Saturday, August 27, 2011

Jazz & Red Wine

At the beginning of the summer Ryan and I made our second visit to ‘Blues Alley’ in Georgetown / D.C. It’s a jazz supper club which is rising in the ranks of my favorite date night spots. I always thought the live music and dinner venues of the Lucille Ball and ‘White Christmas’ era seemed so classy. Blues Alley has yet to disappoint. We caught Dick Morgan’s quartet on our last trip, and they were great! I’m not well versed enough in music to describe the sound well, but it reminded me of the tunes often featured on public radio’s ‘River Walk Jazz’ series. I’m not a jazz fan per se, but it’s hard to beat a good live group.

Blues Alley is not a big place and starts to feel smaller the more people fill in minutes before the show. We came early both times to get good seats and had just a table or two between us and the band. It does wind up being a tad tight, but I felt too wrapped up in the music to care. There are no windows, the walls are exposed brick, and apart from the stage lighting there’s only the flicker of candle light once the show starts. Quite a cozy venue and very romantic.

I had checked the menu online and decided to eat supper at home before the show. Previous experiences at other clubs involved overpriced entrees of mediocre quality, and I did not want to be tempted by any $30 mozzarella balls. Nevertheless, there is a $10 per capita minimum purchase requirement at Blues Alley in addition to the show tickets. On our first trip we ordered drinks and dessert, and on the second trip we split a bottle of wine. I think that if a lot of money is to be spent of food, I’d rather have it spent at a notably good restaurant. You come to Blues Alley for the music.

What prompted this post was that I really enjoyed the red zinfandel we had there and have been looking to buy some bottles all summer. It was slightly sweet and did well on its own—-perfect for after dinner sipping. (On the contrary, I bought a Spanish ‘rioja’ the other week for curiosity's sake--‘El Coto Crianza 2007’ with a big bull deer on the label. It was good, but a heavy duty red that needed a steak beside it. Not so much of a sipping wine. Perhaps I should have taken a hint from the venison on the label? Alas, there was no red meat to be had). Anyway, a few days ago I finally found that zinfandel at Safeway grocery: ‘Sterling Vintners’ Collection 2008’ for about $12. When Irene knocks the power out, I’m going to open that one first : )

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