Did I say fabulous? How about Amazing! Beautiful! Exquisite! I've always had a fascination with alchemy: the hard science and the integrated philosophy and religious aspects are both very simplistic yet also incredibly complex. The books were just a joy- many with the scholars' annotations including some amusing small, pointing hands in margins and some wonderful illustrations. One particular illustration has now become a new party game for the next meeting of the minds at the Aloha Alcohula*: 'Raising the Green Dragon with Bellows while Wearing a Loincloth." A conversation starter for sure!
To see the range of alchemical writings over a timeline was also very interesting- it has had a long shelf life! There were also several foreign-language versions of Rowling's "Harry Potter & the Sorceror's Stone." (I have a confession to make: I was very excited to see the movie when it first appeared, but it sort of soured my taste for All Things Potter- it wasn't nearly as, well, alchemical as I had hoped - Nicholas Flamel, Sorceror's Stone....I felt cheated.)
Just past this portion of the exhibit, there was another treasure- a Gutenberg Bible. I had, to my knowledge, never laid eyes on one before, and it was really exquisite. At first glance, I was still a little overloaded with the Book of Secrets exhibit, so I had to clear my head to really take in the significance of this item. Just glorious! The contrast between the hard edges of the black-letter type and the organic hand-painted illustrations was really striking.
Also present (near the gong I was so tempted to hit...) were the two Yale-owned copies of John James Audubon's "Birds of America" - in the handy-dandy double elephant folio size. This case was not well-lit, though, which was bit disappointing, but the illustrations were beautiful!
After filling our eyes & brains, it was time to fill our bodies with lunch- we stopped into the Thalitoo vegetarian Indian restaurant across from the Yale bookstore. The food was really wonderful, especially on such a damp, grey day: we had chapatis, hot masala fries, malai kofta,
paneer sabji jalfraize, and two other dishes I cannot recall. The food was tasty and the service was fast, plus the soundtrack of Bollywood music was fun. (I see that I haven't mentioned booze yet: we had beer.)
We then popped into the bookstore, I scarfed up a sale copy of Risko caricatures, which was a pleasant surprise. I find it incredibly amusing that you have to waltz past the Clinique counter to get to the sales books...
Back to Elena's for chat, vodka, and more food. The vodka was another zubrowka, but I don't remember the brand - we agreed that it was sweeter out of the bottle than the Bison Grass brand, but I think only Elena liked this other brand better. I felt it lacked the subtle changes in flavor as it warms that Bison Grass has. However, it did compliment the cheeses just fine.
Then, it was magically off to eat some more after Rod came home - not that I was hungry by any stretch of the imagination at this point, but pleasantly buzzed enough to not care so much...we ended up at the Mediterranean fusion restaurant, Mavi, in West Hartford. It was really nice inside, and we had appetizers that were really good - especially the lobster-stuffed avocado. There were lamb kebobs that were very good, vegetable pancakes that were disappointingly cold, but delicious, and seafood beignets that were ok - a bit doughy for my taste. Rod had duck that he and Kate pronounced to be very delicious.
Then it was off to....get more coffee. Good thing, or I may have succumbed then & there to the Steier Guest Food & Alcohol Coma. Not that it's a bad thing, mind you! Then, back to Elena's, where she magically produced cheesecake. WTF? Where did that come from? So, yes I ate a couple bits, had some more zubrowka....woof. The invitation to sleep over was getting to be very, very tempting, but after some more chat, I hauled myself up and out.
How much better could it be? Food for the head, food for the eyes, food for the heart, food for the body & liver. Thanks for a great day, Kate & Elena!
*Best DAMN tiki bar in CT