Sea Otter for Easter

SeaOtter

 

Pamela knows I love sea otters and gave me this cute puppet for Easter. Otters seems to have more fun, all the time, than any other animal. If I come back around again, I hope it is as a sea or river otter.

We had a lovely day in Halifax yesterday. brunched at Heartwood Bakery and Cafe, spent the afternoon at the Halifax Independent Filmmakers Festival, had dinner the Alexander Keith’s Red Stag Tavern, and an evening at Neptune Theatre enjoying La Cage Aux Folles. It was a good day.

Distillery Delights

August 25, 2010 Toronto, ON

With every visit to Toronto we beeline to one of our favourite areas in the city: the distillery district.

Is it still a beeline when we get stuck in rush hour?

This is better than last time. Last time most of the traffic lights downtown went on the fritz. However, we were thoroughly impressed with the locals who took it upon themselves to direct heavy traffic at every light-less intersection.

Back to the main attraction, as far as we're concerned: Soulpepper Theatre. We caught "What the Butler Saw", a zany farce by Joe Orton, and "Doc", an award winning drama by Sharon Pollock about a relationship between a daughter and father. The latter had a unique set. The designer divied up the stage into four "rooms" using sheets of clear plexiglas set perpendicular to the stagefront and with body shapes cut out that served as entrances and exits for each character. There was also a gauzy backfrop. Unusual overall. Moody and dense with shadow and refracted light.

We like a pre-play dinner at Mill Street Brewery by the huge copper vats (or whatever you call them when it's beer), but not under the skylight if it's pouring out, unless we are in need of a little misting. Then we take time to peruse the distillery district and wander through the cobblestone lanes by the forty-seven Victorian industrial buildings that have been revamped and repurposed.

Creative types and business types coexist, as do old and new: old material, new green technology. The village created and its galleries, boutiques, eateries, theatres, cafes are meant to be sauntered and savoured.

A massive metal sculpture outside the market and adjacent to the A Taste of Quebec cheese shop that we pretend doesn't exist, for the benefit of our wallets and waistlines:

More mega scultpure outside of Balzac Coffee. Balzac's is great coffee, but the espresso at the fine food market is perfect.

Great place to chill.

-P

Mabou and The Red Shoe

August 15, 2010 Mabou, Cape Breton, NS

The Highlands dip into the ocean on the Ceilidh Trail.

It was our first day without the Faires family. We were a bit sad and lonely, but consoled ourselves with some authentic Celtic music, Garrison Tall Ship Amber ale and a Pair of Shoes (Left shoe: bruschetta with goat cheese. Right shoe: hummus and pita) at the Red Shoe Pub. Members of The Rankin Family, a local multi-award winning musical family, own the pub and keep it lively with live music every day of the week.

A scene-stealing spoon player, two fiddlers (one left-handed), a pianist and (not pictured) several step dancers:

We made it back to the campground just in time for the sunset finale at the beach.

We had just one night in Mabou so set out first thing in the morning for a favourite hike along the bluffs of West Mabou Beach.

No bears or moose, just bunnies and blueberries.

Back on the beach we found a water-loving dog, ...

...a purply crab ...

... tide designs ...

... and these 'gems':

We highly recommend refueling with a great breakfast back in town at Shining Waters Bakery and, in the summer months, Tuesday Ceilidhs at the Community Hall across the street from the pub.

-P

Waypoint Halifax

August 10, 2010 Halifax, NS

I hoped we could explore the Canadian School of Lutherie with George Ryzsani, builder of Voyageur, a Six String Nation guitar built from 63 pieces of  Canadian wood "representing many different cultures, communities and characters from all across the country", "including a piece of decking from the Bluenosoe II, a piece of Wayne Gretzky's hockey stick and wood from Pier 21". One of goals for the Six String Nation project is "to tell the story of a country from the roots to the trunk rather than the other way around; and to encourage us to tell that story to ourselves and the world through music".

George ran luthier workshops at the Canadian School of Lutherie, a centre for studying guitar building that specializes in building hand-made, custom guitars. He has made guitars for James Taylor, Keith Richards, Sting, Peter Gabriel and more. However, George is on his last guitar building project for the centre and will retire from his line of guitars. I believe his last is the only with a built in vile of ashes--the ashes of a beloved friend and musician. The upright guitar on the far right:

George put me in touch with Jeremy. Jeremy et al were fine hosts, happy to explain their projects and processes, answer all of our questions, and allow Jay to try out their wares.

Project central:

The Faireses left feeling like they could finally tackle the guitar kit they have back home.

We left the school for waterfront Halifax and found a Buskers Festival we didn't expect. Normally, the waterfront makes for nice strolling grounds peppered with the occasional musician or painter, but festival goers crowded the wharfs.

We watched boats cruise by in the harbour and wandered the wharf for a bit.

We found some local music, but, tired of crowds, we broke away for a seat and a drink ...

at The Old Triangle, one of several great pubs in Halifax.

Jay had another chance to say goodbye to Carmel Mikol; she was just outside on the pub patio.

We had been working up to dinner since morning, when we decided we wanted good Indian food for supper. The private circle room was a perfect fit at Taj Mahal, open just two days following a six-month closure due to fire:

We feasted and waddled away.

Of course, we could spend a week or more in the city, but with just one night's stay we had time for just a few highlights.

We also highly recommend the maritime museum, Neptune Theatre, Paper Chase cafe, The Wooden Monkey restaurant, Opa! restaurant, Maxwell's Plum English pub, Pogue Fado pub, Split Crow pub, The Economy Shoe Shop cafe/bar and any live music you can find.

-P

The Knot

July 29, 2010 Lunenburg, NS

The Knot Pub is a local favourite for pints, eats and music. "The person sitting next to you could be a scallop fisherman, Christmas tree farmer, Norwegian sailor, world famous actor, musician, painter, scholar – you never know who you’re going to meet at The Knot!" That's true. And it might even be a ghost. The pub has a "resident ghost", but not to worry--they say she's friendly.

Local beer on tap (Lloyd likes Propeller Pub Ale, I like Alexander Keith's), local Indian Point Mussels, the most potent caesar salad you'll ever have and local peanut butter pie. That's our pick, every time, though Lloyd opts for  potato skins, which are also sinfully delicious.

A rare still moment for Coletyn:

Coletyn at his usual pace and big sis Shannon taking it easy.

Piles of mussel shells and well fed Faireses. We found we all had a different technique for excavating the mussel from its shell. There's the slurp method for mussels with great sauce (use the side the mussel's on to scoop sauce and spoon and slurp the mussel all at once), the pinch method (using a used shell to pick out mussels from shells), and then there's Jay's method. Pull 'em all out of their shells with your fingers and gather them into a pile then pop them in your mouth. There's not wrong way to eat them as far as we're concerned.

-P

Rome: Day 1

April 24, 2010 I admittedly put off blogging when I've taken hundreds of photos for one destination. That, in part, explains the delay in posting. I'm grateful you're checking this out as that is the best incentive to keep posting! Thanks for following along.

We dropped off our luggage at Arco del Lauro B&B in Trastevere and traipsed just a few hundred feet to Piazza in Piscinula for lunch. Rome awaits. What to do? Take a 4-hour nap. Not planned, but thoroughly enjoyed.

We woke late afternoon and set out to catch just a few glimpses of Rome before dark. I'm sharing them with you.

Old marries new:

The area is apparently known as the Jewish Ghetto of Rome, but "ghetto" in Rome is... it just doesn't fit!

A sneak peek at the Coliseum:

Just one of many sweeping views in the capital of Italy:

Mmmm (need I say more?):

Tiber Island, the only island in the Tiber River, is linked to Rome by two bridges:

Fountain of Neptune in Piazza Navona:

Unfortunately the more famous fountain, The Fountain of Four Rivers by Bernini, was under construction.

People-watching rules in Piazza Navona.

We took a Rick Steve's Rome Top 10 guide recommendation and dined at Trattoria da Lucia, a dark little restaurant run by three generations of one family. We skipped the stingray soup with broccoli and went with the antipasto della casa, gnocchi (very sticky!) and a "mezzo litro" of red wine followed by a selection of local cheeses with honey.

All of that in just a couple/three hours. Rome is a walking town that offers more to see than we could see in months so we'll share highlights and leave the rest for next time.

-P

Florence, or "Firenze"

Hi all! We're so far behind. Please forgive the brief posts. Photos will say more than I will.

April 23, 2010

A miserable weather day, but it hardly matters when you're wandering the capital of Tuscany.

We docked in Livorno and instead of touring Pisa we took a 90-minute tour bus ride (with the exception of a grand house on a hillock and a couple vineyards the scenery is rather plain) into Florence for a half-guided, half-independent walking tour. We quickly abandoned our group and struck out on our own in search of a dry, authentic, off the beaten path Italian restaurant and some genuine minestrone.

We found the perfect place in a back alleyway: Ristorante Il Paiolo, where the chef and proprietor shelled fava beans together on the back table.

I think we had a Chianti--when in Florence... I did have the minestrone. I suspect it's more of a whatever's in the garden/kitchen soup in Italy as it varies greatly. I had minestrone a few times and it was usually a clearer broth with just a few vegetables like yellow squash and zucchini--quite plain, but satisfying.

The reward of a socked in day in Florence is the contrast between the umbrellas and the sculptures and buildings. Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore is the second largest cathedral in the world. It can hold up to 3,000 people.

The octagonal Baptistry's bronze door, "Gates of Paradise" by Ghiberti:

Europeans love their gelato, even on a cold, blustery rain day.

Leather markets pop up under tarps in squares and alleyways:

We thought the wee green, three-wheeled "trucks" were cute. Check out the police uniforms:

One of the most famous sights in Florence: bridges and the Arno River lined by bright apartment buildings:

Perseus and Medusa outside Uffizi Gallery:

Fountain of Neptune:

More to come.

-P

Eze

April 22, 2010 Lloyd had to help the taxi driver navigate the narrow zigzag streets from Villefranche up to Eze Village. Fortunately, the taxi had electronic fold-in mirrors to instantly shave off a foot of width. A harrowing five minutes later we stood at the base of Eze's medieval stone steps.

Of the drive, George Sand said, in 1868, " ... it is a most breathtaking road landscape, the most accomplished, a state of the art achievement." Breathtaking indeed.

Perched over the Mediterranean, Eze spirals up from modern streets to castle ruins.

Hitchcock featured the landscape in "To Catch a Thief".

We weaved through the maze of alleys and found photo opps at every turn.

Cobblestone walkways, tiny courtyards, old glorious (to me) doors, ...

... carved gutters, creeping vines, contemporary sculptures, intricate lamps, wee windows, mysterious holes in stone walls, pay toilettes and souvenir shops crammed into cubby holes.

Ground floors used to be cellars for wine and olive oil or stables for goats, sheep and mules. Houses were built of limestone.

We climbed all the way to the top to the castle ruins and ...

... Jardin Exotique (exotic garden).

Despite the cool grey haze we had a wonderful panorma of Villefranche and Eze's terracotta tile roofs.

Descending, we took a side path to the cemetery which is stuffed full of family crypts worn by weather but modernized by new nameplates, plastic flowers, photographs and the deceased memorialized as recent as '07.

After so many steps we felt we earned our brunch at Creperie Le Cactus pour le petite dejeuner: une Crepe Gourmand et cafe expresso.

The crepe arrived smothered in nutella, sliced bananas and whipped cream. Decadent.

Back at the base of the village we were greeted by sunshine and the perfume of luxury soaps and bins of spice.

After Eze we caught the public bus for 1 euro to Nice. The bus, with its windowed sides, gave us a great view of the beautiful seaside and got us to Nice in about ten minutes.

-P

Barcelona Markets

April 21, 2010 We happened upon a small market and cafe in a sunny courtyard so rested our feet and refueled with espressos at an outdoor table where a Spanish singer guitarist serenaded ...

... and an old woman shelled fava beans while locals inspected the produce.

I had marked the Bouqueria Market as a must see and it is a definite highlight of Barcelona. We planned to wander and snack our way through the market, but had our fill at the first stop: Organic Market.

We ordered sangria (when in Spain!) and three dishes: falafel, a queso fresco crepe and another crepe, not realizing that each would come with curry grain salad, a wedge of baked potato, couscous, pasta salad, green salad, hummus, and roasted jalapenos. DELICIOUS!

We found a seat at Kit Kat Cafe across the alley where we ordered more espresso and our server quickly warned Lloyd to remove his camera from the table top lest it be stolen. As luck had it, Kit Kat is next to a store that sells bellydance outfits. I bought a harem pant and top set and a coin belt for 11 euros! That's cheap, cheap, cheap.

Back in Bouqueria Market: a stall just for eggs, ...

... one of several spice kiosks, ...

... an olive vendor, ...

... chilies and nuts galore, ...

... and fruit in solids and liquids.

Of course there are other items typical to European markets: hooves, cow stomachs, whole piglets and the like. My pics are just a sampling of the huge market.

-P

Fave Key West Haunts

Hog's Breath Saloon where the bartenders where thick rubber gloves and shuck oysters behind the bar, rather "The Pig Pen". Oysters and live music ...

... are mainstays at Hog's Breath. Above: The Massacoustics, the lead cut out his telecaster guitar to accommodate his mandolin. So, you can eat, drink, listen, dance and ...

make a pig of yourself too.

HogFish Bar & Grille is a five minute walk from Boyd's Key West Campground, by the waterside on Stock Island. It's famous for its hogfish dishes and live music lineup. I especially liked the baja style fish tacos and we always like the yeungling (amber) ale.

Raven is a local favourite, a solo female guitarist with a smoky voice. She comes by it honestly-- smokes a lot. She can even pass off Johnny Cash's voice. She did both his part and June Carter's part in "Jackson"--a duet with herself. It was oddly impressive. We won't forget it.

Toko Irie, originally from Grenada, played the kettle drums and reggae and never stopped dancing during the entire set.

Schooner Wharf. Don't go for the food, go for the drinks and music. Michael mans the stage most days, along with his dog (sleeping in the guitar case behind him).

No live music, but awesome coffee and free wifi at Cuban Coffee Queen.

Conch Republic is another waterfront bar and restaurant, but it's right downtown. The 80-foot bar features old rum kegs (they serve over 80 kinds!) and a 1200 pound antique copper still.

There really is a Conch Republic. "The Conch Republic was born on April 23rd of 1982 in response to a United States Border blockade of the Florida Keys. Since the United States Government insisted on treating the Keys like a foreign country; Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow seceded from the Union, declared war, surrendered, and demanded foreign aid. During the intervening years the U.S. never reacted to the secession, thereby establishing sovereignty for the Conch Republic under InteRnational Law Governing 'adverse possession between sovereign nations'.

The Conch Republic has it's own passports, and has had citizens and Diplomats received by thirteen Caribbean countries, Mexico, Sweden, Russia, France, Spain, Ireland and Germany. The Conch Republic has Conch-sulates in Switzerland, Havana, Maine and New Orleans.

The Conch Republic has as its stated Foreign Policy, 'The Mitigation of World Tension through the Exercise of Humor'."

Green Parrot Bar wins a few mentions throughout our Key West posts. We could count on first-rate musicians every time. Plus, they have free popcorn and they have Kevin, a wild yet impressive dancer in a red and yellow felt hat who attracts his own audience.

We really enjoyed J.C.'s Lonesome Soul Revue "sound check" at Green Parrot, loved that "old fashioned r&b rock'n'roll".

You can check out the music yourself. The Green Parrot has a live webcam.

A poor wee picture, but not to be missed is The Cafe, a vegetarian restaurant on Southard.

One of my favourite dishes is the falafel with feta and labanese salad in a pita served with sweet potato fries and lime curry dip followed by sage tea, or you could have the thai curry, or kung pao, or Lloyd's absolute favourite, the super rich Vegetable Stuffed Portobello Mushroom with goat cheese cream sauce. Everything comes in huge and de-lec-ta-ble! Soooooo good!

-P

Friends in Warm Places

March 3, 2010 We wish we had a photo of our friends, Ed and Sandy, who we met almost two years ago at a POG rally and here and there at other POG rallies since. Actually, we do have a pic. It's from Port St. Lucie (February). Sandy's playing the mandolin and Ed's playing the upright bass:

Ed's awesome classic truck is our souvenir pic. We caught up with Ed and Sandy after Ed showed us around one of his projects, a 65' WWII mine cable tender boat he's restoring. It's a tough boat with a fascinating history.

Thank you Ed and Sandy for a lovely visit. We look forward to more soon. Maybe Maine?

It's always a pleasure to make a quick connection with someone you've never met. We met Bill at Green Parrot, a local's favourite hangout, and the bar we frequented for a lot of outstanding live music. The more we chatted with Bill, the more we found we had in common, from our preferred music to books, and travels, and even how we met our spouses. Then, we kept running into him and his charming wife, Kathy, at Studios of Key West events.

So, we thought a lunch was in order, at least. We noshed at The Shrimp Shack, a great little eatery right on the waterfront: old sails for awnings, picnic tables, a shrimp boat anchor butting the pier.

Bill gifted us with a copy of his Key West Graffiti book, which is a vast collection of quips and quotes from all over Key West, even from bathroom stalls. It's an entertaining book full of both funny and thought-provoking maxims. Also, they invited us to their 25th wedding anniversary party and we had a truly wonderful time with them and their good-humored friends. Bill and Kathy know how to throw a party! Thanks, you two, for everything! :)

Shrimp Shack/Fishbusterz seafood offerings to go:

We were doubly fortunate in that we met Ernie and Pat in the campground. Ernie and Pat's 1991 Prevost (same vintage as ours) initially drew us in. They're POG members too. Before we knew it, we talked quite some time away so we schedule a play date. ;)

Pat and Ernie took us to the fabulous El Sibone, an authentic cuban restaurant.

We shared a whole day, a nice drive through the parts of Key West I had never seen, a stop at the Waterfront Market for iced coffee and gourmet goodies, and an old cemetery. If you know me, you know I love old cemeteries (photos to come). We carried the conversation well into the evening and it went by so fast! We really hope we can meet you again at the Maine rally, you two. Thanks for the super time!

We never feel more fortunate than when we can share our travel experience with the characters we meet along the way.

-P

Rock Bottom

Feb 24 - Mar 1, 2010 Leebo's Rock Bottom Bar that is...

The bar is aptly named and, at once, a highlight and lowlight of our visit to Chokoloskee Island. Though the bar is little more than a rough screened in porch--wrapped in plastic (seriously)--with a concrete floor, three picnic tables and one mobile propane heater to hover by, it offers some of the best live music around.

Leebo, the owner (second from left) charmed me from the start. "We got kissed by angels. Twice," he said as he pointed out the dimples in our cheeks. Derek (far right) has awesome jiggy dance moves that I could never hope to grasp. I tried.

Leebo's Rock Bottom Bar is the kind of place where the owner/bouncer/guitarist has to cut his own cousin off the drink and show him the door, where the father of a toothless ultimate fighter named Tank shares his bag of popcorn with the entire crowd--all eight of us, where dogs are welcome, and where locals bring their own Tequila Rose to shoot back by the plastic pill cupfuls.

One of my favourite things about Chokoloskee Island is the view from our campsite. Constant activity: a big stretch of rippling water, pelicans, fishermen, kayakers, etc. An osprey snagged a big fish right in front of our site, and that was a sight!

Just as delightful, the Havana Cafe across the street.

If you have the chance, try the huevos rancheros, even if it's not on the menu. It was on the menu one day then scribbled off the menu the next after the owner mother and cook son argued about the dish. However, if you talk nice to the server, she'll sweet talk the cook and you can still have some. :)

We drove the Tamiami Trail to Clyde Butcher's gallery of photography. On the way we saw comorants drying in the mangroves, egrets, vultures, a "wild hog bbq" at a rundown fire station, and gators.

More Chokoloskee Island to come...

-P

Seaside Sequel 2

January 28, 2010 Last of the Seaside pics.

Aside from sugar white sand, Seaside is best known for its architecture.

A rare house that doesn't have an ice cream colour:

Every house must have a unique picket fence and a porch or veranda or similar open-air area.

We always find something we can't live without at Perspicacity outdooor market.

Seaside has great eats. We especially enjoyed the new Raw & Juicy kiosk, which features organic and vegetarian fare. It's the last airstream eatery in a row of six:

The Taco Bar is new too, and awesome!

We can't say which restaurant is best. We just go with the food mood. Here's Lloyd on approach to Bud & Alley's Rooftop Bar.

Here's one view from the patio bar:

Here's a mouthwatering view of our scrumptious sweet potato fries and a mojito.

I have to mention the crab cakes at Great Southern restaurant (not pictured). They're 99% crab meat and served with fried green tomatoes and a little bit of spicy rémoulade. Get 'em if you can!

-P

More New Orleans

December 18, 2009 If you ask a local where to go for authentic creole cuisine, they'll probably direct you to Gumbo Shop.

Lloyd tried the (vegetarian) green gumbo and the white bean and rice dish. I had the crawfish étouffée. We shared the fresh, warm loaf of bread and dipped it in praline vinaigrette.

Locals also told us that the better food and music has, more or less, moved to Frenchmen Street. We wandered Frenchmen Street during the day. Don't do that. It's downright doggy and offers little aside from what the locals call "The gay bookstore", half of which we perused. Anyway, find a gig and check out Frenchmen Street at night or you might be dissuaded altogether. And, for goodness sake, take a cab!

After Frenchmen we found ourselves back in St. Louis Cathedral (what I'll call) courtyard where we saw Santa and Mrs. Claus at the end of the psychic line (there must be a dozen psychics on a busy day) and enjoyed the fine-tuned voice of a long-haired duo in plaid.

The courtyard attracts all kinds of people. It's a primo people watching site. One afternoon we watched a man on a 3-wheeled bicycle that wiggled side to side vs. peddled, a young woman in a fuzzy grey cape with pointy canine teeth - an obvious patron of the Boutique du Vampyre on Royal Street (and living dead wannabe), a rather pale cyclist in a lacy, billowy blouse and knickers, "The Ghost of Christmas Past," said the lady seated next to me.

There is no shortage of entertainment in the French Quarter. You can find music every night of the week and special concerts for special occasions, like the Christmas concert/Procrastinors Pajama Party & Sweet Tooth Soirée:

We topped the evening off with the closing night production of "The Kingfish", a one-man, two-act play about Huey P. Long at the Intercontinental Hotel. Long, Governor for Lousiana 1928-1932, noted for radical populist policies and forceful traits, was a dramatic political figure who also inspired the film "All the Kings Men" starring Sean Penn. He was assassinated at the age of 42.

-P

Home of the Blues

November 16-19, 2009 Memphis, Tennessee.

Home of the Blues.

Birthplace of Rock and Roll.

We passed on the Gator Chips and Championship Gumbo (trophies fill the front windows) at King's Palace Cafe, but I went for the Crawfish Étouffée, "The embodiment of all that is good and right about Louisiana cooking served over rice." According to Fred Koeppel, "So good you'll want to slap your Pappy - not once, but twice." I don't recall an urge to slap my father, but it was good, and salty (I figure I surpassed my salt quota for the week in just under twenty minutes).

David on guitar and a coronet player who wandered out of the kitchen to join him:

B.B. King's Restaurant & Blues Club is just a dozen paces across the street. We stressed our hearts with super-salty fried dill pickles as Preston Shannon, The King of Beale Street, mesmerized us with his music.

Preston filled the house, shook the house, electrified the house! He's a phenomenal talent. Even the dance challenged ventured out onto the checkered floor...

B.B. King's Club (right corner) is the place for funk or soulful or soothing live music, every night. And Sweet Guitar Picks.

Sweet Guitar Picks:

Sweet tea Vodka Spash of lemonade

Mix to taste*

*Actually, it might be better to measure the vodka because it's a deceiving flavour in that you can't really taste the vodka at all ... and that could be dangerous in more ways than one.

By the way, B.B. himself makes the occasional appearance at the Beale Street club, "the original", but we missed him.

Trivia:  What is B.B. King's first name?

Answer:  Riley

We just learned that fact a few days ago while visiting the Riley Center in Meridian, MS, but that's for another post.

Here's another factoid for the B.B. fan. In the mid 50s B.B. King played a concert. Some fans became unruly and knocked over a kerosene stove, catching the hall on fire. B.B. raced out with the rest to safety, but realized he left his $30 acoustic guitar inside. He rushed back inside for it, "narrowly escaping death". He later found out the fight was over a woman named Lucille. He named his guitar Lucille as a reminder to never do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. "Ever since, each one of B.B.'s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille."

-P

Home of the Blues

November 16-19, 2009 Memphis, Tennessee.

Home of the Blues.

Birthplace of Rock and Roll.

We passed on the Gator Chips and Championship Gumbo (trophies fill the front windows) at King's Palace Cafe, but I went for the Crawfish Étouffée, "The embodiment of all that is good and right about Louisiana cooking served over rice." According to Fred Koeppel, "So good you'll want to slap your Pappy - not once, but twice." I don't recall an urge to slap my father, but it was good, and salty (I figure I surpassed my salt quota for the week in just under twenty minutes).

David on guitar and a coronet player who wandered out of the kitchen to join him:

B.B. King's Restaurant & Blues Club is just a dozen paces across the street. We stressed our hearts with super-salty fried dill pickles as Preston Shannon, The King of Beale Street, mesmerized us with his music.

Preston filled the house, shook the house, electrified the house! He's a phenomenal talent. Even the dance challenged ventured out onto the checkered floor...

B.B. King's Club (right corner) is the place for funk or soulful or soothing live music, every night. And Sweet Guitar Picks.

Sweet Guitar Picks:

Sweet tea Vodka Spash of lemonade

Mix to taste*

*Actually, it might be better to measure the vodka because it's a deceiving flavour in that you can't really taste the vodka at all ... and that could be dangerous in more ways than one.

By the way, B.B. himself makes the occasional appearance at the Beale Street club, "the original", but we missed him.

Trivia:  What is B.B. King's first name?

Answer:  Riley

We just learned that fact a few days ago while visiting the Riley Center in Meridian, MS, but that's for another post.

Here's another factoid for the B.B. fan. In the mid 50s B.B. King played a concert. Some fans became unruly and knocked over a kerosene stove, catching the hall on fire. B.B. raced out with the rest to safety, but realized he left his $30 acoustic guitar inside. He rushed back inside for it, "narrowly escaping death". He later found out the fight was over a woman named Lucille. He named his guitar Lucille as a reminder to never do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. "Ever since, each one of B.B.'s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille."

-P

Buzz at the BE

October 31, 2009 The Biscuit Eater is a local hot spot for anyone who craves a java jumpstart, the comfort or thrill of a new-to-you book, great conversation and delectable sweets and other eats made with a local and organic focus.

Expect a warm and sincere welcome. Jo, horse lover, barista extraordinaire and sweet and special:

We find some of our favourite people in the world here, where coffee is just one source of "the buzz". Good things happen here. What began as a bookselling cafe has become a mecca for literary and community-minded locals. Biscuit Eater's keepers host author readings, intimate concerts and stirring discussions and projects that range from nieghbourhood garden ventures and local environmental topics to global and mind-expanding subjects. Also, we're pretty sure you'll get a charge from the floor to rafter shelves crammed with books. And we can't forget ... the biscuits. I've heard them described as buttery and melt-in-your-mouth and awesome. We just know they're the best. Buzz! We always leave The Biscuit Eater inspired and, well, buzzed.

Our dear friend (and Biscuit Eater proprietress), Dawn, with friend, sea-kayak instructor and contractor Scott:

Local artists' work deck the cafe walls every month or so. The paintings above were created by Deb, who also works at Biscuit Eater. We couldn't begin to tell you of the talent that touches this place... But we feel it every time, an amazing creative energy.

Friend and proprietor Alden joins us for a gab:

Aaah... See? A haven of paper and words ...

... or an escapade if you prefer.

We miss everything about this place. It's a joy to tell you about it and introduce some of the people that make The Biscuit Eater what it is.

A shout out and love to our beloved BE people. xoxo...

-P

Buzz at the BE

October 31, 2009 The Biscuit Eater is a local hot spot for anyone who craves a java jumpstart, the comfort or thrill of a new-to-you book, great conversation and delectable sweets and other eats made with a local and organic focus.

Expect a warm and sincere welcome. Jo, horse lover, barista extraordinaire and sweet and special:

We find some of our favourite people in the world here, where coffee is just one source of "the buzz". Good things happen here. What began as a bookselling cafe has become a mecca for literary and community-minded locals. Biscuit Eater's keepers host author readings, intimate concerts and stirring discussions and projects that range from nieghbourhood garden ventures and local environmental topics to global and mind-expanding subjects. Also, we're pretty sure you'll get a charge from the floor to rafter shelves crammed with books. And we can't forget ... the biscuits. I've heard them described as buttery and melt-in-your-mouth and awesome. We just know they're the best. Buzz! We always leave The Biscuit Eater inspired and, well, buzzed.

Our dear friend (and Biscuit Eater proprietress), Dawn, with friend, sea-kayak instructor and contractor Scott:

Local artists' work deck the cafe walls every month or so. The paintings above were created by Deb, who also works at Biscuit Eater. We couldn't begin to tell you of the talent that touches this place... But we feel it every time, an amazing creative energy.

Friend and proprietor Alden joins us for a gab:

Aaah... See? A haven of paper and words ...

... or an escapade if you prefer.

We miss everything about this place. It's a joy to tell you about it and introduce some of the people that make The Biscuit Eater what it is.

A shout out and love to our beloved BE people. xoxo...

-P