January 12, 2016

Two Track: David Bowie Edition

So much has been shared over the last 40 hours or so about
David Bowie.  Photos, Videos, Anecdotes, First Concerts. I've really enjoyed reading through it all into the wee hours of the next morn. So I'd be a rather remiss to not make the legend this week's Tuesday Two-Track.
Tomorrow night - January 13th- Fergies pub will be paying proper tribute to him on the second floor.
Fergie and his staff are huge fans. Should be a special night.

David Bowie.
Paris 1999

VHI Storytellers Aug 23 1999  
You should watch Bowies entire Storytellers segment

Lenny Kravitz and Iggy Pop performing "Rebel Rebel"
Sorry Video Quality is just "o.k"
Not certain what brought the two together on stage. Looks like it was an MTV special in 2012.

David Bowie

January 4, 2016

The Year in Rewind <<< The Year Ahead >>>>

With the advent of the new year, one anticipates all sorts of change. People seek to restructure, reorganize, and reprioritize. Not me.
I realized midway through my Sunday as I had a 25 minute window in between an Allagash drop-off and a matinee movie that I have not yet read 2004’s revised edition (or original publication) “Mediations for Women who Do Too Much.” I found myself with 25 minutes to spare. Those minutes could have been used to find parking, and get to the theater early enough to grab an orange-spiced tea.  Maybe sit, just sit for ten minutes and do nothing. No- new year, same overbooking.  I dashed down Delaware Ave to Target to grab my pre-ordered  Apple watch. I made it to the Ritz at exactly the start of “Room.”  It all worked out. So no lesson learned on day three of 2016. (Fantastic film- you should see it).

The minute I got home I was working on my 2016 budget, while watching the Broncos/Chargers game and cooking up coconut curry noodles with sausage. I followed up that caloric bomb with another one. Now as I type this I am halfway through a peanut butter mousse pie. I just pinched my thighs, felt the two months of eating and drinking whatever I want in between my thumb and index finger. The holiday damage is done, and I look forward to undoing it.

But instead of dwelling on the blubber right now, I’ll reflect on a year filled with so many wonderful sights and sounds.  Remembering  the sights of a new little nephew Kiran Peace and a new niece Isabella Ann, my God daughter. Remembering  the smiles on the faces of Ladysmith Black Mambazzo performing  at the Kimmel center, the sound of Leo Kottke’s guitar, the energy of Hooray for the Riff Raff, Deer Tick, and Rhett Miller.

I love reflecting on the travels of the year. Eating through a square mile of food carts in Austin, sipping on a Jester King/Crooked Stave collaboration in high country of Texas on my birthday despite a stomach virus. Spending early spring days in the mountains of Brevard drinking the freshest Oskar Blues with my beer buddy Caitlin. Biking 490 miles across Iowa, participating in RAGBRAI with 15,000 other cyclists. We pedaled from Souix City to Davenport. Our days filled with blissful flat stretches of road, lined with cornfields topped with the bluest skies I’ve ever seen, but not without hills that generated unprecedented fear, and made me realize the patience of a loving partner. There were seven trips up to Maine- some for work, some to see some amazing people say “I do.” I learned to never say “no” to an Irishman as I climbed a 57 foot bunker at our brewery’s tank farm. I woke up one September morning on a gorgeous deck overlooking the Casco Bay with a quiet calm I almost forgot existed. I drank and dined my way through Charleston, SC. That was not calm, nor quiet.

Neither were my beer weeks. There were three of them. My territory was reduced this year, saying good bye to Northern Virginia and DC while maintaining Maryland, Delaware, and PA. I learned to get better at juggling. I learned it is okay to say, “No, not right now.”  I said “Yes” enough though, racking up 111 events in 2015.

I participated in three organized runs, including a 10k, 15k, and half marathon. I took a Yoga 101 class for six weeks. I tried to squeeze in fitness where I could, but the last two months were squeezing in more calories.  Looking forward to getting back on track as soon as possible.
I ate well. I had carrot freakouts all over the city from Petruce to Helm.  I declared it the “year of the carrot.” In January, I won my first Chili cook off. The next month I watched several films in preparation of the Oscars. In the fall- I tried to get into football. I succeeded (mostly). I stopped saying that I was voting for Cam Newton and his Panthers and started rooting for them. #Keeppounding.  I showed my nephews what vinyl records were and took William to his first Union game. Thanks Wendy.

In June I was honored to be awarded “Philly Beer Rep of the year” at the Philly Beer Scene awards and then acknowledged for my enthusiasm for the local hospitality industry by Philly Magazine in September.  Allagash White took home Gold for Belgian-wit style at the GABF and Allagash Tripel took home Silver. I was delighted that through my role with Allagash I was able to raise funds for Philadelphia Bike Works and The Sunday Love Project.

As 2016 commences, I am filled with much gratitude for the year before, and even more anticipation for the year ahead.  I am hoping for more sleep, and sneaking in more time for family. I hope to not stress as much I did last year. If I smile half as much as my niece Bella, I will be doing ok. I am excited to introduce new drinkers to White. I look forward to visiting my mom in Arizona in February, hosting the Craft Brewers Conference in Philly this May, and embarking on a hopeful trip to Montreal with my favorite French–Canadian in August.

I hope Donald Trump goes away, I hope the Phillies season doesn’t mirror 2015. I hope I blog a bit more, and bitch a bit less. I wish you all the very best. I hope the world is a safe place for you. I hope you feel love coming at you from all angles.  

Happy New Year.

December 8, 2015

Buckminsters Impresses Over and Over Again

Buckminsters is open for business and out of the gate is most certainly deserving of yours.
I checked out the new Point Breeze bistro at 21st and Federal last week to celebrate my friend’s birthday.
It’s sharp.  The atmosphere, the service, their philosophy.
Here’s what we ate.
Three different preparations of oysters are offered. And you should try all three. Buckminsters is actually sourcing their bivalves from Cape May oyster farm, Sweet Amalia. I did a “Ladies in the industry” event with Lisa of Sweet Amalia at Time recently and I swear it was the best oyster I had ever had. I know I oft speak in superlatives but I mean it. I really mean it. It could be on the culinary pop culture show “The best thing I ever ate.”
But so could The charred broccoli with smoked eggs, capers and fried onion. That was my friend Nikole’s favorite bite of the night. I am not one to order broccoli dishes (Except maybe at Cheu noodle -Vietnamese sausage and peanuts sway me.) and it knocked my new Allagash wool socks off.
Every dish that followed was one masterpiece after another. Flawless. As I was enjoying the Braised carrots with red wine, beef and wheat berries – I thought to myself this is exactly the dish I should be having on this early December chilly day. Later on as I read about chef/owner Michael Pasquerello’s hope for the new bistro he spoke of seasonality and highlighting it was of utmost importance.
The Charred squid had a nice little zip with the addition of espellete pepper but also served with fennel, apple, and mint for balance. Fennel offered a little crunch.  If it wasn’t for the word charred in the descript I would have thought they cooked it  sous vide. I’ve said this about other squids in the city before- but there’s always one that replaces the other-so now this is officially the most tender squid in the city (big statement, I know).
For entrees we did Massaman sweet potato curry with Carolina gold rice and pickled pear and Chicken Marsala bathed in Frecon farm cider, and mushrooms with housemade spelt noodles. I’ve lived in the Italian Market area for 6 + years now and have rekindled my love affair with the Italian classic of my youth (albeit lean cuisines). But this Chicken – this is the one. I recommend only eating ½
a) so you can try more dishes and
b) so you can bring it home as it reheats perfectly. The spelt noodles actually come on the side but if you get the dish to go and reheat it you can toss the noodles in with the marsala sauce.
Service was awesome. The d├ęcor is funky yet simple. Paying homage to Bucky Fuller, an American architect, designer and inventor.

I could go on and on but “Comics unleashed” is about to come on- and that’s always a sign it’s time for bed. That show is the worst. Buckminsters is the best.

September 29, 2015


John Prine will be in Reading later this year at the Santander Performing Arts Center.
December 5th is the calendar date. Tickets/seating here.

John Prine 1990
As he shares before performing the song- he laments his second divorce and mentions how some good country songs are the result of sad situations. Most of us have taken that trip to Splitsville. Breakups take maturity and a sense of understanding that not everyone can muster at the moment. They're brimming with bitterness and resentment. There's an overwhelming sense of vulnerability and so many sleep-preventing "What if's?"  This is a wonderful song and I hear you Mr. John Prine- I've always felt "I've got so much love that I can not hide."

My Morning Jacket

And now for a real treat- double duty.
Here's both of them live on Letterman this past May.
Jim James of My Morning Jacket (performing as Yim Yames as he uses a pseudonym for the compilation John Prine cover album- Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows)

August 19, 2015

Two track: Series of Dreams

I haven't Tuesday two-tracked in quite some time. Spotify lead me to an album of Dylan covers... I fell hard for  "Series of Dreams" that was covered by the Yellowbirds. I'm exhausted so I won't elaborate but you should know I probably played this song at least 40 or so times this week. 

Bob Dylan recorded in 1989

July 14, 2015

The Journey to RAGBRAI

I first learned of RABGRAI (The Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) on New Years day in 2008. My high school friend Jacey had mentioned it and then Lance Romance chimed in sharing that he had done it himself back in his twenties. Lance and I talked about it here and there but never submitted the application.  We were all talk and no action. Until now.  We applied  to particpate in the 43rd annual ride back in December.

Such an abundance of cycling enthusiasts show interest in the 450+ mile ride every year -that they have actually established a lottery.  I would find out on May 1st if I was one of the 8500 lucky people to experience the heat, headwinds, and hog of Iowa in July.  I was coincidentally on a "bikation" to the Oskar Blues bike farm in Brevard, NC with when I got the email confirming that I was in.
But no- the training did not start at that moment. I just worked my way through the Oskar Blues portfolio and a few Asheville watering holes instead.
I started to take it (somewhat) seriously about a month later. Lance and I rode 30 miles on Memorial Day.  I joined him on his commute to Iron Hill Chestnut Hill which he does  three times a week.
I did okay.  No personal records. No stroke.
I got miles in where I could. Whether on foot or wheels.  I started a 7 week beginners yoga class, cut out a lot of carbs, took my vitamins and juiced my little heart out.  I even eliminated all alcohol for two weeks straight (No- really- I did).
 I was down a few- but then went up to the brewery.
But then got back on track!
 Then it was 4th of July weekend.
But then got back on track!

Then I was in Maryland bikeless for four days.  I did run the first three days then managed to pull a groin muscle. You see the theme.

So now it's nearing midnight on July 14th.
We head west on Thursday night. Drive 14 hours to Davenport, IA. Saturday we hit the expo, hopefully see Huey Lewis and the News play "Stuck with you" and rise and shine at 5:30 am in Souix City to start our trek across Iowa.

I wonder what will happen first?
Cemetary sighting? Corn field? Bike Crash?  Or perhaps pie from a churchlady.  I will be documenting it all. I heard a rumor that ATT is spotty in Iowa and I totally believe it. So I will try to keep up with updates as often as I can- but won't know until I go. Wish me luck. Godspeed.

February 6, 2015

GALENTINES II Ladies celebrating Ladies

The Gals are getting back together.
Last year local Philly female beer reps got together to celebrate Galentines and raise money for The American Heart Foundation.

This year the annual event is taking place at the FIELD HOUSE on Filbert St. and we're trying to raise some dollars for Autism with the Kinny center as of beneficiary.

Galentines is a day Leslie knoll started on "Parks and Recreation." It's a day in which ladies get together and celebrate with their lady friends.

We're going to celebrate with each brewery having 40 different beers on draft starting at 6 pm.
At 8 pm there will be a "Cupid Strut" (think Cupid pageant).
We need CUPIDS to enter. (read: Please enter.)

Baskets will be raffled off with all sorts of brewery goodies throughout the night. Ladies from Smuttynose, Great Lakes, Ommegang/Boulevard, Flying Fish, YARDS, Dogfish, Firestone Walker, Oskar Blues, Evolution are involved. And of course I will be repping Allagash.

Philly.com covered it today and there may or may not be an embarrassing picture of me and Wendy dressed as Gladiators during "Throwdown in Franklin town" in 2013.

December 30, 2014

Be Hangover Free in 2015- I LOVE the sound of that.

The Borgata has kindly shared this infographic on Hangover prevention.

In a perfect world I would have:

 a) posted since September and
 b) posted this by last Friday so you had a chance to tweet #NYEnoHangover and win tickets to the Borgata for New Years Eve.
I just read the fine print and you had to have the tweets sent by yesterday at noon.

So better late than never won't work for you to visit AC on Wednesday night- HOWEVER these tried and true trips can still be of assistance hours after Auld Lang Syne has been sung.

September 2, 2014

Two Track Tuesday- The BARDOT Edition

I haven't done a Tuesday Two-track since last November honoring Neil Young's birthday. I have been too busy to blog.  Beerlass.com has been comatose and it's sad.  It's been so long that I may have to remind people what it entails. It's simple. Two versions of the same song with a theme of sorts.

The music of the recently-opened Bardot in Northern Liberties inspired me to revisit the Tuesday feature. I believe Serge Gainsbourg was playing at one point, Nina Simone at another. I thought about how many artists have paid tribute to the "Don't let 'her' be Misunderstood" jazz legend.

"Trouble in Mind" was originally played in 1924 by the pianist that wrote it, Richard M. Jones, accompanied by Thelma LaVizzo. Here you've got Nina adding her own ways to it in 1961.
She hit #11 on the charts. Many have covered it over the years- including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, and Jerry Lee Lewis...but I went with Janis Joplin as a shout out to Janis "impersonator," Smuttynose Jo who became an Aunt this week and can do Bobby McGee better than anyone you've ever met.

I can't promise you a fresh post tomorrow, but I can promise you that.

Videos are below then there's some more words on Bardot.


Janis Joplin

BARDOT is in the old space of Wine-O and Ministry of Information at 447 Poplar St.
 I never stepped foot in Wine-O. And Ministry- well let's just say they knew me.  My friend and lunch buddy Dennis Hewlett has taken the space and transformed it into a brilliant bar. As their twitter states: "It's a hideway for artists, dreamers, freethinkers, lovers and poets." Whenever we're at lunch we do a report card on service, food, ambiance, and company (I don't always get an "A") and if he ever reads this Dennis- I give BARDOT a solid "A." Gold star.

I can tell that this bar is an expression of himself.
A pendant lamp or portrait catch your eye?
He salvaged it.
Like Hunter S Thompson? So does he.
Bardot was one of the very few projects that Isaiah Zagar took on recently. Zagar is the talented mosaician (not a word ) I mean mosaic mural artist behind the Magic Garden on South St.
He brought in a chef, Rhett Vellner who's name you will see on  Philly foodsites and magazines as long as we are lucky to keep him in town. His food is outstanding and I can say this with legitimacy as I have eaten 90% of the menu.

Some might think of it as a date spot. Maybe even a "closing spot" as my friend Johnny GT used to say. The word that appears in most reviews so far is indeed "sexy." But my first trip included five people so we could pretty much traverse the entire menu. We ordered all the tartines (beef tartare is a must) most small plates,  two entrees and yes- dessert too.
Fromage Blanc Tartine wth Fig and Melon

This is from memory 10 days ago- but for me the standouts were The Falafel, The Octopus, The shrimp with White Gazpacho, the Duck Cassoulet, and the Eggs en cocotte with lamb.

If you like items with a dose of  decadence then you'll like the  Cauliflower au gratin.
Check it out when you get a chance.  They're open at 11 every day and also brunching on Saturday and Sunday.

I guarantee you regardless of day or night, you'll love every song. You'll love every bite.
(Full disclosure you can love an
 Allagash WHITE too;)
And if the report card convo comes up-
you'll probably give it a solid A.
Well-I guess that depends on your company.

Follow them on twitter for great quotes, and photos 

May 22, 2014

Philly Beer Week 2014 Allagash style

North 3rd
6-8PM Kicking off beer week with the tapping of ALLAGASH/IRON HILL collaboration “Camilla”

11-2PM Grey Lodge “Morning Wood” featuring all barrel-aged beers.
11-4:30 PM For Pete’s Sake ALLAGASH BRUNCH
2PM-6PM “Day of Games” City Tap House
8PM “Broads Brews and Queens” Smoking Bettys
4- close The Cambridge Dank, Dark Night featuring all dark beers that have been stashed from some stellar breweries.

2PM Kite and Key “Throwdown in Franklintown”
7PM “Girl Power Hour” Barly Chinatown
Join 12 local lady reps for dim sum and karaoke at Chinatown’s premier craft beer bar.

5PM Good Dog's 3rd annual “Ommegash it’s Allagang” Featuring the Belgian-style breweries of Allagash and Ommegang
8:30PM TIME  2nd annual Allagash Sausage Bash.
Chef Sean Magee creates the best of the wurst-awesome sausage pairings to soak up some of your beer week suds. I will work on my puns for next year.

ALL DAY: Village Whiksey Bourbon Barrel Aged beers featured.
5PM BRU: The Mainerd event featuring Allagash, Maine Beer and Oxbow!
5PM: Unos Chicago Neshaminy features Allagash.

12PM Tacos with Rob Tod at SANCHO PISTOLAS
7 PM “Say Cheese” at P.O.P.E. featuring the cheeses of Dibruno Bros.
Get your photo taken with the H.O.G. Maybe Rob Tod will photo bomb it.

12PM Join the lunch bunch at the Khyber pass pub. 14 Gash on tap!
4PM Brett three ways at TRIA TAPROOM with Rob Todd
7PM The 3rd annual Maine Event with RT
This year we’re headed to Philly’s “best new bar” (Philly Beer Scene Magazine) STRANGELOVES

12PM The Industry “Drinking and the Damage Done”
Neil Young tribute brunch.  I’ll be playing some Neil and friends on vinyl.


7-12PM T.T.U.D. “That totally unnecessary drink” - 6th annual Industry Karaoke party to celebrate survival of the most fit or most lit.