One More Plate For National Pasta Month

Olive Garden's New Lasagna Fresca with Shrimp

Olive Garden’s New Lasagna Fresca with Shrimp

If you’ve been in the dark about National Pasta Month, the bad news is that well, of course is that it ends October 31st.  However, there’s always time to eat more and so there’s no cause to fret.

To make the point, t just so happens that several weeks ago, Gia On The Move was invited to taste the food re-inventions at the Olive Garden in Burbank.  After being stuffed to the gills with plenty of Italian inspired appetizers, pastas and main dishes including a new “light” menu (which we loved most!), it’s a no brainer for this down home Sicilian to urge you to go and fill your plate!

What we liked best about this menu was the absolute value and affordability mixed with some very significant upgrades in presentation and flavor.  Great date night dinners or family assemblages can be had without breaking the bank. And no one at the table will go hungry.  “Now THAT’S Italian!”

Earlier this year, Olive Garden unveiled its most significant menu evolution in the restaurant’s history, adding more than 20 new menu items that broaden the choice, variety and value it offers guests, prepared with new cooking techniques that accentuate new flavors. Olive Garden’s new menu is designed to appeal to the evolving palettes and preferences of casual dining guests, while providing more options for a customized meal experience at both lunch and dinner.

Olive Garden's Artichoke Fritti

Olive Garden’s Artichoke Fritti

New Menu Highlights

  • Small Plates: Expanding the Tastes of Italy section to include eight small plate dishes for guests who want to explore different flavors.
  • Antipasti and Caprese Salads: Creating new ways for guests to enjoy Olive Garden’s popular signature salad through the addition of antipasti or caprese toppings.
  • Lighter Italian Fare: Enhancing variety within the under-575-calories menu section by introducing additional dishes for calorie-counting guests.
  • Specialty Entrees: Bringing new culinary-forward entrees to the chicken and seafood sections of the menu, enhanced by preparation on a new Piastra flat-top grill for a more evenly cooked, tender and juicy taste.
  • “Cucina Mia” Section: Introducing a new menu section that gives guests the ability to create their own entrée from a variety of six pastas and five made-from-scratch sauces – starting at $9.99 every day.
  • Tuscan Trio Lunch Combinations: Enhancing our popular soup, salad and bread sticks lunch with choice of Mini Pasta Bowl, Small Plate or Signature Salad Topping.
Olive Garden's Smashed Chicken Meatball Sandwich

Olive Garden’s Chicken Meatball Sandwich

Dishes served at tasting event Gia On The Move thoughts are in red:  :

  • Crispy Risotto Bites (“Small Plates”) – Bite-sized blend of Italian cheeses and rice, lightly fried and served in marinara sauce.  An excellent choice even if a bit on the crispy side.  They are more like a mini arancini (an Italian rice ball) without the meat.
  • Polenta Shrimp alla Greca (“Small Plates”) – Sautéed shrimp served on creamy polenta and topped with a fresh blend of olives, capers and tomato sauce. Carby and a little bit on the heavier sided but delicious.
  • Artichoke Fritti (appetizer) – Marinated artichoke hearts, lightly battered and fried. Served with a five cheese marinara dipping sauce. Not our favorite; they were a bit too fried for our palette.  But if you are looking for an appetizer alternative in vegetable form, and like a saltier taste, it’s a way to go.
  • Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad Topper – Fresh mozzarella bites, roasted tomato, bell pepper, basil, kale and an extra-virgin olive oil drizzle.  This was actually a Kale salad with the roasted tomato topper and our least favorite in the grouping as it was overall too dry underneath. But for vegetarians looking for absolutely simple without oils, vinegar or other heavy dressings, this is your “target zero” for a healthy choice.
  • Smashed Chicken Meatball Sandwich – Smashed chicken meatballs with roasted bell peppers and mozzarella on a focaccia bun.  Without a doubt this spicy number is going to be a lunch favorite for all patrons.  Already a big seller, this sandwich packs all the awesome flavor of a regular beef or pork meatball but with a lighter side poultry alternative.  You will LOVE IT!  We totally did!
  • Bucatini with Spicy Diavolo Sauce and Sausage Meatballs – part of Cucina Mia:
    • Choose your pasta: New Large Paccheri, New Tri-Colored Vegetable Penne, Bucatini, New Cavatappi, Whole Wheat Linguine, New Gluten-Free Rotini
    • Choose your made-from-scratch sauce:  New Creamy Garlic Alfredo, New Primavera, New Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato, New Spicy Diavolo, Fresh Tomato Pomodoro
    • Add a topping (additional cost): New Chicken Meatballs, New Sausage Meatballs, Meatballs, Sautéed Shrimp.  For diners who need choices but not the stress of deciding if any of the ingredients are too experimental.
Olive Garden's Garlic Rosemary Chicken

Olive Garden’s Garlic Rosemary Chicken

Garlic Rosemary Chicken (Lighter Italian Fare [under 575 calories]) – Grilled marinated chicken breast topped with rosemary and caramelized garlic cloves. Served with garlic parmesan mashed potatoes and fresh spinach.  Hands down one of our favorites.  The only thing that could be improved is the sauce which is a bit too gravy-like instead of “jus” like and can potentially overpower the dish.  But nevertheless, it is an absolutely delicious choice and a recommend.

  • Lasagna Fresca – Hand folded vegetable lasagna, sautéed shrimp and grilled tomatoes with sun-dried tomato sauce.  Most of the tasters liked this one.  It wasn’t particularly our favorite.  We typically are traditionalists when it comes to food here at Gia On The Move.  The chopped vegetables seemed hard and detracted from the actual lasagna flavor.  BUT…patrons who prefer summer squashes to the taste of cheese are going to prefer this.  And although far from traditional, the shrimp topping adds an intriguing take.  It’s a toss-up.
Olive Garden's Chicken Abruzzi

Olive Garden’s Chicken Abruzzi

Chicken Abruzzi (Lighter Italian Fare [under 575 calories]) – Grilled chicken breast in a savory broth simmered with cannellini beans, kale and garden vegetables. We loved this.  It’s a bit on the soupy, salty side, but the cannelli beans are a perfect mid-northern touch and a superior nutritional choice. Recommended.

  • Pappardelle Pescatore (Olive Garden Specialty) – Sautéed shrimp, bay scallops and clams tossed with pappardelle pasta, fresh asparagus and tomatoes in a creamy red pepper seafood sauce. Well, first off, it’s not really a parpardelle pasta.  We were told that most of the customers didn’t quite understand how to eat Papardelle in its original form; Pappardelle is traditionally a wider noodle closer to a strip of lasagna, which seemed a bit bulky to “regulars”. So Olive Garden management decided to make it skinnier, like a thicker linguine, but kept the name.  So technically it’s not pappardelle.  And it tasted simply like linguine with a melody of shellfish. But the taste was there: spicy and actually a little piquant.  Highly recommended.
  • Vanilla Panna Cotta with Strawberries (dessert) – Sweet summer strawberries top a rich and creamy vanilla custard inspired by Italy’s mountainous Piedmont region.  Everything you could want in a custard desert.  Not quite as light as a traditional panna cotta but every bit as delicious.  We loved it.  Highly recommended for lovers of sweets.
Olive Garden's Pappardelle Pescatore

Olive Garden’s Pappardelle Pescatore

Broomstick: Starring Jenny O’Hara at the Fountain Theatre

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move

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Once upon a time, in the deep dark woods…

Actress Jenny O’Hara takes on the darker and realer side of a fairytale witch in the one woman presentation of, Broomstick, a West Coast premiere now playing at the Fountain Theatre.

Hands-down the best “timing” actress I quite possibly have ever experienced on a stage, Ms. O’Hara, in a thick Appalachian drawl, utterly embraces the poetic line, of John Biguenet’s wicked old woman.  At one turn empathetic in another cunning, she is utterly masterful — owning the language, and wielding the power of persuasion, spells and curses, spinning a voracious, intimate tale of life as an “unusual”.  She claims dominion over bugs and weather.  She is mischievous, sharp-tongued, even a bit malificent.  She may even eat children.  One can never tell in the dim shadows of a messy cottage where cooking is art and sweet. She is wise, kind and fair, but anger her, treat her unjustly and she can be vengeance itself.

It’s a deceptively tricky role navigating this multidimensional character so much more often presented as simply good or evil.  Ms. O’Hara has no trouble at all pulling out the juiciest moments for the audience to bite down on, just as ravenously as we might eat her suckling pig. So large, so comically, so real does she play this character, that I cannot think of anyone who could pull it off quite as well or at all.

Set in Appalachia and written entirely in rhymed iambic pentameter, Biguenet’s truly mesmerizing solo play introduces us to a wacky bizarre old woman living in a little shack deep in the woods…who may happen to be a witch. When a visitor, and one time runaway now grown, stops in unexpectedly, storytelling and truth meld together into a half-real, half-fantasy confession.

It’s exotic, funny, harsh, bitter and profound as the Witch reveals her childhood innocence, sexual awakening, and all of the poignant moments that have conjured to create her as she is in the present moment.

“In some ways, she’s positioned to be the freest of all human beings,” says playwright and New Orleans professor John Biguenet, who started writing this piece in 2009.  “She’s seen everything, done everything.  She doesn’t need a man.  She has the potential to live with the complete knowledge of what it is to be a human being.”

This show far surpasses folk and fairytale, from sets, sound, lights, direction and spoken word. Ms. O’Hara is bewitching “perfection” in this exquisite performance!

Not to be missed under any condition!

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NOW PLAYING UNTIL NOVEMBER 30
The Fountain Theatre
5060 Fountain Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90029
(Fountain at Normandie)

Written by John Biguenet
Directed by Stephen Sachs
Starring Jenny O’Hara
Produced by Deborah Lawlor and Simon Levy
Presented by The Fountain Theatre

Thursdays at 8 p.m.:  30; Nov. 6, 13, 20 (dark Nov. 27)
Friday at 6 p.m.: Oct. 31 ONLY (“Trick or Treat” at the Fountain with an early curtain on Halloween. Come in costume!)
Fridays at 8 p.m.:  Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28 (no 8 p.m. performance on Oct. 31)
Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Nov. 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
Sundays at 2 p.m.;  Nov. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

TICKET AND INFORMATION:

(323) 663-1525 or www.FountainTheatre.com

Advance purchase, reserved seating: $20
Premium seating: $34 (VIP seating first 3 rows, center section – includes free parking in lot)
Students with ID: $15
RUSH tickets: $15 (at the door, subject to availability)

Parking:
Secure, on-site parking: $5

Graffiti Artist Dmote Gets “Fresh” On Wall Street NYC

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If you haven’t seen this yet, graffiti artist, Dmote, marked up the truck of Andaz Wall Street’s, Principle Farmer, David Zaback.  Dmote transformed what was once a plain white truck to an eye catching work of art that brings the freshest produce to Andaz Wall Street!

Watch the video!

Dmote video

 

The Andaz Wall Street Farmers Market will be open every Thursday from 12pm to 7pm until November 20th. The hotel’s plaza, located near Wall & Water streets, comes alive as hotel guests – as well as the general public – shop for produce and can gain expertise from Farmer Dave.

Dmote2

 

 

Join the Red Hot Chili Peppers for the 4th Annual Benefit for Silverlake Conservatory of Music

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Silverlake Conservatory of Music announced today that its founder, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea and bandmate/front-man Anthony Kiedis will host a benefit for the Los Angeles based music school this Saturday, November 1st in Beverly Hills, CA.    

Now it its 13th year, Silverlake Conservatory of Music has approximately 700 students enrolled, 200 of whom attend for free. The Conservatory continues to grow and is now standing on the verge of moving into a larger building that will allow the organization to double its enrollment, add an in-house performance space, and provide numerous improvements that will help the school flourish for years to come. All funds raised from this year’s benefit will help to make the new facility a reality.

“This is our time, this is our children’s time,” said Founder Flea. “Come celebrate with us and help build great music education for all children in Los Angeles. The Silverlake Conservatory of Music is for all of us.”

The benefit will include a silent auction where attendees can bid on an extensive collection of works from renowned artists including: Damien Hirst, Raymond Pettibon, Cecily Brown, Ed Ruscha, Gus Van Sant, Richard Prince, Inez + Vinoodh, Thomas Houseago, Swoon, D*Face, Charming Baker, Dana Louise Kirkpatrick, Bernie Taupin, Tim Armstrong, Kim Gordon, Aida Ruilova, Stanley Donwood, Shepard Fairey, Wes Lang, REVOK, and boutique items from Gucci, Marc Jacobs, The Elder Statesman, Shinola, and more.

Additionally, the evening will feature live musical performances by Bruno Mars and Rufus Wainwright.

Sponsors for the evening include: Café Stella, Gagosian Gallery, KM Fine Arts, QPrime, and Evolution Capital.

For donations, ticket info, and further information please contact Jennifer Rey at 323-665-3363 or jrey.scm@icloud.com.

ABOUT SILVERLAKE CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC
The mission of Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, is to facilitate basic music education. Our primary focus is on the youth of the community but all are welcome and encouraged to participate. The Conservatory offers private music lessons at a reasonable cost and grants scholarships to children in need, providing free lessons and instruments. The study of music enriches not only the life of the student but the community and society as well.

Wake Up Clean with Will and the Wont’s

Will and the Won'ts

Today’s emerging band to watch is the Americana blues-rock trio 
Will and the Won’ts who just released their acoustic video for their single “Wake Up Clean.”
 

@Willandthewonts

www.WillandtheWonts.com

 “Wake Up Clean” is a relatively self-explanatory song. I’ve often felt haunted by a lot of things in my life; whether they are romantic partners, personal fears, long-lost friends or troubling thoughts of any kind, I often have a hard time letting go. This song tells the story of that idea through a desire for romantic detachment. A lot of it has to do with understanding the nature of who/whatever I’m trying to detach myself from. A lot of times, it’s difficult to move on from a situation until you truly understand the nature of why you were attached to it in the first place.”

Watch the purely awesome acoustic version on video here:

 “Will and the Won’ts combine a bit of baby-boomer era rock ‘n roll, folk and country with the deep roots of Americana. That isn’t to say it sounds dated, anything but. Their version has a modern edge which mainly comes through in the way they arrange their songs” (Write.Click.Cook.Listen). The three members managed to find each other amongst the traffic, beaches, mountains, and bustling music scene of Los Angeles and combine a mutual love of influences ranging from The Avett Brothers, Jack White to Creedence Clearwater Revival.  All students at the Musicians Institute, Will Risbourg (vocals/guitar), Andrew Bilotti (drums/vocals), and Gui Bodi (bass/vocals) found camaraderie beyond the classroom in 2010 and settled as a three-piece in January 2014, shortly thereafter, recording their first single “Wake Up Clean.”

Available_on_iTunes_Badge_US-UK_110x40_0824Like this song?  Click the icon (left) and get it on iTunes!

 The vinyl single w/CD included will be available for online ordering via the band’s bandcamp site on November 1st for $5 + $2 shipping. It is also available at all of their shows for $5.

Re-Animator The Musical at The Steve Allen Theater

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
Re-Animator

Jesse Merlin, Marlon Grace, Graham Skipper, Brian Gillespie. Photo Credit: Thomas Hargis

“I guess he just wasn’t fresh enough.”

This show should come with a warning label or at the very least its own wives tale…like something your mother would say to you…”You should never hang out with a mad scientist.  Hanging out with a mad scientist will make you mad! Mad I say! Absolutely mad!!!!  Now go to your room!”

What an incredible surprise.  I’m not saying I didn’t go into this with reservations.  I’m not a horror buff or die-hard fan.  And Re-Animator has done nothing to change my mind.  I say this with pure delight.  Here’s why:

Audience participation seems to be THE theme for the several freak shows I’ve seen so far this year. Local supermarkets must be making a fortune in trash bag sales.  Passing around entrails, squirts of blood, spitting at the first 5 rows, singling out theater goers for hemoglobin shock…up until now, there have been no clear winners in the contest for mash-up plasma moments. Most have been rather meek, humble and discretionary. Re-Animator The Musical, however, has taken gore to a level of excellence bar none literally hurling barely unidentifiable liquids into the audience throughout the performance. I started to wonder if I had suddenly stepped into an alternate “Wet & Wild” universe. It was total chaotic insanity … in operetta … with a love story!

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Ken Hudson Campbell, Jesse Merlin. Photo Credit: Thomas Hargis.

So..why …oh why…do guys never listen?  The eternal question that women seem to ask themselves especially when attempting to bail out the man they love from an obviously bad situation?

Herbert West, a brilliant young medical student, played [awesomely!] by a creepy and borderline nerdy Graham Skipper has created a glowing green serum that can bring the dead back to life. What should be a medical breakthrough results in hideous monstrosities and ghastly consequences.  It’s also terribly funny and just the thing for a messy Halloween, fright night, comical, cult experience.

Graham Skipper, who won a Best New Performer Award at the New York Musical Theater Festival, returns as the demented young genius.  Operatic Jesse Merlin, is back as Dr. Carl Hill who loses his head for Meg, the dean’s beautiful daughter, only to actually lose it at the hands of Herbert West. But thanks to the glowing re-agent, Dr. Hill is still able to take his curtain call with his head tucked underneath his arm.

Also returning from the original cast are Cynthia Carle, Brian Gillespie, Marlon Grace, and Liesel Hanson playing an assortment of doctors, nurses and rampaging zombies. And Ken Hudson Campbell, familiar to many for saving the world with Bruce Willis in “Armageddon,” plays the doomed Dean of the medical school whom West also transforms into a mindless zombie.

Re-Animator

Jessica Howell and Darren Ritchie. Photo Credit: Thomas Hargis

But it’s Darren Ritchie (veteran of five Broadway shows, including “Dracula” and “Little Shop of Horrors”) as Dan Cain, the handsome young medical student (and West’s hapless roommate) in love with the dean’s daughter, now played by the Jessica Howell, who bring the Ken and Barbie thriller-style love-story portion, going head to [severed] head with Jesse Merlin, to its re-mounted, maddening climax (ahem)…full throttle.

The effects were flawless, so was the timing throughout this entire production by the whole cast.  The music is hilarious, spunky and bourgeois silly. You’ll love the creepy sets, the moldering costumes and the cadaverous lighting. Everything about this show is a gushing, audience pleasing hit!  You’ll be sorry to miss this mayhem if you do!

“Re-Animator™ the Musical” was developed and premiered at the Steve Allen Theater under the artistic direction of Amit Itelman who also founded Trepany House.

Re-AnimatorRevival of the award-winning musical hit now playing  Fridays through Sundays at 8pm until November 23rd.

Steve Allen Theater
4773 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90027

Parking lot behind building.

ADMISSION: $25.

RESERVATIONS: (800) 595-4849.

ONLINE TICKETING: www.trepanyhouse.org

Book by Dennis Paoli, Stuart Gordon and William J. Norris. Music and lyrics by Mark Nutter. Adapted from the story by H.P. Lovecraft. Based on the film “H.P. Lovecraft’s Re-Animator” produced by Brian Yuzna. Musical director: Peter Adams. Choreography by Cynthia Carle. Directed by Stuart Gordon. Produced by Dean Schramm and Stuart Gordon. Presented by The Schramm Group LLC and Red Hen Productions in association with Trepany House under the Artistic Direction of Amit Itelman.

Voices Are Calling From The Grave at ZJU North Hollywood in November

Halloween will not be ending on October 31st.  As always we can count on  Zombie Joe’s Underground in North Hollywood, CA to continue the “Fright Fest” all year round.  And in November the voices from the grave will continue to speak!

GraveDigger@ZJU_Postcard4Email

 

Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group proudly presents the World Premiere of Bea Egeto’s thrilling-new horror production, GRAVEDIGGER, that boldly deconstructs the mysteries surrounding a collection of historically-infamous deaths, mined for their truths through their fearless stage re-enactment!

FRIDAYS & SATURDAYS @ 8:30pm
NOVEMBER 7, 8, 14, 15, & 22.
*Special Late-Night Performance: FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 21 @ 11pm.

ZJU Theatre Group, 4850 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601

tickets_cell-phoneFor Reservations Call: 
818-202-4120
 
Tickets:  $15
 
Advance Tickets Now Available: 
ZombieJoes.Tix.com
Official Website:  ZombieJoes.com