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…

Date Night Extraordinaire–Part 2

This was so great it deserves a post by itself.  After the movie, Mr. R. and I made our way south from Jupiter to the West Palm Beach neighborhood of Northwood Village where we decided to go to a restaurant where I’ve never been and he hadn’t been there in a  long time.

Photo from Pinterest.

Our apres movie dinner was at the Sunset Bar & Grill at 2500 Broadway.  I knew as soon as we walked in that I was going to love the place.  It’s an ancient 1920s art deco building that has been lovingly maintained and restored into a funky, quirky joint that’s exactly the reason I avoid big-box chain restaurants.

We were greeted by super friendly staff who immediately made us feel welcome, telling us to pick a table.  Although a few tables were occupied and there were a handful of guests at the bars (inside and out on the patio), the place wasn’t crowded and we easily found a booth to our liking.

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Photo by Mr. R.

The decor is funky, artsy, shabby chic and according to their website the painted canvases I saw all around the place are by local artist Deborah Kerly from her “Broadway Series” and are permanently on display.  Also catching my eye was a vast and eclectic collection of beautiful red glass vases arranged throughout the dining room.  I loved the various funky light fixtures as well.

The menu offered so many things that sounded amazing that it was hard to decide, but eventually I opted for the Sunset Crab Cakes while Mr. R. chose a Ribeye cooked medium rare.  The problem there was that he couldn’t decide whether he wanted it grilled or blackened so he actually asked the server to choose for him.

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Photo by Mrs. R.

When our dinner came out, his steak was blackened and he was very happy with it.  My crab cakes were without exaggeration the best crab cakes I have ever had, ever.  Our entrees were accompanied by homemade mashed potatoes, grilled vegetables, fresh green beans, a tiny dollop of sweet potatoes, and a drop of some kind of stuffing.  Everything was delicious.  Having had our share of snacks at the movie, we each ended up taking home about half of our meals, which were heartily enjoyed the following day.  Before we left the Sunset, we were treated to a slice of their homemade coconut creme pie which was out of this world, and I don’t even like coconut.

Oh, and the music.  Throughout our time at the Sunset, we were serenaded by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Ray Charles, and Nina Simone.  I overheard one of the servers telling someone that it was the Frank Sinatra station on Pandora.  You couldn’t have chosen a more perfect soundtrack for an evening at the Sunset Bar & Grill.  It was my first time there.  It won’t be my last.

Date Night Extraordinaire–Part 1

Last night was one of the best date nights we’ve had in a long time and Mr. R. deserves all the credit.  It was he who said, “Hey, let’s go see that new Judd Apatow movie, Trainwreck,” to which I said, “Okay.”  Movie-wise, it really was his turn to pick since the last movie we went to see was Fifty Shades of Grey, which he hated.

wpid-20150718_162722-1.jpgAnd so it was that he went online to see where it was playing.  Turns out, it was at the new luxury theatre in Jupiter, Cinepolis.  I’m not going to kid you.  Tickets to the luxury side (half of the multiplex is still regular) are not cheap.  Prime time shows will cost you $19.75 while matinees are two dollars cheaper.

But it just so happened that we had a $25 Fandango gift card.  We chose the 4:45 showing and that meant we paid the matinee price.  Ordering our tickets through Fandango, we only paid $13.50 for both of us (includes the online fee).  AND we chose our reserved seats when we ordered them, so we didn’t feel the need to rush to the theatre, worried that we wouldn’t find two seats together.

We found the theatre lobby to be very upscale with lots of small tables and a large full-service bar at the luxury end.  Bypassing the snack bar because , we moved to the right side of the lobby, the luxury side, while the regular theatres were to the left.  Mr. R. showed the ticket girl his phone, having had the tickets texted to him, and we were on our way to Theatre 4.

wpid-20150718_163538.jpgUnfortunately, they were still cleaning and we had to wait for a long while, but when we finally entered we quickly found our large, fully reclining leather seats among the few that are there.  The luxury theatres only seat about 70 guests and the majority of seats are in pairs.

wpid-20150718_164133.jpgMr. R. and I sank into our seats and fiddled with the controls until we figured out how everything worked.  By the time we had our feet up, we knew there was no turning back, no possibility of ever returning to a regular theatre experience.

wpid-20150718_163710-1.jpgOnce we were comfortably ensconced in seats C1 and C2, we checked out the menu to see what we might order.  I immediately went for their Private Label sauvignon blanc, sans the little green fly.  And being a creature of habit, I chose popcorn, which was really fresh and good, not some old, popped-a-hundred-miles-away-and-shipped-in-last-week crap.

wpid-20150718_165517-1.jpgMr. R., being adventurous, chose the cheese and fruit plate.  There were several different kinds of cheeses, grapes, apple slices, dates, spiced walnuts, and a variety of crackers.  All of these were cheerfully delivered to us by the server who was responsible for our row.  And this was before the movie started.  Throughout the movie if we wanted anything at all, we pushed the little button on the armrest and our wishes were granted.  It was awesome.

Now the movie…

If you’re familiar with Judd Apatow’s work, you know what to expect.  The humor tends to be a bit crass so it’s not for the easily offended.  Trainwreck is about a millennial magazine writer, played by Amy Schumer (who incidentally wrote the script), with serious commitment issues.  Her “sort-of” boyfriend is played by pro wrestler John Cena.  Have you even wondered how John Cena looks naked?  Imagine no more; he’s pretty much like the action figure of He-Man, sans the blond pageboy.

Schumer’s character Amy is assigned to write an article about sports medicine specialist Aaron, played by Bill Hader, who becomes her new love interest.  Both Schumer and Hader are likeable as are the cast of supporting players, not the least of whom is the surprisingly funny and heartfelt LeBron James of NBA fame.

One of my favorite scenes has James, flanked by Chris Evert, Matthew Broderick, and Marv Albert in cameo appearances,  performing an intervention on Aaron, who James believes has gotten in too deep and too fast with the hard-partying Amy.  The cherry on top is Albert’s play-by-play narration of the intervention.

Bottom line, we really liked Trainwreck.  It was a funny and sometimes poignant story, punctuated by moments of hilarious (if crass) humor.  If you liked The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and This Is 40, you’ll enjoy this movie.  And I’ve become spoiled; I’ll never go to a regular movie theatre ever again.

Now after the movie…  (to be continued)