Tag Archives: music

Pleasure + Island + seafood + blues = Gregg Allman

19th Annual Pleasure Island Seafood & Blues Festival
October is one of my favorite times at the beach.  Hell, any time of the year is my favorite if the ocean is involved. But fall is just a little more special. The air crackles. The sea reclaims itself after the throngs of tourists have gone home, and yes, the water might even be a little deeper blue.  That’s never more true every year than during the second weekend in October when the beach throws one of the best parties on the coast.  For nineteen years, the residents of the strand known as Pleasure Island, home to Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and historic Fort Fisher, have quietly built stages, set up booths to house a handful of local well-known seafood vendors, and invited some of the cream of the blues crop to come on down and play at the Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues and Jazz Festival right there on the banks of the Cape Fear River. And then they turn around and invite us to come on down too!  The Saturday night headliner this year is Greg Allman.

I was a reluctant first timer in 2010 when Leon Russell was the Saturday night big name artist. Been there, done that with festivals. I like little intimate venues where it feels like I’m yay-far from the stage and feeling up-close-and-personal with who I’ve come to see. Yes, I’m one of those … I want to see the sweat on the brow and the crazy faces the guys in the band make.  It turned out to feel like someone’s ginormous backyard party (albiet a really big, cool backyard that has a view of the Cape Fear),  and we were not all that many lawn chairs away from stage left. But wait. Two days of nearly non-stop music? More stages? Smaller ones, scattered around the park … one for blues, one for jazz … one of which was so close to the Cape Fear River you could almost party on the boats gathered off-shore. Local food vendors were filling bowls and baskets with seafood chowder, fried shrimp, and other goodies that were right out of the sea only days ago.

I even ran into a healthy handful of friends from Chapel Hill and Carrboro who begged me not to give away the secret. A tattooed, pony-tailed man from New Jersey who had perfected the slow rock that usually only true Southerners can claim, went lazily back and forth next to me in a big old rocking chair and told me he’d been riding his Harley down since Johnny and Edgar Winter headlined in 2008. He, like those before him, wanted it to remain a well-kept secret. 2009 featured Delbert McClinton, and 2011 brought in Jimmy Vaughn. It’s not just about the headliner. Opening for Allman is the Jaimoe Jasssz Band. Die hard fans will recognize Jaimoe as the legendary drummer and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band.  You can also catch the Polar Bear Blues Band featuring Harvey Dalton Arnold (bass player and former member of The Outlaws), Damon Fowler, and a handful of some of North Carolina’s own homegrown blues artists.  My pop-up chair is already in the car.

19th Annual Pleasure Island Seafood & Blues Festival
presenting Gregg Allman
Oct. 13 & 14, 2012
FortFisher Military Recreation Area
Kure Beach, NC
Gates Open 11:00
Two-Day Ticket in Advance – $40
Saturday Only – $50
Sunday Only –  $15
Children 12 and under Free

Follow the Pleasure Island Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival on Facebook.

Saxapahaw, where have you been all my life? + truck ridin’ music

It was a good day for a ride in a truck in the country. So westward we drove, about 15 miles to Saxapahaw, NC. Yes, there was an agenda … lunch at the Saxapahaw General Store (Your Local Five-Star Gas Station) before checking out the area’s newest venue (and undoubtedly, one of it’s more interesting), the Haw River Ballroom.

Saxapahaw Grocery Blackboard Specials, 9/21/11

Saxapahaw Grocery Blackboard Specials, 9/21/11

LUNCH!  Local beef short rib Sandwich on homemade foccaccia with manchego, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onion and lemon-garlic aioli.  I was so busy enjoying how each ingredient played nice with the others that I let the two guys I was with just prattle on about this or that without speaking or interupting  … for those of you who know me, silence is a rare occasion that typically only happens when I’m enjoying what I’m eating, reading, or sleeping.

Haw River Ballroom

Haw River Ballroom

“If you build it, they will come” …  “build a house of quality in the woods, and the world will beat a path to your door” … yada, yada.   Owners Tom & Heather LaGarde hope that’s true.  Their version of the American dream appeared in the form of an old mill/dye house way-the-heck out in the country. Cobbled together by a respect for the area and it’s history, along with a playful repurposing of eclective salvage from all around the state, the Haw River Ballroom is a testament to creative visioning.  Since I couldn’t say it any better, I’m shamelessly just quoting their own description here: “three levels, a riverside deck, a concessions bar and coffee shop, a full service stage and sound system, gorgeous historic detail, solar and geothermal power and an idyllic rural setting” … really, the only thing missing is a place to sleep so you don’t have to drive home after.  I got goosebumps when I walked in the front door. 
Go this weekend for the Sunday performance of Spirit Family Reunion.  Doors open at 6:30. Music starts at 8pm (opening act Dark Water Rising).  That’s all I can say. Go.  And see.  And hear. And be blown away. Go.
Truck ridin’ music in anticipation of hearing these guys this weekend:
Spirit Family Reunion – When the Girls are Dancing
Spirit Family Reunion – I’ll Find a Way

TerraVITA is 9 days away + music & wine for the back porch + Foodimentary – Today is …

TerraVITA Food & Wine Event

TerraVITA Food & Wine Event - Sept. 24

Celebrate the best in sustainable food and beverage!  If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, go now. You know you want to. 

Music & Wine for the back porch and the dog days of summer:  The finger-tripping 12-string guitarist Javier Mas ( plays with Leonard Cohen) deserves something light and airy with a hint of fizz  … I’m going with Vinho Verde from Portugal.

Today is National Double Cheeseburger Day

Foodimentary – Today is
… National Double Cheeseburger Day. 

As Jimmy Buffett says “I like mine with lettuce and tomato …”

The Meat House + music to cook by + Foodimentary – Today is …

The Meat House Burgundy Wine Steak Tips

A friend showed up last week with 2 butcher-wrapped mystery packets with the verbal instructions to put them in the freezer for a future grill test.  I don’t love freezing good fresh meat, but far be it from me to argue with a hunter/ gatherer/bringer of meat.  He’d strongly disagree saying I can sass back with the best, but that’s another story.  

The little packages came from The Meat House, a new place in Chapel Hill across from The Siena Hotel (and the old site of Applebee’s, I believe).  Touted as your “neighborhood butcher and grocer” The Meat House promises “to be excellent, consistent, and customer focused in everything we do!”  Guess what? They do!

They happily offer samples and my friend convinced them to give him two, promising that he’d bring someone back into the store with him next time.  That next time was yesterday and that someone was me. 

It’s a cool little store with practically everything you need for a meal.  Wine, beer, sides, condiments, etc. Even ice cream.  Maybe the nicest surprise of all were the local selections – Chapel Hill Creamery cheeses, Maple View Farms ice cream, Guglhupf bread, Kerala Curry – alongside their exotic meat selections of buffalo, venison, and ostrich.

The two sample packages rounded out the newly purchased marinated steak tips, a couple of sausages (sweet Italian & bratwurst – because you can never have too much meat), marinated mushrooms ready-to-sautee, and Maple View Farms Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.  Waiting at home was a bottle of Chianti in a straw basket.

Maybe it was the beautiful night, maybe it was the wine, maybe it was the company, but it was all tender and delicious.  I’ll go back and, as my friend did, I’ll carry it forward and take someone else to introduce them to The Meat House.

Music to cook by on a warm September evening:  Simon & Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park.

Today is … National Cream-Filled Donut Day! * September is National Chicken, Honey, Mushroom, Papaya, Potato, Rice Month.  Can you create a recipe using all those ingredients in one dish?  

*with special thanks to the Foodimentary Guy John-Bryan Hopkins!