Susan Alexander
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December 2007
Dirty Manhattan

Watching movies has always been a great escape for me.  I especially love movies set in the Dirty Manhattan era like Looking for Mr. Goodbar, Midnight Cowboy and on the lighter side Tootsie.  Dirty Manhattan sounds like a new drink but to me is the 70’s – 80’s New York City where hookers, drugs, promiscuity and no consequence except for light STDs and maybe getting killed by your closeted gay one night stand. 

Tootsie is my all time favorite drag-queen comedy and made at the end of the Dirty Manhattan era (1982). The cast includes Dustin Hoffman as a struggling actor/waiter/acting coach in his late 30’s trying to get roles but has built a reputation of being too high maintenance.  He is helping an actress friend prepare for a new role in a popular soap opera and by a twist of fate he ends up getting the role as a female character on the soap.  Dustin does not make the most attractive woman but his soft Southern accent and mannerisms make him believable as a woman. Also, you start judging all the little outfits she/he wears and become engrossed in the movie.

My favorite scene in Tootsie is when he/she meets up with his/her agent Sydney Pollack (also the director of movie) at the Russian Tea Room. The main reason I wanted to go there was for this movie.  I finally went there for my birthday in November.  The food I ordered was delicious but the whole time I just wanted to know where the Tootsie scene was filmed.  As I’m leaving the restaurant, I found out where the scene was filmed which was my real birthday present.

Leaving the restaurant, I still wanted to get my drink on with my friends so we went to one other bar on a Wednesday night. For all those single ladies in the city, note the fact that weeknights are the prowling night for cheater husbands disguised as available single men. I like to think of them as cock-blockers of the men I should be talking to at the bar.

“Would you wear a fur coat if I bought you one?” Older married man testing me said.

“Listen, I only wear animals I eat.” Drunk single girl that’s me said. The smart single girl would have said, “I look better in diamonds.”

That is what happens when I talk to men my age or older at bars.  I am staying true to myself and only speaking to younger men who are single.

“Susan, do you know what the call women who date younger men?” Judging married friend said.

“Yeah, Lucky!” Happy single girl living in Dirty Manhattan said.

November 2007
Comedy and Dining Tour in San Francisco

My heart, friends and taste buds were left in San Francisco when I moved back out to the East Coast a couple of years ago. The 5 Funny Females Weekend Comedy Marathon on November 16th and 17th at the Purple Onion SF is a great excuse to come back to town to see friends, drink and EAT. There are so many great restaurants in this city by the Bay but below are my favorites along with a review.

TURTLE TOWER in LIittle Saigon on Larkin Street
Dining among the trannies and crackheads is the highlight of my return trips back to SF. Turtle Tower is the freshest and best Vietcong food ever! I am addicted to #7 (Beef Noodle/Vegetable stir fry) along with the imperial rolls. When I lived in SF my manicurist took me to Turtle Tower and treated me to my first hit. Now I am an addict and will be there everyday when I am in SF. I secretly went to the one on Geary so the Turtle Tower staff wouldn't judge me for going there everyday when I'm in town. But the original Tower Tower on Larkin is the best and worth the wait for a table. I'm counting down the days until November 16th to get my fix.

CHA CHA CHA in Haight Asbury
Eat like a king and pay like a pauper, at Cha Cha Cha. The 'tapas' (little sharing plates) dishes are large enough for a meal by itself. The must have dish is the Cajun Shrimp with a spicy cream sauce. If you are out with friends order two of these dishes because everyone is going to fight over this dish. Surprisingly, you will not be fighting over the shrimp but rather the tasty sauce for dipping your bread.

My other favorites are the Jamaican Jerk Chicken and the Fried Calamari which are such big pieces that the calamari has to be on steroids. The most important part of the meal is the Sangria. Go here with a few friends and your bill will be like $20 per person and your belly will be full.

Dining at this restaurant was one of the reasons I moved to San Francisco for a few years. Cha Cha Cha is great night out with friends or a cheap date night. Try the original one in Haight which seems to have better food but the Mission one has a larger restaurant.

ARGUELLO SUPER MARKET next to Golden Gate Park
Turkey is king at Arguello. Vegetarians be warned. They have six Turkeys roasting every morning to produce the most tender and succulent sandwiches ever on the Dutch Crunch Roll. The white meat is tender and the dark meat is made to perfection. I spice it up with some jalapenos. The sandwich price is reasonable and worth the trek to this quaint little supermarket run by a great guy named Sal. So grab a sandwich and walk one block to Golden Gate park for your own picnic lunch.

GARY DANKO in Fisherman’s Wharf on North Point Street
Paradise comes in different forms, for me one of them has been dining at Gary Danko. I've been to French Laundry which is superb but too much of a hike out to Yountville. Gary Danko is conveniently located in SF and relative easy to get a reservation if you plan ahead. Even if you want to go last minute, go dine at the bar and you can impress your friends that you have been to Danko.

The strategy I suggest to get the best experience and fun at Gary Danko is to always go for the tasting menu and wine pairing . This means you have a variety of little dishes with a complimentary wine that the chef and sommelier (resident wine expert) has selected. Also, this will control the price which will be a total of about $200 (includes tip/taxes).

For a foodie like me, it's worth it a couple of times a year. Just do not go here with your cheap or anorexic friends (bulimics are okay) because they will ruin the experience. Only go here with true foodies who saved up their money and calories for the week.

Also, limit the amount of bread and spectacular home-made butter they serve or you will fill up to fast. Have a piece and hold out for the courses.

Now for red wine lovers, I always request my pairings to be with red wines. They try to persuade you not to but remember you are the paying customer. Of course, champagne is the exception. Bon Appetit!

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