Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #7

Summer road trip, anyone?  Mr. R and I headed over to Tampa last weekend for an Indie author book convention.  The event featured Indie authors from all over the world, and was held at a party space called Chic Venue.

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It was pretty inside (okay, Mr. R called it gaudy) and as soon as we arrived, we set about putting our half of the table in order.

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I shared the table with a lovely author named Harmony Stalter.  She was super nice, and displayed two books, one of which she called a ‘second-chance romance’, and the other a murder mystery.  Which probably explains the jar with the (fake) heart and the other one filled with eyeballs.

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She later apologized for the gruesome display, but I replied that her jars probably accounted for most of the people who stopped by our table.  The event ran from noon to 6:00, and traffic was slow.  Even so, I had a wonderful time and met a lot of great writers.  I’m even making plans to return next year.

As Mr. R and I headed home, we stopped in Ybor City, my favorite part of Tampa.  It’s the historic Cuban district, and probably where we should have had the author event.  I’ll push for that for next year.

Anyway, we found street parking and strolled toward the loud live music coming from down the street.  It emanated from Gaspar’s Grotto, a place we know well.  It’s where you go when you want the absolute best Cuban sandwich you’ll find anywhere.  So with cocktails on the table and  sandwiches ordered, we relaxed to live music and reflected on our day.

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It was our summer road trip.  Which brings me to tonight’s serenade, Love Shack, the ultimate road trip song.  And it makes me wonder…  We told you about our trip.  Where have you traveled this summer?  I’d love to hear all about it.

In the meantime, hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

 

 

Saturday Night Serenade–Summer Songs #4: A 4th of July Two-fer

Happy July!  Here in the States, we’re celebrating the long Independence Day weekend.  It’s the ultimate summer holiday, with cookouts, picnics, trips to the beach, and fireworks.

There’s a lot that divides us Americans these days–politics, ideologies, and hateful, vile rhetoric, to name just a smattering.

But I’d rather focus on what unites us–good food, fun, pride as a nation, and good old rock ‘n roll.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous this weekend, rather than getting baited into some pointless social media debate, we put down our electronics, went outside, shared a hot dog and a cold beer with a neighbor, and enjoyed fireworks set to a soundtrack of great music?

Mr. R and I will be in lawn chairs on the driveway, watching all the neighborhood fireworks.  I hit the bargain bins, so we’ll be the dorks wearing the blinky jewelry.  Actually, I’ll be the dork wearing the blinky jewelry.  He’ll be sitting next to me, rolling his eyes.

But maybe that’s what it’s about.  Agreeing to disagree, embracing our differences, and appreciating that variety is, in fact, the spice of life.

I’m bringing you a two-fer for week #4 of Summer Songs.  I couldn’t pass up John (he’ll always be Cougar to me) Mellencamp, despite the fact that they’ve commercialized the crap out of this song lately.  And Phil Vassar’s American Child is a sentimental favorite.

Be careful out there.  No drinking and driving.  No holding a firework and blowing off your hand.  Haven’t you seen them do that on all the morning talk shows?

Enjoy your holiday, and hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Still Thinking About St. Patrick’s Day

Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day.

And I had to work.  All.  Damn.  Day.

You know, there was a time when my Spring Break coincided with St. Paddy’s Day.  Once we even took a little mini-vacation for a couple of days.  Ended in up Ybor City, the historic Cuban district of Tampa.  Which doesn’t sound like the right place for a celebration of all things Irish, but we discovered that the James Joyce Irish Pub was within staggering distance of the San Vicente, the boutique hotel where we were staying, and we spent a good six hours downing green melon ball shots and listening to great music.

No such luck this year.  When I arrived home from work, Mr. R asked if I wanted to go out.  Umm…  Have we met?  The next question was where to go?  O’Shea’s Irish Pub on Clematis in West Palm Beach seemed the obvious choice.  After all, they’d been hosting a block party since 10am Friday morning.

However…In an effort to avoid what a friend of ours calls ‘St. Posers’, celebrants who only go out drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, we decided to cash in a gift card and head to Chili’s in Wellington.  I know–not really an appropriate choice for the wearing of the green.  But, as it turns out, margaritas are green.  So there.

And I know, it’s an effing chain.  But I had a Mexican combo and Mr. R had ribs, both delicious.  Our server, Sean, was terrific, we’ll totally ask for him again.  And did I mention margaritas?  Nothing at all wrong with that.

Tonight’s serenade is a beautiful instrumental from the talented, and Irish, Corrs.  I’m just mesmerized by this song.  I mentioned that one day, Mr. R promises to take me to Ireland.  I want to sit in a pub and sip normal-colored Guinness while I listen to something this magical.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–There’s Someone For Everyone

Image result for brass ring pubLast night, Mr. R. and I had dinner at a legendary little local place called the Brass Ring Pub Sports Bar & Grill in Royal Palm Beach, not to be confused with the Brass Ring Pub in North Palm Beach.  Whew, glad we got that sorted out!  Actually, they’re a two-location chain, and we’ve also been to the North Palm Beach location.  But I digress.

The fact is, we had dinner at Brass Ring last Friday night, too, right before we went to the Cheap Trick, Joan Jett, and Heart show I mentioned last week.  But, as good as the food was, we were in such a hurry to get to the concert that we simply inhaled our dinner and left.  So this time, we took our time and enjoyed the moment.

Brass Ring is one of those awesome working class bars where construction guys and office folks mingle at the end of a long day.  The bar area is separate from the main dining area, but you can order food either place.  Mr. R. and I rather prefer the bar area because of its ‘adults only’ vibe.  After a long days’ work, the last thing I want is to be subjected to someone else’s progeny expressing themselves exuberantly in public.

While their menu is large, Brass Ring is known for their burgers, which we ordered for the second week in a row.  Burgers come with chips, but for an up-charge, you can get fries instead.  Having the chance to really appreciate it this time, I can say the burgers are delicious.  We also ordered their fresh, made-to-order onion rings as an appetizer and they were the best I’ve tasted in a long time.

From the ‘weird but true’ file, yesterday at work, I opened a new bottle of hand sanitizer from Bath & Body Works.  The scent is something beachy, but it smells just like a rum bucket, so guess what I was craving all day?  In the bar area of Brass Ring, my craving was fulfilled.

Sitting in the bar booth across from my love, I sipped on my rum bucket and, above the din of the crowd, I heard a song I haven’t heard in years.  (You were waiting for me to get to the music, weren’t you?)  Jim Croce is best known for classics like Time in a Bottle and Bad, Bad Leroy Brown, but his playlist runs much deeper than that.  Tragically killed in a plane crash in 1973 at the age of 30, he left a legacy of terrific songs, some heartfelt and romantic, others playful and cheeky.

It’s the playful and cheeky I’m featuring tonight.  Last night at Brass Ring, they played his irreverent Working at the Car Wash Blues.  It’s the autobiography of a man who can’t quite understand why he can’t seem to land the position he feels he deserves.

And THAT song reminded of this song, Roller Derby Queen, one of my favorites.  It’s a reminder that, when it comes to love, there’s someone for everyone.

Talk about a blast from the past!  I hope you’re enjoying this first weekend of October doing what you love, with those you love.  Warm fall greetings from the R. house.

Happy Saturday night!

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Super!

20160207_150311-1Okay, y’all, it’s Superbowl Sunday. Today I’m allowed to be an honorary Broncos fan.  Rita says so.  We all know I only care about the commercials, anyway.  And maybe the tight pants.  Those aren’t too shabby.  But I digress!

The other great thing about today is the food.  Usually Mr. R. makes ribs, which are for him, I don’t like to have to wrestle with my dinner.  But he’s working a 12-hour day today so no ribs this year.  I, on the other hand, am all ready to make queso from my ex-sister-in-law’s recipe.  Meh, it’s still great queso!

What are y’all having?

In other news, Mr. R. called me from work.  He’s off the next two Sundays and wanted to know if I want to go to the Daytona 500 on February 21.  To which I responded, “Oh, hell yeah!”  Stay tuned…

 

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…