Tag Archives: Hancher

Hotel Vetro, Rosanne Cash at Hancher, Pullman’s, Rapid Creek Cidery – Iowa City

Rapid Creek Cidery

We almost never stay at a hip hotel but  decided to bunk at The Hotel Vetro, a sleek high rise overlooking Iowa city’s ped mall (a mixed bag, we discovered) during a February trip here to see/hear Rosanne Cash at University of  Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium. (Nice to hear a female singer whose voice has held up as she’s gotten older.)

Although we decided to stay overnight because I was concerned about possible snow or ice-slicked roads common in February, the weather was actually fine. So we could have barreled home on Interstate 80 after the concert.  But it was nice not to have to. I  looked for our usual cheap Airbnb or old school bed & breakfast but the Hotel Vetro room ($144) was fairly comparable price wise so we went for it. It was fun to be right in the middle of the action downtown — except late at night when loud kids left the many bars. I could hear women’s piercing laughter and yelling in particular, especially near closing time at 2 a.m. (I developed a sudden intense cold so didn’t sleep most of the night, even without the drunk kids.)

We went to a few favorite shops – Textiles, Design Ranch, Active Endeavors,Iowa artisans…and made obligatory book purchases at Prairie Lights. Dinner at Pullman’s was excellent – crunchy slightly spicy fried chicken with soft biscuits and fresh honey, a burger sandwich with crispy fries and who knew they have homemade grapefruit for this sneezing customer?

Hancher is always a great. We love the new Caesar Pelli building, much more than the previous one destroyed by a flood. I’ve gotten to the age where I appreciate watching a band (in this case folk/Americana with five excellent musicians) from the comfort of a plush seat.  It felt very relaxing, civilized. Okay, I’m getting old (although I did sit in a patch of dirt on a hillside last summer for the Hinterland festival outside Des Moines, listening to  live music by Brandi Carlisle, Maggie Rogers, etc.)

Brunch was at the fabulous Rapid City Cidery, in an airy building made of old barn wood overlooking an apple orchard (Wilson’s) in the countryside just north of Iowa City.  Operated by the James Beard Foundation-nominated former chef/owner of the now-closed Lincoln Cafe in Mount Vernon, Iowa, the cidery’s food did not disappoint. My omelette had perfectly cooked fresh fancy mushrooms, olives and feta. Dirck’s more standard fare was all about fresh ingredients prepared well – two bright yellow fried eggs, long pieces of crunchy bacon, roasted potatoes, a biscuit served with homemade apple butter. We need to get back there some day for dinner. 

 

 

 

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NYC Ballet at Iowa City’s new Hancher

What a treat to see the NYC Ballet for the first time in ages – and the first time in Iowa. Apparently, this was the company’s first visit to Iowa City, so I’m guessing it’s the first visit to Iowa since Iowa City hosts the state’s best dance performances (although Des Moines is improving!). The company was superb, as always, and it was a particular treat to see Iowa City native Miriam Miller dance – including in a sensational, sensual duet choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon (who choreographed The Joffrey’s new nutcracker, which we saw last year during our first visit to the new Hancher.) Speaking of which, the new Hancher is stunning —  I like it better than the old one. It feels smaller, more intimate, more vertical than horizontal, more peaceful with calming colors (seafoam green, grey, tan wood) and plush upholstered seats. Having sat in the balcony and on the floor, close to the stage, I’m not sure there is a seat with a bad view. (Our floor seats were way off to the side but we saw the vast majority of the stage.).
Dinner was a Takanami– for sushi and tempura, which was a nice change from all the heavy food we ate in the Deep South. We couldn’t deal with more burgers, ribs or fried chicken. We were tempted to try the new (or new to us) Szechuan Chinese restaurant, Bashu, that opened where the Linn Street Cafe used to be but it looked a little too authentic for a before-theater/meal. Didn’t want to get an upset stomach.  Locals seem to be loyal to Szechuan House.

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Filed under dance, DESTINATIONS - Iowa, Iowa City