Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

1 10 2010

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is here!  For the 10th year Warren Hellman is putting on his best party of the year for a few thousand of his closest friends.  Talk about generosity, he hosts the whole thing FREE, no need to get tickets!  The best part is that he also allows attendees to bring their own food an beverage into Golden Gate Park and enjoy the show with a picnic.  My husband Michael and I have been going to the show for years now so we have a system down.  He arrives in the first shift with all the chairs, blankets and gear and sets up a base camp at the stage we deem most worthy, we always know that we will have friends all over the park and can text and join them at other stages as the weekend rolls on if there’s someone in particular we have to see, but it’s nice to have our gear in one spot.

Food is of course vital, as is beverage, so we are sure to plan that out accordingly.  This year I was fortunate enough to receive some samples of Demitri’s Bloody Mary Seasoning and also some Karlsson’s Gold Vodka and a pepper grinder so that should be a marriage made in heaven!  I tried the Demitri’s during the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition and had a hard time choosing between the flavors, Classic, Extra Horseradish and Chilies and Garlic.  The Extra Horseradish was actually the Best Mixer of the competition.  The nice thing is that the mix comes in a super concentrate, so you can make a full batch or add to each bloody individually to match the concentration to your liking.  They also provide RimShot! a salt with spices so you can rim the glass, they even have a bacon version.  Bloody Marys are great for a festival, they are like food in fact, they keep up your energy and provide you with vitamin C.  The Karlsson’s Gold vodka is also delicious, watch for a blog about it soon.  It’s Swedish and made from seven varieties of virgin new potatoes and actually has a lot of flavor.  I might opt to bring some minis of Oro de Oaxaca Mezcal too to make a smokier version of the Bloody Marias and rim those with worm salt (it comes right on the bottle).

Me and Darrell Scott 2008

For Bluegrass I tend to be a bit more simple than my other parties opting for store bought salsas (Balboa Produce 3635 Balboa at 37th makes AMAZING salsas and its in the ‘hood so I won’t lose my parking space) and hummus but I did make some toasts for those and will make my duo of corn salsas with the last of the summer corn.  One is just corn with a pat of butter and balsamic vinegar and salt, cut the corn off the cob and cook with all ingredients on the stove while stirring until it starts to caramelize and you actually hear the corn pop!  The other is a version of corn cut off the cob with serrano chilies, cilantro and lime (and a hint of butter to saute it in.)  I am hoping to do some new popcorn versions, truffle, Sansho (Japanese pepper blend) and classic, but I am a bit concerned about the fog and how quickly it will get soggy.  I am considering the FoodSaver vacuum for that, not sure if it will work or make the popcorn taste stale…  Of course there will be the requisite Kielbasa with horseradish, a cabbage “salsa” my friend Shelley taught me to make with cabbage, habanero and lime topped with canned pepper (fresh cracked doesn’t work the same way…), Roquefort filled dates, roasted potatoes to dip in sour cream and/or onion dip, peppers and carrots, Molinari finocchiona and pepperoni salame, chips and snacks and this year I am planning to make Thai shrimp wraps with mint and basil and some peanut sauce.

Some tips regarding Bluegrass…

Try to be courteous to your neighbors, and share your blankets.  Don’t traipse your dirty port-o-potty shoes through the middle of other people s blankets, try to stay on the edges!

Pack out everything you bring in, recycle and compost!

If you live in the Richmond don’t move your car until Monday or you’ll be screwed.  Stock up on food for your house so that you have something for hungry HSB goers who are waiting for a bus.

Don’t expect to get home easily, hang and chill with your peeps and be patient.

Some abbreviations for texters… My friend Ika has provided us with a handy guide, I should sell the things, that includes text abbreviations for dummies (I should have had such a fancy guide for watching the Jersey Shore…)  She also suggests a great system to tell folks exactly where you are.  Stage is 10% the far back 100%, if you are looking at the stage you can determine Left or Right, and then there’s outside, middle and inside…  it’s truly brilliant… and example is RoL47%M… SO SMART.

Porch=Po

Banjo=Jo

Rooster=Ro

Arrow=Ar

Star=Sr

Tower=Tr

And I almost forgot to talk about the AMAZING music we will see!  Our pick this year seems to be the Banjo stage.  Today Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Patty Griffin and T Bone Burnett are playing at various stages, tomorrow at Banjo highlights include Joan Baez and Gillian Welch.  I am kind of bummed that Darrell Scott won’t be here this time, but he does have an amazing new album out, A Crooked Road and I got to see him in August at Great American Music Hall.  I always have to see the legends of the weekend, Hazel Dickens, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson and Del McCoury!  Enjoy the show, hope to see you there.  For the full schedule go to http://www.strictlybluegrass.com/2010/artists.shtml


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