Dining at Amsterdam’s Palazzo is like
eating a finely prepared meal on stage with all of the acrobats, clowns and
contortionists at the Cirque de Soleil. With no barrier between you and the
acts, you are more than an observer—you feel like you are part of the
performance itself. That sensation was heightened when I was dragged on stage
by the roller skating duo. This Italian brother and sister act do a
mind-blowing, lightning-fast skating routine on a raised stage that is only 8
feet in diameter. As the sister is spun airborne, her skates wiz by within one
meter of the diners. One false move and the carnage they would create at the
surrounding tables is unthinkable.

Bob Blumer Headshot2

Without any notice, I was hoisted up on
their shoulders and spun around for a minute like I was on an out-of-control
amusement park ride. It was good thing that the first course hadn’t been served
because after the first few rotations I began to feel a mixture of nausea, fear
and helplessness. And by the time we reached warp speed, I was hanging on for
dear life. When it mercifully ended, I was so dizzy that I couldn’t walk down
the six steps without being supported from both sides. It took me a half hour
to fully regain my composure. So much for being Mr. Tough Guy.

When I go out to any form of dinner
theater, I usually hope for great entertainment and prepare myself for an
average meal. At Palazzo, the dishes rise to the occasion and are just as good
as you would expect from a restaurant that is solely dedicated to food. I was
particularly impressed with the “premium” wine pairing—not cheap at 55 euro,
but well worth it. The selections were bold, intriguing varietals, and every
one was perfectly matched with its dish. My favourite pairing was an aged Moscatel
Anejo from Spain that was served with the chocolate and coconut crumble dessert.

night after we taped the segment, we met up with three of the acrobats in a
local bar for a few beers. It was really interesting to hear about their
lifestyle, which is basically the modern day circus life. Most of them are
second and third generation performers who have crafted their own unique
routines. Those who work as duos often find each other via the Net, on the
performance equivalent of dating sites. It’s food for thought that there are so
many different ways to make a living and see the world.