Hudson Wisconsin Nightlife

After Northern Invasion, thrash band Beowulf invades local haunts. Did they howl?

May 27th, 2016

Did Beowulf ‘pick up their guitar and play, just like yesterday,’ not at First Avenue, but on Second Street? Is NHMOY ‘steppin’ right on time?’ A wrap-up on what happens after Ozzfest:

– In homage to the Ozzfest days where bands such as Twisted Sister would be out on the prowl at Hudson clubs after their Somerset shows were done, and they’d be filtering back to the Twin Cities through Hudson, Beowulf was seen at the Agave Kitchen, then a block up at Stone Tap, on a recent Friday night after the opener of the Northern Invasion heavy metal tour. The band has been around since long before their was an Ozzfest. No word if once here, they picked up their guitar and played, like Dee Snyder and the boys did with a cover band a few years back at the current location of Stone Tap (then Dibbo’s). Beowulf’s crossover thrash metal, which has gotten more into blues rock over time, would have been a new sound to Hudson concert-life. The source close to Beowulf, (kidding), a cook downtown, added he got the (morbidly spine-tingling?) thrill of seeing Rob Zombie’s tour bus driving away from the village grounds.
– Along the route, in what is billed as the most important election of the year, Sunday is the last day to vote for the North Hudson Man of the Year, as they are steppin’ right on time with their typical end-of-May timing for crowning a winner. As a campaign twist, signs last weekend were posted in the middle of the ditch in front of Kozy Korner for both Brian and Joe, but alas they were only temporary signs, up for a couple of days. Wonder if there were right of way restrictions …
– Similarly placed were signs outside of Shiner’s in Lakeland, which advertised signup for their Tuesday and Thursday beanbag leagues. You’d see at least a couple of these big, bright yellow placards before getting anywhere near the front door.
– Concerning Beyonce’s show, a bartender at the Green Mill said she used to live in that area of Minneapolis near the stadium, so could relate to people having a tough time not only with the rain, but getting around in it while looking for a parking spot. And the Queen Bey was expected to pay tribute to her Prince, pouring out her rendition of Purple Rain, as the tributes continue both locally and in the Twin Cities.
– One of the five summer drink specials at Dick’s Bar and Grill is, fittingly, a Raspberry Kiss. While not specifically meant as a tribute to Prince, it’s hard not to notice the comparisons that could be made: (1) The name reads much like one of his Iconic songs, Raspberry Beret, and (2) Prince was well-known for the references to sexuality in his songs, kisses or otherwise.
– They didn’t wait very long. While the highlights of a Twins game played shortly before midnight on sports TVs at Dick’s, a woman was sporting her St. Paul Saints sweatshirt, presumingly after attending their opener that day. At least it wasn’t like dress for the fishing opener, with guys and their dorky hats.

In studio with guitar, with Prince in the wings, is all part of Symbol of our affection

May 19th, 2016

The Love is shared by recording done at Paisley Park, with Prince in the house, and a Prince tribute locally.
– One-man bander Jeff Loven had a guitar student who got to know Prince, and early in his career also became part of perhaps the first band to record at Paisley Park. It was a cold winter night, and it was suggested that Jeff could even park his vehicle inside the garage there so it would start after the session, which was at one of the multiple studios at Prince’s place. Loven entered, guitar in hand and full of bravado, and was told when hearing the screamed licks of someone else on that instrument to knock at the door to be let into the recording room. He eventually did so and didn’t find a full band playing, just Prince off in the distance wailing on his instrument of choice.
– There was a North Hudson memorial to Prince on the same weekend as one in the Twin Cities, and this one was not by invitation only. Word has it that the Prince remembrance that started at 3 p.m. and featured all his classic songs was well attended and a highlight was seeing the movie Purple Rain all the way through. That also was the song that wrapped up the evening in a stellar vocal performance there by Mystic Funk back in their pre-Thanksgiving Day party, (so maybe there is something to his lyrics, at least as done by some cover bands, foretelling events of his death).
– Prince isn’t the only short in stature, but not vocals, deceased singer you can meet in the Twin Cities. A former Dibbo’s bartender said she met the late Ronnie James Dio at the Mall of America and also in a separate encounter had her photo taken with the Marshall Tucker Band.
– Now that it’s growing season, a couple I know who have run karaoke and also run a farm near Roberts say they have an unusual crop being raised — hops, you know the kind they use to make beer. (Maybe being Wisconsin this is not so unusual). They also add that they might do some bottling of it in the future.
– In a recent revisiting at the Village Inn, there was a tribute this time around not to Prince, but to chain saw art. Out where the driveway meets Hwy. 35, a man from Cape Cod who travels the country had his stump-size, wood-carved pieces, of things such as bears, eagles and owls, on display and available for purchase.

Memories of ‘chasing’ Prince while with blues band are triggered by mom

April 28th, 2016

 

Mothers Day is coming soon, but when I talked to her recently, we talked not of that, but she reminded me of a near-Prince-encounter I had near New Ulm.
Mom doesn’t get all the celebrity worshiping thing, and noted that even as far away as Milwaukee, Prince’s death was all over the TV news.
She said the banner headlines made her recall when I joined members of a blues band and made a road trip to the other end of Minnesota, where they were going to play a big gig associated with the Minnesota Music Awards. Rumor had it that The Purple One himself, who was getting an honor in conjunction with the awards, was going to make one of his impromptu appearances and maybe even perform.
When we got there from Hudson in mid-afternoon, word had it that Prince had already been cited, and that’s where mom comes in. She remembered us joking at that time about it being hard not to notice a 5-foot-2, flamboyantly dressed black man in that part of Minnesota. Be that as it may, the group of us soon were part-taking in a whirlwind limo trip through the city to check on an alleged Prince citing — without really knowing exactly where we were going or why.
It would be awhile before my traveling mates in the Brandon Scott Sellner Band would take the fittingly big, theater-style stage, as they’d been asked to be a featured act in this annual festival. But during that time, there were phone calls made back and forth to various locations and assurances made that yes, Prince was in the area and would be stopping in.
It wasn’t until close to midnight that all involved fully realized that Prince would indeed not be in the house.

Local people rein in on the tall and short of meeting Prince and his band

April 23rd, 2016

With doves crying since Prince was nice enough to sing about them prior to his recent death, some locals who had their 15 noteworthy minutes with him or his bandmates are reining in on the experience.
– I met a member of Prince’s back-up band in the 1990s, when he was at the height of his popularity and both men had toured together. I was returning home late to Hudson (was it from a concert?) when I needed to gas up at the station at White Bear and Interstate 94. I encountered a man who was almost a head taller than Prince and immaculately but not flamboyantly dressed, but added his car had stalled. He asked for a ride and seemed like a safe risk, so he jumped in my passenger side for a trip across town. Turns out the man had done gigs playing guitar for Prince, but now worked in the corporate world. We agreed to take each others’ numbers and get together for lunch some time, but I never followed through on it, (this being in a day when the economy didn’t suck and we were both up to our eyeballs in job duties). I always regretted that, as who knows, maybe amongst other things I could have done an interview and gotten a piece in Rolling Stone?
– A friend Jean saw Prince, who was 57, perform with his band back when both were in high school, in the early 1970s. She took in his performance while he was a student at Central, and she was at Regina, just a few miles away and a Catholic school none-the-less. It was about three years later that Prince signed his first record deal.
His lack of stature was hard to determine, since Prince was up on the stage and the audience was seated on the gym floor. But she liked the music. “It was a little bit louder than what I was used to hearing.”
– Friend Dan once found out that Prince was staying in the next motel room over, and orchestrated a brief meeting, although in characteristic Prince form, what he said was short in duration.
– A sidebar in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, by music writer Ross Raihala, was far less personal and heavy on his simply-rewrite-the-press-release format than what’s in this blog. He was asked to share his favorite recollections about Prince, and just rehashed what he considered great about a few particular albums. Apparently Ross has never met the guy, or anyone else who has ever met the guy, although he did admit right off the bat he was in grade school when Prince hit the scene.
– A full day after the death was pronounced, a couple at Pudge’s Bar was discussing the Purple One, and his request that a symbol be used in place of his name, (a suggestion the mainstream media immediately fell on board with). Said the man at Pudge’s: “That’s his symbol. It’s a guitar.”
– So what is the last word, at least locally? The sign at Agave has said on multiple days: Purple Rain #crankit.

Watch out for flopped shoe at the show, and don’t fill the Ordway with odor

April 20th, 2016

If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. Instead
toss it into the nearest flower pot!
On a cold night a while back, I was given the task
to park the car when going out for a show, in this
case not rock but the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
They even had a valet or two in top hats and tails!
Job done, I had to walk back a few blocks, and was
weaving around the crosswalks to find my way to
return to the Ordway in St. Paul.
Damned if the sole of my shoe didn’t become completely
dislodged. And I was in a hurry, running late, so
the quick pace made the shoe flop entirely. So, ala
Jimmy Buffett, in “blew out my flip flop,” I tossed
the sole into a big sidewalk flower pot the size of a
speaker. I just wondered if this upper crust crowd
would look on in distain of a man with one shoe, or
at least just a shoe-and-a-half.
We did get seated without anyone complaining about
foot odor, and the orchestra soon was performing an
instrumental selection that often spun dangerously
out of control, than finally pulled it together
again. Much like Ozzy Osbourne’s old band taking on
a guitar solo that careens wildly on Over the
Mountain. And I did notice a power chord remarkably
like that plucked by Nirvana.

And, as the show progressed it amounted to a tutorial by

the conductor, and included similarities to old TV show themes

like Perry Mason, (could Ozzy pull off those things coherently?

Maybe one more than the other).

Take wine and beer samples, add cider, mix in bluegrass, you have a fest with pizzazz

April 7th, 2016

The sixth annual River Falls Roots and Bluegrass Music Festival returns with even more beers, wines and even ciders to sample at its yearly tasting event, and some new contests, that include one for complete bands that are new to forming, and other music-related activities. The fest runs April 8-10, although you can enjoy the bluegrass, Cajun and roots music that’s featured in its various forms — via the bands’ other lives performances and their CDs —  as well as the local wines, craft beers, ciders, meats and cheeses, at any time during the spring or rest of year. (See the full lineup in this web site’s Picks of the Week department).
Attendees at the beer and wine tasting, which is a third annual component of the fest, and kicks it off on Friday, will have the opportunity to sample local craft beer and wine, and to listen to live music by the Good Intentions. Participating vendors who you can continue to patronize are:
– Beers from Barley John’s Brewing Company, Fair State Brewing Cooperative, Fulton Brewing, Summit Brewing Company, Surly Brewing Co., Rush River Brewing Co. and Pitchfork Brewing.
– Wines from 65 Vines, Bella Vinez Winery, Dancing Dragonfly Winery, Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery, Wollersheim Winery and River Bend Vineyard and Winery
– Ciders from Crispin Hard Cider and Maiden Rock Winery and Cidery.
The tasting event is April 8 from 5-8 p.m. at Junior’s Bar and Restaurant. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door. Tickets are available at the Chamber office, Dick’s Hometown Liquor and Junior’s. The premier sponsor is Fulton Brewing.
That company is from the Twin Cities, and is a key component to the tasting, as are some others from the metro. Also, cider has been added as a third category of drink, for those who don’t care for wine or beer, so try it going into spring
But it’s the local brands that have a starring role. “We are a Mecca for that,” said Judy Berg, tourism sales marketing manager with the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Patrons from the Twin Cities can not only come here for the fest, but being just a short ride away can relive its experience created by new-favorite brews and wines, by just getting in the car.
When doing so, people can buy a bottle of their most-liked wine, for themselves or as a gift, if conducting such a re-creation. But not to get ahead of ourselves, they can purchase such items at local liquor stores, as well, on this weekend at the fest.
“It’s a heck of a deal,” Berg said, when it comes to the sheer amount of food and drink available for the money, and the variety of those options.
THE MUSIC MAKERS
The headliners in this free music weekend are Art Stevenson and High Water, Kind Country and Dead Horses. Scheduled are fifty-plus hours of foot-stompin’ bluegrass, Cajun and roots music, and it all can be done indoors, Berg said.
Whether it be the band contest, groups that are actually on the bill at the fest, or even event veteran Chris Silver’s own band, the Good Intentions, what’s prized is going back to the traditional roots of bluegrass, he said. There’s no secret to what the people who plan the fest are looking for in their acts. “We’re after polished musicians who are true to the craft,” Silver said, more-so than musicians who go off in their own direction, or just jam.
An example is where Silver’s band currently is at. (There have been different lineups of varying sizes). After delving into several styles, which in recent years leaned toward Americana with a lot of percussion included, the band is going back to what Silver valued in his younger days, the traditional bluegrass versions of the late ’70s and early ’80s.
Also of worth is originality and a strong, energetic stage presence, and thus the planners for both concerts and contests have looked at videos perhaps more-so than just regular recordings to gauge who they will invite to play the fest.
The new band contest, which is added to the annual singer/songwriter competition, is largely for groups that have not played much before an audience, but have the talent to be close to breaking into the forefront, Silver said. They can feature originals, but also cover versions of songs where the musicians have made it their own, not just redoing something that already exists.
The contest winner gets $300 and a recording session at Brickhouse Music in River Falls; second place gets $200 and third $100.
Silver also was behind an Emmy nominated video, demonstrating how-to-do-it-best from the past flatpicking contests. Some people come from all across the country, including a man from Maryland who has been here more then once, and even has placed in the music contests.
What else is looked for in bands? Look no further than Kind Country, which is Oshkosh based, making it actually regionally recognized. Berg said that, or being a local band and thus familiar, gets your foot in the door at the bluegrass fest. All of the acts involve the genre that promotes “footstomping,” somewhat broadly, as far as both musical style and audience participation, Berg said. Of course the groups can incorporate roots and Cajun music, as well, to please a patron if those are their favorites.
She notes these are free music offerings, unlike so many concerts in the Twin Cities, and all the parking is also at no cost. And, you can listen to an entire day of music on Saturday, going strong until 2 a.m., with lots of added events on the days on either side.
The Chamber bills this as a stay and play weekend, with lots of lodging options within a short distance of the downtown. A regularly attending Stillwater couple is pointed to by Berg as an example of making this a three-day extravaganza.
The fest is arranged so if you’re not sure if you like bluegrass, you can experience it firsthand, for a day or even more, in all its various forms before making a judgment. Younger fans have been drawn in, too, and the fest is family oriented.
“You can be doing something like going grocery shopping, and if you have a guitar in the car, join in a jam,” Berg said about the broad opportunities for participation.
“I was talking with a reporter from Chicago, and she kept asking, what is the price for this and what is it for that,” she said, underscoring that all events but the beer and wine tasting are free.
For more information, go to www.riverfallsbluegrass.com. To view a promotional video, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCp5JGIAMsA&feature=em-subs_digest. To see more from Riverwalk, visit “Attic Treasures Appraisals” at http://www.riverwalkartandantiques.com.

Mix best local grapes with those grown globe over, and Negret leaps into spring event

March 28th, 2016

A new urban winery in downtown Hudson draws on a decades-old family tradition that started in Bogota, Colombia, then moved to the Midwest, and now is here along the St. Croix River, incorporating local grape varieties with the best of what’s available both worldwide and especially in Europe and the United States.

Even more exciting, the Negret Wine Company and owner Vincent Negret, a veteran of the winery business is inviting you to sample what they have to offer on April 7 with their 2016 Spring Fling, 5-course meal paired with 5 Negret wines, guided by winemaker Vincent and catered by top-notch River Valley Catering of River Falls (you can call email them at reservations@negretwinecompany.com to make your reservations). All Negret wines are made on site and there will be tours available to tour the production facility!

The store’s 8,500-square-foot Hudson headquarters, which opened last fall, features a state-of-the-art 3,000-square-foot production area, a semi-commercial kitchen and a 50-seat tasting room with several very large windows. Vintage photos from the old country adorn a hallway that takes guests in back, where they can watch Negret’s wines being made and ask questions.

Included is a warehouse that seats up to 140 people for special events, gourmet snacks to enhance the sensory experience and a patio that’s in sight of the St. Croix River and Lakefront Park, shared by next-door-neighbor Pudge’s Bar on Second Street.

Next year’s wines will be made with grapes raised this season at local vineyards owned by two of Negret’s 17 business partners. Those wines entered the picture through harvesting done too late last year to be brought into Negret’s mix immediately. The Negret Wine Company opened in late October 2015 and the grapes currently are being fermented and processed in the Hudson facility according to Negret’s specifications. The wine blends also are incorporating grapes from California and Washington State.

One of the new wines — a soft, aromatic, semi-sweet red — pays local homage, being called “The Hudsonite.”

Negret began with a couple of soft openings, held by invitation only. “We didn’t need to open with a bang,” he said. It’s now open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays, and other days by reservation.

There is a lot to offer. “We’re also in the entertainment business,” Negret explains, adding the hope is that wine-loving patrons will fall in love with his varieties and all the accompaniments, which include food to amplify the experience and a diverse range of live music. In particular, bands are scheduled for Thursday and Saturday evenings.

Special events include classes on wine tasting, private wine tastings for small to large groups, a Hudson Sips Happy Hour, deals on Sundays, birthdays and “best friends” Wednesdays.

The family tradition that started this all has gone on since 1937, and the style of winemaking done by the Negret family will continue to evolve, Negret said. Much of this evolution involves combining blends using grapes the world-over with those from the coastal USA, and also Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Local grapes are different, as they must grow in a seasonally colder and different climate than most wine-producing regions. “There are only about 30 varieties that are this hardy,” Negret said. The climate and soils, along with genetics, help determine a grape’s character. So, the best way to incorporate grapes from various areas is to develop hybrids, in many cases crossing ones from America with those from Europe and other places. (An area man, Elmer Swenson, was a leader in this area, and did his work through the University of Minnesota, Negret adds). Because the differences in genetics are so marked and important, there are differing families of scientific names given to various grape varieties.

WHERE THEY CAME FROM

The first notable wine-making-grapes were imported to this country in the 1930s, as varieties from all over, which had existed for thousands of years, made their way around the world. Europe was the best fit for the initial expansion, taking place over the last couple of hundred years, and then North America, South America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and China. This is important to Negret, since he is trying to literally, incorporate the best of all areas in making his wine blends.

Does he have a favorite self-produced wine? That would be too limiting, he said. “All of them are like my kids, so you can’t choose just one,” he noted, adding it’s all about how to make a patron happy.

Possible plans for a somewhat longer term include a dandelion wine, with ingredients picked locally, a sparkling wine particularly for special events, and a “Marina” series that would appeal to the St. Croix River’s boating community.

A goal is to pair their wines to individual customer’s palates, and simply wow them “by having a story behind the wines” and being in tune with the local culture — like offering a special gift to a friend, he said.

Negret says he fashions blends that no one else does, speaking with politeness, grace and humility and showing a love of people. “Every time I make a wine to drink, I want the experience to be different,” he said, a little like music played in-concert. And loving wines of all sorts is an acquired taste, much like learning to appreciate something like bleu cheese, he said.

“Like painting a picture, there is always something to add,” Negret said, with the key being to know when to stop tinkering. Still, he added, he will not rest until it’s right.

NEGRET’S VAST EXPERIENCE

Since 2000, Negret has worked at the Carlos Creek Winery in Alexandria and as the chief winemaker at the Cannon River Winery, both in Minnesota, with a stint at an Ohio vineyard between those, growing his experience in the industry. His two children – daughter Camila and son Mateo – are actively involved in the development and operation of the winery, despite holding fill-time jobs outside of the winery. The winery is very much a family and community affair. Meanwhile, Cannon River is now Minnesota’s largest winery. But it all started decades ago in Colombia.

“Our wine was the best in the country,” Negret says of his tenure there, which was cut short because of political unrest. His family launched the first sparkling wine ever in Colombia, and also was the first in the region to be served on the country’s flagship airline, AVIANCA. Negret used his study of enology at California State University, Fresno, to introduce innovations to their production facilities, bringing the family’s winemaking process into the modern age.

Now based in Hudson, he and his family can again get about the wine-making magic they know best, by having a somewhat urban shop in a smaller, neighboring city to Minneapolis-St. Paul. That was done when the Negret Wine Company opened Oct. 29 at 310 Second St. Negret developed a fondness for Hudson by driving through, and has compared it to the beauties of many European cities. “It is also much like the Riviera,” he added, noting Hudson has a gorgeous riverfront and active downtown.

Via the Hudson Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, he became acquainted with county Economic Development Director Bill Rubin, who helped him gain a $3,000 small-business grant used for writing a business plan and assisted in the three-year zoning process.

Meanwhile, after a micro-distillery planner bowed out, Pudge’s Bar owner Michael Murphy offered to lease the versatile building next-door to Negret’s team. There have been bureaucratic snafus. A few months ago, the state of Wisconsin denied their permit based on a Prohibition-era restriction on a bar owner leasing another alcohol-related business. But Negret worked through it, being a perfectionist and persistent, driven and passionate about what he does. The building was purchased outright, solving the difficulty.

For more information, stop in, go to the company website www.NegretWineCompany.com. You can also:

Email info@negretwinecompany.com or to make reservations, including for the April 7th event, write to reservations@negretwinecompany.com.

You can also follow NWCo on Facebook www.facebook.com/NegretWineCompany and Instagram: @NegretWineCo

NEGRET WINE COMPANY BLENDS

RED BLENDS BV-1937_bottle.jpghudsonite_bottle.jpgcerrar33_bottle.jpg

WHITE BLENDSunity_bottle.jpgcastle_bottle.jpgBV-2000_bottle.jpg

ROSE BLENDamor_bottle.jpg

Wee bit of ‘green’ couldn’t buy any green beer, so just tip your wee Irish hat to karaoke

March 19th, 2016

On Irish funny money (can they buy green beer?) and other St. Patrick’s Day abnormalities, which become normal except for 364 days a year, (OK I know that Leap Year skewers it).
– A woman who won a local costume contest, in part because of her wee little bit of a green Irish top hat, smaller than an Irish clenched fist, was asked what she would do with her pot of gold, now that she’d won first prize? Even when combined with her funds leftover at the end of the night, that wee little bit would not get you far, she replied. The few bills she had remaining were Irish funny money that was white with no green tint whatsoever, clipped with a scissors and given to patrons.
– Another friend brought out to Green Mill karaoke on St. Patrick’s Day, after playing it heavily at home, a couple of CDs that included “28 Irish Pub Songs,” which if you can count that high for one drink per song, is fitting for singing — after all, this is a pub-like grill and bar. On this CD is a plinky instrumental of “Whiskey in a Jar-O,” (which was mentioned previously on this web page), not the rock-out version by Metallica. Those were the stylings sang by friend and former karaoke-meister Dave later at The Mill. The more traditional version was brought to mind later in the evening by someone I know who I swear has to be at least 120 percent Irish! He called late, better than never, about getting together for Irish song fests both here and down yonder in Milwaukee.
– A young guy (still wearing green) who was starting early — or continuing — early on the Friday after St. Patrick’s Day, said that on these holidays amongst his friends, this style of surrendering for a few days a sane schedule is so persistent it’s “straight through.” One of them (just green shoes) lended credence to that, he said, when buying another beer while the one she already had was only half empty. (Or half full?)
– Down the street at Emma’s in River Falls on St. Patrick’s Day, some off-sale liquor bottles still contained the cardboard tag of a “Christmas” special, with the price printed inside a picture of a circular wreath. I think that kind of “green” is the wrong holiday.

– A North Hudson bartender who has been on that job for a few months said that a prior stint was at an Irish Pub in the St. Paul area, adding that a longtime regular customer there had reached out and tried to renew acquaintances, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. When Irish Eyes are Smiling …
– Bartender Emma just got back from Daytona, and on the wall at her place of work is a tongue-in-cheek flyer that says Hurricane Evacuation plan, an exit that consists of two steps: Buy beer, then get the hell out of town. I’m assuming these things are related. And the Irish would be proud.
– Peyton Manning may or may not be Irish — his hair has become too thin to tell — but has retired, and likewise, I have not seen his lookalike who used to hangout at Guv’s Place since the days it was in Houlton. OK, the local guy looked a little older and thinner then the five-time MVP quarterback, but there still was a resemblance, especially earlier on, when it was Manning’s heyday.

If you want the dirt on Grammy’s, local PI can help, or see colleague Jimmy Jam

February 17th, 2016

(For even more local “flavor,” including pizza, on awards shows — but you’ll need the same attention span scrolling down as was required to get to the end of the Oscars — see reports on other events such as St. Patrick’s Day, Super Tuesday and Leap Year, in the Notes From The Beat and Picks Of The Week departments).

Grammy’s have changed, but they’re not granny’s, more like precocious kids on the red carpet, as these items head a list of what’s happened locally in recent days:
– An area private investigator has another interesting gig going, she’s with the Grammy’s, with a “membership” being the term that’s used, out of the Chicago district. That means, most importantly, that she gets to do some of the voting on who gets what award. I first met her a few years ago at Dick’s Bar and Grill, when she gave me a few details, and coincidentally enough, I came across her business card again just hours before the Big Music Show was slated to start. She declined to comment at length when I called, saying that some of the ways the Grammy’s does their procedures has changed and she is not as much in the loop as formerly, and although still a member, they hesitate to publicize that status too much. Better to call a colleague of hers in L.A. or more locally, attend one of the seminars offered by Jimmy Jam. Would she be watching the show anyway? “Well of course.”
– Speaking of such shows, a local tavern patron said recently that a family he knows, with a Disney patriarch, had two daughters who were prominently featured strutting down the Oscar red carpet. Ah how fast they grow up.
– The PI is not the only one with another gig; one of which you’d want to be more involved with than the other. One of the workers at Dick’s serves in two very different ways: He pours drinks and as a side job, also serves court papers on people.
– The attendees were shoulder to shoulder when GB Leighton played the anniversary celebration at Pier 500 that found a huge tent completely packed. A friend, Jackie, said they arrived at about 9 p.m. Saturday and it just got busier through the 10 O’clock hour, and they later left and could only imagine how full the tent would have been by midnight. There were heaters everywhere on this very cold night, making it somewhat balmy inside, but some still said their feet got cold. Was Jackie surprised that such a big name was pulled in for such as event? “Hey, this is Pier’s tenth anniversary,” she countered. A lighted sign with letters about three feet high that swirled on the roof of the tent reinforced that stance.
– Attendance also was very good at the ’50s themed, Valentine’s Day party at the Village Inn in North Hudson, although it trickled off as the hour got later and the temps got colder. However, once karaoke was done, the nostalgic music continued on via the jukebox and was played well into the night.
– And once more on attendance, the servers at Buffalo Wild Wings say that combined with the Hot Air Affair traffic, and youth hockey tournaments in both Hudson and River Falls, they had a very busy Saturday recently, virtually from open to close, as people staying at surrounding motels became patrons.
– A brown metal statue downtown that shows a hunting dog wielding a shotgun reminds me of a similar looking animal in a North Hudson yard near Kozy Korner that seems to be waiting for someone to, with apologies to Aerosmith, get Back in the Saddle Again, even though that saddle is sagging low. The creature is not actually part of a tree stump, as said earlier, but part of a swing hanging from a tree limb with horse head, tether and bowed limbs. Wanna Go For a Ride after a night out?
– A nearby sign at Village Liquor in North Hudson continues, after several weeks, to say that Christmas gifts from there are never regifted. I don’t doubt that a bit, because if that bit of boughten holiday cheer has been hanging around that long, it in one way or another is sure to have been — to use a shopping term — consumed. Meanwhile, a flower shop in downtown River Falls still reminded men on Wednesday what’s best to get for Valentine’s Day , and although this belated gift suggestion might be better late then never … well not so much.
– With weather warming, a downtown patron in River Falls was seen walking on the main drag wearing only a muscle shirt, which showed off his tattoos. But like so many young people, he did have a hat on.

Season’s is new torchbearer for storied history of NH fish fry that started in ’50s

February 11th, 2016

You can guess that a restaurant that specializes in all different kinds of walleye would be a go-to place for the soon-to-be celebrated Friday fish fry, carrying on a North Hudson tradition at the same venue that dates back to the 1950s.

The fish fry at Seasons Tavern is perhaps the highest rated in this area online — indeed, under that heading one woman raved about the walleye and scrambled eggs with tavern fries, and lamented not ordering a Bloody Mary to go with it, (yes, Seasons does even have walleye options for breakfast). All for what was listed as a midrange price.
Only North Hudson as a whole was given a slightly higher, five-star rating for fish fry, and Seasons no doubt contributed to that score with their two varieties of all-you-can-eat cod.
“As for the reviewers… YES! We are proud to be viewed as the top fish fry in the area,” owner Brad said. “We are motivated by the support that we have received and are challenged to continue to live up to expectations that people have for Seasons Tavern.”
The restaurants at the site at Monroe and Sixth Streets North, under several different names and owners, go back several decades. With the Italian/Catholic roots, both in the North Hudson community and the restaurant, they were among the first in the area, or even the Cities, to offer fish on Fridays. All this clamor started with the first predecessor to Seasons, (Sam’s for several years), at the same venue from decades back, which had a renowned fish fry for only $3.95.
“It wasn’t talked about much like let’s go to a Friday fish fry,” said Dorothy, a longtime North Hudsonite who was working in the Cities at that time, but did go to Sam’s because at that time the village was smaller in population, everybody know everybody, and they were well acquainted with the staff. “It was great food and it was friendly and comfortable, and we knew the servers.”
So that is a tough act to follow, or replicate, but Seasons might be the ones to pull it off. Brad has been in the business of providing fish fries for 25 years, first at other restaurants and now at Seasons for the past several years, so he has the expertise that comes with experience, and has honed those skills.
“I am proud to be the new ‘torchbearer’ of the location…. Although I have a long way to to receive that honor (in my book anyway),” Brad said. “I look forward to being able to occupy this location for a long time to come.”
And continue to help put North Hudson on the culinary map, even as far as the Twin Cities are concerned.
“My personal experience of serving a Lenten Friday fish dinner, whether it be walleye or a fish fry, has shown me how much people like fish! I will always strive to put a better piece of fish on the plate, and share that passion with my employees,” Brad said.
Seasons serves cod for the fish fry. “The choices are broiled or deep fried in a beer batter,” Brad said. “As for the walleye…. We serve it in many different ways (breakfast and dinner) and will continue to be creative with the dishes it is prepared with.”
He says another requirement for being successful with fish fries is being adaptable, and changing things up in short order when it will help meet customer needs.
The best fry is an all-you-can-eat event, including battered and deep-fried cod or pollock with fries and/or cole slaw, a Twin Cities food columnist suggested. Memory brings her back to the restaurant in North Hudson, Wisconsin, years ago, she wrote online. (It is interesting she felt it necessary to put Wisconsin at the end of her statement, since the Twin Cities media not only seems to include the Hudson area as a part of the metro, they seem preoccupied with it in a Border Battle sense).
And so, the presence of the best food is included in that tug of war. “I couldn’t wait to go with my Mom and Dad to the Friday Night Fish Fry,” the columnist said.