Sunday, March 30, 2014

A weekend full of friends, family, and food ~ March 30, 2014

Friday started out dismal enough - another snow squall, but it was short lived.
Things at work were relatively calm, and two new, awesome volunteers signed up to be part of the Heartside Community. And creativity continues to flow in the Art Studio: Tony with his wildly creative new birdbath, new pottery work by James, and Jane with a cat picture gift for Crash's landing in thankfulness for her newly adopted cat.
Although my lunchtime opportunity was shorter today because of my appointments with prospective volunteers, Matt and I managed to grab lunch at the nearby El Granjero. The place was full but service was prompt and friendly, and the food is great. I had a Taco Salad (deep fried flour tortilla bowl filled with refried beans, spicy pork, lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, avocado, and bell peppers). Matt had the Alambre Especial which was massive (steak and bacon combination seasoned with bell peppers, onions, mozzarella cheese, and served in a hot iron skillet). It came steaming, along with a side dish of beans and rice.
There is table service right up to the point when you need to check out. Customers wait in line to do so, in the same line that people placing take-out orders are in. It took us almost 20 minutes to check out. When we finally got to the head of the line, we had to tell the cashier what we ordered so she could find our ticket. It's a most inefficient process. 

After work, Mary and I did our more-often-than-not Friday after-work stop at Pub 43. We enjoyed our first Oberons of the year :-)
Saturday night found us at dinner with the Gruizengas before enjoying our last symphony performance of the season. The Bull's Head Tavern is a favorite both for its symphony-friendly location and its interesting menu with great food. We had made an online reservation which the hostesses could not find until I showed them my email confirmation. Oh, she put you under 'Heather' instead of 'Helen.' Close enough. First up was a shared crab cake appetizer, served with roasted red pepper aioli.
Our main dishes consisted of perch & chips, vegetable stir fry, smoked gouda chicken pasta, and lobster mac & cheese.
Two of us took boxes back to the car, and everyone came away perfectly satisfied with the food and the company.
We walked across the street to listen to Bach's St. Matthew Passion, and it was a stunner but about an hour and twenty minutes longer than most performances.
And we didn't know that at the outset. Intermission came at the usual time and afterward the orchestra played on. Soloists were exquisite, especially the narrator and Jesus, as were the choruses. We had a little trouble with the counter-tenor/alto with the strange woman's voice emanating from a man, and at 11:20pm the beautiful, but long, performance concluded.

The strangest thing about this evening, however, was the man sitting behind us. He continually talked out loud and clapped at inappropriate times. At one point after a solo had concluded, he shouted out "Excellent!" We all jumped in our seats. He walked out several times after announcing he had to use the bathroom, and then came loudly back asking where Row H was. After someone asked him to refrain from shouting out, he said he was more used to rock concerts. What do you do? The people sitting next to him during Part 1 moved elsewhere for Part 2.

Sunday brought us to Wei Wei Palace for Dim Sum for a belated Roy's birthday celebration with Matt & Rachael. These were the first dishes among many.

But before this, we started with the best hot and sour soup in Grand Rapids.
Lastly, I was happy to find these signs of spring coming up through the fallen leaves this afternoon.
We're heading out of town for a few weeks and hoping that spring is in full bloom when we return. Cheers!

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