Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Riding in Style

We Claremonts took a special ride in this unusual limousine to attend a pre-concert reception in Garden City, KS. Normally we decline the pre-concert socializing, preferring to block time to focus and prepare for the concert, but in this case we made a rare exception.

Snazzy.... ;-)

Friday, April 24, 2009

More From Puerto Rico

Last weekend we got to play a concert in San Juan at the historic Luis A. Ferre Performing Arts Center. The hall was really beautiful, but it's hard for anything indoors there to live up to what's outdoors...

We had some time to walk around in Old San Juan, which is awesome - kind of old European in feel - with brightly painted houses, narrow cobblestone streets, and impressive 16th and 17th century fortresses.

And we found some great local food. I loved my Mofongo Relleno de Pollo at Bebo's Cafe. A mofongo is a yummy thing made of mashed plaintains. It's sort of potato-like in texture but also crispy. In this picture it's kind of hiding under the wonderfully marinated chicken.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Another working trip....Puerto Rico!

When it was still 40 degrees in NYC on April 16th, it seemed like the perfect week to head south and play a concert in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We'll have to thank our management for setting that one up! And since one of Aaron's best friends lives in San Juan, I was able to convince him to come along on this trip (it was a hard sell but I'm very persuasive).

San Juan is beautiful, especially the historic Old San Juan, which was defended from various colonial naval attacks by two magnificent forts.

I enjoyed visiting the Museo Pablo Casals where they have a plaster cast of Casals' hands! Awesome.

Puerto Rico has some amazing beaches...this one is in the Northeast part of the island.

Aaron's friend, the playwright Miguel Melendez, lives in the heart of Old San Juan and we were lucky enough to stay with him for a few days.

Our concert was in the Centro des Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferre which has a beautiful 2000 seat auditorium. Not every seat was full, but it was a very warm and enthusiastic crowd and we enjoyed performing there very much. How could you not enjoy a trip like this???

Monday, April 13, 2009

72 Hours in Vancouver

I am always looking for a good excuse to visit my parents in Vancouver -- beautiful city, home-cooked meals, great dim sum, fresh seafood! Ok, ok, so I do not actually need an excuse to visit my parents, but I do need one to hop on a flight for 6 hours. So, when I looked at my calendar a little while ago and saw the upcoming concert in Seattle, I quickly booked myself on a flight into Vancouver instead of Seattle. I could use the extra few days to adjust to the time change anyhow!

So, I have spent the past few days with my parents. I feel as if I've been eating a lot of great food, but one of the highlights was last night's dinner:

Absolutely the best, fresh (plucked live out of the restaurant's seafood tank) Alaskan king crab, steamed in garlic and scallions. Pretty amazing stuff.

I also found some delicious little guavas at a local supermarket, rarely seen in New York City:

My parents' house is very close to the 2010 Winter Olympic venue for speed skating, named the Richmond Olympic Oval. This impressive structure is pretty close to completion, and it is already open for testing prior to the Games. I unfortunately did not have time to stop in for a tour, but my father has already used the facility for some badminton fun. (Yes, they have dry floor activities as well.) I snapped a quick picture as we drove by.

While I was packing tonight for my journey to Seattle tomorrow, I got sidetracked by the contents of my sister's closet. I dug out many nostalgic items of clothing, but this really took me back:

Very appropriate for Easter, no? However, I don't believe I ever wore this for any Easter occasion -- this was the beginning of my concert wardrobe!