Saturday, May 10, 2014

we'll always have Paris (part XI)

OK so the title has been used before - and I also recently made reference to Casablanca the movie in my Morocco blog posts, but seriously - on this - my eleventh trip to Paris... I feel like it should be the eternal city - not Rome...but alas the city of light also works well....

and here are a couple of photos to show how well that title fits beautiful Paris- just two or three of my old favorites - the first is a view of the Eiffel Tower (duh!) from the sidewalk in front of Au Bon Accueil where we will return for dinner six nights from now with CBGB...

the next from along the Seine at night - but still the iconic Tower above the rooftops gives you a landmark-

along the Seine at the Pont des Arts bridge -

and one of my all time favorite photos - and one of my most popular posts on the AFAR website - I call it "Nighthawks" in the post

and finally- and fittingly - a gift that GA gave me years ago which now has become even more meaningful as we have shared more travel in the intervening years- with CBGB together and most recently GA and I on our gal-pal trip to Morocco-

so CBGB leave tomorrow for Spain and will meet us in Paris on Friday morning and we leave on Wednesday afternoon--- send good wishes for great weather (especially DRY weather) for the weeks we are in France!!! and I will keep everyone updated along the way as I can - Internet dependent...

Jane Austen's EMMA @ Dead Writer's

so our Friday night activity was a new theater venue (new to us) called Dead Writer's Theater.  We went to see Jane Austen's "Emma" - a book I loved (but not quite as much as Pride & Prejudice) and at least the third production of Austen we have seen.  We saw Sense & Sensibility at Northlight and Northanger Abbey at Remy Bumppo (both of those productions featured Greg Matthew Anderson, one of our favorite performers- see the post "a virtuoso performance" for my review of his incredible Chesapeake)

In general I find Austen an entertaining evening- so I was predisposed to liking the play....and I did - however, I  thought the performance of Emma lacked subtlety - this Emma was too shallow and one didn't really see that she had another side that was not so meddlesome and know-it-all... and honestly I think Mr. Knightley could have been a touch more appealing as well.  I did think the young woman cast a Miss Smith was perfect in her minor role and several of the others were quite good (Mrs. Watson in particular did well in a secondary role)

overall I would say- if you are interested in this story rent the Emma version from Miramax films with Jeremy Northam as Knightley and Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma... there you will see a masterful and nuanced performance of the leads that sets a standard for dramatic productions of Austen's wonderful novel.

this was a new theater (773) for us - and the facility was excellent- and they have some really interesting things going on in the upcoming months - unfortunately we are out of town for the next two events of Dead Writers Collective-

the staging was also excellent- and made wonderful use of limited set space in creating many many different scenes as the year long action took place...

and the JASNA folks gave us another bookmark (we got one from the Northanger Abbey play at Remy Bumppo I believe- or perhaps it was Sense & Sensibility at Northlight- LOL)

the cast-

so our evening of entertainment brought several good laughs and a touching moment or two... but this was not in my opinion "must see" the way say "The North China Lover" was at Lookingglass or "The City and the City" was at Lifeline - or even "Concerning Strange Devices from the West" was at Time Line...

however I am intrigued by their upcoming works and so will probably stay in the loop of information on their productions.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

we are about to barge...

in less than a week we leave for Paris (CDG) for a few nights and days before we meet up with our friends CBGB and head to Burgundy for a barge cruise.  So soon you will get a lot more details of Paris food and even more of burgundy cheese, wine and food as we cruise about 30 miles in the span of a week!

our itinerary is from Dijon (home of the mustard) south through the most fabulous vineyards in the world... we visit wineries and chateaux and Beaune (home of the Hospice de Beaune) so lots of good times.  We took this cruise to celebrate our 50th birthdays and now, a second time to celebrate our 60th birthdays.  In the intervening years we have stayed in touch with five of the other passengers and also our captain... Anna.

The barge will be new but the chef (Cyril) the same and captain Anna the same too... we are so excited to be doing this again...

here are just a couple of photos from the last time- of Cyril in his tiny kitchen and in the dining room describing the food for lunch  - and then of Anna with one of the winemakers in Burgundy-

and here is the wine list and labels from the last cruise and the cheese menus from each day!


I think you can see why we are getting excited to be returning to the "scene of the crime" LOL- and we cannot wait to see our friend Anna again- we did see her last year in Paris and several other times when she was between groups- but this time it will be relaxed and a whole week of fun and games with CBGB and Anna and Cyril - Yea!!!! And after the barging is over - we are headed to Lyon (food capital of the world) for a couple of days - a totally new destination for us in France.... so stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Chinese: Modern @next

oh wow!!!!

OK it isn't exactly Chinese food but it is what Chinese food could aspire to....

when we entered we were seated at a table with a red top and a green centerpiece that looked like a cucumber in a tall vase with cilantro and some other greens stuffed into it-

our napkins held the paper with the following message on it-

since I caught on too late about the centerpiece being our first course I have to show a blurry photo of one across the room- LOL

closer up so you know what I am talking about- the cylinder in front of the woman drinking - became - with the help of a french press- our first course of soup -

turns out that is Chinese okra- and here is the beginning of the menu-

the above dish with pork floss (whatever that is - it tasted superb!) and the meat and seafood dumplings was fabulous!!!!

on to the second grouping on the menu-

the above in the paper bag (squab) could be the winner of the evening - or so it seemed so far...

but the hits just kept on coming-

you can see the duck was perfectly prepared!


below-  dip the sweetbreads into the passion fruit sauce and they harden into candy - amazing!

 the one bad note of the evening - this sickening milky drink made of tofu- YUCK! but back to another fab dessert!

and of course end up with fortune cookies - here - enormous fortune cookies!

and bubble tea...

possibly the best NEXT meal we have had- some real stunners and only the one icky drink- fun servers excellent and professional but friendly and relaxed---

an all around winner!!!!