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Posts tagged ‘lake worth’

Review: Rotelli Pizza Pasta Perfect Restaurant in Lake Worth

Lake Avenue in Lake Worth, Florida, has its own quaint unique charm.  Besides the Lake Worth Playhouse (see related story about the production of Hair), there are numerous shops and restaurants of various “flavors.”  Restaurants and eateries?  Key West style.  French.  Italian.  Irish.  Deli (Too Jays).  Even a Starbucks (no I have been assured the one on Lake Avenue is not closing).  Lucerne Avenue, too, has numerous eateries and shops.  Nice mixture.  There was once a neat little chocolate shop.  I miss that one. 

On my numerous journeys to downtown Lake Worth, there have been two reasons for being there:  Lake Worth Playhouse and St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.  Whatever the reason, I have often eaten at Rotelli Pizza Pasta Perfect Restaurant.  I have probably eaten at Rotelli more than any of the other, so there must be a reason why I continue to return there. 

Whether in groups of fifteen, four, two, or just by myself, I have had excellent service on all but one occasion.  I estimate I have eaten there about six or seven times over the past two to three years.  So, one slightly less than excellent service is not a bad track record.  But, that has been only my own personal experience.

On my most recent visit, my meal consisted of an Italian Merlot, salad, lasagna with side of sausage, and tiramisu for dessert.  I was deciding between the lasagna and the eggplant parmesan when the waiter recommended the lasagna.  I am glad he made the recommendation.  By my limited experience in Italian food, I thought it was great.  It had been a long time since I had eaten lasagna (we get things we don’t ordinarily make for ourselves when we eat out, don’t you know?).

On previous visits, I ordered sausage and enjoyed the Rotelli offering.  Perhaps Rotelli is no better than other venues when it comes to sausage.  But, I like ordering extra protein at times, despite its fat content.  I rarely eat sausage, so I ordered the meat at Rotelli where I had enjoyed it in the past.  Simple, right? 

Salad with blue cheese dressing.  Blue cheese dressing is blue cheese dressing, right?  Wrong.  The best blue cheese dressing is the recipe I make and I got that one from my parents.  My dad sold Maytag appliances (remember the “lonely repairman?”).  Few people realize that the Maytags had a farm in Iowa and also sold Maytag blue cheese.  As a kid, we made our blue cheese dressing using the blue cheese from the Iowa Maytags.  The recipe is great.  I have it memorized and can make it up in a minute or two.  So, while I enjoy a good blue cheese dressing in any restaurant, none have compared to the dressing I make – that I “inherited” from my family.  Rotelli blue cheese dressing?  Okay.  Average. 

The best blue cheese dressing I have ever been served in any restaurant, bar none, was at the Leverock’s Seafood House chain of restaurants in the St. Petersburg / Clearwater area.  Hmmm.  No surprise, but one of the owners of the chain was my father’s boss in New York, Dick Tappan.  While employed by Tappan, my father was “certified” to be a Maytag repairman because Tappan once held the franchise for Maytag in my hometown.  When Tappan sold the business in New York and moved to St. Pete, he started a fishing business and eventually the Leverock’s chain.  Wonder if there is any relation to the blue cheese dressing in the restaurants?  Family secret?  Tappan, by the way, told me just prior to his death that he intended to open a Leverock’s in Jupiter – Palm Beach County.  Never happened. 

I love to diverge, don’t you know?

Have I held your attention thus far?

Wine.  Red wine.  The Bible says a little wine is good for the belly.  The Puritans and the Saudis have it all wrong.  I don’t know the basis of the Saudi beliefs, but the Puritans confuse the Bible verses about “drunkards” with the word, “alcohol.”  They were (and still remain) mentally ill, anyway.  Nevertheless, if one reasons on this, he/she should recognize the difference.  I have a firm belief that Americans are screwed up regarding alcohol due to the mentally ill Puritans (same can be said about the Saudi princes, too, particularly one who apparently masterminded the destruction of skyscrapers in New York City). 

Again, my dad.  At various dinners, my brothers and I were allowed to drink a little gulp of wine.  We were always instructed about its value as a food, not as a social drink.  Of course, my dad always gave this to us with the caveat of, “do as I say, not as I do.”  But, we got the message.  To this day, I rarely drink wine, unless it is with a meal.  What my dad taught me those many years ago has stuck with me. 

Of course, with evidence that those who drink red wine have less heart attacks, perhaps I should be drinking more.  But, wine drinking with an occasional meal suffices for me.  Once in a great while, perhaps I drink wine (or sometimes a beer) rather than have a glass of water or soda.  But those occasions are rare.  Red and white wine usually remains in my refrigerator to age. 

Typically, I buy standard American (California) red Merlot because I am not a connoisseur of wines.  The Italian red wine at Rotelli Restaurant did have a better bouquet and flavor than most standard wines.  But, it does compare quite well to the wine I have tested on tours of the Finger Lakes Wineries in Upstate New York. For example, I recall tasting a good Merlot at Casa Larga Vineyards in Fairport, NY.  But then, I am told this vineyard is not too many generations removed from an Italian master in wines.  Is this true or hearsay? 

Tiramisu for dessert.  Believe it or not, I have never had tiramisu for dessert.  What a sheltered life I have led, don’t you know?  So, I have nothing to compare Rotelli Restaurant’s version.  The taste was great.  I enjoyed it.  There are also stories I have been told about the origin of tiramisu.  Maybe another time.

Not far down the road from Rotelli Restaurant, one can learn more about cullinary intrigue, including “wine appreciation for beginners.”  There are various courses of cullinary interests offered at Palm Beach Community College.  The Lake Worth campus is within five miles of Rotelli Restaurant.

If you plan to see a show at Lake Worth Playhouse, Rotelli Restaurant is several doors to the east of the playhouse – easy walking; consider dinner and the play.  This reviewer believes it is well worth it!

As for the productin of Hair at the Lake Worth Playhouse, it runs only until Saturday, August 9.  In fact, I am told there are only a few seats remaining in the Saturday matinee (August 9), so call the playhouse quickly!   

As for Rotelli Restaurant, I strongly recommend it for dinner and theatre.  Nice surroundings.  In cooler weather, one can eat in the outdoor seating area.  There is a separate room for larger parties (call first, though!). 

If I had to give a rating, I would say, “four” out of “five” stars.  But do not rely on me for rating Italian restaurants beause my “repertoire” is limited.  For dinner and theatre, it is quite nice.  For dinner with friends after social or church functions, Rotelli Restaurant is a nice place to dine.

The one drawback to Rotelli Restaurant is its web presence.  A colleague and I had difficulty finding information about it as we were deciding where we wished to eat before the show.  We likely never found the Rotelli Web presence, just information by reviewers and other sources; an actual web page never came up in the first block of results in a Google search.  This is a positive criticism because the owners need to get word out more about a good thing! But then, my dad always believed word of mouth was more efficient advertising.  So, do what you have to do, Rotelli Restaurant.  You will likely see me returning at some time in the furture!

More information?

Rotelli Pizza Pasta Perfect Restaurant
Number of seats: 188
701 Lake Ave
Lake Worth Fl 33460

(Source:,, accessed August 8, 2008).

Locate Rotelli Pizza Pasta Perfect Restaurant on Google Maps.

Lake Worth Playhouse HAIR

(Source:  Photo, Carol Kassie, Lake Worth Playhouse)

UPDATE, Aug. 9, 2008


The second time in the audience – Aug. 9, 2008, was a charm!  The 2 pm matinee performance was the best!  Compared to the Thursday, Aug. 31, 2008, performance, it rates a 15 out of 10 for improvement.  A 5-star (out of 5) rating. 

Act I was exciting!  The delivery of lines was snappy and the music was in tune.  What a great show!  Hope the sold-out Sat. evening crowd received the best show ever.  Looking forward to more performances at the playhouse! 



The musical, Hair, is all about politics.  The audience is immersed in politics – it is unavoidable.  The audience of Hair understands the production due to the prevalence of 1960s politics in the show.  Any discussion of Hair would naturally include discussions of politics.  Should this review be on the Opinions or Reviews page?  It goes in neither location – so here it is on the Home Page. 

Lake Worth Playhouse HAIR

It was about 1971.  Nixon was in the White House and the Republicans controlled the executive branch of our Federal government.  Watergate was an event to occur in the future.  A young 16-year-old and his younger brother (about 14?) and father attended a performance of Hair on Broadway while our “little” brother (probably about 11-years-old at the time) attended another Broadway musical with the mother.  What did this 16-year-old understand after that performance?  One phrase:  “What a piece of work is (are) [hu]man[s]!”  

Last night (Thursday, July 31, 2008), that 16-year-old, now at a more advanced age, viewed the younger generation portray HIS generation in the “American Tribal Love-Rock Musical,” Hair at the Lake Worth Playhouse on Lake Avenue.  As the “hallucination” scene portraying death during war concluded, this aged youth of the 70s was stabbed with the words of the 16th-century English literary genius as the characters, Jeanie and Crissy sing, “what a piece of work is man.”  It hit just as hard as it did in 1971, which may indicate that little has changed in the period of 30 some years.  But, most importantly, the cast of the intimate Lake Worth Playhouse achieved a goal of conveying the message that should have been conveyed – at least according to one person’s perspective.  An important part of theatre is conveying a message that results in laughter or tears – emotions.  The cast of Hair achieved this in its performance last night.

After several days of performance hiatus, the cast seemed to have difficulty in getting the pace of the musical moving.  That is understandable.  Perhaps a person writing a review should visit on Friday night after a Thursday performance? 

But, compared to the slow pace at the beginning (and the intonation problems, both vocally and instrumenally, at the beginning), by the second act, everything fit together like clockwork.    So, when Mr. William Shakespeare’s words were supposed to produce the intended results, they did that.

Not everything was so dismal in the first act.  The snappy synchronized dance numbers, from the beginning,  perhaps helped the cast get moving.  At least, from the audience perspective, it seemed that way.  Throughout the performance, the dance numbers were executed quite well.  A reviewer may not be an expert in dance, but knows what is expected from dance numbers when viewing the “forest” rather than the “trees” – the impact of the dances on the overall stage production.  The dance numbers are ddressed from such a perspective.

Other portions of the production were very good.  Shane Blanford (Claude) was impressive in “Manchester England,” “I Got Life,” and the theme song, “Hair.”  Equally imressive was Gina Nespoli (Sheila) in singing the songs, “I Believe in Love,” “Easy to Be Hard” and “Good Morning, Starshine.”  The later two songs are well known songs from the 1960s.  The former is equally as good, but has been sadly ignored.  Samantha Hyon (Jeanie), Emily Riedel (Crissy), and Chanel Wright (Dionne) convinced us in a satirical manner about concerns with regard to “those detroying the earth” with the song, “Air” (‘sulfur dioxide…. gasp, gasp, gasp!”).  The satire with regard to race, sex, historical perspective about life, patriotism, and old-fashioned attitudes were equally convincing. 

Each song in the musical is a commentary on AAmerican life and several a commentary about life of humans on planet earth, as viewed through the eyes of 1960s culture.  “I Got Life” describes the beauty of human creation by describing practically every single portion of the human body as if to praise the creation of our human lives.  In 1960s “flowering” of life – a mini-Renaissance – there were still some taboos remaining.  Thus, one part of the human body, the cornerstone of life, was missing from the song.  The message here, particularly considering other songs in the musical, is that this part of the body is nasty – and several other songs convey this message quite eloquently.  This was likely all due to Hair being a mirror of the 1960s culture.  Many hoped literature and musicals like Hair would help society progress beyond the narrow and nasty.  Perhaps it began that way in the 1970s, but from the 1980s forward, we began shamefully taking steps backwards.  The narrow thinking has returned today – in full force.   To proceed further with this discussion would be delving into opinions of politics and are best addressed on an Opinions page.      

Several songs in the musical became top hits on the pop charts in the 1960s.  Besides the Fifth Dimension’s version of “Aquarius/Let the Sunsine In (YouTube),” two songs sung by the character, Sheila, hit the charts:  Three Dog Night did “Easy to Be Hard (YouTube)” and Oliver sang “Good Morning, Starshine (YouTube).” 

Three Dog Night interpreted “Easy to Be Hard” as representative of the callousness of what we call the “right wing” and the “hawkish” “war-like” people in the USA (see the 1969 Three Dog Night video on YouTube).  No doubt, Hair, targets that force in our lives – the heavy-handedness of right-wing side of the political spectrum.  But, last night, listening to Ms. Nespoli (Sheila) sing the song, there is a realization we may be ignoring another side.  The words, “…especially people who care about strangers; who care about evil and social injustice; do you only care about he bleeding crowd?  how about a needing friend; I need a friend.”  Perhaps this describes ALL people, especially the “left” or “liberal” who talk the talk, but do not walk the walk?  

Related to this stanza of the song, George McEvoy, columnist for The Palm Beach Post, once described the “liberals” (perhaps those in the audiences of the original Hair production) who said they supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but then resisted its implementation (do not “walk the walk”).  Similarly, today, the children of the 1960s and 1970s sometimes pronounce acceptance of the gay lifestyle – except when it is their own child (and subsequently toss their child out on the street; see article in April 2008 issue of Details magazine; see also the website of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – PFLAG).  Perhaps the words, “bleeding heart liberals” comes from this song?  Last night, the mere fact the Lake Worth Playhouse staged Hair provided another opportunity for lifelong learning.  (Better shut up or risk sounding like a “bleeding heart liberal!”). 

Hair is a commentary about life.  The cast and crew at the Lake Worth Playhouse succeeded in conveying this message. 

The song, “Air,” is about the environment.  Since the 1960s and the early “Earth Days” celebrations, much has been accomplished.  The Hudson River and Lake Erie (other bodies of water) have been cleaned up.  There has been progress in reducing acid rain and other environmental dirt in the air, land, and seas.  But carbon emissions still plague humankind today.  Ironically, the MIT experts are quick to blame those “bleeding heart liberals” for making a “mountain out of a mole hill” – and we read every day about one more iceberg north of Canada that is melting.  Similar issue, just a different time period today.  Nevertheless, Ms. Hyon (Jeanie), Riedel (Crissy), and Wright (Dionne) provide a pertinent reminder about this problem. 

The one criticism of the show is about the controversial nudity scene.  But the criticism is leveled against society (er… rather the ignorant loudmouths and their traditionalist agenda). 

The 16-year-old who attended the1971 performance of Hair reacted to the nude scene as just another part of the story describing life.  The scene encouraged the audience to let go of everything – all masks and, yes, even clothing and recognize the beauty of humans, particularly, the beauty of youth.  Rather, the loudmouths are likely paranoid about losing their youth, so turn to condemnation.  The loudmouths lack self-esteem and confidence to let go and take risks for fear of being responsible for their actions.  From this reviewer’s perspective, an increasingly litigious society with frivolous lawsuits (unlike the 1960s, lawyers never advertised on television) has been generated by the development of such events over time. 

The production on Broadway in 1971 (if memory is good!) concluded the first act in a very synchronized and forward-moving theatrical action.  The lights went off for seconds.  Suddenly, the cast was on the stage standing in one line with no clothes.  The cast appeared nude for about one or two seconds, then the lights went out and a curtain was drawn.  That was it.  It made its point. 

So, is it controversy that confused the meaning of this scene last night?  There also seemed to be a bit of confusion among the cast.  Further, only a few shed their clothing (although not completely) and stood in the background while other actions proceeded up stage (the other actions “up staged” the actions in the back).  Furhtermore, this scene was not the concluding scene.  The entire “event” seemed to be staged in order to appease the purists who saw the original production while also compromising for the sake of the ignorant community loudmouths who have no appreciation of the stage.  While the cast did an excellent job in conveying thoughts about life, love, war, and politics in other scenes, it was a failure during one of the most important scenes.  The loudmouths win one in destroying the messages of the stage.  Rules are important, except when they impede our human development.  And this was an example of an impediment in order to follow rules and attempt a compromise.  The compromise made it fall flat. 

The fault should not be levied against the playhouse or anyone involved in the production.  Let us make that perfectly clear.  They did the best they could, particularly when one remains objective while considering all of what happened. 

The leading players were great.  Shane Blanford (Claude Hooper Bukowski) and Gina Nespoli (Sheila) did a great job.  There is no point in making comparisons of these actors to the original production, except to say, they compare quite well!  From the remainder of the cast, several stood out:  Gregory Johnson (Hud), Emily Riedel (Crissy), Samantha Hyon (Jeanie), and Chanel Wright (Dionne). 

It is quite possible Gregory Johnson had a better voice than what we heard in the audience.  Perhaps the position of the microphone caused some distortions? 

The award for (apparent) newcomer goes to Chanel Wright.  In the original productions, Melba Moore played the role of Dionne.  As Chanel’s first appearance (according to her bio), she did a superb job playing the role “created” by Ms. Moore in the 1960s.  Are we going to see and hear more of her?

And will we see and hear more of the entire cast of Hair?  That would be great!  There is a great bunch of talent there.

Overall, out of a score of 1 to 10, I give the production of Hair 8 (eight).  The first act had a lower rating, but balanced out by the higher rating of the second act. 

Additional performances?  Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1 & 2, 2008, 8 pm.  Matinee performance, Saturday, Aug. 2, 2008, 2 pm.

For information about future productions of Hair, go to .  (more…)

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