La Traviata in Central Park

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006 | All Things, Events, Friends, Music

Inspired by two recent meals (and the organic vegetables piled up in my kitchen), I made a late night trip to Fairway Market last night to pick up ingredients for a lamb-eggplant stew and a watermelon-feta salad. Luckily, the cheesemonger was still on duty, and pointed me to the store’s Greek feta behind the counter – fresher and far superior to the pre-packaged, pre-crumbled stuff in the refrigerated shelves, and a much better value at $6/pound.

A few quick runs of the knife at home, and within minutes, I was enjoying my own homemade version of Public’s salad (sans pumpkin seeds and artistic presentation): crisp, sweet, creamy, and filling without being at all heavy. Then it was on to the cooking: after browning the fresh lamb in some olive oil and butter, I tossed in a good portion of my CSA haul from last week: three varieties of eggplant, two varieties of peppers, onions and tomatoes. And then the spices — my best approximation of the Tanoreen blend: pepper, cinnamon, fresh nutmeg, cloves, allspice, coriander, cumin, dried ginger and lots of fresh garlic. No dried rosebuds in my pantry, though. The spicy smells permeated through my apartment well past midnight, but I ended up with a good-sized pot — enough for a few meals, at least.


Brought some of the stew into work the next day to share with SYB over lunch; he supplied the fresh bread from Parisi Bakery on Mott. Later, he returned there to pick up my favorite sandwich for our dinner picnic: paper-thin sliced capicola and sweet sopressata topped with fresh mozzarella and homemade roasted red peppers marinated in olive oil, oregano and thick chunks of garlic — all piled high on a prosciutto bread ring. Love.

After dropping off our CSA share after work (more eggplant and peppers!), we were off to enjoy one of the great NYC summer traditions: The Metropolitan Opera Parks Concerts. A cool and clear night for La Traviata, but wow, there were a lot of people on the Great Lawn. The Met officials later reported the police estimated attendance of 30,760 – which seems to me an impossibly specific number. That’s a full third fewer than five years ago (which is contrary to what I would have guessed) when 45,000 people showed up for the performance, but well off the 1990 nadir when, due to a combination of factors (rain date, early start), fewer than 500 were counted in attendance for the opening notes.

Great Lawn

We were joined on our blanket by DX and later, EH. (EB arrived too late to try hunting for us in the dark.) From our spots, we could barely see a sliver of stage, and certainly couldn’t ascertain what was happening on it, but we were there primarily to listen, not to watch, so it worked out all right. This performance featured two South Koreans in the lead roles: tenor Wookyung Kim as Alfredo, and soprano Hei-Kyung Hong as Violetta. The pair will reprise their roles at the Met in January 2007.

All in all, a fine night. I should have brought the insect repellant, though: I counted no fewer than a dozen maddeningly itchy bites when I got home that evening. The number surely would have been higher had EH not graciously offered me her blanket as a shield during the performance’s second half.

There are 2 Comments ... La Traviata in Central Park

August 25, 2006

I’n in LOVE with that first pic. It reminds me of this movie I saw the other night.

August 25, 2006

holy crap, I need to spellcheck my comments. That eggplant melange was, dare I say, super tasty (not Super Taste-y). You should think about the food/history tour guide idea. You could actually get paid for your know-it-all-osity.

Go for it ...