The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Posts Tagged ‘concert’

An Evening in New York, Dinner at Abboccato, and a Piano Concert.

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on September 1, 2009

I was recently in Midtown New York City for work.  Work went well, but what was particularly fun, and quite frankly an unexpected surprise, was an evening with one of my co-workers.  Normally, business trips focus around finishing up at whatever office or lab I’m working in, and then finding some acceptable place to have dinner before finding myself alone in the hotel room, waiting to chat with my wife.  This evening would prove to be different.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take my camera with me to New York, so, sadly I don’t have any pictures for you!

Evidently, my co-worker’s son had lived in New York on and off for several years.  He had just returned to New York from Denver to work as a bartender at a restaurant called Oceana.  We met my co-worker’s son at the restaurant, where he wasn’t working, but just wanted to show us around the new restuarant.  The Oceana had just moved from a townhouse in Midtown the McGraw-Hill building.  He was just intending on asking the hostess to give us a quick show of the restaurant, but we were fortunate enough to meet a partner, who encouraged a full tour!  The restaurant was gorgeous; inlcuding a cafe area, full raw bar, nice bar, and large, spacious dining room.  We were able to see the kitchen, even, including a small room off the side of the kitchen for special tastings.  It appears that beyond its unneccessarily sterile lighting, no expense had been spared.  The restaurant even has its own sommelier.

After visiting the Oceana, we went to another of the Livanos Restaurant chain, to meet with a friend of his son’s.  The friend was the Maitre’D at the Abboccato.  We stopped by, and talked with his friend Rachid El Gheur, and had a wonderful evening of nice chatting, wonderful wine, and a remarkable dinner.  We talked about the new restaurant (Oceana), Rachid’s home country of Morocco, and my co-worker’s son’s piano-playing skills (he is a more-than-amateur piano player… to be continued).

I had the Ravioli Del Plin for dinner, and a tasty white wine from the Amalfi Coast.

It was, singularly, the best Italian meal I have ever had.  The ravioli was tender and the taste was exquisite.  It certainly ranks in my top 10 meals of all my life.  It was a little pricey, but it was well worth it, and I will certainly take the Wife there next time we head to NYC.

After dinner, though, was perhaps the most interesting part of the evening (as if the tour of a 4-star restaurant and the fantastic dinner weren’t enough), was that his son had a key to a piano shop.  Now, what I mean, is that he had been given a key to a local store which only sold pianos.  When I asked how he got it, he said that he had just stopped by the store enough, and then asked, and there it was.  He now uses the key to provide him access to exclusive pianos to practice his skills in the shopowner’s absence.  He asked if we wanted to hear him play.  Well, I was along for the ride (it had proved interesting thus far), and so we headed over to the store.  As we walked in, I realized this wasn’t where mom had picked up her used Wurlitzer.  Indeed, I hadn’t heard of any of the brands of pianos, with the exception of the couple of “Steinway”s I saw toward the back.

He sat down in front of the ivories (I noted from the corner of my eye, that it was “only” a $40,000 baby grand), and commented that he was going to be a little off, because of the wine, and since he hadn’t had the chance to warm up for an hour or so, like he normally would.  He then began to play Chopin from memory.  He belted out the entire piece, and probably only missed 4 keys.  When he made mistakes, he didn’t stop to correct himself, he cranked on seamlessly, and kept his time.  It was amazing.  I had never heard anyone play as professionally, unless they were on stage.   After the first piece, he moved to another, and then another.  I asked how long he’d been playing, and he said that he taught himself to play about 15 years ago.  I was shocked, but yet, it seemed to be an appropriate ending to an otherwise remarkably unexpected evening.

Abboccato on Urbanspoon


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An International Concert in Vienna

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on August 28, 2009

After our relaxing cruise down the Danube through the Wachau Valley, we finally arrived in Vienna.  We all enjoyed an earlier dinner and then boarded buses to head into the city for a concert!  The concert was hosted in the Kursalon Wien and led by the Sound of Vienna.


The room was the size of a ballroom with lots and lots of rows of chairs.  It was clear that it was a tourist group attraction as there were many groups of 50+ people in them from all around the world.  When the host welcomed everyone at the beginning, he did so in many languages 🙂

Since Johann Strauss used to conduct his own concerts right in this building, the focus of the concert was his music.  Some of it we recognized and some of it we didn’t.  Along with the music, we also had dancers.






We were very impressed with all of the musicians and dancers.  They were all very talented!  While I noted that this concert appeared to have many, many tour groups, it looks as though individuals can purchase tickets to attend the shows as well.  If you find yourself in Vienna, looking for something to do one night, consider attending this concert 🙂 I think you’ll enjoy it… (as long as you like classical music!)

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