Monday, March 15, 2010

La Vie Boheme

I’ve really fallen off the blogosphere, haven’t I? Well, let’s make amends!

For Christmas Josh bought us tickets to La Boheme at the Ordway, which we went to Tuesday, March 9. Beforehand we went to Meritage in downtown Saint Paul for dinner. It smelled awesome the second we stepped into the Hamm Building. Very small place, and got very loud by the time we left. Cute, though not dripping with ambience.

Their wine list is very good and I was happy to see a Boomtown Cab from Dusted Valley on it. It was delicious! Josh had a Riesling, I believe. My one complaint about the wine is it was served far too warm. I just feel like I’m not even a total winehead, but for a restaurant that prides itself on knowing wine, they should know better. But, I digress.

We liked our server, though he did seem to go missing now and again. Not a big deal; the place was certainly hopping and I don’t know how they even expect servers to maneuver in such tight quarters.

They had several of what are essentially amuse bouche(s?) for sale at $3/each. Josh and I each had two – I had the smoked mushroom pain perdu and a duck strudel. I really think duck is fantastic; I don’t know why I never order it. Josh had the billibi soup and the tiny tuna taco tartare. Say that 10 times fast!

For dinner I wavered between the “composition of winter squash,” a NY strip and scallops. I got the scallops but wasn’t entirely happy with them – they were gritty (and I hear scallops are difficult to wash properly), and merely warm rather than hot. In full: pan-seared dayboat sea scallops with MN pork belly, du put lentils, kabocha squash puree, brussel sprout petals and sauce diable. The lentils were very good, and the brussel sprout petals were crunchy and salty. There wasn’t enough “sauce diable.” Josh had the moules frites, which I was even brave enough to try. I didn’t totally hate the taste, but it’s the texture that really makes that dish a big fat “no” for me. His meal also came with pommes frites and the ever-tasty bĂ©arnaise sauce, of which I helped myself to plenty.

For dessert I had a salted caramel ice cream “lollipop” dipped in chocolate. Kind of complicated to eat but it tasted good. Also had a glass of icewein and Josh had a glass of absinthe. It tasted like black licorice and we both agreed we probably never need to order that again. One and done!

Walking over to the Ordway was exciting – we’re going to the opera! I, of course, kept making Pretty Woman references such as “It’s a band!” and “Mine are broken.” Yes, I think I am hilarious.

I wasn’t sure if I would like the opera – but I did. The music is really beautiful. I wish it had been louder so as to “envelope” you, if that makes sense. My other complaint, if you will, is the subtitles were far, far above the characters heads, so you couldn’t really read them and watch the scene at the same time. Fortunately, it was La Boheme so I knew the general storyline pretty well, thanks to repeated attendance at Rent.

I think one thing about opera – or this one, anyway – is that people seem to think it’s really highbrow, when really there is some lowbrow humor in it and is, in general, very approachable. Much like Shakespeare, I guess. If you can get past not being familiar with the language, it’s pretty enjoyable.

All in all, a lovely evening. And, now that I’m back on the blogging saddle, hopefully I won’t fall off again for a while.