2013: A Year in Review

Despite the fact that I haven’t been blogging about it (this is only the second post this year), 2013 has been quite the year. I was named godfather to the most precious baby in the whole world, my now eight-and-a-half-month-old goddaughter. I was hired for three jobs – a part-time job and a temp job that transformed into a full-time-with-benefits-and-everything job that I officially started yesterday. I traveled a bit – to Minnesota four times to see my family, on vacation in Belize with family, and to Pennsylvania for the wedding of my college roommate. And I saw a ton of theatre and ate a lot of great food.

I’ve seen a lot of shows this year, particularly within the past four months (having a full-time job is certainly helpful for being able to afford tickets). By and large, my favorites have been big national touring casts – Book of Mormon (twice, with Nic Rouleau and Ben Platt, and it’s my new favorite show – the Chicago cast was outstanding) and Wicked (four times, as well as a cabaret with the cast, and it has been my favorite show since I saw it on Broadway in 2006).
Although big Broadway musicals are my favorite, I’m a fan of theatre and music in general.  I went to a few concerts this year – P!nk’s The Truth About Love tour twice, Dar Williams twice (in Chicago and in Bryn Mawr), Darren Criss, and Nicholas David of The Voice. Speaking of Darren Criss, I’ve also seen other StarKids – two StarKid Productions sketch comedy shows (Airport for Birds and 1Night 2Last 3Ever), their original musical Twisted, and a number of StarKids in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (including Joey Richter!). To be fair, though, I’m mostly seen musicals; other than The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (which was so good that I went twice), I think the only live non-musical theatre I saw was To Master the Art (the Julia Child play at the Broadway Playhouse) and ShawChicago’s staged reading of Pygmalion. I did, however, take advantage of National Theatre Live’s broadcasts of Frankenstein, with Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein and Johnny Lee Miller as the Creature, and Macbeth, with Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth and Kenneth Branagh as Macbeth.
I have also seen a fair amount of opera this, which is rather understandable, given that I’ve been involved with an opera company. Except for seeing my first Lyric Opera show, Madama Butterfly, all of the opera I saw this year was by American Chamber Opera – I saw Madame Butterfly eight times, Die Fladermaus six times, The Magic Flute six times, and Carmen once). Although the Lyric was more polished (and should be, given its immensely larger budget and longer history), ACO was easier to understand, since they actually translate it all into English.Still, musicals are closest to my heart – the national tours of EvitaOnceWe Will Rock You, and Elf; NightBlue’s Spamalot, The Wedding Singer at Theater Wit, Saint Sebastian Players’ Godspell, The Color Purple at The Mercury Theater, Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theatre, and Million Dollar Quartet at Apollo Theater.While theatre is one of my loves, restaurants are certainly another, and this was a good year for eating out. I found new favorite restaurants (Sumi Robata Bar is my restaurant of the year because everything is outstanding, although Jenni’s Splendid Ice Creams is my new favorite ice cream place); established new solid standbys (Davanti Enoteca for their mascarpone polenta and Athenian Room for the Chicken Kalamata); eaten at an old favorite (Blackbird); tried restaurants I’ve been meaning to visit for ages (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, The Publican, Nellcote, Balsan, Allium, Mercat a la Planxa, The Purple Pig, Cafe Spiaggia); and even eaten at a restaurant with two Michelin stars (Sixteen, although I was disappointed with their lunch and underwhelmed by two of the three courses).

I’ve tried new recipes – Sustainablyqueer’s Avgolemono is my go-to whenever I’ve hungry and need something quick. Cook’s Illustrated’s Key Lime Pie has become somewhat of a specialty (I’ve made it five times, and people have raved about it each time). I’ve experimented with gluten-free baking, as well as Korean, Belizean, and Ethiopian. I’ve added a beautiful Cuisinart food processor (an arrival anniversary present from my parents) and a Thermapen instant-read thermometer (also a gift from my parents, this time for Christmas) to my kitchen.

I’ve gotten more involved with crafting – bought my first sewing machine, knit my first blanket for my goddaughter (and second for the friend’s wedding, and started on my third for my parents), and knit my first hat (also for my goddaughter). I was selected to be a collective member for TJLP, the law project for which I interned a few years back. I sat in the front row at cooking demos for both Richard Blais (and he signed my copy of his cookbook!) and Paul Kahan, including eating food he actually made. I talked to Dar Williams, too – we got her to record a video message for our friend regarding her wedding, which was the whole reason I was in Pennsylvania in the first place. I’ve made new friends, grown closer to old friends, and spent time with my family.

All in all, it has been a very eventful year. I look forward to what 2014 will bring.

With Dar Williams!

With Dar Williams!

With Richard Blais!

With Richard Blais!

 

With Paul Kahan!

With Paul Kahan!

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