Archive for May, 2007

Brown Studio Opens in Montclair

May 30, 2007

Confused about foundation, gloss, eyeliner? Well, Montclair native Bobbi Brown has opened her first retail store off of Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair.

The grand opening it tomorrow at Lackawanna Plaza in Montclair but the curious can read all about it today on NJ.com.

JC

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Yoshi Won’t Roll You Over

May 29, 2007

Yoshi Japanese Restaurant
109 Watchung Plaza
Montclair, NJ, 07042
973-746-7272

We broke the Bloomfield Avenue bubble this Memorial Day weekend and ventured over to the much quieter Watchung Plaza section of town. There are a few shops and restaurants mainly in the two blocks east of the train station but not much in the way of nightlife.

This can be good and bad.

The good. It took us exactly one minute to find a parking spot on Watchung Avenue only a few steps away from our dining destination. Try doing THAT on a Saturday night along Bloomfield Ave.

Still, there’s a buzz missing from that area of town and we’re sorry to report that Yoshi did not make matters any better.

There was only one other couple eating inside when we arrived around 8:30 p.m. last Saturday yet service was a bit on the slow side for such a quiet night.

We had edamame, which was salted but we didn’t get any soy sauce to dip the beans in. Now, that might be the way Yoshi serves them but that isn’t the way everyone eats them.

We ordered the sushi for two and the fish was good but nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing that wouldn’t be surpassed by Sushi Hanna, Nori, Daruma or even Nouveau Sushi. It also took awhile to get a second glass of water. This may have had to do with us eating outside. Out of sight out of mind I guess but for a place off the beaten path we thought there might be a little something special about Yoshi. Something that would make it a destination, instead, Yoshi is more of a sidestep.

JC

Been Out This Week

May 24, 2007

Jerseycool took a road trip out to the wild lands of Indiana this week for the gig that pays the bills, which is why there has been a lack of posting. We’d like to congratulate Jordin Sparks on her American Idol win and we’ll write more when we actually see the show on the DVR later this week. We’re also geared up for the final episode of Lost, which we arrived too late to catch so no spoilers out there people.

P.S. The food at Newark Liberty airport has to be among the worst in the country. Compared to what we found at O’Hare in Chicago, Jersey travelers are really getting the bad end of the stick if you know what we mean.

Oh, and if someone wants to explain to me why it costs $60 (tolls and tip) to get from Newark airport to Montclair, NJ, have at it.

JC

Corzine’s Spot Hits the Interent

May 24, 2007

Gov. Jon Corzine’s “buckle up” public service announcement is all over the Internet today. NJ.com has it on the home page today if you haven’t seen it.

The clip begins with Corzine introducing himself and then telling everyone he should be dead. The clips from the crash that follow back up his point. We don’t want to rake Corzine over the coals. Not wearing a seat belt in an SUV going 90 miles per hour is pretty stupid but by the looks of the governor he seems to have suffered quite a bit for his mistake.

The click is part of a national “click it or ticket” campaign, and hopefully the PSA will hit home with some people. However, even in this day and age some people just don’t get it. There was a picture on the wires yesterday of President Bush riding around his ranch without a seat-belt. You can see the photo on USAToday’s OnDeadline blog.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this. It seems that it’s perfectly legal to not wear a seat belt when you drive on private property in Texas. I suppose accidents on private property are much less lethal than those on public property. However, after Gov. Corzine’s incident wouldn’t it be nice to have leaders lead by example for a change.

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of May 18-20

May 18, 2007

Because of time constraints this week we have a truncated excitables column. Sorry folks but the world has gotten busy for the one man media department here. Anyway, if we missed anything feel free to add it to our comments below.
Cheers and onward

The weather will be crappy this weekend but if they play then all eyes in the area will be on the annual grudge match between the Yankees and Mets this weekend at Shea. The novelty isn’t quite what it used to be and the Bronx Bombers aren’t helping things out by royally sucking so badly this year, but it still is great theater.

Elsewhere this weekend:

Shrek is Back — In the theater’s the mighty green ogre, Shrek returns for a third go-around in the appropriately title “Shrek the Third.” The impressive cast of characters are back and here’s to hoping that this trilogy works out better than the Spiderman series did.

Sopranos winding down – We haven’t written about it in a while but the final episodes of the Sopranos are delivering as advertised. Without giving too much away it looks like each character is getting a swan song and things are coming to a head and according to at least one of the actors on that show the end could be quite bloody. An article in today’s NY Post quotes Steven Van Zandt as saying the last few episodes will be very violent to the point where if you think they could do a Soprano’s film it would have to be a prequel.

Happy weekend everyone,

JC

Melinda Done Wrong

May 17, 2007

What can we say, while all of us bloggers were busy trying to figure out who would lose to Melinda Doolittle in the American Idol finals phone voters and texters were busily trying to keep Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis in the game. End result: bye, bye Melinda.

Yes folks, there is no fairness in American Idol land where voters apparently preferred the beat box gimmickry of Blake Lewis and the golly gee cheerfulness of Jordin Sparks over the much more talented though charismatically challenged Melinda Doolittle.

The anguished look on Simon Cowell’s face said it all as the results were announced and the only thing left to do now is pick apart the bones and let the conspiracy theories begin. Yes, though Doolittle was by far the best singer on this year’s idol, record producers were probably wringing their hands trying to figure out how they would market the 29-year old jazz singer to a generation Y audience.

Underneath the groans from last nights audience were quite a few sighs of relief from record producers. Of course, Doolittle will make a record it just won’t be sold as an American Idol winner’s record and that might not be such a bad thing.

In fact, the perfomace of last years third place finisher Eliott Yamin combined with the success of also ran Chris Daughtry should prove that American Idol is more about the exposure than who wins.

Yamin’s passionate soul singing last night left that other gray-haired singer from last year back in the dust though we were a bit confused when Yamin took the stage and we thought we had accidentally flipped over to a rerun of Adam Sandler in the Wedding Singer.

So farewell Mindy Doo and if nothing else her ouster makes next week’s final all the more unpredictable.

JC

And Then There Were Three

May 16, 2007

Last night’s final three of American Idol was actually a pretty good show. Usually the final two are pretty obvious and it’s just a waiting game for the next episode. But it really is conceivable that any one of the three remaining Idol wannabees could be bounced tonight.

It’s obvious that Melinda Doolittle has the best voice and is the most polished of the final three. In many respects she’s already won. Still, she has an older style and could be a surprising final cut. Remember Chris Daughtry was once the clear cut front runner last season. We think Doolittle will be there in the end and actually should win easily.

Which brings us to a choice between the young and bubbly Jordin Sparks and the quirky cool Blake Lewis; both had there good and bad moments last night but we think Idol fans still reward the vocal over everything else.

So we believe we bid adieu to Mr. Lewis tonight. The Michael Winslow of American Idol will probably go on to have a decent career. We don’t see ever buying one of his records because beat boxing is cool for about 20 seconds and then it gets a bit annoying, much like Michael Winslow of Police Academy fame.

But in a season that despite the gaudy ratings was charismatically challenged Blake gave us something unexpected to look forward to. As for Ms. Sparks, her feel good vibe will have a mighty challenge going up against Melinda Doolittle. If it’s a Doolittle-Sparks final than it may be one the most lopsided AI ending this side of Fantasia-Degarma.

JC

Spiderman 3 Casts Too Broad a Net

May 15, 2007

We caught the third Spiderman installment this weekend and both agreed that the third time was defiantly not the charm for the franchise. Sure, the effects are all there, including some amazing work animating the Sandman, not an easy feat that we’re sure will be rewarded come Oscar time, but where the previous two Spiderman movies moved naturally this one feels forced.

Still, we think this Spiderman worked a little too hard and perhaps tried to do a bit too much. The film is just over two hours long but it defiantly feels longer.

Spiderman 3 is all about threes. It’s a trinity of trinities I guess you’d say. There’s the relationship between the three main characters, Peter Parker, May Jane and Harry Osborn then there’s the trinity of villains, the Goblin, the Sandman and Venom (BTW, another fantastic CGI animation); there are also multiple love triangles in the film between Peter, Mary Jane and newcomer, Gwen Stacy; Peter Gwen and Eddie Brock; and the good old Peter, Harry, Mary Jane conundrum. Did you get all that?

Surprisingly we did.

The story is not hard to follow it’s just that there’s so much of it that it’s hard to invest in any one story line. Peter Parker’s growing relationship problems with Mary Jane just doesn’t dovetail well with the revenge theme in the Spiderman-Sandman story line. Throw in Venom, the alien symbiont that enhances the negative qualities of its host and there’s a lot to juggle in Spiderman 3.

Watching Spiderman 3 makes one pine for the days of Superman vs. General Zod.

The first two Spiderman movies stood apart from other comic book fare because of its performances and here there are issue as well. Rumors abound that this is the last Spiderman with the current cast and that might be a good thing. Tobey Maquire has probably done as much as he can with Peter Parker’s nice guy image and if the next movie demands more of a darker Spiderman, as this one hints at, then there might be better actors for the job. And while Kirsten Dunst has done a nice job of not getting in the way as Mary Jane there’s always a Kate Bosworth or Katie Holmes waiting in the wings to take her place.

Both Thomas Hayden Church and Topher Grace are fine as villains but neither really gets the time to develop the kind of character that Alfred Molina or William Defoe did in their respective bad guy turns.

The only one who seems to still be having fun is James Franco whose Harry Osborn gets to go back to his goofy persona from the first film.

Usually director Sam Raimi is spot on tackling these kinds of issues but it looks like the pressure to out due the first films may have even been too much for Raimi.

If nothing else Spiderman 3 really does prove the axiom that less, indeed, is more.

JC

Indigo Smoke Is a Cure For The Blues

May 14, 2007

Indigo Smoke
380 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ,
973-744-3440
http://www.indigosmoke.com

It had become something of an embarrassment that we hadn’t tried Montclair’s version of Kansas City Barbecue since we moved here a couple of years ago. Maybe it was the restaurant’s location on the other end of town from Jerseycool headquarters but for one reason or another we hadn’t tried the joint.

Well, we remedied that the other night and with every bite we regretted not having gone sooner. If you are a carnivore in the area, heck, if you’re a BBQ fan in New Jersey than Indigo Smoke is worth the trip.

The restaurant isn’t much on the eyes. Neat and clean tables with a cushioned booth opposite a set of tables in the back. All very standard stuff. There’s a couch area for take out patrons but, despite the small size, we found we had more than enough elbow room even though we were in the back with two other couples to our right and left.

The restaurant was out of beef brisket, we thought that was odd for early on a Friday but they had enough to serve on sampler plates. Sold! We ordered the meat sampler to share and also ordered the side sampler.

If you’re trying Indigo for the first time we highly recommend this strategy since it gives you a taste of all the main meats: ribs, brisket and chicken and you get to sample six side dishes, which are almost worth the price of admission by themselves.

The ribs are Kansas City sweet as they should be for a place that boasts about both it’s Zagat rating, which is quite high, and its membership in the Kansas City Barbecue Society. We don’t know about any of that but we do know that the ribs we had were succulent, savory and fell off the bone. The brisket was also melt-water mouth worthy leaving the chicken behind but only because everything else was sooo good.

Several of the side dishes also stood out and should not be missed. C took one bite of the whipped sweet potatoes and declared “if it were cold it would be ice cream.” The mac and cheese also had a home made authenticity that made you curse the day you ever cooked the stuff out of the box and the pull apart bread did more than just serve as a mop up solution for all of the left over juices on our plate.

You may have noticed a lack of green vegetables on our menu and this presents a problem for vegetarians. Even the string beans are cooked with bacon so unless your diet allows for fish there is little on Indigo Smoke’s menu that will suit your diet.

Indigo Smoke also has some interesting services. The restaurant features a jazz and gospel brunch on Sundays, which we have put on our schedules, delivery and take out menus and Indigo has a dinners club where patrons can pay a yearly fee to have meals prepared and delivered in advance.

In battleship parlance we scored a hit with Indigo Smoke and we’ll be sure to make a return trip soon.

JC

Starbucking the Trend

May 11, 2007

We get as annoyed with Starbucks as the next guy. Why do I have to order a tall when I want a small? Why do I need to pay $3 for a cup of java that most places sell for half that? Why does the person making my drink make me want to punch them?

However, on occasion, the Buck gets it right.

One of the companies marketing programs prints customer quotes and opinions on the outside of their cups. Most are fairly innocuous along the lines of “Don’t eat the yellow snow” but some customers have, as you probably expected, taken offense with some of the opinions fellow latte lovers have to offer. Namely, several questioning the existence or importance of God. It’s also fair to note there are pro-religion quotes as well.

Anyway, the blog WorldNet Daily has a much better post on this than we could come up with if you want to read the controversial quotes but let’s send our props out to the Buck for sticking to its guns. Rather than bow to a few — and I mean a few (think Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingram, you know, the usual suspects), who are calling for boycotts, protests, the ritual dumping of tea at your local Starbucks, the company is sticking with the program.

Now, we love Jesus as much as the next guy, heck, we even share the same initials but what’s happened to us as a society when we can’t read a quote on a coffee cup without having a hissey fit and threatening a boycott. If you can’t get through your mocha grande because of a sentence some Seattle hipster jotted down on a brownie sugar rush you’ve got some issues.

We’ll see how this plays out, but good for Starbucks for standing up to the tyranny of small minds.

JC