ queenly skills).
IMG_20160714_130741And this is the bouldering wall. There’s also one in Mountain View but it’s so far away that James never bothers going.
IMG_20160715_162136(Oh, and you know how you travel on bikes around the Mountain View campus? In the New York building you get little kick scooters to ride around on)

Here’s James and his team on one of the decks. It was so hot and humid that we all sought shelter inside as soon as I took the photo.
IMG_20160714_131855
The New York campus has a lot of cool food options – they bring in a lot of guest chefs to cook for the employees. I saw David Chang (of Momofuku fame) featured on their wall of fame. =O

This was a food truck that was inside the building, though it was closed when we toured it at the end of the day.
IMG_20160715_153811 (1)
Above the Chelsea Market there’s a Google cafeteria decorated like a cool loft.
IMG_20160714_133046 We ate upstairs in one of the meeting rooms. I really liked the fancy animal portraits. =)IMG_20160714_133819We did a bunch of other stuff – saw Then She Fell (an interactive play like Sleep No More), ate and drank a lot, and I did some shopping while James worked. Did you know New York has no sales tax on clothing that costs less than $110? That was a pleasant surprise. =D

Cat and Mitch are planning to visit New York next year so hopefully we can time a trip to coincide with that (although ugh, it will be in summer again).

So it looks like there will be a lot of trips to NYC in our future! (Though I hope it’s not like how we visited San Francisco a lot while we lived in Seattle and then ended up moving there and thinking … well that was a waste)

Bye NYC! See you soon!
IMG_20160714_123802

New York, New York: Day 5

2 May

This was the first morning we got to sleep in. We began with a late breakfast/early lunch at Katz Deli (famous for “I’ll have what she’s having” in When Harry Met Sally).

There was a complicated eating system – we got some tickets when we went in and the the option to get table service or self-service. The tickets were for self-service (the counter staff would stamp or punch your ticket with what you ordered) but we thought that looked too complicated and figured it was worth paying an extra 20% to avoid the hassle. You can see the self-service line and seating area here.

They gave us some pickles to start with.

Jules and I ordered the Reuben with pastrami (I think $16.95?). Look how high the meat is stacked up!

It was a great sandwich but honestly I reckon my own Reuben measures up pretty well. My bread is definitely better – I butter the outside and toast it!

James ordered a pastrami sandwich (I can’t remember how much it was but vaguely recall it being within a dollar of the Reubens). He learned his lesson from the day before and went with something cheeseless.

James had a bite of my Reuben and said that mine was superior. It was such a massive sandwich and we’d already eaten so much in New York that we all agreed we would have been happy with one half the size.

Afterwards we hunted for my Rick Owens jacket at Bergdorf Goodman (sold out, boo) and went to see … Jersey Boys on Broadway!

We got fantastic seats (something like 6 from the front, right in the middle!) It was a fantastic show and I’ve been listening to it pretty much non-stop on Spotify. It was a last-minute thing and I’m really glad we managed to catch something on Broadway.

Afterwards we went to check out Times Square. There’s an area set up in the middle so all of the tourists can take their cheesy Times Square photos without getting in everyone else’s way.

Then it was almost time for our dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar. We got there about half an hour before it opened so we headed to the nearest bar for a drink. It was Coyote Ugly. Yes like the movie. And no it was not like the movie. The bar was almost empty (there were maybe 10 old guys there) and there was one bored bartender who would occasionally dance on the bar while the men largely ignored her. Super awkward. 

But anyway at 5:30 we headed over to Momofuku, still pretty full from our lunch. We ordered a bottle of sake (around $60). It was alright but as far as I could tell it tasted like every other sake I’ve ever had.

I had prebooked the fried chicken meal for 4 ($100). When I made the booking I asked whether a party of 3 could book the fried chicken meal – they said that groups of 3 had really struggled with the fried chicken. I told the guys but we figured that we’re big eaters so should be able to manage it.

It doesn’t even look that big in the photo. But that was a massive plate of fried chicken – the waitress said it was 2.5 whole chickens. We got through like .. 2/3 of it. As Jules described it, we still had the bottom layer of the chicken pyramid remaining.

The chicken on the left was traditional fried chicken and the one on the right was glazed with a sweet/spicy Korean sauce. It came with vegies, sauces and pancakes and we wrapped it up like peking duck.

The vegies were beautiful. The tiny little carrots were amazing – I’ve never really understood people who snacked on carrots but they were totally snackworthy.

The pancakes were really thick which I didn’t care for. I much prefer the thinner texture of true peking duck wrappers. The sauces were fantastic though. From the top clockwise it was a jalapeno/soy (or was it sesame oil?) mix, chili sauce, hoisin sauce and a ginger/spring onion sauce.

The chicken was very well done (everyone seemed to prefer the regular chicken) and aside from a crispier breading I couldn’t really tell the difference between it and a place like Ezell’s. Oh actually I take that back – you could definitely tell that they’d used a really great quality chicken. There was just a cleaner chickeny taste than other chicken I’ve had. It’s hard to describe but I definitely noticed it.

In the end though, it was just way too much food for us. After all that food in NY it was Momofuku that finally broke us.

I reckon it would be a good amount for 5-6 and you could have even more people if you wanted to try other dishes. I think if I could do it over again I’d just order off the regular menu (I saw people slurping some really great looking ramen) instead of going for the chicken banquet. But if you’re in a large group then I reckon the chicken is really great value for money.

We headed back home for a nap because we were planning on doing the Empire State building around 11:30pm. I had heard horror stories of 4+ hour waits so wanted to avoid the crowds by going late.When we woke up – disaster! It was overcast and rainy! But it was our last night and we wanted to see all the lights so had no choice but to go. It was really weird seeing how (comparatively) empty the streets were when it was late and raining.

When we got to the Empire State the news was even worse: there was no visibility at the top. The front desk even stamped our tickets with a frowny face!

At least there was no wait. There were multiple levels that were entirely set up as waiting areas with those zig-zaggy velvet ropes. I can’t remember the exact layout but it was something like you waited to buy your tickets, then took an elevator to a massive waiting area, which lead to another elevator and another waiting area – I can’t remember if there was a third elevator/waiting area combo or if you reached the top after that. I can only imagine how utterly horrific those waits are in peak times.

When we got to the top it was nearly empty. There were maybe 15-20 people around and the visibility was awful. We could see some lights through the fog but none of the buildings. And the outside deck was closed because they were worried about lightning strikes (there was one cool moment where we got to see the sky illuminated by lightning).

We wandered around the inside peering through the windows. Gradually the fog cleared and we could see all the buildings but we still weren’t allowed to go outside. But our optimism paid off and after maybe 10 minutes they finally let us onto the deck. And we got to wander around, admire the view and take heaps of photos with nobody else around.

There were lights in every direction. It was incredible being up there alone – everything worked out perfectly for us and I don’t think we could recreate the conditions if we tried. It was bittersweet knowing it was our last night in New York but it was an amazing way to farewell an amazing city.