Sunday, February 8, 2009

Vicky Emerson at the Carpe

"Sage." Fred Scherrer makes single vineyard chardonnays in French oak, sometimes leaving them there for 18 months. When the wines are still young and the oak too pronounced "add some crunchy fried sage to the chicken (or whatever) and it will cancel the oak."

Vicky Emerson performed at the Cafe Carpe on Friday night. She looked and spoke a lot like the girls I wished I had known at the Ole Store in Northfield when I was in college. She played guitar and piano and sang her own songs beautifully. Bluesy country drawn from her life in rural Wisconsin, the Twin Cities, New York and on the road. She drew in the small audience in the Carpe's listening room with stories between each song. While the chattiness was humorous and sometimes edgy, it did not resonate nearly as strongly as the singing. The lyrics were unmistakably heartfelt; the patter needed some crunchy sage.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Conch Chowder at The Strip

"For the first time in my life, I envy my brother." Colin sat at the bar in the Strip House; his brother was chef de cuisine in the restaurant. I like eating at bars: the conversation is usally good and sometimes the food is exceptional. The bartender recommended the beef but I was in the Conch Republic and in the mood for something local. Conch chowder. The New York chef started with a Manhattan chowder base, spiked it with bacon and toasted corn. The toasted corn was magic.

So Colin ditched New York in January to hang out with his bro at The Reach Resort in Key West. Good call.