The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Monday, May 16, 2005
New York Cares Edition

It's been quite awhile since we've had our last Weekend Wrapup feature, and even though this little yet legendary item is supposed to be posted every Monday, due to some apathy and a lack of clamoring requests on what TUL did on those ca-razy Saturdays and Sundays, it's taken a backseat lately. Well, not today my friends. We've welcomed back the Wrapup today in order to fill you in on The Upstate Life's latest trip to the NYC this past weekend. First, however, we'll briefly discuss Thursday night since the mobile phone was ringing endlessly as to why there was no Friday entry. And when I say endlessly, I meant me aimlessly trying to upload M.I.A. ringers to my cell before realizing that every failed picture message still cost TUL a hefty $.25 a piece.

After work Thursday I headed over to the MCI Center to root on the Wiz in Game 3 of their now defunct playoff series. I shit you not, we literally had the last row in the 400 Section, and not only that, but there was a guardrail right in front of me that divided the two sections. A fucking guardrail. Rachel was kind enough to let me switch seats so I could better enjoy my obstructed view. Then again, for $50 for a pair of seats to a playoff game, I was more than content. As we all know, the Wizards did not prevail that evening, nor did they on Saturday as well, but it was a good run and I thank them for actually allowing me to enjoy NBA basketball for the first time in what seems like years.

Friday afternoon TUL took the Vamoose bus from downtown DC to New York in what became a longer than expected ride thanks to all the insane traffic we hit. I think it took us 30 minutes to just get out of DC, adding a nice chunk to what would eventually become an absurd five and a half hour trip. Once we finally arrived in midtown, we hailed ourselves a taxi and headed over to Bri's apartment for a quick bite before going to the Built to Spill concert at Irving Plaza. I've never been to Irving before until last Friday, but it definitely won me over once we entered. It was a lot more intimate than I expected, reminiscent of the 9:30. In fact, I think it holds nearly the same amount of people and also had a balcony as well. The only subtle difference was that there was one bar in the back, but that didn't prove to be much of a problem. Drinking a Rheingold out of a can on the floor was a bit bizarre, but I later found out cups were optional unless you were a fucking elitist.

We arrived late into Mike Johnson's set, so I'm not even going to go into detail about that as Bri informed me it wasn't worth listening to anyways since he was there the night before as well. Built to Spill took the stage around 11 and we were underway. Can't give much love to the PA at Irving, shit was way too loud and distorted at times and really made we wish I had invested in some earplugs before the show. BTS opened with "Stab" and then kicked it up a notch with "Strange". Highlights for me were when they performed "The Plan" and "Big Dipper", the latter being one of TUL's favorite Built to Spill songs. Their closer, "Stop the Show", unfortunately left a sour taste in my mouth. It was ok in the beginning but turned out to be a prolonged jam that went nowhere. Couple that with the extensive feedback that was going on and it didn't make for quite the pleasurable audible experience. Overall, it was a good show but wish they didn't drag out the end for so long. Setlist here.

After the show, we headed over to B Bar to meet some of Kron's friends from college since it was only a little after midnight. Having been there before and aware of its yuppie clientele, I honestly didn't think they would let me past the door since I was donning my Wilco t-shirt and a pair of New Balances, yet I somehow turned out to be wrong as I was inside drinking a pint of Stella in no time.

Saturday morning TUL ventured out to the Lower East Side for some brunch. We went to the highly acclaimed Clinton Street Baking Company, a little restaurant tucked in the LES that already had an hour wait by the time we arrived. After walking around the neighborhood for 45 minutes or so, our name was called and were ready for what was to be hands down be the best brunch I've ever had. Even before our food arrived, the freshly squeezed orange juice they served was simply delicious. I ordered the waffle, which came topped with an incredible amount of blackberries and strawberries alongside a cup of warm maple butter, not syrup mind you, but butter. Rachel ordered the blueberry pancakes which she easily declared the best she's ever eaten. We also spilt one of their famous buttermilk biscuits, which again, proved to be utterly amazing. Like if these biscuits were a party drug, you'd be jumping in the K-hole for hours on end before whoring out your services just so you could obtain another. Props to Joey for the recommendation, because hey, if TUL can't finish someone else's plate let alone barely finish his, you know someone in the kitchen did right.

After a short nap at Bri's, we went over to the Upper East Side for Gayle's birthday dinner at Beyoglu. This place had the most incredible hummus, and given the day's earlier meal, I was undoubtedly in food heaven throughout the past 24 hours. I ordered their meat special, a leg of lamb stuffed with eggplant and atop a bed of rice. As per usual, I finished it off with no problem. Afterwards, we went a few blocks over to the Gael Pub for what was to be the venue the remainder of the evening.

For a bar in the Upper East Side, an Irish bar at that, I honestly didn't expect them to be rocking The Arcade Fire, Interpol, and Franz Ferdinand. Along with some moderate drink specials and the Wizards game on the flat-screen, I was already satisfied with the place. I was kind of amazed at how packed it got at one point in the night, but at least it didn't reach the level of shoulder jabbing that I've experienced in other small bars (think anywhere in Adams Morgan, except Pharmacy Bar 'natch). We stayed out at the Gael until 3, something which TUL hasn't done in awhile, though the bar would close just an hour later (you know, like two hours later than a last call here). On our way back to Gayle's apartment, we stopped at Roma Pizza for a late night slice (well, I guess it would be two slices after eating the remnants of Gayle and Rachel's, obvs). I had a slice of chicken and tomato and a spinach roll, both of which were very good. It passed the test of all tests since as I was able to wake up the next morning without a trace of heartburn whatsoever!

We took the Vamoose back to DC around 4, and unlike the first go-around, not only were we treated to two movies compared to the zero on the way to NYC (Sky Captain and Hellboy, the latter of which I thought was pretty decent while the former I instantly fell asleep through), but also arrived back in Washington in a reasonable amount of time. And to make things even better, I'll be attending off-site training all this week rather than the usual cube monkeying it up. What of course this really translates to is being able to sleep later and come home earlier, because as you know, I heart sleep. Well, that and Clinton Street biscuits.

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