The Cowboy of Red Sevilla
Last night we decided to have a proper dinner out -- well, not with tea and crumpets or anything, but with lingering and good food and wine -- because we hadn't in awhile. We settled on Red Sevilla, which is down on the corner of Limestone and Vine, right across from Phoenix Park and the library. It's a charming little place, which is never very busy (when we're there anyway) mostly due to its reputation for horrible service. (Actually, it's not that the service is horrible; it's actually very pleasant. But it's very leisurely, which people in central Kentucky, and most of the rest of the US of A, are never quite sure how to react to. Chop! Chop! We're living busy, busy lives here! Etc.)
It's a smallish place, and there are rumors that there's a hotspot latino dance club upstairs, but we've yet to see an entrance or evidence of this. One wall is red, one is brick, there's a stage on which the local flamenco troupe appears on Saturday nights, and lots of nice and unobjectionable art and some spectacular Spanish movie posters. The bar is a nice tiled affair and the place is just pleasant beyond all belief. The food is wonderful. Especially the side dishes. It's like each one of them is the perfect version of itself. Fried plantains? Best you'll ever eat. Yucca with white cheese? Ditto. Mashed potatoes with Manchego and garlic? The fluffiest, lightest, yummiest on earth.
Our waiter may have been the patron, a charming guy who was genuinely excited when we praised our dinners. He was also one of those people who is equally fluent in Spanish and English, which always makes me envious and sad that I'm not. Don't even get me started on more exotic languages. It like they have the option, regularly, of becoming someone else, or speaking in code. Usually, it's something I just take for granted but every now and then, when I see someone move back and forth between languages that quickly, it takes my breath away.
We talked and exchanged forkfuls and listened to the table of college girls who came in get a lesson on what the food was and why there's no such thing as low-fat dressing there ("olive oil, it's all fat, but is delicious!"). Things were quite wonderful and we were almost ready to leave and then... And then...
The old cowboy came in. He was old and bald, with a skinny white beard around his face. He dressed all in black, with a giant silver belt buckle winking like a metal god whenever it caught the light. He had a karaoke machine. A "Party Tyme" karaoke machine. Which he proceeded to set up and then launched into a heartbreaking rendition of "Love Me Tender." His voice was spectacular and absolutely his alone, full and a little chilling in context and oddly accented. At first we thought it was an all-Elvis karaoke machine, but then he talked one of the girls into picking a song, and it became apparent that there were many and scary choices available. Her voice was too thin and he tried to coach her, tried to shove the microphone into her face. He was impressed with her, until that fateful duet of "Unforgettable" he talked her into, that she just tossed to the winds and let fly. The disappointment was palpable.
Another couple came in while Christopher was singing a spot-on version of Willie Nelson's "Always on My Mind." The place erupted into applause when he was done. The waiter asking, If he always sang that way?
It was time to go, after the girl's abyssmal version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." But the cowboy wouldn't allow it. Christopher was going to sing another song.
"Oh, what a beautiful mornin'..." A lovely version to be sure, and no one else seemed to notice the change in one line to a "sinking feeling..."
We left, everyone in the place wishing us goodnight and proprietors thanking Christopher for singing and telling him he had a lovely voice. When we got out on the street, the King of Karaoke says to me, "Now that's a good restaurant. When everyone tells you good night when you leave."
A remarkable night out.
Then home and asleep far too early.
# # #
Odds and ends. Today's the St. Patrick's Day parade. I have mixed feelings as St. Patrick's is a personally huge holiday for me, but only if I'm in Minneapolis with Lorraine and Chris McLaren. I will have to live vicariously through them this year, wishing I could see the Folk Underground and Boiled in Lead (20th anniversary!) show at First Ave. And dancing and friends and whiskey, sigh.
But I suppose I will go down to watch the parade, if for no other reason than because Gillian Welch tickets go on sale at the Kentucky Theatre immediately following.
Miscellaneous links from yesterday...
Further proof the Dixie Chicks rock
. (My only other war-related link is the story about civil disobedience in today's Washington Post, which I forgot to actually copy. So, go read it. Civil disobedience warms my heart.)
The mystic of toilet paper
And a movie that sounds quite wonderful, Til Human Voices Wake Us
And, of course, we are just dancing in the streets thrilled here about Kelly and Gavin taking over Year's Best, and about the prospect of more Terri Windling fiction. Yay!
Go forth and Saturday.