La Traviata and Meat & Potatoes

24 Oct

Last night, Mr. Beez, his pal David, and I saw La Traviata at the Pittsburgh Opera.  La Traviata is a big name opera, but honestly, I was only vaguely familiar with it.  If you’ve ever seen an Olive Garden commercial or Looney Tunes, you’d be at least familiar with some of the music.

The performance as well done, the performers were excellent. I’d consider La Traviata to be an excellent piece for someone new to opera to see. There is recognizable music, the show is broken down into 3 acts of reasonable length, and– my favorite– there is plenty of “opera logic.” For example, it’s totally reasonable to tell your son’s girlfriend that she needs to break up with him, because if she doesn’t, his sister’s suitor is going to dump her, amirite?!  I love that nonesensical demands, especially when there is love involved, always go unchallenged in opera.

I read in some article somewhere that Pretty Woman was based on La Traviata…I haven’t seen Pretty Woman (what is WRONG with me? I KNOW! I’ll netflix it, promise) but from what I know of Pretty Woman, it bears much broader similarities to Pygmalion/My Fair Lady, and bears only a general resemblance to La Traviata.

La Traviata is, however, very clearly the inspiration for Moulin Rouge.  Halfway into the 2nd act, I realized “wait, I’ve seen this before….” Except this time there was no Ewan McGregor or flashy sparkly lights, which is kind of a bummer.  La Traviata was a good show, though, and I’d see it again the next time they put it on again in the ‘burgh.

Afterward, we went to Meat and Potatoes for dinner.  There was initially a lot of excitement about this restaurant, but over time I’ve started to hear mixed reviews.  The early reviews were that it was innovative, and fun, and delicious.  Then I started to get reviews about the food being good, but the service being terrible.  I felt a little left out of the conversation, and wanted to try it for myself.

Luckily, our experience was one of the great ones.  The servers were very attentive– quick to take our orders, quick to bring our food, quick to fill our water glasses and bring us drinks.  There are an inordinate number of young dark-haired men working there, so I made a bit of an idiot of myself, because I could not figure out who was a busser and who was our server. Oh well, it turned out fine.

I had an extremely delicious drink called the “Ronaldo,” which the menu described as “housemade raspberry vodka/grenadine/citrus/sparkling”.  I’d describe it as everything you like about a cosmo, but better.

For appetizers we had the spare ribs flatbread and the “devils on horseback” (we were hungry!)

Devils on Horseback! I suppose I could have taken a picture before eating one, but I was HUNGRY.

Devils on Horseback are choriz0-stuffed dates, wrapped in bacon, and smothered with some kind of delicious sauce. They are fantastic.

For my entree, I had the duck. Honestly, I have limited familiarity with duck, so when I received it and the meat was kind of pink, I was worried that it was underdone.  Mr. Beez informed me that that is how it’s supposed to be prepared, duh. It was good, and the mashed sweet potatoes and red cabbage it was served with were especially good.  Mr. Beez had the flat iron and said it was delicious, but a bit small for his appetite.  David had the pork chop, and seemed to like it very well.

I was too full to partake in dessert.  Mr. Bez had the key lime pie, which had a charming presentation.

He said it was good, but very sweet.

I’m glad I gave Meat & Potatoes a try, and did like it a lot. I can see it being a really fun place for drinks and appetizers.  I can’t see myself going back for dinner anytime soon, only because there are so many places I haven’t tried at all, and I’d like to try new things before going back.

Judging by how busy it was when we went (5:00 pm on a Sunday, and you couldn’t get a table without a reservation), if they can iron out the occasional service issues, they’ll probably continue to do very well.

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