Monday, April 20, 2009

Damien Jurado--The First Unitarian Church

 Alana and I met up with a couple of  friends Saturday night in Center City to see the magnificent Damien Jurado. We almost missed out on this show due to the fact we didn't hear about it until after tickets were sold out. But, with a heads-up from our friend Bonnie, we were told Jurado was adding a second show the same night.  Luckily we scored tickets for the second show. The venue was the First Unitarian Church Chapel. This space was without a doubt the most intimate and beautiful venues I've ever had the privilege to experience. The chapel only held 50 people!!! A perfect setting for Jurado's low-key "urban-folk". Opening for Damien was Portland , Oregon singer, Laura Gibson. She was endearingly bashful, but performed a nice, short set--including a little sing-a-long on the last song producing a church-like vibe (with beer).  Jurado mentioned a few times how he was looking forward to playing Philadelphia and particularly the chapel venue. His set did seem inspired, yet jovial. A truly wonderful experience. Colin, I've included "Ohio" especially for you. And "Denton, TX" is for us, Lanie.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Washboard, Drums, Bass, Fiddle, Guitar: Ingredients of a fine band

If you haven't heard of the Felice Brothers do your self a favor and go buy their music (Hell, today IS record store day. Colin, we know that it's record store day for you everyday.) We saw this band at the fantastic Trocadero in Chinatown. Great venue and even better band. The show we saw took place on Thursday night. Given that we are working-class stiffs, it's hard to find the energy and excitement for a weekday show. The opening act, Wily Mason, didn't go on until 9:20. Perhaps it's only our age beginning to show? Nonetheless, The Felice Brothers raised a ruckus. Truly a head-shaking- high-energy performance. Quite possibly one of the best live performances we've seen. Fact: If any member of the band does full swan dive into a drum kit during song that show automatically gets a thumbs up. The band is more than merely stage theatrics, though. They have genuine enthusiasm that bleeds into their audience. That, combined with a nice mixture of Americana and cabaret music, provide a sensational, one-of-kind concert going experience that all music lovers should experience. Here is a footage of an early song of the night. This is a nice version of a song they played at the Troc. The only downside of the night's festivities was the absence of the song "Radio Song'. Well, Alana, we can bring our song to life here. Let's add one more.

The Banana Leaf

The Banana Leaf is a mighty fine Malaysian restaurant in Chinatown. We've eaten here a couple of times, both occasions proved excellent. This place is located at 10th and Arch, hugging the Trocadero Theatre. The two times we've eaten here served as a pre-concert dinner. More on the concert we saw in the next post. If your stomach is yearning for a hearty, substantial dinner (and easy on the wallet!) this is the place to go. The cost for two was $16! We both had delicious hot noodle dishes with a generous portion of shrimp and tofu in each. To cap off dinner they give you a complimentary serving sweet black-bean soup which is quite simple, but delicious. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Artichoke Dip Is Delicious

I have made this artichoke dip on several occasions when getting together with friends.  It is always a hit.  So, I thought I would share the recipe here.  


  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese
  • 12-14 ounces marinated artichokes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp dried Dill
  • 1 clove of fresh garlic (or to taste)
  1. Let your cream cheese sit out for a bit to soften.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Use a food processor to chop garlic.
  4. Add cream cheese, mayonnaise, dill, and artichokes.  I drain most of the oil out of the artichokes.  I leave a little bit for added flavor.
  5. Blend until smooth.
  6. In a separate bowl add 3/4 cup of parmesan cheese to the creamy mixture and blend.
  7. Pour mixture into a glass baking dish.
  8. Sprinkle on remaining parmesan cheese and garnish with dill.
  9. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the dish begins to bubble and brown slightly on top.
  10. Allow dip to cool for 10 minutes and serve with crackers, bread or fresh veggies.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Neko Case

As a last minute surprise, Alana and I went to The Keswick Theatre to see Neko Case. Wow! That lady sure can sing. The venue enforced a strict no camera policy, so we were unable to take any pictures. It's a shame because inside the venue it is a nice one, and in addition, Neko's stage had a giant owl peeking over the backdrop. An owl, I say. Owl's are underrated. Also, during her performance an intriguing, ever-changing projection of photographs, cartoons, and movies were displayed in the background. This is one she had projected while playing "People Got A Lotta Nerve". Wish we had pictures. We did, however, get a few of the outside. Ah, the band Crooked Fingers opened the show. A good band worth looking into if you feel inclined. If you aren't familiar with Neko's music (bless your soul) here are some songs to whet your appetite. 

The Abbaye

Alana and I both shared a rare Monday off from any pressing responsibilities, so we decided to have lunch at The Abbaye. It's a modest bar/restaurant with out a lot of frills. Perfect for a casual, easy-going Monday afternoon. I had Fish and Chips (average) with a Humboldt Red beer. Alana had a salad with feta cheese and grilled octopus (not enough on the salad, though) that she found so-so.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fellow Bloggers

There are a few blogs out there that inspired us to create our blog. Let us take a moment to share them with you all. One that our good friend, Tina, turned us on to is Orangette. This is a highly addictive blog that is extremely well put together. Tina has extremely good taste. Another is Malcolm Gladwell's. He is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, and my favorite, Outliers. His blog is a treasure house of quirky essays that he has written ranging on a variety of topics--from a correlation between the work ethic of rice farmers and to asians being good at math, to why southerners are generally more quick tempered than most. Extremely fascinating, addictive work. Next is Nick Hornby's, the author of High Fidelity among others. His blog touches on books, music, and the world of art in all forms in general. Lastly, the blog of our good friend, Christina, down in Greenville, South Carolina was an important source of inspiration for starting our blog. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Rosco being Rosco

As the first picture clearly shows, Rosco gets a little cross-eyed and goofy when it comes to food. Alana wants to enter it in the Good Dog Bar photo contest. We bought Rosco a Philadelphia baseball cookie because 1. it's opening day, and 2. we love to spoil our boy. 

From the show

I wrote this song for Alana, but sold the rights to Ray. He's singing my tear-stained lyrics, folks.

Ray Lamontagne at The Tower Theatre

Alana and I attended a stellar concert last night at the famous Tower Theatre to see Ray Lamontagne. Due to my stubborn refusal to use GPS to navigate to the show, we ended up late missing the opening act, The Low Anthem. I was really looking forward to seeing them!!! Our misfortunate was remedied by a moving set by Ray. Here are some pics of the festivities.