Sunday, April 3, 2011

Friend as Composer

With plans to meet a friend for brunch, I headed back to Balliceaux, the place I had left just ten hours ago.

Incredibly, the parking space I had vacated late last night stood empty as if waiting for me to return.

As many times as I've eaten at Ballceaux, I'd never had brunch and since being told that they cured their own bacon, I was very interested in having them prepare my first meal of the day.

I'd even done my usual Grace Street walk (which, by the way, looked rode hard and hung up wet to dry after last night) with nothing but fruit in me in anticipation of brunch.

I loved the variety on the menu, but I was constitutionally unable to pass up smoked bluefish cakes, eggs,  hot sauce Bearnaise and a buttermilk biscuit.

My friend's fancy was tempted by the hangover helper called "Mama loves you" involving biscuits, country gravy and homemade sausage.

But it's not breakfast without bacon, so we got two kinds, the 30-clove garlic cured and the red-eye, cured with espresso.

The bacon came out as a first course and we tore into it.

The garlic and espresso flavors came through on the finish, providing a fitting end to a beginning of pure pork.

Our meals arrived in shallow bowls ("Doggie dishes?" my friend guessed) and were enormous.

Sliced biscuits supported the cakes with the eggs on top and the Bearnaise dripping down over my breakfast.

"I didn't think we were doing tall food any more," my friend observed.

It should be noted that I removed the biscuits from the bottom, more to have access to them than to adjust the height.

It was still a lot of food.

Smoked bluefish is a personal favorite, having come to it late in life after eating a ton of unsmoked bluefish as a child (my dad liked to fish; we ate a lot of rockfish, too).

The cakes were wonderful, well seasoned and moist; the spicy Bernaise didn't hurt, either.

We finished with a bowl of fruit (cantaloupe, pineapple and black grapes) to assuage our guilt over our cholesterol-laden lunch, I presumed, but my friend informed me that he was really just trying to stretch out the meal.

We did have an awful lot to talk about.

Next up was Studio Three at Richmond Ballet, partially because I hadn't been to the ballet in a while and partly because my uber-talented friend Dave Watkins had composed much of the music for the second ballet, Octavo.

It began with music by Max Richter and segued into Dave's music and because I've heard him play and mix and create beautiful sound, I recognized his music at once.

Believe me, you get to know a guy and you start to recognize his dulcitar.

I have to say that it was the first time I've seen a ballet where I knew one of the composers.

I intend to compliment him wildly when I see him tonight.

The first ballet was "A Tribute to Marvel Marceau" and featured one female dancer and three males, a rare treat in the ballet world.

Dressed in loose sailor-looking pants and pink suspenders, the dancers showed Marceau's indebtedness to Charlie Chaplin and Harpo Marx.

But ultimately, I would have come just to see Octavo for Gina Patterson's brilliant choreography and Dave's exquisitely perfect music.

The striking athleticism of the performers was just sausage gravy on the buttermilk biscuits, if you know what I'm saying.

Smoked bluefish cakes and my first friend-scored ballet.

If that isn't the way to start off a sunny Sunday, I don't know what is.

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