Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bossa Nova & The Lion King

As we drive over the Bay Bride as my family has done many time, I try to spot the City through the window.  On a clear summer day you can the City's skyline from the bridge.  This particular night I cannot see far through the thick fog, though this is not unusual weather for a winter in San Francisco.  I'm dressed up for tonight's main event.  I'm not talking about my business suit, but I'm not wearing a jean and t-shirt combo you might find me wearing in the comfort of my own home.  Tonight my family and I are going to watch The Lion King, the Broadway musical, so there is reason to look a little better than I usually do.  (I usually look really good anyway.)  Besides, I've always felt that when traveling into the City there is a necessity to look more dapper than I do in Oakland.  (I'd be more inclined to dress up in Oakland if they stopped wearing over sized white tees.)  I'm ecstatic to see The Lion King but first we must eat.

We pull up to this place on 8th street between Mission and Howard out in SoMa called Bossa Nova.  This was my first time at this Brazilian restaurant and the first time I've heard of it.  This restaurant is kind of a diamond in the rough.  There's no large signs pointing this restaurant in flashing lights.  (Probably to keep the ratchets from finding this place.)  Instead there's a small sign right next to the door that reads "Bossa Nova" to indicate that you have indeed found the place.  I've always judged restaurants on three main criteria:  presentation (ambiance, scenery, music, costumes etc.), customer service (how long it takes for my water to be refilled, is my waiter a dick?), & food (there's gotta be food if it's a restaurant and it better be good).  Let me walk you through my experience here.  When I walked in the restaurant the first thing I noticed was the music.  It was some type of Brazilian music, my guess being bossa nova.  In case you are wondering, bossa nova is a type of Brazilian music that's a sort of a mix between jazz and samba.  It's pretty upbeat and very fun to listen to.  (Fun fact: bossa nova in Portuguese means new trend.  Just looked that shit up on Google.)  The music really set the tone on how the experience was going to go.  The next thing I noticed was the dimmed lights.  The lights weren't so dimmed to the point I couldn't see ahead of me, but rather dimmed enough to create an intimate sensation.  As far as presentation goes, this place gets the job done.

Customer service was a little bit different.  Our servers were really friendly but the food took quite a while.  When the food did come out, boy was it well worth the wait.  I ordered something called feijoada, which is basically this bean and pork stew.  It tastes just as good as it sounds.  (Possibly better.)  The feijoada came with this white rice and some spinach in separate bowls.  This rice must've been the best tasting rice I've ever eaten; it had this buttery taste to it that was surprisingly good.  The spinach was also good but to my chagrin it had onions.  Now I hate onions.  I don't just dislike onions, I HATE them.  (Top 3 things I hate: 1-Lakers; 2-the kid from Bridge to Terabithia and Hunger Games; 3-onions.)  For some reason I actually enjoyed these onions.  This restaurant somehow made onions good.  Next came desert, which was somehow better than the already-amazing entree.  Desert consisted of this small chocolate cake and this plantain with ice cream dish.  The chocolate was delicious as expected, but the real surprise was the plantain ice cream.  Now I grew up with a Guatemalan mom and grandma so platanos y frijoles (plantains and beans for my gringos out there) were commonly on the menu for dinner.  The way they prepared these plantains though were unlike anything I've ever tasted.  They cooked it with rum and combined with ice cream created one of the greatest deserts I've ever tasted.  As soon as I took the first bite it was as it my taste buds were being massaged and finished off to completion with a happy ending.  (Whoa, that was a dirty metaphor!)  They took something I love and made it better.  All in all it was one of the best dining experiences I've had in a long time.

On to the show we go!  It's only a block and a half to get to the Orpheum so my family decides to take the stroll.  This is my second time at this theater (I saw Wicked here as well) and if you've never had the opportunity to go inside, let me just tell you it's one of the nicest theaters I've been to.  No disrespect to the theater at Dominguez Hills but this place is not your average college theater.  Anyway, tonight's show is The Lion King.  I'm assuming everyone reading this has seen the Disney movie at least once, if not 20 or so times.  I'm not going to bother running down the plot.  As much as I like the plot of the movie it's not the reason I came out to watch the Broadway musical.  If I just wanted the story I would've just popped in the DVD in the comfort of my own home wearing some pajamas.  (I got the sequels too, yo!)  The best thing about this musical is the costumes and scenery.  This is some really heavy production.  This ain't your average high school play where Simba is played by some kid who drew whiskers on his face with a sharpie.  This has to be some of the best costume work I've ever seen in my life.  To call the costumes beautiful would be a really cruel understatement.  That's like saying that Kate Upton is only okay.  (Now that is disrespectful!)  Then there is the music.  All your favorite music from the movie is there plus others you haven't heard before.  You can sing along to your favorites and still be pleasantly surprised by new songs.  And the choreography just takes this show up another notch.  This was really just an amazing show and a great way to top off a great night.  If I reviewed how my nights went this would probably get a Guapisimo.  But I don't.

So that concludes my story/reviews.  I wasn't too proud of my last post so hopefully I can make things up to you guys with my first post of 2013.  It's a new year and there is a lot to look forward to.  Mostly my blog.  As I get ready to start my next semester in college I also look back at this past one I completed recently.  I hope this blog brings as much joy to you as it has to me while writing it.  My next post will be my tenth so I promised it'll be a good one.  I don't know what it will be yet, but it will be good.  Best wishes on this new year and stay Guapo out there guys!      

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