Friday, March 14, 2014

a virtuoso performance!!!!

by Joshua Bell tonight at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Center...

first we tried a new dinner place before the show- Yummy House (bad name - best Chinese food we have had in Florida) where we had excellent salt and pepper oysters and beef chow fun and shrimp & scallops in XO sauce... it is Hong Kong style Chinese-

then we headed over to Van Wezel and heard a magnificent performance by the entire Academy (both with full orchestra and with strings only) but the star attraction - and rightly so, was Joshua Bell! what a virtuoso- a performance that left us in awe of such talent...

here is what was on the program tonight- the Bach (performed by the strings) - was excellent; the Beethoven (by the whole orchestra) was fabulous; the Saint-Saens (the whole orchestra again) was the performance of the evening in my opinion- truly inspired and inspiring!; and the final piece was Schubert, which suffered by the comparison to the others... perhaps it was the arrangement (Mahler) but it seemed to lose focus along the way --- and was a bit of a disappointment in an otherwise flawless program.

Joshua Bell was on the front of the annual Van Wezel program (with a number of other top drawing performers) and richly deserved to be so featured... wonderful performance-

here is a bit more detail about the ASMF and Bell-

a superb performance and fabulous concert overall!  (tomorrow - back to Morocco- as we head into the Sahara!)

we try a new place

for lunch! - in the Cortez fishing village.... Tide Tables co-owned by Karen Bell of AP Bell Fish and Ice Company located in the heart of Cortez' waterside...

we had seen it on the Captain Patsy boat tour last weekend and figured with the glorious weather we were having Star Fish Company (also Karen Bell) would be jammed so we would try this new place- right under the Cortez bridge to AMI (Anna Maria Island) -

it was not as atmospheric as Star Fish Co and I think the food was slightly better at Star Fish Co but you never know until you try - so this would be a back up if things are beyond crazy at SFC---

so next time I would say Star Fish Co first then the back up plan is this place- good enough but not in the #1 slot... but they do have table service which Star Fish does not- so it is a tiny bit more upscale....

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

we celebrate!

tonight marked the celebration of Phil's retirement from thirty five years of property management! his partners instructed us to have dinner on them and gave us a lavish budget so we could have some fabulous wines at Bern's in Tampa- where we have always enjoyed some of their incredible vintage wines.

we asked CBGB to join us in the celebration because it would be more festive for the four us of to dine together and also give us more wines to enjoy among four of us----and we certainly did tonight--- so a drum roll please.... the wines (with a shout out to Neil and Linda for their lovely acknowledgment of Phil's work for three and a half decades)

there was some disagreement on the "wine of the evening" Chuck and I thought the Moulin-a-Vent and Phil went for Le Corton as the W of E- GA didn't really express a strong opinion--- but regardless of which any one of us picked as our favorite - they were all excellent and the company was as well!!!

Thanks CBGB for the trip to the dessert room! - (and to the Bosworth partner for the greasing the palm of the sommelier and the valet tipping --- LOL) an excellent evening... and thanks again Neil & Linda for sponsoring the event!!!

moving along to meknes

so we were lucky today that Aziz remembered to feed us at a reasonable hour- and we headed into Meknes after a drive through the village of Moulay Idriss (westerners advised to stay in the vehicle as it is considered a holy city and many of the places do not welcome non Muslims) where people came into the village on Berber taxis (aka donkeys and mules) ---

then on to the restaurant where Philippe welcomed us warmly (especially GA- LOL) - what can I say tall blonds and gay guys just have an affinity- LOL.... the lunch was excellent and our table had a view of Meknes on the hilltop across the valley... so we left well sated-

here is lunch- an excellent veggie quiche to start- then fish en papillotte and then a heart shaped dessert !

above the menu and below the view!

the food-

then off to more touring-

I am so bummed this is out of sharp focus because I was so hoping for a great shot of the shadow of the lantern!

the area of the stables went on and on... that's how you get room for 12,000 horses!

now on to the moulay's masoleum - but on the way a quick stop at one of the gates to the medina-

a large square directly across from the gates- oh did I mention it rained while we were at lunch? timing is everything!

we take the highway back to Fes and decide to dine at the other restaurant in our hotel and have a very good dinner with an EXCELLENT dessert of the b'stillah with strawberries! this concept works much  better as a dessert than a main - despite chicken and powdered sugar being an interesting combination- LOL