June 21, 2011

the Longest Day

Greetings from sunny Côte d'Azur. This isn't me, but rather a surrogate. That is, brought to you by a surrogate - the photos at least - who's celebrating the Fête de la Musique in Aix-en-Provence. Probably up to her ears by now in free music that's worth every penny and wine that's only slightly better. As though the shots from Monaco weren't irritating enough.

I've only been to the capital city. Three times, all business, which I guess in Paris is still mostly pleasure. Speaking of which, nothing quite like Paris at night. Though today... today you'll just have to wait a little later to take that evening stroll.

Happy summer...


June 19, 2011

You Can Tell A Lot

Dad always said you can tell a lot about a man by the way he keeps his shoes. Polished and buffed... a good pair of shoes'll last you longer than you'll need 'em, if they're cared for. He taught me some tricks of the trade before I was old enough to even wear shoes that needed caring. His boots were my lessons. Class on Sunday. Dad in the chair, pull-tab yellow bellies, golf on tv made for a quiet afternoon... though the Cowboys inspired a little more color.  

These are the perfect memories I'm allowed to have.

June 17, 2011

Roadside Eats - Morada Bay Beach Café

Leg two...

Unwound for a few hours after Alabama Jacks with a little rum and a little sun and headed farther south, toward Islamorada and the Morada Bay Beach Café. Facing west, and blue skies turn to orange-red-pink-night. It was Kentucky Derby Day but unfortunately no Full Moon Party… one could only be so lucky. Arrived at four and left at ten and for six hours my toes never left the sand. Grouper and tuna and end-of-season stone crab… my first of the weekend but not my last.

81590 Overseas Highway
Islamorada, FL 33036

June 14, 2011

Roadside Eats - Alabama Jacks

You can get from Coconut Grove in Miami to North Key Largo in less than an hour. It’s a trip I’ve had the good fortune to make a number of times these past few years.  Hit the split at US-1 and the Old Dixie Hwy, left at the Last Chance Saloon, and skip over Card Sound Road into the Keys. But just before you pay the toll get ya’ a pit stop at Alabama Jack’s. Since 1947. We'll call this leg one of the Upper Key Doble...

They call it weathered… I call it grizzled. They say it’s Downtown Card Sound... I say it’s the only taxable commerce within an 11-mile radius. Bikers welcome… all others discouraged. Live band playing Willie when we walked in, which was as much a welcome as we might hope for. Sat along the rail looking over the mangrove forests, watching the boats head out toward Blackwater Sound, drinking Red Stripe and eating grilled dolphin and shrimp and conch fritters. “Best in the Keys.”

58000 Card Sound Road
Key Largo, FL 33037
305/ 248-8741

June 10, 2011

Free Drinks... Yesterday

For a couple nights this week I played host to the rock climbing, June skiing, squash playing, Virginia residing fella behind Boys Girls Mountains. It’s one of the more rewarding aspects of this capture-as-you-live exercise… getting to meet good interesting people either on my home turf or on theirs, where otherwise our paths would have never crossed. Hopefully I did my part as Sherpa, helping navigate the local terrain...

We met for drinks at Ocho, the Hotel Havana’s latest offering to the patrons of our famed Riverwalk. Entering to the drumbeat of rumba music on the open-air patio and a full house we were faced with a choice: Havana Margarita, Hemingway Daiquiri, Martinique Punch. All iced up and for the taking, which we did, surreptitiously. What is this I thought... Free drink Wednesday? Even at private parties I still feel like I’m stealing, but this I could get used to.

Then last night we caught Rhett Miller and his band of merry men the Old 97’s, who played a terrific set to a packed house at Sam’s Burger Joint. Sarah Jaffe opened things up, decidedly lower key than what was about to take the stage but a beautiful crooner.

Now we both have stories to share. Read his very flattering and much more thorough recap here. Off to Dallas…

June 5, 2011

Heritage (est. 1852)

No more than a half hour west of San Antonio, just outside Boerne, sits Herff Ranch… its entrance marked by a non-descript stone post that at 70mph would go unnoticed. But a closer look shows that it was established in 1852, and for the past 150-plus years has been operated by the same family; that little milestone got it into the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Family Land Heritage program last year, which is a good thing, what with that devastating sprawl butting up against the fence line.

We lucked out – friends of the family – and designated as such spent part of the Memorial Day weekend in the hills poolside.  Then skeet shooting until sundown, at which point it was time for sundowners: first gin of the season (a Southside Fizz… more on that later). I woke up early the next morning just before the house stirred and grabbed a coffee and a shot of the oak trees stretched out.