April 1, 2010

Chestnut Hill Dining Guide

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Restaurant now paying culinary dividends
¡Cuba! Bad review a ‘wakeup call’ for romantic Hiller

The ropa vieja, a staple dish in Cuba, is shredded beef boiled in beef stock and served with sauteed onions, peppers and garlic in a tasty tomato sauce atop a yuca puree with orange zest and cilantro. (Photo by Michael T. Regan)

Finding excellent food at ¡Cuba! at bargain prices is like finding a needle in a needle store. Ever since the economy tanked in September of 2008, many restaurants have lowered prices in an attempt to keep the wheels rolling and the fires burning, but I doubt if any restaurant has come up with a better bargain offer than ¡Cuba! at 8609 Germantown Ave.

For example, why cook at home when ¡Cuba! offers a $15.95 prix fixe menu every day from 5 to 6:30 p.m., which includes a choice of soup or salad; entree choice of chicken, pulled beef or salmon; and homemade dessert flan! After 6:30 p.m., the three-course prix fixe dinner is available for $19.95. In addition, the restaurant has introduced new “value” portions — smaller sized portions for lower prices — something that more restaurants should consider.

Don’t give census answers to anyone wearing a toga!

Hi, I’m John Q. Publique (aka Jim Harris), director of the 2010 census, or as we like to call it, “An April Fool’s Snapshot of America.”

You have probably already received our postcard indicating that you will soon be receiving the census form, as well as the mailing containing the census form itself, and the subsequent correspondence stating that you really need to fill out the damn thing right now. (Don’t worry, we don’t have to pay postage.) And now, I’m here to help you complete your questionnaire.

Hiller’s ‘enriching experience’ with choral ensemble

Valentin Radu will conduct the Ama Deus Ensemble Chorus & Orchestra in an all-Brahms program Good Friday, April 2, 8 p.m. in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater. The concert will open with the “Violin Concerto,” featuring Thomas DiSarlo as soloist, and conclude with the “’German’ Requiem,” with vocal soloists Tatyana Galitskaya and Ed Bara.

Among the members of the chorus is Chestnut Hiller Claudia Becker, who is in her sixth year as a chorister, fifth year as its librarian and second year as a member of the board of directors.

Regal ‘Lion King’ still dominates theatrical jungle

Birds soar. Antelope leap. Elephants galumph. Giraffes plod. Hyenas menace. Zebras romp. Wildebeest stampede. Lions roar.

All that, and more, makes up Julie Taymor’s extraordinary production of Walt Disney’s “The Lion King” that 13 years ago took Broadway by storm. It is, in so many ways, a marvel. Its pure creativity is breathtaking. Taymor directed the piece. She also designed the stunning and colorful costumes and, with Michael Curry, the puppets that create, with their human handlers, the world of the African jungle in a way that leaves you breathless. Richard Hudson’s gorgeous set and Donald Holder’s hot lighting ably abet Taymor’s creations.


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