Yesterday I got up at 6, so I could get my remaining hours in and still get a bus at 2 and be downtown at 3:30 to meet Jill at NPR. Her alumni association had arranged a reception and tour of NPR Headquarters. We got in a little early, and got to go on the first tour. We saw several programs being aired (including All Things Considered), and the very impressive studio they had prepped for election night returns. Afterwards they had a room with snacks and an open bar, so we had some of those (not too much, as we had dinner plans). The reception was not only for alumni, but also supporters of WUMB, the folk radio station run from UMass Boston. The general manager of that station talked, as well as the president of NPR and the chancellor of UMass, then they let us chat by ourselves for a while, and I got into a fascinating discussion of streaming radio technology with Grady, the chief engineer at WUMB.

The highlight of the night was seeing Catie Curtis. Even though she’s recorded and performed with many artists we like (Dar Williams, Lucy Kaplansky, Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Mark Erelli, Erin McKeown), we’d never listened to or seen her. That was a mistake, happily corrected. We thought we’d just watch her play on a radio show, but she came out in the room we were in with John Jennings and played a nice set, mostly songs from her new album. She did throw out a great cover of Richard Thompson’s “Walking On A Wire” as well. Catie wondered if there were any questions, and Jill asked if she’d brought CDs. Catie said we’d all be taken care of, and we were – we all got gift bags of swag that included an autographed copy of her new CD – very cool.

Next, we walked over to Corduroy in the Four Points hotel. I’d asked if we could go to Citronelle for my birthday dinner, but they were all booked up. So Jill picked a place with one of Michel Richard’s protégés. We were nearly an hour early for our reservation, but they were able to seat us right away (which we were happy about because it really filled up later). I’d read that the lobster salad was a very good appetizer, but they were out of it – that was the only disappointing note of the evening. I had the duck egg and confit salad instead, great texture and flavor, while Jill had the mélange of baby greens with shallot vinaigrette (she had most of it, but I think the greens were a little bitter for her). The entrées were great, though. She had the prime beef strip loin with lyonnaise potatoes and a mushroom sauce and I had the roast lamb sirloin with mini goat cheese ravioli – an amazing combination that I’m still salivating over. For dessert we shared a chocolate sabayon. It took extra time to prepare, but it was worth it, the warm chocolate contrasting nicely with the ice cream on top.

We came straight home afterwards, both exhausted from our week. We stayed up a little to play with Illa, then went to bed.