January 30 – February 1, 2015

Friday night we attended the pre-opening of Dashi Ramen, which, when it opens officially, will be the 2nd-closest restaurant to our house. McDonald’s being the first.

M has been on a sort of semi-committal not-overly-strict Paleo thing for a while, and while I do my own thing, I have tended to eschew carb-heavy meals. Although lately I can’t resist getting fries with my burger at Geer St. I’m going to blame the cold weather for that.

Anyway, point being that the last thing we need 3 blocks from home is a noodle place. So I’m actually really excited about the Izakaya portion of the place, where presumably a variety of meaty skewers await.

Billy & Kelli Cotter have been our friends since the early days of Toast, which was nearly as close to our then apartment in West Village as Dashi is to our current home. I’m pretty sure there were entire months when I ate at Toast at least four times a week.

Judging from what I saw the other night, Dashi is aiming at a slightly higher price-point, which might piss off some of the locals who’ve been dreaming of a giant $8 bowl of ramen, but which should hopefully also minimize the line-out-the-door factor that plagues so many other ramen joints around the country.

The space is gorgeous, the people are friendly (and we saw a lot of familiar faces, including the woman who was the longtime front-of-house manager at Panzanella), and the food was of course outstanding.

Saturday I took M’s dad to the Wal-Mart to shop for jeans. I think the last time I set foot in a Wal-Mart was on a trip to Kentucky to visit M’s mom, so I guess this was kind of appropriate. Wal-Mart sure is weird, though.

Saturday night we saw the Branford Marsalis Quartet at Baldwin Auditorium. Branford’s drummer had been misled into having the eggs & salmon at Elmo’s, and was laid up with some heavy-duty food poisoning at the start of the set, so Branford & his longtime pianist Joey Calderazzo tapped one of their former NCCU students, Tyler Leek, to sit in for the first half of the set. He did a solid job, particularly given that he’d only gotten the setlist two hours before the gig.

The whole evening was loose and goofy and felt more like a Tuesday-night club gig than a Saturday night university performing arts thing. Lots of clowning around and shout-outs to friends in the audience. And the music was outstanding. I’ve seen & heard plenty of avant-garde/modern jazz in my life, but I’m still partial to a quartet that swings (and a rhythm section that doesn’t take many solos).

Sunday was Sunday. There’s a new taco night menu at Dos Perros which has a couple more appetizers and a couple more large entrees in addition to the tacos. The barbacoa taco is gone, which is OK with me since it was always kind of overly damp. The biggest & most important change is hand-made tortillas! Huge step forward & one they should’ve taken the day they opened.

January 30 – February 1, 2015