January 7, 2010


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Food columnist picks favorite    

First of two articles

Photo A: Maura Carney, general manager at Percy Street Barbecue, attended the University of Nebraska with a major in Fine Arts and then worked at Vetri and Marigold Kitchen before transitioning to Percy Street. (Photo by Len Lear).

Photo B: Irina Datsko, chef/owner of Langostini, left Ukraine with her daughter, Anita (seen here), a server at Langostini, when the Soviet Union imploded in 1989. They spent one year in a refugee camp near Rome, where Irina became a terrific Italian cook. (Photo by Len Lear).

It’s a journalistic convention (as opposed to a political convention) at the end of a year for reviewers to announce their personal lists of “Best Movies of the Year,” “Best TV Shows of the Year,” “Best Novels of the Year,” etc. Therefore, even though I am not, strictly speaking, a reviewer (this column is much more “featurish” than “reviewish”), enough people have twisted my arm about my personal “best” choices that I hereby offer for your consideration my favorite restaurant experiences over the past year.

Breathtaking concert at Hill Presbyterian Church

Donald Nally led his choral group, The Crossing, in a spectacular concert of contemporary music Sunday afternoon in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill.

­Donald Nally and The Crossing helped Chestnut Hillers usher in the New Year with a provocative concert of contemporary choral music Sunday afternoon in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill. The church was packed with an audience that responded to Nally’s challenging programming and the choir’s exceptional singing of it with a thunderous standing ovation at the concert’s conclusion.

In a daring choice quite typical of his approach of trusting an audience that has come to trust him, Nally constructed The Crossing’s program from the works of two composers: the Latvian Eriks Esenvalds and the American David Lang. To up the ante even further, the concert offered only three pieces: “Legend of the Walled-In Woman” and “The Sun Dogs” by Esenvalds and “The Little Match Girl Passion” by Lang. Although two of the three scores included minimal instrumental accompaniment, most of the time the audience heard unaccompanied choral singing. All the same, there was an impressive degree of variety in the sounds the audience heard.

Having trouble sleeping? Read Wittgenstein’s book

This is a story about Ludwig Wittgenstein.

“I never heard of him before,” I said to my husband.

“He’s one of the most-read 20th-century philosophers,” he said.

“So that would mean about nine or 10 readers?”

“Probably not that many…”

Anyway, if you see me around The Hill and my hair looks a little thin and dry, it’s because I fell asleep under the hair dryer three times while trying to read “Ludwig Wittgenstein: Duty of Genius,” a 654-page biography by the obviously very smart Ray Monk. (Wittgenstein, who lived from 1889 to 1951, was a Viennese philosopher whose seminal work was “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.”)


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