Spirit of another variety

Some of you may know that I am a lover and occasional performer of music.   I can get by without spirits, but without music, I have no spirit.

Until recently, my discretionary income was quite limited, so although I spent a lot of money on CDs and downloads, I didn’t want to spend $100+ on earphones when a $30 pair seemed to do the job.  Luckily for me, I sometimes order things from shopping channels during the wee hours of the morning while suffering from insomnia, then forget that I’ve ordered something until it arrives.

Apparently, I ordered some Bose in-ear headphones Sunday night!  I’ve heard the name Bose, and seen their products on the shopping channels for years, but never really believed the sound could be so much better that it was worth the great price difference.  Turns out I’ve been wrong all along.  I just tried out the earphones on a couple songs I have on my phone, and WOW!!  The richness of the bass, even without turning on the “bass boost” is amazing!  The trebles usually grate on my nerves, but no longer.  Oh, and the richness of Karen Carpenter’s vocal on “Ticket to Ride” is heartbreaking now!  I mean, I knew it was good, but these earphones add a whole new level of velvety warmth I’d never heard.  Just for balance, I also tried them out on Prince’s “Delirious.”  (It might be fun to have a psychologist analyze me based on my musical choices someday.)  There’s a whole bass line in the intro that I don’t think I’ve ever noticed, and the song no longer has that rinky-dink feel I remember.  It’s like the difference between a tune being played on a rosewood marimba versus a metal glockenspiel.  (Whew! I avoided the squiggly red spelling error line on that word on the first try!)

There is much more exploration of my musical library to be done, but on initial evaluation, I can say that at least one good thing has come of my chronic insomnia!

Here’s to hearing the things I’ve been missing!  Cheers!



The Breadfruit & Rum Bar – Phoenix, AZ

I recently spent a few days in Phoenix on business and had a free evening on a Monday night.  So I asked a couple friends to join me for dinner at a Jamaican restaurant and rum bar that had recently been recommended to me.  The place is hard to find, but once you’re there, it’s worth the effort.

Of course we started with cocktails (which ranged in price from $9-10) and between the three of us, tasted six or seven of them.  I could give you the names, but the menu changes seasonally and most of the drinks we had two weeks ago have since been replaced.  Much to my glee, the cocktails are all rum-based, and the ones we had were all very delicious.  They ranged from light and slightly sweet, complex and smoky, to tart and spicy.  One whose name I can’t recall was a bit too bitter for my taste, but I know lots of people who would find it right up their alley.  I was a bit confused about why the Tradewind Swizzle was called a swizzle when it came in a DOF with one big cube, rather than in a chimney with crushed ice and a frosty exterior, but it was still delicious.  The others I would all order again and again.

The food was also quite good!  We started with an appetizer of Roasted Plantain and & Mango Chutney Dip ($8) which had the soft, sweet plantain I remember my Panamanian mother making when I was a child.  I did wish we’d ordered another plate of them.  Then a small palate cleanser of a spoonful of what I think was a Jicama Slaw came for each of us.  It was refreshing and served its purpose.  I had the Jerk Pork & West Indies Polenta ($15) and was very pleased with the spice of the tender pork and the rich flavors of the polenta.  My friends both had the Pimento Wood Jerk Chicken ($20) and were very happy with their meals as well.

We were presented with a dessert menu.  We were all full enough at that point to choose to skip dessert, and to be honest, I can’t remember what was on it, perhaps because I’m dieting and blocked it out of my mind in a desperate attempt to not gain too many pounds on that business trip (an endeavor at which I failed to the tune of four pounds in four days).

Instead of dessert, we retired to the small patio out back where we enjoyed a flight of three rums (English Harbor 10-year old, Appleton 21-year old, and Zacapa XO – $30 for the flight), and cigars.  (Don’t judge. One cigar every year or two isn’t going to kill me.)  I finished the evening with a neat glass of El Dorado 15, while my companions switched to Red Stripe and red wine (wimps). 

On our way out the door, I took a few minutes to appreciate the impressive selection of rums behind the bar.  There are about a 100+ bottles and not a single one at which I’d turn up my nose (read: no Bacardi).  In fact, several of my favorites were there.  I met the owner and talked about their selections, their philosophy, and my rum experience.  I could see myself spending many hours sitting at that bar sipping through the collection (although I think asking $2,500 for a single pour of Appleton 50 is a bit excessive).   If I ever move to Phoenix, The Breadfruit and Rum Bar will be my go-to watering hole.  (Note: that’s not as big an “if” as you might expect.)

All in all, it was a great night of food, drinks, and friends that I will happily repeat whenever the opportunity arises. Next time, I’ll spend more time at the bar learning what’s in the cocktails and discussing important matters of spirit.

The Breadfruit & Rum Bar
108 E Pierce St, Downtown Phoenix