Saturday Night Serenade–Joan Jett

Oh, my gosh, did you think we’d NEVER get to this weekend?  The work week was fraught with stupidity on so many levels, it’s such a relief to have two days to simply think my own thoughts, make my own mistakes instead of someone else’s…

Mr. R and I had a good time at the Improv last weekend.  We were running a little late that night, which might have been a little bit my fault.  Hey, looking this amazing doesn’t just happen, LOL!  But when we made a wrong turn, it worked out better than anticipated, because we ended up in a little parking lot only a block away from the club, so we were seated in plenty of time for the show.

Before the opening act, we placed our first order in compliance of the ‘two-drink minimum’ and sipped contentedly as the first two comedians ran through their sets.  The headliner was Andrew Schulz, and we laughed a lot.  I’m including a snippet from his act, although this clip is from a performance in NYC.

We had such a great time.  Long ago when we first started dating, Mr. R and I visited a comedy club in Boca several times.  Once, on the 45-minute drive back to northern Palm Beach County, Joan Jett came on the radio and, with the windows open and the music blasting, we joined in with a LOUD, slightly tipsy rendition of I Hate Myself for Loving You.

I love collecting memories like that.  They remind us of what we have together.  I hope this weekend finds you well, and that you’re able to make so great memories with those you love.  And remember, it’s a 4-day work week.  Yay!

Happy Saturday night!

P.S. I wanna be Joan Jett when I grow up.  Just so you know…

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Saturday Night Serenade–I Feel Fine

Yesterday was a big day.  I hear there were some kind of goings-on in Washington, D.C.  I don’t know.  I took a bunch of six- and seven-year-olds to Manatee Lagoon in West Palm Beach.

Florida Power & Light (FP&L) has a power plant located right beside the Intracoastal Waterway not far from the Riviera Beach Marina.  It’s been there for years.   I don’t even pretend to understand exactly what it is that they do there, and I don’t really care to research it that deeply, but suffice it to say, something about what they do produces what they call “warm water outflows” into the Intracoastal.

On cold days, the manatees that inhabit that section of brackish water between mainland West Palm Beach and the island of Palm Beach are drawn to the warm water the plant puts out.  They’ve done it probably since the plant began operations.  And the manatees have always drawn crowds of people who want to catch a glimpse of the gentle giants in their natural habitat.

About a year ago, FP&L decided to accommodate the lookie-loos.  They built a beautiful new visitors’s facility called Manatee Lagoon.  They have a small museum complete with gift shop and cafe (natch), and while they’re open to visitors six days a week, they also offer educational programs for school kids.  And it’s all FREE.  Which is perfect.

I picked the date back in May, hoping that January 20 would be cold.  Seems a safe enough bet, right?  Average highs that time of year should be low 70s, but the mornings should be much cooler.  Of course, yesterday’s high was 81.  Yeah.

But it was an amazingly beautiful day, and the staff could not have been nicer or more accommodating.  They took the kids to a large meeting room and gave them pertinent information on their level, even allowing them to handle some manatee bones.  Then we were taken to the observation deck where, yes, thank goodness, we saw a couple of manatees.

So, like I said, big day yesterday, right?

This song has echoed through my brain all week.  It seemed the right one for tonight.  Mr. R. and I are still living in reno limbo.  We couldn’t really call our home relaxing right now, but it’s starting to come together.  Can’t wait to show you a week’s worth of improvement, but that’s another post for another day.  Hope you and yours feel fine.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Date Night Three-fer

Oh, my friends, last night Mr. R. and I enjoyed an amazing date night three-fer.  We attended the last performance of the Rock Hall Three for All Tour, featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Cheap Trick, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, and Heart.  It was, to say the least, incredible!

Mr. R. is a huge fan of Cheap Trick, who were, in fact, the first concert he ever attended.  They came out first and rocked it with a full set of around fifteen songs, including all our favorites.  Not bad for a band whose lead singer, Robin Zander, is 63.  Keeping the energy high was Rick Nielsen, age 67, in spite of the fact that it was a sweltering September night in South Florida in which the Perfect Vodka Amphitheater felt more like a sauna than a concert venue.

Of all the Cheap Trick songs, I had forgotten about this one, The Flame.  It was as beautiful last night as it was nearly 30 years ago.

After Cheap Trick was my personal favorite and hero, Joan Jett, the baby of the group at age 58.  She came out kicking ass with Bad Reputation, and this video is from the tour.  I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again–when I grow up, I want to be Joan Jett.

Last to perform was Heart, who we nearly missed.  Friday nights are actually Mr. R.’s Sunday nights–he hits Saturday and Sunday with 12-hour shifts as a steely-eyed newsman.  We were in agreement.  Heart is nice background music.  Maybe we could afford to sneak out and get home at a reasonable time.

Seated next to us was a couple of Heart’s biggest fans who’d seen the Tampa gig the night before and they decided they’d drive across the state for one show more before they headed back to Lakeland.  The wife helpfully informed me that when Joan Jett had started playing the previous night, she recognized some of the songs.  How cute are you? I thought.

Our new friends really wanted us to like Heart, and we stayed for most of their set, leaving before we got stuck in the parking lot for 5 hours (it’s happened before, believe me).  In spite of my Scotch-Irish stubbornness (never tell me who I have to like), I found Heart exceptional.  The Wilson sisters, Ann, age 66, and Nancy, age 62, brought the house down.  You know how aging rock stars tend to cut corners on their boldest, highest notes?  Not Heart.  Ann attacked those bits with gusto, and Mr. R. and I were super impressed.  Here’s a clip from 10 days ago.  Amazing!

So I know the tour is over.  But I’m telling you, when you get the chance, you should see any or all of these acts.  Yes, including Heart.  Because you never know when you’ll get the opportunity again.

Have a very happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Low

Tonight’s serenade is by request from Mr. R.  Seems he’s had an ear worm all week long, been unable to get it out of his head.

The song takes me back to when we first started dating over ten years ago.  We’d hang out at Respectable Street, known as Respects by those who frequent the place.  It’s a club down on Clematis and it doesn’t get hopping until after midnight.

Respects is a cave of a place, housed on the bottom floor of a nearly century-old downtown building with hardwood floors, dark walls, a banquette of seating along one side, a huge dance floor  fronting a medium-sized stage, and an LED-lit glass-block bar with a right angle in the middle as it straddles the junction of two walls.  Out back, there’s a small courtyard with its own DJ where the Sleestacks and Orcs hang out.

We always had a great time at Respects.  It’s the kind of place where all folks are welcome.  You see typical club-goers wearing the latest trends, guys in jeans and polos, Goth girls carrying tiny coffins as purses, lesbians in comfortable shoes, and everything in between, and everyone always gets along.  I love that about the place.  There was one night when we were there at closing time, around 4:00 am.  The lights came up and for no apparent reason, everyone gathered around the bar and sang Strawberry Fields Forever.

All of that to say, Low by Cracker brings back some fond memories.  “You realize that this song came out in 1993,” I helpfully informed Mr. R.

“No way!”

“Way.”

Where does the time go?  Happy Saturday night!

Funky Date Day In Lake Worth

We are NOT in Daytona for the 500 this weekend.  Sadly, by the time we checked, the cheapest tickets started at $200 apiece.  So we didn’t spend over $4oo on tickets to our 6th Great American Race.  But we’re watching it on television.

On Saturday, Mr. R. and I headed a few miles down I-95 to Lake Worth for my first ever visit to the annual Street Painting Festival.  I’ve heard about it for years and Mr. R. has covered it for the local news but I had never been to this event.

On the way, we made a quick stop at the ATM.  And by quick stop, I mean that in the span of less than 100 feet and in busy traffic, Mr. R. went from 60 mph to a hard right turn in the F-150 Crew Cab.  While performing the classic reach-over grope, he quipped, “Most people wouldn’t have tried that.”  I agreed with him.  When I caught my breath.

Finally arriving safely a few blocks from the festival, we happily paid $5 to a nice gentleman in the parking lot of the Presbyterian church so we could leave the car in relative safety.  Directly across the street was an irresistible antiques shop in an old historic store front and we meandered through before walking to the street festival.

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We found the free event packed in its four blocks wide, six blocks long venue.  I was fascinated to watch the artists hard at work on their creations, some of which will turn out to be 3-D when they’re completed.  Add to the art the live music on several stages, a whole row of fair food, and a margarita stand, we had everything we needed for a perfect Saturday afternoon outside.

We left the festival with the general idea of finding someplace to sit and order dinner.  Mr. R. asked if I’d ever seen the Lake Worth spillway.  When I said that no, in the more than twenty years I’ve lived in South Florida, I had not, in fact, seen that particular attraction, we made a slight detour.

The purpose of the spillway is to regulate water levels in the various canals that perform flood control duties all across the area.  It’s also apparently a popular place to go fishing.  It was a cool thing to see and I was glad we made the quick stop.

From there we headed north planning to find the new grilled cheese place in Northwood.  Before we found it, though, we decided to stop at Relish, a burger place we’ve passed many times but never experienced.

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Okay, here’s the thing about Relish.  Ordering is complicated, something a burger joint should not be.  You have to place your order at the counter (strike one) where you have to first decide what type of burger you want.  They have more choices than I ever dreamed of.  The featured meat for Saturday was alpaca.  We both passed in favor of beef.

Next you have to pick two relishes (strike two) which I found stressful.  I didn’t know what I wanted.  I just wanted a burger.  We had to choose from things like tzatziki, bison chili, citrus remoulade, garlic aioli, etc.  I threw my hands in the air and made Mr. R. pick for me.  Next we sat and waited for them to bring our order.

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The dining room was warm and still and by the time our food was ready I was feeling overheated.  We ended up eating out on the sidewalk which turned out to be pretty pleasant.  Finally, against doctor’s orders, Mr. R. ordered a Moon Pie milkshake.  Not being a milkshake fan, I only had a sip and I must say it was delicious.

I don’t really see going back to Relish.  Next time, we’ll find that grilled cheese place.

 

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!