When a friend and I decided to go out Saturday night, we figured we could grab a bite to eat and maybe enjoy some wine and music in Montclair.
Since I cover Montclair, and also ran the Taste of Montclair last year (and will co-chair this year again), I have a good idea of where to go for fine food and hoppin' music.
On Saturday night, my friend Rosa and I started out at Upstairs, where we ordered a few small plates and enjoyed some pretty wonderful drinks in the fantastic, icicle-like lit bar.
We shared a plate of the house smoked salmon with artisanal mustard; the light as air gnocchi, and my favorite, the pork belly. Wow. This place changed up their menu recently and it's as good as ever. The salmon was luscious, and I really did want to order 5 more plates of it, since it was decadent in its fresh luscious smokey intensity.
If you have not gone there - what are you thinking? Go! It gets very busy in the bar after 7:30 so plan to eat early and enjoy this cool scene. I just love it - and you may see me there.
Afterwards, we headed over to Church Street. Greg and Cheryl Spinelli have built up a hot spot filled with Tapas and live music at Tapastry.
Let me tell you, if you want to go on a weekend call ahead and make a reservation. Every single chair was taken.
The band Blue Light 3, with my friend Steve Landelius at the drums, once again showed how uplifting and inspirational jazz can be - at any time. The band is comprised of Steve, who is also a very booked drum teacher; and a wonderful bassist along with a guitarist who blew my mind, totally.
"We play here on Saturdays," Steve said, before his gig. "It's a great crowd and people love to come in and enjoy the Tapas, with their bottle of wine (it's BYOB). Greg and Cheryl are great."
Rosa popped over to Amanti Vino, the artisanal wine shop about 3 doors down from Tapastry, and brought back a bottle of a Cabernet Sauvignon that cost under $20, which she said the manager recommended. The wine, from Wyatt in California, was dry with that perfect touch of oak and hints of vanilla and spice. Wow.
Our evening was delectable, and we enjoyed hanging out with the crowd and laughing with Steve, who might consider doing a part-time gig as a comic.
Consider going to Upstairs and Tapastry - probably best on different nights. Unless of course you are as daring as I am!
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