Thursday, October 24, 2013

Awarding the Gold

Just when I think my love life is looking up, it gets trumped in spades.

Not that I think wooing is a competitive sport.

With plans to meet a girlfriend for music, I left for a solo dinner at the Roosevelt.

The Weaker Thans were blasting when I got there, alerting me to the fact that we weren't listening to bartender T's music.

Nope, it was Brandon ("Canada's finest!" he grinned when I asked about the source of the tunes), the artist behind one of my largest pieces of art, and he started by recommending Potomac Point Abbinato, a Chianti-style blend, perfect for barbecued chicken, and his current favorite.

Since I was the sole customer, my spicy steak tartare came out in what seemed like the blink of an eye, full of capers and with house-made potato chips and pickled cucumber slices on the side to balance out the richness.

I call that a really good start to the evening. The chef came out and we talked about the upcoming and ill-timed Beast Feast.

Then it was time for the wine to do its pairing job with smokey chicken wings with Alabama white sauce (white sauce with barbecue sauce and sinus-clearing horseradish) and the Roosevelt's own hot sauce.

I enjoyed every bit of the heat of the crispy wings (drumettes and middle joints) and before long had sticky fingers and a tongue looking for a cool-down.

My fingers were nicely taken care of when Brandon showed up with a hot, wet napkin spiraled into a coffee cup.

One of the staff walked by and whispered conspiratorially, "We're all dressing as "The Outsiders" for Halloween. Everyone wants to be a greaser except one girl who said she'd be a soc."

Well, who would want to be a social when they could be a greaser?

Back at the eating ranch, I'd saved the best (or at least the most decadent) for last.

Crispy fried pig's head was covered in a fried egg and arugula with New Orleans barbecued shrimp surrounding the head.

I doubt even a Social ever got served something so obscene.

The server walked by again, bringing the latest Halloween bulletin to me. "And we're going to be zombies, too!" she grinned. Zombie Outsiders?

"Yes!" she said manically. You crazy kids.

I had no more time to discuss greasers or Weaker Thans because I had to get to Globehopper to meet my friend for a show.

Of course, I immediately ran into someone I knew and was so busy chatting that when my friend arrived, she sailed right by me, never even noticing me.

When she did, I took what little time we had before music to check on what she'd been up to.

The look she gave me told me that there were several good stories there and not nearly enough time. 

Singer-songwriter Clair Morgan went first and a musician friend had earlier filled me in on just how talented Clair was.

Even so, I was blown away with his literate and insightful songs of life and love.

Playing guitar and with a female back up singer, he held the coffee shop in his thrall as he played through his set.

There were several young children running amok at the show and one ran up and started twirling mid-song, resulting in Clair saying, "Sorry it isn't better dancing music."

A very tolerant attitude, I thought.

Favorite lyric: "Getting older each day and there's no one listening." 

After Clair's set, I swung around and told my girlfriend to spill the beans. I could not have anticipated how many beans she had.

There was the charming date who'd taken her to dinner, the symphony and out for drinks, then shown up the next day to replace a long burnt-out light bulb on her front porch, which he just happened to have noticed.

Oh, yes, and he cleaned her front windows while he was there.

The next day, there was the lunch date who picked her up at work and took her for a picnic of what she said were the best sandwiches she'd had in some time.

Something about perfectly crusty baguettes and a thermos of good coffee that had her in raptures.

Then that night, she heard a knock on her door at 10:00 and there was Guy #3, a long-time friend, with a bouquet of flowers and professing his love and devotion for her right there on her stoop. 

Good god, what pheromone does this woman have?

I don't see her for five days and she's had more action than you could shake a stick at.

As the Weaker Thans would say, it's a "Tournament of Hearts."

Our conversation was cut short when the Low Branches began, but they're always worth it.

Christina has such a beautiful voice and while her songs tend to be sad ("All our songs are depressing, but we brought our best and brightest!" she joked), Matt's guitar and Josh's bass make for some truly lovely music.

Time stood still when they did a cover of "Jolene."

Thanking the crowd for coming, Christina said, "It's so nice. There's a lot of people here we like and a lot we don't...know." The crowd laughed. "But we'll like you, too! I'm not sure when they're going to take the mic away from me." 

Apologizing for a recent cold affecting her ability to hit some high notes on a song, they finished with a Turkish song sung so superbly it was hard to believe she'd been sick.

Singing in Turkish, he voice had far more energy than her usual sad songs, both a pleasure to hear and very striking.

And just like that, the show was over. I immediately informed my friend we were going out for a glass to finish our discussion.

Forgetting that it was restaurant week, we ended up at a very busy Julep's for wine while all around us people dined for $25.13 and the kitchen no doubt wanted to kill themselves.

And if not over restaurant week, surely over Beast Feast, at least from what I'm hearing.

Since it's Virginia Wine Month, I had my second Virginia wine of the evening, this one the Rosemont Lake Country Red, a fruit-forward and silky blend.

Over vino, I got all the details of her past few days, right down to who has a chance and who's already out of the running.

The Weaker Thans would call that part of her love life "The Reasons."

Honestly, you need a scorecard to keep track of the players. For her, not me, that is.

I can't decide if they'd call mine "A New Name for Everything" or "The Last Last One."

It all comes down to who's listening.

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