A whole lot o' nothing. And then some….
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Posts from — March 2011

TURBO CHARGED

I think I’m a bit of a gym slut.

Not the gyms themselves – I’m a serial monogomist in terms of the facilities. When I’m in, I’m in. Until I leave ’em for someplace else. But workouts? I’m a class cocktease. I flirt with the fitness schedule, wait to be woo’d (or lured), and, if we’re a match, I get obsessed. My life revolves around the class. I picture myself making the commitment, getting hitched – even becoming an instructor!! Then I buy the equipment and, inevitably, dump it.

Hello MMA boxing gloves and goodbye BOB punching class. Hola jump rope, adios bootcamp. Konichiwa cycling shoes, sayonara spinning…. And on it goes.

For the past year I’ve been using my very fit friend M’s workouts. Where once I couldn’t finish, now I’ve upped the weights, the reps, the whole shebang. I’ve adapted them from Polish Army training to Jewish Boot ‘n Butt Camp. I’ve typed ’em up, printed them off, passed them around. And then I decided to try to get more into the groove. Dance aerobics were popping everywhere (like, on the TV’s at the gym) and I was intrigued.

First up, I tried Zumba. Yawn. I felt like an honorary member of the blue rinse cruise brigade, with nary a Julie McCoy in sight. The instructor was the only one shvitzing in the whole class. The rest of us tried to stay awake by figuring out what we were supposed to do. I was waiting for Isaac to pop up with a drink. Apparently there’s a “just go with it” philosophy at play. For me, it was so relaxed it was practically chair-obics.

Then I tried Tracy Anderson and her method. I mean, hello Gwyneth, right? She even busted out The Method when she guested on Glee. At first glance, the cardio part seemed like an aerobics class of yester-year, minus the camel-toe leotard. Fun dancing? In in in! Until I tried to boogie down while looking up at my screen. No go. So I stuck with the weight training part. OK, the arm part of the weight training part. Legs were too tricky. And the abs? Didn’t get it. So I grabbed my puny 1 lb weights and hit the floor. The looks I got (ok, get) in the gym range from snide to snickering but even a measly pound gets heavy when you’re lifting it 100 times. It also gets boring as hell.

Now I have a new crush: Turbo Kick. Part kickboxing, part dancing, all sweating. It’s like Tae Bo for a new generation. Seriously, you come outta there with hair drenched, outfit unfit for second time use, and hot, hot, hot. Like, “what class was THAT?!” kind of sweat.

This is no one-nighter. It takes some time to get into it. And figure it out. Our turbo guide Felicia demonstrated the moves but then, we were off. Really, rhythmically off. The right hand had no clue what the left was doing, let alone the legs. The first part of the class was all kick ‘n punch, coordinating limbs and hoping for the best. Then came the “turbo” part. Intense. Intimidating. Incredible. Knees-to-chest jumping jacks. Burpees. Weird punching squats that are more Maori warrior than kickboxing menace. Speedy speedy in every way – complete with the high at the end. Finish off with some round-house pelvic pumps with a side of hip-hop hustle and you’re good to go.

In other words, it’s got all the rage-defying, therapeutic punch of a boxing class with the fancy footwork of a Beyonce video.

Except I certainly do not look like I belong in a Beyonce video. Or even her wedding video.

I pride myself on being able to cut a rug with the best of ’em and I like me a good dance party. I’ve climbed up and got down on my share of (out-of-town) bars and tables. Sure, I may lead a little when salsa-ing with my Man, but at least I can (ish). And yet, in Turbo Kick I find myself with two left feet. I’ve never felt more … white. Or virginal. There’s a whole lotta pelvis goin’ on. A lot of awkward thrusting, pretending to brush stuff off your shoulder, fire throwing – and all with ‘tude. My turbo pal is a real life dance teacher and even she feels like Whitey McWhitestein, so at least I’m not alone.

This class definitely has a learning curve. The more you go, the better you get, the more you sweat. It has also has an, um, interesting aesthetic: echoes of Ed Hardy, trucker hats, studded belts. It’s that hot blind date with the questionable fashion sense. Luckily I’m not tempted to buy any of it. Yet. When you see me wearing a tattooed muscle shirt with blinged out armband you’ll know I’ve kicked the turbo habit and moved on. Until then….

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March 28, 2011   2 Comments

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XOXO KOKO

I’m a big Open Table user. I’m like a glutton for punishment with this site. For out-of-town bookings – I’m in anytime, anyplace. Locally? SOL. And yet they’ve got me coming back for more. Definition of insanity? Perhaps. I’ll look up the same spots over and over and they’ll be booked, regardless of how early I try to snag ’em. And then there are The Others. Those places that always have space. ALWAYS. I could search for a table for 10 for the next night, et voila! – I’m in. Except I’m not. Because of course I’d never book somewhere that was so readily available. Y’know, the whole not wanting to belong to any club that would have me as a member thing….

Such was the case with Koko Share Bar. Any time I visited Open Table, there it was. Table for 2 on a Saturday night during Winterlicious? No problem. Last minute table for 10? Sure, come on in. Rent out the whole place for a private function? The more the merrier. The reviews were uniformly good. The menu sounded kinda perfect for me – modern Korean/Japanese Tapas. And yet they were always willing to have me.

What was wrong with this place?

Curiosity finally got the better of me when I had to find a table for 6. Six who didn’t want the twilight dinner special or the 9:30 seating. Since my top five (ok, ten) weren’t having us, I was left with no choice but to finally bite the bullet, book ‘er down, and head on over to the subterranean spot on Yorkville. Our first impression was that it was yet another cheap ‘n cheerful sushi bar. The kind you’d walk past without registering (which, um, my Man has. Daily.) But a cheery “how ya goin'” from our Aussie server won us over. And once the food started coming, we were hooked.

We decided to go family-style – it was called “share bar” right? After ordering a slew of Soju-based cocktails we were primed. (Soju, for those not in the know, is like the Korean version of Vodka). And then the food started coming. And coming. And coming. First up were veggie gyoza – nice ‘n light ‘n crispy. Next came their “signature modern” sushi and sashimi. YOWSA!!! Tuna marinated in a maple-balsamic reduction was ridiulously tasty. And the torched butterfish with daikon and ponzu was melt-in-your-mouth mmmmm goodness. Maki rolls were unlike anything I’d seen before. The Scallop with armelized shallots were just “ish” for me – I prefer raw to seared. But the Maguro Tuna with the spicy kimchee mayo and okra??? Spec. Tac. U. Lar. Equally unforgettable were the Oysters KOKO – battered and flash fried they gave the traditional raw bad boys a run for their money.

Next came a “Bossam” platter: Spicy chicken, slow roasted crispy pork belly and Korean BBQ beef served with rice, lotsa fun sauces and lettuce leaves to wrap it all up. It was enormous, but we took it down. And fast. A plate of miso black cod was practically inhaled. It was all a little different. And a lot of delicious. Unusual. And incredible.

To share. Or not.

We were tempted to ride this food train until it’s final stop: Grilled Short Ribs… Spicy Boullaibaisse Hot Pot… Wok-tossed mussels…And so much more sushi, so little time… Unlike some of us who gnawed on garnishes and practically licked the table (you know who you are, L), this place was all class. They handled an allergy issue with aplomb and service was impeccable. Each dish was brought to us already divided into 6, ensuring no one was left out. Maybe they always serve in sixes – I’ll find out when I return. Oh yes, I’ll be back. All of us will. So don’t be surprised if you try to book on Open Table and it’s no longer available. KOKO Share Bar is a secret just waiting to be spilled.

March 13, 2011   2 Comments

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Simon who?

Idol has moved on. Onwards and, dare I say, upwards?

That’s right, sports fans, I have fully embraced the new Idol. Sacrilege? Nope, if you’ve watched at all thus far, you’ll know it ain’t. Surprising, right? Like the rest of TV land, I was skeptical on hearing of Simon Cowell’s departure. There was even talk in our house of tuning out entirely. Until now, the show was all about Mr. Cowell. Sans Simon’s acerbic wit and nasty/funny comments, we’d have to focus on- gasp – the contestants.

Shudder….

Out with Simon and in with…Steve-I-Mean-Steven Tyler? Token girl trade from Paula to Cara to…. JLo? What kind of crazy were they speaking over at Fox? Sure the Dawg was still there and while being good for some lingo ‘n smiles, he was hardly the big ticket draw, y’know?

Still, we decided to give ‘er a try. Even if it meant we’d laugh at instead of with before tuning into our regular scheduled PVR programming.

With yellow tickets being offered up like nits at a pre-school, we were disgusted. And yet there was something so…watchable…about the whole thing. Steven Tyler was funny. And charismatic. And kind. Jennifer Lopez was sweet. And generous. And kind. And Randy was constructive. And charming. And kind.

Was this the dawning of a kinder, gentler Idol? It seemed to be. And so we went from waiting for bleeps while ogling JLo’s hair and skin, to investing in the contestants. Such stories!! Welling…OK, weeping… became de riguer. It’s quite a trip from Will Hung, Bush Babies and “Pants on the Ground” to death, depression and disease. Yeah, they went there.

Caregivers, overdoses and refugees. Autism, accidents, and arson. All-singin’, no-dancin’ movie-of-the-weeks. It was relentless.

And it was riveting.

Hollywood week came and went. And a funny thing happened on the way to the Kodak. We got hooked. Again. Then came last week’s jumbotronic extendo-cull, where 24 contestants were mercilessly whittled down to 13. Gone was ginger Geddy Lee lookalike and hugger-extraordinaire Bret. Sent packing was sweet, hamish Robbie Rosen. Karma bit group-night nasties Jordan and Clint in the butt as they got the boot. And overrated ab-man Jovanni was unceremoniously dumped after being given a cringe-worthy second chance.

For the ladies it came down to traders – a couple of hotties, a pair with big hair, and a handful of generic blondes. Lots of doubling up in the girl camp with few standouts. This year it’s all about the boys. White-toothed Paul, Stefano “Tribbiani” and Country – yep, country – Scottie all ranked. Best of all, our family favourites James, Jacob and Casey made it through.

That’s right, family favourites. Some clans have game night. Or pizza night. We have Idol.

And you can too! It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon of Season 10! Go, Casey, Go!

March 8, 2011   3 Comments

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