• Carmine’s – Restaurant Review

    You’re not going to stay hungry.  

    www.carminesnyc.com

    They have a few locations (NYC, Atlantic City, Paradise Island). I’ve been to the two NYCs:

    200 W. 44 st.

    New York, NY 10036

    Phone: (212)-221-3800

     

    And my preferred one:

    2450 Broadway  (Between 90th and 91st)

    New York, NY 10024

    Phone: (212)-362-2200

     

    Carmine’s serves dishes family style – big, enough for a few people. I would recommend going there at a least a party of 4 – although I ate there by myself a couple of time… lots of left overs..

    The food is good and consistent.  My standard order is Carmine’s salad, fried calamari (one of the best I know) and seafood pasta in red sauce (lobster, clams, muscles, shrimp, fish…), if more than 4 adults, usually also the Chicken Scarpariello (pieces on the bone with lemon, butte, olive oil, garlic,  a little rosemary). That can feed 3 couples.

    For desert – Tiramisu is excellent ( enough for 3 couples…) and if you’re with kids, or a big party that want to have fun, the Titanic is a huge portion of ice cream with all the goodies – brownie, whipped cream, fudge, banana, strawberry, nuts….

    Carmine’s is reasonably prices. The ceiling is very high, and the place’s acoustics makes it noisy but not too noisy, just enough to make you comfortable to talk and not whisper.  The service is usually very good. Reservations are made only to large groups (over 6).

    Opine Away rating of Carmine’s:

     

    Rating index:  0 – Don’t bother. “-“ – irrelevant.  1 to 10, 10 is best. Price $ to $$$$$

     

     

     

     

     

    Style of visit

    Food

    Décor

    Atmosphere

    Price

    Family

    9

    8

    9

    $$$

    Friends

    9

    7

    8

    $$$

    Out of towners

    9

    9

    10

    $$$

    Unmarried

    8

    7

    7

    $$$

    In and out

    $$$$$

                                                   

    L.


  • Lucien – Restaurant Review

     

    Don’t tell anyone about it, I don’t want it to get too crowded.

    www.luciennyc.com

    14 1st Avenue

    New York, NY 10009

    Phone: (212) 260-6481

     

    Lucien is one of those gems you want to tell only people you really like about. The place is very small, with a small bar and amazing food.

    French food without any fuss. The Foie Gras appetizer and the Fillet Mignon are my favorites.  

    The Foie Gras is served with onion jam and kind of apples (they taste something between an apple and a pear…) and I can’t stop myself of cleaning the plate with the baguette after the Foie Gras is gone.  

    The Fillet Mignon is served with light black pepper cream sauce and amazing French fries – the sauce is so good, I clean the plate (again) with the fries until there’s no more sauce.

    Desserts are great too…  Try the Crème Brulee or the Tart Tatin… I’m getting hungry now….

    Prices are reasonable for the quality of food you get.

    Opine Away rating of Lucien:

     

    Rating index:  0 – Don’t bother or irrelevant.  1 to 10, 10 is best. Price $ to $$$$$

     

    Style of visit

    Food

    Décor

    Atmosphere

    Price

    Family

    0

    0

    0

    $$$$$

    Friends

    10

    8

    9

    $$$

    Out of towners

    10

    9

    9

    $$$

    Unmarried

    8

    9

    10

    $$$

    In and out

    0

    0

    0

    $$$$$

                                                   

     

    L.


  • Sushi Samba – Restaurant Review

    They have a few of them in the US  – NYC, Chicago, Miami, Dallas… I’ve been to the two in NYC:

    www.sushisamba.com

     

    245 Park Ave S

    New York, NY 10003-1404

    Phone: (212) 475-9377

     

    And

     

    87 7th Ave S

    New York, NY 10014-3415

    Phone: (212) 691-7885

     

    I’m writing one review for both, because it will sound practically the same…

    If you’re looking for a traditional Japanese sushi, this is not the place. Saying that – they have very good food.  Sushi and Sashimi are creative and fresh, other dishes like the Moqueca Mista which is their version of a seafood paella with coconut milk (I like this dish very much) are great. The deserts I’ll skip, nice presentation but usually pretty disappointing taste. Selection of tea is not great…  Sushi is prepared in the middle of the restaurant, so you can look at the sushi chefs at work…. Pretty good bar.

     

    Prices are high, no doubt about it. The place looks great, has excellent atmosphere, you have no chance of being taller than the hostess…. or leaner for that matter…

     

    The service is just OK – not fabulous, but reasonable.

     

    I recommend going from time to time with friends to have fun, and with out of towners. You don’t need a second mortgage for it, but it is expensive, but to have, drinks and good food in a very nice environment it’s a great place.

     

    Opine Away rating of Sushi Samba(s) NYC:

     

    Rating index:  0 – Don’t bother. “-“ – irrelevant.  1 to 10, 10 is best. Price $ to $$$$$

     

     

     

     

    Style of visit

    Food

    Décor

    Atmosphere

    Price

    Family

    $$$$$

    Friends

    8

    9

    9

    $$$$

    Out of towners

    9

    9

    9

    $$$$

    Unmarried

    8

    9

    9

    $$$$

    In and out

    $$$$$

       

     

     

     

     

     

    L.

     


  • The Darjeeling Limited – Movie Review

    This one is a strange beast. Good actors and it has a magic to it, but it can put you to sleep at the same time. I’d recommend watching only when you’re full of energy and in a good mood, maybe a little drunk, and have a couple of hours to spare… it has it’s drama/sad moments, so be aware, and it is a “touching story” in a very twisted way. You really have to be in the right mood to get into it… like “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou”, you have to give in to the quirks and odd humor if you want to try and enjoy it. Otherwise – don’t waste your time.



  • Restaurants

    I’m not going to mention any specific name in this insert, but I’ll try and do some restaurant reviews (my kind of review…) in separate notes. Live 15 minutes from NYC, love food, cook myself, and visit a good amount of restaurants, and believe I have a good pallet for food – which of course is very individual, but I can usually distinguish between generic good and something that probably I’m the only one in the world that calls it tasty…

    My opinion about a restaurant is highly dependent on the reason of going to it. Am I going mainly to eat good food, am I in a hurry, is it a family chaw, are we going out with friends… so there no common “rating” in my opinion (of course) but an “occasion” dependent rating.

    What I really get annoyed about is highly priced restaurants that serve mediocre (or worse) food, and portions that insult you (not looking for the whole cow on my plate, but getting a quarter size Spicy Tuna Tarter for $17 is what I call insulting). There are many restaurants like that, sometimes I’m really surprised they survive, my guess is that many people who spent over $100 per person in a restaurant rather say it was great than admit to others they got screwed on their anniversary. They don’t even admit it to themselves…

    So Here’s how I’m going to rate my restaurants:

    Rating in all entries will be 1-10, 10 is best (duh).

    Rating of food by style of visit:

    • Family – going out parents with kids (by kids I mean 7-15, older and they will tell you where to go, younger and you’re into a whole different ball game).
    • Friends – going out a group of friends (two or more couples)
    • Out of towners – taking out you guests from England (or Australia, or Holland).   
    • Unmarried – if I need to explain you’re probably in that group.
    • In and out – quick bite before the movie…

    Rating of décor will use the same style categories.

    Needless to say, I might change this in the future, as I start putting in restaurants I’m sure I’ll figure some stuff need to be changed…

    L.


  • Energy / Green

    I follow what they say about global warming and the way they try to solve it. Sounds to me that in most cases there are motives other than the real issue driving things, lack of knowledge, or just not looking at the whole picture. Saying blindly that things need to be green doesn’t work – as a hypothetical argument,  if you use a cup made of corn instead of plastic because it is bio-degradable, but the energy to make it is way more than producing a plastic one, and there’s way more waste, is it better?  You win at one end, but lose at the other.

    For instance, making fuel from corn. Sure, corn is the most common farming plant in the US, that’s why we see corn syrup in everything, when usually it shouldn’t even be there. So great, why not make fuel from it, Ethanol, E-85 buzz words and names are great marketing.

    Well, corn is very inefficient in making fuel, it takes a lot of energy to process it, and you end up with just a little gain compared to not doing it, some say even a loss. Then you get corn shortage and not enough corn to feed Central America.  Other crops are way more efficient (they say the process producing Switch grass fuel give over 5 time more energy than what was put into it, Sugar Cane is way more efficient than corn…),  and can be a temporary solution, but still not solve the problem.

    Of course the main problem started because we have fossil fuel. As long as it’s available and prices are under a certain level (we are getting to a threshold of the price some say), people are too lazy or don’t have enough financing to develop alternative solutions.

    So, I’ll opine on that (what did you expect…). I believe the only solution for now is Nuclear Power Plants. NPPs can give us clean energy with little or no environmental side effects (don’t jump and say what about Nuclear Waste, I’ll get into that later), and all energy consumption on the planet can be extracted from them.

    Let’s assume we have all the electricity we want without burning any type of fuel, and it is 10 times cheaper than what we pay today for electricity. Wouldn’t you want your car to run on it? Cost per millage will be a fraction of what it is now, no noise or pollution from the car.

    Are there issues to be solved? Of course. You want NPPs to be as safe as possible. There are NPPs in the US that supply clean energy for 30 years. With today’s technology, safety can be way better and plants can be more efficient.

    Cars  – technology of electric cars is improving fast.  The issue with electric cars is charging time, the best time with most advanced technologies is 30-60 minutes, not as fast as refueling today. Power and millage per charge is in par or even getting better than internal combustion.

    Hydrogen cars are another option. Hydrogen can be produced with electricity and is clean energy. Charging time is fast,  safety is an issue, but solutions already are available. And you can drink out of the exhaust pipe…

    I’ll probably get back to this subjects in the future,  but to summarize for now, once we have a source for clean cheap energy, as we can get from nuclear energy, solutions will pop up from many creative minds.

    L.


  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – Movie Review

    Let me start by saying I really like Harrison Ford (Han Solo was the coolest Star Wars character by far), in my opinion the first Indiana Jones movie was amazingly entertaining, and the second and third  were not as good, but were fun as well.

    So I went to see the new movie a couple of weeks ago.  The theatre was packed, and the only seats available were pretty close to the screen.  It doesn’t bother me too much, it is more like being emerged in the scenes, it is more difficult to see the whole picture at once and your neck gets tiff.

    The movie was very entertaining, one action scene after the other… But a major element was very un-Indiana, the sci-fi, so I felt, was way too sci-fi-ish for an IJ movie. In the other movies, there were elements of mystical powers, but this alien emphasis was really too much for me. Indiana Jones Close Encounters Of The Third Kind combo deal. It didn’t chew very well with me.

    Biblical forces, old or new testament, worked great and fit the story line in the older movies. Creatures resembling the monsters from Alien, not a good fit. I was waiting for something to burst out of John Hurt’s belly, and for the music from “Encounters Of”.  And worse, there’s that “Nuke The Fridge” moment (a “jump the shark” wannabe).

    L.

     

     

     


  • Welcome message

    Welcome to my opine away site. I’m gonna write here about whatever I feel like writing, commenting and saying what’s on my mind. Yet another blog you say? Well, yes, at least to start with. Then, who knows,  I have many ideas to extend it, but implementation takes time, and time is not always available.

    I know people will not just show up at my site from day one. That’s OK. This is my party, come only if you want to . I’ll be here. I’ll cry if I want to.

     Have fun, and write comments as you like. Just keep it clean ‘cause I rather not clean it myself, got better things to spend time on…

    L.

    PS – Ads and affiliate links are, yes, to make some money. Anything wrong with that? That’s life.