I stopped into Pixie Candy on Baker Street to grab a surprise treat for a friend. While I was in there surrounded by all the nostalgic candy from when I was a kid, I got hit with an urge for Mackintosh's Toffee.
I haven't had that stuff since I was maybe 10 years old, so I found myself lost in a bit of anticipation wondering if they had some. Sure enough, they did! It was in a wrapper, unlike the way it used to come in a box. It made me happy to get some. I kept it in my pocket to try and keep it warm so it would be softer rather than rock hard. (I still remember those toffee rules from back in the day.)
Being that it's a little chilly outside right now, it was still hard when I got home. Even still, I tried a bite. Nope! Too hard, so I put it back in its package and into the kangaroo pouch in my hoody while I sat and wrote about my Valley Vittles burger. I forgot all about it.
When I was done writing I remembered it was there and was psyched to see if it was softened up a little more so I could try some for the first time since forever.
I had a little unexpected surprise when I pulled it outta my hoodie pouch...there was a dog bone stuck to it. Apparently I had Fennario treats in my pouch too! Not only one of her bones, but there was a tad bit of lint too
Undeterred I was still goin' for it. "Ain't no dog bone or silly-ass lint's gonna be stoppin' me!"
I bit into it. It was laborous! Even being warm and pliable, filled with a very nostalgic inducing flavour, it was like fast forming concrete around my teeth. They threw down an instant veto.
"You stupid fuck! You tryin' tuh kill us maaaan?! Don't eat that shit yuh dumb bastid!"
I didn't disagree. I sucked on the little piece I had that was glued to the back of my teeth, but it wouldn't dissolve or go away, so I had to pry it off so I could swallow it.
It was a nice try of an old memory, but the rest of it got tossed. I think my teeth would either break or get pulled out if I ate anymore regardless of its sweet smooth creaminess.
It left me with the opinion that candy like that is best for when you're a little kid before your adult teeth come in. Waste that shit on the throw-away teeth and then smarten up going forward in life
Valley Vittles in Slocan Park
$12 and change
I had to go up to the Co-Op in Slocan Park to order some oil for heating my home. When I was almost there I noticed the 'Open' sign lit up at Valley Vittles just before the Co-Op when driving up the Slocan Valley.
"Sweeeeet! I'm gonna finally get to crack into one of those fuckers!"
Amie told me about it when I was doing my burger tour thing last summer. Every time I went there it was closed though. I was either too early, too late or came on a Monday when they were closed.
I don't get up there too often, but it just wasn't workin' out for me when I did. It was just a spontaneous thing, so I wasn't prepared with my camera or laptop to write about it properly. It was nice to just sink into a burger normally though.
I went through the door and looked around quick. It's a quaint little place. Home-y! I was welcomed with a friendly hello. I smiled and said hello back, and that I was sent there for a burger.
I was checkin' out the board and seein' what they had. I ignored most of it 'cause I was only interested in a burger as I had been jonzin' for one for awhile, but never really acted upon fixing that urge.
I went with the "Loaded too" burger. It had bacon, cheese, banana peppers and avocado...among other stuff. The regular "Loaded" burger had BBQ sauce instead of avocado. I'm not really a big fan of BBQ sauce on a burger. The only exception to that is if I am at backyard BBQ kinda thing and the patty is basted in the sauce while on the grill. That's the only time I am interested in that sauce.
After I ordered I went and sat down. Even though I didn't have my glasses and couldn't read shit, I flipped through the Nelson Star just for something to do. I did see Marion's obituary. That made my heart sink, but I felt glad that Tara and Justine had told me about her passing last week so I didn't find out from the paper. That would have been a crushing blow to have found out that way. Good gawd I loved her!
When the girl brought my burger she asked me who sent me. I told her that Amie had. (Amie is her sister.)
"Oh my gawd! You're the burger guy!"
That made me laugh.
"Yup, that's me!"
She asked my name, and we got to talkin' from there. She is a super nice person. Her name is Melissa.
Melissa pointed to the can of Coke I had on the table and told me she had a Ginger Ale stashed for me for months. I was flattered. I told her that I don't get up the Valley at all too much, and every time I did she was always closed, but that I had to go to the Co-Op to order some oil for my home and noticed that she was open.
She told me she was afraid of me, which kinda made me curious as to what Amie had told her. Seeing that she had specially had some ginger ale on the stash for me, and knowing myself how honest and merciless I am when I write about food, I pretty figured out the basic gist of what Amie might have told her.
I said wasn't prepared like I usually am when I go out to eat now...that I usually have a camera and laptop. This was spontaneous. I also said I don't announce myself, I just order normal like anyone else and give my honest take on things. When I write, I never say if I know the owner of a place or any of the servers, and I'm honest. It's the only way to be objective, and most importantly, fair to everyone.
The first thing I noticed about the burger was the square bun. That was definitely a stand-out from every other place. I like things that stand out because they make it memorable. "Off to a good start," I thought to myself.
I asked her about the bun. She said it was from the Pass Creek Bakery. "Sweet! Local! Nice one!" are the words that fell outta my face when she told me that. We talked a bit more, and then Melissa left me to it and went back behind the counter.
I wasted no time diving into it. She had prepared me that it could be a bit sloppy. I don't always like that, but sometimes I really love it. It made me think of food at El Taco. I embrace the full tilt sloppy there. No matter how hard I try, I seem to get that shit all over myself and love every second of it.
Sinking into this burger I felt the same way. I was like a warm juicy flavour overload of chaotic harmony. I was shovin' that bastard in my face kinda like Homer Simpson at the all you can eat seafood place where the Sea Captain Guy was lookin' out from the kitchen as he said, "Aye..Tis a remorseless eatin' machine!"
That is the roll this burger reduced me to. A remorseless eatin' machine!
I barely even noticed so much of it in ways. It was too good to take the time to dissect. I remembered seeing a piece of bacon sticking out when I grabbed for a sip of my Coke. I looked at it and said, "Oh no you don't you lil' fuck! You ain't escapin' my wrath!" I pulled the rest of it out and ate it on its own. "Nice try yuh bastid!"
There was sauce and pieces of avocado, banana peppers and lettuce falling on the plate. I'd push 'em into a pile with my hand and then pick up the mess and stuff it into my face too...then shove more of the burger in my face.
Even while ravaging the fucker I took mental pause a few times to laugh at her being afraid of me. The was definitely nothing to be afraid of! The Valley Vittles "Loaded Too" burger kicked total ass!
When I was done, my hands were covered in yummy, gooey slop! It took three napkins to get them mostly clean. I renamed it in my head, "The Three Napkin Burger!"
What a nice surprise this was. Super friendly service, and a kick-ass burger. I absolutely recommend stopping into Valley Vittles for a bite. It seems kind of inconspicuous when passing by on the road, but over the years I have found that those can often be the best places with the best food.
The Valley Vittles Three Napkin Burger was packed with love. I can tell you that much!
I'll be going back for sure...probably later in the spring. Next time I'll be packin' my camera to take a few photos.
Brian Rosen at The Falls Music Lounge
February 10, 2018
Late last night I stumbled onto a video on youtube of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters telling the story of when he fell off stage at a show in Sweden. He tripped on some cables and when he hit the floor he dislocated his ankle on impact and broke a bone in his leg.
As it was only 8 minutes into the show he didn't wanna stop and bail on the fans. He never considered it, so he got his crew to get him back on stage and proceeded to finish the show while the doctor held his ankle in place. It turned out that the doctor was also a Foo Fighters fan and didn’t want the show to end either. It was total bad-ass and total rock star.
Here is the link to the interview: www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7tRZlFIxWo
I went into town unexpectedly tonight, so I stopped into work to give Erika a book I had stashed by my desk for her. “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran. When I went into The Falls to give it to her she was on the phone, so I just leaned on the bar hangin’ out.
I looked across the bar and saw Brian sitting there. Big smiles and hellos from both of us! He picked off the book right away, “The Prophet?!” he exclaimed.
I said, “You know The Prophet?!” With a bigger smile on his face he said, “I know The Prophet and I know your hoodie.” I laughed and went over to talk to him. He was just chillin’ havin’ a beer before he went on stage to play a show.
As I walked up I saw some crutches sitting beside him. “Are those yours?” He assured me that they were, so being naturally curious, I asked him what the deal was.
He injured his ankle 8 years ago, and about two years ago he had another surgery on it. A couple weeks ago he had another minor follow-up kinda surgery to clean up some bone spurs and such.
I saw his boot-cast, so I got to talkin’ about when I had one of those too…and what a pain in the ass it was for driving. We compared minor notes and laughed about that.
**Getting my bike refit so I could ride with cast after I cracked a bone in my foot during the 2008 Vancouver Marathon
Brian should be up and rollin’ by spring time, so it wasn’t too big of a deal more than just a minor pain in the ass to deal with. He was telling me the timing actually worked out well with the gigs he was playing as he didn’t have any drumming shows at the moment…no kick-drum to have to worry about.
All this of course had my mind rolling on the kind coincidence of seeing that video of Dave Grohl and his broken leg only the previous evening. I love those who throw down through the shit. That’s pretty much the thing I love the most.
We got into talking about music and what he was gonna play tonight. He said he was gonna play a buncha new stuff. I was intrigued and asked him if he had been writing songs. Brian said he had been writing some new tunes but that he was also gonna dive into some new covers.
I asked him what kind of covers. He said Bruce Springsteen from ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad,’ and ‘Nebraska’ albums. I was psyched ‘cause those are fuckin' great albums!
Brian said he had just watched a 4 hour concert from right after the ‘Born to Run’ album was released. He started watching it and got drawn right in and ended up watching the whole thing from start to finish...mesmerized by it.
"I can see why they call him the boss!"
That led us to talking about old great story telling songwriters, and how that is a seemingly lost art these days.
It was time for him to play, so as Brian was crutching up to the stage I thought again how it was excellent that I had just seen that video of Dave Grohl. I thought to myself, “Lookkit Bri rollin’ all bad-ass rock star like!” It made me giggle.
When he started playing I fell in love with his voice instantly again. It's so deep and rich. It lures you in, in a Johnny Cash kind of way. It’s fuckin’ fantastic
I had my laptop with me, so I fired it up while he was getting settled and sinking into his first song. I was all set and ready when Brian broke into his second song, “Give My Love to Rose” by Johnny Cash.
Well, shiiiit…doesn’t he just have the perfect voice for that! I was fuckin’ psyched! After that he played a Paul Simon tune and then a Johnny ‘Tiptoes’ Prine song.
Tiptoes made me smile as I do every time I hear one of his songs. You see, when I went to do a triathlon at Disney World in Orlando, Florida in September 2008 I saw back-to-back John Prine shows on the two nights before my race.
I was actually there to see Josh Ritter, who was opening for him. They were incredible shows. I got to talk with Josh both nights. He’s such a great guy. (Paul has him playing here at Sprit Bar later this month. I’m psyched as fuck!”)
During the first show, as his old high school gymnastics teacher was in the audience, Johnny Tiptoes told the story of his high school gymnastics career that was pretty hilarious…turns out he’s actually a musician and not a gymnast. Anyway, the moral of the hilarious story for me was that his teacher nicknamed him, ‘Tiptoes,’ and so I have called him Johnny Tiptoes ever since.
It only took two notes into the next song after the Johnny Tiptoes tune for me to pull my head up from my computer and look to the stage with a big shit eatin’ grin. When I did, Brian was already staring at me with a fatty smile on his face too. He was falling into “Seven Curses” by Bob Dylan
The mini back story to that is that on Christmas night, when we were at Tara and Greg’s place, I started talking to him about when he played that tune at The Falls in the summer. I told him, of all the songs I have seen him play that was the one!
Brian was psyched, but also half surprised…almost at me even knowing it. You see, little did he know the Dylan freak that I am. Everyone knows me as a Jerry Garcia juggernaut, but Bob Dylan is made out of pure magik that changed my life.
Seven Curses is one of his tunes that stopped the world around me while I first heard it. A lasting impression is saying so little towards the impact it struck me with. It’s so gawd damned powerful that I couldn’t even believe what I was hearing while I was sitting on the floor on the living room floor in our place on Saltspring Island in 1998. I can still see the moment and feel it riveting through me.
When Bri was expressing his impressed-ness at me remembering him playing that in the summer, I told him that I don’t forget things like that. That made him smile.
I mean, Dylan really is something special to me. It's hard to put into words what his writing and songs have meant to my world. Bob Dylan showed that you can change the world with two simple chords and a pen. Riveting!
In mid January I sent Brian an amazing show of Dylan at Carnegie hall in 1963 because of the Seven Curses he played. Bri was psyched.
I've not been shy about expressing my love for acoustic music, and especially what one person can do with great writing and a solo acoustic guitar. That's one of the infinite things Dylan gave to me.
Sitting here listening to Brian took me on a journey of fascination. The tones of his voice, the deep richness of it, and the simplicity of the music he brings out of his guitar is the kinda thing that pierces right through the heart into the soul...weaving its web into the fabric of who I am. The way Brian plays, and what he chooses to play is what makes up so much of who I am. I could watch him play every day.
Midway through his first set Brian broke into a “Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad," so, I looked up again and thought to myself, “Of course you’re playin’ this tune yuh bad-ass mutha fucka! Daaaaamn!”
The easy way to say express that is that this song was on my list of 5 choices for picking a custom licence plate for my van. GDTRFB. Although it is an old traditional song, it is the Grateful Dead's scorching version that I fell in love with. (Surprise, Surprise!)
**Jerry on fire back in the day!
It is always great to hear someone like Woody Guthrie play it, but it's Jerry's smokin' lines on fire that grabbed me. Just listen to the GDTRFB they fall into out of the Jam at the final Fillmore East show in New York City on April 29, 1971. That shit's on fire!
Brian's rendition though comes across in a hauntingly beautiful way when combined with that ever deep richness of his voice that I keep eluding to. Simple, sweet, and so gawd damned powerful.
It made me smile every time I lifted my head and saw Brian tapping his left foot with his casted right foot sitting still while he sat there in front of his crutches leaning against the window sill beside his guitar case behind him. It was fuckin’ great!
When Brian played a Townes Van Zandt song I started looking at the musician map he was drawing:
Townes Van Zandt
…and also diving into old traditional songs that Bob Dylan’s biggest influence, Woody Guthrie, played.
Brian was drawing this musical journey painted by legends beyond words. It was like the musical terms of walking down a hallway with paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Monet and Michelangelo hanging in all their luster.
It told a story of his musical influence and knowledge. It was really something special to behold. The way he captures the essence of these icons is absolutely gorgeous too.
When you talk with him about music you can tell he is more than just playing their songs, or playing tribute to them, but honouring them in an astonishing way.
I drifted away in this thought when, of course, he just had to break into Dylan's, "Girl from the North Country.
I mean...c'moooon maaaan... That of course is from "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan," which I have considered the greatest album ever made since the first time I heard it when I was barely 18 years old. Sure, “Dark Side of the Moon” and “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” did their thing, but the way this record influenced a generation during times of turmoil, change and revolution on several fronts... It was a foundation laying and changing moment in music history…from that time when Dylan was changing everything with those simple 2-3 chords and a pen.
Hearing Brian play this song finished off painting over 25 years of pure moving nostalgia for me!
The thing I see rolling through my mind while sitting here during the final song of his first set is a visual history of myself told through his guitar and sung from his rich voice. How do you really capture that into words? I'm not even sure despite all the words I have just written.
Thinking about it right now, the best way I can put it is like this…
Take a blind man down to the ocean during the most gorgeous of sunrises and give him the gift of being able to see for the first time, and then ask him to put it into words. Some things are just left unsaid. That’s the final impression Brian left me with tonight!
I’m so glad I stopped in to give Erika that book…a book that, in itself, has changed many lives and stuck with people for the rest of their days once they had first read it.
I didn’t have a camera with me, so I asked Erika to take a photo of Brian on stage for me.
What a fantastic surprise stopping into The Falls brought me tonight.
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.