What an awesome and CHEAP way to spend an afternoon. We made sure to show up to the box office at Lehman about an hour before the 3pm showtime to ensure the cheapest tickets ($10 + a tacky $2 'facility fee' per ticket) were not sold out and beat the rush.
So what to do to kill time before showtime? Drink of course. So drink we did... A Guinness and a Stella to be precise, right over at Shea's Emerald, which is a stone's throw away from Lehman on Jerome Avenue near Bedford Park Blvd.
When we got back to Lehman we were happy to have already bought our tickets - the line was really crazy right before 3pm. Our only complaint about the 'Messiah' portion of the afternoon? They only gave out one program to each party of four people! So we sat there the whole time passing the program back and forth to each other.
The music was beyond gorgeous... And readers throughout the event featured prominent members of the Bronx community, including Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Councilmember Oliver Koppell, and Senator Jose M. Serrano.
The performance was supposed to be over at 5pm, at which point attendees could bring their ticket stubs over to the cafeteria for free admittance to the 'Taste of the Bronx' event. However, by the time 5pm rolled around, they were just finishing up the Hallelujah! Chorus and beginning "Part III" of the program. So were quite boorish guests and left early to head to food tasting... We're not terrible people, we just had serious time constraints due to babysitting issues. Plus, we were basically all by ourselves up in the nosebleed seats and we were able to leave without disrupting anyone.
Now, onto 'Taste of the Bronx': quite possibly the best free event EVER. About 15 different restaurants from all over the Bronx were in attendance, including Ann & Tony’s Restaurant, Mike’s Deli, Bedford Café, The Black Whale, Cibao Meat Products, Ice House Restaurant, Liebman's Kosher Delicatessen, The Main Event By Melody & Kids’ Green Kitchen- WOR Radio Home Show Chef, Mogridder’s BBQ, Patricia’s Pizza & Pasta II, Salsa Catering & Salsa Express, Inc., Sammy’s Fish Box, Sammy’s Shrimp Box, and Santa Fe Grill & Bar.Each restaurant had a table set up with all sorts of delish samples plated and ready to eat. The standout dish of the evening was the Matzah Ball Soup from Liebman's Delicatessen in Riverdale. It was actually this Irish-Catholic gal's first time having Matzah Ball Soup, and I am officially hooked. Second favorite sample of the night had to be Sammy's Fish Box's jumbo shrimp... so worth a clogged artery or two.
The only drawback to this event was of course the crowds... Since we were there a little early, we were able to sample most of the food. But once the 'Messiah' performance let out, it was wall-to-wall people.
In closing, Bedford Park was at its finest yesterday afternoon offering Bronx residents good music, delish food, and ice-cold beer. All this for $12 per head. Only in the Bronx my friends, only in the Bronx.