Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pawn shops and restaurants

"I don’t want to be a supermodel; I want to be a role model." — Queen Latifah 

DURING OUR FREE time in Omaha at the Olympic swimming trials between the preliminary races in the morning and the semis and finals in the evening, I suggested to Paul that we do something we always say we wish we had time for — visit pawn shops.

We like going to architectural salvage places, antique shops, used book and records shops, Army/Navy surplus stores and pawn shops. Hey, one person's trash is another one's treasure. We hit at least seven of them. 

Paul is always on the lookout for musical instruments and audio and photography equipment. I'm a sucker for antique lighting, and I'll usually look through the records and CDs. Paul didn't score any instruments, but at the last shop he found a 55 to 200 mm zoom for our Nikon. You'll notice the improvement in the quality of the photos from the trials due to that lens.

I bought two CDs for a $1 each; both proved to be a learning experience. The first one is The Columbia Album of Cole Porter — all Cole Porter songs played by Michel Legrand and his orchestra. How can you possibly go wrong with Cole Porter?! 

I'll tell you how: by having this dude, Legrand, in charge. The orchestration is just weird and down right awful at times, and when I say "weird" I don't mean in a good way, but I'm still glad I bought it. I didn't realize how many songs Cole Porter wrote or how many of them have the word "love" in the title. I suggested to Paul and Richard Early that the Turner Center Jazz Orchstra have an all-Cole-Porter concert, and I think they might.

The second CD is the original soundtrack recording from the movie Living Out Loud. Queen Latifah sings three songs, and she is just friggin' awesome.

The Queen herself.

I put in the CD while we were driving and asked Paul to guess who was singing. He couldn't. Neither one of us had any idea what a phenomenal singer she is!!! I played it later when our friend Kit was visiting and for Paul's mom. It turns out that both own another CD by Queen Latifah called The Dana Owens AlbumPaul's mom won the prize, though, for being the only one able to guess whose voice it was. We are definitely buying that CD.

We found two restaurants particularly enjoyable: McFoster's Natural Kind Cafe and Nicola's Italian Wine and Faire. McFoster's is a vegetarian restaurant. We discovered it a few years back, and we're glad they're still around. Here's a link to their site. We liked it so much that we ate at McFoster's three times in four days — brunch, lunch or dinner. Have anything on the menu; you'll love it. It's worth the drive from Des Moines just to eat there.

Nicola's is a quaint, family-owned restaurant in Old Market. We ate outside on the patio, and both of us loved our dinners. Reasonably priced, charming atmosphere; we recommend it. My only complaint was that the tomato in my salad tasted like food-service-bought-by-the-box produce. If they can get locally-grown, ripe tomatoes, they'll be perfect. They're located on the corner of 13th and Jackson Streets


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