City Tap – Spoiler Alert – It’s Not Bar Food


Marty and I enjoyed dinner last night at the relatively new City Tap in City Place. City Tap (CT) is located at the top of the escalator looking down on the fountain. They have indoor and outdoor bars and dining. When we walked inside we were impressed with the quality of the build out, the size of the room, the U shaped bar and the number and size of the TVs. In addition to the bar seats and surrounding high tops CT has three other seating areas: inside in the main dining room – a separate yet covered room that is open to the walkway and the fountain – as well as a private dining room.

If you enjoy “Craft” beers CT has sixty on tap for you to choose from. Yes that’s 60 and from the sampling tray we tasted they were all COLD – the kegs are all kept in a super cold storage locker out of sight but close to the bar.

I’m pleased to say that CT also features “Craft” food. Marty and I feasted on three excellent appetizers: Corn and Crab Hush Puppies with both a Remoulade Sauce and a small serving pot of Honey Thyme Butter – Blended cold Foie Gras with mustard beads and sweet thinly sliced onions with big toast points – and Tuna Carpaccio. The Hush Puppies brushed in the Honey Thyme Butter were addictive – like fresh potato chips or popcorn, you can’t eat just one.

For our entree we shared the Wednesday Night Special – which is a most unusual and delicious Berkshire Pork Arancini. It looks like a large open sided ravioli – whose top and bottom is a square of thin, crisp and tasty pork filled with pulled pork in a delightful sauce. It is as good as it is unique. Each day of the week they have a different special which is listed on the menu.

In addition to a sampling of Craft Beers we had an enjoyable Margarita and one of “Rebecca’s Special Home Brewed Tea.” The menu says if you can guess the ingredients they will give you a second one.

We ate at the Bar and the service was friendly, prompt and courteous. If you want to see a game or just watch sports on TV you are surrounded by GIANT sized TV screens with virtually unlimited sight lines. On the other hand if you are with a date, a four top or a big party there are a variety of seating options available to you.

City Tap – Craft Beer and Craft Food.

The Breaker’s “ReNewed” Seafood Bar


If you have been fortunate enough to visit The Breakers on Palm Beach you know what a first class Property it is – really without peer in the region. You may have had the opportunity to enjoy the Seafood Bar in times past. Be sure to put a visit for lunch or dinner to the just opened and incredibly well renovated, expanded and beautiful old/new Seafood Bar on your lunch or dinner to do list.

“Millions and millions” of dollars were spent and no holds barred to make this classic dining room with a direct ocean view a visual treat to match the menu. The new Seafood Bar appears to be twice the size of the old room – with a very open feeling and a view from every where of the spacious kitchen and the world’s largest aquarium bar – complete with new windows for more ocean front viewing. The Bar is triple the length of the original aquarium bar and was crafted for The Breakers in Nevada and shipped in one piece. The aquarium is also deeper, enhancing your view and giving the fish more room to swim. If the fish swim all the way from one end to the other they will be in great shape.

As we sat at our table yesterday we had the feeling we were sitting in a classic 1920’s wooden ship – so unique and comfortable. If you liked the old menu you will be happy because 75% of their favorites are back. We always loved the Seafood Club and it was great to have it again with their unbelievably rich Truffle Fries. In addition there were a few new treats we really enjoyed. Several of their appetizers and light items are being served tasting style on three small but connected plates. Marty and I were there yesterday with our friend Rebecca and ordering several of these items was perfect for sharing.

We strongly recommend the Tuna Tartar and the Filet sliders. They were great. Speaking of great – don’t forget to start with an order of their freshly baked and buttered Yeast Rolls. I could have eaten ten of them they were so light and tasty. We threw caution to the wind and ordered a few fresh oysters, a side of Gorgonzola/Truffle fries and finished up splitting their rich and delicious Tres’ Leches with fresh pressed coffee.

As you can guess our attentive server had to help us get up after all that great food and the good news is we were at The Breakers and are free to walk off lunch and enjoy their grand interior and exterior views. As always The Breakers welcomes “the local poor” like Marty and I and valet parking is complimentary when you get your parking stub stamped in any of their restaurants, bars and shops.

It’s amazing what “millions and millions” of dollars will get you these days!

Star Wars – Rogue One – Great Fun and Very Entertaining


We had family and friends out today for Star Wars, Rogue One and it was a lot of fun and very entertaining. Our gang of seven ranged in age between seven and “seventyish” and we were all pumped up coming out of the theater. At our showing very few people got up from their seats when the movie was over but the seventy one year old needed a potty stop.

I did not recognize any of the new cast but we bonded with them immediately. Those of us who have now seen all eight Star Wars were impressed with their attention to detail and being certain Rogue One fit in sequence just before Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back – which was the Original Star Wars Film in 1980. The young woman who played the lead (in my opinion) was likeable, believable and her role was an integral part in tying this Star Wars adventure to the Empire Strikes Back. A modest spoiler alert here – she is not Princess Lea but keep your eyes open towards the end!

Not that this was the best Star Wars ever, but it may be the leader in the club house with great lines that elicited laughter from the audience. Four or five times we were laughing out loud in our row.

If you are not a “hater” you will want to see Rogue One in the theater. The special effects and battle scenes will not be nearly as impressive in home viewing. If you have any toys from the original 1980 film stashed away in the basement dig them out – wrap them up and you will be the bomb with who ever gets them for Christmas – as they are featured in Rogue One.

Marty, Tony, Jenna and our friends Chris, Krista and Joah all give Star Wars – Rogue One a very big “Thumbs Up!”

The Chronological Christmas Story


Have you ever wanted to have an easy to read Chronological Order of the Christmas Story? One that you could read for yourself and something you could share with your family and friends at Christmas without having to jump back and forth from Luke to Matthew and then back to Luke again and so on. Here is Uncle Larry’s attempt to give you this tool, all taken from the NIV Translation of God’s Word given to us by St. Luke and St. Matthew.

The Birth Of Jesus Foretold
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1: 26-38

Mary Visits Elizabeth
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1: 39-45

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1: 46-55

Mary Returns to Nazareth
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. Luke 1:56

Joseph – Mary’s Faithful Fiancée
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. Matthew 1: 19-25

The Birth of Jesus
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. Luke 2: 1-7

The Shepherds and an Angel and The Host of Angels
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2: 8-20

Wise Men from the East
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. Matthew 2: 1-12

The Escape to Egypt
When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Matthew 2: 13-16

The Return to Nazareth
After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.” So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene. Matthew 2: 19-23

So ends this Chronological Review of the The Christmas Story – otherwise known as the introduction of the Messiah – the One who was fully God and fully man.

Speaking of the time from Eternity past St. John writes his brief overview of the coming of the God-man:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1: 1-5; 14

Anger – Like Kudzu in Georgia it’s everywhere!


Anger, it’s like Kudzu in Georgia – it grows everywhere and getting rid of it requires digging out the roots and burning them – or throwing them in your neighbors yard if you are angry with him about something.
For me I think of anger sort of like temptation. It’s always around and it just jumps up on me like flies on honey. I don’t have to seek it out, it always seems to know where I am.

Saint Paul told us in I Corinthians 10:13 that “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Is this where temptation and anger differ? Is God going to provide me a way out of temptation if I am willing to take it – but this latent, deep seated anger that I’ve been carrying around for fifty years or so – is there Biblical support that God wants to help me with that?

Our friends at GotQuestions.org put out a good piece this week on anger – from a Biblical perspective – addressing: 1. Is anger BAD and 2. How we can deal with it. I read the piece and I know I need to work on some of these principles. OK, you got me, I need to work on all of them!

If you are interested in what they are just open this site. It takes about five minutes to read and a lifetime to apply.

https://gotquestions.org/QOTW.htm

The Crown – Netflix – Royally Entertaining


If you have a smart TV and want to see some of the best entertainment on “television” you really do need to subscribe to Netflix. I think we are paying $9 a month and not only is “Wi-fi” the future of entertainment it is the present of some of the most creative and entertaining programs available today. Also, as I’m sure you know it’s commercial free and when a program is released the entire season is available for viewing. If you really get into a program you can just keep watching it episode after episode.

The Crown is nothing short of outstanding. Marty has always followed all things “Royal” and she thinks this is the best entertainment she has seen – movies and TV – in a long time.

We watched Episodes One and Two last night and I felt like I had just seen a full feature film that I would give an A rating for entertainment, history, human interest, politics, cinematography and grand sets. Perhaps its the “American” in me but when I see one of these well done pieces about the Royal Family the full range of human emotions – both good and bad – seem to be in full view.

Neither Marty or I know any of the British actors but they are great at being “British.” Claire Foy – who ever she is – did a wonderful job in Episodes One and Two of showing us the transition of a young girl to a wife and mother and is just starting to come into her own as Her Royal Majesty.

As the only American actor in the cast John Lithgow does an excellent job portraying an aging Winston Churchill in the final act of his political career. The costume and make up artists should win an award for transforming him visually into the Father of England.

If you have Netflix jump in on “The Crown.” Marty and I believe you will really enjoy it.

The Accountant – It All Adds Up


Marty, Tony and I all give Ben Affleck and “The Accountant” a solid A for Action, Dialogue, Subtle Humor, Supporting Cast, Surprising Plot Twists, Realistic and Justified Violence and especially The Film’s theme and message.

Ben Affleck was fully in “character” as Christian Wolff – an adult living the story of a child who was born with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of high functioning Autism. This developmental disorder is characterized in people who are high functioning, driven, exhibit a strong personal moral code, are mathematically inclined, become anxious when a task is not completed, avoid social interaction, struggle with non-verbal communication – yet they desire to be in relationships but often lack the skills to do so. Ben never broke character – even when I really wanted him to.

At this point you may be thinking of “Rain Man” and what a wonderful and liberal movie of redemption this might be. Guess again theater goer! This film uses a technique that I usually don’t care for – Flashbacks – to effectively piece together the story of how an odd kid wound up being a Forensic Accountant dealing with some of the world’s most dangerous characters – with exceptionally high compensation. In part because of his disorder – but primarily because of the extreme methods his Father used to help Chris learn to deal with the real world – Chris became a super efficient instrument of violence and death when his moral code was violated.

The film moves back and forth between the story of a US Treasury Agent (J.K. Simmons) and his dedicated and emotionally complicated Assistant (Cynthia Robinson) hunting down The Accountant – Chris’s work for a corporation whose Junior Accountant (Anna Kendrick) uncovered some discrepancies – and a significant amount of bad guys who violated Chris’s moral code and or threatened his almost new friend Anna having their bodies beaten, broken and quite often their lives very realistically terminated. Arnold would have been proud! But some of you will find the violence too much. Tony and I enjoyed seeing the bad guys get what they deserved and often accompanied by some subtle and clever one liner – executed with good timing by Affleck.

Throw in a small but well acted part as a mentor by Jeffrey Tambor – non stop action and at least two plot twists I never saw coming we strongly recommend you see The Accountant. We are looking forward to buying it when it comes out on DVR so we can listen more carefully to the dialogue and cynical humor during much of the violence. That said will you miss a lot if you wait for home viewing? No – just delayed enjoyment – but there are very few special effects, if any, that must be seen on the big screen.

Lethal Weapon – The Best American Buddy Cop TV Show Since Miami Vice


How lucky can one couple get? Marty and I saw Denzel bring down the bad guys in The Magnificent Seven and in the very same week we are treated to the best American Buddy Cop TV Show since Tubbs and Crocket in Miami Vice! This is the most fun Marty has had since our honeymoon! OK – maybe I had you up to there but you know I crossed the line with that weak reference.

Fox’s rip off of Mel and Danny’s Lethal Weapon movies does not disappoint. I will state unequivocally this is the best Buddy Cop Procedural on TV. My ex-news anchor friend Kurt Fonger taught me that a Procedural is a TV production that begins and ends the plot each show. Unlike “24” and so many of today’s TV shows that leave you on the edge of frustration – Fox’s Lethal Weapon does not leave you “hangin bro.”

This show is a fast paced hour of entertainment combining Black and White – action and violence – definitely good and bad guys – great one liners – stirred with four cups of Sarcastic Humor – Partners – Family and deep rooted heart ache.

Daman Wayans (Murtaugh) is probably the only “face” you will know but in this role he plays the straight guy to Clane Crawford (Riggs) and Riggs steals the show. If possible I strongly encourage you to use your Xfinity On Demand or what ever TV provider you use and watch the premier episode first. The show builds on Murtaugh’s family dynamic and Riggs PTSD and other deep seated emotional issues from the tragic loss of his pregnant wife. As a sub plot the writers do an excellent job of dealing with the subject of suicide.

Well enough of me droning on – by the way did I mention Murtaugh’s successful and hot Defense Attorney wife played by Kesha Sharp – the ever present and necessary authority figure Captain Brooks (Kevin Rahm) and the beautiful and charming Police Psychologist Maureen (Jordana Brewster)?

The Magnificent Seven – A worthy compliment to its predecessors and a very entertaining Western to watch.


The Cinematographers presented the landscapes as a pallet upon which the writers and actors paint a gritty, rich and colorful film that will some day be known as a classic Western.

A rag tag bunch of misfit Cowboys, Indians and Confederates are led by a Black Gunman with an unknown motivation for justice and a burning hatred for The Bad Guy! The Town Folk are led by a spunky young widow whose husband was killed in cold blood in the local Church.

Marty, Tony and I really liked this film. Certainly not because of its originality but because it was BIG – full of action packed scenes that never left me bored – the odd mix of characters bonded – it had interesting dialogue and the big showdown of the Magnificent Seven against an army of bad guys was well planned, chocked full of close up and personal killing of many bad guys – which led to a good ending with a couple of surprises.

Not only are we recommending this film to you but we encourage you to see it on the Big Screen. It was filmed in New Mexico and Louisiana and the scenery is as important as any character. The Costume staff did an excellent job of dressing the actors in what we romanticize as Cowboy attire with vests, boots, shiny Colts and Peacemakers riding magnificent horses.

When the credits rolled we sat in our seats for a couple of minutes reflecting on how well we had been entertained – which I believe is the point of going to a movie.

 

Hell or Highwater – The Modern Cowboy Reincarnation of The Big Lebowski A+ by Tony, Marty and Uncle Larry


The Directors of Hell or Highwater give Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine and a strong supporting cast the TIME needed to allow you to get to know each of the five central characters as so few movies do any more. This film defies categorization. It’s not a comedy but it’s sometimes not so subtle dialogue had us laughing out loud. Jeff Bridges role as a Texas Ranger defies Political Correctness.  It’s not a violent film but people get killed as sometimes happens in life. It’s not a tale of suspense but all along the way little bread crumbs lead you slowly to the ending – which was a comforting surprise to me.

For you ladies you who saw Chris Pine in the recent Startrek release be prepared to see this generations Brad Pitt! Chris pulls his weight, is ruggedly handsome and quietly sexy with his tan and three day beard. Did I really just say that?

All in all we really like this film. That said – will you miss anything if you wait for Home Rental? Absolutely Not – except you won’t get to enjoy it until then. Like the Big Lebowski and many other “Character Development” classics the hundreds of millions of dollars Hell or Highwater will make will be from home viewers. Tony and I can’t wait to have a short one and see this film at home where we can rewind and listen to the lines we really enjoyed and some we probably missed.

Those of you who read movie reviews may wonder how a film that got a 99% rating from “Rotten Tomatoes” and a 90% review by audiences could have opened with a low first weekend “gross.” As I said earlier this movie defies categorization and may not appeal to the Action-Adventure and Computer Generated wizardry crowd. Yet, I believe it will have long legs from word of mouth and years from now people who enjoy getting to know the characters and feel plot development will still be renting Hell or Highwater.