The Jayhawks, one of my all-time favorite bands that just happens to hail from the Twin Cities, reunited this past weekend for three shows at First Avenue. I couldn't have been more excited to see them, until I heard that Romantica was opening for their Monday night show! Two of my favorites in one night, what could be better? I'll tell you what could be better, taking the next morning off from work to truly enjoy the fun!
To start off an evening of wonderful music, it never hurts to have wonderful food. We chose to eat tapas at Solera, only because I had a gift certificate. We both felt a little reluctant because while Solera is gorgeous, it hasn't really kept up with the times. The decor hasn't changed a bit in many years and, except for the perfect rooftop, people don't talk much about the place anymore. But they should. We chose to eat in the bar where we had four tapas and drinks and enjoyed them with the company of a good bartender who gave us a generous sample of some sherry and a fun size Kit Kat Bar. We ate my absolute favorite thing at Solera, the chorizo-stuffed dates with smoked bacon, and they were as good as ever. We also enjoyed some perfectly grilled asparagus with a thin slice of cured pork loin and a mahon cheese sauce. There was also a required pork belly small plate because pork belly is about as good as it gets, and finally a beautiful octopus ceviche dressed up in a terrine and sliced thinly to resemble stained glass. Everything went very well with my sangria, which is something I could drink every day all summer, but probably shouldn't. For dessert we shared the unbelievably delicate cinnamon-sugar churros (donut sticks) dipped in a thick hot chocolate called champurrado. Big fan here.
After dinner we headed over to First Avenue and met up with Sweet D and her friend Michelle and loved the snot out of Romantica and the Jayhawks. Romantica performed all of their usual songs that I adore, and then the Jayhawks took us back in time, singing tunes I hadn't heard in fifteen years but found I still knew all the words to. There were songs I missed that I wish they had sung, but overall I have no complaints because they performed great, unexpected covers as well as People in This Place on Every Side, the song that sucked me in to the Jayhawks in the first place so many years ago. After the show we had a final beer in the new bar owned by First Avenue just next door called the Depot Tavern, and we loved it. With a large, open garage door that provides airy patio drinking under cover, and a menu that includes Belgian fries that I'm dying to try, the place is the perfect little spot for pre- and post-show gatherings. It's the kind of place, and it was the kind of night, that really makes you appreciate all the beauty and fun that Minneapolis has to offer.