Lesson One… Always make a dining reservation on a Saturday night… There is nothing wrong with spontaneity, but it is also good to be protected and have some brass in the pocket… You know, just in case.
Soowoon Galbi, the great Korean BBQ place had a 45 minute wait, and that would have been cutting things too close! Jegil (제길)!!! We drove by BCD Tofu House, which looked awfully inviting and is on my want-to-go-to list… be we opted for our second choice, the all-you-can-eat Hae Jang Chon… Well, that is until we saw the line out the door and into the parking lot. Sigh… (For the record, the line was still out the door when we came back to the car at 11 at night… Guess those young kids needed some sustenance before clubbing!!!)
Not wanting to walk any more, we were drawn in by the amazing smells of Kyochon Chicken… right in the same mini mall. The place was filled with a lot of young Koreans, which was a good sign, as was the boasting of serving healthy food on the wall. I asked, “Fried chicken, healthy? How?” He said it was all organic and that the oil was changed every day… Fine. It seemed a bit pricey for wings, but when those deep battered honey wings came out, stand back… We took down a 16-piece box… and Rob assures me I ate more than he did. We also split the grilled chicken plate. All delicious!!! Next time I would try the drum sticks… They looked quite good.
I still want to hit Soowoon Galbi again… so tasty… and try Oo Kook and Honey Pig (supposedly they give you a free pig lighter if you ask for it…) but this was a good, spur of the moment choice. Fried chicken still does not seem that healthy to me, but it is what it is…
Lesson Two… Always arrive in time for the opening act. It is respectful, common courtesy, and you might just make a wonderful discovery.
That’s what we did with Nataly Dawn. Take a beautiful woman with a beautiful voice… think of mixing a cocktail with Norah Jones and Meiko and throw in a little honky-tonk, and you get a really fun set. We got to say a quick hello between acts, and she seemed so genuine and sweet. Best of luck to you, my dear!
Lesson Three… If you do not know the music of Ben Folds Five, you are missing out on an amazing world. If you do not see them live, you are missing out on a show that will give you bliss and joy and keep you smiling the whole night long.
I am not sure when I first heard and heard about Ben Folds, but it was early on… The love grew deeper when my long-lost and lamented KSCA 101.9 played him… a lot. His music spoke to me… and in fact, I have often called Ben my mental and musical Doppelganger. How could he be writing the exact ideas and thoughts in my head???
Looking out at the audience last night I was fascinated to see folks in my age group, as well as a whole lotta young folks… There were a lot of 20s out there. The music was connecting us all. It is because Ben writes specifically… and thus connects universally.
Ben writes about being broken… He writes about trying to fit in… He writes about love and life and trying to be a good man in a cynical world. It starts in high school… and doesn’t stop in adulthood or parenthood. We are all broken. We are all trying to fit in… and we have all felt left out… “I was never cool in school” resonates with so many of us. Searching, yearning… Ben Folds captures that so perfectly.
Then you throw in the amazing bass of Robert Sledge, the drums of Darren Jessee, and the super stellar harmonies of both… and you have something truly special. Those harmonies are amazing… stunning and this is one of those bands, and it was one of those nights that just grabbed me in the heart and made me smile. Man, they are good… so amazingly good. The musicianship, the playfulness, the thoughts and ideas and just watching the joy they obviously had at being back together.
I will take Ben in any incarnation… he is an amazing writer and performer and multi-instrumentalist… but with Darren and Robert it becomes something even brighter… Beautiful sounds like nothing else you’ve heard. Well… yes, there is the stomping and banging of Jerry Lee Lewis, Elton John, and Simon and Garfunkel… there is Broadway and jazz… There is rock and pop.
There is the Ben Folds Five!
And if anyone knows where I can find the BFF shirt with the piano on the front and “I was never cool for school on the back…” please guide me! Please!
Lesson Four… those bacon wrapped hot dogs ARE as good as they smell… For years I have stood by the carts, inhaling what might just be the best aroma on earth. But I have never indulged… until last night. Rob and I were de-virginized at the same time… gently sharing one delicious dog…
The hot dogs are wrapped in bacon… sizzling on a flat cart in all that oil. Then there are the sautéed peppers and onions. Mmm… For some odd reason I did not get a jalapeno, which was a culinary mistake I will now have to make up for. The dog needs that spice… that extra kick. You can top them with whatever you want, and I went with mayo and mustard… I can and will never put ketchup on a hot dog. Can’t do it.
Some carts definitely seem to be better than others… even with the slew of almost 10 that were outside the Wiltern… so choose wisely… and Enjoy!!!