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Ming and The Met; An Opera and Dinner Date in Buffalo

By Trudy Stern:

My mother Lorraine is 92 years old.  Her age is news in itself.  That she is healthy and smart and vibrant is more news.  At
her age (she says) she only chooses to do things she really wants to do or to see people she really cares about. That includes seeing sister Suzi (in Austin, Texas) sing at late night  jazz clubs and to join me for our special Saturday Opera and Dinner dates.

The
NYC Metropolitan Opera Company is the only opera she cares to attend.  As an ex pat New Yorker and a trained soprano,  Lorraine is a snob and after her formative years of standing  at the back
of the Old Met – she does not tolerate anything she considers less professional, less spectacular, less technically and artistically perfect.  So we have a standing opera and dinner date
– right here in Buffalo – to see live HD telecasts of Met Opera Saturday matinees on the big screen at the Regal Elmwood.

When we
come out of the theater at twilight, blinking, happy, and hungry, our next stop is mom’s favorite restaurant in Buffalo – Ming Café on Main Street near UB South.  I already told you that mom is a snob, but that is a good thing when it comes to
Chinese cuisine.  There is no other place in Western NY that can compare to the fine cooking of chef-owner Sam and service by his wife Helen. Food and service are all that you would expect – in a Shanghai  restaurant.

There is no place around here with comparable, freshly prepared, honest cooking. “Ming is the finest Chinese food I’ve had in years. Possibly ever.  It’s
expensive for Buffalo, where I am used to feeding two for the price of one, but it is such high quality, it is worth it,” says one of Bill Rappaport’s food bloggers.  Another blogger said,
“Ming Cafe is a tiny but cozy Chinese restaurant in the University Heights
neighborhood, just across the street from UB’s South Campus. 

The restaurant has
about ten tables and features carved woodwork and tasteful art throughout. But
the real attraction of the place is the food–absolutely wonderful. I am
convinced that this is the best Chinese restaurant in the Buffalo area.”  We love it. 
The food is great, the ambience is clean and fresh and pleasing. The art
on the walls is also tasteful – many are fine photos by Sam taken on his and Helen’s travels.

Ming is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday – Sunday. Try it out, even if you’re not planning on heading to the opera.

The opera does make the experience even that much better. Best
of all – we pick up Michael (my husband) and other friends on the way to Ming Café and we
can recall the details of our day at the Met. 
These HD broadcasts make amazing opera available and accessible.  The interviews with soloists and musicians
and stage hands and animal trainers (elephants on stage!) and costume designers
all are fascinating and the music and
technical theater is all opened up for novice and aficionado.  We love retelling the whole story – act by
act to Michael, who is always working on Saturday afternoons (Michael Morgulis is the founder of New Buffalo Graphics, a shop now located on Hertel).

We have been attending the HD broadcasts for three years.  The local audience has outgrown the smaller
theaters at the Regal and we always see friends and make new acquaintances.  Some folks eat popcorn, though we bring an
apple or some almonds to sustain us for the four-hour performances.  It is a weirdly fun combination of movies, TV
and opera cultures.  

The next show is this Saturday, December 3.
2011, Handel’s Rodelinda, starring Renee Fleming at 12:30 pm. If we can’t
make the Saturday matinee we can catch an early dinner at Ming and then go to a
Wednesday night encore telecast. 
Rodelinda will be replayed for a U.S. Encore: January 4, 2012 at 6:30 pm
local time.  There is an encore of Philip
Glass’s epic Satyyagha, a story of
Mahatma Ghandi at 6:30 pm December 7.   

Another cool feature is that
our friends (Sister Suzi in Austin for example), all over the country can catch
the same performance and we can talk about it during intermissions and on the
way to dinner.

For more
information about the Regal Telecasts from the Met, click here.

And about Ming Café, 3268
Main St, Buffalo (716) 833-6988


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