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Monday, September 20, 2010

Jenny and Johnny/Pavement 09-19-10

Oh Williamsburg! Yet again you show me a wonderful time in your cool lil neighborhood. I went there with a purpose to be rocked and left with more then one new memory. Armed with some of my favorite people, we ventured Williamsburg with a few goals. Thanks to Free Williamsburg , I spent hours on their website finding some great spots to eat, drink, and just be cool. Walking around Williamsburg, a few things stick out here. First, the fashion. Oversized Cosby sweaters paired with high waisted cutoff jeans were all around. It was still a pretty warm day out, but the ladies of Williamsburg still worked it. 80's rompers and high hemlines are still present. With the boys relying on super snug jeans and mustaches, ya know..same old, same old. So with the fashion right in my face, I had to go to the source. This brings me to Beacon's Closet. My lovely cousin Jasper first took me here a few years back and I was not mentally prepared for such a place. At first glance, you could assume this place is full of clothes junk. Not too hard to find Target shirts, dresses, and shoes. BUT, I did find a vintage Diane Von Furstenberg silk wrap dress for under $50 bucks! Chances are, this dress is a counterfeit, my research would suggest it a good possibility. It's still a fun dress that fits nice and close with a great print. I'm happy with the purchase but a bit bummed that my diamond in the rough was really a cubic zirconia..sigh. It makes for a good story though. Right across the street is the Brooklyn Brewery. We had finished our shopping at Beacon's just in time to catch a free tour of the brewery. Beer there will cost you $4.00, but its a great accompaniment with the 30 minute history of this local brew. I had the pumpkin ale that did last me through the whole tour, which really only took us to one room. Sounds like the company is branching out and had bought more room, so in the future it might actually be more like a walking tour! Below is a picture of my friend Jen and I enjoying our pumpkin ale!

After the tour, it was off to the latest restaurant on Bedford called "The Bedford." What attracted me to this place was the free range, pasture fed local ingredients used in this yummy menu. We got there at an awkward time, after brunch/before dinner time so our choices were limited. Fortunately, it was all good! I had the mussels paired with a sparkling brut from California. The broth was quiet tasty, with a bit of heat balanced with a latin bacon. We didn't have a menu to select from, so the ingredients are still a mystery but tomato, fresh garlic and parsley, and pepper were definately present. Bread for sopping up the flavorful broth was a must and we were pretty jazzed when the waiter brought us out more to gather up every last drop..Thanks Ron! Here's a photo of my mussels.

With a belly full of good eats, we were finally ready to make our way to the show. We missed most of the opener's opener Endless Boogie. They were a local band that seemed to play a little bit of everything. They described themselves as a band that goes well with beer..So there you go. Didn't have to wait long for Jenny and Johnny. Jenny Lewis is a bit of a hero of mine. After fronting the every awesome Rilo Kiley and a couple of solo albums, she joins forces with her real life beau Jonathan Rice and make a charming musically baby titled "I'm having Fun Now." This album is like a sunny 1970's day at the beach in California. I enjoyed this pop-tastic album and was looking forward to finally see my musical hero in person. One thing working against Jenny and Johnny in Brooklyn was their audience. You may remember in a past blog I posted that New Yorkers do not get into opening acts. No one shows up for them. Everyone is eating or drinking during the opening acts. Jenny and Johnny opened strong with "Scissor Runner" but no one seemed to care. I'd have to say, after a few songs, I became one of them. It wasn't really until they played Jenny's "The Next Messiah," that I got back into the show. Sadly though, that was the last song of their brief set. Sorry Jenny and Johnny, but New Yorkers just aren't as sunny as Californians. This act was too light and happy to keep these New Yorkers entertained. Jenny did wear black though..Kudos for that.

Brought to my attention was a possible Gyllenhaal sibling sighting. If it was, Jake has himself quiet a beard going on and from a recent shot I found online, it looks like he is growing one for a movie part. Others in attendance, kids! I saw a lot of children under the age of 10 pretty stoked to be there. A quick set change and Pavement took the stage. For those who don't know this band, let me give you a quick rundown on what to expect at one of their shows. Pavement has been around and making influencal music since the early 90's. Those who know them love em, but unless you were listening to a college radio station around that time you may have missed them completely. The term "Indie Darlings" might have started off with Pavement. Not scared to poke fun of huge bands of the time, Smashing Pumpkins and Stone Temple Pilots, Pavement defined music to their exact specifications whether people enjoyed it or not. It's be considered by critics as a bit sloppy, but talented musicians. Got it?!
So back to the show...Right off the bat, "Cut Your Hair!" A great song to define Pavement in a nutshell, if you had to. A song about anti-conformity in the music world and 5,000 people know the words to this one. We are all singing it back to Pavement. Date with Ikea and By the Rush follow. Even from far away, I can tell that the band is having a good time. I have seen Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks (Stephen's other project after Pavement broke up) perform and he kinda always seems like his mind is somewhere else. Friends of mine who have seen his shows in the past have even thought he might of had a few too many before the show or just flat out didn't look like he wanted to be there. But not tonight, seen in this picture off the web, he's all smiles!

Fans were given 26 songs in this crazy fun set...Lucky us! Shady Lane and Range Life are my top two favs and made the cut from a very extensive catalog. Pavement would make the soundtrack to a time in my life when I first met some of my forever friends and for that a band that will be with me forever. A lot of sentimental feelings arose at that show and I missed a lot of you Sunday night! Anyway, here's the exact set list from the band, shortened versions of some songs.

PS here's a blurry shot of what the band gets to see when they play at the Williamsburg Waterfront..The best skyline in the whole wide world!

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's been too long!

Goodness it's been awhile. Work has kept me pretty busy, which is a good thing. September has brought more hours at the vineyard and a couple of exciting wine tasting events. The first was a work social gathering with a blind wine tasting. We each brought a wine that was wrapped up so one knew anything about it. We would end the night with a nice dinner and wines to enjoy. Each of us brought a potluck to go with grilled organic chickens. I was surrounded by NYC chefs, winemakers, and those who have been in the industry much longer then I have. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous. Just deciding which wine to bring was a bit overwhelming. I wasn't going to try to bring a crowd pleaser but maybe something a bit interesting. Our vineyard specializes in organic practices (not organic wine though!) so I thought I would bring a Californian organic wine. Organic wines do not have added sulfates. Sulfates help aid in the aging process of a wine. Organic wines should be enjoyed upon purchase because they cannot age. I found an organic Merlot and stuck with the decision. We were told it was ok to know which one was yours, so I smelled the cork to familiarize myself with my choice. I smelled chocolate right off the bat! So we went through eight wines, some smelling wonderful, like my chocolate and spices Merlot. And some smelling off, "like a boys locker room." Basically, what I discovered that when it comes to wine, there really is no wrong answer. One that surprised me most was a sweet smelling white that brought back memories of Southern Illinois' Pomona Winery that specializes in apple wine. I was certain that someone had brought an apple based wine. It was sweet to the nose and the palette. It was a surprise to the whole house when we found out it was a chardonnay made in Massachusetts. Now, the part that made me smile was that the chardonnay was specifically made to have a bit of apple notes to it. The term has a fancy name that the wine maker used, but after a week since the event, its escaped me. I know, bad reporter! My point is, the wino in the room with the least amount of experience/education in the room brought the favorite wine of the night and wasn't too far off with the curve ball of the night. Goes to show that doing what you love can go a long way, regardless of experience. I left feeling closer to my coworkers and less intimidated by my instinct for wine tasting.
Here's a photo of our lovely table setting that night.

Above is a shot of my dish that I brought along. It's a chickpea salad with fresh grape tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, olive oil, lemon juice and fresh garlic. Very simple to make, but easy to make oily, so go easy at first if you decide to make this dish. I just eyeball the recipe until it looks aesthetically pleasing to me. Season with salt and pepper to taste and it's a great summertime salad. *Sigh* The weather is changing to fall already and I feel like summer flew by way too fast. I didn't even get to the beach this year.
Check in again soon because I have a couple of fun blogs on the way. Friday I am taking a look at some highlights of the Long Island Wine Country. We have over fifty wineries/vineyards on the east end of Long Island! There is no way I can get to all of them this weekend, but after talking to customers and other workers in the industry I have been able to narrow it down. On Sunday, I finally get to Williamsburg, Brooklyn to see Jenny and Johnny/Pavement in concert. I hope to wander around a bit before the show and find some hipster fashion to take back to Long Island! Look for the review and hopefully I get brave enough to take some photos of one of my favorite ladies of indie rock.