Healthy and Hip X-Country Trip: Day 9 – Charlottesville

The Blue Ridge mountains are the real deal. We had a few friends in Charlottesville courtesy UVA and Red Light Management. Our host for the evening had just moved there and I really think it suits her Bohemian style. We enjoyed our last evening on the road. Ready for the home stretch, next stop NYC!!

Michele, Jordan, and Liza enjoy dinner at The Local

Michele, Jordan, and Liza enjoy dinner at The Local

Marc and Jordan outside of The Local

Marc and Jordan outside of The Local

C & O boasting their local affiliations

C & O boasting their local affiliations

The Rick Alvarez Trip tearing it up

The Rick Alvarez Trip tearing it up

Happy girls on the last night of the journey!

Happy girls on the last night of the journey!

Healthy and Hip X-Country Trip: Day 6 – Memphis

Memphis is going to be our favorite, no question. We loved everything about it. A Sooouthern city. I’ve been craving a good drawl and I finally got it. It’s bustling, vibrant, soulful, and sophisticated. Our dinner tonight was a dream. I may want to fly a whole party out here just to dine at Iris and have Jeff serve us. Taxis were easy and inexpensive. The Peabody was old-school (in a charming way), happening hotel. Beale St was a hoot. Go once, and then just listen to the Marc Cohen song. I went to the Stax Museum and I could have stayed there for hours playing the trivia game and watching old footage of their acts but I cut myself off after three rounds, and Gladys Knight and the Pips doing “Midnight Train to Georgia.” In the morning we went to Graceland. Liza and I both have a new crush on Elvis. I know, #latetothegame Memphis FTW!!!lizaandjordangraceland

Healthy and Hip X-Country Trip: Day 4 – New Orleans

I almost skipped nola. “I’ve been,” I told myself. I’d have just been for jazzfest. Turns out there’s no way I could ever have skipped it. NOLA has a hold on my heart and soul like no other city ever will. I went for the first time in 2000 for jazzfest and it changed my life. I will always go back given the opportunity, and create one if none surface soon enough.
Loft 523 is kind of stinky. Maybe we should have stayed at The Modern. But it was a nice big room in a great part of town.
Every time I go to New Orleans I love it more. And I always have a memorable cab driver. This time, his name was Raymond, my new New Orleans grandpa. We’re going right on Burgundy.
It was nice to check on the city when it’s not a crazy festival weekend like mardi gras or jazzfest, or a friends wedding or movie shoot or super bowl. You go through Gambit weekly and there are still fifty options of music in the hundreds of venues every night.
We hit Vaughan’s in the Bywater, right near our dinner for our dose of a late night boogie. Corey Henry didn’t disappoint.
Thanks NOLA! See you soooon!
Kuffa, Corey, Liza and Jordan at Vaughan's

The Healthy and Hip X-Country Trip: Day 2 – Marfa, Texas

I was ill-advised to watch the movie Nebraska. Sure, it made the latest episode of Glee all the more enjoyable when June Squibb guest-starred, but people close to me should have KNOWN my competitive streak would take over. Now I’m embarrassed just thinking of having to tell the checkin clerk at the Thunderbird Hotel that it took me 9 hrs to get to Marfa!
Also, if I had researched a little more, I would have made the Marfa nail the James Dean poster from Giant. You know, side view with the hat and his feet up. Or the Prada label, or some twinkly lights. Sorry, Marfa! You were better to me than I was to you. I’ll make it up to you next time. oxo

Hat-Cat-moe.-B.lou-Ween Bday!

Every year, I try to put together fun events around my birthday to distract myself from paying attention to how old I am.
The run for this year was as follows:
Thursday “day of” girls dinner at Hatfield’s.
Friday dinner at Hungry Cat, then stumble over to Henry Fonda Music Box for the moe. show.
Saturday dinner at Bottega Louie, then cruise over to Ween at the Wiltern.

Dinner at Hatfield’s was great. The space has been occupied by a number of restaurants since I’ve lived in L.A. and I’ve tried them all. It was Citrus (1986-2001), Alex (2001-2004), Meson G (2004-2006), Red Pearl Kitchen (2006-2009), and how Hatfield’s. I had been to Hatfield’s a few times at its original location on Beverly (where Eva is now) but hadn’t been since it moved.
We had a round table for 6 out on the patio. I liked the feel of the main room better, but we were going to squeeze a 7th in for drinks later so the round table was the way to go. Beansie scored a cocktail at the bar while we were waiting to be seated. To me, it was too mild, sweet, and weak. But I’m very much an “in your face” cocktail girl. Less sugar, more ginger, less watery, more booze, please! I decided to stick to the wine list.
I capped our selection at $60 which was pretty limiting, but gave us a few options.
We went with a Malbec first. Home Fry had never met a Malbec she didn’t like. I didn’t like this one. It was sour, high acid, pretty foul. The sommelier insisted on taking it back and we went with a Pinot Noir. It was drinkable. We tried a Syrah for the second bottle and that one was fine too, but neither one had me running to purchase for my house.
Here’s what we ate, ordered from favorite to least favorite:
“Croque Madame” Yellowtail sashimi, prosciutto, sunny side up quail egg, grilled brioche – My favorite dish. Never disappoints.
Chilled Poached Main Scallop with bulgur salad, horseradish creme fraiche, muddled citrus – Small portion but great flavors.
Slow Cooked Beef Short Rib with blue lake beans, braised radish, horseradish potato puree – The short ribs were in slices instead of the usual braised and falling off the bone, but still delicious.
Date & Mint Crusted Lamb with roasted heirloom root vegetables, fresh chick peas, potato chive puree – All great flavors.
Warm Creamy Crab Buckwheat Crepe with pickled beets, marinated radish, fine herbs – A little too creamy, but still done well.
Charred Octopus with caramelized fennel, saffron vanilla braised hearts of palm, red wine olive puree – I wanted to love this dish, like as much as Laney did, but I thought it was a little bland. I tasted none of the saffron or vanilla on the hearts of palm (I barely tasted any hearts of palm in the hearts of palm…)
Potato & Egg Yolk Filled Raviolo with creamy goat cheese, roasted baby beets, sherry vinegar emulsion – One big raviolo in a beet heavy sauce. Pretty good.
Brown Butter Roasted Cauliflower with sauteed plantains, roasted almonds, golden raisins, parsley root puree – Not bad if you’re a raisin person.
Kabocha Squash Agnolotti with roasted chiodini mushrooms, pork confit, maple brown butter broth – This was the least memorable to me.
Our lactard was told to pick a protein and they’d make it for her with no dairy. She got salmon and it was fantastic.
Sugar & Spice Beignets with chocolate fondue and a Mexican chocolate milkshake shot – Their signature dessert. The milkshake rocked.
Chocolate Caramel Semifreddo with salted peanut crunch and bitter chocolate sorbet – Didn’t suck.
Great meal, great friends. Good attention to detail, though I wasn’t WOW’ed by as many dishes as I’d expected.

Team Hatfield's Valet

The Hungry Cat was the second set of the run.
I picked it because a) it’s rad and b) it’s super close to the Fonda. But they wouldn’t take a table bigger than 8 ppl for a reservation. So I took matters into my own hands and had three friends each get a table for 4 ppl on Open Table and then put in the notes that we wanted to sit together. Worked like a charm!

We arrive at The Hungry Cat!

Here’s what we had:
Cocktails –
The Sleepy Jean (cue The Monkees) – chamomile-infused reposado tequila, honey water, dash of dolin dry vermouth – awesome!
Luke’s Lemonade – blue ice vodka & mint, house-made lemonade *for every Luke’s Lemonade sold a donation is made to Alex’s Lemonade Stand- love the charity portion, but it was a little sugary for me.
The Michelada – Tecate, lime, hot sauce (w/ or w/o grapefruit) Nirvana! I will dream about this cocktail

The Michelada

OYSTERS! – the cherry on top to any bday

Just stick a candle in the ice bed, please!

Crab Salad – would have loved it if it actually didn’t have cilantro in it.
Octopus – Yum

Salmon Beignets – Delish

Crab Legs – Super sweet (this was the right place for sweetness!) and meaty!

Scallops – One of my faves

Striped Bass – the picture didn’t come out, but this was the best dish.

The pouty face I made when I was told we couldn’t get the Pumpkin Beignets with bacon maple sauce for dessert (because it was only on the DineLA week menu) worked as we were presented with a plate of it with a big candle shortly after. Totally worth whatever dignity I lost in the process. They were unbelievable.

The Meyer Lemon Parfait was bad-ass too.

Team Hungry Cat

On to moe. at the Music Box at the Henry Fonda, next on the agenda. Thankfully I had my pregnant friend Amy with me. We were able to cut the line that wrapped around the corner and enter through the handicapped entrance! The show was a slight bust. I love the fonda and I love moe. but this show wasn’t my fave. It was a little sleepy and spacey. The downstairs was a mess. I didn’t meet up with half of my friends. BUT, I worked us getting two tickets for the upstairs balcony (Baby Stouffer – whom I affectionately call Efferifus – gets MVP of the evening) and was able to stub my six ppl up there with us. So we had a nice seated row of the “adult section” and were able to chill. Not a rager, but it all worked out in the end.

Here’s the setlist:
Set 1: Jazzwank > Plane Crash, Where Does The Time Go? > Yodelittle > Skrunk > Yodelittle, Seat Of My Pants
Set 2: Opium > Downward Facing Dog, Chromatic Nightmare, Y.O.Y. > Puebla > Tubing The River Styx > The Pit > Moth, E: New York City, Crab Eyes

Amy, Jord, and Efferifus in the "adult section" upstairs

Bottega Louie was insanity. Happy, stimulating, insanity. Not only was there a line for a table, there was a line to put your name down for the list for a table. The waiters were super sweet, the food was great, they were hassle free for a large party, and downtown is really convenient for a Wiltern show.

Team Bottega Louie

Here’s what we got:
Caprese Salad – good, the tomatoes were peeled, I liked it.
Burrata Pizza – how could that be bad?
Clam Pizza – not bad, but wasn’t expecting sweet roasted peppers in the mix.
Pappardelle – with mushroom and fois gras duxelle- best dish by far
Fettuccini Belmundo – with cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan – good
Trenne – with braised rib eye and kale – wanted to like it better.
Brussles Sprouts – I love them always, but these were a little salty.
Meatballs Marinara – Mmmmmm.
Portobello Fries – Good, but would have liked a lighter batter.
Grilled Squid and Chorizo Ravioli – the ravioli was good but could have had a richer sauce.
Diver Scallops – wrapped the Prosciutto with lentils and salsa verde – awesome.
Dessert: Le Grand Macaron – I was stuffed, I didn’t try it, but everyone else was happy with it.

Nebbiolo Malvira Langhe Piemonte 2006 – was a little light and boring, but drinkable.
The Prisoner – Orin Swift Napa 2008 – makes me cry with every sip. I want a case every time.

Ween at the Wiltern was killer. Shamefully, I can’t quite remember if I’ve been to a Ween show before. I think I have. But this is the one I’ll remember. My friends had a pit wristband waiting for me when I got there and the crowd was rocking.
When I said I wouldn’t be upset if dinner ran into overtime and we were late for the show, it never occurred to me that they’d play Spirit of ’76 in the lost beginning. But the entire show kicked ass so I almost didn’t notice I had missed it. We apparently arrived while it was playing but someone had to chat in the lobby for a few minutes and take a picture…

Here’s the setlist for Ween at the Wiltern Saturday January 29, 2011:
1. “Exactly Where I’m At”
2. “Don’t Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy”)
3. “Touch My Tooter”
4. “Even If You Don’t”
5. “Freedom of ’76”
6. “Spring Theme” (“Transdermal Celebration”)
7. “Bananas and Blow”
8. “Spinal Meningitis”
9. “Mister, Would You Please Help My Pony?” “Learnin’ to Love”
10. “With My Own Bare Hands”
11. “The Argus”
12. “Gabrielle”
13. “Puerto Rican Power”
14. “I’ll Be Your Johnny On the Spot”
15. “Object”
16. “Did You See Me?”
17. “Buckingham Green”
18. “Your Party”
19. “Let’s Dance” (David Bowie cover)
20. “Slow Down Boy”
21. “Ace of Spades” (Motörhead cover)
22. “Push th’ Little Daisies”
23. “What Deaner Was Takin’ About
24. “Roses Are Free”
25. “Put the Coke On My Dick”
26. “Ocean Man”
27. “The Mollusk”

28. “Fiesta”
29. “Take Me Away”
30. “Mr. Richard Smoker”
31. “Lucky Man” (Emerson, Lake and Palmer cover)

Boogie in the Back!

Thanks so much to all of my awesome friends who helped me celebrate in such style this weekend! Your turns are next!

Part of Team Ween

The true closer of the weekend was TV recovery day Sunday. The ProBowl -> SAG awards on delay. Ryan made us dinner and I swooned over my latest Spanish wine discovery, Juan Gil 2008. It’s 100% Monastrell and there’s a little recovery packed in every sip.
Sunday Monastrell and Couch Recovery

Substance Free

I’ve been on the master cleanse for the past 10 days. I do it every January. I still go out, I still do stuff sober and hungry. I just haven’t had any good stories this week. I went to the mint twice. Once for Pimps of Joytime and another for Stanton’s show. It’s not that nothing exciting happens when I don’t drink. It’s just that nothing exciting happened this time when I didn’t drink. It’s just a coincidence. Really. Don’t read into it too much.

Hollywood Palladium, I tried to stay away…

We all have our favorite magical venues. On the other hand, there are the nightmare venues only offering memories of terrible nights and bad energy experiences. The Hollywood Palladium holds the prize for worst venue in LA. After two tries, both rendering it Sketchville, USA, I swore I’d never go back.
In 1999, my dear friend Alex and I ventured out to try to go see an unannounced Prince show there. Tickets were $75 for face and they were never on sale to the public. We found a guy selling them for $100 outside the venue and went to stand in line to enter. The whole scene was shady but we felt like we had to try it. The usher took one look at our tickets and deemed them fakes. There was no way I was about to leave after coughing up a Franklin for these. Alex was so pissed off she just wanted to split. But I stood ground, and apparently was in the way of the VIP line. I told the guy working VIP the situation and he literally laughed in our faces. (He ultimately wound us letting us in and Alex and I fed parking meters and paid back whatever good karma we could think of for months. But still, it was an unsettling experience at first.)
The second time was for an Oysterhead Halloween show. It was just 6 weeks after 9/11 and when security was starting to go into agro overdrive. And it was unusually heightened at this place. I was in a Wonder Woman costume which basically meant I was in a one piece bathing suit and boots. Now everyone think back to pre 9/11 when our purses were sacred privacy. So I, of course, was walking around with a bag of bud, a glass pipe, and a bag of boomers in my purse. People were being strip searched and having innocuous belongings like their lip liners confiscated because “You could stab someone with them,” and hence they were considered weapons. Really, people?!?! I could do more damage with my fist and I have zero upper body strength. I did manage to get in, mostly because I’m talented, and also because I sacrificed my old camera to the bushes. People were abandoning their belt buckles, throwing them and hundreds of other “hazardous materials” behind the building shrubbery. It was like Christmas that day for the homeless of Hollywood. Needless to say the entire audience was frazzled and violated upon entry to the poorly laid out establishment. I’ll put money that anyone who was there would list it in their five worst show experiences, (except for this guy…).
Cut to nearly 9 years later, (that’s today). Blame it on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (shot there and I loved that show), blame it on the renovations (didn’t do anything for the layout, but the sound and paint job showed small signs of improvement, at least), or blame it on me going softer with age, I returned last night for The Black Keys. And I’ve lived to tell the tale.