Le Bell Canto by June LeBell

The charming and picturesque Bishop's Lodge

Posted August 8, 2012 at 10:00 am

by June LeBell

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We're staying at the charming and picturesque Bishop's Lodge, located on Bishop's Lodge Road (of course), about 3 miles outside downtown Santa Fe, N.M. 

They have a fabled Sunday brunch here and, several months ago, when we were making our plans to stay in Santa Fe for a week of opera and concerts, we decided to add parties to our to-do list. And the first party we thought of was a gathering of the musicians from our Sarasota (Orchestra and Opera) who are playing in the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra: concertmaster Daniel Jordan and C.Y. Hong (married violinists), associate concertmaster Christopher Takeda and assistant concertmaster Jennifer Best Takeda (newly married violinists), personnel manager, Laura Conrad, Sarasota Opera concertmaster Liang-Ping How, and Eileen Berry (development director of the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico).

Las Fuentes, the excellent restaurant at Bishop's Lodge, kindly furnished our rowdy, but musical group with a private room for our brunch and, after a few mimosas and glasses of champagne were enjoyed (except by pregnant CY who looked longingly at the drinks but passed them up), we all made our first of many pilgrimages to the enormous spread of delicacies set out in the next room.

Tasty cheese and green chili enchiladas were on the first groaning board with poached eggs, bacon, sausages, blueberry blintzes and waffles. Down the sinfully sumptuous path to decadence was a table of veggies: salads and dressings, fresh peppers and squash of every size, shape and color, followed by a made-to-your-order omelet station.

Toward the back was a seafood display of icy shrimp, enormous crab legs and slurpy oysters with sauces to match. Turn the room and there was freshly carved roast lamb, leading to line after line of stainless steel buffet servers with fried chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, beans, fish stew and pork chops.

Finally — desserts. Petit-fours, chewy brownies, cookies, cheese cakes, tartlets and, the favorite among the musicians: a chocolate peanut butter confection that had everyone swooning.

C.Y., eating for two, ate enough crab claws to turn her unborn child into a happy, musical crustacean. The rest of us, in varying degrees, were everything from blissfully sated to downright stuffed. But, like the concert last night, this brunch went beyond the programmed menu.

Musicians gathering for feasts are also good talkers and the two-and-a-half hours we spent together, chatting about everything from music to food, babies to marriages, flew by faster than a Gilbert and Sullivan patter song.

Now, off to a chamber concert featuring Alan Gilbert, New York Philharmonic Music Director, conducting and PLAYING. And then, of course, dinner! (Here's hoping we fit on the plane for our trip home next week ...)


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