Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dinner and a live show... Diana Krall in Stuttgart

Over the weekend, Bill and I managed to score deeply discounted tickets to see Diana Krall at the Liederhalle in Stuttgart.  Until last night, I was sort of a casual fan of Diana Krall's music.  I like it very much when it's playing, but I don't always make a point of purchasing her albums unless I get into a certain mood.  After last night, I'm thinking I need to listen to her more often... especially the older, jazzier stuff she did before she made her latest album, Wallflower.

I wrote about Krall's concert in detail here, if anyone is interested.  On this blog, I'll just say it was a fabulous show and we really enjoyed ourselves, communing with Germans over jazzy tunes.  I will also say that this was my second concert experience at the Liederhalle (the first being Lyle Lovett in 2009) and it's a wonderful venue for acoustic music.  I think it may now be my favorite place to hear live music, though I have admittedly not been to a whole lot of concerts.  Both shows I've seen there were wonderfully intimate and afforded a great view of the stage and the performers.  It helped that last night, we were on the eighth row!


A shot of the stage before Diana Krall came out.

The Liederhalle has a bar, a coat check, and plenty of restroom facilities, but be sure to bring your 50 cents for the Klofrau.  I know you can't take for granted being able to pee without paying anywhere in Germany!  There is a metro stop nearby.  The Liederhalle is right next to the Berlinerplatz station.

Parking is also plentiful and relatively inexpensive, though there was a huge line to pay after the show.  One of the machines wasn't working, which slowed us down a bit.  We paid five euros for about four hours.  One thing we learned last night is that you shouldn't put your ticket in the machine to exit the garage until there's enough room for you to pull up past the gate.  We watched one lady in a Smart Car do that last night, after she cut in front of us as Bill was trying to maneuver out of reverse.  She put the ticket in too early and the gate closed on her before she could pull through.  Then we had to wait for an attendant to lift the gate for her.  So much for her attempt at trying to save time by cutting in front of us.  ;)

There are also plenty of restaurants in the area.  Last night, I chose to book one through OpenTable, an online restaurant reservation service.  I have been using OpenTable since 2002 and have 9500 "dining points" saved up.  Although you can't get points for the US program in Germany (you get points for the German program instead), I did want to keep my account active so the ones I've been saving for thirteen years don't expire.  You have to make one reservation a year or you lose your points.  I'm hoping they won't expire, since I have no plans to go back to the States anytime soon.

The restaurant we chose last night was an Italian place called La Commedia.  It's about a five minute walk from the Liederhalle and I noticed it got good ratings from other OpenTable members.  I knew nothing about the restaurant when I booked it, but decided on it when I noticed that it was really close to the concert venue and appeared to be well-liked by others.  I reserved for 6:15pm.

The restaurant turned out to be not very intimate.  It's very open, with bright lights (that went down at 7:00), a bit of noise, and a large bar area separated by an electric sliding door.  It's also attached to a theater of some sort and I could tell the waiters were used to serving the pre-theater/concert crowd.  When we arrived, we were shown to a two top next to a curtain.  It wasn't the most romantic spot, but I didn't really see any romantic spots in the place.


Obligatory shot of Bill looking study.


And one of me at home...  It was time for a new selfie.


One of us together... See?  You can barely tell I'm missing a tooth, though the hole still feels huge to me.  Dr. Blair says that in 8-10 weeks, I can fill it in with an implant.

We took a moment to check out the menu.  The waiter was very prompt and would have taken our food order with our drink order.  I later saw why he was so prompt.  By 7:00, the restaurant was full.  Bill ordered San Pellegrino and a bottle of pinot grigio.


I started with the tomato soup, garnished with croutons and fresh basil.  This was a thick, rich soup, so I didn't finish the whole thing.  It tasted good, but reminded me a little of marinara sauce.  The croutons were a little soggy.  



Bill had a vegetable minestrone, which he pronounced very good.  I didn't taste it, but I think I would have preferred it to the tomato soup, which was a little heavy.  Note the candle holder.  It was made from an old bottle of Dom Perignon.


Fresh parmesan cheese wheel...


I was much happier with the second course, branzino (wolfbarsch) served with julienned vegetables.  The fish was cooked to perfection and tasted wonderful, but I particularly enjoyed the vegetables.  Peppers, onions, zucchini, and carrots were tossed with a little oil and lightly seasoned.  The flavors were exciting and really complimented the fish.


Bill had grilled shrimp served with sautéed spinach.  Once again, it was the vegetables that shone on his dish.  The spinach was perfect and a little buttery.  Not too mushy.  The shrimp were pierced with a spear of fresh rosemary. 

We decided to have dessert, since there was enough time before the concert.  I had tiramisu and Bill had a lemon sorbet...


I enjoyed this interesting presentation of the tiramisu, which was drizzled with chocolate and topped with fresh fruit.



Bill's sorbet was light and refreshing.  It reminded me of lemon flavored snow, if I'd ever had that.

Bill asked for the check with dessert so we could pay and leave.  The server was happy to oblige us, since he had his hands full with a couple of large parties.  Our bill came to 95 euros.  By the time we got back from a last restroom stop, the server had already set our table for the next turn.

La Commedia offers good food and I think it's a fine place to go before a show or for a business gathering.  I wouldn't call it a romantic spot, nor do I think it's a particularly charming restaurant.  In a way, it kind of reminded me of corporate restaurants in the United States.  But you can get a nice meal there and the service is good, if not a bit more rushed than what I've gotten used to in Germany. I'd go back again, though, if the opportunity presented itself.

Below are some pictures I took on yesterday's walk.  Fall foliage is in full color in my neighborhood. There are some glorious scenes where I live...  Maybe today, I'll get dressed and go for another walk...





 
    

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