August 24, 2009

Weekend at Tanglewood

Apologies for my blog-absence! It has taken me a few moments to gather my thoughts for a recap of my weekend's highlights. I have some really nice pictures to share because I was lucky enough to spend a few days in the Berkshires, enjoying the Tanglewood music festival.

The boyf and his motor vehicle conveyed me the three hours north of NYC, before which I had a quick lunch at my desk delivered to me from Eva's. I love their Vegan Special #6!

It's just their famous lentil soup over brown rice with a side salad, but in the interest of time, I just dumped a bunch of salad right into the beans and rice. My summer Friday meant I was off the hook at 2:00pm, and I intended to make the most of it!

After we'd been on the road a while, hunger came a'knockin' once more, so I had a Pure bar to tide me over. For the record, the Chocolate Chip Trail Mix flavor is good, but it takes a lot more chocolate to impress this here chocoholic.

The boyf and I were hooked up big time, accommodation-wise. Sister Boyf works for the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and therefore rents a house with coworkers for the summer while the musicians are in residence at Tanglewood. Obviously, Sister Boyf is not a woman of the cloth, as her pseudonym suggests, but that's still worth pointing out.

So we got to crash with her in a house that totally reminded me of Dan in Real Life. Remember that movie?

Sister Boyf's bedroom is clearly occupied by a little boy for the majority of the year. I can take a wild guess as to what his name might be. I also have a feeling I know which is his favorite baseball team. Him and the rest of the state.

I failed to get a picture of our guest bedroom before our stuff exploded all over it, but here it is in all its cuteness (mostly due to the crib, which functioned well as a closet).

It's so New England-y with all its painted wood and oddly-shaped ceiling...whatever the proper name for that is...

Gable? Eave? Place to bump your head?

The boyf and I tried to make ourselves useful Saturday by helping out at the family events prior to a concert at Ozawa Hall. Not before grabbing a bite, of course. I found something called a "Trail Mix" bagel at Berkshire Bagels on the way to Tanglewood.

I believe the description said it contained dried cranberries, apples, walnuts and chocolate chips, but as far as I could tell, there was about one of each. Still good!

Anyway, the event in question was the Instrument Playground, where kids have a chance to touch and play with the various instruments of the orchestra, supervised by a musician (presumably) proficient in the instrument being demonstrated. The boyf being a band teacher and all, I have some cute pictures from last year of him teaching kids to blow on a trombone (I assisted by cleaning mouthpieces after each use). This year, however, I found myself recruited to demonstrate the cello! I don't have any pictures of myself doing this, but before the event began, I did snag one of the boyf manipulating the very tiny cello I used to show kiddies how it's done.

I wasn't a complete imposter here--I did play cello for a number of years growing up. I was nervous to pick it up again this weekend, being so rusty, but I figured if I just called myself "retired" (in my head) it would add instant credibility to my position. It worked well enough. :)

As for the boyf, he manned the percussion station and chatted it up with the Wiz of "Quiz the Wiz" fame...though that fame is as yet unknown to me, I realize.

At any rate, it was really great fun to help the children experiment with instruments they'd likely only seen from afar until that event. We may have inspired some future musicians, who knows!

That doesn't mean a post-volunteering drink wasn't necessary, though. ;) Sister Boyf steered us to a Mexican restaurant in nearby Great Barrington called Xicoh Tencatl. Say "hola" to my margarita.

Hola, y gracias.

Our appetizers arrived blessedly quickly, though we discovered that the corn we'd ordered was, in fact, still on the cob, making it hard to share among four people. Sister Boyf gamely began to shave the ear so we could all partake.

Fab Coworker of Sister Boyf also took a turn, so mighty was the task!

But well worth it--the kernels were smothered in a deliciously spicy cheese-ish sauce. Along with a fresh order of guacamole, we were well-primed for our entrees.

As we enjoyed our starters, Fab Coworker happened to notice some movement in the bushes beyond our table on the porch. Sure enough, there were a few live pollos enjoying the fresh air along with us.

After reading the menu, I knew that Xicoh prided itself on utilizing local, organic ingredients, but that there ingredient got just a little too local for my taste. I was glad I ordered vegetarian.

My chiles rellenos were relleno-ed with spinach and cheese...

...served in salsa roja and drizzled with crema...

...and delivered entirely to my welcoming belly. Spot = hit.

And for dessert, I chose a flourless chocolate cake..."El Amante," I believe.

Even if I got that title wrong, it's still appropriate if only for the sweet love it made to my taste buds. The chocolate sauce on the side was especially amazing, tasting of cinnamon and cayenne along with the chocolate.

After we'd dragged ourselves out of our food comas, Sister Boyf accompanied the boyf and I to that evening's concert, which was an all-Mendelssohn program. I highly recommend the Overture to "The Hebrides," if you're interested in classical music at all. I'm no connoisseur, but I would consider myself a Mendelssohn fan after that concert!

Upon our return to the Dan in Real Life house, we found this cat luxuriating itself quite, ahem, actively upon the hood of a car parked outside.

(Photo from the following morning--it was still there!) This cat was a little too friendly for the boyf's allergies, and I wouldn't mention it at all except that it reminded us a little to closely of this clip from Family Guy:

Sunday morning the boyf and I had breakfast with Sister Boyf at Haven, an adorable cafe not far from the Tanglewood site. Their ham and cheese strata was calling my name.

This meal blew me out of the stratasphere! [Insert bad-pun groans here.] Definitely hit up Haven if you find yourself in the Berkshires. Hit it up, and bring me a doggie bag.

Sister Boyf had to go to work after breakfast, so the boyf and I killed time by seeing Julie & Julia, which I loved, naturally, being a food blogger and all. I'm sure I'm not the only one in the blogosphere who could identify with many of Julie's ups and downs while blogging! (Potential literary agents, I'm talking to YOU.)

When we got to the Shed, the weather had finally turned into this (after sporadic and torrential rain all weekend!):

Sweet relief! We still sat inside, though, just to be safe. Thank you for Shed tix times two, Sister Boyf!

Being the closing concert of Tanglewood's season, Beethoven's 9th Symphony was on the program, per tradition. Never fails to give me chills, and this was no exception (especially since our seats were so close to the stage, yee-haw!).

Alas, it was time to say goodbye to our weekend in the Berkshires once the music ended.

So very many thanks to Sister Boyf for hosting us for a few days of R&R and non-city-ness. A break from the rat race is always welcome!

It's hard not to feel just a little sad when returning to real life after a weekend detached from it all, but then again, on the drive home, you might catch a glimpse of something like this:

And it might be a reminder that it's the little breaks from routine that give us something to look forward to...

...such as the 363 days between me and my next trip to Tanglewood.


Mom said...

I like this one... great weekend, great music, great food, great blogger....

Anonymous said...

Great weekend! Such a blast of music and food! :)

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

The flourless chocolate cake looks like perfect decadence on a plate. With a little choc sauce drizzled next to it. I am a chocaholic...god, that looked good.

Lia said...

Seems like a great time! Yummy and beautiful! That chocolate cake does look heavenly!

melissa said...

great trip! love the rainbow!

Anonymous said...

Great trip! You took some really funny pics... I love the cello & wizard ones!

brandi said...

what a fun weekend! that mexican meal looks SO good.

I love Dan in Real Life! that room definitely looks like it's off that set.

Gena said...

I love Tanglewood, and I love the Berkshires, and I love anything that involves a rainbow! What a lovely recap of the weekend. xoxo

K from ksgoodeats said...

Oh my gosh, that is like Dan in Real Life! I was kind of jealous of that whole family situation in the movie - the fact that they were all at this huge house. I want to do that! ;)

That trail mix bagel sounds like it would be so delicious (if there were more chocolate chips and nuts of course)! Glad you had a great weekend!

Erica said...

How fun! Looks like ya'll enjoyed every moment of the trip. Love the new englandy house and that lunch with the tortilla chips and dips...mmmmmmm.

Jenny said...

dan in real life? such a classic.. is it strange that i want to marry steve carrell??

so jeal. of your wonderful weekend... and that cake. nommmmmmm

Missy said...

Aw what a fun weekend! Pretty rainbow :) Now I am craving Mexican and chocolate cake!