April 23rd, 2007


Birthday Dinner

Originally, I wasn't going to make it either to NYC for my father's birthday, or to Richmond for the R1 event, but eventually I realized they'd work well in tandem! My father was definitely pleased that I made it to his birthday dinner, and they got one more ticket last Tuesday for Thursday night's Brahms concert.

Let me tell you, the New York Philharmonic does a mean Brahms! They're in the middle of a big Brahms festival, with several performances scheduled this month featuring a variety of Brahms music, and Thursday's concert was just spectacular. I love classical music, but mainly in small doses, so I was very pleased to be able to enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour performance so much.

The violin soloist for one of the pieces, Julia Fischer, is so spectacular that when the concert was supposed to break for an intermission, the New York Philharmonic played an almost-unheard-of encore instead. The New York Philharmonic has a bunch of recordings in the iTunes Store, and I'm going to have to look for some of this Brahms soon.

If only dinner at [info]Picholine before the concert had been quite as exceptional! It was good, but I've had a better meal there before. Nothing really leapt out at me as an amazing dish, with the possible exception of the dessert they brought my father for his birthday. When my mom made the reservation, she told them it was for his birthday and asked them to decorate whatever he had for dessert, so she got scared when he decided he didn't want to order one. The restaurant did the classy thing and brought him something anyway, with a "Happy Birthday, Paul" drizzled in chocolate across the bottom of the plate. That warm apple brioche was certainly the best thing I tasted that night! The bread was tasty, the foie gras torchon with duck prosciutto was very good, and the venison was good, but nothing "popped," I guess. They renovated last fall, and the place does look quite good, though.

Sorry, no photos from Picholine, as I didn't bring my Nikon and the Pentax wouldn't have been up to the task. Just as well I left the Nikon at my parents' house; Avery Fisher Hall has a no-cameras policy, and I would have had to check it on the way in and wait to retrieve it on the way out. (No one noticed the Pentax in its belt case, and I didn't volunteer it. I just left it tucked away.)

NYC to Richmond

Cinnabon BitesIn case you were curious, I did end up needing an alternate route from New York City to Richmond on Friday, since I heard on XM that there were massive backups on I-95 south into Virginia. I stopped at the Maryland House rest area (where I got a cup of coffee and some Cinnabon Bites) and asked the lady at the info desk if she had any suggestions. She routed me down I-97 to US 301, a mostly four-lane highway that's 55mph for long stretches but also has stretches with traffic lights going through towns, very similar to Route 13 in Ithaca, US 1 in many areas, or Route 441 in Pigeon Forge. There were also a few spots of heavy traffic there, but nothing that slowed me down for too long. I'm sure I did better there than on the parking lot of the Beltway and I-95 I was hearing about.

Lunch was at the overpriced Popeye's on the New Jersey Turnpike at the Thomas A. Edison rest area. Cheapest gas I saw all weekend, and most overpriced food. Ah well!

SaganakiDinner with excaliburca and jynx512 after they arrived was excellent! We went across the street to [info]Byram's on the strong recommendation of the lady at the front desk. (Whoops! We forgot to ask for the 10% discount for showing our hotel room key!) Very good seafood, and of course when I saw the saganaki on the menu, I had to order it! (What could be better than flaming cheese?!)

I'm a postin' fool today...

Just wrote in mark_tv about "ER" starting seven minutes early on May 3rd, and figured I'd add this post here in case any of you watch "ER" but don't read my TV blog.

It seems to have clouded over since I last looked outside, but it's still around 80 degrees. Quite a difference from a week ago today, when it was 30 and snowing heavily! Still contemplating grilling burgers on the deck when I get home.