Friday, August 26, 2011

I'm Living Social in Gilt City L.A. using my Groupons to see Andrew Belle at The Foundry on Melrose

Remember how there was an iPhone App for everything?

Now there's a hip coupon for everything.

Whatever you fancy - yoga classes, marathon entries, hair removal, botox, bartending, dental work, dining out, concerts - a coupon is likely available somewhere between Groupon, Living Social, Active's Shwaggle, Amazon, Open Table, and  And to add to the list, Gilt City L.A, my most recent coupon discovery.  Guilt City is a site that offers (among other things) discounts for sought-after events in your city - mine being the City of Angels. 

My good friend HBJ sent me a link for a Gilt City L.A. event, and it was right up my alley: Up-and-coming singer/songwriter, Andrew Belle, performing at celebrity Chef Eric Greenspan's casually elegant restaurant, The Foundry on Melrose.  So we bought the deal!

HBJ w/ art-deco lighting fixtures in background

Set in The Foundry's intimate art-deco-esque dining room, Andrew performed as part of The Foundry's continuing Sunday series featuring singer/songwriters.  In fact, the Foundry features live music almost every day of the week. I like :)

As Andrew was warming up and sound checking - HBJ and I opened our customized Gilt City L.A. menus to see what was in store for us.  The menu not only featured the specialty appetizer and cocktails themed around Andrew's latest album, THE LADDER, but also had Andrew's bio - a nice touch and helpful for context about his music. 

We started with selecting our specialty cocktails.  HBJ got the slightly tart, but zingy rum option, "The Ladder", and I chose the Vodka option because it had TANG in it so I had to try it.  It was strong, but had a light fruity sweetness - I plan to make a Crystal Light variety at home.
cocktail lubricated, we were ready for the appetizer, a Beet and Carrot Latke.  Chef Eric, quite the latketeer, is well known for his latke varieties.  Check out this link to a Youtube video where Eric is making latkes live on the Snyder Diamond coking show.  I will admit, I haven't had too many latkes in my life, but the only ones I have eaten were made out of potatoes so a latke made out of root veggies was definitely a fresh whimsy twist for me.  The latke had a nice bright red color when you cut it into it - almost like a medium done hamburger patty and a light crisp - like a hash brown but was slightly sweet.  It was topped with glazed carrots and a dollop of caraway seed creme-fraiche and was sitting on creamy bed of carrot puree.  I really enjoyed it and gobbled it up quickly.  What a tasty and interesting low-carb alternative for the old Hanukkah dinner - or anytime since beets and carrots are available all year round.  In case you are interested in making beet latkes, check out this cool blog for a recipe.

After we finished our yummy latkes, HBJ and I went in for the piece de resistance - Chef Eric's award winning Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Short Ribs.  This is the Elvis of all Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.  If you like Grilled Cheese (and who doesn't) I highly recommend this dish because its truly unlike any other Grilled Cheese you have ever had.  And I am not the only one who recommends it, check out the below clip from The Food Network show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" featuring Eric's amazing Grilled Cheese. Adam Gertler perfectly describes the "symphony of flavors" that will be dancing in your mouth as you experience this cheesey/meaty food fantasy.  After watching the video, I suspect you will run out to The Foundry ASAP - and good news -  I have seen two Groupons for The Foundry!

Watch below and you may salivate on your keyboard.  It's OK.

While we munched on our latkes and grilled cheese, we took in the songs and stories of the talented, yet humbly earnest, Andrew Belle.  What I love the most about watching singer/songwriters is their stories about how and why they wrote their songs.  Although I was familiar with his music, I didn't know a lot about him so I was glad that Andrew personalized the event by talking about himself and his music.

Originally from Tennessee and Chicago, Andrew has recently been touring in LA, and the first thing he talked about were his LA culinary experiences - a great move considering the room was full of foodies.  Having dined at both the chic Gjelina in Venice and the wildly popular pescatarian favorite, Son of a Gun, on Third St. in the Mid-Wilshire district, he said he needed expandable pants after all the good eating, which made me love him and connect with him right off the bat!  I might own a pair of expandable pants or two...

It's apropos that Andrew started his set talking about food because Andrew is a foodie himself.  He actually has his own food blog with great pictures!  You are quite a food photographer sir Andrew (and from personal experience, I can tell you that photographing food is really hard).

After breaking the ice with the food talk, he got into more details about the stories behind his music.  He shared with us that his grandparents paid for him to go to college and that he majored in marketing although ultimately pursued his passion - obviously music. He then played a beautiful song called IN YOUR SLEEP which he wrote near his college and is featured on his 2008 debut EP, ALL THOSE PRETTY LIGHTS.  Check out the below live version of IN YOUR SLEEP - A song that I felt was about the potential between two people when only one of them can see that potential....

He also told us how he recorded THE LADDER (which all Guilt City's got a complimentary copy of with their purchase) in his friend's basement in Nashville. No expensive fancy studio - just friends making music from the heart in their homes - simple, pure.  And that simplicity and purity showed through in his performance.

Next he played a gorgeous song, IN MY VEINS, which I knew from my favorite medical drama/soap opera/sleep-around fest, Grey's Anatomy.  Prominently featured in the Season 6 Finale (synopsis: crazy gunmen opens fire at Seattle Grace Hospital and kills two doctors and shoots McDreamy and Karev), IN MY VEINS plays when Dr. Bailey realizes she cannot operate on fatally shot Dr. Percy and holds him in her arms as he slowly dies.  I cried during that scene.  I cry a lot - so not surprising.  IN MY VEINS also plays behind the montage created to depict the entire massacre - I cried during that too. 

In this song, Andrew's voice is airy, but a bit sombre.  What I hear: uncontrollable and unforeseen bad things happen, and in that moment when tragedy strikes, people - whether friends or strangers - are bound together forever.  A timely sentiment as those in various cities across the East Coast suffer together through Hurricane Irene's wrath. 

Towards the end of the set, he played the song I knew the best off THE LADDER, the current single, STATIC WAVES. It's catchy, but its bittersweet.  It's about the conflicted feelings you go through when breaking up with someone you love and don't want to hurt, but you have to end the relationship because it's just not working out anymore.  On the one hand, you will miss that person and the relationship, but on the other hand, you are excited for the possibility of a new chapter and know a weight will be lifted because you had been prolonging this decision long enough.

It's a sucky human feeling, but Andrew helps and he gets it.... Check out the lyrics as you listen because they are right on target to that conflicted feeling.

i count the steps from where i am
to where i started
i tap my feet
and close the door, to your apartment
and i know you're never gonna understand

its too late for you to stop and think
too late to mention
i make a move and spill my drink
to break the tension
i know you're never gonna understand
ill try my best to follow if i can, but

i would have let you leave (x3)

the static waves across the screen
define this notion
back and forth and in between
like my emotion
and i know you're never gonna understand
and wont you slow this down oh if you can

you swayed your hips and stole the breathe
that i was taking
i touched your lips and held your hands
when they were shaking

look how we've fallen upon our knees
how we forgot it
these empty halls held our disease
before we caught it
now out the door and down the stairs from your apartment

i would have let you leave

the static waves across the screen
define this notion
back and forth and in between
like my emotion

now out the door and down the stairs
from your apartment
i count the steps from where i am
to where i started

i would have let you (x3)
i would have let you leave.

As if the night could not get any better, the climax of the evening came when HBJ and I got to chat with both Andrew and Eric after the show.  They were so cool and friendly, and I was totally star struck - and they were even kind enough to let us take a photo :)

It was a beautiful night.  Thanks to HBJ for making this happen and to Chef Eric and Andrew for such an irresistible pairing of food and music - and for the photo op! 

I've got my Groupon so I will be back to the Foundry shortly for some treats and some more tunes.  And you should go too - and by the way, The Foundry is super affordable too!

Hugs and Kisses my darlings.


  1. Look at you rubbing elbows with food and music stars! Are you still going to talk to me when you become a blog superstar? Not that you aren't already a blog superstar to me. ;)

  2. You have such a fantastic blog! Great write up on Andrew Belle...I, too, think his music is fantastic! :)

  3. It all sounds so delish! Another fab post Z...and I like that HBJ got a li'l tag here. :)

  4. Excellent Blog! Never get tired of reading about my son! :D

  5. The Rockin' FoodieSeptember 01, 2011 4:25 PM

    Erin - Ha! Thx - you are very sweet and I am so appreciative of your loyal readership :)

    Nicole - Thx so much for stopping into the blog and the kind words! Andrew is really great. Love your blog as well - I now know how to make a whiskey sour! Adding you to my blog roll!

    Tuesday - It was delish! Let's go next time you are in town!

    Rick - Thx Rick - your son is so talented and I can see talent runs in the family because you're drawings are incredible! I am adding you to my blog roll.