Casellula (and Andrew Nemr's "Cats Paying Dues" Tap Ensemble!)

Last night Alyssa and I went to a tap dance performance at the Julia Miles Theater in west midtown. I’m writing a formal review of it for Explore Dance, which I will link to when it’s up, but, since the show’s only on for two more days, I just want to say now, I loved it. Andrew Nemr trained with Gregory Hines, and it shows in his expressiveness and style. “Cats Paying Dues” is a very young troupe of up-and-comers (my favorite was 17-year-old Orlando Hernandez — wow!), and the performance was charmingly low-key, no frills, no fluff, no pretentiousness (praise the lord), just very good, immensely musical dancing, and excellent jazz band. If you’re in NY, for $39, I think it’s a great value. Go to telecharge (or 212-239-6200) for tix.

I saw a new friend there (a very nice guy whom I met from Apollinaire), Brian Seibert, who writes for the New Yorker — only famous people like Goddess Joan have bylines there, but Brian is a very good writer; here is his brief but well-written piece on Nemr and CPD (you have to scroll down a bit).

Afterward, Alyssa introduced me to this new(ish — it opened last May) lovely little wine and cheese bar around the corner, called Casellula. (They also have a blog, “Spread the Curd”.) Their wine list is amazing and delightfully inexpensive (compared to other nice wine bars), and they have an absolutely enormous list of cheeses, many locally produced, and a fromager to help with your selection. We shared the most scrumptious — and original — duck confit salad I’ve ever had — the finely shredded combo of meat, celeriac, gruyere cheese and apple gave it this deceptively simple “hash”-looking quality — and it was topped with dulcet pomegranite seeds, and baked duck-skin croutons to die for – and I mean die for! Alyssa and I were wondering where we could get more and how unhealthy it would be to eat a whole plate?… Shared desserts were flourless chocolate cake textured with finely ground chocolate chunks and soaked in a light cream that effectively countered the cake’s richness, and coconut crepes oozing with lemon filling and topped with a mound of fluffy, coconut-textured whipped cream. Serendipitously, pastry chef Allen Stafford, who’s in the picture with us, is a former stage designer with the Atlanta Ballet and a big Paul Taylor fan. Funny because when we first walked in, I could have sworn I recognized him; still not completely sure from where but likely some Paul Taylor or other dance performance. He also made the artwork in back of us. It looks like a painting from afar, but when you approach, you realize it’s made all of aluminum wine bottle closures. Very cool! The restaurant is just around the corner from the Alvin Ailey studios as well, so if I can ever get my lazy butt back in gear and start up with classes again, will make the perfect after-workout lounge.

One Comment

  1. That sounds really cool. You should definitely check out the whole network of tap fests with Robert Reed/The Hoofers. I’ve been able to take some amazing classes from people like Prince Spencer, Arthur Duncan, and Jimmy Slyde. And if you don’t tap (I don’t think you tap) there’s always a participant’s showcase and a faculty showcase, too.


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