Sunday, April 27, 2008

good art, good food

When I first came to the Philadelphia area for college, one of my first trips into the city was to take part in College Day on the Parkway.  On a Saturday in September, all of the museums located along Ben Franklin Parkway are free for college students.  It was such a great experience, especially because it coincided with the Steuben Day Parade, so as we walked up to the museums, we watched people in lederhosen shepherding ducks along Philadelphia streets.

The Ben Franklin Parkway is a wide avenue with City Hall at one end and the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the other.  It's lined with museums--the Franklin Institute, the Moore College of Art and Design, the Rodin Museum, the Free Library.  It's a very grand section of the city.  It's also lined with the flags of the nations, but as you can see, the United Arab Emirates flag is showing some wear.

Yesterday, Greg and I and two other couples met up at the Art Museum to go to the Frida Kahlo exhibit, which was a nice break from working on the house and on papers.  The exhibit was really interesting--they displayed a lot of photos from a private collection that had never been exhibited before, as well as, obviously, many of Kahlo's paintings.

Thorn Necklace

I'm no art critic, so I won't try and make up some kind of uninformed review of the exhibit, but I will say that one interesting element of the exhibit was that the walls were painted really bright purples and blues.  I'm only used to seeing art displayed on clean white walls, so the colors were interesting.  Either it was a really cheesy way of recognizing the "exotic" "vibrancy" of the Mexican artist, or it was meant to evoke Frida's house, the Casa Azul, which was painted in these kinds of colors.  

I'd like to give the exhibitors the benefit of the doubt that it wasn't cheesy, but the gift shop that the exhibit dumps you into seriously undermines that reading.  Frida prints!  Frida postcards!  Frida notebooks!  Bright paper Frida flowers!  Frida umbrellas!  Frida jewelry! Alas, I didn't see any Frida shot glasses.  I guess that would be considered tacky.


After the exhibit, we had reservations at a tapas restaurant called Tinto.  (Greg and I decided to count this as our anniversary gift to each other for last year, since we had celebrated by me cooking tilapia and green beans, which I cook roughly once a week.  In other words, it had been nothing special, so we used it to assuage our guilt about going out to such a fancy place.)

Tinto's chef is considered one of the bright lights of the Philly restaurant scene (wow, that sounds sooooo lame for me to write that, sorry) and the food did not disappoint.  We ordered the Chef's tasting, which meant we didn't have to decide what we wanted.  They just kept bringing food!  At one point they cleared our plates and we thought we were done, but then they brought new plates and several more dishes!  Most of the people at our table thought that the duck wrapped in serrano ham and served on a slice of baguette with blue cheese and a cherry was the best, but my humbler palate was delighted by the mini crock of black beans, sausage, and braised cabbage.  There was also a dish that was basically really fancy tater tots.

Greg and I are such dorks that on the way home, we stopped at Blockbuster and picked up the movie Frida.  I had seen it before, but Greg hadn't.  All in all, it was a totally indulgent, educating, and appetizing day.  And now it's back to work!

No comments: