Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Beer Tasting at Hermitage Brewery

As we get closer to our R2I plan, our friends Anne & Nush have been so particular about ensuring we do as many fun things before we leave. Beer tasting at Hermitage Brewery was one such.

We went there around 6p so that we could go for dinner after the tasting. I am not a beer drinker but I liked the idea of visiting the brewery and just hanging out. There was a giant brewing tank right near the entrance. The area where the brewing takes place can be viewed from outside. I hear there are tours offered with a walk-thru of the facility. We did not take the tour.

The place has a fun and relaxed vibe to it. There was indoor and outdoor seating available. They had a big board which listed the beers available with a brief description. They specialize in barrel aged sours. We decided to buy one tasting and share. A flight of 4 beers costs $10 with $3 extra for the sours. I was intrigued by the Cherry Almond Beer. The others we ordered were Maltopia, Ryetopia and another IPA whose name I forget. As expected I did not like any of the non-sour beers. I loved the Cheery Almond because it did not taste like beer at all-no bitterness whatsoever. It was super sour and had a slight sweetness. It reminded me of some of the fruity ciders/ales I have tried before only this was much more sour. It was very strong though with 7% ABV. I was buzzed after having just one. They were out of pretzels to much on and there is no food available for purchase either.

After a relaxed beer drinking session, we headed to a Chinese restaurant (Sweet Mango) for dinner followed by ice cream at Baskin Robbins. What a fun evening filled with great conversation, exploring new things and of course food!

The Cruicible-Play

A promotional email from Goldstar informed me of a play being performed at Bus Barn Theater in Los Altos. The play was called The Crucible based on a book of the same name by Arthur Miller. The blurb about the play caught my eye and piqued my interest. When I asked Anne and Nush if they'd like to go with us, they agreed.

Before the play, we had some delicious dinner at Opa Greek Restaurant in downtown Los Altos. The theater was within walking distance of the restaurant.

We picked up our tickets from the box office and were surprised to see that we got excellent tickets (2nd row from the front). Once a school bus-barn, the place is now a cosy theater with 99-odd seats.

The play was very entertaining as well as eye opening. It made me shudder to think that the events portrayed in the play were based on true inc
idents (the Salem witch trials). The actors were terrific, the sound and lighting were impressive. I was completely engrossed in the story and felt the lead characters' pain. There was a brief ten minute intermission and the play ended in about 3 hours.

I really enjoyed the experience and I look forward to watching a few more documentaries/films based on the topic.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shreya Ghoshal Live in Concert

This was my first Hindi music concert in the US. I had seen ads about the concert on Facebook as well as heard about it on the radio. My BIL being a huge fan of Shreya Ghoshal was super excited about seeing her perform live. He booked their tickets in the rows right in front of the stage. Since I didn't want to spend a lot on the tickets, I picked the cheapest seats in the balcony.

The concert was held at Oracle Area in Oakland-almost an hour's drive from home. Parking was easy but expensive ($40)! There were no signs or volunteers to guide us where to queue up or which way the entry was for the different ticket types. It was poorly organized. At around 7p, the doors opened and we took our seats in the balcony. Since the area is huge and has multiple entrances, the organizers could have very easily printed the best parking lot and entrance for easy access to the seats.

Our seats were facing the right side of the stage. Since it was a singing concert and there was no dancing involved, it did not matter that we could not get the front view of the stage. The auditorium was packed with around 8,000 people in attendance. The concert started with a fashion show from PNG Jewellers who were the sponsors.

There was a grand symphony accompanying Shreya. She only had one other singer with her (winner of a Bengali talent show). Once she started singing, it was magical. She sang non stop for almost 3 hours with a single ten minute break. There was so much passion, emotion and enthusiasm in her singing. It was a pleasure to listen to her croon a lot of her popular songs as well as some older Lata Mangeshkar numbers. A lot of the audience members seemed unhappy that there were a lot more older songs than they expected. Turns out that the concert was originally supposed to be a tribute to Lata Mangeshkar but over time, that message was dropped from the marketing campaigns. So people didn't expect that so much time will be spent on songs that were not originally sung by Shreya.

Although I would have loved for her to sing a few more of her own songs, I was very satisfied with the concert. On our way back, we stopped for dinner at Shan Restaurant which was crowded with a lot of people from the same concert!