Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dizzy, but No Sardines

Here's the thing about the holiday season: the music dries up but the food and parties are endless.

Sunday, which wasn't that long ago, was the last time I heard live music, but there's no more on my horizon until at least this coming Sunday. I'll manage, with the help of get-togethers with friends and parties to fill the non-musical time, but I'll miss it. I may even go into withdrawal.

Tonight got started at Six Burner with a long-time friend and wine, plenty of wine. I had loads of news and she had some new developments in her relationship, so we had plenty to catch up on.

As we chatted, the restaurant did the December fill-up, including a couple of guys coming in for the Chef's tasting menu and lots of gift certificates going out the door. Lots.

After the abundant lunch I'd had at Amuse earlier, I had no right to eat again on December 21st, but managed to anyhow. We wanted to order the grilled sardines with gremalato, but they were out of them. Sad faces all around.

Instead we got the pork belly with fresh navy beans and spicy jerk sauce and, once again, the snail risotto with garlic, parsley and Parmesan (we both love that risotto).

As a proud eater, I'm ashamed to say that I could only eat a couple of bites of each before hitting the wall (but not before noticing how perfectly cooked the beans were and how decadent that risotto still is).

I rationalized my inability by thinking that at least I was leaving more for my friend, but I felt like a food failure. The Cotes de Ventoux Grenache/Syrah, however, was going down just fine.

Our server wanted to discuss the new Cinebistro with us despite neither of us having been there (nor had he), but she rarely goes to the movies and I rarely cross the river. He said he especially liked the idea of being able to lounge on a couch. I'm still not going to Stony Point.

We talked about going to big parties where there's such a din that the best you can do is smile when the speaker smiles and raise your eyebrows when they do because you can't hear a thing.

She did this recently at a party and her significant other stood on the other side of the speaker and mouthed the words, "Fuck you" to her in an attempt to inappropriately crack her up.

Or, as The National so eloquently put it (and stole my heart when they did):
I want to hurry home to you
Put on a slow, dumb show for you
Crack you up

I'm inclined to think that trying to crack someone up makes for true love.

From there, I went to Sprout for a Winter Solstice holiday party, which was in full swing when I arrived. Long tables were covered in Virginia food I wanted to eat but was too full to try. It kind of broke my food-loving heart. Local ham, pumpkin, tofu and a whole lot more were being gobbled up as I went to the bar for a beverage.

Bordeaux in hand, I began making the rounds of the party, always an enjoyable way to meet new people. I met Suzi of Farm to Family, who said they'd sold their last Christmas tree today...to Laurie and Jamie, Sprout's owners. We talked about how intoxicating a fresh tree makes your house smell (I'm loving it every time I come home now).

I met a former Philly girl who had heard I was a writer/blogger and we had a great conversation about the WPA, public fruit trees, Southern food and the pleasures of Richmond.

We were joined by an occasional moonshiner (causing her to say, "I love the South!"), who told us about his 'shine exploits and closet storage of Mason jars.

At one point the volume of the music seemed to drop and I asked a stylish server why. His quick response, "It's just a low rent party. Low rent!" was hilarious and spoke to the fact that when he's not waiting tables, he's an excellent DJ, mainly of 60s and 70s music.

But tonight it was owner Jamie who played DJ and with plenty of volume and vintage cherry-picking of music. He's got such a great record collection and I always end up hearing something I haven't heard in eons ("Dizzy" by Tommy Roe?). I may have been too full for food, but when do I ever get my fill of music?

It may not have been live, but it certainly came close to scratching that itch. The musical itch, not the other one.

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