Friday, September 15, 2017

mighty long way

So yes it is- a mighty long way from here to there- an hour to get to Fitzgerald's a music venue in Berwyn.  Kind of liked the place - hated the location. Kind of like the concert - sort of hated some of the crowd... the guy's from Texas so I guess asshole followers are a part of the package -

Tom Russell the guy we heard/saw in concert last night has a terrific voice- you could listen to for hours - power and beauty - it is commanding.  However the patter was LOL a "chaotic mess" which he repeated no less than ten times LOL because it was in a review of one of his recordings.  Clearly he took it to heart or maybe he was just trying to live up to it.....

It seems like if you knew him not onstage he would be a really funny guy naturally with a quirky view of the way life works but last night he seemed kind of pissy- not in an aggressive way just in a peevish way.... since i never saw/heard him before I have nothing to compare it to (and he did say he was in a strange mood last night) but I guess I thought he'd be more charismatic. He has led an interesting life and clearly has a breadth of knowledge that would lead to lots of amazing conversations I am sure... too bad I am unlikely to meet him in person.

Best line of the night- go back to the merch table and buy something - "we'll be there later to listen to to your stories" LOL (which would be the part of life I would pull my hair out with...)

Thomas George "Tom" Russell (born March 5, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter. Although most strongly identified with the Americana music tradition, his music also incorporates elements of folk, rock, and the cowboy music of the American West. Many of his songs have been recorded by other artists, including Johnny Cash, The Texas Tornados, k.d. lang, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, The Sir Douglas Quintet, Jason Boland, Nanci Griffith, Katy Moffatt, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Sailcat, Iris Dement, Dave Alvin, Suzy Bogguss, and Brian Burns.

In addition to his music, Russell is also a painter and author. He has published a book of songwriting quotes (co-edited with Sylvia Tyson), a detective novel (in Scandinavia), and a book of letters with Charles Bukowski. His recent works include two books from Bangtail Press: 120 Songs of Tom Russell, and Blue Horse/Red Desert - The Art of Tom Russell, a book of selected paintings.

In 2016 a new book of Tom Russell essays was published: Ceremonies of the Horsemen. The essays, originally published in Ranch & Reata Magazine, are centered on the American West and include an essay on Johnny Cash for which Russell won a 2015 ASCAP AWARD for music journalism. (wikipedia)

Anyway - I am unlikely to get back to seriously GU Berwyn anytime soon - I mean jeez the guy could have played at Martyr's next door FGS - I mean the people from Wisconsin came on a bus anyway so they don't care where it drops them off....

I feel like I could get to really like this guy but it might need a harmonic convergence to get us to that point. And here's the thing- he doesn't care if I ever get there LOL and that is why I feel like I might end up liking him ("no one smarter than a person who agrees with you" as my mother in law says) LOL

he this incredibly talented side man from Milan, Italy - who had a terrific guitar pickin style and could actually sing passable bluesy stuff...

so this afternoon we are off to PDX for a weekend of fun and frivolity with S & S- stay tuned !

Thursday, September 14, 2017

out of the park!

Alright- I figured it was OK to use the baseball analogy because after all - our dinner last night was at Oriole - named for the baseball team from Baltimore... and as noted, they again hit it out of the park with many new and fabulous courses.  We were again WOWed by the flavors and coddled by the service.  With Eden as our lead server, we were led through the culinary journey prepared by Noah and Tim and Genie and all who help make it look "easy" which of course none of it is, EXCEPT the eating part!

So on to the menu - I like to put up as the first photo the favorite new course and it was a toss up this time - but here is the winner by a tiny tiny fraction of whatever measurement we use for favorites.... more on this course and other new ones as we follow along with the meal -

a new presentation for the caviar- which was the best one yet!

the oyster course - and the jamon course with the amazing "stick" of flavors!

a new pork belly - YUM

a new course King crab! with a luscious sauce to dredge it through!

Then on to the next segment of  the salmon (shown above and again in the full presentation below) and the foie gras and the wagyu and various other flavors and tastes! but oops I somehow missed taking a photo of my beloved bone broth which was served as a "side"

the foie gras course was in the running for best new course for sure and only lost out by a teeny bit-

without the truffles shaved over (above) and with them (below)

then on to pre-dessert and dessert courses - first up an incredibly fun palate cleanser of cucumber flavors with a cool meringue on the top and a champagne froth (I'll take the larger one next time LOL)

a side view-

the mind blowing sweet corn mousse with pretzel and chocolate - Genie really is a genie-us!

ice cream sandwich- milk and cookies cookie and the final crunch of the evening !

our take home pie (for breakfast!)

we spent some time at the tail end of the evening in the kitchen hanging out - yes, we closed another place LOL  and for a good reason- this is a fun place to be, with great people all around- we did miss Aaron who was off at a Somm competition in NYC and Tory who has gone on to explore more career options but we already loved Eden and she covered for Aaron in his absence - so all is still good in "bird" land!!!!

tonight Tom Russell concert and tomorrow we leave for a weekend with Steve & Suzanne - so stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

dodged that one!

so we were on pins and needles all weekend as we watched helplessly from our Chicago location as Hurricane Irma (largest on record at 525 miles across) bore down on Florida.  As the predicted path narrowed to the final projections of the center track- we found ourselves smack dab in the middle.  Or more accurately, our winter condo was right in the middle of the track - YIKES!!!

so we were glued to the weather channel for Saturday and went out to hear a concert at WFMT and came home only to watch more weather on the Weather Channel - go to bed late and get up early to watch more hours....

by Sunday morning at 10:30 CDT  I had posted this to FaceBook-

To all FB friends and family. We are safe in Chicago and Lucy (cat) is with us. The storm is currently headed on a direct path towards St. Pete which means passing right over where our Florida home is located. We are safe - only our property is at risk. We are in Zone E for evacuation purposes so our concern is wind rather than storm surge. We are much more worried about Florida West Coast friends who have stayed - M.A. and Gene who are staying in a Zone B location of recent construction because a 94 year old neighbor could not be moved any further and needed access to their generator. Also very concerned about John and Barb and Beth (and Barb and Beth's mom Barbara, who will turn 100 in January) they are also staying put in their place in a Zone D location near our place. Sending good thoughts to Patti who has moved from her Zone A location to a Zone C with generator along with her brood of animals including many fosters that she cares for from the shelters... and finally our concerns are with the Center for Great Apes nearby, a non profit that we support - while we humans can rationalize the storm, the apes cannot and those who are under the care of the wonderful staff there are also getting our thoughts and prayers. Our brother Larry has evacuated from his Miami Beach condo to Orlando with friends and other friends have gone either north or inland... so we watch the reports with feelings of helplessness and AWE at Mother Nature's power - we will keep you posted if we learn anything more -

and then we were granted a reprieve and once Irma came in over the Keys and Naples, she headed DIRECTLY north (which meant NOT toward us) and toward Arcadia (which is pretty much half way across the state from us.)  And because we were on the back side of the cyclone, and ultimately in the lower quadrant of what had now gone from CAT 5 to CAT 2- we even had luck with the wind speed and storm surge predictions.

we lost power at around 4 PM EDT on Sunday and so no longer had any communication with our condo camera or security system... the storm came through late Sunday night and early early Monday but despite reports form our next door neighbors that they could see no exterior damage - it wasn't until Tuesday at 6:40 PM EDT (51 hours later) when power was restored, that we could see inside our place to verify the fact of no visible damage.... what a relief! So we went our to dinner to celebrate. :-)

So here are a few photos from the WFMT event on Saturday - a concert to take our minds off worrying for a few hours -

then for our celebration dinner we were off to Oceanique-

Shared oysters with lemon creme fraiche and salmon roe YUM!

Phil's scallop starter

My chicken liver mousse starter -

a squash raviolo from the chef-

an amuse from the chef of swordfish

Phil's bouillabaisse followed by my halibut and our dessert of  "night and day" cake

we had two excellent wines a 2005 Domaine Drouhin Chablis Premier Cru and a 2007 Arthur from Domaine Drouhin Oregon - we shared with staff and with another couple seated nearby, who were there celebrating their Miami home's survival of Irma as well!

so tomorrow we are off to Oriole for what was to be a dinner with brother Larry but he is stranded in Orlando (where he evacuated to from Miami Beach where he lives ) and so isn't making it to Chicago this year.... We plan on drinking a special pinot which was a gift from Mark Hoffman and Laura Daray Hoffman the 2004 Covert Fingers from Sine Qua Non

We know this came from the Hoffmans because we don't know anyone else who is on the list at Sine Qua Non......LOL

So we will see brother Larry when we get to Florida in November and speaking of brothers - we are headed out to Portland to see brother Steve, his wife Suzanne and my cousin Michele this weekend - so stay tuned for lots of wine and food photos - and some visits to our favorite wineries and wine makers!