Category Archives: Love and Lust

Joe Kwon on SideDish + Papa Mojo’s + Blue Note Grill + Music for Making Gingerbread + Foodimentary

Joe Kwon - Taste on Tour: Food on the Road blogger & cellist for The Avett Bros.

Joe Kwon/SideDish – Click to listen
Yes, I’m feeling full of myself right now.  Don’t get me wrong, I love all my SideDish guests … there’s something that happens in that studio every time that almost always amazes and tickles me.  But having Joe Kwon, cellist for The Avett Brothers and fellow food blogger with Taste on Tour: Food on the Road sitting across from me felt … well … double, triple, quadruple wondermous.  This is a gentle classically trained musician who becomes a bow-shredding fireball on stage. 

Raise your hand if you don’t know that The Avett Bros. are up there at the top of my favorite list. If you aren’t raising your hand, you clearly don’t know me well enough.  Give me an afternoon and I’ll convert you.  

Stay tuned for air dates!  And thank you, Joe, for being that guy that I imagined you to be and letting me behave like the huge fan that I am.  Enjoy that travel pepper grinder! 

Delta Moon at Papa Mojo's Roadhouse

Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse/ Delta Moon
Follow me down this circuitous path for a sec. I promise it will make sense.  

Even though they met in Atlanta (not exactly the Mississippi delta), a pilgrimage to visit the home of Muddy Waters down yonder in Clarksdale, MS inspired Tom Gray and Mark Johnson to name their newly formed band Delta Moon.  Somewhere around 2007 they bring in a new bassist, Franher Joseph, who just happens to be from Haiti … again, not exactly a hotbed of blues. So how the hell did this unlikely crew morph into a hot rockin’ blues band with two … yep … two slide guitar players?  They just did and, I for one, am damn glad.

Anyway, I’ve been trying to see these guys for a good while … pretty much ever since my good friend Dwight sent me “Goin’ Down South,” an album from 2004.  So, color me frisky with excitement to see them on the schedule at Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse on Dec. 10.   What a show they put on!  Chef and Papa Mojo’s owner Mel Melton offered up his own wicked  mojo as he stepped in to jam from time to time on harp.

The bass

The bass.  I couldn’t take my eyes off the bass  … it looked like an Eminence upright acoustic, but what do I know?

It was one gorgeous instrument. All marled and shiny. With a beautiful sound. And the  guy playing wasn’t bad either! 

Plan to see these guys next time they criss-cross into the area. You’ll enjoy. Would I lie to you?___________________________________________________________

Will McFarlane at The Blue Note Grill

The Blue Note Grill
Second Tuesday in December.  Temps are dropping.  All the more reason to warm up with a sizzling blues jam, right?  Something’s going on inside … you can tell even before you open the door. As if static electricity is in hiding just waitin’ to surprise you with a crackling zing.
We’ve hit the blues jam motherlode!  Will McFarlane is in the house, guitar, kilt and all.   Think you don’t know him?  Ever heard of Bonnie Raitt?  The Pointer Sisters?  Jackson Browne?  Then you’ve heard Will. And for a good while, he’s been right here living quietly among us.
He’s a regular at TBNG and just his presence brings everyone jamming with him up about 30 notches.  All I can do is stand there marveling with TBNG owners Bill and Andrea … something along the lines of “I wonder what the unfortunate people are doing tonight while we get to sit here and listen to this?” 
Music on ShuffleMusic for making gingerbread
Sugar, Sugar (Wilson Pickett)
If (Bread)
Ginger Baker Drum Solo
Stir It Up (Bob Marley)
You Send Me (Sam Cooke)
Brown Sugar (Rolling Stones)
Foodimentary:   Did I hear correctly that Dec. 20th is National Sangria Day?  Very odd, if I may say so myself. 

Writing + The Salad Lady + Music to Cook By + Amy LaVere + Foodimentary

I might have writer’s block.  Can’t be totally sure yet, but the last few days have produced little.  I’ve stared, almost accusingly, at my keyboard and a partially blank page inviting words to come out and play.  The harder I tried the more things went like this:  I wonder how long that ketchup packet from Burger King has been on my coffee table and, more importantly, where the hell did it come from?  Is that the mailman, ’cause I’m expecting some really good junk mail today with it being the holidays and all.  Wow, the sun hits that prism just right around 3:15 in the afternoon.  How is it that I, a flip-flops and flats girl, can identify Christian Louboutin shoes by their red soles?  Brilliant stuff, right?  Well, maybe the prism reflections are. Right now I’m playing a reward game with myself … eat two pieces of popcorn, type two words.  So far the popcorn is winning … or losing, depending on your perspective … the bowl is dwindling.
While we wait for divine intervention (or the mailman), go listen to my SideDish interview with Suzanne Nelson of Cozi Farm!

I am the salad lady. Not exactly my parent’s career dream for me, but there you have it.  Everyone always asks me to make or bring the salad. Why?  A few years back I stumbled upon THE formula for creating perfect salad every time. At first I was determined to keep the secret to myself so I’d be assured of ongoing dinner party invitations, but in a weak moment I caved in and whispered it conspiratorily to my brother and my sister. So now I’m whispering it to you. Consider it my holiday gift.

Salad Greens – lettuces, arugula, romaine, spring mix, spinach, etc. Pretty much anything except for iceberg, though if that’s all you have then you really should get a subscription to a food magazine.

Fruit or roasted veg – tart apple, pear, orange sections, cranberries, craisins, seedless grapes, mango, cherries, raspberries, beets, Brussels sprouts, etc. 

Nuts or crunchies – almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, sesame sticks

Cheese – bleu cheese, goat, brie, camembert, mozzerella, feta, etc.

Optional:   green onion tips or thinly sliced sweet onion

Dressing:  1 tb mustard (preferably Dijon), 1/2 cup vinegar (white, cider, champagne, white balsamic, fig), salt & pepper.  Whisk together.  Taste. If you like your dressing a little sweeter, sprinkle in a little sugar or add a little honey or maple syrup.  Whisk again.  Add any herbs BEFORE you add the oil.  Drizzle in the oil (olive oil, canola, any mild oil) and whisk until incorporated and the mixture emulsifies (binds and thickens).  KITCHEN TIP:  if you put a damp paper towel under your cutting board and under your mixing bowl neither will dance across your countertop.

Assembly:  Pick one from each category.  Slice the fruit, crumble the nuts/crunchies and cheese and toss with your dressing. Take the bows.

MUSIC TO COOK (or toss a salad) BY:
Brain Salad Surgery (Emerson, Lake & Palmer),  Poke Salad Annie (Tony Joe White),  Ghost of Stephen Foster (The Squirrel Nut Zippers), The Voice of Cheese (Frank Zappa & The Mother’s of Invention), Big Cheese (Nirvana), Blueberry Hill (Fats Domino)___________________________________________

Amy LaVere at The Casbah

Bless Larry’s little music lovin’ heart. Hell, yeah, I want to go hear Amy LaVere at The Casbah in Durham on Tuesday night!  Amy’s been on my wish list for what seems like forever. This is one of those connect-the-dots stories so pay attention … Amy is from Memphis and is on Archer Records which is owned by my old friend Ward Archer who was going to do/be something else in life until he and I tried our hand at recording a jingle or two many long years ago. It was an embarassing attempt that we can laugh about now, but it pointed Ward in a new direction.  Thank God!  

Amy’s ex-boyfriend and drummer is the son of some other old friends from Memphis, Pat Taylor and Susanne Jerome of the 70’s-80’s band, The Breaks. Pat and Susanne were, and still are, two of the most drop-dead gorgeous people to ever draw breath.  They found each other (with a little help from yours truly) and the rest is history.  Still with me here?  

Amy’s new album, Stranger Me, includes a cover of an old Captain Beefheart song Candle Mambo.  Random and obscure, to be sure. But, way back when I worked for the Warner Bros. Artist Development Director, he sent me out to do a few shows around the Southeast with the Captain. We quickly discovered a shared love of art stores, so every town we hit, Don and I would high-tail it to the local art supply store and spend hours admiring and buying rapidographs, colored pencils, brushes, ink, and paper.  Then we’d sit on the bus and sketch.

But I digress …  this is about Amy LaVere, right?

Luminous and enchanting before she even begins to sing, Amy speaks with a lyrical girlish voice that grabs you from the get-go.  And once on stage, you can’t take your eyes off her … how can such a slight little thing manage that huge stand-up bass? Well, she just does.  Bangs on it. Caresses it.  Stares longingly at it. What you are watching is an intimate encounter with a lover … Amy and that bass.  The heartbreaking love songs make you remember every broken heart you ever had when all  you really wanted to do was spend the rest of your life in a corner somewhere curled in a ball weeping.

Simmer2Sizzle rating:  10 stars out of 5 which is why this image is on here twice.   

Check out this NPR interview with Laura Sullivan/All Things Considered.  Then go buy Stranger Me by Amy LaVere. 

FOODIMENTARY:  Today is National Pastry Day!  What to have? What to have?

The Blue Note Grill + Troy Mezze + Pig Wars + The Blue Note Grill + Cooking with Music on Shuffle

First things first.  To Bill, the very handsome and very kind gentleman at the Blue Note Grill last night who gave me his raffle tickets … despite my throwing it out there to the universe to pick one of my numbers, I did not win the guitar 😦  Now I can’t look forward to having you teach me to play, not that you would have been able to, but it sure would have been fun trying.  But I do look forward to coming to watch and listen to you play.  That’s a promise. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself … more about The Blue Note Grill later!

Troy Mezze Sampler

The afternoon started at Troy Mezze Lounge at City Market in Raleigh for a tasting of what can only be described as a true Turkish delight!  There was not one bite that wasn’t on its way to being extraordinary.  And I don’t make a statement like that lightly … it was like there was this huge colorful and fragrant party with alot of personalities going on on this Mezze Platter, a sampler of Hummus, Acili Ezme, Haydari, Shakshouka, Lentil patties kofte,  barbunya plaki and Yaprak Dolmasi. Each carefully placed scoop on that platter was a star on its own … with multi-levels of flavors, colors, and textures. You know how sometimes you aren’t paying attention and mix something together to the point that what went into it becomes unidentifiable?  Well, they know how to NOT do that.  Every flavor stands simply and brightly all by itself. Thank you, Arif!  It’s worth the drive to Raleigh. Cross my heart.

Can you eat fun?  Yes, you can … ‘specially if it’s cooked, chopped and served right away off a smoker just a few yards away.  I take my judging Q seriously and this night was no exception.  Every team offered up admirable and tasty plates of chopped BBQ, but there was one clear winner …. drum roll, please … Big Ed’s! Many thanks for inviting me to be a guest judge along with Charlie Gaddy.

Walking around City Market is a little like stumbling onto a side street somewhere in Europe where you kinda want to just get lost and stay that way in the shops … some exotic and fragrant with incense, others whimsical and artful.

Blues rock guitarist Chaz DePaolo

TBNG was actually a fall back position last night when four of us could not get into to Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse to see Randall Bramblett.  With a slight disappointment we headed north to The Blue Note and mighty glad we are that we did. New Jersey blues rock guitarist Chaz DePaolo brought it and brought it and brought it!  All night long and then some. 



Brown-Eyed Girl (Van Morrison), One Headlight (The Wallflowers), Handle With Care (The Traveling Wilburys),  King’s Highway (Tom Petty),  Sugar Pie (The Subdudes),  Mona (Quicksilver Messenger Service) …


Don’t miss the monthly CHOP NC (Culinary Historians of Piedmont) meeting tonight, Wed. 11/16!    Randy Fertel, author of the just-published book The Gorilla Man and the Empress of Steak: A New Orleans Family Memoir. 7:30pm at Flyleaf Books. ________________________________________________________ WEDNESDAY, 11/9 One … Continue reading

The Blue Note + Pulphead + SideDish + music on shuffle + Foodimentary

Another great night at The Blue Note Grill!  Three things made it even better.  Number 1.  My old high school friend, Bif, walked in with his guitar. It was a smaller turnout this week which allowed the players to fall into rhythm with each other quicker.  Number 2. I like this place. Owners Andrea & Bill Whittington have this nice way of making you feel like you are hanging out in their living room that just happens to be a bar with lots of drink choices, and if you ask nicely they will bring you some food too. And their wine selection is decent.  Number 3. I kinda fell in love or lust or something like it, but that’s another story entirely, and I don’t know how it turns out yet. Let’s just there were a few stolen “longing gaze” moments that took me entirely and deliciously by surprise.

Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan

Fall of  2008, I stole a magazine. I know.  Not like me at all.  But, I was at my doctor’s office, she kept me waiting too long and I got so engrossed in Unknown Bards, an article in Harper’s by John Jeremiah Sullivan  that I thought of locking the treatment room door so I could finish reading.  It was that good. I feverishly (I often do things feverishly) shared it with my Memphis friends.  Last week, thanks to a Facebook post from a friend, I learned that John Jeremiah Sullivan would be reading from and signing Pulphead, a collection of published essays at Flyleaf Books on Wednesday evening.  You probably don’t know him, probably never heard of him, but you should.  He writes alot about music. With a style that makes you feel like he’s sitting across from you just spinnng a good yarn to entertain you. Upon This Rock, published in GQ in fall of 2009 had me laughing out loud and I felt like I was there on his journey to the Cross-Over Festival (Christian music) in Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri.  Run to your favorite bookstore and BUY THIS BOOK!  Today.  ps. Sorry, Doc!

Page Skelton/Cackalacky
Funny name. Serious Zest. It’s even written on his business card. Page Skelton is seriously funny AND funnily serious about everything Cackalacky, And he should be. It’s delicious and there’s pretty much no food immune to its addition.  Maybe cake, but give him time.  Everything else is fair game.  Just ask Page and one of his new sidekicks, Greg Hirsh, the Cackalacky Kid.

Music on ShuffleMUSIC ON SHUFFLE:  Ready to Start (Arcade Fire), New Automobile (Eric Bibb), Victory (Trampled By Turtles), When The Word Gets Out (Brandi Shearer), November Blue (The Avett Bros.), Murdered in the City (The Avett Bros.) … wildly random, but isn’t that what shuffle is all about?

FOODIMENTARY:  Today is National Chocolate Day! Let’s see … French Chocolate Truffles, hot chocolate, chocolate-covered bacon? How about all of the above.

Saxapahaw OktoberFest + music on shuffle + Foodimentary

I was channel surfing this morning and stumbled across Every Which Way But Loose on REELZ channel.  Yeah, yeah, I know it’s beautiful outside. I can see out my window … but I woke up with a scratchy throat and am still in my pj’s working on my second coffee.  Now, before you bash me for indulging in a little Clint Eastwood and Clyde, the orangutan, listen up … it was NOT about the movie.  Back in a former life working for Elektra/Asylum Records, I was on the road with Eddie Rabbitt who wrote the theme song.  Nostalgia got the better of me and I began to pull vinyl out of my closet remembering the dark-eyed, handsome Irish man with a wicked sense of humor who was a little country and a lot rockabilly.  I miss you, old friend!
Saxapahaw Oktoberfest 2011

Saxapahaw Oktoberfest 2011

Well, I already know where I’ll be next weekend.  I’m sure y’all have caught on to my love affair with Saxapahaw by now. I do tend to go on about a passion, don’t I?  And what would be wrong with that?


Saxapahaw’s Annual Fall Festival takes place on three stages this year, The HayWagon Stage at the Farmers’ Market, the NEW River Amphitheater and The Haw River Ballroom featuring The Onyx Club Boys, The Rye Mountain Boys, Gasoline Stove Diali Cissokho & Kairaba and Birds and Arrows PLUS a Harvest Festival and Market, BBQ and Brews and lots of fun activities for kids! Details to come!

Music on Shuffle

Music on Shuffle

MUSIC ON SHUFFLE:  I Love a Rainy Night (Eddie Rabbit), If I had a Boat (Lyle Lovette),  If I Fall (Dixie Chicks), Silver Wings (Merle Haggard), I Still Miss Someone (Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell), I am a Lonesome Fugitive (Roy Buchanan) … dco, you are gentle on my mind this morning 😉

Food is Love

Food is Love

Today is National World Food Day!  Thanks, John-Bryan Hopkins.

Dear last night’s dinner guests,
Thank you for being my test subjects for a new cornbread recipe.  Really loved having you all on my back porch! 
Love, the cook
ps.   Shucks y’all … one of my followers sent me this YouTube clip earlier this week in case I’m looking for a new way to shuck corn.  It cracked me up. 

Blue Note Grill + Playing the Blues + Foodimentary

Blue Note Grill

Blue Note Grill - Durham

I’ve obviously been living under a big rock, and apparently not one that had much roll to it.  Discovered yet another new (new to me, anyway) place to listen to music last night … The Blue Note Grill in Durham.  It would be easy to miss, tucked as it is in a little strip called the Boulevard Plaza Shopping Center on 15-501.  (I still call 15-501 “the Boulevard,” by the way.)  Every  Tuesday night is their Open Blues Jam with Butch Haas (aka Mr. Mudbones), a harp player who manages a rotating collection of players who show up each week wanting nothing more than to play the blues.   Couple of standouts -> a kid who couldn’t have been more than about 10. Sadly, didn’t catch his name. And local guitarist Tommy Hartley.  Like I said, under a rock, but now that I’m out …

I was on a fix-up, and as first dates go, it was a blast!  Perfect pick, Larry.  Can’t really comment on food, we waited too late to order from the regular menu. But they had a couple of nice wine-by-the-glass selections.  Way to go, guys.  Even foodies love the blues.

Playing the Blues:   Got My Mojo Working (Muddy Waters), Born Under a Bad Sign (Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughn), The Thrill is Gone (B.B. King & Eric Clapton),  Stormy Monday (Allman Bros. with Eric Clapton, etc, etc, etc.

FOODIMENTARY:  October 5 is National Apple Betty Day and according to The Meat House is also National Do Something Nice Day!

Foodimentary + music on shuffle + checking in from …

Foodimentary*:  It’s National Mulled Cider Day.  So who the heck picks these days anyway, I wanna know?  Even rabid googling didn’t come up with an answer.  Anybody know?  Anybody care? 

Let the Music Play:  Fall on Me (R.E.M), Rose of Cimmaron (Poco), Sampson (Regina Spektor), Fire in the Canyon (Fountains of Wayne), Guaranteed to Win (Heartwood), Steal Your Love (Lucinda Williams), Dark End of the Street (Flying Burrito Bros.) …

The Station, Carrboro, NC

The Station, Carrboro, NC

Checking in last night from …  The Station (yes, again).  11-ish.  Just getting the hang of this Facebook “check in” app … surely everybody must be dying to know where I am, right?  Suddenly across a crowded room … our eyes meet.  Love at first sight.  Wait, I know why it’s immediate love. I know these people moving across the room toward me. It’s Christine & Sara!  Come to rescue me from myself after seeing my “check in.”  Thanks, y’all, but you’re going to have to do a much better job next time 🙂  Send me home much, much, much earlier, ya’ hear?   Did you know that there are some right weird people out in the middle of the night?  And I’m not talking about us.  Ok, maybe a little.  

 *Thanks John-Bryan Hopkins, The Foodimentary Guy

Me, Julia & Cilantro

I don’t hate cilantro lovers, I just don’t like cilantro. In fact, I’m downright envious that I can’t enjoy whatever it is that everyone raves about. My tastebuds translate the herb into soap or dishwater. So I was both vindicated and excited to enjoy this exchange between Julia Child and Larry King back in 2002.

CHILD: I don’t like cilantro.
KING: What is that?
CHILD: It’s an herb that it has a kind of a taste that I don’t like.
KING: Is there an everyday food you hate, like broccoli?
CHILD: No, I don’t think so. I mean, if it’s properly cooked and properly served, I can’t think of anything I hate.
KING: So you’ll eat…
CHILD: Except cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all.
KING: Arugula?
CHILD: They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me.
KING: So you would never order it.
CHILD: Never, I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.

Don’t hate me, pity me the chemical imbalance that causes it.  I hate cilantro, but it’s not my fault.

Foodimentary – Today is …

… National Grilled Cheese Day!  Love mine with a bowl of tomato soup.   OR as a panini with mozzarella, tomato, and basil!