Dinner at 333 Pacific, 1/21/10

Heather and I went all the way up to Oceanside for restaurant week at 333 Pacific, where we had dinner with some friends.

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-001

Phil and Candi got engaged recently so we were celebrating with some cocktails to start our night. Phil had a cool cantaloupe and Candi had a extra dirty martini.

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-002

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-003

Both drinks fit their personalities. Heather had a sweet berry martini, while I stuck with a Russian Standard.

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-004

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-005

Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, served in a copper glass. We munched on some appetizers too.

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-009

Fried calamari and a really spicy tuna roll.

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-010

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-007

Now we’re ready for dinner, starting with some butternut squash soup and beef sashimi.

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-011

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-012

A bottle of zin made a nice accompaniment  to the main courses.

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-013

The three of them all ordered the steak, while I saw slightly good and got the miso-flavored salmon fillet.

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-014

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-015

Great desserts too, like the lemon custard, and kettle corn, but I can’t pass up a chocolate silk tort.

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-016

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-017

Dinner at 333 Pacific 12110 © Michael Klayman-018

Yum!

Creedle, Upsilon Acrux, Rats Eyes at the Casbah, 1/16/10

I’d been concentrating on jazz groups in preparation for a talk I gave for the San Diego Jazz Musician’s Guild last weekend, and I needed to hear something totally different to feel balanced. Rats Eyes is totally different.

Rats Eyes at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-001

It’s quicker and easier to convert everything to black and white, so that’s what I’ve been doing lately to save time. I’ve been shooting too much lately and I need to get caught up since processing can easily gobble up all my free time if I let it.

Rats Eyes at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-004

Rats Eyes isn’t really a band that I could listen to for a long stretch, but they are fun to watch. If you’re in the front row, watch out for Gabe, because he’s coming for you.

Rats Eyes at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-008

In fact, the show is basically just watching the leads bounce all over the place, set to a crazy soundtrack.

Rats Eyes at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-017

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I never heard a note from Upsilon Acrux before this show, but I kinda know one of the original members and he’s quite music-savvy, so I was mainly here this night to see them. I knew it was mathy, but I didn’t realize how mathy.

Upsilon Acrux at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-001

They play songs that are beyond complex and if I heard just one of the instruments isolated, I would think it was playing random notes and rhythms. But the whole band plays in unison.

Upsilon Acrux at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-006

The bass player told me that some of the songs come from jams. I can’t imagine how that can be.

Upsilon Acrux at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-018

It’s very cool stuff in the sense that you can marvel at the dedication to discipline and memory, but no heads were bobbing. And I have a feeling the drummer is the crazy one.

Upsilon Acrux at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-019

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I really like Creedle’s double-CD, even though it sounds like two bands on shuffle.

Creedle at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-001

The heavy klezmer stuff is fun since it draws on tight jazzy licks. I just skip past all the interludes and ditties. That’s not so easy to do at a show when one song is stuck on repeat.

Creedle at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-009

Creedle at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-005

Creedle at the Casbah 11610 © Michael Klayman-010

Maybe it was just an off night for them or maybe they needed another rehearsal session, but I wasn’t really into their set. Oh well, sometimes that’s where the wind blows.

Heavenly Cupcakes, 1/15/10

Friday night’s plans included some music and photography at Dizzy’s. Heather and I escaped boring suburbia right after work and met up with a couple friends for the bar special at Flemings a block away from the club. I didn’t take any photos there, but I had the best $6 bacon cheeseburger ever. It was still pretty early, so they all walked over to Heavenly Cupcake to bring back something sweet while I chatted with the guys in Cross Border Trio.

Heavenly Cupcakes at Dizzy's 11510 © Michael Klayman-001

The cupcakes weren’t bad, but they must have been sitting around for a few hours because they had a bit of an unpleasant crunch to the cake. The frosting was overly sweet, to my taste. Very pretty though.

Cross Border Trio Group Shots, 1/15/10

Before the set, the guys agreed to have some group shots taken outside. These turn out much better if I can shoot the band before the set instead of after.

Cross Border Trio Group Shoot at Dizzy's 11510 © Michael Klayman-003

I still have issues with ambient light not being bright enough after sunset, forcing me to shoot wide open and not giving me enough depth of field to keep Paquito in focus on the left. My main idea for this shoot was to get Jason’s horn to look bigger due to wide angle perspective distortion, so at least I achieved that.  There are more shots in the gallery page if you click on the photo above.

Cross Border Trio at Dizzy’s, 1/15/10

I only recognized a couple tunes from the CD, but Cross Border Trio was in full force last Friday at Dizzy’s.

Cross Border Trio at Dizzy's 11510 © Michael Klayman-003

How can a band call itself Cross Border Trio when there’s four members? Well, Anthony Smith on vibes was a featured guest, so they temporarily changed the name to XBorder.

Cross Border Trio at Dizzy's 11510 © Michael Klayman-021

I saw him play for the first time a week previous with Joshua White and mentioned how I’d like to see him again soon. I didn’t quite realize it would be this soon. His music light made wide shots a bit difficult, so I concentrated on detail shots. I also tried to make it look like a spotlight shining from behind Rob Thorsen, even though it was in front of him.

Cross Border Trio at Dizzy's 11510 © Michael Klayman-015

Rob is consistently inspiring in his playing and in his visual expressiveness.

Cross Border Trio at Dizzy's 11510 © Michael Klayman-012

Jason Robinson is one of those guys who doesn’t ever run out of ideas. He pushes out new sounds all the time, and I can’t wait to hear his electronic excursions.

Cross Border Trio at Dizzy's 11510 © Michael Klayman-008

I didn’t know he played flute until I saw it with my own eyes.

Cross Border Trio at Dizzy's 11510 © Michael Klayman-018

Paquito Villa lives down in Mexico, thus the name of the group.

Cross Border Trio at Dizzy's 11510 © Michael Klayman-020

I was very happy to share this music with my wife and a couple friends- a perfect way to spend a Friday night.

Downtown at Night 11510 © Michael Klayman-001

Heather’s Birthday Dinner at Sea Rocket Bistro and Extraordinary Dessert, 1/9/10

Yesterday was Heather’s birthday, and we went to dinner at local seafood powerhouse, Sea Rocket Bistro. They’re big on sustainably grown and local ingredients.

They had Stone Pale Ale on cask, which is delightfully creamy and smooth. The candle holders at the tables were Stone beer bottles with the tops cut off.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-001

I gave Heather her birthday present, and she squealed when she saw the box.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-009

Fellas, if you don’t know what this little blue box is, go ask the nearest woman. I had no idea how big a deal this is to a girl until a few weeks ago. She didn’t open it until after dinner, savoring the anticipation of seeing what was inside.

For appetizers, we ordered a couple tapas. I had the whole grilled sardine. It was tasty, but when they get to be this big you can’t just eat the whole thing, so I had to do some surgery to remove the spine. The little sprats you get in the can are the perfect bite size and 100% edible. I’m always happy to make a can and a couple slices of rye bread my lunch or dinner at home. We normally try each other’s meals, but she made an icky face at my sardine so it was all mine.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-002

Heather had some gouda on bread, drizzled with honey. Not sure how this is worth $2, but to each her own.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-003

I was really looking forward to our appetizers, and suggested this restaurant just so I could try the Sea Urchin Bisque, served in the shell.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-004

It’s a gorgeous presentation, and turned more heads in the restaurant than sizzling fajitas would at Chili’s. It was creamy and predominantly uni flavored, but lacking in seasoning and thus very one-dimensional.

Heather had the all-local garden salad with an avocado-honey-lime dressing.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-005

This was dressed perfectly, not so much that the greens are drowned in dressing, but you could still taste the three main players. Curiously, the menu advertises apples in the salad, but it came with radishes instead.

For the main course, I had the Fisherman’s stew, with mussels, clams, squid, and fish chunks.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-006

Delightfully spicy yet light, this was the prefect amount of seafood, tomatoes, onions, and carrots. The broth was well-seasoned, but since it wasn’t thickened with anything, it didn’t make for very good bread sop. I would have liked a few mussels pureed into the broth to thicken it up and make for a more stew-like consistency.

Heather’s main course was the pan-seared scallops with smokey mashed potatoes and collared greens.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-007

The scallops had a good sear on them, but it’s hard to inject any real flavor into them, so they tasted like every other scallop I’ve had. The potatoes had a nice smokey flavor, when combined with the greens, they cry out to be paired with a BBQ meat.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-008

On the way home, we stopped at Extraordinary Desserts for a sweet ending to the evening. There was a long line out the door, so I entertained myself by shooting her cute toes.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-011

She had her heart set on the strawberry shortcake, and found them in the case. The girl in front of us heard her talking about how delicious they are, and pulled a total bitch-move and ordered the last two. The clerk was nice enough to go in back and find another one for Heather.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-012

I oredered a french apple berry tart, but when we opened the box at home, they gave me a whipped cream banana tart instead. I hate whipped cream, and I’m not a huge fan of bananas either. But, it was still pretty good.

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-014

We only ate half of our desserts, the rest is going to perk up the indian chicken leftovers I made a couple days ago. Oh, and what was in the little blue box?

Sea Rocket Bistro Dinner 10910 © Michael Klayman-010

Joshua White Group Shoot, 1/7/10

I did a quick group shoot for Joshua after the show. I’d much rather do these before the gig rather than after, but I didn’t get to Dizzy’s in time. I’m finding that musicians look much fresher before they start playing. Afterwards, they’re a bit tired and would rather mingle with their adoring fans than pose for some guy asking them to hold still while he switches lenses.

JOshua White Group at Dizzys 10710 © Michael Klayman-002

Joshua White Group at Dizzy’s, 1/7/10

I just shot Joshua White as a sideman last weekend, and here he is leading his own band through his own compositions.

JOshua White Group at Dizzys 10710 © Michael Klayman-025

I had an opportunity to see some players I haven’t seen before. The full set of images can be found here, or just click on one of them.

Anthony Smith on vibes:

JOshua White Group at Dizzys 10710 © Michael Klayman-002

Tommy Holladay on guitar:

JOshua White Group at Dizzys 10710 © Michael Klayman-014

And Jens Kuross on drums, from L.A.:

JOshua White Group at Dizzys 10710 © Michael Klayman-012

Faithful readers will remember Jeff Denson:

JOshua White Group at Dizzys 10710 © Michael Klayman-020

And the man of the night, Joshua White:

JOshua White Group at Dizzys 10710 © Michael Klayman-030

The band wore all black, since that’s Joshua’s standard attire. I decided to remove the color from this set of photos too. The color at Dizzy’s is pretty much a monochromatic orange anyway, so it was no big loss, and combined with my telephoto, it made for some interesting detail shots of the vibes, which I’ve only had a chance to shoot once before.

JOshua White Group at Dizzys 10710 © Michael Klayman-029

JOshua White Group at Dizzys 10710 © Michael Klayman-021

It’s a very photogenic instrument, so I’ll see about getting some Anthony Smith gigs into my rotation. Joshua really needs to get a band together for more than just a one-off gig. He’s ready to get more of his music out there.

Heather’s Birthday Sunset, 1/9/10

I didn’t realize this sunset was happening, literally in my own back yard, until a friend hipped me to it on Facebook.

Backyard Sunset 10910 © Michael Klayman-001

I had just enough time to capture this with the lens that was on the camera. By the time I switched to my wide angle, it didn’t look as good. If I had been about five minutes sooner to notice it, it would have been a truly spectacular image.

I shot this from the top step of that waterslide that we’re going to sell this spring. But maybe it has some use after all.