Food is a lot like music; by highlighting ethnic and cultural flavors, food unites people through their senses. I love to cook and consider myself to be a somewhat serious foodie. A big part of any culture is food and musicians love to eat. I would even go further and say they are addicted to food. We in Musical Bridges Around the World take food very seriously. We offer Russian/South-Texas mix hospitality filled with our pride and joy – the local cuisine. Las Palapas, Papasitos, Rosario’s and Rudy’s take a special place in the hearts of our international visitors. Authentic Tex-Mex food takes center stage on Facebook pages of our army of international musicians.
All Musical Bridges guest artists get truly special treatment. Our Board of Directors and I make sure the musicians leave San Antonio well fed and charmed by our beautiful city. From my touring years, I learned musicians do no see much while traveling with concerts. They go from the airport to hotel, rehearsal, concert, restaurant, back to the hotel and airfare to the next performance. This is not the case for our guest artists. When planning artists’ itinerary. I make sure we carve at least a little time from their busy schedules for the San Antonio experience. We show them The Alamo, River Walk, The King Williams area, and the McNay. We call it – The tourist routine.
Rob and I eat rather modestly, (we are watching our waistlines), so when we entertain Musical Bridges guest artists I unleash the gourmet chef in me and exercise my culinary muscle to the fullest. There are colorful stories circulating in New York and some parts of Western Europe about my Armenian eggplants and homemade dolma. Victor Prieto from Yo Yo Ma’s and Christina Pato’s ensembles is still raving about my lamb shish kabob and every time performing in Texas he secretly hopes there will be a backstage party at my house. He remembers San Antonio because of my lamb. He is from Galicia Spain, my shish kabob is Armenian, I am from Russia, and for him this is a part of the San Antonio experience.
Since September, Musical Bridges has presented musicians from France, Canada, Bulgaria, Spain, Germany, Pakistan and India, and there are a lot more to come this season. I enjoy taking care of the musicians. I believe that was the reason Musical Bridges was born to start with. Musicians are like a separate race to me. It does not matter what country, religion, color we are, we have a common language and we understand each other on the fly. Musical Bridges grew to become a big organization now and I could delegate driving and feeding the musicians to someone else, but it is still my favorite part and I always am looking forward to the next concert, to the next group of the guest artists to take care of.
We rarely talk about music; we just hang out together and eat. We all know we belong to an international brotherhood of musicians and we just enjoy each other’s company. Did you know the best time to visit Bombay is December – the wedding season, the food is free? In Granada, Spain in any Tapas Bar, if you are drinking your tapas are complimentary? Did you know the best place to eat pickled herring is in the Amsterdam airport in a booth between terminal B and C? It takes only two hours on a Euro train from Nance to Rouffach in France. In August in Rouffach, storks are making nests and the babies are learning to fly from rustic red roofs? Did you know that the best place to eat Vietnamese food, besides in Vietnam, is in Montreal?
I love my time with the musicians. They take me on a truly international tourist routine.