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The Marriage of Figaro (Tuesday, April 27, 2010)

This evening, Elaine and I enjoyed a delightful evening at the Kennedy Center, where we had dinner at the Rooftop Terrace Restaurant and then watched an enchanting rendition of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro.

Because we were pressed for time, having to be on campus this afternoon, we decided to drive into town and park at the Kennedy Center, which I haven't done before. Traffic was surprisingly light, but if I hadn't used a combination of Google's "street view" and Bing's "bird's eye view", there's no way I would have found my way to the parking garage entrance. And keep in mind, there are multiple entrances, and it isn't immediately obvious which ones are open. But we did find our way in, and about an hour ahead of schedule. So after paying the obscene $18 event-night parking fee, we parked right next to the elevator and made our way up to the terrace level.

The rain made the view a bit less spectacular than one would hope for, but fortunately, the restaurant was happy to move our reservation up a half hour, since we were so early. I was disappointed to see that the menu was much smaller than the menu presented on the Kennedy Center web site — the "Interlude" course is no longer available. Which is disappointing, because at these prices, I was really hoping for escargot.

With the shortened list, I decided to try the Hudson Valley Duck Rillette, a pâté served (believe it or not) in a glass jar accompanied by two pieces of toasted bread, an assortment of decorative vegetation, and a pommerey mustard. The pâté was terrific! The mustard was unpalatable, and it ruined the bits of bread that it touched. I definitely recommend this dish, but decline the mustard.

For our entrées, Elaine had the crab cakes, which she says were "good", as she's not prone to superlatives. I ordered the beef tenderloin, which was served on top of some sort of potato purée and green leafy vegetable, with a wine sauce. Let's just say that when I was done, the plate was totally scoured of everything that it had come with. It was highly enjoyable.

There was a reasonable selection of desserts, however, we had wandered into the Café at the other end of the terrace before dinner, and noticed a couple of really amazing looking chocolate desserts, and they looked better than anything on the menu in the restaurant (and half the price!), so we payed the bill at the restaurant, and wandered over to the Café for dessert. We were not disappointed. Our Chocolate Bombe was rather impressive. The availability of seating was not. But we did not mind standing to eat this chocolate orgasm.

After we finished rolling around in food, we made our way down to the gift shop, since we had a fair bit of time left before the opera house opened, and made a nuisance of ourselves. Eventually, we returned to the main concourse, where there was a really good jazz band putting on a free performance, which we listened to as we waited for the opera house to finally open.

Once we were seated, and the lights went down, well, we were treated to one of the most famous operas of all time, and we were not disappointed. The sets and costumes were magnificent, the orchestra was precise, and the acting and singing left nothing to be desired. An opera critic might find something to complain about, but when you only get to the opera occasionally, it is simply magical. And more to the point, this was Elaine's first opportunity to attend an opera, and I think she was thoroughly entertained. After all, who wouldn't want to find a page boy under every cloth and behind every door?

—Brian (4/27/2010 12:08 AM)
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