Thursday, July 19, 2012

"We Belong"

As much as I beg my husband for date nights, they seem to rarely happen with how things tend to snowball in our lives. A quiet Saturday where he had actually had a date night planned can quickly unravel and turn into me sobbing uncontrollably for no apparent reason on the sofa (a little detective work later showed the reasons to be PMS, lack of sleep, and stress over a homeless kitten).

Anyway, point of this story: our date night last weekend devolved into pizza from Little Caesar's and old James Bond movies. Not that I'm complaining, but I'm a girl who counts a date night as an excuse to wear shoes that torture my feet and show off my toes (stupid closed toed shoe rule at work).

Fortunately, Wednesday, we had an fairly unplanned way to make up for it. A fancy dinner in downtown Tucson and a concert, you say? Yes please!

My parents love to go to concerts and, while I tend to shy away from them (concerts, not my parents), I am more than happy to go with them when they have extra tickets. And my dad loves good tickets. He won't go to a show unless he's got a reserved seat in the first couple of rows. So when my dad asked if Dan and I would like to go see Pat Benatar, I was excited.

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I love Pat Benatar. She is awesome. She is fearless and has such a powerful voice. And given that my soul is made of 80's music, I knew I was going to enjoy this concert.

Dan had no idea who Pat Benetar was. I told him he'd recognize the music when he heard it, so he just happily followed along.

So with a pair of free concert tickets to a show at the Fox Theater in downtown Tucson, we decided to make a night of it. We'd have just enough time after driving to downtown from work to grab some dinner. I got to choose the restaurant and I was incredibly excited about it.

The problem with the restaurants in downtown Tucson is that they are just so freakin' far from my house. They aren't spontaneous sorts of places. After a half hour drive, a battle with the epic construction project to install new trolley tracks, paying for parking, and then walking at least 5-10 minutes to the restaurant, it definitely takes some motivation and planning. Because of this, there always seems to be at least a half dozen restaurants I'm dying to try.

I picked a place called "Janos Downtown Kitchen". From the menu, there would be at least one thing vegetarian I could eat and it seemed like a fancy place worthy of heels. No burgers on this menu.

And it is a very nice restaurant. It's got ambiance. It's got good service. The food is fancy, but I have to say, it's not that great. I had the melon gazpacho minus the bacon and ham, the somen noodles with tofu and greens, and the strawberry shortcake for dessert. Dan had the duck breast with bbq fried rice. Dan had never had duck before and really enjoyed it. He doesn't like to try new things, but his plate was cleaned, except for the last bit of eggplant that I didn't steal.

I'd never had gazpacho before, so maybe I'm just not a fan of gazpacho, but it was bad. Bad enough that I felt I had to choke some of it down since I ordered it. Bad enough that I lied to our waitress about enjoying it. I understand gazpacho is supposed to be cold (who's genius idea was that?) so I'll let that slide, but it was grainy and just tasted like someone had screwed up making a smoothie. Luckily the pasta was better, but it wasn't great either. The noodles were good and the flavors were really enjoyable, but why, oh why, does no one ever know how to cook tofu? Just because it doesn't have to be heated thoroughly to kill all the meat-germs doesn't give you the right to serve me squishy, cold tofu. Gross. And the shortcake was great, but it wasn't anything I can't make at home.

So official review: if I'm going to spend $60+ on a dinner for two people, you better blow me out of the water. It better be my favorite restaurant that I look forward to treating us to for our anniversary every year. Yeah, I'll pass.

After dinner, we hobbled to the theater, and I say hobbled because I grossly underestimated how much my heels hated my feet. I really should have taken a picture of them when we got home, but I'm pretty sure it's illegal to post something that gross on the internet.

I was amazed that, at 7:15, 15 minutes before the show was supposed to start and 45 minutes after the doors being opened, the theater was only half full. However, once the show started at 7:30, it seemed everyone else came stomping in, interrupting the first couple of songs, including my parents. Geez, guys.

It was a great show. It was a very simple show, but fun. No costume changes. No theatrics. Just Pat, her guitarist husband, a bassist, and a drummer. It's just amazing the talent of her voice. Granted she's been doing most of these songs for almost 30 years, but she didn't miss a note or a beat the entire time. She's a true singer. It makes me a little sad about the quality of most the music the radio plays now when there are great voices like hers out there. And, yes, I am still very bitter that the two, TWO, 80's stations I listened to went off the air...

Here's one of my dad's pictures. Security was being a real pain about people taking pictures, so he didn't get too many (and since there weren't any costume changes or theatrics, they all kind of look the same anyway).

After the concert, I got an awesome souvenir. During the concert, the guitarist was throwing picks into the audience, but given the average demographic of the audience (middle-aged women), no one was catching them. So, much to my delight, as we were leaving the theater, I found a pick that someone had failed to notice. I've got a pick from a concert. How cool am I?!?!

It was a great concert. With a voice like she has, I'm really surprised she hasn't been a judge/mentor/token famous singer on any sort of reality competition. Maybe it's in the cards still. I just have a hard time understanding why she's not more relevant with how good she is.


  1. I've never been overly impressed with Janos either. The place to go next (and I recommend with FULL confidence!) is Cafe Poca Cosa. It has a beautiful, romantic atmosphere and the food is just to die for! I've even enjoyed a vegetarian dish or two there :)

    1. I've always wanted to try it! My problem was that since the menu changes daily, I didn't know if they had anything veggie. But with your green light, sounds like I need to add it to the list of restaurants I have to try!