Friday night Gail and I went to the Mountain Winery in Saratoga to see the great Cyndi Lauper in concert. It was a blast.
First, we fought traffic for 2 hours from Berkeley to get there. I had purchased dinner tickets in advance, so we went to the Chateau Deck for a meal.
The deck is just that–an outdoor deck with an incredible view of the valley. It was also colder than a stepmother’s kiss and they don’t have any outdoor heaters. The do offer to sell you a thin little blanket for $35, thankyouverymuch. No.
We had a three course prix fixe dinner. I started with the caprese salad:
Gail had the carpacio Caesar salad
This is an excellent Caesar edged with slices of carpaccio. Gail was taking little bits of bread, adding the meat and topping it all with salad for a tiny sandwich. The most important part of the salad is the Caesar dressing, and Gail pronounced this one excellent. There was kale in the salad, and it turns out kale is edible if you drown it in good dressing.
Then Gail had the Petrale Sole.
Not only was it excellent, but the portion was considerable. And it came on a hot plate, which Gail put to good use before she started eating:
I had the rack of lamb, which was good but I thought the portion was tiny–it was really a half rack, and they were the smallest chops I’ve ever seen.
The meal included desserts, and I ordered both the lemon tart and the chocolate mousse. Loved the tart, thought the mousse was too stiff.
When the meal is significantly overpriced because of the location, do you tip on the whole bill or the value of the meal? Our dinners were decent, but worth about 2/3 of what they charge, which is $74/person plus wine. These were not $74 dinners. The overpriced wine brought the tab to almost $200, which is absurd. For that money they could at least have outdoor heaters. Better to have a good meal in Saratoga and then go to the concert next time.
The music started. But not Cyndi. There was an opening act, not listed in any of the literature. Another reason to enjoy dining in town–we didn’t need to be there that early. The act was the famous, great bluesman Charlie Musselwhite. Nothing wrong with his act, I just wasn’t prepared for it and wish the facility had the good grace to tell me in advance. Our evening would have gone differently.
I had time to do some people watching. A very mixed crowd–some young, some old, some who can’t decide if they want to grow up or not.
Then, at last, Cyndi. 63 years old, can still carry all the notes, sings, dances, entertains. The show was great.
There is a new album, Detour, the tour is centered on. County music, with blues and rockabilly influences. Most of the show is from the new album. Some of the old tunes, of course. Couldn’t have a Lauper concert without She Bop.
Cyndi sings a bit, then talks for a while. Maybe she needs to rest the voice, maybe that’s just the way she entertains. I’d prefer more singing, but she didn’t ask me. She’s warm and funny and doesn’t take herself very seriously. Entertaining all the way through.
Meanwhile, it was a beautiful, if chilly, evening. The Mountain Winery is a great place, much updated from the first time I was there 15 years ago.
Cyndi’s act is about 90 minutes long. We didn’t stay for the finish and the inevitable, programmed “encore”, where she most likely had to drag out Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, because we’d already had enough fun.
The ride home was much shorter than the trip down, singing Misty Blue since Cyndi had stuck it in our minds. It was a fun evening, and I’d do it again. Sometime warmer.