Tag Archives: Cheesecake Factory

Destination: Miami, FL – Part 2

The Hampton Inn Dadeland was a welcome sight, for sure, after that harrowing trip along US 1.  A smiling Pedro at the reception desk was also a welcoming sight.

A great welcome from Pedro

We checked in and went to our room.  Of course, we had the last room at the end of the long hallway!

At the end of the hall

We were happy with the room.  After stowing our gear, we thought we’d tend to the task of treating ourselves for dinner:  Cheesecake Factory!!

Got the directions to the Dadeland Mall, and were looking forward to that meal.

cheesecake factory front

We were shown to a cozy, quiet booth.  Just right for conversation as well as enjoying our dinner.  Brian was our waiter – a good-looking tall young man; so congenial and friendly and smiling.  A pleasure.  Flavored iced tea for beverage.  Hmmm.  Everything looks so good.  Hard choice.  Finally decided we were going to have FUN.  We were in a festive mood – loved the Cheesecake Factory, and Brian made the event even more pleasant.

Fried calamari, Crispy Cuban Rolls and Warm Asparagus Salad.  What a selection!  Couldn’t wait.

Service was pretty quick, and we started our FUN FEAST.  I really didn’t think we would finish it all, but we did!!  Just thinking about those great flavors and textures, is making my mouth water all over again.

Of course, after the dishes were cleared off, Brian asked if we would like dessert.  Oh no!  We were too full, and besides, we don’t usually have dessert after a meal.

All of a sudden, words popped out of my mouth:  Do you still have that chocolate cake with the chocolate fudge and chocolate mousse layers?  Fern looked at me as if I were crazy.  We really didn’t plan on having dessert.  “Oh yes,” said Brian.

We got the cake.

12 layers blackout cake-with choc mousse

 

A Day in West Palm Beach FL

A last minute call to a friend, last minute call for tickets, and off we were to see a Miami City Ballet performance at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

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Kravis Center at night, courtesy Kravis dot org.

The day couldn’t be more perfect:  Sunny, no chance of rain, and temps between 75 and 80.  Parked in a great spot in the parking garage attached to the Center, and strolled over to Cheesecake Factory, one of our faves.  This restaurant is one of many in the upscale City Place area:  an area loaded with restaurants, various shopping destinations, entertainment, events, and a top-notch plaza in the middle of it all.  A great place to enjoy the paradisaical weather of South Florida.

After enjoying our delish lunch; hers, a specially-prepared egg and asparagus presentation, and mine, mini-crab-cake balls and a plate of baby Romain lettuce leaves wraps with mixture of mushrooms and chicken.  We thoroughly enjoyed every bit.  Our waitress was excellent, which always makes the dining experience all the more exquisite.

On to the ballet.  The title of the program was “Triple Threat.”  Had no idea why it was given that title, but we were about to find out, for sure.

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The first part of the performance was, “Episodes.”  “The challenging twelve-tone music of Anton von Webern inspired George Balanchine, in 1959, to collaborate with Martha Graham on a project to utilize all of the composer’s orchestral music.  Graham created a soon-forgotten dramatic work about Mary, Queen of Scots.  Balanchine’s extraordinary contribution was the ballet we know as Episodes.”  (Quote from the Playbill.)

I have quoted from the Playbill above, because we were flabbergasted that this one-third of the performances was so boring to us.  The costumes were skin-tight black and white.  Very stark.  We are “seasoned” theater-goers and have years of enjoying ballet performances under our belts; however, this took us by complete surprise.  The ballet company did a fantastic job with difficult positions and actions across the stage, but not only was this performance stark and angular, but the “music” was certainly from a different universe.  Webern’s composition, masterfully produced by the accomplished musicians, was noise that sounded like squeaks, bangs, and un-godly blasts that appeared to be coming from a very sick machine.  We suffered through this, glued to our seats in disbelief!

Before the next portion of the performance, we were given a “brief pause” which was very welcomed, so that we could gather ourselves for the next onslaught, so we thought:  “Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux.”

“George Balanchine called (Tschaikovsky Pas de Deux) “a display piece, based on the music and the maximum gifts of virtuoso performers.”  This piece was brought to the stage in 1964, starring Violette Verdy and Edward Villella.  Anything connected with Edward Villella, was, in my opinion, a masterpiece waiting to happen.  Villella was a master.  Period.

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It was a beautiful performance, this Pas de Deux.  But after I had to scrape my emotions up from the bottom of the barrel after the first part, it made it difficult for me to appreciate this one as much as it should have been appreciated.

After a real intermission, the lights dimmed, and we waited with anticipation for the final part of the afternoon’s performance.  “In 1995 – almost forty years after his great musical West Side Story opened on Broadway – Jerome Robbins decided to distill and reshape it into a dance work for New York City Ballet.  The result is an electrifying and moving ballet that both shadows the original and stands alone as a new original.”  (another quote from the Playbill.)

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The title of this final phase was:  “West Side Story Suite.”  That title tells it all.  The company accomplished a miracle yesterday afternoon.  Standing ovations, clapping till my hands felt like they will never be fit for clapping again, and the place was wild.