Saturday, January 31, 2009

Volume 8. August Evening



I just finished watching Chris Eska's August Evening and was totally blown away by it. Everything about it was great. The bittersweet overarching tone that ran throughout the film. Jonathan Hughs' evocative music and Yasu Tanida's cinematography that enhanced it. The fine ensemble acting led by Pedro Castaneda (a nonprofessional actor who runs a towing company in San Antonio) and the sensitive, expressive Veronica Loren. I loved the very real characters.


Films this good don't come around all that often.


Do not miss this.


Be sure to visit the August Evening website at www.augustevening.com for a Synopsis.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dining in Hong Kong

View Only Photo

This just in from Global Around Town Senior Travel Correspondent Doug Wingate in Hong Kong:

Got to lunch at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon on Thursday, before we headed to the mainland for Harbin's New Year's festivities over the weekend. It was dee-lish. We had a set menu, that began with a swell amuse bouche of a parmigiana flan presented in a ceramic egg shell. Our starter was a seared scallop and bacon skewer that was rich and light simultaneously. Then, we enjoyed a unique duck confit presentation as our main, that was like an haute shepherd's pie, with a small pot with a bottom layer of duck confit, topped with truffled mashed potatoes, and then finished with a broiled layer of parmigiana. Ohmigod-- I died and went to heaven then and there, but first they gave me angel wings with a dessert of petit profiteroles in which  the chocolate sauce had been traded for a salted caramel sauce. Then coffee, finished by house made macarons and fruit gelees. EXQUISITE all!

Temple, Hong Kong, Hong Kong Cultural, photo, picture, image

Yesterday, Chinese New Year's Day in Hong Kong, we were looking for an open restaurant, and serendipitously wandered into a new little place on trendy Hollywood Rd. (the Design District), which forms the northern border of also trendy SoHo, on the western edge of Central, and just east of the famous Man Mo Buddhist Temple. It is called DUO, and is run by a Lebanese fellow who grew up in Paris, by the name of Marwan Cabbabe, who is fluent in French and English (and probably whatever else is spoken in Lebanon). His very chic new bistro offers an eclectic mix of cuisine, from burgers for the homesick American expats to Duck confit and profiteroles for the French missing their Gallic homeland. Everything we tasted was first-rate, from the confit of roast chicken with roasted root vegetables (gorgeous and cooked to perfection), to a pumpkin risotto, to a light but rich housemade chocolate cake with fresh whipped cream. (In fact, everything in the place is housemade, from the tapenade served on toasted bread as you sit down, to a unique dessert of housemade jams with various breads, that could also be a breakfast with tea or coffee). The French couple sitting next to us finished off with glee their risotto and gnochi and finished with excellent-looking profiteroles. The wine list is well chosen, and Marwan the host/owner couldn't be more gracious. My HoKo house hosts were flabbergasted at the find; they couldn't believe something so good had opened up so close to their mid-Levels home. Anyway, this is THE spot, in my humble foodie opinion, for a GREAT, comforting, stylish meal for the western palate (with a Gallic foundation) with prices, although not cheap, that are a veritable bargain compared to the Michelin-two-starred wonderful L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon (DUO is equally  satisfying, in its own way, as L'Atelier). Here's wishing Marwan every success -- it is well deserved.

DUO Restaurant + Cafe
G/F 118, Hollywood Rd
Central, Hong Kong
Tel-852 6338 3991
www.duo.com.hk

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Volume 7. A Golden Anniversary






Ravel - Piano Concerto in G major - Argerich, Dutoit
Uploaded by PaGoO

It was a very good year. I mean really... Jimi Hendrix bought his first guitar - a White Single pickup Supro Ozark 1560 S.

Miles was in the studio recording Kind of Blue.


Ornette was killin' em with controversy at New York's Five Spot.

Bonanza, Hawaiian Eye, and The Twilight Zone all premiered on TV.



And The Academy Award for Best Picture went to Gigi.


The Year was 1959.

In the world of Classical Music, conductor Charles Dutoit was just completing his studies and meets a teenage Martha Argerich who has just won 1st Prize at The International Competition in Geneva. The two hit it off and on January 19, 1959 Dutoit led Argerich and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne in the Ravel Piano Concerto in G major. This spectacular performance was their joint debut together and a glimpse of the greatness to come.

Encore!

The 50th Anniversary Celebration of this Great Moment in Classical Music History comes January 26 & 27.
Charles DuToit, branch - Martha Argerich piano - Lausanne Chamber Orchestra

Jean BALISSAT: Sinfonietta

Maurice RAVEL: Concerto for piano in g major

Richard STRAUSS: Le Bourgeois gentilhomme

Date (s):
26.01.2009 - 27.01.2009
Time (s):
Monday at 20: 30 p.m. on Tuesday at 8 pm
Room:
Room Métropole
The OCL ticketing: 021 345 00 25 / www.ocl.ch
Reservation:
Book your ticket now

For me this is one of the most exciting events in the world for this week. If there was any way I could be there, I'd be there. I sure hope some of you are able to take in this historic event.



Bresse Chicken in Cocotte with Vegetables and Truffle Mousseline


For a fine meal while in Lausanne you just may want to stop in to the Hotel de Ville where Phillipe Rochat might offer you his delicious:

Bresse Chicken in Cocotte with Vegetables and Truffle Mousseline



Then, no trip to Lausanne would be complete without stopping in at

Le Château de Beaulieu et Musée de l'Art Brut.

Frommer's Review

Located on the northwestern side of town, this château dates from 1756 and was once occupied by Madame de Staël. The museum displays what the artist Jean Dubuffet called art brut in the 1940s. This curious mélange of artwork was collected by the painter from prisoners, the mentally ill, and the criminally insane. It's like a bizarre twilight zone of art, often dubbed "psychopathological," especially the art by schizophrenics. Dubuffet despised the pretentiousness of the avant-garde art scene around him, and as a form of protest decided to begin this collection of the works of "nonartists," many of whom he found superior to the more established artists of his day.

Now wouldn't all that make for a fun and exciting trip!

For those of you not en route to Lausanne... listening to this fine recording in honor of the anniversary will be a delight.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In Honor of Two Great Musicians

The other day while writing my newest entry I began to burn out, and despite the rather cold weather decided to go for a stroll. The moment the very cold air hit my face I began to have second thoughts. Perhaps a nice drive in the country would be more pleasant. So I buckled up and meandered out of town. Driving down along the canal I spotted a path and decided to park and attempt a walk. All bundled up, and with my iPod ready to go, I ventured out into the very cold and snowy scene. I'd cued up an old friend. Eberhard Weber's Fluid Rustle. I'm not exactly sure what made me pick that, but it was perfect. As I strolled down by the canal, I watched the little kids figure skating and playing hockey. Accompanying this view, Gary Burton's vibes, Norma Winstone and Bonnie Hermans' murmured voicings, and Bill Frisell's atmospheric strumming, all grounded by Eberhard and that deep, resonant bass. Later, the sounds of the wintry Potomac and the wind blowing through the crisp reeds complemented the music. These great musicians and this winter wonderworld had reawakened my spirit


A couple years ago I flew over to Stuttgart to visit friends. The first night there I treated them to a concert by Jan Garbarek and his group. I'd been looking forward to this trip, these friends, and this concert for a long time. Katherine, David and I enjoyed the concert immensely but were saddened when we heard that Eberhard was absent because he'd recently had a stroke . As far as I can tell, Eberhard is recovering. His birthday is January 22 and I'm sure that there are many out there who want to wish him Health & Happiness on his birthday. Three or four months ago I went to see Chick Corea and Gary Burton. It was another great concert and afterwards I went to say hello to Gary. When I finally got up to him, I thanked him for his generosity. For all the years he has toured and played for so many. For all the beautiful music he has made. Years ago, when I was growing up, we used to go down to Evanston to a little coffee house to hear some of the most amazing concerts. The Keith Jarrett Quartet, Steve Kuhn, Oregon, Livingston Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, and many other fine musicians played there. The Gary Burton Quintet with Eberhard Weber, Mick Goodrick, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, and Bob Moses played there. We all felt so blessed to be able to take in these great performances. I remember those days, all those years ago, with a very special fondness. All these years later, having toured all over the world many times, Gary hadn't forgotten those concerts at Amazing Grace. What a guy. Gary's birthday is January 23 and I know there are many out there that want to wish him all the best.

Happy Birthday Eberhard + Gary!

Health, Happiness + continued Creativity

To You

Friday, January 16, 2009

Volume 6. The Inauguration

Eric & Wendy smelling the Cherry Blossoms
at the Tidal Basin

This week figuring out where the most exciting event in the world would be found was easy. The question becomes "To be, or not to be" at various Inaugural Events. Washington D.C. is abuzz in anticipation of this historic event with millions of people expected. In addition to the Inauguration there are a myriad of parties, concerts, and soirees one might attend. Stevie's gonna be here. Aretha's gonna be here. Bono, Sting and many other wonderful artists. Many bars and restaurants will be staying open later than usual to accomodate the celebrants and festivities. Some realities to consider are that the weather is going to be really cold. Traveling around D.C. will be a congested nightmare with bridges from VA to D.C. and MD closed down. Metro will also be pushed to its limits as will all other forms of infrastructure. So what's a guy or gal to do?

If you've got to go, I'd make careful sorties to specific events. I'd expect to have to be really patient. I would dress very warmly. Personally, I'm going to stay in and watch things unfold on the TV. For those of you flocking to this city here are some diversions that might make your visit even that much more special.


If there are any vacancies at the every award under the sun winning Inn at Little Washington, perhaps a night or two there would make all the racing around D.C. proper a bit more palatable. If you can't get a reservation for a room you can still try for a reservation at the restaurant. There you can meet Patrick O'Connell, the man Robert Mondavi dubbed " The Pope of American Cuisine", and sample some of his wares.

(Photo courtesy of AlbertHerring )

Some First Course Selections

A Tin of Sin: American Ossetra Caviar with a Crab and Cucumber Rillette

Poached Pullet Egg in Oxtail Consomme with Porcini Mushrooms and Shaved Burgundy Truffle

A Marriage of Hot and Cold Foie Gras with Ice Wine Jelly and Grilled Black Mission Figs

Some Second Course Selections

Macaroni and Cheese with Virginia Country Ham, Aged Gouda and Shaved Black Burgundy Truffle

Minced Squab with Virginia Peanuts and Shiitake Mushrooms in Hoisin Sauce with Spears of Belgian Endive

A Fricasse of Maine Lobster with Potato Gnocchi and Curried Walnuts

Some Main Course Selections

Pepper Crusted Tuna Pretending to be a Filet Mignon, Capped with Seared Duck Foie Gras on Charred Onions with a Burgundy Butter Sauce

Medallions of Rabbit Loin Wrapped in House Cured Pancetta Surrounding a Lilliputian Rabbit Rib Roast Resting on a Pillow of Rutabaga Purée

Veal Sweetbreads Braised in Ruby Port on Pappardelle Pasta with Huckleberries and Country Ham

Some Dessert Selections

Our Warm Custard Bread Pudding Accented with Solera Vinegar and Pickled Cranberries

Ferdinand Point's Classic "Marjolaine" Cake:Layers of Chocolate and Hazelnut Meringue with Raspberries

A Chocolate Mint Fantasy: Our Mint Ice Cream Festooned with Chocolate Streamers

For a Selection of Today’s Cheeses Just Ask for Faira the Cow

Visiting this spectacular Inn has always been a pleasure. The setting, food, service, and wine list are a cut above. What an appropriate place to celebrate this historic Inauguration.


In a more modern vein and in contrast to the Inn, you could always pray for a seat at Jose Andres' rather surrealistic Mini Bar. Where you can pick between these offerings:

Snacks

PASSION FRUIT “TEQUILA SUNRISE” / TUMBLEWEED OF BEET / APPLE CRISPS / “MOJITO” / OLIVE OIL BON BON / “CORNBREAD” / COTTON CANDY FOIE GRAS / “BAGELS & LOX” / CURRIED CHICKEN WING / CONCH FRITTER

Flavors & Textures

SALMON-PINEAPPLE “RAVIOLI” WITH CRISPY QUINOA / DECONSTRUCTED GLASS OF WHITE WINE / ZUCCHINI IN TEXTURES / “SUN DRIED” TOMATO SALAD / CAESAR SALAD / EGG 63° WITH CAVIAR / CORN ON THE COB / “GUACAMOLE” / SMOKED OYSTER AND APPLES / NEW ENGLAND CLAM CHOWDER / BREADED CIGALA WITH SEA ASPARAGUS / “PHILLY CHEESESTEAK”

Sweet Endings

DESSERT:
JAPANESE BABY PEACHES WITH YOGURT / PISTACHIO-BEETS AND MIXED BERRIES / THAI DESSERT

SWEET ENDING :
MATCHABALL / SAFFRON GUMDROP IN EDIBLE WRAPPER / MARACUYA MARSHMALLOW / PIÑA COLADA.



Getting a reservation at this tiny establishment may be impossible, but it is worth a try. Other favorites of mine include Ellen & Todd Gray's Equinox, where the Obama's dined last night, and Marcel's. You may also want to get out of downtown and head over to Frank Ruta's ("personal lunch and dinner chef to the Reagan and Bush families and executive Sous Chef" at the White House.) Palena in Cleveland Park or to Black's in Bethesda. Both are conveniently located on the Red Line. Both are always very good.

As my dear readers are no doubt aware, D.C. is filled with great cultural institutions. The National Symphony Orchestra being one. Emmanual Krivine leads the NSO with pianist Yundi Li in Ravel's Piano Concerto in G major January 22 - 24 at The Kennedy Center. What a nice distraction from all the Inaugural mayhem that searching Adagio assai will provide. With all the talk of Jay Z and basketball courts, wouldn't it be nice if the entire Obama Family showed up for this concert in the President's Box. I believe tickets are still available.

There also happen to be any number of wonderful museums and galleries that may serve as a pleasant distraction for you. My favorites include I. M. Pei's National Gallery of Art East Wing with its Calder mobile filled atrium, and the Phillips Collection where " Edward Burtynsky's awe-inspiring vistas create unsettling beauty out of scarred, industrial landscapes."

The current exhibit at the Touchstone Gallery titled My Space on 7th, features 88 local artists and is quite nice. Stop in there to see Aline Pilar's interesting sculpture. Take time to visit with Elyse Harrison at Gallery Neptune in Bethesda where things are always hopping. Like many tall trees in the winter landscape, Gallery Neptune's elevated gallery walls reveal nests in January. "A Logic of Their Own Making", a striking new exhibit features artist Carol Barsha, whose capable hand first and foremost celebrates the power of drawing. Working with oil, charcoal and ink, the gallery is filled with large powerful images of bird nests on paper. Gallery Neptune is located in the heart of downtown Bethesda, Maryland, a short walk from the Bethesda metro on the red line. Get a sneak preview of “A Logic of Their Own Making” at http://www.galleryneptune.com/en/196/


Or, take a hike... up to Baltimore's Gallery Imperato where you'll enjoy their Guns and Chandeliers Exhibit made up of Oil paintings by Shannon Cannings and Resin paintings by Jessica Dunegan.


With todays Washington Post headline " Mall Area Is Flush With Portable Facilities" , nothing is going to get me downtown. Not even the Inaugural Jello Wrestling Brawl at the Rock & Roll Hotel on Wednesday.

Me... I'm gonna stay in. Maybe I'll take advantage of the collaboration between Google and Madrid's Prado Museum and zoom in on some of their famous masterpieces. Regardless dear readers, I hope I've provided you with some interesting ideas as to how you might survive and enjoy the Inaugural Week.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Cassoulet, Confit, Clafouti... oh my!


Welcome back dear readers. I'm hoping that some of you will be able to take in the World Premiers of Arvo Part's work I mentioned in the previous post. These concerts are very unique. His music is not performed often enough. And how often do you have the opportunity to attend a World Premier? I can't tell you how lucky I feel to have been able to attend The Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and Tallinn Chamber Orchestra concert here. Conductor Tõnu Kaljuste led these brilliant ensembles in works by Arvo Part, Erkki-Sven Tuur, and Vivaldi. I recommended the encore from this performance, "May Jesus, Thee Be Praised" from Tonu Korvits's "Kreek's Notebook" as the perfect Christmas music.


Now, for those of you in the LA area, you have been doubly blessed. Not only can you tickle your ears, you can tickle your palete. Anne Willan, founder of the prestigious Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne will be signing copies of her book The Country Cooking of France, for which she won, not one, but two 2008 James Beard Foundation Awards (for best international cookbook and best cookbook photography)! Thurdsday January 15 you'll want to head on over to Algabar where from 7:00 - 10:00 you'll be able to chat, read and even nibble. Look forward to meeting gregarious hosts Gail Baral and Robert Wain who will no doubt greet you with one of their exotic teas. Stick around for a delicious tasting of selected dishes from Anne's stunning book, which is a collection of classic French recipes beautifully photographed by France Ruffenach. I know I would. Here's what you might expect:

Gougeres and a complimentary MarTEAni
(Cheese Puffs)

Soupe Au Pistou
(Provencal Vegetable Soup with Basil)

Gambas Grille Au Sel de Mer
(Seared Prawns with Sea Salt)

Celeri Remoulade
(Celery Root in Mustard Mayonnaise)

Champignon a la Greque
(Mediterranean Marinated Mushrooms)

Tarte Aux Poires et Chocolate
(Pear and Chocolate Tart)

$115/per person including signed copy of The Country Cooking of France
$65 without book
Make reservations for this popular event ASAP
RSVP
Call: 323 954 9720

If after this glorious fete you are still in the mood for a little something, why not head over to the Catalina Bar & Grill where sax player Kenny Garrett will be leading his Quartet? I can't imagine a hipper nightcap.

Many thanks to Global Around Town Los Angeles Correspondents Brooke Breton and Devon Breton-Pakozdi.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Left Coast - Right Coast

Around 25 years ago Manfred Eicher created the ECM New Series with Arvo Part's incredible Tabula Rasa recording. I remember listening to this powerful, mystical music in awe. Many of the subsequent New Series and Arvo Part recordings have also been very special. Those of you who have read previous entries may recall that I attended a brilliant concert by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir a few weeks ago. I think it was one of the most important and pleasurable concerts of the season. So, for those of you on the two coasts, I have some great news. Don't miss the two world premier performances of works by Arvo Part this weekend! Grab your tickets while they last!!!

Left Coast
Walt Disney Concert Hall (Map/Directions)
111 South Grand AvenueLos Angeles, CA 90012 323.850.2000
Performances:
Saturday, January 10, 2009, 8:00 PM
Sunday, January 11, 2009, 2:00 PM
Featured Artists:
Los Angeles Philharmonic
Esa-Pekka Salonen, conductor
Emanuel Ax, piano

Program:
Mozart: Overture to Der Schauspieldirektor

Pärt: Symphony No. 4, “Los Angeles” (World Premiere, LAPA commission)

Brahms: Piano Concerto No. 1



Right Coast
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street)New York, NY 10128-0173
Arvo Pärt
Monday, January 12 @ 7:30 p.m.
Lauren Flanigan, Wendy Whelan, Albert Evans, and Sébastien Marcovici perform in an all-Pärt evening featuring the U.S. premiere of the operatic monologue L’Abbe Agathon, with visual concept created by Sophie Calle. Christopher Wheeldon’s Liturgy, set to Fratres, and After the Rain pas de deux, set to Spiegel im Spiegel, will also be performed. The staged premiere of L’Abbe Agathon is commissioned by American Opera Projects and Works & Process.

Hearing L'Abbe Agathon alone will be worth the price of admission. Such a lovely piece.

In honor of the 25 year anniversary ECM New Series will be releasing Arvo Part's In Principio March 3rd. This recording, destined for your collection, contains four world premiers as well as new versions of "Da Pacem Domine", and of "Mein Weg".

To check out a performance of "Da Pacem Domine" follow this link:

http://kineticmedianyc.com/arvopart.html

For those of you on the Coasts I hope you will not miss these terribly special concerts. Hearing this music live is a moving experience.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Volume 4. 1/4/09 - 1/10/09 Berlin

Welcome back folks. I'm hoping you survived the holidays with your senses of adventure and discovery intact. For this, the 4th edition of Global Around Town, we're heading to a city that has endured much. A city that has changed and grown. To a city that suffers from an embarassment of riches culturally. What fun! We're off to Berlin where we can all "ich bin."

Berlin has everything. Great Music, Art, Architecture, Cuisine, a history of Film... and it is because of the richness of Berlin's many cultural offerings that I thought we should spend this week there.
Berlin is blessed with an abundance of symphonies and operas. Because of this you can usually count on there being many wonderful concerts taking place. And for those of you lucky enough to be heading to Berlin this week, or living there for that matter, the Music scene is chock full of goodies. Let's continue Elliott Carter's 100th birthday bash by attending the Philharmonie Monday night. There Daniel Barenboim will lead Maurizio Pollini and the Staatskapelle Berlin in a wonderful program:

Elliott Carter - Allegro scorrevole

Schumann - Piano Concerto in A minor, op. 54

Ravel - Ma Mere l'Oye (Mother Goose)

Ravel - Rhapsodie Espagnol, for orchestra

Paul Griffiths wrote about the piece by Elliott Carter:

"Composer's Notes

Allegro Scorrevole, as its title suggests, consists primarily of a continuous flow of soft, rapid passages that move over the entire range of the sound spectrum, and here and there form into thematic material. Against this is a lyrical idea also developed throughout, sometimes slowing down to hesitantly separated notes and at other times tightly joined together to form intensely expressive lines. The fleeting, evanescent character of the score was suggested by these lines from the Latin poem, Bulla (Bubble) by the English Jacobean poet, Richard Crashaw – The bubble speaks, as it floats through the air:

Sum venti ingenium breve

Flos sum, scilicet, aeris

……..

Sum blandum, petulans, vagum,

Pulchrum, purpureum, et decens,

Comptum, floridulum, et recens.


I am the brief nature of the wind

To be sure, I am the flower of air

……..

I am charming, wanton, inconstant,

Beautiful, gleaming, and noble,

Ornate, somewhat blooming, and fresh.

Allegro Scorrevole was commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra, Christoph von Dohnanyi, Music Director, and is dedicated to it and to Oliver Knussen. It was composed during the summer of 1995 in Southbury, Connecticut. Elliott Carter, 1995"

Carter, Griffiths continues "adopts the viewpoint of a bubble floating above human affairs, observing, ... the games people play, the tragedies they endure, and the life that goes on fizzing through them."

You will not want to miss seeing what fools these mortals be! This will certainly prove to be a fascinating opportunity to hear an interesting work by one of the few great living composers. Happy Birthday Elliott!


The rest of the program is quite nice as well. Having seen Maurizio Pollini a few weeks ago in performces of Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann, and Schubert, I can assure you that he is in rare form. His Schumann Piano Concerto should be fine indeed. Then how nice to continue with Barenboim and the Staatskapelle in Ravel's gentle Mother Goose Suite and finally the sprited and colourful Rhapsadie Espagnole. This will be an evening of fine music making in a fascinating city.
Afterwards continue the celebration by heading over to Paris Bar for Belon Oysters the size of your fist, entrecote, as well as other great bistro fare. Who might you spot at this hip late night haunt... Volker, Gunther, Claudia, Wim?! A good time will be had by all.


For a meal less frivolous, I really enjoyed Restaurant Vau in the Gendarmenmarkt. There I loved being served by a cadre of attentive sylphs. I had:

Amuse Bouche

Jerusalem Artichoke Creme with Venison Tartare and Imperial Caviar

Braised Veal Cheeks

Piedmontese Hazelnut Tart

Espresso + Petits Fours

I enjoyed this lovely meal, in this stylish room, served by these angels. If I'd had more time I might have indulged myself in an intermediate course of:

Lobster in Wild Herb Fond

My last night in Berlin I splurged and went to a restaurant that some consider its best. You will probably want to try the very elegant Margaux. There I had:

Grilled Scallop on Potatoe Puree with a Drizzle of Pesto Oil

Pheasant Parfait served with a Little Square of Cooked Apple, a Roast Chestnut, a Round of Gingerbread, and Bacon Wrapped Chicory

Lobster from Bretone with a Jerusalem Artichoke Marmalade, Lemon Froth, and a Seaweed Crisp

Turbot with Goose Liver topped with little Mussels Frites

Inspirations of Dark Chocolate

Everything was spectacular at Margaux. Ambiance, food, service, and one of the best wine lists I've seen in a long time.

Now that we've surveyed the dining scene, there are a number of other events this week that will appeal. Global Around Town Berlin Correspondent Gabe Shalom insists that the place to be Tuesday night is the New Year's Reception hosted by Create Berlin at the Temporary Kunsthalle. It is there that you will find the "20 Years Since the Fall of the Wall - Freespace" Exhibit. The exhibit is of 20 interdisciplinary design projects from Berlin's contemporary design scene; a mixture of both established names and companies and up and coming designers. This exhibit, first shown in London in September as part of the Tent Design Festival, is not to be missed. Get your tickets now.

On Wednesday you can choose between a performance of Puccini's Tosca by the Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Herbert Blomstedt leading Leif Ove Andsnes and the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin in a Mozart Piano Concerto and Bruckner's 3rd.

Thursday brings a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute by Komische Oper Berlin.


Friday you will not want to miss Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen performed by the Deutsche Oper. My taxi driver told me I had to go! Also, the Elliott Carter concert is repeated. And you just might want to head to the Konzerthaus where Eliahu Inbal leads violinist Dmitri Sitkovetsky and the Konzertausorchester Berlin in the Stravinsky Violin Concerto and Bruckner's 2nd. Did I say Berlin would prove to be an embarassment of riches?!?!?!?!?!

You can wind things down Saturday with a performance of La Boheme at Komische Oper Berlin if you like. A number of the previously mentioned concerts are repeated again on Saturday. And if you're still into celebrating Elliott Carter's birthday, head to the Philharmonie where Zubin Mehta leads Murray Perahia and the Berlin Philharmonic in:

Elliott Carter - 3 Illusions for Orchestra

Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, op. 58

Richard Strauss - Sinfonia Domestica, op. 53

Amazing! What a town!

Then of course there are many museums worthy of your attention. So many in fact that you will not have time for them all. While in Berlin I visited the 3 B's: The Bauhaus Archive/Museum for Design, The Berggruen Museum - Picasso and his Times, and The Brucke-Museum Berlin.

There is a Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin that often has interesting exhibits. I enjoyed a trip to the Vitra Design Museum. And a visit to Berlin without a visit to the Jewish Museum would be unfortunate. Daniel Libeskind's building is at once an expressionist sculpture and intricately designed vessel in which to house this vast and meaningful collection.


Lastly do not miss grazing through KaDaWe's Gourmet floor filled with thousands of breads, pastries, cheeses, cold meats, and fish. It is spectacular. And if while strolling around Berlin you come across a donner kebab stand or a cigar shop with Havanas... indulge yourself. You'll be glad you did.