Tuesday, January 06, 2009

NYC Excellence

This blog is a roundup of some of the excellent experiences I've had in New York in the past month.

First of all, I've really been enjoying the New York Philharmonic's program of doing all 6 Brandenburg Concertos throughout the year. As a lover of baroque music I was happy to be able to see all 6 during my first season in NYC. I've also been sampling the Met Operas. As a newcomer to Opera I wasn't sure which ones I would like or where in the house I might like to sit, so I purchased different sections for each show.

Recently we attended Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, a 3-act opera with a running time of 5.5 hours. This was my fourth opera, and I think the 2nd act is perhaps the finest opera I've ever seen. The first and third acts are necessary plotwise but not as spectacular.

For our Christmas eve activity we attended the NYC Ballet Nutcracker production, which had a stunning set, top-notch dancers and wonderful musicians. I thought it was good when I saw it in San Francisco several years ago but the NYC group really took it to another level. I haven't bought any of the other ballets for this year but after seeing the Nutcracker I may have to reconsider that.

Then to celebrate the coming of the new year we had a mouth-watering meal at Le Bernardin, one of the world's top seafood restaurants. New York City has only 4 3-star Michelin Restaurants and this is one of them (You can see the list here). Not going to restaurants like this very often we went all out and had the Chef's Tasting Menu with wine pairings. You can see Pictures of the meal. Here are the 8 courses:

  • 1. Salmon-Caviar. Thinly Pounded Smoked Salmon Carpaccio; Toasted Brioche and Caviar. Paired with Ginja Shizuku – Divine Droplets, Junmai Daiginjo Sake.

  • 2. Spanish Mackerel. Seared Spanish Mackerel; Parmesan Crisp and Sun-Dried Tomato; Black Olive Oil. Paired with Godello – Vina Godeval, Valdeorras 2006.

  • 3. Calamari. Sauteed Calamari filled with Sweet Prawns and Shiitake Mushroom; Calamari Consomme. Paired with Chablis, Champs Royaux – William Fevre 2007.

  • 4. Lobster. Baked Lobster; Salsify; Sauce Gribiche. Paired with Blaufränkisch "Brandkraften" Wenzel, Neusiedlersee-Hügelland, Austria 2002.
  • 5. Escolar. White Tuna Poached in Extra Virgin Olive Oil; Sea Beans and Potato Crisps; Light Red Wine Béarnaise. Paired with Nuits Saint-Georges, Vieilles Vignes, Daniel Rion 2003.

  • 6. Black Bass. Crispy Black Bass; Braised Celery and Parsnip Custard; Iberico Ham-Green Peppercorn Sauce. Paired with Rioja, Reserve ‘Vina Ardanza’, La Rioja Alta 2000.

  • 7. Fig. Roasted Fig, Goat Cheese Parfait, Hazelnut, Red Wine Caramel, Bacon Ice Cream. Paired with Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, Gabriel Meffre, Rhone Valley 2006.

  • 8. Chocolate-Olive Oil. Dark Amedei Chocolate Ganache, Toasted Bread, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Maldon Sea Salt. Paired with Zinfandel "Late Harvest" – Dashe Cellars, Dry Creek Valley 2006.

Quite possibly the best meal of my life. Part of why I live in Queens instead of Manhattan is because having that $800 rent difference allows me to eat meals like that and not feel completely idiotic about it. After dinner was a NY Phil concert including Brandenburg #2 (The piccolo trumpet one!) and "Pictures at an Exhibition". Philip Smith did a great job on the Brandenburg and the rest of the show was excellent as well.

Tonight I went to see the New York Rangers play the Pittsburgh Penguins at Madison Square Garden. We had good seats in the 200-level and saw plenty of action. The Rangers won 4-0 and a fight that had to have lasted 30 seconds broke out in the 3rd period between Colton Orr and Eric Godard.

I'm about to wrap up my 1st year in New York City and I think I can safely say I'm really enjoying it here. Lots


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