The GGA Project -- Day #27 "Three for One"

Good day for the new, apparently.

Today's (1st) New Activity: Lunch at Chutney

I love Indian/Pakistani food.  But due to some very, very strong associations I was heretofore not ready to deal with, I have been away from one of my favorite cuisines for some 6 months now!  Today, however, I was finally able to take that little jump and go in for the spice.  I chose a restaurant in Fremont that one of my coworkers is always raving about.

Chutney had a pretty ridiculously large menu, which sometimes make me leery.  How can a place do that many items well?  It doesn't really matter that they do them ALL well, though--just that they do whatever I ordered well.  Which they did.

First of all, there's nothing like a tub of fresh onion and tomato food accessories to welcome you in.  I love this about the Indian/Pakistani restaurants in Fremont: they have all sorts of self-serve fixins for patrons to just go to town on:

Isn't that beautiful?  Anyway, the Karahi Paneer special (Indian cheese in spicy masala with red bell peppers and serrano chilis) was great.  Sitting there, I couldn't help but feel sorry for all the non-spicy food that's been sustaining me while I waited out my Indo/Pak food association woes.  How sad and unworthy that food must have felt.  It's like the friend the wingman targets, who's just there to ensure things don't get too fun or interesting.


Indian and Pakistani people will tell you it's practically sacrilegious (for Hindus, Muslims, Christians, etc, alike) to eat BOTH rice and naan with your meal.  I will tell you they don't know what they're missing.

I'll be back to Chutney for sure.

Moving right along....

Today's the birthday of my best gal, Kelsi.  She wanted to go check out a band playing at a wine bar in Willow Glen.  Sooooo...

Today's (2nd) New Activity: A Visit to Grapevine Wine Bar

Grapevine wine bar, Grapevine wine bar.  Say it 10 times, fast.

Kelsi's dad Doug is in town for a visit, and it was great to go out with the two of them and Kelsi's husband Jeff, because all my memories of Doug's visits involve music.  There was the time we karaoke'd at 7 Bamboo, the time we went to hear a friend's band at Gordon Biersch, and the time we were visiting Doug out in Arizona and had the *best fun* at a dueling piano bar in Tempe.

Tonight Kelsi thought we were in for some mellow jazz or something (I mean, you know...wine bar and all), but we were surprised to walk in and hear a Dave Matthews Band cover.  This was great news for me, as I've been groovin' on old DMB tunes a lot lately, especially digging this song:

And this one:

The band, a little trio with guitar, bass, and drums, was pretty good, and we all got the chance to catch up as well.  Nice little birthday outing.  All three of them had been up since very early with the young kids in Kelsi's house, so they made and early night of it.  That was all good, because I'd made tentative plans to round out the full day with

Today's (3rd) New Activity:  Dancing at The Saddle Rack

The Saddle Rack, as you may have guessed, is a country western bar.

Except that it seems it's not that at all.  I decided to join my former coworkers, Denise and Christine, in checking this place out when I saw their post about going, via Facebook earlier in the night. I'd been wanting to visit The Saddle Rack for years, but I fully expected it to be a foray into a whiskey and line-dancing world of boots and belt buckles, and Wrangler jeans with the tobacco can-imprinted rear pockets.

It was only partially that.

First of all, it is just shocking to me that this place even exists, especially in the East Bay, an area of Northern California that, by demographic reputation, you would least expect to find cowboys in.  And its location makes it seem as though it was meant to be kept a secret.  Maybe the East Bay's downlow cowboys had hoped to keep the place under wraps.  To get there, you take a turn off a pretty major street onto a small industrial sidestreet.  Then you keep driving way further than you think you should, late at night.  Keep going.....keep going...And then, out of nowhere, there appears a huge parking lot with football stadium-like lighting and spaces large enough to accommodate gigantic pickups, toolboxes, gun racks and all.

The place was immense.  I think that when I first walked in, I might have heard a country song.  Maybe two.  But the rest of the night was soundtracked by a great, female-vocalisted cover band that performed everything from Katy Perry to Def Leppard to The New Kids on the Block, and my personal favorite: A Billie Jean/Whoomp! There It Is mashup.  Oh, they did sing Friends in Low Places (inviting about 50 people on stage to sing along), but that's so mainstream I hardly even think of it as country.  And not that there's anything wrong with country.  I just don't feel particularly inclined to dance to it.

Anyway, one thing I really liked about this club was that there was so much entertainment beyond the band and dance floor.  There was a mechanical bull, of course.  I cannot BELIEVE how quickly people get whipped off that thing and get right back up and walk away.  Of course, there's probably a lot of bravado behind that (who knows what they feel like the next morning?).  So that was fun to watch.

Then there was this little nook where people laid back in an old barber's chair while a woman just basically poured shots into their mouths for as many seconds as they could handle.  Well, that wasn't so entertaining, just different.

There was a cage for dancing in (definitely not something I expected to find in a country bar), and an area seemingly reserved especially for line dancing (which, by the way, I really just don't understand.  I mean, even if you manage to master and perfect a line dance, what is the point?  People who are line dancing never look like they're having fun.  They look like they're just relieved to be doing the moves right).

There was a huge adjoining room with pool tables, and something I now believe should be in EVERY club: a snack bar!  They sold hot dogs and popcorn and yes(!) nachos with jalapeños.  Brilliant.

Though I was having a great time, I felt the urge to leave relatively early just because the baby's been teething and waking in the night.  I wanted to get home before he did so.  Still, I stuck around long enough for the band to turn the reigns over to a DJ who brought back some awesome Latin dancing memories for me with her first spin:

She followed that with a Michael Jackson "The Way You Make me Feel" partial sing-along, and then moved along with a little Cotton-Eyed Joe:

That song is so fun to dance to.  I figured that was a good way to close out the night, and left on that  high note :)

I'm glad I finally made it to The Saddle Rack.  I was a little skeptical when I thought it would be all about the line dancing, but it turned out to be just full of people who wanted to get their groove on in all sorts of ways.  It was the release I've kinda been searching for for a few weeks now, and how great to know this place exists so close to where I live.

Consider yourselves officially on notice, all you local readers: I WILL drag you all there eventually!

1 comment:

  1. Was this somehow transplanted from the bar that used to be on Race Street in San José? It sounds identical, right down to the bucking bull and the barbershop chair! What a hoot!