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Category Archives: theater

A Midwestern Treasure!

I’d been hearing good things about FARMbloomington, a locally-owned restaurant in downtown Bloomington that boasts a diverse menu of organic and locally grown foods. But not until last week did I finally have the chance to check it out for myself.  Five of us stopped by after a show (Beth’s show, which was fabulous–but that’s a different topic) for drinks and dessert.  Beth had been there once before and said the ice cream was wonderful. (Yes, she should have blogged about it then!)  With five of us, of course we ordered five different desserts and everyone tasted everything.

Oh. My. Goodness.

I’ll start by saying that ice cream does not have to be gelato to be outstanding! Okay, we already knew that from Berthillon’s in Paris, but FARMbloomington’s chocolate ice cream is every bit as good and a whole lot more accessible from the midwest!  For vanilla lovers, the vanilla was just as exceptional. Smooth, creamy, very, very flavorful.

Moving beyond ice cream, the apple pie (okay, with ice cream) was fresh, warm and excellent. The carrot cake was one of the best I’ve tasted. The coffee ice with vanilla ice cream was something different, but also very good. And the red velvet cake was as velvety as the name suggests and very chocolatey.

This place isn’t cheap, mind you–desserts ranged from $6 – $9 and the drinks from $5 – $9– but taken in the light of an experience instead of just “drinks and dessert,” well worth the price and the drive.  Highly recommended!

 
 

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Ah, Florence…

Beth here.

Thanks, Mom. Now I’m all nostalgic and sad because I’m stuck in Indiana and I want to be wining and dining on the Arno… Was that the same night that I ended up drunkenly bursting into operatic song at the market on the Porta Rossa? I know that there was a lot of fabulous wine (and grappa… and limoncello…) consumed at dinner, so it might have been…

If I could hear myself now, I’m sure that I’d be embarrassed, but at the time, I thought I was sounding GREAT (isn’t alcohol wonderful?)! But at least a few (possibly drunken) tourists seemed to agree with me. I think it was you who had the idea to put out a hat when a crowd started to gather and we ended up making enough to cover gelato expenses for at least a few days.

Which is funny, since I’ve tried singing on the street in downtown Chicago only to be met with confusion, glares, people staunchly trying to pretend I’m not there, and the occasional furtive “pity change” thrown my way without making eye contact, which is SO not the point. In Florence, I think most of the people who gathered were American tourists, people who might have been annoyed if I were singing in *their* hometown. But because it was Florence…it was charming; they gathered, they actually listened, they enjoyed.

::shrugs:: If I have to go to Italy to find Americans responsive to opera, that’s fine by me. I still have fantasies where I just run away and live as a high-class bum singing opera on the streets of Florence… Any takers? I could use a guitar player…

 

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Ice Cream on the Cape

Beth here.

As promised, here’s an accounting of the ice cream I discovered while spending the summer on Cape Cod with the College Light Opera Company. First a note on *that* insanity. It’s a fantastically crazy little company–we put on nine shows over the course of the summer–one show a week–nothing was pre-cast, and we had a week to put each show together, rehearsing during the day for the next week’s show while performing the current week’s show at night.

Free time was at a premium, but thankfully, there was ice cream to help me keep my sanity.

Eulinda’s, less than a fifteen minute walk from where we lived and rehearsed in West Falmouth was really quite good–the ice cream was homemade (though not made fresh daily) and included some interesting flavors like blueberry (made with fresh local berries) and ginger–which became my favorite summer combination. The chocolate was good (is there such a thing as bad chocolate?), but certainly not up to European standards.

Even more fortunate for we players was Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium on the main drag in downtown Falmouth, five minutes from the Highfield theater where we performed every night. We loved B&B’s because they were open later than anything else in Falmouth, which meant we could hit it up after a show when we were too jazzed up to go to bed and had serious ice cream cravings. And, being a chocolate emporium, their chocolate flavors were all superb. My personal favorites came to be “KGB”–Kahlua, Grand Marnier and Baileys and the Kahlua Brownie Sundae flavors. They also had a great blueberry flavor (though I preferred Eulinda’s), chocolate raspberry, and a triple chocolate concoction that worked quite well. For the more adventurous (or as a rite of passage), they also have lobster flavored ice cream with chunks of real lobster in it. ‘Fraid I can’t quite recommend that flavor, however…

Cape Cod is a great place for ice cream because they’re so very into *quaint* there. As a result, there are lots of cute little mom and pop places that make their ice cream fresh and use a lot of local ingredients. One more reason to summer on the Cape…

If anyone has other New England ice cream stories to relate, please share!

-Beth