Sunday, April 12, 2015

You Can't Beat Burrata

I went to Atlanta! But I forgot my precious jotting book. So I jotted nothing. I'll try to remember what happened anyway. See, I noticed that Kelly Hogan was playing there, in a band called the Decembrists. And I knew that my sister and brother-in-law love that band (as an old, out-of-touch person, I know the name but had never heard their music somehow - except I think they once used a Decembrists song on MAD MEN! That's something an old person can really get behind), so I thought it would be fun to go to Atlanta and see Hogan onstage with the Decembrists and maybe my sister and brother-in-law could go backstage after the show, and so could I, and that's what we did. Oh yeah, and Abby was there! Abby took this picture of Hogan and her friend Nora singing. Abby knows the Decembrists' road manager (I think) so she went backstage too. Yeah, Abby used to live in Chicago and go to the Hideout back when Hogan was tending bar there, and they never even knew it... it's a small world I tell ya! So guess who I saw backstage. That's right, Andy Hopkins, the greatest "blogger" ever on the subject of canned food, who hasn't updated his blog since 2011. So I upbraided him for depriving the world of pleasure, but I thanked him for all the pleasure he has given us already. HASN'T HE DONE ENOUGH? And I met this one guy who said (I thought), "I'm in a band with Kelly," and I said, "Oh! Which one?" And he said, "Uh, the one that just played." Ha ha ha! See how old I am? I had already forgotten him from mere moments earlier. He was very nice about it. We gave Hogan a ride to Manuel's. My sister went home (they live across the street) but my brother-in-law stayed out, and I would say a majority of the Decembrists came over and everybody had a good time at Manuel's. Kelly and I particularly wanted to go because neither of us lives in Atlanta anymore and as you know they are probably going to ruin Manuel's soon. Then everybody went to the Clermont Lounge, another old stomping ground. (I must say that my brother-in-law went home instead! He did not set foot in that disreputable spot.) The Clermont was packed to the gills! Is that an expression? You couldn't even move around in there. I said to Hogan, "I don't remember it being like this." And she said, "I blame Anthony Bourdain." It is true that Mr. Bourdain did a televised segment on the Clermont, although I have never seen it. BUT HERE IS A TRIVIA FACT! Remember when I was on the Anthony Bourdain television program? There is some "B-roll" footage on the show of Anthony Bourdain and Bill Griffith and me standing around in the front hall of William Faulkner's house. And you can't hear us talking, but what we are talking about is the Clermont Lounge! It was what gave rise to Bill's memorable aphorism, "Dirty places are getting harder and harder to find." Speaking of which! I had lunch with Shana the day after the show, and she said that at the same time Manuel's is going to be shut down for nefarious "improvements" the Clermont will be shut down for the same reason! So for some period of time Atlanta will be without the Clermont Lounge and Manuel's. WHAT WILL HAPPEN? I assume the city will sink into an abyss. Oh, Atlanta! How you love to shoot yourself in the foot. One new thing was hot dogs for sale in the Clermont Lounge parking lot. A PREVIOUSLY UNTHINKABLE OCCURRENCE. Abby had one and so did I. Mustard and sauerkraut! The following evening, Bill Taft wanted to meet up for a drink at La Tavola for old times' sake. I went back and checked the wall of photographs of "regulars," which had been neatened and straightened and purged of dead weight. Dr. Theresa and I were among the casualties! Our picture is gone from the wall. Sic transit gloria mundi! All the old faces are gone. I didn't see anybody I knew at La Tavola. Except Bill! He wanted an appetizer and I saw burrata on the menu. I told him the story of the time everyone knew what burrata was except me. Bill ordered it, and I am happy to say that he was just as thrilled with the burrata as I was when I first had it. You can't beat burrata! Bill said that he had once entertained fantasies of making La Tavola his "family spot." His intention was to be "the cool dad who drinks grappa." But then he brought his family there and his three-year-old son threw up. So that didn't work out! Anyway, his son is about ready to go off to college now. I AM JUST TELLING YOU HOW LIFE WORKS.