Wednesday, November 21, 2018

On Not Eating More Than You Can Lift

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.
 ~ George Bernard Shaw

I could politely be called an enthusiastic eater.

Partly that's because there's little that doesn't appeal to me and partly because I never succumbed to any sort of guilt about eating. I wake up hungry every single morning of my life, regardless of what I've eaten the night before.

I've been known to ask the driver of the car I'm riding in if we're going to stop for lunch barely 15 minutes after leaving home. If I get asked out at the last minute for lunch or dinner and I've already eaten, I keep quiet about it and go out for a second meal.

And sometimes when I look back at what I've been up to for the past couple of days, it feels like it's been non-stop eating. Oh, sure, I did some writing and bathing in between chowing down sessions, but not much else.

That's not embarrassment talking, that's simple fact.

Sometimes I find myself sitting at Metzger on a Sunday evening, mere hours after returning from brunch at Laura Lee's, inhaling pretzel rolls, lavash and spent grain sourdough with mustard butter and beer cheese, a completely unique squash salad with ribbons of carrots and a dark chocolate torte as if I hadn't eaten all day.

That vintage yet obscure soul music is, as usual, playing on the sound system only encourages us to linger and me to order yet another glass of Gruner Veltliner as the Sunday crowd gradually dwindles to the diehards on bar stools.

Not even a day later, I'll be happily ensconced on a stool at Dinamo, slurping up my cold weather go-to, also known as the pescatarian's delight: fish soup. Tomato based and muscular, the soup is loaded with rockfish, mussels, squid and couscous' Sardinian cousin, fregola, with just enough heat to keep you honest.

And for the record, I'm also using slices of Italian bread to sop up what my spoon is incapable of delivering to my mouth. Enthusiastic eaters leave no morsel behind.

But woman does not live by soup and wine alone, so we also share a salad and white pizza with red onions because the simplicity of a thin crust crowned with onions is about as satisfying as bread and cheese gets. The green salad is essential with pie. And the chocolate espresso torte? That's just my standard ending at Dinamo, even when I opt out of whipped cream and cherries.

There are only three things women need in life: food, water and compliments. ~ Chris Rock

Sorry, Chris, but some of us also need music.

Which means that by Tuesday night, I will lead Mr. Wright to Saison Market for wine and conversation surrounded by members of the Comedy Coalition working on being hilarious and loud. We sip until we're hungry before heading to Tarrant's Back Door for fish tacos, only three of which arrive at our table because the cashier has dropped the fourth one on the floor,

When I point out to him that we could go ahead and start on the three still safe inside their box, he looks at me with amazement since clearly this option has not occurred to him. Meanwhile, we dive into the tacos, each of which contains two enormous pieces of grilled tilapia the length of the tortilla and a fresh-tasting corn and cabbage slaw.

And notice I said grilled since fried fish tacos are not a personal favorite and the Back Door is one of the few places that knows this and gives me what I like. Eventually, the fourth taco shows up and is dispatched quickly.

Our final destination, since woman can not live by food, water and compliments alone (though I have come to revel in the latter becoming a daily part of my life after it being MIA for years) was Black Iris Gallery to see L.A.'s Lonesome Leash play for a small but appreciative crowd.

First of all, there's the setting: an intimate, wood-lined room with great acoustics. Then there's the vibe: dimly-lit, hushed, anticipatory. And the crowd who comes out on a chilly Tuesday night? They're a mix of music lovers, members of the LGBTQ community and those who've been tipped off that an amazing talent will be sharing their gift.

Witness how Mr. Wright's L.A. connection had alerted him to the show after I had already I had already made it my pick for the evening.

The one-man band that is Lonesome Leash (aka Walt) took his place in the corner of the room behind his arsenal: a bass drum, a snare drum and an accordion, with a keyboard to his right. Right off the bat, this is not someone who plays the accordion according to the tenets of Cajun, Alpine or Tejano but instead makes it pulse with an energy that sounds bigger than it should.

Although he began by singing in a hushed voice - delicately, beautifully, laying his life out for dissection - as he played gentle drums and winding accordion, it only took until the end of the first song before he was also playing trumpet. Folded into accordion and drums, the pure sound of the horn took the music into something positively soul-stirring.

With each song, it seemed as if he opened himself up further, skin, bones, heart and mind, inviting the listener to follow along as he mused on life, love and time spent alone driving. Sample lyric: "There is love in everyone I have known..." He switched to keyboards  to play some of the poignant songs from his new album "Delicate Art" before returning to dazzling us as a one-man band.

Each song captured the audience, from the slow burners to the more overtly powerful tunes,  and it was all we could do to clap loudly to show our appreciation for his talent each time he quietly folded his hands to signal the song ending.

When the show concluded, a friend walked over, stood between us and Walt and said, "Thank goodness there are delicate and emotionally fragile musicians willing to open themselves up and share their take on the world." Amen, girlfriend. I couldn't have said it better myself. It was as if a butterfly had landed on my arm and sat there for an hour, allowing me to savor up close the beauty of its wings and movement.

A musical memory of the highest order.

And no amount of eats can replace that feeling. So, sorry, Chris Rock, but it'll take more than food, water and compliments, though you can score a helluva lot of points with them.

You want to show me your sincerity, GB Shaw? Add music to the mix.

1 comment:

  1. Beau also prefers his fish tacos grilled. And to refer to himself in the third person, apparently.