Thursday, June 12, 2014

Burgundy Barge Trip Photobook

got the book done from the trip to France- enjoy!

Shutterfly photo books offer a variety of layouts and cover options to choose from.

lookingglass: in the garden

last night we returned to the theater to see "in the garden: a darwinian love story"

here is the blurb from the promo materials:
Long before The Origin of Species will forever change the world, Charles Darwin meets Emma Wedgwood and they forever change each other. In the space between science and faith, they find an unexpected and unlikely romance.  In the Garden chronicles the struggle of two fiercely independent individuals, divided by ideology but united by a fire that fuels a passionate lifelong debate: evolution vs. salvation. Only by embracing this duality can they possibly navigate the struggles, triumphs, losses and discoveries that await.

Phil really seemed to like the play- I was rather neutral- what can I say? the actors were fabulous but I found the heroine - beautiful and fiery - but lacking in something... she seemed to be an intelligent woman and yet she never gave an inch in her religious fervor and that - to me - just drove the play over the cliff... by the point in the play where the daughter dies and Emma seems to give just a bit on her position I had already been lost-

this morning I read a review that I think sums up the play very nicely by Jack Helbig in the Reader- here is the thumbnail-

Lookingglass's In the Garden is more diorama than drama.  Impressive acting and a terrific staging do not a great work make.

I think the review worthy of further excerpts- "The question of what separates good theater from great theater is a vexing one. A production can have everything going for it—strong acting, a great set, amazing costumes, wonderful direction—and still leave us feeling unmoved and empty. The new play at Lookingglass, Sara Gmitter's In the Garden: A Darwinian Love Story, left me feeling that way.

It would also be hard to imagine a better cast. Andrew White makes a great Darwin, at once brilliant and dithering, impassioned in his beliefs and a little shy. And Rebecca Spence blazes as Emma Darwin, ably conveying both Emma's razor-sharp mind and her warmth. When Emma reacts to the death of their beloved eldest daughter, Anne, Spence plays the despair so adeptly you can feel it.

The problem is that there is little drama in this drama. Instead, writer and director have fashioned a painstakingly detailed two-hour book report. The play unfolds with the stately but deathly slow pace of prestige period pieces. Yes, the look and feel of the era is lovingly re-created onstage; it still seems more like a diorama than live theater. Scenes dealing with the long illness and death of Anne Darwin are an exception. For a brief time, the play comes alive. Then, sadly, it's back to the book report.

Another problem with the play is that the great philosophical question at its center—whether or not one can reasonably believe in both God and evolution—is not particularly compelling, except perhaps among the fundamentalist fringe."

so because it was really a lovely set- you get photos...

worth a try but not recommended by me (little difference it makes since it ends tomorrow) but this is a theater worth checking out- so we will keep tabs on their upcoming work - as you know from a prior post we LOVED  "The North China Lover"

Sunday, June 8, 2014

we eat our way through Lyon

I awoke with the cold Phil had been suffering from since we landed in Paris- I thought after nine days I was in the clear (just shows how good my resistance is!) but alas-

we are scheduled at the Brasserie Georges for lunch (it is mother's day in France so we were thrilled we had the presence of mind to have reserved ahead of time) - this turned out to be one of our favorite meals - a completely fun place in a big open space near the train station- it dates back to 1836!!!!!

we had escargot and bone marrow - to share and the were both 100% correct- and classically prepared- you can see we liked them so much I forgot to take a photo until all we had were bones and shells- LOL

Phil had the duck with foie gras and breast and raved about it! I got to try the foie and it was crisp on the outside and melted in your mouth once you bit into it!

based upon yesterdays upscale quenelles I decide to try a traditional dish of the same- different than yesterday but wholly fulfilling and extremely light!

the beautiful room erupted with applause whenever a patron celebrated a birthday - The process started with a calliope playing the Happy Birthday song and after it started everyone in the whole restaurant would applaud (not polite applause - real applause!)

the brewery part of the brasserie-

here's how to find it- and you WILL want to find it when you go to Lyon- this an historic place with a real sense of time past....

I guess it was inevitable that as much as we loved the atmosphere and tradition of Brasserie Georges and it's wonderful food - we would be disappointed by dinner- at a Bocuse place - Brasserie Le Nord - which is supposed to have a menu in the style of the bouchon lyonnais-

the food was OK but the service indifferent-

 the interior was lovely - too bad the service wasn't as warm as the decorating-

we had chosen it because it was walking distance from our hotel and it was open on Sunday night- so while it was our least favorite of the places we went to, it served a purpose.  You can see the food was decent- but Lyon is like New Orleans in that way- there is soooo much great food - it is tough to settle for merely good...

fighting the cold - I had hoped for a warm soup course but that was not to be- and I had to ask for a french menu when they gave us a brief English one and we weren't too keen on the offerings on that one- so we opted for the special mother's day menu - Phil was not thrilled with his roasted chicken but I thought the appetizers were quite good....and my mixed seafood/fish main I ended up sharing with him.

we are leaving in the late afternoon tomorrow (having arranged for a 6 PM checkout and  a 7 PM TGV directly to CDG airport) so we only have one more meal here - being under the weather we have seen none of the sights - as I spend the day sleeping - so we know we will have to return and will look forward to it-

but here is the last meal in Lyon and really in France because once we arrive in airportland we know we will not get anything other than airport food (which turned out to be 1000% true- LOL)

anyway- here goes - the godmother of all Lyonnais cooking is La Mere Brazier- an uneducated woman who set all of France on a course to amazing cuisine by training virtually every well known chef in her restaurant- all the biggies studied under her-

and her namesake restaurant still exists and has a high Michelin rating to go with the traditions she began-

we had the menu- Phil started with the terrine and I with the asparagus soup - both excellent-

then I had the fish course and he the duck-

a pre dessert of the best madeleine in history (no kidding- this must have been what Proust ate)

another pre- dessert course of  little sweets-

Phil's dessert of Paris- Brest (one of La Mere's traditional desserts) and my Ile Flottante-

happy campers, we - We took a cab back to the hotel, where I read and Phil napped and we packed for our train trip to CDG and a night at an airport hotel - convenient but overpriced- and headed home the following day... the flight was of course delayed but we were home to complaining cats by late afternoon and at least got our laundry started before collapsing into bed early... typical of our routine on the way home from Europe...

fabulous trip with CBGB and Anna... first rate all around! and yes Lyon is now on my list for returning sooner rather than later so we get to see the beautiful and historic city and continue to discover great eating places!

only lyon

we arrived by just after 10 am- we did not expect our room at the Hotel Carlton to be ready yet (and it wasn't) so we went for a walk.  The day is absolutely stunning! A bright blue sky with a few wisps of white clouds and sunshine make for a fabulous photo day.

since we knew our room wouldn't be ready until later in the afternoon we headed to lunch at Trois Domes - a very high end place on the top of the Sofitel on the Ile...

we had the spring menu-

the views were magnificent!

and the food was the equal of the views- possibly exceeding them!

the pike quenelle course below was the single best course of the three days we were in Lyon and having fabulous food pretty much everywhere we went!

the space was gorgeous-

we headed back to the hotel to check in-

above- our room's center window- and below the elevator and stained glass at the Hotel Carlton-

the view from our windows to the plaza below-

later we headed to dinner at a small place on a small square of a park- a bouchon lyonnais- called Sathonay-

back to the hotel- and as we head down the hall to the room, I step out for a few evening shots-

a long day but a wonderful introduction to the lovely city- ONLY LYON... as the tourism slogan goes!