Duolingo – The Best Language Learning App Not Enough People Know About

Who’s in the crowd people that heard for years how great Rosetta Stone was but never could quite find it to be in your budget priorities?

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Yes, me too.  Then along came and I do mean a long, long, long time later,  Duolingo to the rescue.  Duolingo is a learning app that is often compare to Rosetta Stone as a stiff competitor in quality yet like Wikipedia, Duolingo wants you learn language for free.   Yes, no cost to you.

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Several languages are offered.   At this point more than I want to name.   You can practice on your phone, Ipad or computer.  You will build your vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and even you even have opportunity to work with people live.   Visit their website.  https://www.duolingo.com/

Written by Crystal A. Johnson

 

Film and Foodie Review: Arrival

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Arrival is a smart alien invasion story, sophisticated in story telling and full of suspense.   Among the engaging cast of characters featured are Adam Adams, Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker.  Amy Adam brings a wide range of emotion to the screen from subtle to overt.  She is the lead character, a professor of languages needed to crack learning how to understand and communicate with the aliens.  Spoiler Alert! Liken this film to The Sixth Sense with unexpected twist.  With that said it is best not to say to much about this film but rather simply give a thumbs up to see it.

A Side Note: About a half hour into the film, I believe we meet the aliens.  The look of the creature was an interesting choice.  It seems to blend a least three animals together.  That’s all I kept think when I was looking at it.  I was torn on whether I liked the alien depiction because it wasn’t the typical alien or if it looked too much earth based animals.

Here a little bit more about what CrystalJfilmdiva has to say about the film and the out of this world foodie picks:

A Restaurant’s 12 Days of Christmas Lunch

Newport Beach, CA – November 21, 2016 – This holiday season, A Restaurant is pleased steak-dinnerto open doors on select days in December for the annual 12 Days of Christmas Lunch. Beginning Thursday, December 1 and continuing on select weekdays through Friday, December 16, A Restaurant will offer a seasonal holiday lunch menu, courtesy of Executive Chef Jonathan Blackford.

A Restaurant’s 12 Days of Christmas Lunch menu offers a variety of classic starters including a Pozole Verde, Braised Niman Meatballs and A’s signature Spicy Yellowfin Tuna. A diverse list of entrees features the Fusilli Pasta, Blackened Shrimp Salad and the A Burger.  A Restaurant’s classic steak cuts are also available for lunch. Favorite side dishes are offered including Blue Lake Green Beans, Mac N Cheese and House Bistro Fries. For those looking to celebrate the holidays, a special captain’s wine list will be available, offering hand curated 99 and 100 point wines selections.

The 12 Days of Christmas Lunch will be open December 1-2, 6-9 and 13-16 from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations are currently available through Open Table or for larger parties by contacting the restaurant directly.

For more information on celebrating the seasons at A Restaurant visit http://arestaurantnb.com/.

Film and Foodie Review: Mr. Church

mr-churchAt the request of a fan of film and foodie,  curious about what I would suggest for the foodie portion, I am reviewing Mr. Church .  Let me admit,  Mr. Church is a movie that I never wanted to see because with as many stories that there are to tell about the Black experience, the one that Hollywood loves to green light are the ones where African Americans deeply love the White people they serve.  With that said, I do have to say this film has a little bit more to offer because of the writer, Susan Mc Martin’s deep love and appreciation of the person that Mr. Church is based on.  She wants him personified with dignity and layered with intelligence and class.  She  want viewers to know how he enriched her family’s life.  mr_church_2016_12446304

Mr. Church is an African American man who is the cook for a a White woman and her young daughter.   In the opening credits to the film, we are informed that this is based on a real friendship.  And the more you watch, it is evident that story is filled with truths and love.  It feels like a love letter, not in the romantic sense but a story of deep love and regard for a person would impact the writer’s life.  Eddie Murphy gives a quiet performance.  He restrains any impulses to be comedic.  And in doing so,  I believe as an actor he is giving real homage to who the character of who Mr. Church is.   There is an air of mystery to Mr. Church that keeps you guessing throughout the film.

This is slow moving film. It is a bit of simple story of friendship and family can be the same thing.

The Foodie:  Grits take center stage among the stews, and cakes that Mr. Church whips up.  I will differ to a recipe from the now closed Baltimore based and Black owned Darker Than Blue restaurant.  It was a top notch upscale restaurant with mostly soul food.   Watch this video of the chef preparing Catfish and Grits:

Film and Foodie: Hacksaw Ridge

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The critic rises to her feet teary eyed as she says, “Bravo!, Bravo!”  Hacksaw Ridge is a great true story made into a splendid film.  It is the story of Desmond Doss, a Seven Day Adventist who refuses to bear arms in battle of Okinawa.   He was a conscientious objector, he refused to kill or carry  a weapon.  He opted to serve his country as medic.  While in service as a medic he would go into battlefield saving 75 men.  With each person he set out to save, he spoke to the Lord.   The quote for ages shall be, “Lord, let me get one more.”

Mel Gibson is the director.  The cinematography is beautiful.   The story is well executed.  You are allowed to know the characters in a way that allows you to care about what happens.  You see character arcs not only in the leading man but in a few of the supporting characters.     Andrew Garfield convincingly provides a wide array of emotions.  Despite Garfield Oscar worthy performance.  He is not carrying this film alone. The acting is top notch.  You connect with the characters whether they are the nice guys are not.  It is really good to see  Hugo Weaving, Sam Worthington and Vince Vaughn in these roles.The stand out newbie is Luke Bracey, kind of the tough shell character.  The leading lady to Andrew Garfield is Teresa Palmer.  She actually played the romantic lead to Luke Bracey in the remake of Point Break.  The hugely talented cast helps to flesh out a heart-warming movie.

Hacksaw Ridge has powerful messages of conviction, patriotism and courage which touch the soul.

Check out the Film and Foodie Review Video

The Foodie picks:   After being flustered by the raw emotion of the film, I drew a blank about what to pair.  I can see clearly now, the rain has gone.   Okay, so Doss is a southern guy from Virginia.  I am a New York gal with Virginian parents so I know a thing or two about southern cooking.   What kind of heroes welcome home dinner would our southern gentleman like to come home to.    While in theaters go to a Southern style cooking restaurant.  Think cornbread, fried chicken and mashed potato comfort food.   Let’s get a little more elegant for watching this movie with friends at home.   When on DVD then opt for southern cuisine finger foods like baby back ribs, macaroni & cheese balls, deep fried pickle chips  and happy ending of peach cobbler.   Then raise a glass to the soldiers with a blue martini but if you are conscientious objector to drinking then don’t.

Rustic Fig Galette Topped with Chantilly Cream — Muy Bueno Cookbook

Woohoo Thanksgiving is almost here and I can’t wait! I’ll be hosting this year and I’m so excited. I always love an excuse to entertain, and hosting Thanksgiving is one I don’t often get to do, so I am extra excited. (more…) The post Rustic Fig Galette Topped with Chantilly Cream appeared first on Muy…

via Rustic Fig Galette Topped with Chantilly Cream — Muy Bueno Cookbook

Taste Of The Caribbean: Cola Couronne, Haiti’s #1 Soft Drink

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On Visit in Haiti.  See our Drinks

The soda dates all the way back to 1924, and everyone here seems to love it. Literally 200px-cola_couronne_bottleeveryone I asked confirmed that Couronne is the #1 soda in Haiti. There was no second place brand; no honorable mention mentioned. In Haiti, it seems, it’s Cola Couronne or nothing… and that’s not really such a bad thing.

Electric-orange in color, Couronne bears a sweetly-carbonated aroma that takes me right back to my childhood in St. Croix when my parents would buy us cases of Fanta in assorted flavors. They always came in tall glass bottles, which we took great care in returning to our local gas station.

In Haiti, you’ll almost always find Cola Couronne in tall glass bottles as well. My friend Jonathan, who used to work in the Coca-Cola plant where they make Couronne, explained to me that there is no aluminum in Haiti.  READ MORE

Film and Foodie Review: Dr. Strange

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Before I get into the film,  for a change I want to talk about the star power behind the leading man in Dr. Strange. There is a rising star in Benedict Cumberbatch, often called the “internet’s boyfriend.”  He does silly video gags on the internet.  He reads audiobooks of classics.  I suggest you find his narration of Casanova on You Tube.   Then there is his work in the acclaimed PBS Version of Sherlock Holmes which stars Cumberbatch and in England he has body of work that has made him a bonafide star there for years.  America was teased with him in the 2nd installment of the Star Trek reboot, Into the Darkness by his portrayal as the notorious Khan.   Most notably was his Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Alan Turing in the Imitation Game. Yet, with all this work under his belt nothing will propel his star to general public like Dr. Strange.   It is not because this is his best work but it is the right work to be attached to doing.   Marvel movies are remarkable success stories.   And lately, the less popular comics like Guardians of the Galaxy and Dr. Strange are having outstanding box office success.

Despite strong box office, add my voice to the choir of folks saying Dr. Strange is not the strongest script.  It could have been punched up a tad more.   Writers were added to inject some humor in the film; however, good ole fashioned intensely dramatic verbal content lacked.  How unfortunate when there is such stellar talent on board such as MacAdams, Ejiofor, Swinton and Madsen.  Not of one of them disappoint yet there are not stretched to vibrant performances.   The saving grace for Dr. Strange is where the script lacks, the visuals astound and will not disappoint the Dr. Strange Comic book fans in be the trippy film desired to match the books.

Spoiler: My only  spoiler comment is about the villains which usually disappoint us in Marvel movies.   Dr. Strange should get some slack if you consider that you have ultimately two main villians, three if you wait for the post credits.   Mads Milkkelson is who we see in the trailers but on some level he  is simply a guide to Dr. Strange’s ultimate showdown with the more significant villain of Dormamu.   And once you see the film, you will be hip to what is now becoming a classic line from the end of the film.

See more commentary about the film and listen to the foodie pairing.