Category: Food


On Friday, the morning after our show at Akademia Brewing, we all left the house at 9 a.m. Joe and Lisa (Catanese) headed down to Savannah, where Joe had a show that night. They were wonderful hosts, as were the people of Athens, Ga. I headed into downtown Athens to get coffee. After parking, I took my backpack into Hendershots Coffee.

Hendershots is a cool looking place with a funky vibe. I came in the back from the parking lot through a back room and came out passing the bathrooms and the stage into the long open room. Tables and other sitting areas were on both sides until you reached the bar on the right side of the room – about a third the length of the room. There was a patio, accessible through the door across from the bar.

I got a dark roast, which turned out to be really good, and sat across the room from the bar. I checked my email, sent our youngest son, J.D., some pictures, and generally took care of business. The picture above was my view out their front window. Fortunately, the college was out, so it wasn’t crowded.

The clientele was varied, perfect for a people observer such as myself. There were still a few college students, still around for a job or summer school. After doing what I needed to do, I got a coffee to go and headed for Cartersville, Ga where I had a reservation at the KOA.

If you find yourself in or near Athens, Georgia of a morning, stop into Hendershots for coffee and a pastry. Or stop by at night for a drink and live music or comedy. Chances are you’ll enjoy yourself.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Joe Cat (Catanese) played for about half an hour before my set at Akademia Brewing Co. I did the same for Joe last September. We like playing shows together because our music compliments each other. Hearing our songs together – as it were – you get a good variation of views on life in all its facets.

Joe is the marine that served in Desert Storm, and I’m the old hippie with the military father. So that will tell you something. We connect by each respecting, understanding, and relating to each other’s life and songwriting motives.

My favorite songs of Joe’s are, fortunately, some of his favorites too so I’m usually sure I’ll hear them when he plays at least a half hour set.

Joe’s music is, in his words, “gritty, blue collar music.” Factory Line gives the listener the sense of factory work and its inherent challenges while trying to make a living. America’s Best relates life after the military trying to adjust to the complicated world outside the military. My all time favorite Joe Cat song is Silver Thread City, which I believe is about meeting his wife, Lisa. When you have a chance, check out his music on Reverbnation, Spotify, and all the usual places.

After getting another Altered Minds – an altbier, it was time for my set. All of the beers at Akademia are wonderful. But Altered Minds was so smooth and full-bodied that both Joe and I stuck with it. I made sure to take a four pack of 16oz. Olen Av Odin home. When I saw the description – a blackened lager – I knew I had to take some home. Unfortunately, they didn’t have it on tap. When Cyndy and I shared the first can, I wished I had brought more home.

If you’re in the area, make it a point to go by Akademia Brewing Company. Their chef prepares excellent menu items. The prime rib sandwich is my favorite. Have some samples and choose the beer for you. Trust me – they have it!

Fortified with beer and water, I hit the stage – not literally, but I stumbled, so almost. I began as I usually do with Hello Out There, my song for those on the autism spectrum, and the title song of my most recent cd. My set included the song I wrote with my daughter, Jennifer, when she was 12, the Aardvark Song, which everyone seems to like and many refer to as “the animal song,” and Jennifer’s favorite song of mine, Poet and the Lady. Being in the home area of Waffle House, I made sure to play my song, Waffle House (Is a Mighty Fortress). You can find my music at www.danroark.com, Spotify and so on.

After the show, we packed up and had another Altered Minds before headed back to Joe’s house. Another great night at Akademia Brewing Company!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Weaver D’s is a 33 year old institution in Athens, Ga. Joe Catanese took me there for lunch before our show at Akademia Brewery that night. And owner, Dexter Weaver, was front and center at the cash register.

You order the meat you want – they all come with two sides. In my case, I ordered the fried pork chop.

“Pork chop fried!” Dexter called out.

“Pork chop fried!” said the woman getting the vegetables.

“Automatic!” Dexter would say.

Dexter took Joe’s order and ran his card. Then he took my card and handed Joe his card, receipt, and a pen to sign the other receipt. He kept talking the whole time without looking at anyone. He turned, supposedly toward me with a receipt and pen. I already had my own pen in my hand. Then he handed it to the man behind me.

I laughed, turned to Joe and said, “I thought he was talking to me.”

“Just killing two birds with one stone,” Dexter said, never looking anyone in the eye while he was talking.

A few moments later, he gave me my receipts, one of which I signed.

Then, when the woman called out, “pork chop,” I told her my two sides – potato salad and collared greens – and she shuffled off to the refrigerator for the potato salad, and the stove for the collared greens. The utensils and so forth are self-serve.

As you can see on the sign in the picture above, and on the walls in the interior, Dexter’s full expression is “automatic for the people.” There are also pictures of R.E.M on the wall. The band asked Dexter if they could name their next album Automatic For the People. Weaver didn’t think too much about it since the band had been pilfering his food at night. But when they “told me who they was” he was pleased and excited. The album won a grammy, Rolling Stone talked about the soul food restaurant in Athens, people came from all over to eat there, and other good fortune came around.

But that was a while back. Now there is a push to get it registered as an historical landmark so they can get additional funding to continue. You can read the full Automatic for The People story and contribute to their crowdfunding page at http://www.weaverds.com.

As for the food, I was not disappointed with the first fried pork chop I have had. The edges of the chop curled up, making a half bowl, as it were. The fat on one side had split into three “fingers,” so it looked somewhat like a crab, with claws only on one side and a big fat thumb on the other. But it was very tasty. The grease had drained off nicely. It wasn’t a very large pork chop, but that happens. The ample potato salad and collared greens filled out the “I’m full” quotient quite nicely. They were by far the best collared greens I have ever had. And that’s saying something.

If you go to Athens, you owe it to yourself to eat at Weaver D’s. The parking can be tough, but it’s worth it. Hell, if you’re in Atlanta even, you might want to make it a day trip.

Automatic!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Automatic!”

Last Saturday I had the good fortune to play at Gilmer Brewing Company in – you guessed it – Gilmer, Texas. It’s located on the town square, which is always a nice touch. And, after dealing with metroplex driving all the time, a drive in East Texas is rather pleasant.

My son, Cameron, and I arrived at the brewery about 6 p.m. I was to play from 7-9. Owners, Ruth and Drew Emory, were welcoming and gracious. We set up the sound and were ready in plenty of time. Then it was time to get a beer. Kyleen Hunter and Matt Collier were helpful with that.

I tried the Peacemaker – a 6.2% Pilsner, and Buckeye – a 6.0% blonde lager. The NE IPA, “Pritchett Fog”, Shrapnel IPA, and the Big Woods stout all looked really inviting, but we still had to drive back to Dallas. Maybe next time…

The Saturday crowd at the Gilmer Brewing Company is a friendly, charming, and accepting bunch. Which is why I like to play breweries. It was a small but enthusiastic crowd as they say. They clapped, laughed, and even danced at one point (albeit slowly). And they were appreciative, I must say.

I certainly hope to return to Gilmer – town and brewery – but in the meantime, if you happen to be driving out 20 headed east: turn left just past Tyler and take a side trip to Gilmer and visit the brewery. You will be wholly welcomed and the brewery food is the perfect compliment to their five beers. Tell ’em I said hi!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Coming home from playing a show last week – back before the flu kicked my ass and I had to cancel a really good gig I was looking forward to – I turned left onto the access road for the entrance to Central Expressway. As I came around the turn, I noticed the cars in line at McDonalds. Behind the car at the window was a cop with all lights blazing. There were two cars waiting in line behind him.

I could not take a picture. I guess if I had acted quickly, I could have pulled over and taken a picture. But I did not want to chance drawing his attention away from the scenario that was unfolding at the McDonalds. And cops with lights blaring are bound to attract other cops. And I didn’t want to draw their attention either.

So I drove down Central, trying to avoid the people on their phone, and contemplated the mystery of the cop at McDonalds. The obvious scenario is that the cop was pulling over the guy in front of him and the guy pulled into line – briefly oblivious to his surrounding environment. Either that or they didn’t want to go to jail hungry.

The one final scenario would be that the cop was late getting where he/she was going and simply wanted the car at the window to hurry up and get out of their way so they could get their food.

Any other scenarios?

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

I just can’t quit Thin Mints (insert your personal Girl Scout cookie choice). I certainly can’t “eat just one” as the saying goes. Usually, I barely hear about the cookies in time to buy any. Or one of our sons buys a few boxes and we get to share.

This year, I was determined to stock up. I was about to go into Walmart when they were starting to sell them. I bought four boxes of Thin Mints. I gave Cyndy a box, and I had a box, and I put two boxes back. It wasn’t but a couple of days or so when the first two were gone.

The next time I went into Walmart on a weekend, I bought four more boxes of Thin Mints. The last two boxes of the first four were going quickly. But now we had four boxes to spare. But, despite putting them in the freezer – out of sight and out of mind – they still were going. Not as quickly, but definitely steadily.

Then it began to be harder to find a sales location. The list of cookie sales sites on the Girl Scout website helped. One Saturday, I went to the wrong Half-Price books. The next Saturday, our son, Cameron, and I made another cookie run. This time I bought five boxes. Between the two of us, we bought them out of Thin Mints.

I put all five boxes in the freezer. I had seven boxes. I’m not sure how many Cameron had. So, to this point, Cyndy and I had gone through four boxes. That does not include the box my Mom gave us. Cyndy and I tried on another Saturday, but apparently they were out because no one was there.

I don’t know how long the remaining boxes will last. But once a box is open, its life is short. I know, though, that my question will not be answered again this year.

How many boxes would it take to last until next year? While I still don’t know, I do know that it is quite a few more boxes than just fourteen.

The other question I would like to know is – could I afford enough Thin Mints to last until next year?

Damn the Girl Scouts and their cookies!

Peace be with you.

Layne Elizabeth

Layne Elizabeth opened the last Shaun and Dan  show at Love and War in Texas, Plano on Tuesday, February 6 on TexasSelectRadio.com. Layne is another of the talented young singer-songwriters playing around the Dallas area. She shared her own originals and a couple of cover songs. She has a lovely voice and insights in her songs that belie her age. Follow the link above to know where she’s playing next

Craig Langford is a bassist by profession, but he like’s the “songwriting thing.” Which is good for us because he’s pretty good at it. He illustrated

Craig Langford

his talent in a set of original songs. The most touching of which was a song about his mother, entitled simply, My Mom.

Rickey Gene Wright followed Langford on stage. Due to the encroaching storm, Rickey was the last performer of the evening. He played a set of his

Rickey Gene Wright

Americana music. Songs such as There is Nothin’ Like the Love of a Texas Girl, and Island Red. He played my favorite song of his, the haunting Waitin’ On My Time.

As always, follow the links and hear their songs for yourself. Better yet, go see them play.

If you would like a spot on the Shaun and Dan TSR Show at Guitars and Growlers on Mondays, send me a message.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

Shelby Ballenger

Shaun Outen and Dan Roark hosted the Songwriters Showcase on November 28 at Love and War in Texas in Plano. I’m a little behind, but it was too good a show not to share.

Shelby Ballenger and Brad Wayne Purdom swapped songs to start the show. Ballenger played her songs Messing With a Cowboy, and Smell the Rain among others. She also played Hank William’s You’re Cheating Heart, and Kris Kristofferson’s Me and Bobby McGee.

Brad Wayne Purdom

Purdom’s “set” included his songs, Gypsy Soul and Bright Light of Day. Brad Wayne also played his song about John Fulbright. He assisted Shelby on lead and harmonica.

Mr. Troll and I took the stage next and swapped songs. Troll played what open mic regulars would refer to as his “greatest hits.” Which obviously included Cry, which is one of my favorites. And of course, Going Nowhere. I played songs from my

Dan Roark

upcoming cd, Hello Out There. Shaun Outen closed out the show with a set of his own tunes mixed with covers.

Check out the links and hear the music for yourself. You won’t regret it. Go see them live when and if you get the chance. You won’t regret that either.

Mr. Troll Mallow

Come out and listen or play on Tuesday’s at Love and War. The heaters and enclosures make it comfortable. Come join us!

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Shaun Outen

Bill Hook, Host

Bill Hook, host, opened the Songwriters Night at Guitars and Growlers on Wednesday, November 22. He played his songs, Let’s Dance, Give Me a Chance, and Heartache Blues.

Dan Roark took the stage next and played four songs from his upcoming cd, Hello Out ThereRob Case followed Dan with his signature song, Bayou City – about Houston. Case also played his version of Stormy Monday.

Dan Roark

Bill Nash played next and played four original songs, the last of which was a song with great wordplay, James Dean’s Genes. Alex Benavides played a set of covers with an original. He turned Country Roads into a sing-a-long that everyone enjoyed.

Khalil Coffield

Khalil Coffield just happened to stop in with a couple of friends. He signed up for an impromptu performance. Coffield is a good young songwriter with interesting songs.

Emma and her father were with the fairly large party in front of the stage. Emma put only her first name on the signup sheet. I had to leave without getting her last name. She sang a song or two with the words on her phone and her father playing guitar.

Follow the links and listen to these songwriters yourself. You’ll enjoy the experience. The next time you get a chance, go listen to them perform their songs live. More pictures will be posted on my Facebook music page.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

My show at Tribal Cafe on Sunday, November 12 was my second show there. I played a show with Gary Stockdale there back in April. It’s a funky little place in the Echo Park area of LA, not far from Dodgers Stadium.

The menu is healthy, expansive, and all over the wall by the order window. It’s best to ask what they recommend – the choices are overwhelming.                                                                           

The crowd was not as big as in April, but was just as enthusiastic. Neighborhood folks came in and lingered for a song or two while they waited for their order. Some stayed for a few songs. And the staff is always receptive to music.

I played a set of songs that included most of the songs on my new cd that I was to begin recording the next day. From the title song, Hello Out There, to the Aardvark Song, to Wishy Washy World and others.

Dan Roark

The upper picture is from my April show. The  picture to the left is my look this trip. After my set, I hung around to listen to the first few performers in the open mic. My thoughts on the performers will be in another post comparing Dallas open mics to LA open mics.

But if you’re in LA and want a funky neighborhood place to eat, check out Tribal Cafe. Friendly service, good food, innumerable choices – great place for coffee or smoothie. Entertainment pretty much every day of the week.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

 

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