The Black Swan Experience: I Was Perfect – April 2, 2011

A reader just passed along this note about a Black Swan preview night.  I thought it was strange, since the movie has come out a while back.  And the movie is on DVD/BluRay starting this week. Well, it’s a free showing, and there will be prizes.  I wonder if Natalie Portman or Mila Kuniz will be there.  If so, that would be awesome!  Anyways, it’s in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Check out the invitation here.

RSVP for you city here.

There’s a little web game you can play, but it’s kind of lame and just ends up with a video clip of the movie designating you as a black or white swan.  I got the black swan.

Click here to try.

Here’s the video I got.


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Westville Restaurant – New York City

Westville Restaurant
Neighborhood: West Village, NYC

Rated: ♣♣♣♣ 1/2

An inexpensive or reasonably priced restaurant in New York City may be difficult to find being a tourist consumed by the lights! bustle!! We often settle for the closest eats that may not be that great tasting, or worthy of its’ cost. Worry no more because Westville is so satisfying (and priced correctly) you’ll leave this place wanting to return the next day!

The Scene:

Westville is a tiny restaurant located in the heart of New York’s West Village (just a few minutes away from famous Magnolia Bakery). This is a small space with only 8 or so tables. Their staff are friendly and efficient! Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner you’ll most likely have to wait for a seat (why my lack of 1/2 + more of a rating)

The Food:

This place has the best tasting and freshest veggies cooked in a variety of ways daily – called their Market List. You can pick these cooked veggies as your side order to your main meal, or order 5 of these Market dishes. From roasted zucchini with tomatoes & mozzarella to their mushrooms with leeks & herbs (to die for!) Westville has the best of the fresh!

Westville Veggie Burger:

“veggie burger topped w/ mixed mushrooms & spicy tartar sauce w/ fries or salad” – SO TASTY. Some may think that a veggie burger is not as hearty as a real beef patty…so wrong beyond belief until you try this one! You’ll be so full and satisfied you will be craving it again once you’re digested! The house side salad is always dressed with their lemon/vinaigrette with the perfect amount.

Westville Hot Dogs & Sausages:

“grilled hot dogs: single or ‘special’ (special = 2 hot dogs w/ fries, salad or 1 side from the market”. Need I say more? Why get your overpriced hot dog on the streets of New York when you can grab the best hot dogs right here! You can choose a variety of sausages they carry, with all the toppings – sauerkraut, relish, cheese, grilled onions, or chili.

guest blog post by: Tynessa Jue

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Jumeirah Essex House – New York

Essex HouseJumeirah Essex House
Neighborhood: Theater District
160 Central Park S
New York, NY 10019

Rated: ♣♣♣1/2

I’ve been a little slow on posts lately because I’ve been so busy with work. But now that my event in NY is over, I’ll be back on schedule with updating. Amidst the snow storm in NY, I hosted a cocktail event at the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station. I stayed at the Jumeirah Essex House which is located at the south border of Central Park, only 2 blocks away from the Plaza Hotel. The entrance of the hotel overlooked the beautiful park with snow capped trees sitting on top of a fluffy white blanket of snow.

The 4-star hotel came to $300 a night including 2 complimentary breakfasts and a $100 dinner credit.


Room – The room was very clean, modern and spacious. What I liked about the Essex was that it was well lit. Every time the front door opened, all the lights in the room ascended into its full brightness. The bed was more comfortable than my bed at home and the pillow was so soft! I was contemplating to take it home with me.

Food – The complimentary breakfast was impressive. It was buffet style, but very classy. I was hoping to take my breakfast to go so I wouldn’t have to eat on my own, but they sat me down and poured me a cup of coffee. I walked over to the buffet and found an assortment of New York bagels, lox and cream cheese already assembled, 2 kinds of smoked fish, tons of fresh fruit, and then your traditional breakfast items which included eggs, bacon and hashbrowns. The service was great even though the meal was self-serve. Being the klutz that I am, I accidentally spilled my coffee on the table. The waiter noticed the spill and gave me a new cup without me even asking!

Location – The location is very convenient for tourists. To the right you have the 5th Ave. shopping. Couple blocks south you have the MoMA and the Theater District. There’s a metro station a block away and you have Central Park in your front yard.


I couldn’t figure out the dang phones! I kept trying to call Guest Services, but the phone would dial Messages instead. One of the lamp switches was broken, so I had to unplug it to turn it off, and the TV stopped turning on after the first night. I had to have an engineer come by to fix it so I wouldn’t have to live without my nightly Olympic coverage. I also had a terrible view. It faced another brick building and some dumpsters on the right hand side. I was kicking myself because I forgot to ask for a room with a view.

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Nice Green Bo – New York

Green Bo StorefrontNice Green Bo Restaurant
Neighborhood: Chinatown
66 Bayard Street
(between Elizabeth St & Mott St)
New York, NY 10013

Rated: ♣♣♣

First of all, I wanted to say I LOVE how this restaurant replaced “New” with “Nice.” Too funny.

I was so excited to try Shanghainese food in New York. There’s tons of great Shanghainese places in San Francisco, but I expected NY’s to be better since they have a larger Northern Chinese population.

Our initial plan was to go to Joe’s Shanghai, but then we were told it was way overrated, so we decided to go to Nice Green Bo Restaurant.

The scene:

The restaurant was packed. Since it was just K and I, they were able to squeeze us at a round table with 3 other parties. That kind of thing doesn’t bother me though. As long as I get good food, I’m good.

The food:

We ordered the preserved vegetable and pork soup, xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and the stir-fried rice cake.

Preserved Vegetable and Pork Soup – Totally not what we meant to order. Because of the preserved vegetables, it was way too salty, almost overbearing. The pork was tough as if they were using old, overcooked meat.

Xiao Long Bao – As all real Chinese people should know, you can’t pop the soup dumpling. All those flavors need to stay intact until you put the whole thing in your mouth. Well, to my discontent, every single dumpling in the steamer was popped. It was already sitting in it’s own broth! Truly disappointing.

Stir-fried Rice Cake – Think of this as chewy noodles (much like a mochi) made like chow fun. It’s really easy to screw up this dish. If you overcook it, it gets gummy. If you undercook it, you get the same result. Green Bo actually made it pretty decent. It had the right chewy texture and the flavors were there.

Overall, I was underwhelmed. I have yet to find a Shanghainese place that beats Shanghai Dumpling King in San Francisco. Next time, I’ll try Joe’s Shanghai.

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West Coasters, let me introduce you to White Castle

white castle

For those of you on the East Coast, White Castle is probably as common as a McDonalds or a Starbucks. But, not here on the westside. Ever since “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” came out, the fast food restaurant seemed like a mythical utopia of mini burgers and fries to us on this side of the world.

On my trip to New York last year, White Castle was sadly a destination on our itinerary. We walked for miles to a real shady part of town to try the burgers.

We ordered 6 jalapeno burgers, onion rings and clam strips. Anticipation rising, hearts pounding, mouths watering. I took my first bite into the hot, soft, tiny burger and it was…… disappointing. The meat was only a millimeter thick and there was a thick spread of mystery sauce. The bread was cold and soggy and I really didn’t taste any jalapeno in the meat.

In conclusion, White Castle is just a hype. It’s got nothin’ on In ‘n Out.

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