I'm starting to write this at our hotel in Milan. Tony has work to do online, so I'm taking the opportunity to do some catching up on Hawleyblog.
On June 14, I took Tracey and the 'phews to a matinee performance of Fun Home, probably my favorite play, of either the musical or straight variety, of all time. Eugene, Tony, and I saw FH in December 2013 during its Off-Broadway run at the Public Theatre, and I've been listening to the cast recording pretty obsessively since then.
If I'm in a vulnerable frame of mind and not out in public, I sometimes cry while listening to "Telephone Wire," the devastating number toward the end of the show in which adult Alison, portrayed by the spectacular Beth Malone, flashes back to the last car ride she took with her father before he killed himself. She's trying to will a more meaningful discussion between them. "Telephone wire. Stop! Too fast! Telephone wire. Make this not the past. This car ride. This is where it has to happen. There must be some other chances. There's a moment I'm forgetting where you tell me you see me." Oh, my God. And then when she says "That was our last night" at the end, if I haven't already started sobbing, that's when I'll lose it.
I was hoping the show would resonate with Tracey, Mike, and Matt. And it did. They loved it. Tracey said she couldn't see how anyone wouldn't enjoy that show. Phew. I had told myself not to be disappointed if they didn't rave about the show, but I knew it would have been hard not to be disappointed.
I took a shot of my Broadway posse while they patiently waited for me to get autographs after the show:
Tracey had encouraged me to stick around like I had warned them I might do. And I'm glad I did. I got autographs from the entire cast:
We had dinner at Pizzetteria Brunetti and then went back to the apartment for homemade Serviceberry Sorbet and Quintuple Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.
Our trees were productive enough this year that I could make a small batch of sorbet from the berries. It also helped that birds didn't eat many. Usually the starlings are all over them. After a while, Tony and I almost got worried about the lack of bird consumption. Was there something wrong with the berries this year? But I think the answer was that there was a mockingbird hanging out on our terrace and, even more so, on the terrace for Apt. PH C, above us. Here's the best photo I was able to take of the mockingbird. It's much zoomed:
I think he/she kept a lot of the other birds away. And I actually saw three mockingbirds hanging out at once not so long ago, so maybe there had actually been a pair of them who produced a baby who survived to adulthood.
Here's Tony harvesting the berries:
Now, about that sorbet: I used this Blueberry Sorbet recipe from Martha Stewart because I figured the sorbet would be more flavorful if the serviceberries were cooked. Following the recipe pretty much exactly—though I used 3 cups of berries, the closest cup measurement to what we had, and 3/8 cup of sugar—turned out to be a bad idea, because blueberries contain a lot more liquid than serviceberries, so when I strained the sorbet base, it had a texture like jelly. And the finished sorbet had a texture like frozen jelly. But I was pleased with the flavor:
Here are the berries in a bowl of water for rinsing and sorting:
The berries are edible any color from red to purple to blue. After they turn blue, they tend to shrivel up pretty quickly on the stem.
Grady ate as many of the ones that fell off the trees as he could. And his poo reflected that, in texture, not color.
And about that ice cream: It made from five mints from the terrace: Chocolate Mint, Kentucky Colonel Spearmint, Black Peppermint, Mojito Mint, and random spearmint that popped up in cracks on the terrace:
I used 1/2 cup of agave syrup and a scant cup of sugar (as opposed to the usual 1 1/2 cups of sugar) in the base, because agave is sweeter than sugar. It churned up beautifully in the new-ish ice cream maker:
On June 12, I had dinner with Paula and Mark and Mark's mother, Gloria, whom I met for the first time, at our usual spot, Nizza. Tony ended up not joining us because he had too much work to do, so the four of us could have gone to a not-usual spot that wasn't GF-friendly.
Paula raved about Halo Pub's Toasted Almond Ice Cream, which has notes of both almond and vanilla. When I was working on the student newspaper in college, we would sometimes make ice cream runs to the nearby Halo Farm store.
Tony and I are about ready to head out for our fourth day in Rome as I'm writing this last part. Yesterday, Joyce e-mailed me a link to this Eater story about Commerce closing. We did lots of good eatin' there over the years, including with Paula and Mark, the 'phews, and my Dad. The last time we ate there, with P&M around Halloween last year, Tony and Mark were disappointed with the size of their entrees, so it was probably going to be a while before we went back. But I'm sure we would have wanted to visit for old times' sake on a getaway from Pennsylvania sometime after the move.