Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Puffy Cloud Day

It is always surprising how easily you can hop out of bed when you don’t have to go to work.

The morning after the Elbow concert, we woke up bright and early, checked out of our hotel, and walked to the café around the corner for a leisurely outdoor breakfast.

We then set off to Rehoboth Beach.

Though there were several tasty options, we decided to have lunch at The Dogfish Head Brewery.

Since it was an off-season Monday afternoon, we had no problem getting a table.

We started out with the fried pickle spears. They were huge, and unexpectedly filling.

For my main meal, I got the short rib sloppy Joe. You know how sometimes you bite into something and right away little happy mmmmmm fireworks go off in your brain? That’s exactly what happened.  The sloppy Joe was fabulous. The French fries were also fantastic. Fresh cut with just the right amount of earthy flavor; crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and sprinkled with the perfect amount of sea salt.
 My husband got the cheeseburger.  He said it was delicious. His favorite part was the bacon stuffed onion ring that topped the burger.
After our delightful lunch, we took a walk along the main street that is lined with restaurants and cute shops.

We then took a stroll on the boardwalk.

The weather was amazing. The picture perfect blue skies were filled with angelic puffy clouds.  
We were surprised by how jumping the beach was on an off-season Monday, though it never felt crowded.  I imagine that Rehoboth Beach is probably a chaotic mad house during the height of the summer season.

One of the reasons I wanted to visit Rehoboth Beach, was because they have three different homemade ice cream places.

It was hard to choose, but I settled on The Ice Cream Store since it had the best variety of flavors. 

The selection was actually a bit overwhelming. 
There were some interesting flavors.

Since I usually always have to try at least one flavor containing peanut butter, I chose a scoop of peanut butter ripple and a scoop of the Samoa.
My ice cream didn't need sprinkles, but I appreciated The Ice Cream Store’s sprinkle bar.  
The ice cream was good, though not as good as some of our favorite places. I liked the extra creamy peanut butter in the peanut butter ripple.

Because we felt the need to squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of our day off, we decided to take the Cape May-Lewes Ferry from Rehoboth Beach to Cape May before driving the rest of the way home.
While waiting for the ferry to arrive, we enjoyed watching some crew members working up in the rigging of the docked historic ship.

Though breezy, the ferry ride was a relaxing mode of transportation.

  It was a nice way to further revel in the flawless blue skies, and it provided a brilliant ending to our little getaway.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Elbow at the 9:30 Club

I love the U.K. band Elbow. I use their music all of the time when I write. 
When I want to rock out, I put on Grounds for Divorce. 
On Fridays when the weather is nice, I roll down my car windows and crank up One Day Like This while I drive home from work. 
Their music weaves little threads into my soul. They are one of my favorite bands ever, and they do not tour in the United States often, so as soon as they announced U.S. tour dates, I excitedly began counting down the days until I could rock out and sing “there’s a hole in my neighborhood down which of late I cannot help but fall…” with a crowded room filled with fellow Elbow fans.  

The band was making a stop in Philadelphia, but they were playing at The Electric Factory, which is our least favorite Philadelphia concert venue.  We saw Elbow a few years ago at the 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. and loved the venue, so we decided to trek to D.C. once again.  

Using our trusty friend Priceline, we booked a room at The Courtyard Marriott in Crystal City Virginia. 

The best part about the hotel, aside from the reasonable price, was that it was within walking distance of the Metro.
After checking in, we had a light lunch at a café around the corner. Then we took a lovely walk past shops, restaurants, and cafes to the Metro station.  While we were trying to figure out how to purchase passes, a very nice woman walked up to us and explained that she and her husband had purchased all day Metro passes. They were done using them and asked if we perhaps would like to have them. The passes were good for unlimited rides until midnight. Score! My cousin and I used the free passes while the boys used regular purchased passes. We hopped on the yellow line and road it to the U-street section of the city.

 We purposely arrived early so we could walk around for a bit. The weather was perfect.

We ate at Ben's Chili Bowl on our last trip

A picture for Vanessa
We met up with some friends at Zenebech Injera, an Ethiopian restaurant. 

Our meal was very yummy.

 I especially liked the yellow split peas and the Kitfo. It was also incredibly cheap. Dinner for two that included two drinks (mango nectar), a shared appetizer, and a platter of Ethiopian delights only cost us $20.

Once our meal was consumed, we took a brief walk to the 9:30 Club.  

If you are really into music and/or concerts, I recommend going to the 9:30 club at least once.  It doesn't look like much from the outside, but once inside, the vibe is really cool.
Since we stood in the balcony the last time we were there, we opted to mingle with crowd on the floor this time. 
This was Elbow’s first stop on the tour and Guy, the band’s front man, laughed that he didn't anticipate how scary the giant stone angel, used as the stage backdrop, would be. 
After he said that, several members of the audience yelled,

      “Don’t Blink!”

Guy, didn't know what that meant, proving that not all Brits are Doctor Who Fans (there's a song called The Night Will Always Win, that always makes me think of Amy and Rory. They played it at the concert with the angel behind them. I kind of geeked out).

The concert was amazing! 

 Usually when you go to a concert, you are happy if the band plays a couple of your favorites. 

Elbow opened with Charge and I was like

"Wow, I love this song!"
Next they played Bones of You, and I was like

"This is one of my absolute favorites!" 

Then Fly Boy Blue/Lunette was the next song and I was all, 
"This one is great!"  

When I saw the mirror ball hanging above the stage, I turned to my husband and said, 

"I bet they’re going to play Mirror Ball at some point,"
and I was right.

A lot of the awesomeness of the concert must be attributed to Guy.  He’s great at interacting with the audience and getting everyone involved.  He has a fantastic contagious energy that he gladly shares with the fans. He often shouted,
“Cheers everyone,” throughout the night. 

The crowd, including myself, went wild when Grounds for Divorce started. I was in full rock out mode.

While we were clapping and waiting for the encore I turned to my husband and said,

“I hope they do One Day Like This.”

When they came back out they went into Lippy Kids (which always reminds me of my childhood Blenheim crew hanging out on the corner of Highland and Cummings Ave) and then they played One Day Like This. It was magical with everyone waving their arms in the air, singing the chorus in unison.
There was such an awe-inspiring vibe and soul quenching vitality to the entire evening.

We made it back to Crystal City at 11:57 pm, with three minutes to spare before our free Metro passes expired. Once in our hotel room I plopped my head down on my pillow with the words

"So throw those curtains wide, one day like this a year would see me right ….." singing me off to sleep

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Super Saturday

I jumped out of bed with the excitement of a kid on Christmas morning. Not only was it the first day of Collingswood  Farmers' Market, it was also Free Comic Book Day.

I arrived at the Farmer's Market bright and early. 
 Since it's still early in the growing season there wasn't a lot of produce yet,

but there were plenty of plants for building the perfect garden.
I've purchased some great vegetable plants from this farm

I was excited to see all of my Farmers' Market favorites.
My absolute favorite yogurt and mozzarella 

Roasted Asparagus quesadilla from Tortilla Press  

Iced Coffee from The Treehouse
There was a family walking behind me as I was leaving. The mom said,
"Who's ready to go to the beach?"
Ordinarily I would have wanted to say,
"I am," but today they could go to the beach because I was headed to All Things Fun for Free Comic Book Day! 

All Things Fun had some serious security, and it was jumping.

There was a fantastic selection of free comics this year.

I knew right away that I wanted Avatar and Hello Kitty (with special Bravest Warriors art work), but I had a difficult time choosing between Duck Tales and the Kaboom with Adventure Time and Regular Show.

Mordecai and Rigby won.
There was also a comic book signing going on. I got a signed copy of Wonderland Asylum.
Of course it wouldn't be All Things Fun without a little extra fun.
Thank heaven for little girls who love Superheros

and big girls too
After making a few extra on sale purchases, I hauled my loot to the car.

I made plans to meet up with a friend for dinner later, so I had a few hours to kill. 

Oh look. There happens to be a comic book store near where we are meeting for dinner.

I wasn't sure if there were any particular rules for Free Comic Book Day or any special etiquette, and I wondered if it was somehow cheating going to a second store, but I was hoping that The Comic Book Store in Glassboro had some copies of Duck Tales left.  

The Comic Book Store was also jumping, and they did have my copy of Duck Tales. I also picked up a few extras.

I ended up making up my own etiquette, figuring that as long I made purchases 
at the stores, it was okay to collect a few more free comics.

Haul #2 
It was a Super Saturday. I'm looking forward to a wonderful Farmers' Market season, and I am already working out my schedule for Free Comic Book day next year (All Things Fun, The Comic Book Store and must hit Level Up for diorama fun).