Monday, October 17, 2011

Young and old

Heck of a weekend, musically speaking.
*Last Saturday, some youth musicians from the Upper Bucks Alliance for Creative Expression entertained at a Salford Valley Winery event benefiting epilepsy awareness. It turns out they have a concert saluting "classic progressive rock" at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at Pennridge High School, 1228 N. Fifth St. in Perkasie. Tickets are $17.50 at the door, $15 in advance, $12 for seniors and $10 for students.
A fun time was had by all. It had been three years since the winery had held an event, and I think Brenda and Ed Staehle could use some encouragement to not wait another three years to open up the barn for tastings. So click on the link to their site right now. I'll wait.
*The Lansdale Community Concerts series has always been a maddening thing for me. It's a subscription series that's forever sold out. You can't get tickets to individual concerts; you have to purchase a season subscription. And in order to get a subscription, you have to be put on a waiting list.
Also, judging by the sea of white hair in the audience at North Penn High School for these things, it looks like it's a requirement that you have to be old to attend. Or maybe it's the wait to get off the waiting list that ages you?
So through my connections, I got a pair of unused LCC tickets to see Chespeake, Va.'s Hunt Family Saturday night. Wickedly talented stepdancers, songwriters and musicians, with a mom, dad and seven kids, ages 13-21.
Younger audiences would have loved this concert. They played songs by Mumford & Sons and Jason Mraz, for goodness sake! However, for some reason, LCC seems unfairly hellbent on keeping these events exclusive to the silver-haired set.
As my girlfriend pointed out in the concert program, the organization's biggest patron is Elm Terrace Gardens. Of the other 13 major contributors, five of them are retirement communities.
When Sandy Hunt, the mother of the brood, mentioned that you could follow The Hunt Family on Facebook, she asked if anybody in the audience used Facebook. A big laugh went up from the predominantly senior audience. Yeah, you can take that as a "no," Sandy.
*Dirty Jerzees? Sounds like the name of a strip club!
Crazy Train? Sounds like the name of an Ozzy Osbourne tribute band! And there actually is an Ozzy tribute band by that name.
However, this venue is the new sports bar that's in the same building as Clubhouse Too in Upper Gwynedd, and this Crazy Train is a nice 'n' tight classic rock cover band. Check out my video.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Foodies and locavores rejoice

With the number of food scares in recent years -- including a recent outbreak of listeria linked to Colorado-grown cantaloupes -- local artisanal food matters. And there's loads of it in Bucks County.
A food blogger and an employee of NFL Films, who attend the same New Hope synagogue, have teamed up to bring you an impressive array of sustainable, organic foods in off-the-beaten-path locations with Bucks County Food Tours.This new venture from Lynne Goldman and Alan Brown takes five hours (10-3 Fridays through Sundays; other times by appointment) to fully appreciate as they chauffeur you, take you to lunch, and personally introduce you to the proprietors of family farms, orchards, bakeries, and ice cream makers that insist on locally produced ingredients.
"Bring your camera and your cooler," said Goldman, noting that once you get an appreciation (and maybe a sample) of the difference grass-fed beef, artisanal ice cream or raw milk makes, you'll want to buy and take some home the day of your tour.
There are also special interest tours available, such as "Meat and Greet," which focuses on butchers, "Seize the Cheese," and "Vegan Voyage."
The "Mixed Bag of Bucks" tour that my girlfriend (who took the terrific pictures) and I hit on a crisp fall day began with "Sticky Buns 101" with Roseann and Kerry Burns of the Town Crier Bakery at Peddlers Village in Lahaska.
Three Newtown area locations followed.
Be advised that you will need sturdy footwear to negotiate the pastures at Birchwood Farms. It's worth it to have a taste of the flavorful, raw milk garlic cheddar cheese.
Also the hairy, boar-like breed of pigs, which are later rendered as organically certified, grass-fed pork, like to give "love bites." Hoping that I might be carrying a chicken egg snack like the ones farmer Mike Tierney was tossing about, one of them nipped my knee.
This guy didn't bite...

These guys do, however.

The curious cows at Birchwood will also walk right up to you as you don blue booties over your shoes to prevent the spread of any animal diseases.
The Milk House Farm Market, which has been in the same family since 1813, grows 42 varieties of tomatoes, every kind of squash you can think of, 75 hens, muscovy ducks, two alpacas, a llama ... but no partridge in a pear tree.
Peppers at Milk House Farm Market.

Brown claims Ely Farm Products has "the best bacon in Bucks County." Their different kinds of bologna are pretty darn good.
"Nationwide, we're in an arc of learning and an awareness of our food. The cream really rises to the top," Brown said.
The lunch portion of the tour involved a trek across the Delaware River to Frenchtown, N.J. to the Lovin' Oven. The locally sourced, three course meal changes. Ours consisted of an heirloom acorn squash soup that was too heavy on the ginger, a Swallow Hill Farm mixed greens salad with red beet matchsticks (yum) and Appetehikan Farm goat cheese, and either an omelet or an open faced sandwich. The sandwich, which had hearty bread, brie and a honey/balsamic reduction, featured slices of apples from the next destination, Manoff Market Gardens, in a bucolic section of Solebury Township.
Feng shui with pumpkins at Manoff Market Gardens.

Manoff grows 26 different kinds of apples, five of them go into their apple cider.
"This is a problem. We need to grow them with their names on them (so people know the difference)," joked Amy Manoff.
Manoff's canned peaches are also popular.
"Once we discovered (Manoff Market Gardens), we had to keep coming back," commented Warminster resident Judy Miller.
OWowCow Creamery at the Carousel Village in Wrightstown makes a point of using locally sourced, organic cream, free range eggs, and local honey, fruits and berries, to make small-batch ice cream. They have some of the strangest flavors ever -- chocolate jalaLinkpeno, sweet potato wasabi, rose water cardamon ... There's three different flavors of VANILLA, for cryin' out loud. "It's the flavor that hits you first, and the intensity of the flavor," said Goldman, noting that you don't find chunks of anything in OWowCow's ice cream.
Owner John Fezzuoglio described ice cream making as a personal voyage of self discovery after sensing a lack of sense of community in his native Brooklyn.
Bucks County Food Tours cost $95 per person. Call (215) 794-4191 or (215) 598-3979.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Chris Brown ... come on, man

I'll admit to being a hater.
When Chris Brown broke onto the scene with "Run It" at the age of 16, it smacked of a Hanson- or Aaron Carter-like fast track to oblivion.

Then there was that whole regrettable chapter with Rihanna.

And then came this song

Yeah, it's supposed to be a Michael Jackson tribute. But the song actually sounds more like SWV's "Right Here/Human Nature."

Chris Brown ... come on, man. We've already heard this song ... twice!
It's true that top-of-his-game MJ (who is now back in the news because of his doctor going on trial) gave that SWV song a chance to be a hit in the first place. But "She Ain't You" seems to have every bit to do with SWV as it does Michael Jackson because Chris Brown flat out steals the "Right Here" melody.
Why no love for the Sistahs With Voices, Chris?