Date Night–Cocktails, Apps, & Dinner, Oh My!

Mr. R. and I had a fabulous date night last weekend.  We started with cocktails and apps at The Alchemist on Clematis.  As it was a cool evening, we opted to sit at a high-top inside.  Having previously only eaten outside on the sidewalk, I was pleasantly impressed with the interior.  It was wooden tables and chairs, tin ceilings, industrial pendant lighting, carefully cluttered bric-a-brack, and a relaxed atmosphere.  It reminded me for all the world of my favorite bar on the planet, the James Joyce Irish Pub in Ybor City, the historic Cuban district of Tampa.  Which may explain why I loved it so much.  I had a glass of Kim Crawford while Mr. R. enjoyed a Stella or two with our lobster fritters and empanadas.

But when we searched the menu for something dinner-type, neither of us found anything that really struck our fancy that night.  Mr. R. looked at me and suggested that for dinner we could go to the Sunset Bar & Grill and I was thrilled to agree.

So we made our way to Northwood Village and the Sunset Bar & Grill.  I’ve written about this terrific little Indie restaurant before and it’s one of my favorite places to go. The interior is funky, eclectic, and artsy, and the staff is friendly and welcoming.  We were shown to our favorite booth right next to the bar and wasted no time ordering a glass of Clifford Bay.  Glancing around, we noticed that about half the tables had ‘Reserved’ signs on them and we found out that many people had booked reservations for later on that evening.

For dinner Mr. R. had the pork chop in marsala sauce and I had the shrimp Francaise.  Both were hot and delicious.  I’ve never seen a ‘chop’ the size of the one he had.  Having had apps downtown, neither of us were able to finish the generous portions we were served, but before we left we were treated to the most amazing dessert.

Mind you, I’m generally of the opinion that “if it ain’t chocolate, it ain’t dessert.”  I have changed my mind.  We were served a raspberry pear cobbler that absolutely blew my mind.  The first bite just melted in my mouth and I was hard-pressed not to stab Mr. R. with my fork in my eagerness to get another bite.

Next time you’re looking to go someplace different for a great meal, I’d recommend the Sunset Bar & Grill.  You might make reservations to make sure you’ll get a table.

And Valentine’s Day is coming up, just saying…

Saturday Night Serenade–Garth Brooks

Last night, Mr. R. and I found ourselves at one of our most favorite local Indie places for dinner, The Sunset Grill in Northwood.  That date night is a post for another time, but for now I have to say that they played the best music all night.  I loved every song that came on and the playlist was eclectic, from James Taylor to the Police to Alan Jackson.  But one of my favorite musical  moments from last night was Two Pina Coladas by Garth Brooks and it was my intention to post that for tonight’s serenade.

However…  I’d forgotten how hard it is to locate actual Garth Brooks songs on Youtube.  They have lots of covers, but I wanted to real deal so I began to dig.  Which is good for us because I unearthed this gem from December 2014.  Garth made an appearance at a Justin Timberlake concert in Nashville and the two collaborated on that GB classic, Friends in Low Places.  They even include the ‘mysterious third verse’ which makes for a solid gold serenade.  My face still hurts from smiling.  I hope you love it as much as I do.

Happy Saturday night!

Sneak Peek Saturday Excerpt

Shameless book plug here. The second installment of Rannigan’s Redemption releases on Feb. 9. This is an excerpt. There are buy links in the post if you’re interested. Happy Saturday!

Pandora Spocks

Cover for Rannigan's Redemption Part 2_ Running RogueRunning Rogue, the anxiously awaited second book of the Rannigan’s Redemption series, is out in less than two weeks on February 9.

Here’s the third exclusive excerpt.

     Maggie checked her watch as she hurried home. She was supposed to meet Mike after work at Murphy’s but she’d called him to say that she wanted to go home to shower first. It had been an unusually steamy spring day and she knew she’d feel better with a cool rinse and a change of clothes.

Thankfully, Mike had been understanding. “No worries, baby, take your time,” he’d said.

Things with Mike ran hot and cold and Maggie could never predict which Mike she’d get. He’d moved in with her a few months earlier and she still wasn’t used to sharing her space. Her mind drifted to thoughts of last Christmas when they’d had a huge blow-up. Mike had assumed they’d…

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Saturday Night Serenade–Rough Week

It was a rough week, friends.  In the span of eight days, we lost three very talented people.

When I heard that David Bowie was gone, I couldn’t believe it.  He just seemed like someone who’d always be here, a curious, artistic soul who happily adapted as time moved forward.  Fortunately for us, he left a brand new album.  It seems prophetic, I suppose, because although he knew he was dying, we didn’t.

I was a huge fan of Alan Rickman and I’ll tell you now, I never saw a second of any Harry Potter movie.  He was terrific in Sense and Sensibility, and an utter asshole in Love Actually.  But I loved him in Galaxy Quest, a parody of Star Trek, where he made fun of himself as a serious actor.  If you haven’t seen it, you really should.

I think The Eagles were the first serious band I ever loved.  Pretty sure my Bay City Rollers phase in elementary school doesn’t count.  Glenn Frey was always my favorite Eagle.  Back in 6th grade, when we were too cool for school, we didn’t want to play at recess.  That was for little kids.  Instead, G.A. Smith and Bobby Burns would bring their guitars out and we’d all sit in the shade and listen to them play Eagles tunes.  I always wanted to go see them in concert.  Guess this is the closest I’m going to get.

And one more, because I couldn’t resist.

Happy Saturday night!


Saturday Night Serenade–Feelin’ Alright

It’s the first day of a three-day weekend. Mr. R. has taken his weekend off as well and I’m writing this post from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach where we’re watching the ponies run.

To be honest, we very nearly left. It’s crowded and overpriced and we lost $30 in the casino. But then we found the tiki bar, bought a couple of drinks, and bet on a couple of races. We won $47 on the second race, so we’re really only out the cost of our drinks. All in all, not too shabby.

Now we’re on our way back to Palm Beach County and the South Florida Fair. And you know what? I’m feeling alright.

So sit back and enjoy a little Joe Cocker. And have a happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–It’s Been A Long Week

This has been a looooooong week, friends.  Just off a tw0-week vacation, nothing should ever be so bad.  And yet…

The details aren’t important.  It’s not as if anything went particularly wrong.  It’s just that going in for the daily beating is getting old.  Tonight’s Powerball is enticingly huge.  So maybe we won’t have to go in to work on Monday.

Tonight I’m getting my punk on with the Ramones’ I Wanna Be Sedated, a song that swirled through my head all week.  Ba-ba-bamp-ba ba-ba-ba-bamp-ba I wanna be sedated!  

Keeping the theme punk, tonight’s bonus track is Green Day’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame performance of Basket Case from last year’s induction ceremony.  It’s why live music is the best!

I believe I’ll find myself a glass of wine and proceed to be a bit sedated as we enjoy the weekend.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Daydream Believer

Happy 2016, everyone!  Do you remember those days when you couldn’t imagine beyond the year 2000?  Maybe it’s just me.

There has been a lot of talk about New Year resolutions.  I’m not much for them, not really.  They’re always the same every year: lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier.  All of which I need to do.

This year, I think I’d rather have a few attainable goals instead.  I want to publish a few more books.  I have two for sale, one on pre-order now, and I’m currently editing the one that comes next.  That would have been unimaginable two years ago.  I want to be kinder to people.  I want to be aware of my blessings and appreciate them.

Mr. R. is happy to have his new job, but he’s been thinking about starting his own business.  Isn’t it everyone’s fantasy to stop working for the man and work for yourself instead?

We started a new Netflix obsession last night.  Because we liked Narcos, the Netflix gods thought we’d like Bloodline.  It’s a drama about a (dysfunctional) family running an inn in the Keys.

Thus began our newest daydream:  Toss caution to the wind and open an inn in the Keys.  Although it’s improbable, we’re nothing if not daydream believers.

Tonight’s first video is Daydream Believer performed by the Monkees on their show.  While you’re watching, tell me Axl Rose didn’t steal his sideways shimmy from Davy Jones.

But I couldn’t resist the second video.  It’s from an appearance in 2011, just a year before Davy died.  The video is poor quality, a bootleg from a concert, but it captures the joy that was Davy Jones, a fellow daydream believer.

Happy Saturday night!