Friday, January 24, 2014

forks and corks begins

tonight kicked off the Forks and Corks weekend from the Sarasota Manatee Originals organization of locally owned restaurants.

CBGB are coming down for a wine dinner tomorrow night and the Grand Tasting at the Ringling Art Museum on Sunday- where there will be literally hundreds of wines shown at more than a hundred tables along the museum courtyard.  The tickets for the Grand Tasting sold out in EIGHT minutes - and mind you this is not some super restricted event - there were 1200 tickets!!!

so tonight we enjoyed a fabulous French Wine Dinner at Michael's on East (that guy is definitely the alpha male around these parts) - he runs a superb business model in a small enough town to be the kingpin....

our fabulous dinner is listed on the series of scans below- and the wines were all good to great- with my fave being the Cote de Nuits Villages and Phil's being the NSG both 2011- the 09 showed a bit less well to my mind but all were perfectly paired with the menu - which the chef developed FOR these wines---

so the company at our table of eight was fun and convivial and I forgot the photos of most courses- LOL
but I did get a few for illustrative purposes... so you will know the artistry of the whole event - from the table settings through the incredible meal.  This chef really knows how to make a reduction - oh! and he can use butter so that you will swear you have died and gone to heaven- LOL

more event await us and I have to get a good night's sleep so I can have the stamina for the next two days of events- so here is my rushed post of today's wine event-

more to follow- but my favorite course tonight was the dessert which was stupendous- Phil ate my lamb chops which were beautifully prepared but alas - were lamb.... so I passed... the appetizer that won the day were the pork belly sliders (YUM!!!)  will keep you all posted!

Jim & John's wedding trip continues

so I had a prior post on Jim and John's wedding trip- and it was a good one- but now more and more photos have come in and they are worth sharing because the trip is obviously a super great trip and even more so that it is their wedding trip after all those years together (and I might add some harping by some of their friends and acquaintances who asked "what are you waiting for?" LOL)

so yea! what a wonderful way to celebrate the occasion!

and just because I have this exact same temple in my own photos (which as I mentioned are still my favorite of all the places I have been and photographed) 

I am also adding a link to my own Myanmar album in case you might want to visit and see my photos too-

I laughed when I saw this photo because this old woman looks very much like the old woman who insisted Phil smoke a cornhusk cigar with her when we were in Myanmar--some things do stay the same I guess! 

and here is Phil's smoking buddy- 

I would title the above photo "beauty queens worldwide have beauty queen attitudes - LOL"  actually even the little one before her kind of has - what we call around here -  "a MAD on"...LOL

anyway- so good to see they are having such a fabulous trip- Myanmar has been for nearly 10 years my number one country that I have visited- (Phil's is Bhutan) - I LOVED the trip we took there in days (2005) when there were no big travel company groups going there- and visas were limited- same for Bhutan when we went in 2007. Developments in Myanmar have been positive politically (all things relative) but once the isolationist government opens up to big tourism numbers with very large companies like OAT and GCT and others- I wonder how long will the locals keep their culture....time will tell... as I have always and repeatedly said "GO NOW" because just as there are species disappearing from our planet every year- the same is true for indigenous cultures.

and yes- I will get back to the posts about Zhujiajiao (say THAT three times fast- LOL)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tchaikovsky! Gesundheit!

a brief - very brief intermission from Shanghai explorations- tonight we went to Van Wezel Auditorium to hear the Haifa Symphony Orchestra of Israel perform-

an excellent concert with three encores-

so cut to the chase- here is the program:

we have two other concerts scheduled at the Van Wezel- in the classical concert series-

here are a few blurbs from Wikipedia on the Van Wezel- which I had always understood was a Wright design but apparently it is not- it is Taliesin but not Wright himself-

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is a theater in Sarasota.  The 1,736 seat hall's 1968-69 construction was partly funded by a bequest from local residents Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel.  The architectural design was carried out by William Wesley Peters, of Taliesin Associated Architects, who used two seashells as an inspiration for the design.  The purple and lavender color scheme was suggested by Frank Lloyd Wright's widow, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright.

so enlightened on those facts- we no must go back to work on the China posts-

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Our exploration continues

so after lunch we headed on to the Jewish Refugee Museum for a visit.

from there is a perfect segue- we headed toward the Bund where we visited the first big hotel built there - by the Sassoon family (many of the buildings of the era were financed or built by Jews)- the afternoon is getting overcast so the views of Pudong are not as good as we will get tomorrow night (so there is a teaser for a later post!) 

the lions outside the original HSBC bank building and the ceiling in the lobby - captured before the guard told me "NO PHOTOS!" - LOL- it's a ceiling! not a vault...

so off to the hotel for a drink at the Long Bar before we leave for the acrobatic show (which turned out to be incredibly cheesy- ala Vaudeville) later we had a late dinner at the french place in the hotel- the lesser of the hotel meals- 

the last act was the very stinky but quite incredible 8 motorcycles in a sphere zooming around each other with no crashing!!! 

then we grabbed a ate dinner at the french-ish place in the hotel- 

next up- a day out in the country in canal town called "ju-jaw-JOW!" and spelled Zhujiajiao.  Here is a little blurb to spark your interest- Zhujiajiao Ancient Town is a nice destination to escape the noisy modern city. It is only 48 kilometers from Shanghai urban area, covering an area of 1.3 square kilometers. The most famous attractions are Cimen Temple (慈门寺) and Zhuxi Garden (珠溪园).  Like the picture, the graceful ancient town is well-decorated with water ways, 36 ancient bridges, traditional Chinese-style residences, and a natural lake — Dianshan Lake

more on that in another post - of course!