Friday, January 26, 2007

In a New York minute...

Hey kids!

It's been a while since I've had a legitimate post, so I'll try to catch you up...

A couple weeks ago I finally had a Sunday off and I went with two good friends to the Max M. Fischer Music Center to see the DSO perform a production called "Keeping Time". "Keeping Time" is part of a "Classics Unmasked" series. The theme to all of the compositions is that time is kept in unique ways in each piece. The guest conductor was John Mauceri. Here's the rundown...

RICHARD WAGNER- Selections from Das Rheingold Prelude to Act I "Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla"
(Cool. Very cool.)

PHILIP GLASS- Suite from The Hours Part I
(Philip flippin' Glass! Very cool, very minimalist piece.)

GYORGY LIGETI- Atmospheres for Orchestra
(Crazy! Crazy!! Crazy!!! This is probably the weirdest, coolest, most unique piece I've ever heard. Every instrument in the orchestra is playing a different note at ALL times. It goes from the highest note on a piccolo to the lowest note on a bass in succession. This piece is nuts! It's only 8 minutes long but feels like an hour. This piece was used in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I feel very lucky to have heard this performed live as it is not a very common occurence. Way cool!)

MAURICE RAVEL- Bolero
('Nuff said...)

DANNY ELFMAN- "The Overeager Overture"
(What's cooler than Philip Glass? Bridget Fonda's husband. A really cool, very complex piece from THE Danny Elfman of Oingo Boingo, Simpsons, and film score fame. Way freakin' cool!)

DUKE ELLINGTON- The River
Meander
Giggling Rapids
Spring
Vortex
Riba
(The absolute highlight of the show as Savion Glover was guest dancer. He was absolutely frickin' amazing! He's only the world's best tapdancer! His footwork is only surpassed by his grace and spirit. His performance was completely overwhelming and I feel absolutely honored to have witnessed it in person. Spellbinding!)

SERGEI PROKOFIEV- Suite No. 1 from Cinderella, Op. 107
Cinderella's Waltz
Midnight
(Very cool wrap up!)

After the show we went to Slow's Barbeque on Michigan Ave. near Tiger Stadium for a great meal. Great frickin' brisket!

The next Tuesday I participated in a wine trivia tournament in Ann Arbor. My team did not fare so well. We were the smallest team. We knew the answers pretty well, but the electronic buzzer system was a hindrance. It was a lot of fun and I tasted some pretty good wines, but I had to scoot out as soon as it was over as I had to fly out to New York in the morning.

A friend of mine drove me to the airport and I caught a Northworst flight to LaGuardia. The flight was uneventful and fine. We didn't even crash or anything! I took a cab to my hotel in Manhattan. The fare was amazingly only $26.50 before tip. Not bad! It was sunny but cold in New York. About the same as Detroit. I checked into my room at the Holiday Inn Downtown (Chinatown/SoHo). I put my clothes away and left a note for my roommate N. (I traveled with N to Australia in 2003. I hadn't seen him since the trip.) He'd be flying in a bit later. I left the hotel to walk around for a couple of hours. I zig-zagged around the immediate area checking out the cheap wares at the booths/stalls in Chinatown and peaked in shop. I walked a bit further to Little Italy and checked out the infamous Mulberry St. I went on a bit more and ventured into the NoLita district where I would actually be having hors' douvres later. A BEAUTIFUL French woman asked me for directions to Elizabeth St. and luckily I actually knew where it was. She thanked me kindly and threw me a smile that could melt the ice caps faster than global warming. Swoon! There are beautiful women everywhere in New York! Everywhere! I'm not complaining a bit. One of the many reasons that I love New York! I especially love New York in winter as beautiful women are inclined it seems to wear tall boots with short skirts. Have I ever mentioned that I've got a thing for beautiful New York women in tall boots and short skirts? No? Well, now I have.

I was walking back toward the hotel when I got a call on my cell from N. He and one of his employees (who won a trip in 2006 through the same group). They were settling in at the hotel and I was on my way back to meet them. I arrived at the 2nd coolest Holiday Inn anywhere (#1 is in Sydney) and went to the room and greeted N. We reminisced a little bit and then went down to K's room. The three of us walked around the neighborhood a bit and decided that coffee would be a good idea. First, however, we had to stop at a shop in Chinatown to get N a pair of gloves as he and K are from Phoenix. We decided that Little Italy would be the place to get some coffee. We walked for about 20 minutes or so until we hit Mulberry St. We walked past several joints that looked too pricey and found a nice, simple cafe. N and I each got a double espresso and a cannoli and K got a cappucino and a chocolate cannoli. Divine! A great cup of espresso and a killer cannoli! There were pictures of celebrities everywhere including signed pics of a good chunk of The Sopranos cast. I think the place was called Palermo's. A nice, simple cafe with great cannoli...who could ask for anything more? We talked for a while and then decided to head back to the hotel before heading out to for hors' douvres in Nolita.

As we gathered in the lobby we acually encountered the rest of our crew including our fearless leader AH. AH is the current person in charge of the AusWAT program. All of the people in this group won the Australia trip through the same program in various years. The vast majority of them were recent winners (2006). I actually felt a bit old. We followed AH as he powerwalked and talked on his cell until we reached our destination. We were meeting for hors' douvres and a wine tasting at Public restaurant in NoLita. This is actually the same fantastic Australian restaurant that Brittney and I dined at last year. Paxton Winery from the McLaren Vale was hosting a trade-tasting in a small private room. There was not a lot of room to move but I was able to get a seat and N and I talked about the business for a while. There were some sumptious hors' douvres passed. There were some delicately spiced lamb spring rolls that were just divine. I've had sea urchin before and I never particularly cared for it. People rave on and on about it and I've never really understood it...until now. Apparently I've had bad sea urchin in the past. They were passing around some sort of sea urchin shooters. They were absolutely rich, heavenly, creamy, and divine. Now I completely understand the whole sea urchin thing. It's one of the greatest things I've ever ingested. Yum! There were also some fantastic bite-size Pavlova. Double yum!

We then left Public to have dinner at a newer Australian restaurant called Bondi Road. This was actually a little further so we took a cab. Bondi Road is actually very small. The kitchen is amazingly tiny, but deftly manned. There was a long table waiting for us and the wonderfully attentive Australian expatriate servers were just fantastic and a lot of fun. Wine Australia provided an endless supply of wine for us as the awesome Bondi Road servers brought out a non-stop deluge of food. They kept bringing out family-style platters for us to pass around including calamari, garlic prawns, sea scallops, mussels, ahi tuna, barramundi, breaded snapper, fish and chips, potato fritters, beets and potatoes, perfect lamp chops, super-tender kangaroo, and Lamingtons (a traditional Aussie dessert). The food was stupendous and the service was great! I forward to going there the next time I'm in New York. Delicious! I cannot believe the amazing food the two South American cooks put out in such a tiny kitchen. I guess you get used to that in New York. Filled up on food, wine, and some Coopers Ale we called it a night and went back to the hotel as we had a big day ahead of us on Wall Street.

N and K and I walked to a local small Greek diner for omelettes and coffee. The Greek diner in Chinatown was run by Chinese as a Greek Coney Island in Detroit is run by Albanians. We commented that our server reminded us of a Chinese Flo (if you don't get that reference you're too young and shouldn't be reading this). Breakfast was fast and filling and just what we needed to start a long day. We had to report at Cipriani on Wall Street at 10:00 AM. This is located next to the NYSE and Trump Tower. "Greed is good!" Cipriani was hosting Wine Australia Day as part of Australia Week in New York. It was a very big week. It was our job to work upstairs operating a blind-tasting game that is a variation on the Aussie wine game "Options". We helped set up both upstairs and downstairs in anticipation of the trade-tasting.


Cipriani


Cipriani


Cipriani

We worked in shifts so we actually had some time to walk around the tasting to taste and meet and greet. I've met a lot of the importers and winemakers before. I did have the great opportunity to meet Mr. John Duval. That was an honor. He made he infamous Penfolds Grange for many years. I tasted a lot of great wines and also got to enjoy a fantastic Aboriginal dance group from Western Australia. They danced several times throughout the day.









The dancers and the musicians were fantastic! It's really neat to hear the didgeridoo in person. The coolest thing is that between sets they were tasting wines just like everybody else and the women in the crowd were flirting with them like crazy. It was 20-something degrees outside and snowing and the dancers were barefoot and shirtless as everybody else was dressed in winter gear.




There was a tasting later for the public. After a little bit of clean-up and changeover the consumer tasting began. There were near 900 attendees for the event. And again there were lots of beautiful, FRIENDLY New York women. My group didn't have to pour until 7:00 or so and some of us had some free time so we decided to leave the building to grab something to drink and eat. There was a lot of great Aussie food at the event and good food from the venue as well, but it was pretty crowded. The first Irish pub we went to was too busy. The second Irish pub we went to had room upstairs but one of the people in our group was vegetarian and the menu was very friendly in that sense. We each had a quick drink (a mighty fine Guinness in my case) and left. There are not a lot of restaurants in the Financial District/Wall Street area when you need to find them. They're there, but just can't be found. We eventually stumbled upon a simple cafe and settled on that as time was running out. I had a slice of white pizza that was reheated in a wood burning oven and it was quite good as New York pizza tends to be. Yum! We ate up and went back to Cipriani to work our shifts. Again...there are a lot of beautiful women in New York. And I must say that New York women are much nicer than Detroit women. Women are generally pretty friendly when you're pouring them wine, but Detroit women are fairly disinterested. The women in New York are very friendly, engaging, and FLIRTATIOUS! I was loving it! I had some very nice, very attractive girls flirting with me during the trade and consumer tastings. Thank you! Thank you very much! Detroit women don't flirt with me. In fact I think they find me repulsive. But some of the most gorgeous women I've encountered in New York had the courtesy to flirt and be friendly with me. Unfortunately it was only my ego getting stroked...



Below is a photo I took of some photographers for irony. They were waiting for the unveiling of the world's largest bottle of wine. (A 290L whopper bottle of shiraz from Great Southern in Western Australia) Unfortunately I never took a picture of the bottle.



When the event ended we had a lot of clean up and physical labor to do. We had to take all of the wine downstairs (no elevator) as well as a bunch of other stuff. We also had to break down, pack, and carry away all of the display tents and throw away all empty bottle. Once everything was assemnbled we then had to take it down another flight of stairs and load it into a van (no elevator). It was tough and exhausting, but it was a job well done. Once we finished loading the van we walked over to THE Delomonico's. The Delmonico steak is named after this joint that was founded in 1837. We sat in the bar and some beers as we relaxed after a long day. We talked and laughed and had a chance to talk to the wonderful Jan (President of Wine Australia). (She was on our trip with us and is a truly great person.) The dining room was closing when we got there and was empty by the time we were leaving the bar so I snapped the poto below of the Delmonico's dining room. I swiped some coasters and napkins for my landlords and N, K, and myself thought we should eat so we went to a really cool bar called Ulysses. Really cool crowd, really cool music, really great server, really greater bussers, and very good food. I highly recommend it. We took a cab back to the hotel and called it a night.


Delmonico's

In the morning I said goodbye to N and K. They would be around a for a few more hours but would be doing some shopping. I had an earlier flight. Before checking out of the hotel I walked a couple of blocks and walked into a random Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. I made sure on the menu posted outside that they had Dim Sum and they certainly did. The menu was VERY AUTHENTIC with about 20 kinds of congee, duck tongue, and various innards. The kind of place that I love. No one there spoke a lick of English other than "pork" and "shrimp". I was the only caucasian in the place. The waitress walked around with a Dim Sum cart. I chose a plate of shrimp, a plate of pork, and a plate of mystery Dim Sum. The mystery dumplings were fried and wrapped in bacon as the shrimp and pork were steamed. I don't know what was in the mystey Dim Sum, but anything wrapped in bacon is stellar in my book. Delicious! They did give me a fork, but I was intent on using my chopsticks. I'm not the best with chopsticks, but I'm no slouch...until I dropped one of my dumplings into the dish with the hot mustard and hot chili sauce. As I tried to pick it up out of the dish it kept rolling around in the hot mustard and hot chili sauce. Eventually it had sopped up just about every bit of the mustard and the chili sauce and it was then that I was actually able to pick up the slippery bugger. I plopped it in my mouth and the mustard singed my nose hairs and made me tear up just a bit. It was great, but incendiary. The 3 plates of dumplings (4 on a plate) and a pot of tea came to $8.95. Nice! (Later at the airport a bottle of water and a juice would come to $7.13)

I walked back to the hotel, grabbed my stuff, and checked out of the hotel. I took a car to LaGuardia rather than a cab for a few bucks more. The drive was fine. I did notice that EVERYONE in Queens has a satellite dish. Bad cable or TV addicts? My flippin' Northworst flight was about an hour late. A friend picked me up at DTW and dropped me of at home. I had a little over half an hour to change and get ready to leave for my restaurant job. It was a long and tiresome night. I'm back in Detroit and depressed. I like Chicago a lot, but I LOVE New York! It's such an awesome city. I could never afford to live there, but it's an awesome city filled with a lot of friendly, beautiful, interesting people. Detroit is wonderful and ocmforting, but New York is really special. I'm really glad that I was able to stay in Chinatown this year. It made it a lot of fun. I've seen lots of things that I've never seen before in the various shops. Things I never knew esisted...but things that make life more interesting.

I'm back to work now and it really sucks! New York is only a year away!

Random poll- New York or Chicago syle pizza? (New York for me)

Cheers,
Jason

6 Comments:

Blogger Kathleen said...

I don't know what New York style pizza is. But I did see a pic of the aboriginal dancers one day this week at sfgate.com's Day in Pictures. I figured you were there but don't think you were in the pic.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

New York style pizza is thin with a crisper style crust. The dancers had a few gigs in New York that week. I don't know if the pics were taken at the same event.

2:05 PM  
Blogger Glen said...

Jason wrote:
They kept bringing out family-style platters for us to pass around including calamari, garlic prawns, sea scallops, mussels, ahi tuna, barramundi, breaded snapper, fish and chips, potato fritters, potatoes, perfect lamp chops, super-tender kangaroo, and Lamingtons (a traditional Aussie dessert).

OH YEAH, that's me ALL DAY!!!!
Glad you had a good time!

11:55 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I prefer Chicago style then. I'm all about carbs. No, these dancers were definitely at a wine-tasting.

12:07 PM  
Anonymous joanne said...

Carb lovers unite! Chicago pizza all the way!

Hi Kathleen!

5:27 PM  
Blogger Glen said...

The pizza question is a tough one and I don't take it lightly. As I get older I find that given my choice I prefer no toppings on my pizza, simply good cheese and loads of it! I like both Chicago and New York style but I find there is usually too much crust on the Chi-town ones and it's a bit too thin on the NYC ones...not that I've ever turned down any of either. The New York pizzas tend to have better cheese from my experience. There, I've muddied the waters and solved NOTHING. Let's go eat some pizza Jason!!

11:44 PM  

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