Singer Songwriter Blogger Guitarist Content Creator
My deepest fear is that my fears are not that deep…they are just simple things.
Of course, since I spent a whole post on dinner in Vegas, I have to offer due diligence to the East Coast trip…and yes, we ate well. You’d think this has turned into a food blog. I don’t know, maybe it has. Food and traveling for music go hand in hand.
My one request tourist and culinary-wise for our NYC stay was Joanne Trattoria…owned by Joe and Cynthia Germanotta, parents of Lady Gaga. I am a fan girl, and I’m proud. Plus, I mean, I’ll eat pasta in the name of almost any musician…this is not a hard task.
Joanne was definitely a treat, though. It’s located around the corner from Lincoln Center, and we went early in the day so there wasn’t a crowd yet.
We all ordered coffee which…a lot of places I go, the coffee is an afterthought. Maybe NYC is different, maybe Italian restaurants are different, maybe Joanne just knows that coffee is pretty much the staff of life and one should not serve a bad cup…but this was amazing. It came with a crema on top, which maybe it was espresso, except it was coffee, and I am not good at this stuff, but it was heaven. THIS IS NOT A FOOD BLOG. I had two cups.
They brought us bread, and we ordered. I went with the signature dish, Joanne’s spaghetti and meatball. I mean, what else can you say about a meatball that looks like this?
Everything tasted great; the meatball had the right ratio of…meat stuff (I’m sure there were several ingredients happening here) to bread crumbs. The sauce had a little zing to it and tasted fresh. I did not have an ArtPop cocktail but maybe next time.
Yep, this is definitely not gonna turn into a foodie blog since the best I can describe is often “foooood gooood want mooooore.” But I mean, I’m totally going back to Joanne when I get a chance. Paws up.
Shout out to Aqua Thai in Philadelphia because my pineapple chicken CAME IN A PINEAPPLE Y’ALL.
For the sensitive among you…and we’re all a little sensitive.
After a road trip through the wildest of the West, it was over to New York and Pennsylvania with Susan for some rare (and hopefully now, less rare) East Coast shows. We know a NYC local, so we got the grand walking tour of the city (thanks, Norma!). I wore inappropriate shoes. I tried really hard to wear appropriate ones, except I really don’t ever wear real shoes, so my normally flip-flopped and free toes were freaking at the walls suddenly encasing them. Lesson learned, next time I think I’ll wear Chacos and avoid puddles.
New York is, of course, exactly what you think it is. All that stuff you see in the movies and photographs – the skyline, the activity, the brownstones, the subway…that’s what it is. Texas is so car-centric that it was awesome to be able to walk or subway everywhere for a change.
After a fun show at Hill Country BBQ in Manhattan which is like walking into a Texas BBQ place in, well…Manhattan, we headed down to Bleeker Street where I got to play a tune. Then my friend Stephanie and I talked philosophy and religion on the street outside The Bitter End. It was like the 60’s.
We headed down to Bethlehem and Philadelphia. More historical things. Awesome shows with Susan and Christine Havrila.
And now, back in Texas for a minute. I am getting reacquainted with my apartment…my neighbors don’t think I really live here, but they check on my plants, so it’s cool.
I love Gordon Ramsay. I watch all this shows. Hell’s Kitchen is the least interesting, just because I feel like he comes to America and has to scream more. It was when I started watching Kitchen Nightmares and MasterChef that I realized he really does care about food and people, and just wants things to be excellent all the time. I think it’s a good lesson to live by in business…excellence first, everything else after that.
When I learned that Ramsay has a restaurant in Las Vegas, I knew that’s where dinner would have to happen. It took me about 16 read-throughs to realize there is no “e” in BURGR because the GR is for Gordon Ramsay. Of course.
The restaurant is located in the Planet Hollywood casino on the strip, so the atmosphere is not exactly quiet. We got a place in line and had about an hour to wait. Once we were seated in a very orange, very fiery dining room that was an obvious homage to Hell’s Kitchen, it was on.
The menu was full of burgers…er, BURGRs, and I chose the Brittania…medium with arugula, sharp English cheddar, and chutney. We shared the sweet potato fries (dusted with powdered sugar) and the truffle fries (dusted with crack). This is turning into a poorly written food blog.
It was amazing. I am not exceptionally picky with food…I travel so much I have to just eat stuff sometimes, like those triangle sandwiches from gas stations (when it’s desperate). I do like to think I have watched enough Ramsay TV to know what to look out for, though. The burger was cooked really well, the bun was sturdy but not hard to chew (architecture is important), the ingredients were few but perfect in proportion and taste. I once heard Gordon say that any item on a menu really only needs 3 components…any more and you’re mucking it up. This makes sense for a lot of things in life.
The only thing I noticed that was a LITTLE odd was that the SECOND you finished, they took your plate and silverware. I am pretty sure this is because so many Vegas tourists have tried to walk out with a Gordon Ramsay souvenir fork, they have to be on the ball. Aside from that bit of weirdness, we had an amazing meal.
All burgers will pale in comparison from now on, even the In-N-Out we had on the same trip.
What do you do when your college roommate is getting married (yay Beth!) in Northern California and you decide to road trip with your college friends?
You stop in Vegas. It was legitimately halfway. California is a deceptively long ways from New Mexico…you might think “oh, they’re all Western states.” Well, the West is HUGE. I had been the Las Vegas but I had never driven through Nevada before. That state is a national treasure, and I lump it into a category with New Orleans…a completely unique culture in the middle of the rest of America.
The first thing we did when we got to town was go see the art gallery at The Bellagio. It was Jamie’s idea, and I was so relieved when she suggested it. I am not really the gambling type, and to discover that there was something museum-y to do made my day. We walked in under a Chihuly glass sculpture.
My aversion to burning money through gambling did not stop me from being drawn in to the Jurassic Park slot machine area (because of course there is a Jurassic Park slot machine area), where I lost a dollar in record time. I then got away from the slots as fast as Dr. Grant running away from a flock of dinosaurs.
We happened upon the Pawn Stars shop from the fabled History Channel show, and wandered in. Oddly, Chum Lee (Chumly? Chumlee?) happened to be there “working” meaning he was taking selfies with a long line of people. Selfies are the new autographs, by the way. I took a distance selfie because I don’t wait in lines.
Then we proceeded to drive hundreds of miles through nothing aka Nevada, skirting Area 51 and being shocked that we could see brothels from the highway. As opposed to the opulence of Las Vegas, where even the public bathrooms were gilded in fake gold, prostitutes in Nevada are still forced to operate in trailers, apparently. Weird.
Dinner was its own adventure for the next blog post…
I know people know that I am a New Mexican and we love our chile, but do you KNOW, really? When one doesn’t live in New Mexico and it’s chile harvest time, one does things like…buys a bushel and drives it 12 hours home in a cooler. Because it’s necessary. Some photos of the process:
1) Refuse to do it the easy way:
2) Get a bushel freshly roasted and almost faint from the delicious aroma.
3) Take it home in a giant box and smell up your car.
4) Divide into smaller bags for ease of use (and maybe to share…maybe not).
5) Enjoy it while it lasts.
Sometimes the amount of cool stuff I have on my radar makes it impossible to fit into one Facebook post, and thus another “Rad Stuff” post is born. I have some really great friends putting out records this week. Czech it:
Drew Kennedy – Sad Songs Happily Played
There’s a cool concert series in League City, TX called the San Benave Series, and Drew did a show there. It was an amazing show. He didn’t know they were recording it, and he was pleased when he found out they had. So pleased, he’s releasing the show! Drew is aces at storytelling and of course his songs are articulate, smart, and singable (which is the best combo). BUY IT.
I had a lot of time to read in the car this trip. One book that particularly sucked me in because we spent a lot of time in Northern New Mexico, Eastern Colorado, and Western Kansas was “The Worst Hard Time” about the Dust Bowl. This is the real story of the Dust Bowl, not the glossed over “it stopped raining and there was dirt everywhere” grade school version. Short version: humans messing up the environment made more problems for humans. Imagine that. READ IT.
Taylor Swift is this month’s Rolling Stone cover story. I think she’s great. You get to make your own decision.