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in the Mix

in the Mix

Author: Michael HellyComedian Cedric The Entertainer wows the crowd at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre on Dec. 30.

Ceddy Bear comes to town…

In his trademark fedora hat, comedian Cedric The Entertainer hit The Wilbur stage to cap off 2012 with two shows of comedy.  His stand-up is the smooth blend of comedy with his singing and dancing. His humor is light and fun and the dancing and singing only add to the enjoyment of the show. There’s no doubt as to why he’s called Cedric The Entertainer!

Food for the soul…

The latest entries to Boston’s booming restaurant scene are Abby Lane Food and Spirits in the revived theater district and Estelle’s Southern Cuisine and Vejigantes Restaurant in the South End.  The opening party for Abby Lane was on the second floor of the restaurant and it was bubbling with a mix of Boston’s restaurant and media honchos.  

The ambience on the top floor was inviting, with a mix of warm color tones coupled with a huge lounge in the center of the room, a bar on the left side and huge bay windows on the right, which are great for people-watching. The music was upbeat and kept the party going along with the specialty drinks and food flowing throughout the affair.  

Next up was a visit to the South End for a taste of Southern and Puerto Rican cuisine. Estelle’s Southern Cuisine, so named after the former Estelle’s nightclub/restaurant, is actually a few blocks down from the old neighborhood spot on the corner of Massachusetts Avenue and Tremont Street.  The warmth of the staff quickly made up for the cold outside.  

Even though there were hushpuppies, fried chicken and jambalaya on the menu, the special of the night won out. The Big Beauty Burger special was made with spicy aioli, bread and butter pickles and cheddar cheese all packed on a sesame seed bun with spicy fries as its side.

The simplicity of the meal was what I was looking for and it delivered. The chef stopped by to ask me how everything was, and all I could do was give him a thumbs up since I was mid-chew.  Out of the three desserts on the menu, I chose the chocolate-peanut butter pie topped with fresh whipped cream over the sweet potato pecan pie or red velvet cake.

It was a huge slice, definitely great for sharing and surprisingly light in taste. And the Southern hospitality continued as a gentleman from the restaurant helped me with my coat before I headed out the door.  

I found the same warmth at Vejigantes Restaurant over in Villa Victoria. It was early on a Sunday evening and the restaurant was packed with families having Sunday dinner. The new spot is owned by Hector and Nivia Piña, who own the Dominican restaurant Merengue over on Blue Hill Avenue.

It was a great mix of folks eating dinner and having a good time. First up was the fried Codfish Fritters and the Grilled Chicken Kabobs with a Vejigantes BBQ Sauce. The main course was the Chuleta de Cerdo Frita or Center Cut Fried Pork Chops accompanied with white rice and red beans and sweet plantains.  

The pork chops were so satisfying, delicious and well-seasoned. After dinner it was on to the flan for desert, which is a must.  It was very good and just the right portion for two to share along with a cup of café con leche. I loved the whole feel of Vejigantes. It’s a warm and inviting local restaurant where the family can gather and have dinner and friends can meet up to have a good inexpensive meal. Both Estelle’s and Vejigantes are welcome additions to the South End.  

Coming Up…

Scottish singer/songwriter Emeli Sande performs at The Paradise Rock Club on Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 8 p.m.

On Thursday, Jan. 17, Scullers Jazz Club presents country/blues artist Shelby Lynn for one show at 8 p.m.

For a double dose of comedy, The Wilbur presents comedians Tommy Davidson on Friday, Jan. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Tracy Morgan on Saturday, Jan. 19 for two shows at 7:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m.

In honor of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, The Multicultural Arts Center presents Joyful Noise Gospel Concert featuring The Harlem Gospel Choir on Saturday, Jan. 19 at  Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre.

The musical “Sister Act” comes to the Boston Opera House beginning Tuesday, Jan. 22 and running through Sunday, Feb. 3.

The 2006 Tony Award-winning Best Musical “Jersey Boys” returns, based on the life of the Four Seasons, on Jan. 30 and runs through March 3 at Citi Emerson Colonial Theatre.  

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