Friday, November 27, 2009

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva: House Wine of the Majestic

I've been asked many times by friends and acquaintances alike about my house wine of choice. Since I have three certificates in wine studies, and I've worked in some pretty fancy restaurants, I think people are sometimes disappointed and/or shocked by my answer. Undoubtedly, it's a bottle that retails for around $6.99: Segura Viudas Brut Reserva. It's kind of a little secret and I always am excited to tell folks that the bottle costs as little as it does after they have told me how much they are enjoying it. I think I've paid an awful lot money to unabashedly be able to enjoy cheap wine and to let everyone around me know that I think it's ok to drink cheap wine too. To a great extent, all of those educational expenses have made me feel entitled to my opinion! Sadly, it seems that cultural bias and wine snobbery dictate that the quality of a wine (and it's drinker) be judged by the price that one pays for what's in the glass. In the case of the bubbly category this is grossly exaggerated. That's why it's so refreshing to find something like this humble Cava that really delivers for the price.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Those French people will eat just about anything..."

I was recently reminded of a luncheon that my mother served years ago with my maternal and paternal grandmothers in attendance. A little background... My dad's mother is of Cajun descent, and my mother's mother is German/Irish. Food is a true way of life in Southern Louisiana. Each household has its own recipes and closely guarded family secrets of how to make the best Gumbo or Pecan Pie. I think my overwhelming obsession of food these days has a lot to do with this fact of life in the Deep South. To say that there was a rivalry for the affections of the family when it came to cooking between the two grandmothers is a bit of an understatement, which makes the ensuing events even more funny.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

After twenty-four hours of travel including two subway-rides, two flights with a long layover in between, three train-rides winding through wine country, and a midnight shuttle, we had finally arrived in Vianden, Luxembourg. It’s a town of about 1700 people and dates back to medieval times. Change has been minimal in the past several centuries and there is a real castle situated atop a large hill at the center of the town where some of our concerts were held. Surrounded by history and breath-taking scenery, I would live with Carter’s Woodwind Quintet, Tower’s Island Prelude, Mozart’s Piano Quintet, an aria from Bach’s Cantata 204, and Cimarosa’s Gloria Patri Initially, I felt like I was in a sink or swim scenario but managed to fall in love with Vianden and all of this music along the way.

Getting to know the oboe again was challenging and exciting all at the same time. At one time, I had been a bigger oboe-dork than most. I had slept, ate, and breathed cane shavings and Ferling etudes, but I’d fully abandoned it only to be thrown back in to the mix full-time now with six (plus!) hours of performance, practice, and rehearsal daily. It was, to say the least, an upset to my daily routine. I was lucky to be with my supportive and patient partner, but meeting Bert Lucarelli in Luxembourg was a true and timely blessing.

Thanksgiving Chicken

In honor of Thanksgiving, I've been thinking about roasting birds. I've read a million Facebook status updates today about cooking turkeys, cranberry sauce, and stuffing, and it's made me a little homesick. I'll combat that with thoughts of one of my favorite things to cook, chicken.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Joshua Bell and The Boston Symphony Orchestra

The evening began when i noticed on Facebook that "rush" tickets were available for this evenings BSO performance. It just so happened that I had the evening off from work, and what could be better than hearing Joshua Bell play the Brahms Violin Concerto, so I arrived at Symphony Hall and waited in line for the special discounted tickets. For only $9 i heard a wonderful concert of Stravinsky's Firebird, Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun, and Brahms.

Two Great Meals, a Museum, and an Opera all in 48 Hours!

Recently, Dan, Melissa, Chris and I decided to take a little jaunt to New York City to see some friends and get a little culture in while we there. Online, I discovered an incredible deal at the Metropolitan Opera - $20 seats in the "family circle". Basically it's the nosebleed section of the top balcony, but there seem to be few bad seats at the Met. It works out to be cheaper to see the opera in NYC than here in boston with cheap transportation on the Bolt Bus.