The Dave Barnes concert on Saturday was AMAZING. And “AMAZING” hardly seems to do it justice. Everything from the vodka gimlet to the encore was completely perfect. We started with martinis, brochette and loaded fries at Bar Luis in Evanston, which were all delicious. We headed over a few blocks to the concert venue, called S.P.A.C.E., which was simply darling! The venue was small and perfectly intimate. Cozy, four-person tables filled the middle of the room with open seats on each side. We didn’t quite make it in time to sit, so we grabbed some cocktails and stood by the sound guy, which just so happend to be right by the door the artists were soon to come out of. [Insert high-pitched squeal hear]
The whole show was acoustic, and not to intentionally quote Brand New, but I’m a sucker for anything acoustic. The opener was a singer/songwriter named Steve Moakler, who turned out to be a great start to the evening. Most of his songs were very pretty ballads with beautiful lyrics, but one song I found particularly fantastic. It was called “This Ain’t Rock ‘n Roll,” and I freaking loved it! It’s a funny little song about a boy who’s no country boy but can get down with a lot of country ways.
“I’m not country but I like your country, I know where I’m from. When I hear your songs on the radio, I start having fun. I’m so down with deep fried chicken; Jesus saved my soul. Yeah I’m a Northern City Boy, but this ain’t rock and roll.”
When Dave Barnes took the stage, it was non-stop fantastic. He played every great song that I wanted to hear, he was absolutely hysterical in between songs and he was just a blast to watch. He can play guitar, he can play keys, he can sing — he’s a one-stop shop! I can’t even tell you how great the show was. It was definitely the most fun that I’ve had at a concert in a very long time.
When the show ended, it only got better. It also just so happened that our spot right by the sound guy was also the starting line for the meet and greet with the artists. We got a group, “prom pic” with Steve Moakler, bought our t-shirts (I got a Dave Barnes Shirt, my friend got Steve Moakler) and we waited for Dave to come out. When he did, we were the very first to greet him, tell a few jokes and snap pics with him. I swear my friend cried she was so incredibly excited. She screamed like a 13-year-old girl the entire way home. It was a freaking blast!!! I could not have asked for a more perfect evening!
[me, Steve, Chrissy]
[Chrissy, love of her life]
[me, Dave Barnes]
I’m not going to lie, that had absolutely nothing to do with my baking post today. Well, not “absolutely” nothing, my friend that I went with did recommend this recipe, so I guess that’s close enough of a connection. Yesterday, I tried my hand at homemade cinnamon rolls with a little bit of a twist. Check it out!
1/4 cup warm water
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/3 cup warm milk
1 large egg, beaten
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I substituted this for all-purpose flour too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (I didn’t have this, and used pumpkin pie spice instead)
1 stick butter
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of allspice and ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon lemon juice
2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
(If you don’t have a bread machine, click here for the directions by hand. I was definitely not brave enough to try doing it that way.)
For the roll dough, start by adding the warm water, warm milk, beaten egg, pumpkin puree and melted butter to the bottom of a bread machine pan. Then add the flours, brown sugar and spices. Make a small indentation into the flour and add the yeast into the hole. Set your bread machine to the “Dough” setting and let it do its magic.
To make the cinnamon filling, mix the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.
When the bread machine has completed its cycle, lightly spray a flat surface with cooking spray. Roll the dough out into a 16” x 12” rectangle.
Spread the softened butter evenly over the dough.
Sprinkle the cinnamon mixture in a solid layer on top of the butter. I wouldn’t recommend using all the cinnamon mixture, because I did and it made it hard to roll.
Then roll the dough the long way into a log about 20 inches in length.
Slice the log into 1” – 2” rolls and place in a greased 9” x 13” pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise until doubled in size, approximately 45 minutes.
Bake in a 375ºF oven for about 20 – 30 minutes or until the rolls are brown on the edges and beginning to turn golden brown across the center.
While the rolls are in the oven, prepare the cream cheese frosting. Blend the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and lemon juice until smooth and combined.
Add the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, blending in between, until well mixed and desired consistency is reached. I used 2 cups.
Frost Warm rolls with the cream cheese frosting and serve immediately.