Thursday, November 3, 2016

Thank Your Lucky Stars

All the usual suspects - dinner, music - and watching cultural history made, too!

An hour drive on a sumptuously sunny and atypically warm November day landed us on the patio at Public Fish & Oyster in Charlottesville under trees shedding leaves on the table, the chairs and the patio.

It was a fine seasonal touch completely out of sync with the wildly warm weather.

At the top of the chalkboard oyster menu was a siren bivalve that combined a long-time favorite place with my preferred level of brininess. The Hatteras Salts were delicious but not nearly as salty as expected, but Public gets no points from me for serving them with two lame options: cocktail sauce and red wine vinegar rather than a proper mignonette or even horseradish.

Where they did score points was with the solid advice on a sign in the ladies' room reading, "Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together" ~ Elizabeth Taylor.

I immediately re-applied lipstick and returned to the table in time for a delivery of Sinols Rosato, an easy drinking Spanish pink. I was as together as I was going to get.

Dinner of an autumn salad loaded with arugula, pomegranate, apple, fennel, candied nuts and hunks of creamy Mycella Bleu was a winning way to eat Fall, while roasted Mission figs with Caramont Farms chevre, almond and honey was downright decadent. And while the lobster meat was plentiful, the overly dense roll containing that meat on my lobster roll was a questionable choice.

I barely finished my totally predictable flourless chocolate torte dessert when we we changed location to a bar table at Fitzroy, the better to catch the start of the final game of the World Series.

The funny part is, if you were to ask anyone who knows me, friend or family, they'd have likely taken a bet that I would most definitely not be watching a baseball game tonight or any night.

Oh, ye of little faith.

We were only able to watch an hour of it before heading over to the Jefferson Theater at 9:00 for the reason we were in the mountains in the first place: Beach House.

I've got a long history with this dream pop band, having seen them as openers back in 2007 at the Norva (can't recall the headliners, though), having bought a ticket to see them in Charlottesville in May 2012 and then not gone, and then seeing them for the first time as headliners in September 2012.

The floor was getting crowded when I took up my usual post near the sound booth, finding a fan to chat with within spitting distance (of course I didn't verify that ability).  Unlike my nine-year history with the band, he'd only discovered them a year and a half ago, necessitating him going back to investigate their full discography.

His conclusion was that "Teen Dream" was their masterpiece, a conclusion long-time fans already agreed upon.

When I asked him about his first show, he said it had been Blink 182 ("I know, old school, right?" says this guy who couldn't have even been a gleam in his Daddy's eye when the band formed in '92) with My Chemical Romance, a band I'd also seen back in 2008 (although technically, I'd gone for the opener, Muse).

Like the previous Beach House shows, there are a few rules. Minimal light on the band, minimal between-song banter. They're here to play and nothing more. Like 2012, they teased us with gems from "Teen Dream" such as "10 Mile Stereo" and "Take Care," although this tour, they're leaving out the more bombastic "Norway." Pity.

They did one song they hadn't played in three years "from the set list you all contributed to," a fact of which I'd been unaware. Had I known I could put in my two cents' worth, you can be assured I would have.

With no opening act and no chit-chatting with the crowd, we were in and out of the Jefferson Theater in an hour and a half and back at the Fitzroy to catch the end of the baseball game in a room that seemed to be evenly split between rabid Chicago and Cleveland fans.

Feeling optimistic, we weren't the only people in the room to order a bottle of bubbly.

When the game ended tied and had to go to extra innings and then a rain delay, we stayed, despite the hour drive still ahead. How do you walk away from watching a team trying to make up for 108 years of failure?

Not to mention that Aroldis Chapman was some kind of cute with that smile of his.

One of the more satisfying aspects about watching the game was knowing that out on the Northern Neck, my octogenarian parents were undoubtedly still up, too, cheering a team none of us usually care about but who certainly seem to have earned their post-midnight moment in the sun.

Presumably without the drink or the lipstick, they'd pulled themselves together admirably. All I'd done was cheer and clap.

Hey, Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs have gone and won today.

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