Sunday, January 29, 2012

Hot Time in the Old Town

Last night, Wendy and I went to dinner at a fancy downtown restaurant, and then we went to the symphony. First, I'll discuss the dinner.

The Dinner

Now that's good technical writing, that heading. We ate at a fancy French restaurant. I do not remember the name of it. I am not a foodie. Wendy is. Wendy is not a miser. I am.

What I should do in these situations is swing by Taco Bell on the way and eat three bean & cheese burritos. Then I would let Wendy do all the fine dining, and I would nibble on her food and order my own dessert. Perfect. Instead, I play the game and tell myself that it's okay to throw away money because there's plenty more where that came from.

I ordered the Beef Bourguignon because it has the word "beef" in it and "bourguignon" sounds like something I might not eschew. That's $32 for the entree. While I was spending a full week of my former self's lifeguard's salary on a meal, I also ordered a side of butternut squash for $9 and a glass (specifically, a third of a glass) of red wine for $14. The wine was a cabernet sauvignon that tastes slightly better or slightly worse than any glass of take-it-or-leave-it wine I drink at home.

The squash was the best part of the meal. The Beef Bourguignon tasted like pot roast. I like pot roast just fine, but what I really needed for $32 was not pot roast. Wendy ordered kobe beef, which was roll-your-eyes-back delicious, well worth the $39. She gave me about half of the kobe beef and ate most of the butternut squash (glazed with black truffles) in return.

We didn't have time for the $9 desserts because we had to make it to the symphony.

The Symphony

I'm on fire, transition-wise. The program had three parts, for lack of a better word. There is probably a better word, but I don't know it. First, a new composition from a contemporary 30-year-old composer who is apparently heavily influenced by Philip Glass. I did not like this new composition because the sound of it was not pleasing to the ear. In fact, I had a difficult time distinguishing the orchestral tuning from the actual piece.

People clapped when it was done. I clapped as well. What, do you think I'm a snob? This composer did his best, and even though his discordant mess was drab and messy, I gingerly patted three fingers against the center of my palm.

Next, a piece by Schubert. I was pleasantly surprised that it sounded good, like much of the classical music that one hears when flipping the radio station or watching Saturday morning cartoons. Unfortunately, I cannot offer a full critique of Schubert's piece because I fell asleep, despite slamming down a cup of coffee just before the event and scalding my tongue.

After the intermission was Chopin. That's why I set up the night in town. That's right, I arranged it. You probably thought Wendy was dragging me along, but no -- it was I, Bob the Chopin lover, who ordered said tickets. Wendy just made the ill-fated restaurant reservation.

The sound of the orchestra warming up and tuning their instruments before an anticipated concert is thrilling. I love the tingle. And then they played utterly beautiful music. Inspirational. Awesome. Rapturous. When it was over, I offered no polite applause. I stood up, clapped wildly, and shouted, "Rock on, bitches!"

Seriously, the audience gave a 5-minute standing ovation that led to an encore. The encore piano solo wasn't at all like watching waves crash against a rocky beach. No, it was more like snow falling on a cottage. That's exactly what it was. It was snow falling against a candle-lit cottage.