Saturday, November 29, 2014

back to school

We are headed back to school... for the winter term which starts in January.  We were lucky to find many courses of interest. There were so many good topics we had to narrow it down, so I am taking three and Phil is joining in one of the three.  They are held at a nearby university (University of South Florida-Sarasota Manatee campus USF-SM, hereinafter USF- LOL) it's less than 20 minutes away from us. I have two morning classes and the one we are attending together is an afternoon (LOL- everyone who knows Phil knows that it would HAVE to be an afternoon class.)

Here is what we are taking-

Sarasota is truly the capital of the arts scene of the “Culture Coast” of Florida. In this course, we’ll explore Sarasota’s rich artistic heritage through class discussion and field trips.  We’ll learn about the birth of the Ringling Museum and John Ringling’s vision for Sarasota; visit the Ringling College of Art and Design and enjoy the creative energy of its students; discover the Towles Court artists’ colony; take a backstage tour of the Sarasota Ballet; visit the Palm Avenue galleries and talk to the owners; and tour backstage at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and view their extensive art collection. Some of our explorations may involve entrance fees not covered by the course fee, and our meeting time may be adjusted for our visits to the Van Wezel, the Sarasota Ballet, and the Palm Avenue galleries.

The palette of Florida’s history is written on its waters, its rivers and coastlines, its inlets and shallows, and its mighty currents. The men and women who sailed across this canvas and left their footprints in the sands of time are the subject of this course. There are tales that turn on shipwrecked cabin boys, sleeping sentries, and a maddened gardener; tales with the imprint of emperors and kings, generals and admirals, heroism and cowardice. The course spans 14,000 years, from the introduction of humans to the peninsula, to the port from which America launches toward the next frontier. Along the way, we’ll talk of canoe makers, U-boat captains, Teddy Roosevelt, and a near-crazy Cuban who thwarted the burning of Tampa in the Civil War. This is a rich, complex adventure as humans adapted to the nautical, geographic, and meteorological realities of this unique peninsula called Florida.

and the class together-

From the earliest composers of “The Great American Songbook” to the origins of jazz and blues, minorities have played a strong cultural role in American music. Jewish songwriters, music publishers, entertainers, and executives have been involved in nearly all phases of this industry, and African Americans’ contribution to pop music—from early jazz, doo wop, blues, and soul music—is legendary. Finally, the fusion of country with rhythm and blues ultimately created the foundation for rock & roll. We will explore this fascinating reality, discovering the ethnicities of the movers and shakers in an industry that grew at a phenomenal pace, helping form the fabric of our society. This course (planned as a two-part series) will cover 1900-1950. Class participation will be encouraged as we listen to familiar songs and watch lively videos. 

So in January - I'll be wearing plaid kilts, knee socks, and penny loafers- LOL- obviously I am only kidding- since I haven't dressed like that since eighth grade...

driven to distraction

So the evening after Thanksgiving we headed off for dinner to Michael's on East, hereinafter MoE,  (LOL- I know I know - thirty plus years of law die hard LOL.) We had intended to bring wine as we usually do but since we had company and were chatting away as we left the house, we left the wine behind! OH NO!  We were distracted, and as we checked in at MoE I said to Phil "Aaaacccck! we forgot the wine!" and laughed because when Phil and his brother are talking (as they were as we left the house) it isn't the least bit surprising that it was left behind... oh well...

Let me say that I don't believe they could have chosen a better place in the Sarasota Bradenton area to have to "resort" to the wine list because MoE has an extensive and carefully curated wine list with many excellent choices.  However, they do not have wines from much older vintages (LOL our specialty LOL) Here is what we left at home... they both turned out to be Jadot wines but of course from very different vintages and our backup red (when you drink old you have to have back up wines- LOL) was a 1996 Corton Renardes from Arlaud (which has been drinking really really well the last few times we had it.)

and here is what we ended up with from the wine list - a Gru-Ve - and an 09 red burgundy...

and then we went on to have a fabulous meal... and I can only say that this is "per usual" as the chef at MoE is excellent and every dish we had last night was up to the highest standard...

we started with -  tempura shrimp for Phil and Lobster Bisque for Larry and I had the seasonal salad-

then our mains were - pompano for Larry and veal chop for Phil and I had the scallops (which came with chunks of lobster and the most amazingly tasty gnocchi  in brown butter lobster broth- seriously YUM!)

the scallops were perfectly prepared, medium rare, and the flavor of this dish was so excellent that Phil vowed to order it himself the next time.... he often has "order envy" LOL.

we had an excellent discussion of wine choices with our wonderful server Justin- so if you get over to MoE ask for him, because he is very knowledgeable about wine in general as well as being an excellent and attentive (but not too much so) server.  Larry said that he liked this place better than a number of others where we have taken him when he visits. A winning evening in every way! (except of course for leaving the wine at home- LOL)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

back to bijou

since we had been here roughly three weeks and we hadn't yet made it to Bijou Cafe, tonight we scheduled a meal there.  the day was rainy- we both jumped out of bed at 6:15 when thunder cracked overhead so loudly we thought there had been an accident... and the rain never really let up all day. so a perfect excuse to get out of the house and head to a nice dinner.

the place will let you BYO with a corkage fee- so we brought an old Burg-

Phil had piri piri shrimp for starters and I had the melange salad (a favorite)

then I had a pepper steak which was tasty but the strip steak was not high quality, and Phil had the roast duck with cherry sauce- and for desserts we chose gelati for me (sea salt caramel with truffles) and the amarula creme brulee for Phil.  Since the place wasn't crowded we were in and out in less than two hours... and home early on a rainy night... supposed to be fine by Thanksgiving but showers on and off tomorrow (the day before the holiday.)

we have reserved for Michael's on East for the Friday after - while Larry is still here... also a place you can BYO- and that we haven't yet made it to for a meal since we returned.... stay tuned turducken for the holiday along with boudin balls - LOL and four pies- LOL!