laughing matters: cards against humanity at pale fire brewing.

burgIMG_0871Things That Make Me Laugh Until I’m Snorting and Wiping Mascara Off My Chin
1. The episode of Friends where Ross wears leather pants
2. “Celebrity Jeopardy” with Will Ferrell and Darrell Hammond on Saturday Night Live
3. The entire Cake Wrecks web site
4. Any instance of a person (or animal) falling down, even if it’s my own child
5. And now, Cards Against Humanity at Pale Fire Brewing!

We all love to laugh. Whether you’re hanging out with goofy little kids (nature’s clowns, as my mom would say), or watching stand-up on Comedy Central, or bingeing on You Tube blooper videos, it just feels good to come home from a long day at work and unwind with humor. In fact, just this week, my first week back at school, one of my colleagues gave a speech of sorts that had us all howling with laughter one minute and stifling tears the next… his words were inspiring and moving, laced with humor and raw sentiment. And I left that meeting feeling relaxed and renewed and emotionally massaged. Sometimes we forget — we NEED to laugh, every single day. There’s science behind this. You probably know that exercise causes your brain to release endorphins (endogenous morphine) which are actually your body’s naturally occurring pain relievers. But guess what? Laughing does the same thing! Laughter also helps you learn new skills or material, deepens social bonds, and boosts your immune system. So I think it’s time to add laughter to your wellness routine, right up there with exercise, drinking water, and all that jazz. Our Friendly City has lots of ways to help you achieve that goal, and you can start on Monday nights at Pale Fire Brewing.

burgIMG_0884Brandy and I were so excited when the Cards Against Humanity host (and owner of Midtowne Market and Midtowne Bottle Shop) Lauren Penrod asked us to serve as judges last Monday. Having never played the game before, I looked forward to seeing how it worked. I really wasn’t prepared for how funny it would be. If I’d known, I would’ve dug out the waterproof mascara and brought some tissues.

We arrived and got the scoop from Lauren: The game is like Apples to Apples, but for adults. And I mean, ADULTS. If it were a movie, it would be rated R. For that reason, you might want to consider not bringing impressionable youngsters. And for that same reason, I simply can’t include all the answers we judged that night!

So. People who want to play arrive at Pale Fire by 8pm. You can arrive with a team, you can play solo, you can try to join a team after you arrive… there’s no limit to the number of teams or the number of people on a team. Easy peasy. Then you decide a team name. The teams we judged were called The Wookie Squad, Plain Old Scorcerers, Monday Night Book Club, Spiteful Lady in the Hat, and Last Call. And of course every time we said the name of that team, Jared had to yell from behind the bar, “It’s not actually last call!”, which was funny, too.

burgIMG_0867After you’ve established your team and name, you come get ten cards and a sticky note. You write your team name on the sticky note so we (the judges) know who gave which answer. Then Lauren reads a prompt and teams choose one card from the ten in their hand that they think is the best/most clever/dirtiest/funniest/most bizarre/etc. and turn it in to us. We select what we feel is the winning answer, then see who the team is that supplied it and announce the winner. This goes on for several prompts; then there’s a break, followed by a second round. At the very end, Lauren adds up the points and announces the winner. Lots of great prizes are awarded, including rounds of beers, gift cards, and the right to create your own card to be used in the next week’s competition!

burgIMG_0877 burgIMG_0874For example, Lauren read the prompt, “The healing process began when I joined a support group for victims of __________.” Teams filled in that blank with answers like “Shaquille O’Neal’s acting career,” “my ex-wife,” and “yeast” (incidentally, that card had a little fleck of dirt on it, and SOMEONE at the judge’s table asked if it was a hyphen. Bahahaha!). Here’s another one:

“Puberty is a time of change. You might notice hair growing in new places. You might develop an interest in _____________. This is normal.”

I must censor all the answers we received to this one, but let me just say that it involved poop in a bucket, hair removal, and “jobs” for everyone. Then there’s this one:

“Don’t worry, kid. It gets better. I’ve been living with ____________ for 20 years.”

We received “waiting till marriage,” “women’s suffrage,” “an inability to form meaningful relationships,” and “special musical guest, Cher.”

The music was playing, the beer was pouring, the whole room was laughing in what was like a huge communal improv exercise, and the three of us were pretty much LOSING IT every two seconds. Plus we were all trying to use different accents while reading all of it out loud, and at one point Lauren mixed up “sushi burps” and said “surshi boops” instead, and I just didn’t think I’d be able to breathe again.

burgIMG_0843 burgIMG_0836 burgIMG_0831Then things got real because there was a tie. That means a sudden death situation. The two tied teams came to the table, chose two answer cards, and had to quickly apply only one of them to the tie breaking prompt. In the end we had a winner: Monday Night Book Club!

burgIMG_0881 burgIMG_0883I can’t think of a better way to end a crappy Monday than to go laugh my butt off with some buddies at Pale Fire. Go check your calendars, move a couple things around, make other plans for your children, and go get a healthy dose of funny! See you there!

burgIMG_0858 burgIMG_0861Copyright © 2012-16 · All Rights Reserved · Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

loud & clear: MACRoCk 2013.

MACRoCk tee shirtOn Sunday, April 7, I saw this post on Facebook and laughed out loud:
macrock facebookIt was like 8pm.

Not surprising. God bless those folks who once again brought this two-day music conference and thousands of people to Harrisonburg. I can’t even imagine where to start putting something like that together. If I can get rice, chicken, and green beans to be ready at the same time, I’m impressed with myself.

We attended MACRoCk on Saturday, the second night. And actually, the day started early, at the Larkin Arts first-ever Art Market (read about that here). More than a dozen artists plunked their wares on tables outside the Denton building. It was sunny and bright, people were chatty and cheerful, and the burg was a-bustle with locals and visitors alike. A happy morning.

Many Nights AheadAfter a bit we made our way to the Blue Nile for the label expo, where we saw books and upcycled clothing, tee shirts, buttons and stickers, pottery and “animal-friendly taxidermy,” and, refreshingly, lots of vinyl.

Label ExpoLabel Expo Label ExpoThen Brandy had to scoot out for a bit, and Michael and I headed to the Dodger. By now it was 2:30. We’d already been downtown for four hours and had ten hours yet to go. When we arrived there, Pachangacha was on stage and the place was packed. We found a tiny sliver of space at the bar. It was funny to watch the crowd come and go. After Pachangacha finished, this massive throng of people vacated, chasing the next show, and some seats opened up. We quick planted ourselves at a table. We enjoyed a performance by Amanda X — three ladies out of Philly: Cat Park, Kat Bean, and Tiff Yoon. They released their first EP back in August. Have a listen! Then sure enough, the mass of spectators shoved through the doors, and this time we scored a booth!!

Artful DodgerNext up was a band from New York called Lvl Up whose latest album Extra Worlds had JUST been released that very day. And they were loud as ohmyfreakinears. In a good way. And with quiet segments that would build to some kind of sonic boom. They’ve got two guitars, a bass, and drums, and they took turns singing or sometimes all three of them sang. I heard a little hint of Weezer at times. They were really great, and it stands to reason that we liked the next band, too — Sirs — because the two bands share some band mates.

MACRoCk Dodger 8 MACRoCk Dodger6Seat update: After Lvl Up we snagged the coveted “circle booth” at the Dodger. We knew Brandy would be coming with Danielle and Ben, and I was right tickled to know that everyone would have a seat. So we moved ourselves and all our stuff one last time, and stayed there through two more bands.

Artful Dodger 3As I was saying, Sirs played next and then Monument, from Maryland. Both bands were awesome, freakishly loud, extraordinarily tight. Brandy (sporting her MACRoCk press pass…. eeeeeee!), Ben, and Danielle arrived and we all mouthed “hello” to each other. Then we had a conversation about where to go for dinner by passing around a spiral notebook. Yes, it was that loud. Louder even. I felt like I was stuffed with cotton. In a good way.

press passIt should come as a surprise to no one who ever reads this thing that we ended up at Beyond. I don’t remember a whole lot about our dinner conversation, probably because I couldn’t hear ANY of it. But a good portion of it was devoted to the fact that Beyond had just gotten a keg of Juju Ginger beer, and Brandy got THE FIRST GLASS OF THE SEASON. This was better than the press pass, I think.

Juju JujuWe also talked about the band descriptions in the MACRoCk program. Some of our faves:

Black Mask – If you’ve never been curb stomped, Black Mask is probably the closest you’ll come without doing the deed. Metallic hardcore from Punxsutawney, PA for fans of early Converge, Nails, and Black Breath. Makes you wanna puke blood in the best way.

Barbelith – Atmospheric depressive black metal inspired by the wrathful elder gods, soiled by the scummy streets of Baltimore.

Borrowed Beams of Light – Borrowed Beams are a soundtrack to the perfect sunny summer indie-rock barbeque that you and all of your friends want to get drunk at.

Dope Body – Noise-rock freakcore from Baltimore. Do you ever think that your punk could use a little more metal and your metal could use a little more funk and that your funk really should be garage rock and not funk? You’re on this band’s wavelength then. Noisy guitar spazzouts are cut with freak hybrids of punk and funk rhythms.

Legs Like Tree Trunks – Mellow guitars with a side of reverb-heavy twinkles and soft-sung, dreamy vocals. Sounds like taking your shoes off after a long day of work.

Shat Shorts (omg) – Very, very weird punk. Blends hardcore, noise-rock, and thrash into one ridiculously chaotic package. Rhythms jump and shift drastically, and this one guitar is just spazzing out the whole time.

Other than that, the only really notable part of the conversation was when Brandy asked, “Wait. Is Jimmy short for James?”
Beyond Restaurant Beyond sushi

fansUnlike the hordes of people who zigzagged through downtown, moving in and out of venues like kids on a scavenger hunt, we tended to stay a while. So our second and last stop of the evening was Court Square Theater, where we saw Wynter Poe, Half Circles, and Timbre. That place is so comfy, what with its cushioned rocking chair-ish seats, age-defying lighting, and beer, there’s just no good reason to leave. We got there at about 7:15 and found seats on the front row. Good for photographs, and good for leg room.

Wynter Poe was unexpectedly awesome. I mean, we really had no expectations, but she impressed the crowd. The band — four people including Wynter — played at least five instruments: a couple of guitars, a bass, drums, a dulcimer. Here and there they sounded a bit like The Sundays, and Wynter’s vocal quality reminded me of Christina Perri. Other than that, the band defies comparison.

Wynter Poe Wynter PoeWynter Poe Wynter PoeIt was fun to see Half Circles, an eclectic Harrisonburg band who played far more instruments than they collectively had hands for. The guitar at times smacked of The Cure; another description that comes to mind is “bluesy Smashing Pumpkins,” but neither of those comparisons can pin down their multi-dimensional sound because suddenly there’d be a melodica or a xylophone or a flute to change my mind. Honey-laced vocals by Dan Baker and the unassuming, hands-in-pockets Amanda Styer led each tune and provided a solid foundation for their instrumental concoctions.

Half Circles Half CirclesWe fell in love with Timbre last year and couldn’t wait to see her again. And hear her, too, of course. But part of a live show is the visual aspect. And when one band member is seated behind a cello, one is seated behind a harp, and one behind a drum kit, you might not expect much in terms of a visual experience. BUT, that cellist was amazing to watch, Timbre looked beautiful in her gown behind that gleaming harp, and the drummer (who played a gorgeous wooden Whitney kit) actually danced while he played. They were all obviously quite happy on stage and love what they do. So they looked great. Add to that their incredible, crystal clear sound. They are made for live performance because their hypnotic music fills the space so well.

Timbre TimbreAdd to THAT their lyrics. Lines like “No one will know you long enough to sing your song back to you when you’ve lost the tune” juxtaposed with “Pain can be beautiful, my dear.” And a song inspired by the George MacDonald story “The Day Boy and the Night Girl” about light and dark and how they came to discover each other. The song centers around her perspective, from her dark cave. Her lamp, and the only light she’s ever known, breaks. She finds a way out of the cave and sees the moon for the first time. Then she meets Day Boy, and he shows her the sun. She wants the light, even if it hurts or kills her. He wants to be unafraid of the dark. They need each other’s strength. As the song says, “If I have seen only the night, can I imagine the day?” We see what we know; we know what we see. Sometimes we must step out blindly, even when it’s scary.

And on that “note,” (oh, ha!), we stepped out into the dark night with the moon shining and music playing in the distance and people laughing and our minds buzzing and our ears ringing. In a good way.

See you next year, MACRoCK!!

Copyright © 2012-13 · All Rights Reserved · Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

won’t you take me to funkytown? collins center disco gala.

I love playing dress up.

As a kid, I did it a lot. See, my mom has worn the same size clothing for like 60 years, and so when she was 45 and I was 10, she had an impressive wardrobe spanning more than two decades–and two good ones at that… the sixties and seventies. I remember her long dresses and outrageous shoes, and I especially remember putting on every piece of costume jewelry contained in the top drawer of her dresser. Then I’d put Dolly in the stroller and push her around the house–in style.

As luck would have it, I am still the same size as my mom. And as luck would even more have it, she gave me some of those clothes years ago. The rest is gone… to rummage sales, to church clothing drives, and to avaricious neighbors who borrowed and perhaps forgot to return.

While I had my mom’s old 1974 maxi dress with the empire waist, Michael had a hard time scraping together an outfit. Even from his dad’s closet, which surprised me (no offense, Frank). So on Saturday, October 20, we set out on a mission: to find him some funky threads suitable for the Collins Center Disco Gala… which would start in less than four hours.

It didn’t take long. Butterfly collar–check. Garish blazer–check. Pimpish sunglasses–check. Extra-tight pants–check check! And as he put those shiny sunglasses on his face, I could almost hear his pants ripping.

Harrisonburg’s Beyond Restaurant and Lounge was transformed for one evening into Studio 54/The Soul Train when they hosted the 13th Annual Collins Center Disco Gala. People put on their most groovy garments (or some just dressed up and made the rest of us look silly!) for an evening of gettin’ down… but also to raise money for a beloved Harrisonburg organization.

The Collins Center used to be CASA (Citizens Against Sexual Assault). Though they’ve been in operation for more than twenty years, they changed their name in 2007 to honor Shirley Collins, a Harrisonburg resident who died from injuries sustained during a sexual assault back in 1987.

The Collins Center has increased its services and its presence in our community over the years. They provide victims of sexual violence medical, psychological, and legal assistance. They operate several programs dedicated to the prevention of violent crime, and they also help provide mental health services to residents in need. Lastly, their Child Advocacy Center offers treatment to children affected by abuse. The Annual Gala (now in its thirteenth year!) raises money for all these programs and more.

So Brandy donned her funky frock and met us at Beyond at about 6:30 that evening. While the cause is serious in nature, the atmosphere was anything but. Beyond was closed to the public that night but filled with revelers ready to sing and dance and eat in support of the Center. The bar downstairs stayed busy all evening, while servers strolled through with delicious little things on trays. Like chicken curry puffs. And little bitty crab cakes. And cucumbers with stuff.

Upstairs there was more food–a casual buffet of sushi, shrimp, cute little to-go boxes of yummy noodliciousness, and, my favorite–MEATBALLS. And I discovered something new–bacon-wrapped asparagus. Therefore, I learned something new–wrapping foods in bacon is a great way to get your kids to eat them. And, I love anything wrapped in bacon.

As more people arrived, dressed like they just stepped out of an episode of Baretta, Brandy and I started giving them nicknames–like “Sparkly Man,” “Pink and Black Superhero Girl,” and “Denim Leisure Suit Guy.” I wanted to ask him how Tennille was doing. I poke fun, yes, but I haven’t forgotten how I looked that night, trust me.

Upstairs was a silent auction comprised of seriously impressive donations from the event’s seventy-two (!) sponsors. Up for grabs were several paintings, Massanutten lift tickets, a ukelele, two toy baskets, a skateboard and passes to Westover Skate Park, several spa gift certificates, professional photo sessions, cosmetics, and much, much more. Someone had placed the wine baskets, chocolate assortment, and massage gift cards on the same table. I stood there for a little while.

The three of us went in on a $20 raffle ticket for a chance to win a thousand bucks. And there were only a hundred tickets sold, so we had a good chance! We did not win. Eh. Onto the live auction! This part was really exciting. To be honest, I’ve never actually attended an auction before. I’ve seen TV shows like Storage Wars and Auction Hunters, and I can see how easily one can be swept up in the excitement of bidding and beating that other guy over there who keeps trying to outbid me! The items up for bid were worth fighting over. Like the sunflower sculpture by Keith Morris. And the weekend at Snowshoe that fetched $400. Or the four Disney passes that went for $350, a pet portrait session for $275, or Rhoda Miller’s exquisite glass mosaic which brought in $475. People shouted and cheered and held up their numbers… auctioneer Justin Michael would get sooo close to saying “Sold!” and then another hand would go up. It was really quite something to see. Folks went home with some beautiful items and the satisfaction of helping a needed and cherished part of the Burg.

And what else can we say? After that, the music got loud, the dancing got wild, and the pen and camera were put away. Thanks for the memories!

Beyond Restaurant and Lounge is located downtown on Water Street by the garage. The Collins Center is downtown on Main, next to U Made It pottery and Clementine. Should you need them, you can reach them at 540-432-6430.

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

your presents requested: beyond restaurant and lounge.

This is one of those posts where the photos tell more of the story than the words. Because in a crowd of people, one can only observe so much. The camera, though–well, nothing escapes it. Here’s a little foreshadowing, heh heh:

The plan was conceived weeks earlier. Danielle and I were completely idea-less for birthday gifts for Brandy. She’s not really a materialistic person–she lives simply, she doesn’t have a lot of stuff… Last year I got her a gift certificate to The Studio Salon and Day Spa, which she liked, but I didn’t want to repeat that. And really, she appreciates people and experiences more than objects or possessions. I figured a group of us would go out to eat somewhere, probably get some sushi… And that’s when I thought of it–a gift that contains people + food + experience.

So I emailed Praserth at Beyond Restaurant and Lounge, and–what the heck, it was worth a shot–asked if he or one of their sushi chefs would come to my house and teach Brandy to make her favorite sushi. And to my delight and squealing excitement, he agreed! WOW!!

Danielle and I went about inviting some folks (I really only had room for about ten people for this kind of thing), all of whom very enthusiastically accepted AND showed up, and we picked up a few appetizers and such around town. All Brandy knew was that her birthday present was “happening” at my house at 5ish. A few days earlier she had somehow tricked me into playing twenty questions, and before I figured out what she was doing, I had answered like ten questions… but thankfully she still didn’t figure it out and I managed not to flake and spill the beans.

That day, Anneke and Danielle came over early to help set up. :)

Then Praserth rolled in and took over my kitchen like he makes sushi in strangers’ houses every day.

All the guests arrived including the birthday girl, and the party started. First Praserth told us what rolls we’d be making: the Dukes, New Orleans, Japanese Breakfast, California, and White Knight. Then he gave us some pointers.
1. It’s easier to roll sushi with gloves on.
2. Lube up your glove with oil so it doesn’t stick to the sticky rice.
3. Pressure is important. Apply too little pressure and the roll will fall apart; squeeze too tight and stuff will come out the end (oh lawdy).
4. When you cut the roll, dip your knife in water first. Cut til it gets stuck ( ! ), and then dip your knife again.

Wait, now I know what everyone was giggling about! Geez! Poor Praserth–in front of an audience of women+Todd Yoder.

Anyhoo, after the demo, we all got a turn, and then we got to eat what we’d made! It was sooooo much fun! :)

Around seven, Praserth was done with the lesson; we thanked him and bade him farewell. We sang “happy birthday” and ate yummy cake.

We sat around and giggled. Brandy opened her presents. Then someone broke out my copy of Cake Wrecks (if you haven’t seen this book and/or website, stop reading this and do it now) and we laughed our butts off at that for a while. Rachel Herr especially liked it because, well, she’s a baker, you know.

…if that IS your “real name”

I also have Awkward Family Photos, which is so awkward at times it’s almost hard to laugh at it. Well, not really. We laughed pretty hard. And then we started googling “awkward” everything and anything and found all sorts of things. I highly recommend “awkward graduation photos” and “awkward pet photos.”

Ultimately, those who remained ventured downstairs to the basement where we had a pillow fight. Ha! Just kidding. But I did end up wearing my pet rabbit in a sling.


I guess the moral of the story is that you don’t have to go anywhere fancy or exotic to provide a memorable experience for someone’s birthday. You can stay right here in Harrisonburg and see what services our local businesses are willing to provide, even if it’s something they don’t usually do. Thanks again to Beyond for going above and… beyond. What a treat!!

Photo credits: Brandy Somers, Danielle Campbell, Rachel Herr, Todd Yoder. Stay tuned for more photos!!

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

down by the river no. 22: riven rock park.

Like I’ve said before, something strange always happens.

It was a spur-of-the-moment plan. The air was thick, and the day was hotter than two cats fighting in a wool sock. Still a week before Westover Pool opens, and the kids and I were craving water. The sprinkler–even the fancy one with twelve settings–just wasn’t gonna cut it.

So I decided to take the kids to Riven Rock Park for a cool dip in the river. I texted Brandy, and she agreed to meet us there with Blake and Ella after they finished up at a friend’s birthday party. We got there first. The park was busy. Not overly crowded, but lively. Lots of families with the same idea.

So you’ve read a few paragraphs now and might be wondering, “Where the heck are the photos??” Well, you see… about that…

Brandy and her kids arrived. We saw them pull in and ran to greet them. And amidst the hugs “hello” and the retrieval of bags and towels and such from her car, she–woopsie–locked her keys and phone (a.k.a, the “river camera”) in the trunk. You KNOW that oh-my-gosh-i’m-a-complete-idiot-i-can’t-believe-i-just-did-that feeling. We’ve all had it. In fact, one time I flushed all my keys down a public toilet. It SUCKS, that feeling. Then she remembered her spare key, tucked up under the car somewhere. See? It pays to think of these things. Only the key was severely eroded and bent, and it nearly broke off in the door lock (but it didn’t, thank heavens!), and so we were back to that horrible hyphenated feeling. <sigh> Seeing as how we were all there, and the kids were dying to get in the water, and even with my phone we couldn’t have called anyone because we were out of cell range, and it was just too darn hot to stand there and worry about it, we decided to enjoy some time there and deal with it later.

Our first plunge into the frigid water involved lots of slipping and falling and shrieks and giggles. For some reason that now escapes my memory, we decided to cross the river (not very wide, maybe thirty feet, and only shin deep), and I swear it took half an hour to help four kids teeter across. Then–yep–we had to go back across. Still, along the way we saw a crawdad or two and some minnows, and we were refreshed by the cool water, the warm sun, and the beautiful surroundings. After that tiring endeavor, we got out and hiked up the trail a bit. On the way back down, Brandy spotted a place where a calm, three-feet deep pool had formed, surrounded by nice trees and rock formations and some mild rapids downriver from us. Blake and Bree jumped right in and were able to swim around. Cal is a bit short and couldn’t touch the bottom, so I hauled that fifty-pound boy up on my hip and used a giant stick (a branch, really) to balance myself on the slippery river bottom. We were going along just fine until Cal got wiggly, and I got slightly off kilter and lost my footing… and then lost one flip flop… and then lost my stick. By now Cal had practically climbed on top of my head to get to safety, but thankfully, my feet found a grip and we were all fine. Sheesh.

So it was time to finally deal with the car situation… the kids were tired and starving (and the adults, too), and we’d all had enough sun. The car thing turned out to be no big deal at all. We piled into my car and drove back into cell phone range, called AAA, let the kids play on a playground while we waited (not long at all), drove back to the park, got the car unlocked, swung by Beyond for some sushi (by the way, I realized on the way to Beyond that I was wearing a bikini top and a wet skirt. Woops. I actually called to see if they just wanted to meet me in the street, but they were cool with it.), picked up some pizza, came back to my house and enjoyed a very much deserved feast on my deck. Hence, these photos–the only proof you have that any of this actually took place.

okay, so imagine we are standing on the bank of the river, and not on my front porch.

sooooo freakin’ hungry.

gone in like ten minutes.

a warm spring evening on the deck.

all that worry and sweat and she’s still this pretty.

konked out before she even got home.

So, you’ll have to visit Riven Rock Park and see for yourself. Just be careful not to lock yourself out of your car, slip on the rocks, or lose your stick. But even if you do, it’ll still be a great day.

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

sushi and the city no. 5: beyond.

I’ve been trying to keep this under wraps, but I can’t live with this secret any longer. I’ve got a clandestine obsession… an addiction almost… to meatballs. And not just any. It’s those saucy, spicy, cute little teriyaki and pineapple meatballs at Beyond. On their menu, they’re called simply “Meatballs.” They should be called “Holy-Moly-I-Could-Eat-Ten-Orders-Of-These-Things Meatballs.” That’s just my opinion.

Brandy and I frequent this place… well, frequently, and not just for the food. I mean, the sushi (and meatballs) is the number one reason we go, but there are other reasons: birthday parties, bachelorette parties, revenge parties, and good ole’ girl talk. In fact, on this particular evening, we sorta forgot our purpose for going—this post—and fell into our usual Beyond habits—talking, sharing, laughing, and eventually crying… which ALWAYS happens. Not sure why, but I think it has to do with sharing food. Their menu is broad and varied—there’s truly something for everyone—but it also contains many items that are easily shareable. So there’s a sense of commune in that place, of being one with the food and the people and the surroundings… very Zen, if I may say so. And so there we were, eating and catching up with each others’ lives, taking few photos and notes. Sure, it’s less material for the blog, but it’s more material for our friendship.

Angry Salmon

We ordered the Curry Puffs—really delish; the Meatballs—I ate them all before Brandy even uncapped the lens (sorry); and two rolls: the Dukes and the Angry Salmon, both of which are excellent. We also like the White Knight, the Danny roll, and Japanese Breakfast. When the food arrived, we also ended up with the Rainbow… we’re not sure why, but let’s just call it karma. That’s a lot of food for two small people, and I was ready to curl up under the bar and take a little nappy-poo.

The Rainbow

To drink I had a Fat Tire Amber draft and Brandy had a Blue Moon, which is what she orders when there’s no Juju Ginger beer. Now, it’s not Beyond’s fault—Juju is one of those “limited production” seasonal beers, and when it does make it to the burg, you’ve gotta be pretty sly to get to it before Brandy. To Beyond’s credit, they did go to extra-great lengths to have it on hand for her birthday party last June.

The highlight of the evening was hearing Dan sing The Cranberries song “Zombie” every time he made that drink. “… what’s in your head? in your head? zombie, Zombie, ZOMBAY-AY-AY!” Thanks for the ear worm, Dan. Just kidding. We love ya!

Beyond is located on Water Street across from Shank’s Bakery. Oh, and here’s the recipe for a Zombay-ay-ay:

1/2 oz Bacardi® 151 rum
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz apricot brandy
1 tsp sugar
2 oz light rum
1 oz dark rum
1 oz lime juice