Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hampden Hon

Saturday night we drove to Hampden to see the lights on 34th St., but first we stopped for dinner at Rocket to Venus. This place is on the corner of 34th and Chestnut, directly across from the block of lighted homes. I didn't want to see the block of lights until after dinner, so I turned my head and shielded my eyes so I'd see it for the first time when we came out after dinner.

Rocket was awesome. It was nothing like I'd pictured. I had this kind of tried and true Hampden-style dive bar in my head, but the interior was very modern, and the ceiling reminded me of outer space. Fitting, I guess, if you're rocketing to Venus. According to the insert in the menu, in 1928, these three buddies built a machine that would launch them into outer space and, subsequently, Venus. The machine had 50 gallons of gasoline and no steering ability. Needless to say, they didn't get very far but showed plenty of bravado in their attempt.

The menu was a real hodge podge of cuisine, from southern style fried pickles (which we got) to gnocchi and olives (which we also got). I tried the Jo-fu, a Sloppy Jo made with tofu instead of beef. The sandwich was HUGE and came with fries. Way too much for one person to eat, but very good. Per our server's warning, the Jo-fu sauce was very sweet, but that's what I think Sloppy Jo's should taste like. 

Although I didn't order one, I was was extremely tempted by their selection of warm drinks, like the flavored coffees with liquor. Note - great place for a hot tottie after walking 34th Street.

By the time we came out of dinner, they'd turned off the lights on 34th Street. I'd miss the whole thing! My girlfriend reminded me last night what a good example that is of how we should enjoy life as it happens and not try to hold on to something for a better time. My desire to "delay" the 34th Street revelation had resulted in me missing it entirely.

So we moseyed up Chestnut to the new location of Dangerously Delicious Pies. We heard music coming from inside, so we invited ourselves in. This duo was playing ridiculously awesome music - the kind of music that you know is going to launch them in only a matter of time - and then the store owner rocked out a few soulful tunes. A man dressed as Santa was sitting on the bench next to Joe, and the other guests looked like Hampden-lifers and punk 20-somethings. Beautiful mix of the people who make Hampden fun.

On our drive down 36th Ave. to go home, we saw a band playing at Golden West, so we hopped out to see what they were all about. Three folksy groups were on the board, and we caught the tail end of the first guy. Next up was Kira Kira, an Icelandic chick and her electronic band. She played the glockenspiel, ok? And a ton of other crazy instruments we'd never seen before! Her music was extremely Bjork meets The Postal Service. We went home and Googled her right away. (I had joked when she first came on that she was going to sound just like Bjork, and surprisingly, her middle name is actually Bjork!) Neither Joe nor I had ever witnessed electronic music like that performed live. It was sick. So refreshing.  

1 comment:

Our Growing Family said...

Oh, I love 34th street in Hampden. I hope those are still up when Wes and I come up for New Years! Sorry you missed the lights...