The Painted Lady Suite

The Painted Lady Suite is the debut album by the Michael Leonhart Orchestra (MLO).  Inspired by the incredible 9 thousand mile migration of the the “Painted Lady” butterfly. This suite is broken into two parts with seven movements.  Each part represents, two separate journeys of the “Painted Lady” butterfly. One journey is over North America to Canada.  The other from the Arctic Circle over Europe to North Africa.  Additionally, this compilation also contains three earlier pieces composed by Leonhart specifically for MLO. Michael Leonhart Orchestra The Painted Lady Suite You Me NYCFirst, is the additional track “In the Kingdom of MQ”.  A cool march , with a stimulating solo by tenor sax player Donny McCaslin. “In the Kingdom of MQ” is dedicated to Leonhart’s younger son Milo.  Portraying his son’s confident steps from toddler-hood to the joyful discoveries of being a young boy.   Next,” Music Your Grandparents Would Like” is what fusion is all about.  A “big band” swing with a rock feel, guitarist Nels Cline delivers a solo which Zappa would appreciate.  Thirdly the piece, “The Girl From Udaipur” depicts a family trip to India.  The baritone sax solos of Ian Hendrickson-Smith and Jay Leonhart bring this album to a chilling close.

First of all, I love this album because each song delivers a taste of the classical masters, such as Ravel and Stravinski.  If you are familiar with “Bolero” by Ravel, you can definitely recognize his influence in a lot of the music on this album.  Furthermore, you can also hear the influence of rock guitar legends Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix on this album as well.  Finally, the glue holding this album together is the style of Miles Davis and Quincy Jones.

Conclusion:

This is a definite “add” to your collection.  This album is perfect for any mood, therefore a must have for all Jazz aficionados.  Additionally, the progress and evolution of MLO parallels the journey of the “Painted Lady” butterfly.  Hence the creation of “The Painted Lady Suite”, which really hits home.  More importantly, this album is an illustration of a blend of genres that work well together.  “Painted Lady Suite” is solid, however the three additional tracks are what really make this album exceptional.

Thank You Kate Spade

Katherine Noel Brosnahan, known professionally as Kate Spade and Kate Valentine.  American born, Kate was a mother, fashion designer, and successful entrepreneur.  June 5th, 2018, we lost a brilliant force in the fashion/accessory world and what a tremendous loss it is.

There is no need to discuss as to how or why this happened.  Instead, Kate should be remembered for her contribution to the realm of fabulous.  Spade started out with Mademoiselle magazine in the accessories department in 1986.  She later left the magazine in 1991 with the title of “Senior Fashion Editor/Head of Accessories”.

While working at the magazine she realized that the market was lacking stylish yet sensible handbags.  After the discovery, she decided to create her own line of chic practical handbags.  Spade developed 6 prototypes out of “Scotch” tape and paper.  Shopping her designs around, she found a manufacturer in East New York who was willing to produce her designs and more importantly, work with a startup.
Thank You Kate Spade You Me NYC

To finance the company Andy Spade withdrew from his 401(k) plan and also paid employees of the company with his own personal checks as well.  Kate was undecided about the name of the line.  Since she and Andy were not married at the time, “Kate Brosnahan” sounded like an unmarketable name to her.  Andy suggested “Kate Spade” which was a combination of his surname and her first name which they both agreed on.

As we all know “Kate Spade New York City” launched into a massive handbag line which extended to clothing, jewelry, shoes, stationery, eye-wear, baby items, fragrances, tabletop, bedding, an d gifts.  Later, Kate and her husband sold the line so she can concentrate on raising her daughter.

Although Spade and her husband are not affiliated with the brand for more than 10 years, the beloved brand lives on.   There are numerous “Kate Spade New York City” stores all over the country and the world with her first store opening up right in Soho New York City where her empire began and her legacy created.

Conclusion:

We will miss you Kate…..

Ethiopian Gold Queen of Sheba NYC

Queen of Sheba, is an Ethiopian restaurant, that is a true treasure.  Right in the heart of “Hell’s Kitchen” New York City, is where you can find this gem.  As I walk through the door, the place is full.  Then again why wouldn’t it be, I am never disappointed when I come here.

Let’s get down to business.  I sat at a table and looked over the menu which I know inside and out.  However, Queen of Sheba will make a subtle change every once an a while.  Lentil “Sambousas” are my favorite appetizers.  Queen of Sheba cooked up these delicious dough packets to perfection.  This is an excellent way to start off a meal.

Next, for my main course, the “Doro Tibs” is what I ordered along with the “Taste of Sheba”.  The “Doro Tibs” is sliced chicken breast marinated in onions, olive oil, rosemary-jalapeno, with a touch of Chardonnay.  I am almost positive that there are some secret spices in the mix as well.  The “Taste of Sheba” is a sample platter that includes a mouthwatering taste of 8 items.  There are too many to list.  The sliced chicken breast was succulent.  The “Taste of Sheba” was delicious.  Adding a glass of delectable honey wine is the perfect compliment to this exquisite meal.

Aside form the good food, my readers know service is just as important as the meal to me.  Queen of Sheba’s service is impeccable and also very accommodating.  I normally don’t place too much emphasis on decor.  However Queen of Sheba’s setup takes you back to Ethiopia.  They arrange the seating, to heighten a sense of community, therefore making me feel like I am eating and enjoying with everyone in the restaurant.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a charming restaurant with a  neighborhood feel to it, then Queen of Sheba is the right choice.  Whether you are by yourself or with a group, Queen of Sheba will satisfy your palette for delicious food and enjoyable company.  Make sure you tell them Dave Jacobs sent you.

Queen of Sheba You Me NYC

Location:

650 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10036
Between 45th & 46th Streets

 

 

Regular

I have one of those jobs where I office from home and travel for work. It’s convenient and nice to work from home but, I miss being a “regular”. That sounds a bit odd, what could possibly be so great about being a regular anything?

There is earned status to being a regular. I was part of an elite group of customers who patronized the Frontier Diner on 3rd Ave. Every weekday morning, I would come out of the # 7 train at 42nd street, walk over to 3rd and 39th, and cross the street to the Frontier diner.

The owner would stand his watch at the front counter and have my order prepared as he saw me at the far corner, a large light coffee and a toasted blueberry muffin with butter. We’d exchange pleasantries and he would wish me well and a good day. I would do the same. I did not have to wait in line, he knew what I wanted, needed and craved. It was an easy and affordable transaction. If I missed a day of work, he would ask if everything was alright and inquire as to where I was the other day. It was our ritual.

Now that I office from home and travel for work, I am no longer a “regular” any where, I’ve lost my elite status, a friend and someone who watched out for me. I cannot seem to find coffee that taste just right or a toasted blueberry muffin to my liking.

What’s Missing:

Perhaps what I miss is the kinship that was developing over time when I was patronizing the Frontier diner day after day, year after year. A sense of belonging and the knowledge that someone was waiting for me, with a smile. I like Starbucks, and the new local coffee shop in my village but, its not the same. With mobile or kiosk ordering, we’ve lost that sense of community that came from getting to know the folks who worked in the eateries we patronize.

Post NYC

“Post” is a place I have never been to before and it is not on my normal breakfast circuit.  I received this tip from one of our readers so I made my way over there, to check it out.  Referrals are always welcome.

When I walked through the door, I observed an intimately set counter.  There is also a small counter at the window for that outside feel.  This is an establishment that takes great pride in presentation.  Each space has its’ own bottle of ice-water and a place setting welcoming to anyone.

Post NYC You Me NYC

Immediately, I was greeted by a server behind the counter and was told to have a seat anywhere.  I take my seat at the counter and peruse the menu.  Before I can make up my mind the recommendation was “Biscuits and Gravy”.  “Wonderful, with a cup of coffee” was my response.  That is the first time in a long time, I went with a suggestion from a new place.Post NYC You Me NYCMy meal arrived within a few minutes, a nice healthy portion topped with an egg.  My first bite to the last, each was better than the one before.  I have to admit, I killed that meal within minutes.  All I have to say is “delicious” along with the coffee.  The biscuits are homemade and so is the chicken sausage in the white gravy, the taste proves that.

When the server came back to check on me, he laughed at how fast I devoured my meal.  I started to converse with him and found out that they are relatively new.  They have been open for a little more than a year.  Now everyone knows I am all about breakfast and really don’t care for brunch.  “Post” has a brunch so for the brunch culture in this city of ours, come out and enjoy.

“Post” also does lunch, dinner and has a “chill” nightlife vibe according to the server.  I let him know I would be back for dinner and engage in some after diner activity.

Post NYC
42 Ave B
New York NY, 10009

 

Summer Rental

So here I am, in an overrated and overpriced coffee house, having a conversation with a lovely lady which I can’t avoid, about how her husband rents her the same house, each summer in the Hamptons.  I also get to hear how it’s just for her and her girlfriends only, no husbands(lucky husbands).

I asked her if it is rented for the whole summer and she replied “Absolutely, I can’t just go for a few days”.  She then looked at me, as the typical “Entitled Ones” usually do, as if I am a peasant walking by her manor.  I don’t know what could’ve come over me to ask such a question.

I asked her another question as we’re patiently waiting for our 6 dollar cups of coffee.  I asked, how often she goes to Long Island for the summer and her response was “Oh, I don’t go to Long Island at all, I only go to the Hamptons”.  I furrowed my brow and walked over to the pickup area as my name was called for the small fortune I spent on a mediocre cup of “Joe”.  Really!!?

The Black and White

There are things that native New Yorkers know that transplants don’t like what “regular” coffee means, or what a “smear” is or a “black and white”. These are just some of the best things about New York.

I remember the first time I had a black and white cookie. It was first grade, 1977. Theresa Catina carried one in her lunch box every day. One day, she shared hers with me, splitting it against the grain, so that I had an even bit of black and white.

I was so excited I never had one before. That first bite was magic, I was hooked. Let me explain for those who are not native New Yorkers. A black and white is more than a cookie, its really more of a cake. The base is a yellow cookie/cake with a hint of lemon essence. Half the cookie is frosted with a white glaze the other half is frosted with a chocolate glaze. There is nothing else like it. Each bite is soft and chewy with a delicious sweetness.Black and White Cookie You Me NYCEveryone I know has a different way of eating a black and white. I am a chocoholic, I eat the white side first and save the yummy chocolateness for last, always the best for last. Some people prefer the white side, so they eat the black side first. Others just go for it and dig in. It’s The perfect cookie for sharing as they are the size of a desert plate. They are a NYC staple.

Next time you walk by a NYC bakery, not a cupcake place, pick one up and share it with someone you love or savor every bite for your self. They are worth the calories.

Mike’s Coffee and Deli for Breakfast

Mike's Coffee and Deli You Me NYCTucked away on 32nd street, midtown Manhattan, there is a tiny storefront serving some of the best breakfast in New York City.  I am talking about Mike’s Coffee and Deli.  There is nowhere to sit and nowhere to stand so if you are looking to go and take a load off, don’t bother going to Mike’s.  There is usually a line around the corner, packed with people that are looking to get their breakfast and go.  Don’t worry though, if you see a long line, it moves fast.  You will be at the front within minutes, paying for and receiving your food not too long after.

Mike’s is a breakfast spot for the fast paced. People waiting on line know what they want and know that they don’t have to wait long for it.  The employees, know your own order better than you do.  Every once an a while, an order could change up and then one might have to wait a few extra seconds.  One patron was talking about how all she has to do, is make eye-contact with one of the counter people, nod and they will have her order waiting for her when she gets to the front of the line.

Affordability and quality, Mike’s nails that on the head.  Probably one of the best bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches in the city, along with a good strong cup of coffee to get you out of your morning fog.  If you are ever in midtown and crushed for time, Mike’s Coffee and Deli is the spot to satisfy your morning feeding routine.  Even if you are not in a rush you can save time by stopping at Mike’s, think about what you can do with a few extra “New York Minutes” in the morning.  Stop by and enjoy, tell them Dave Jacobs sent you over.

 

Mike’s is located at:
44 East 32nd Street
New York, NY 10016

 

A Coffee Shop Institution

An institution of all coffee shops in NYC, the “Lower East Side Coffee Shop” says it all.  I love this shop, and pretty much all “Original” and “True” New Yorkers love this place or at least know of it.  What I love the most aside from the price, is that it is completely unchanged and in keeping with the “Coffee Shop” tradition.

When you walk into this java hub, you are taken back to a vintage era.  An age of leather booths for four and tables for two.  The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and breakfast foods, that get your taste-buds going, fills the air.  The staff is professional and seasoned and probably have been at this coffee emporium since its establishment.

Lower East Side Coffee Shop You Me NYC

My favorite time to visit is early morning.  There is nothing better than listening to “WBGO DJ” Gary Walker spinning timeless Jazz classics over a hot cup of coffee.  That first sip of coffee with the anticipation of my favorite breakfast is what I like to call “Great Expectations” as the early morning stress melts away.  Every once and while, you can relive your youth, watching a young guy make an ass out of himself to impress his date after a night out on the town.

What makes early morning special, is you get to see both sides of the city.  The night time crowd retiring and the early risers beginning their day.  Either way this place removes the weight of the world off of you, for however long it takes to down a cup of coffee or a bowl of oatmeal.

The “Lower East Side Coffee Shop” is open 24 hours a day and believe me, I have been there all  hours of the day and evening.  From a night of hard partying with friends to actually meeting first dates.  The “Lower East Side Coffee Shop” is truly a great spot to start your day or end your evening.  It is a staple in the realm of the “Coffee Institution”.

 

 

 

Pure Samba

Making people happy and smile is what is most important to Lisa Ferreira, founder and director of “Pure Samba” a dance and entertainment company based out of the “Fort Greene” section of Brooklyn.  Originally from Long Island, Lisa currently resides in and is a proud resident of “Fort Greene” Brooklyn.  She considers herself the mayor of “Fort Greene”, as she is one of the last remaining cool “Fort Greene” residents from an era of Black Excellence, Black Renaissance, and Black culture of “Fort Greene”, Brooklyn.
Pure Samba Lisa FerreiraThe first time Lisa witnessed a Samba performance, she was enthralled and captivated as to how beautiful, strong, and confident the women were performing.  Her love for Brasil, its people, food, music, dance, culture, energy along with her “West Indian” Heritage,  are all factors that lead up to her decision in becoming a Samba performer.  Lisa’s father’s people are from Trinidad and as a child she and her siblings would hear their great aunt and uncle profess their love for Carnival when they would come back from their trips to Trinidad.  Lisa was fascinated by the costumes worn and the joy expressed by the people participating in Carnival, in the pictures her great aunt and uncle would share with her and her  siblings.  According to Lisa “It is a beautiful coincidence that as an adult I came to fall in love with Carnival from Brasil. It is in my roots, my blood, my heritage as well. My great aunt and uncle have since passed, but I know they are proud to see me living the Carnival tradition by way of the colorful stories they shared with me as a child”.

According to Ferreira, there are a few pop influences that have an impact on the way she dances, along with the beautiful dancers she has the pleasure to work with as well.  However, the most significant are the Passistas, the superstars of Samba dance of Brasil, it’s their joy and innovation that inspire Lisa’s dance technique.  According to Lisa, her main motivation behind the establishing of her company is her beautiful mother.  Her mother would encourage her to be the best that she can be and find bliss in doing her own thing.  Unfortunately both her beloved mother and father passed away in 2014.  “Pure Samba” is her tribute to her mother who is her eternal revelation for everything she does in life.  “I continue hearing her say ‘Go ahead do it, do it with all your might'”, Lisa says.  No matter how tired and exhausted she is, her mother’s influence keeps her going, as she puts her heart and soul into every performance.  According to Ferreira, she guesses she is always looking for her mother’s validation which keeps her striving to be the best.Pure Samba Llisa Ferreira

Being a performing artist and the owner of a dance company in New York City, the winter poses an issue with keeping her body warm prior to shows, which is one of the challenges Lisa deals with.  Other than that, there are very little challenges due to her love for dance.  Listening to the music makes her smile and wearing one of her beautiful costumes is like a fantasy.  Samba makes her happy, it’s magical she explains.  If Lisa’s having a bad day, the moment she starts to dance, it all melts away, without a care in the world.

Aside from the demanding world of dance and the countless hours that are spent by being a business owner, there is actually some downtime.  Being a SAG/AFTRA actress, she likes to spend time watching episodic television, dance alone at home enjoying the relationship between dance and music and spending time with friends over brunch.

When asked what advice she would give to up and coming dancers that want to make a career out of dance, her recommendation is to love what you do and be the best that you can be at the moment, along with not judging yourself if you are injured or having a bad day.  With that being said, Lisa has always had a vision to continue to empower the dancers of “Pure Samba”, by creating high profile opportunities for each of the performers, such as the co-creation of a commercial for Hershey’s Kisses “Say it with a Kiss” campaign and an appearance on on the “Nightly Show”, with Larry Whilmore about Cuba.  Lisa also co-stared in a comedy pilot for A&E as a Samba Dancer and she also choreographed a routine for a very well known men’s fashion designer, for New York Fashion Week Mens.

It’s a very full plate that Lisa has on her table and what’s amazing is that she still has time for a social life.  She will continue to create high profile opportunities for the members of her dance company and herself as well.  She is looking forward to continued success in her performing and one day also to be married.