A Bossa Nova New Year’s Eve

Bossa Nova music makes me feel giddy and extraordinarily happy. You know that feeling you get from listening to childhood records? A sudden spike of joy deep inside your soul?

Dancing with my big sister Janet, OkinawaWhen my sister Janet and I were growing up in Okinawa, our favorite records were the ones we weren’t allowed to play. Dutifully, we listened to Disney records that our grandparents mailed from the states, but we most enjoyed sneaking into our dad’s immaculate record collection.

He never found out about our little secret because my big sister was absolutely brilliant (even at seven years old). When we decided on an LP that we wanted to hear, Janet would pull THREE albums partially out of the record shelf. The one we wanted to hear was in the middle, the two others on each side were place holders (so she knew where to return the treasured vinyl). Big sis never allowed ME to actually TOUCH the records, which was probably a really good idea.

Our very favorite albums back then were Herb Alpert, and the awesome Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66. We knew all the words to “Mais Que Nada” (still do), and would invite friends over for after-school dancing. To this day, Bossa Nova is always on my party mix. Just try listening to “One Note Samba / Spanish Flea” without dancing or bobbing your head.

When Peter and I first met fifteen years ago, we bonded over discussions of Bossa Nova music. Two years later on our wedding day, I walked down the aisle to Astrud Gilberto’s “Summer Samba (So Nice)”. If you don’t know the song, the lyrics begin with:

“Someone to hold me tight, that would be very nice
Someone to love me right, that would be very nice

Someone to understand each little dream in me
Someone to take my hand and be a team with me

So nice… life would be so nice, if one day I’d find
Someone who would take my hand and samba through life with me”

And yes, it’s been SO NICE!

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBiteFor New Year’s Eve, we like to do something low-key. Sometimes we spend it with family, sometimes we cook together at home or go out to a nearby restaurant.

We’ve fallen in love with chef Gary Menes’ cooking at Marche’ recently, and luckily the restaurant is just a few minutes from our house. When I read there would be a live JAZZ band on New Year’s Eve, I don’t know why but I just assumed it would be modern or fusion jazz. Not my favorite, but I figured at least Peter would really enjoy it. Besides Bossa, I’m a big fan of New Orleans jazz (especially Preservation Hall, the legendary band we recently saw at Disney Hall).

We had a 9pm dinner reservation, and I knew the food would be fantastic (this would be our fourth visit) so I wasn’t going to let the jazz in the background bother me. The duo wasn’t playing when we were being seated, and after we settled in and put on our party hats, there it was…. glorious BOSSA NOVA!

Yes, it was an elegantly laid-back, truffle-filled (thank you chef Menes!) food fest of a New Year’s Eve at Marche’, but with our beloved Bossa Nova warming up the crowded yet cozy dining room, it felt more like a party just for two.

My very Last Bites in 2009:

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Winter Black Truffle Risotto. Raviolli: Swiss Chard, Mascarpone, Reggiano, Chestnuts.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Foie Gras Terrine, Date Compote, Brioche. Romey Lettuce, Baby Beets, Goat Cheese, Pistachios.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Hokkaido Scallops, Cauliflower, Apple, Gastrique, Vaudouvan Butter.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Fennel, Orange, Pear, Forbidden Rice.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Healthy Family Farms Chicken, Peas, Carrots, Tendrils, Grits.

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
A5 Grade Australian 100% Wagu eye of RibEye , Pomme Puree, Hearts of Romaine, Bunch Onions, Red Wine

Marché Restaurant, MyLastBite
Calvados Brandy Cheesecake (plus lovely Caramel Apple Millefeuill, Apple Walnut Cake and Brown Sugar Ice Cream!) 

Note: This restaurant is now closed. Please follow Chef Menes on Twitter


Marché Restaurant, MyLastBiteMarché
13355 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(818) 784-2915

Dining Date: 12/31/09 [this page is Visit 4]

Photos of all my dinners at Marché

Update: 3/30/10 Read Jonathan Gold’s Review!

Mentioned Above:

Bozza Nova from Wes Smith and Graham Dechter

All Marché photos on Flickr

More Okinawa Photos


Filed under Eating Out

14 responses to “A Bossa Nova New Year’s Eve

  1. Robert Guerrero

    Hey Jo,
    I didn’t know you were a Bossa Nova fan. I am a HUGE fan of Brazilian music. Next time we get together we’ll have to do a music sharing!

  2. Janet (Your sister)

    I can hardly see the screen as I am in tears from reading this Jo…what sweet memories we share!
    I just thank God for all the “history” we have together as sisters…yes, I remember the album.
    Love you!

  3. Such a great piece, Jo. You and Janet share a special bond, having been through so much together as children. Thank you for sharing some of that with us.

    As for the food, it’s a far cry from what most of us at as our last bites for 2009. And I love that no matter where you eat, Foie Gras always manages to find its way onto your table. I love that about you guys.

    The Wagyu beef plate looks so tasty! Is that a shaved black truffle across the top? If so . . . pure decadence.

  4. Summer Samba in December?…. yes it was So Nice!
    Great food, atmosphere, service and amazing time with my best friend. Love you honey.

    …and I’ve been learning Mais Que Nada on the guitar and hoping we do a duet at the next Garden Jam.

  5. Dad

    So that’s what happened to my LP’s!!! HA HA. Love Ya!! Dad

  6. This post so makes me want to be your friend. Waters of March may be my favorite song.


  7. Streetgourmetla

    Hey Jo, my cousin and I went to see the Brazil ’66 reunion at the Hollywood Bowl back on ’06. Love that music so much. Ah…..Rio! Happy New Year.

  8. Aw, Jo. This post was awesome. I love how you always share a little bit of your history and passions in each entry.

  9. this is sooo cute! i like janet’s parenthetical (your sister) LOL.

    i’m going to come out to your hood and make you go with me to marche… 😀

  10. Really wonderful post. It made me remember playing my father’s Herb Alpert records when I was a kid which I’d forgotten. One of my earliest musical memories. The food looks SO good. Glad you guys had a good New Year’s Eve. And as Robert said above he’s a huge fan of Brazilian music too. xo

  11. Yutjangsah

    There’s nothing like listening to vinyl. The danger of scratching the record enhances the listening enjoyment. Sounds like a great NYE! We had Chinese take out! Yay for 2010.

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