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In The Mix 01/09/2014

1/8/2014, 11:46 a.m.
Centre Street Sanctuary on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain features a menu with a variety of comfort food such as the natural burger sliders, above. Colette Greenstein photo

For the Child in All of Us …

Jose Mateo Ballet Theater’s presentation of “The Nutcracker” was absolutely charming and delightful! It was a feast for the eyes as dancers of all backgrounds graced the stage costumed in intense hues of pink, lilac, orange and yellow. The Strand Theater played host to the timeless classic the weekend before Christmas, and it was wonderful to see the turnout of families at the grand old theater. It was fun for the whole family and a classic not to be missed!

L-O-V-E …

Ever energetic and full of vigor, Common rocked the House of Blues stage for over an hour with his message of love and music for the soul. Backpackers, hip-hop-heads and everyone in between bobbed their heads and waved their arms in the air with joy and excitement as he performed such hits as “Go,” “Testify,” “The Light,” “Used to Love Her” and “The People.”

Cell phones and iPads were recording as Common amped up the crowd with his freestyle and breakdancing skills. Dude still has moves! And the surprise of the night was British R&B singer Estelle, who warmed up with the crowd with her songs “American Boy,” “Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)” and “Come Over.”

JP Eateries …

Two restaurants that couldn’t be any more different but are worth checking out are Vee Vee and Centre Street Sanctuary, both located on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain on opposite ends of the busy thoroughfare.

Vee Vee is an intimate and cozy restaurant/bar located near the Monument that offers seasonal and eclectic fare for their menu options. On a recent visit for brunch, the “Huevos Maria” was a hearty way to start the morning. It features scrambled eggs with jack cheese, black beans, tomatillo salsa and tortilla chips, topped with a side of applewood-smoked bacon. The combination somehow all worked together. It was an absolutely delicious way to start the morning. If you’re looking to catch up with a friend, significant other or to venture out on your own, then add Vee Vee to your list. But, be prepared to wait in line because even after five years in the immensely popular restaurant still has a waiting list.

Centre Street Sanctuary offers a very cool and casual vibe that’s perfect for meeting a group of friends or unwinding after work. It is over in the Hyde Square area near the former Blessed Sacrament Church, and the atmosphere makes you feel like everyone there could actually know your name. The restaurant/pub features a large bar with padded high-back chairs along with booths and high-top tables. The comfortable atmosphere is complemented by its varied menu of comfort food such as the unique “Fried Mac and Cheese Balls,” smoked chicken wings and natural burger sliders. It also offers a selection of homemade desserts that are baked up from scratch. The chocolate Bundt cake with mascarpone cheese was pretty amazing. So, when you go, be prepared to be there for hours because you won’t want to leave.

Coming Up ...

SpeakEasy Stage Company presents the joyous, soul-stirring musical “The Color Purple” at Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA beginning Friday, Jan. 10 at 8 p.m. and running through Saturday, Feb. 8. Tickets: $45, $55 and $60. For show times, visit www.artsboston.org.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan kicks off a five-night run at The Wilbur beginning Tuesday, Jan. 14 through Saturday, Jan. 18. For tickets and show times, go to www.ticketmaster.com.

On Saturday, Jan. 18, The Multicultural Arts Center presents “Joyful Noise Gospel Concert” featuring the Harlem Gospel Choir at 7:30 p.m. at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre. To purchase tickets, visit http://ofa.fas.harvard.edu/boxoffice/ or call the Harvard Box Office at 617-496-2222.

Penn & Teller come to Citi Shubert Theatre on Jan. 24 and Jan. 25. Tickets: $35- $75. For show times and tickets, go to www.citicenter.org.

If you would like me to cover or write about your event, email me at inthemixwithcolette@gmail.com.