This week, I'm declaring a theme. I dedicate this week's "What's Up" to the most precious of things -- to LOVE.
Stop rolling your eyes, kids. Get in on this action.
1. There's this little Off-Broadway musical I love called The Last Five Years that they made into a movie. And it stars my (make believe) best friend Anna Kendrick and the adorable and wonderfully talented Jeremy Jordan. It's currently in a very limited theatrical release but you can also get it on-demand or on iTunes. I loved it. It's a beautiful and sad love story. The singing is miraculous. They made this movie in a short time on a shoestring budget with zero lip-syncing, guys.
Here is Jeremy performing a song from the soundtrack on GMA Wednesday morning. And that's the show's composer, Jason Robert Brown, on piano having a pretty great time!
2. I LOVE SNL. I really do. Even when it's bad some part of it makes me smile. Or maybe sometimes I love when it's bad because I love to hate it. But there's nothing like a good laugh and above everything in the SNL40 TV special, I think the thing that made me laugh the most was the "Love Theme From Jaws."
"YOU BASTARD, JAWS!!!!!!!!"
Fun fact - Steven Spielberg may have had a hand in making that sketch happen.
3. I love chivalry. I maintain it still exists and who knew Keanu Reeves would be its champion? I like this video because he's like a quiet ninja hero.
4. This was for love.
A man named Aaron sent a box of delicious Shari's Berries to my apartment for the former resident. I felt like not only should this poor guy know his Valentine may have moved without telling him but I felt like this girl should know a man sent her a sweet treat with a nice card. So I called Shari's and made them track down the order number and promise to call the sender and tell him he needed to try again! (Good luck, Aaron!)
The customer service girl was so cute but SO surprised I'd go to the trouble. Which I guess says a little about the world we live in. I posted about this on Facebook and the feedback was really sweet -- including from Shari's Berries who saw fit to send me a $25 gift certificate for playing Cupid. It was so lovely of them and in the spirit of the whole experience, I will be using my reward to surprise someone else with a delivery!
When someone mentions the word "brunch" my mind typically drifts to thoughts of bottomless mimosas, a blood mary bar, eggs benedict or hash browns. I wouldn't necessarily gravitate toward pizza or lasagna and I certainly wouldn't normally consider a drive from my home in The Valley down to Long Beach.
And yet one wonderful morning spent at Michael's Pizzeria has changed everything.
EVERYTHING at Michael's is made fresh, on site. Even the Mozzarella. They serve Napoli-style pizza. Wood-fired. In fact, everything is prepared in their wood-fire oven (I didn't even get to the wood-fired frittatas!) and it shows in the remarkable flavors.
I ate some more "traditional" breakfast foods.
Cast-iron cinnamon rolls with a rosemary maple drizzle. Think is sounds weird because of the rosemary? So did I. Don't worry, you'll be licking your fingers. They do have kind of an.... earthy taste to them but they're unique and delicious. By contrast, the french brioche toast is sweet as sweet can be and in addition to strawberry and nutella on top (well not on mine -- I am allergic to nutella), it has the BEST whipped cream I have really EVER tasted. Which, yes, they make on site. I dream about it at night.
It wasn't until after my meal, when I was chatting with my dad over the phone about how the restaurant was, and I dropped the name of the chain, that my dad excitedly told me Michael's Pizzeria had been named the top pizzeria in the country by Zagat. (Yes, my dad knew that off the top of his head -- he's a knowledgeable foodie!) I guess that didn't really surprise me. They served me two pizzas to try and they both BLEW MY MIND.
The first, a basic Margherita. But there was nothing basic about this pizza. The second, the Carbonara with provolone, house-made mozzarella, pancetta, asparagus, and two eggs.
I mean.... LOOK AT THE CRUST. Can we just take a moment for this?
It should be noted that a day, two days and three days later, a little reheated, that pizza was still G.D. AMAZING.
I had a really unique lasagna as well. I am normally not a lasagna person but I found this to be perfect for my taste because it wasn't swimming in sauce, it wasn't overrun with one ingredient above another, and the pasta layers were sort of crispy on the edges. During lunch it comes with a side salad with a wonderful, light dressing. I also enjoyed two scoops of housemade sorbet - strawberry basil (surprisingly good!) and salted caramel. The perfect way to end this egregious feast.
Please note, you guys, the Manager was not only a nice guy but her was above-and-beyond generous. He and his lovely staff brought me a lot of food. You've probably noticed that while reading this post. So I just want to clarify that NO, I did not eat ALL OF IT. I took bites and pieces and brought the rest home. And like I said about the pizza - days later, warmed up, it was still just as delicious.
Pro tip - The Long Beach location I went to is on a Promenade so don't solely rely on Google Maps to find it. You'll get lost on all the one-way streets in Long Beach pretty easily. Keep an eye out for signs like this and park close to them:
P.S. If the weather's nice, sit outside. Especially at brunch time when they have live music. I particularly enjoyed watching all of the people walking their dogs. :)
1. The most important thing I did this week was attend "Yappy Hour!" Dog Vacay hosted a happy hour in Santa Monica, where West L.A. rescue Wags & Walks brought adoptable pups and anyone who came was welcome to bring their own pups as well.
(Please consider adopting a pet from a shelter who needs a home!)
2. I can't even begin to tell you how deep my loathing of Kanye West runs but one good thing has come out of his ridiculous post-Grammy rant about Beck winning over Beyoncé -- this mash-up of Beck's "Loser" and Beyoncé's "Single Ladies." It's pretty amazing.
The biggest ass in the Kardashian family still belongs to Kim -- except now it's her husband. A note to Kanye - Beyoncé is doing just fine on her own - no need to keep trying to steal awards on her behalf.
3. Tom Hiddleston got dared to recite a rather tricky tongue-twister for charity. The result is adorable, of course. As all things Tom does are.
4. This was making the rounds this week: "32 Kids Who Are Hilariously Picky Eaters." It amused me a lot because I'm only kind of picky about what I eat but I'm SUPER picky about how I eat. I eat in order. For example, if I order a sandwich and fries, I'll eat the sandwich first, in its entirety, then the fries. I won't put the sandwich down and have a couple fries and then resume. It's a strange habit, I know. I very rarely deviate from it. The times I do is usually because I deem a couple things on my plate "mix worthy" or because I realize something that tastes better warm is getting cold so I'll put one thing down and switch... I'm a weirdo.
5. Jon Stewart is leaving The Daily Show. He has clearly put in his time (17 years!) and deserves a dignified exit but I think because late night has changed so much in the last two years it seems to sting that much more. In any case, as I often quote him or post videos of him here, it seemed fitting to give you a "moment of zen" or two -- a couple of my favorite Daily Show moments:
6. I so love dance.
Apparently when you combine the talents of Russia's ballet bad-boy Sergei Polunin, Hozier and photography icon David LaChapelle you get a lot of angsty, sexy, beautiful dancing.
And when you take Missy Elliot's former back-up dancer, Alyson Stoner, who's all growed up now, on the heels of Missy's kick-ass Super Bowl appearance, you get this amazing tribute video proving the kid can still werk it:
ICYMI, Stoner was also one of the kids in Cheaper by the Dozen:
I also tweeted at "So You Think You Can Dance" Executive Producer and Judge, Nigel Lythgoe, to make this amazing girl a judge next season. She even favorited it, which I think means we're besties now. Go and throw it an RT, would you?
Did that title make you snicker? If not, think about it.
Ok, now that you have grasped my toilet humor, I wanted to pause from the regularly scheduled blog business to invite you to an ART ORGY.
What's coming, you wonder? UCLA Sex Squad Performances. When? Well, it's just in time for the most romantic of holidays, which definitely necessitates an orgy. It's happening this Friday, 2/13 and on Saturday, 2/14. It's going down (pun intended again) at 5:30 PM at the UCLA Glorya Kaufman Hall.
Come see original, humorous, and thought-provoking performances by the UCLA Sex Squad.
Tickets: General admission available for $15 at the UCLA Central Ticket Office or online here. Proceeds benefit UCLA's Art & Global Health Center. They do AMAZING work and it's a great cause you can learn more about here.
The puns really write themselves. It's giving me a pretty big heart-on.