Monday, March 19, 2018

Be Good or Be Gone

I can thank 5th Wall Theatre for teaching me that I don't like moon pies.

Pru might be inclined to point out that our pre-theater dinner at Rogue might have had something to do with it and she'd likely be right. If we hadn't eaten through three courses, we may have had a teensy bit more room to enjoy the southern disks of tastelessness.

Since it was St. Patrick's Day and since we knew there would be all kinds of unpleasant drunken revelry going on all over town, from the moment she picked me up, we resolved to stay in Jackson Ward for the entire evening.

Better safe than face to face with a drunk in a green t-shirt.

Rogue was a bastion of understated cool on a Saturday night, allowing us to score two end bar stools and, once Pru had cooed over the plush new bar stools, complete with backs, glasses of a white Riojas.

Some people would be ashamed to admit that they ordered two of the same dishes as they'd had on their last visit, but I'm not one of them. That first time had been with Beau and not Pru, so why wouldn't I want to introduce her to a couple of dishes we'd fallen for on our maiden voyage?

If I were ever to meet a person who purported to hate carrots (thankfully, I have not), I would take them immediately to  Rogue and order the charred carrots. Then I would sit there to watch the revelation on their face as they learned what carrots' potential can be in the right hands. Cooked to al dente perfection, these multi-colored beauties are bathed in citrus, ginger and soy, with peanuts added for crunch. Cue angels singing.

Fact: I will no doubt have them the next time I go to Rogue, too. No shame.

Beets topped with greens and chevre was every bit as solid as last time and for something new, we tried the russet potato gnocchi in bolognese sauce, the rich meat sauce aided and abetted by the runny egg  and bits of Parmesan on top.

This leads to a discussion because I'm of the opinion that gnocchi is better than pasta and Pru tried to make a case for pasta. But when I point out that if you want pasta and they don't have it, you'll probably eat gnocchi instead and be happy. But if you're looking forward to gnocchi? Pasta probably isn't going to do the trick. At least that's how we saw it.

How we saw "Pump Boys and Dinettes" was from the front row (there were only two) of the Basement, arriving as the two dinettes (servers in a diner) were offering coffee and Moon Pies to those in the front row. A woman two seats down scored a cup of coffee and later was offered a slice of actual pie. For the record, she ate every bite, but only after feeding her husband the first one. Ain't love grand?

What I got offered was a Moon Pie and naturally I accepted it since it looked chocolate to me. Heaven knows, it only took one bite to determine that it tasted like what I imagined the wrapper it came in would have tasted like. Plastic-tasting chocolate, stale, almost chewy marshmallow and bone-dry graham crackers ensured that my first bite would be my last.

Happily, "Pump Boys and Dinettes" was far more pleasurable, with a litany of feel-good songs dealing with the problems that come with being a garage or diner worker: love, food and jobs, not to mention drinking. Who doesn't put on their drinking shoes occasionally?

The waitresses uniforms were perfection: orange, blue and white, right down to the buttons, with an apron for good measure, just like a proper HoJo server would have on so she'd have a place to stash her order book.

A lot of the fun of the musical was that the four actors playing the pump boys played their own instruments, although watching the Dinettes play pots, pans and the counter was pretty darn impressive, too.

During the moving song "Mamaw," I spotted a guy in the second row mouthing every single word to the song. He was part of a large group who'd come in, all in blue blazers and khakis, and while I'd resorted to making rich white people jokes, Pru had pegged them for a men's glee club. She's brilliant like that.

It was the kind of play where you walked out, not feeling like your worldview had been changed in any way, but confident that you'd been solidly entertained by talented people for a couple of hours.

As for the green beer squad, we never so much as laid eyes on them. As usual, J-Ward for the win.

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