Yacht Rock Revue & Summit Rocks Fundraiser

Peace, love, and harmony, y’all—By Tara Gary

I should apologize. When the idea for covering and reporting on the upcoming October 12th fundraiser Summit Rocks came up I was delighted. However, I wasn’t familiar with the band headlining the event, Yacht Rock Revue. Apparently, I am the only individual in the Atlanta area not familiar with this band. With a cult-like following, Yacht Rock Revue entertains its fans and newcomers in an unconventional way. The band plays tribute to the light, catchy top hits from the 70s and 80s that are referred to as “yacht rock” aka guilty pleasure songs. Not only do they nail every song, note and lyric, they dress the part. Bell-bottom jeans, white belts, overstated angular collared shirts, aviator sunglasses worn day or night, and coiffed hair perfect the persona of a band referred to as “The Greatest Show on Surf.”

Bryon and Thui, a couple who jumped from their car when they saw Nick on the sidewalk outside Venkman’s. Nick obliged them with a group pose.

The band consists of seven of the most talented, original, and comedic individuals I have had the pleasure to observe. I was invited to Venkman’s, owned by Peter Olson and Nicholas Niespodziani, masterminds and members of the Yacht Rock Revue, to see the band perform and speak with Nicholas AKA Nick. When I first arrived at the venue, I couldn’t help but notice the individual exiting the car in front of me. It was Nick! How ironic we should arrive simultaneously, and within seconds after stepping onto the sidewalk, Nick was approached by an enthusiastic fan and her husband who were hoping for the chance of a photo op. I had to take my own photo of this moment, while also introducing myself to Nick. As we made our way towards the entrance, I apologized as I admitted I was unfamiliar with his existence prior to my research of the band earlier that week.

Cathy and Shawn Murphy of The Summit Counseling.

Once we had a moment to collect ourselves, Nick, Shawn and Cathy Murphy from Summit Counseling, and I sat down for a quick and lively interview and exchange. I was curious to know what inspired and influenced Nick as a musician and found out that he has an affection for The Beatles. I also asked him if he had the opportunity to perform with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be. He paused for a moment, and then it was as if he couldn’t contain himself, “Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder would be on the top of my list.” He also mentioned the late Prince. “I also like this band Tame Impala,” he added. They are a modern band that he referred to as a mix of The Beatles and Pink Floyd. “If I had a gig besides this one, I think I’d really like to be the bass player in that band.” Nick was in a band prior to Yacht Rock Revue, the Indianapolis Joneses with a buddy of his, Tim, who he has been collaborating and writing songs with for a new Yacht Rock record they have just recently finished. By the time Summit Rocks approaches, a song from the album (projected to come out early next year) should be released. Once Shawn heard that, he eagerly interjected and asked if they would play it for us at Summit Rocks and Nick reacted positively, “I think we will, yeah.”

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Photo courtesy Mark Weaver Photo/AllAccess Tampa

Shawn, from Summit Counseling, gratifyingly explained to me when he and wife Cathy were visiting their 2-month-old grandson Magnus several years ago, his parents told them the only music that soothed baby Magnus was yacht rock music. Unfamiliar and intrigued, Shawn looked it up and realized yacht rock was, “The guilty pleasure music I’ve loved all my life. I just didn’t have a name for it.” I chimed in, “Yes, yes, that’s right.” At that life-changing moment, several years prior, Shawn realized he had to find a yacht rock band. That was the magical moment Summit Rocks and the YRR formed the perfect alliance.

Summit Rocks is a rocking charity concert that benefits Summit Counseling by providing Client Assistance Funds (CAF) to help North Fulton kids and families who could not otherwise afford professional counseling resources. Tickets are available online at SummitRocks.Tix.com, while they last. For more information about how to partner with, support, or sponsor a Summit Counseling event, contact Shawn Murphy, Director of Development at smurphy@summitcounseling.org.

The Summit Counseling Center has four annual fundraising events, one of those being Summit Rocks. Summit Counseling is a trusted 501(c)(3) nonprofit community counseling organization that has helped nearly twenty thousand kids and families since 1990. They are the leading nonprofit counseling organization north of the Atlanta Perimeter area serving individuals at every age and stage of life at 35 locations in elementary, middle, and high schools. Their main location is in Johns Creek, with four (soon to be five) satellite offices. Let’s be real here, everyone knows someone, is related to someone, or is personally experiencing a situation where a professional therapist may not only be helpful but necessary. There comes a time when your friends and neighbors, or even your faith, need the assistance of a professional. The 35 therapists at Summit Counseling will provide over 20,000 clinical hours to over 4,100 individuals this year alone. They do everything from ADHD testing to couples’ therapy, grief support, and interventions. 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental disorder. Locally the #1 and #2 epidemics are suicide and opioid overdose. In 2018, according to a poll of nine North Fulton schools: 3,000+ high school students did not have a trusted adult, 1,000 considered suicide, and 500+ attempted suicide. This is a serious problem both nationally and right here in our local area. Thankfully Summit Counseling is within reach for these at-risk students through Summit OnSite which is a school-based therapy program offered in partnership with Fulton County Schools. It includes individual (confidential) counseling, group counseling for children and teens, workshops for parents and teachers, and awareness through resources and events. The therapists are all licensed and experienced to provide social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health support. For more information call (678) 893-5300 or visit SummitCounseling.org.

Emory Johns Creek Hospital is the presenting sponsor for Summit Rocks once again this year, being held at the Newtown Park Amphitheater in Johns Creek Saturday, October 12. General admission begins at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at SummitRocks.Tix.com, and there are a variety of sponsorships available as well. Not only will you be contributing to a super great program by attending the concert, you’ll also have one heck of a yachting good time. See what I did there? Anyways, I love it when I am encouraged to dance and party by participating for the greater good of my community.

Nick Niespodziani and Tara Gary at Venkman’s.

Yacht Rock Revue concerts allow you to “escape” essentially back to that time, that song, that moment, and let yourself go amongst other individuals like yourself who won’t judge you for knowing every lyric of Robbie Dupree’s “Steal Away.” I say that because I know every lyric and love it! Back to my interview with Nick… he mentioned he had been on a sports radio channel interview earlier that day and they were discussing “Escape” (you know, The Piña Colada Song by Rupert Holmes) and the two hosts were bantering with one another about the lyrics and meaning of the song. Well, this is a magazine for all ages so I won’t say how Nick really feels about that song, but I may have heard a duck hating it somewhere in there. He did on a positive note however say, “Escape, ’cause that’s what really, like, what all of this is about, right? You come to our shows and you don’t think about trouble with your kids, or politics, or whatever it is. You just escape for a while, and that’s kinda the theme.” I absolutely agreed with him. We all did. I not only enjoyed the music that night, but I truly enjoyed watching the people around me interact with the music and each other. It seriously was an escape from whatever had happened that week to let me just lose myself in the belting of lyrics and snappy swaying to many favorite songs of yesteryear.

Yacht Rock Revue photos courtesy Mark Weaver Photo/AllAccess Tampa

Lisa, a woman I met lingering at the bar waiting for her date to arrive, had an anchor tattooed on her arm. I inquired about its origin assuming it might be attributed to her affection for the band, but I was wrong. Lisa explained she had the anchor tattoo prior to having ever seen Yacht Rock Revue, however… “I feel like it led me to them.” She also said she had been following the band since they played at the 10 High Club at Underground. “They’ve gotten bigger and bigger. They are amazing!” she exclaimed. Her enthusiasm was infectious and seemed to be shared by everyone who entered the venue. This was the second night in a row YRR was playing at Venkman’s and both nights were sold out. Wow! I sat back and watched as groups of women in sailor hats arrived, as well as couples both young and old. Once the music started, the crowd immediately turned their attention toward the stage, as at most concerts, but, at this one, everyone, and I mean everyone, knew the lyrics. Now just because you know the lyrics doesn’t mean you actually like the song. There are plenty of songs I know too well only because my children at some point in time listened to them relentlessly, and they are now ingrained in my head. Nick admitted, when I inquired the validity of something I had read about him choosing songs for the band based on how much he hated them, “That’s pretty accurate, yeah.” He said, “… I’ve kinda grown into a place where I appreciate it (the songs) a lot more now.” He was 29 when he started, and he wanted the persona of a hip and cool indie rock band, but now, he continued, “I’m 40 and I’m a dad, and I put on ‘Aja’ by Steely Dan and am like oh,” nodding his head in agreement, he gets it now.

I was curious about the “dad” part and asked about his children. “I have a 3-year-old and a 4-month-old,” he proudly responded. I inquired about the rest of the band members and their children wondering if the offspring considered YRR to be a cool thing or an embarrassment to their social lives. Nick said he considered most of the kids as “ambivalent” to the band’s existence, but a few nights prior, a few of the band’s teen daughters were invited to visit backstage with Train. Yacht Rock Revue plays with the band Train on their annual cruise and have become friends with the band allowing the teens to meet Pat Monahan and have photo ops with he and the band. I’d say it is pretty freaking cool if my dad were in a band that partied with Train, but then again, I don’t think there is a band that consists of 80-something-year-old men. Kudos however to YRR for playing with bands like Train, Weezer, Kid Rock, Zac Brown Band, Sister Hazel, and Heart, to name a few. I complimented the band saying, “You’ve worked with a lot of big names.” “Um, some, yeah. We’re working on it,” Nick replied. Well you’re doing a great job.

To end our interview, I asked Nick how he felt about being a part of Summit Rocks and if he realized the goal this year was to raise $150,000 that night to help kids in need? He smiled, nodded, and proudly replied, “This is really incredible. It’s our pleasure. We like to help out whenever we can.”

That, I hope, is the attitude from our community and neighboring communities as well. I see a lot of people and organizations doing what they can to help one another, and it is definitely one of the best parts of my job. Summit Rocks is one of those opportunities to come out and support a great organization and party like a Yacht star with your family and friends. I will say, YRR sells out quickly so go ahead and grab your tickets ASAP. If you don’t, someone else will, like me. Many thanks to Nick and the rest of Yacht Rock Revue, as well as Stephani Boyd, for graciously hosting me and Shawn and Cathy Murphy.  

For more information about how to partner with, support, or sponsor a Summit Counseling event, contact Shawn Murphy, Director of Development.

When not writing, Roswell resident Tara Gary is busy making industrial furniture, charcuterie boards, and local art. Most nights she can be found with her friends at local breweries and pubs drinking craft beer.

So much to partake at Savory Gourmet

By Joe Duffy

It’s habitual that I will zealously anticipate a restaurant opening. In some instances, it is because the cuisine fills a void, other times being the ownership has a notable resume, and often a combination of both. Commonly, I will steadily monitor the debut date of awaited openings.

Such was the circumstance when The Savory Gourmet Market thumped my radar. Located in the Teasley Place building on the western edge (for now) of bustling and ever-broadening downtown Alpharetta, my interest was piqued (not to mention peaked) when chef/owner Adam Hyzdu promised to import top-shelf ingredients from Italy and New York via Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.

Hyzdu is also the chef/owner of popular Mari’s Cucina and Social House in Johns Creek. The Brooklyn native comes from a lineage of restaurateurs as his uncle owns five of them in New York stoked by the proverbial “grandmother’s recipes.”

Skip the supermarket subs when you can enjoy this Italian combo with imported meats on bread from Alon’s Bakery.

As the name implies, the eatery is as much a market as a restaurant, though there is some seating for in-house consumption. Suppliers include Georgia’s own Patak’s for bacon, Citterio, Di Lusso, Mastro (among many others) for the Italian sandwich meats… and sit down for this one. Are you ready? Katz’s Delicatessen for corned beef and pastrami. Didn’t someone recently write about the 0-to-60 speed that the area has enjoyed on said items? The rye bread is also from Katz’s.

Yes, I have engorged at THE Katz Delicatessen and certainly had a Sally Albright type reaction when devouring both the corned beef and especially the pastrami. The Katz-in-Alpharetta manifestation confirms their Gotham City supplier can mass-produce the magic, and it travels well. You must go now. Do you want the pastrami or corned beef on rye? I’ll help you—order at least one of each. Then again, there is also the corned beef Reuben sandwich.

If your appetite will only permit one (until your next visit), while I generally prefer corned beef, Katz’s is an exception. It is the pastrami that most detonates the “I’ll have what she’s having” titillation.

The salamis await their fate on Joe’s sandwich.

Three-plus decades a southern boy, this God-made-me-born-a-Yankee (H/T Emily Saliers) has lamented the lack of a great Italian hoagie. My fellow AlphaRozwellians, our long regional nightmare is over. Under “cold sandwiches” is the Italian combo option with soppressata, prosciutto, capicola, genoa salami, and provolone, topped with sweet vinegar peppers. The Alon’s Bakery baguette is the no-brainer bread option for that sandwich, effectively making it a hoagie. Call it a sub if you want. Or grinder. Or just a cold lunch. I will call it must-get countless times in my near-future. This creation is South Philly/Manhattan quality flawlessness.

There is a good chance this will be the best chicken parmesan sandwich you will ever have.

My missus dotes on chicken parmesan as much as any human adores any feedstuff. The Savory Gourmet’s chicken parm sandwich, also on Alon’s baguette, is her all-time favorite. The “small tastes” opportunities include mouth-watering, baked meatballs. Made with Braveheart Beef, these are as tender as any all-beef, ground meat rolls I’ve ever gobbled. I’ve swallowed an elite few veal polpette as soft and delicious, as well as some multiple meat mixtures, but as all-beef goes, these balls are exceptional in both taste and texture.

Chef’s personable wife Carrie told me all the years she’s been married to Adam she had no inclination he could render potato salad as impressive as what is served here. We are all indebted that this supplemental dish has emerged from the shadows and is no longer clandestine.

Oh dear, there is so much more to partake of here. As mentioned, it’s a “market” that includes grab-and-go family meals. Chef tells me the early runaway favorite is a short-rib manicotti. “I can’t keep it in stock,” he elaborates. There is a protein optional salad bar, homemade sauces to go, desserts flown in from New York (including Carnegie Deli cheesecake), cheeses, olives, and more.

Both stuffed pepper options are great, but how can you skip the prosciutto?

The peppers stuffed with prosciutto and provolone is a bargain at $12.95 a pound. These are first-visit must-haves. Alternately, try them stuffed with breadcrumbs and EVOO at the same price.

The enviable “problem” we have is that the Alpharetta area has a wealth of terrific pizza vendors. But at some point, of course, I have to gauge how The Savory Gourmet stacks up. Of the unique creations, shrimp scampi with roasted garlic may be the first one I order.

My city slicker food snob confederate and New York apologist “Moonie” has preposterous expectations that Atlanta (population 498K) is supposed to match New York (population 8.6 million) tit for tat when it comes to restaurant options. “Why can’t Atlanta (insert a foodie rant) be like New York…?” Newsflash intown boy, the suburbs are holding their own. Alpharetta truly has a genuine taste of Manhattan to call its own. Throw in free and ample parking, inject genteel, southern charm in place of the Big Apple attytood, and you have The Savory Gourmet Market.

The Savory Gourmet Market
50 Canton Street Suite 109
Alpharetta, GA 30009

Sound Bites:
Alpharetta/Roswell is the undoubted ground zero of uOTPian dining. Mystifying is why support for breakthrough restaurants is limited to west of GA 400. Neighbors, Foundation Social Eatery and Circle Noodle, lead a short-list of first-class restaurants on the east side but are also the two most under-supported restaurants within miles. Use them or lose them East Roswell. I fear the latter. The carbonara at Circle Noodle is a must for any true fan of elite cuisine…

“Sound Bites” is concise this month because I was away for two weeks eating Cuban food in Miami, Sunday gravy in Philly, cheesesteaks in South Jersey, and scallops at the Jersey Shore. During my sabbatical, the family loved Elsie’s sandwich shop in Haddon Township, New Jersey. If you are on social media, you may have seen them go viral in the last few months. Featured on The Today Show, Delish.com, and elsewhere, they use pickles instead of bread for their sandwiches. It went over quite well with three generations of Duffys. I’m just dropping subtle hints for local restaurateurs looking for a lead-pipe cinch concept. Rightfully so, Elsie’s was a revolving door of patrons when we paid a call.

When he’s not eating, which is rare, the author is CEO of Sports Handicapping website Offshore Insiders. His bride’s gift site, Duffy Gifts is the place to go for gifts for all occasions from My Thirty One Gifts. 

How to Get the Most from Your Physician Visit

Above: Stacey O’Brien, M.D., Primary Care Physician (PCP) with WellStar Family Medicine in Woodstock.

Ever walked out of your doctor’s office, and remembered something important you needed to ask? It’s a common problem that’s easily solved: Take time to prepare for your visit. Here are some tips from Stacey O’Brien, M.D., Primary Care Physician (PCP) with WellStar Family Medicine in Woodstock.

How should I prepare?
Come prepared to answer the basic who, what, when, where questions: When did the issue first begin? Can you be specific on where it is located? Have any features of your day-to-day routine changed, such as diet, stress level, exposures, etc.? Are you taking any new supplements? Have you traveled? If it’s a more generalized illness: Has anyone experienced similar symptoms? If it’s a rash, where did it begin? When appropriate, TAKE A PICTURE! So many times an issue develops on Friday night, then when I see the patient on Tuesday morning the rash or lesion has cleared. A photo is immensely helpful.

Is it OK to bring someone with me?
Of course! One person can be very helpful; bringing in the whole family, however, is generally more of a distraction and is often not advised.

Should I bring my medications? Supplements?
Yes, bring everything you’re taking, whether OTC (over the counter) or prescribed. Also bring a list of any new foods you’re eating.

Some information is embarrassing; must I be totally honest about my health habits?
For a provider to diagnose and treat you fully and effectively, having ALL the information is best. Often we can identify a personal component without the patient even needing to disclose information, but the more we know, the better we can treat you.

What if I have trouble understanding what my doctor tells me?
Please ask for clarification! We can become caught up in the moment and when we see the patient nodding during our explanations, we assume everything is understood. We are here to help and serve our patients. Ensuring you understand anything discussed is vital—be it medications, test results or a diagnosis.

What if I have questions after I leave?
Call the office. If you’re a WellStar patient, use the patient portal to send messages directly to the staff and provider.

I read something on the internet about my condition—can’t I just use that info instead of discussing with my doctor?
The internet has a wealth of information—some that is valid and beneficial and some that can be harmful. I tell my patients to learn as much as they can about their DIAGNOSIS from sites that we discuss as trustworthy but not to research general symptoms. Without a detailed understanding of medicine, looking up symptoms often leads to more questions and concerns.

How can I tell if my physician is right for me?
Personality plays an important role. The best physician is one who listens and has an approach to medicine that fits your personality.

What procedures can be performed in the office? Why is this an advantage for me?
Your physician and front office staff will be able to tell you what can be performed in the office. When your PCP is able to perform some of the basic non-invasive procedures in the office, it often saves time and money.

What are your top tips for positively impacting my health?
Eat a healthy, balanced diet, stay hydrated, exercise, and have a positive outlook (stress reduction is key). These are the cornerstones of good health.

WellStar North Fulton Hospital is on Facebook.

Family Medicine
Stacey O’Brien, M.D.
Vicky Bryan, NP
14205 Highway 92, Suite 105
Woodstock, GA 30188
678-293-7854

Good Mews is Good News!

By Di Chapman

Don’t laugh, but I’m a dyed-in-the-wool furry critter lover. So, when I say I love four-legged critters and am a pushover pet parent, I’m tummy-rubbing serious. I’m crazy about both cats and dogs. I have no human children, but I’ve had plenty of “kids,” taking care of them from babyhood to end of life. I fall in love again and again with kitties and doggies. I know some of you will shake your heads, so go ahead and talk about how nuts I am, but most of you will acknowledge that I’m preaching to the “love me, love my pets” choir.

The devoted pet lovers whom I know are kindred spirits. We know our kitties have different facial expressions (sometimes men argue that only women can see them) and ears that revolve backwards when they pretend they’re ignoring us but are nosey and don’t want to miss a word we’re saying. There’s even an appropriate expression for this behavior that every cat lover knows: “You’re nobody until you’ve been ignored by a cat.” They express a wide vocal range of purrs, meows of many different tunes, and chirps. My husband and I have named a particularly amusing vocal expression the “yawn meow.” Yes, our cat yawns and meows at the same time. And you know what else?

Cats are as loyal and affectionate as dogs and as quirky and individual as people. Some are adept socializers. Take our neighbor’s cat, Felix. Felix is a social bee. He visits us and the neighbors daily, hanging out on top of covered barbeques, lounging on verandas, and making the rounds to rub and curl his tail up against our legs and accept petting. I asked my husband one afternoon if I could bring Felix inside. “No, Sweetie,” he answered. “That’s what his parents are for.”

Oh, and lest I forget, cats definitely read minds. Ask any cat lover.

I’m nuts about dogs too, and although I could hold the title of “Cat Lady,” I’d be thrilled with a menagerie of happy, smiling canines. Don’t you love a dog’s smile? They rival those of humans, perhaps even more engaging. When you take a holiday family photo with Fido or Fifi, who steals the show? Their tails can wag so fast they’re a blur and can take their whole darn hindquarters for the ride.

If you’re not an animal lover by now, folks, you’re in the minority in this country, and in my travels throughout the western world, you’d be in the minority there, too.

There are 85 million pets in 68% of U.S. households, and I’ve certainly contributed to that statistic all of my life. In fact, at least 80% of the households I knew had pets when I was a kid. We knew them by name, and they wandered in and out of our open doors. (Remember the days of open doors?) My dad was so in love with animals he would bring home cat and dog strays, patch them up if necessary, and adopt them. As a traveling salesman, he would regularly visit the pounds (Remember them?) in his territory. He was a dedicated rescuer, and we loved it. I swear, if our pets had opposable thumbs and could talk, they would have joined us at the dinner table.

Sacré bleu!” you say. Heck, George Washington had a bunch of dogs wandering throughout his home. They gave Martha surprises like snatching roasted turkeys from her kitchen counters at state dinners, which at the time were held there. Thomas Jefferson constantly brought dogs home on ships from Europe, often surprised by litters born en voyage. Mark Twain adored kitties. He had eleven. Ernest Hemingway had 30. (!!!) To each his own, folks.

I love pet stores overflowing with seasonal pet attire and treats that look like human desserts and snacks. Those look pretty darn tasty. In 2018, we critter lovers spent $72.56 BILLION on these guys. I’ve had holiday conversations with shoppers whose carts were overflowing with toys, treats, and mastodon dog bones. “I have four dogs and don’t want anyone to feel left out on Christmas day,” one told me. In my family, gifts for pets are always under the tree. Dear heavens – we’ve lost our minds.

This brings me to a place I’ve found in Marietta that makes my heart sing: Good Mews. It’s a cage-free, no-kill beautifully bright cat adoption shelter that has placed over 9,000 kitties. At any given time, up to 100 “residents” call it home and each is given a name. These little residents were taken in as homeless, abused, and/or abandoned kitties, or from sad separations. They’re given freedom to roam in large, bright rooms with ample comfort for frequent napping, sunbathing, and being naturally nosey. Humans grant their every wish.

Good Mews is like being in a candy store, only instead of merchandise, there’s sweet, sashaying, curious, and personality-plus felines everywhere. The windows are floor-to-ceiling, and they can birdie-watch overlooking their own private yard and little bird sanctuary. There are toys and cat trees; plenty of self-grooming going on, and kitties lounging all around. There’s mischief and cuteness everywhere.

The kitties are happy to see humans in their home for adoption events – “Reading to Cats” for kids, “Yoga with Cats” which has been a media sensation, “Sound Journey” for those who want to share an evening of vibrational bliss and relaxation with the cats, and more attractions to come like programs for senior days. The “Kitten Shower” is happening now. Resistance is killing me, but my own little senior fur baby, Miss Kitty, needs my constant affection and attention.

This place has my number, y’all. It’s truly a cat-lover’s “must-have” experience. Go!

My father’s sister once said to me, “Sometimes I think I like animals better than people.”

Call me a crazy critter lady, but amen.

Di Chapman is an inspirational author and speaker, and a branding consultant. Di’s latest book is Rekindle Your Purpose: Break through your disappointments, discouragements, and detours to resurrect your purpose and live it! Contact Di at diychapman@icloud.com

How did they come up with that name?

By Ethan Craig

We get questioned a lot about the names of the beers we serve at Tap & Six! There are thousands of craft breweries and tens of thousands of individual craft beers. Most breweries rotate the beers they are producing and often brew more than 100 different ones in a year. Most brewers think of every beer as a work of art, and they aren’t going to settle for just any name. It takes thought and creativity to come up with some of the crazy names that come through our doors.

Some breweries follow a theme when they name their beer. Our friend Tim Stevens at From the Earth Brewing names every beer after a song, Panhead Brewing follows a hot-rod motif, and Bach Brewing is all about the beach. After thinking about all of the work that goes into naming a beer, I’d like to share a few of my favorites:

668 The Neighbor of the Beast from New England Brewing. This is my favorite. Get it? The devil lives at 666…
Geriatric Hipster Club from The Bruery is as much a cocktail as it is a beer. The Bruery says, “Whether you are a mustachioed hipster, a WWII veteran or just a person who enjoys a well-made drink, this beer is for you.”

Rasberry Tarty McFly, a raspberry sour from Gate City Brewing. Back to the Future, anyone?
Cashmere – So Soft and So Smooth, a New England-style IPA from Variant Brewing. The name is just begging you to try it on.
Don’t Call it Hotlanta, a quadruple hopped IPA from Monday Night Brewing. What’s the fastest way to make an Atlanta native cringe? Say “Hotlanta.”
A Boysen Named Sue, a fruited sour from Schoolhouse Brewing in Marietta. This one is for all of the Johnny Cash lovers. And by the way, Schoolhouse is new to the craft beer scene, and I’d highly recommend you check them out!
Ryan and the Gosling, an American Brett style pale ale from Evil Twin Brewing in New York. It’s only 4% ABV!
Prize Inside, a cracker jack stout from Wild Leap Brew Co. It tastes of caramel, peanuts and baseball.
Root Beer from Red Hare Brewing. Okay, the name isn’t very creative, but it’s the best tasting root beer I’ve ever had.
Wheat Will Rock You, an American wheat ale from Reformation Brewery. Reformation collaborated with 97.1 The River on this one for a little summertime fun.
Second Chances, a dry hopped IPA collaboration between From the Earth and Tap & Six. I mean, how could I leave this one off? A portion of the proceeds benefit the Atlanta Humane Society to help give their furry friends second chances.

Ethan Craig is Craft Beer Curator at Tap & Six Craft Beer House, a craft beer market and bar in Historic Roswell at 23 Oak Street.

Figs!

For luscious, soft fresh figs, add a couple of plants to your home landscape

Green Scene by Geri Laufer

Yummy figs can be eaten fresh, stuffed with chocolate or walnuts and blue cheese, dried, preserved, or used for baking and making ice cream. DYK? Because red raspberries don’t grow well in Atlanta, Betty Homemaker of the 1960’s used a packet of raspberry jello and added mashed figs for that “special seedy quality” to replicate homemade red raspberry jam. (Ulp!)

Figs do well in metro-Atlanta landscapes and don’t need pollinating wasps like California figs do. UGA suggests the following varieties: Alma, Brown Turkey, Celeste, Green Ischia, Hunt Dull, Kadota, LSU Purple, Magnolia Bronze, and Hardy Chicago. In a perfect world, you could sample these before buying a couple to plant. To hedge my bets I planted the hardiest (Hardy Chicago) and the most southerly (LSU Purple), although in the past I have grown Brown Turkey and Celeste.

When choosing a location, choose a place in full sun that is free of root-knot nematodes in the soil (microscopic worms that invade the roots). Practically, this means don’t plant figs after tomatoes or other solanaceous plants in the nightshade family.

A fig leaf is useful apparel for Adam. Photo: Geri Laufer

The other consideration when siting figs is to be sure to allow enough room because planting a large-growing shrub in a small landscape space, requiring heavy yearly pruning, will result in poor fruiting. I allowed a fair amount of room when I planted mine two years ago, but I also have been channeling my next-door neighbor’s Greek Grandmother’s technique of pruning back all her figs to about four feet during the summer as well as in early winter to keep them at a manageable height for picking. When pruning, cut off the leaders of each branch and encourage horizontal shoots because they bear most of the fruits.

Care and Maintenance

  • Figs respond to regular applications of fertilizer lightly spread under the canopy in March, May, and June (too late for August, but put on the calendar for next spring).
  • It’s good practice to keep your figs well-watered while the fruit is swelling, just like keeping blueberries watered when the berries are ripening.

Recipe
Grilled Balsamic Figs with Goat Cheese
Split a dozen fresh figs lengthwise and set cut side down on a slow grill.
Remove and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with goat cheese.
Devour!

Digging Deeper
You may want to investigate the UGA publication for further reading: Home Garden Figs

Have you harvested figs from your home landscape? Let me know by posting on The Current Hub facebook page.

Geri Laufer lives in Atlanta, where she, graphic designer husband David, and English Coonhound Lily are working on designing and installing a never-finished landscape. You can reach her at Geri Laufer

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

It’s Worth the Ride

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Opens August 2nd

By Britt Argo

We first meet Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) in Furious 7 (2015). Meeting again in The Fate of the Furious (2017), the duo start off on opposite sides and then begrudgingly are paired together. To say it’s a contentious relationship would be an understatement. However, Hobbs and Shaw are forced to rely on each other to fight the baddies.

What it’s about — In Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw, the duo forms an unlikely alliance to battle against a cyber-genetically enhanced supervillain, Brixton (Idris Elba). Villain Brixton gets his hands on a bio-threat virus that could wipe out half the world’s population. Rogue MI6 agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) steals the virus to prevent him from unleashing it. When the mission is compromised, the agency reaches out to the two best trackers, her brother Deckard Shaw and Agent Hobbs, to help her keep the virus safe. When Brixton discovers they are harboring Hattie, he calls them out on the Jumbotron in Piccadilly Circus (London) and challenges them to a war if they don’t return the virus.

Of course, they resist working together. Shaw would prefer to take care of his “family business” on his own, but Hobbs insists that when it affects the “fate of the world” it becomes his business. Shaw’s delightful mum (Helen Mirren) pleads with him from prison—he must look after his sister. Finally, Hattie gets through to them that if the three of them don’t team up, billions of people will die. Hobbs is immediately taken with Hattie, and refers to her as “one of the toughest, baddest, most capable women I’ve ever encountered.” Now teamed up, the trio go through a high-octane barrage of attacks from the army of mercenaries and untouchable, bulletproof “Superman” villain Brixton. Car and motorcycle chases in the streets of London, repelling down a skyscraper, jumping out of airplanes, escaping exploding buildings—it has it all. But, in order to fight the ultimate baddie, they need the ultimate arsenal of guns and fast cars.

Jason Statham as Deckerd Shaw.

Hobbs decides to get “off the grid” and bring the fight to his home turf, luring the baddies to his family home in Samoa. They enlist his mom, brothers, and local friends for, as momma calls it, a “Samoan ass whooping.” When he finds out momma got rid of all his guns in the shed, they decide to fight old school, with the traditional ceremonial Samoan sticks, clubs, and mallets. They must do whatever it takes to save the world. Do they win? No spoilers—you’ll have to see the movie to find out who prevails. But it’s worth the ride!

Why you will love it — This film is different in tone. It still has fast cars and the high-energy action you love from the series, but unlike serious Dom (Vin Diesel), these two have more of a cat and mouse comedic banter. Their pairing is great for this movie. Dwayne Johnson always portrays his characters a little lighter, more fun-spirited, even in dire “save the world” situations. Even though Jason Statham’s character never smiles and his delivery is always very matter-of-fact, there is never anything menacing about him. The two characters, despite their bickering, work well together and have real buddy chemistry.

Gotta love the over-the-top action scenes! In the streets of downtown London, we get the trio scaling down a high-rise building, eluding a high-octane motorcycle, and sliding under the truck bed with their hot rod. It’s eye candy, pulse-racing action sequences, although totally implausible and outlandish, keep you glued to the screen. Brixton’s motorcycle is enhanced, it can ride without him and he can pop on and off as he needs. It’s very cool to see the gadgets and slow-motion flying cars grazing past bullets and avoiding exploding buildings. And yes, in Samoa, they do chain the truck and cars to a helicopter and fly dangling over a cliff to try and thwart Brixton’s escape. This last big, blockbuster car chase is worth seeing the movie.

Do you need to be a fan of The Fast and the Furious to understand this movie? No, but it helps to re-watch Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious to be introduced to the characters in Hobbs & Shaw and to understand just why they hate each other so much. This movie does stand alone—gives us a whole new villain. So if you jump in and only see this one, you’ll still enjoy it.

FAST & FURIOUS PRESENTS: HOBBS & SHAW IMAGES COURTESY OF UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Britt Argo, an avid movie fan, sees an average of 150 movies a year in the movie theaters. She is the marketing coordinator at Aurora Cineplex at Area 51: Aurora Cineplex and The Fringe Miniature Golf—5100 Commerce Parkway, Roswell. 770-518-0977. auroracineplex.com and a51fun.com.

Do You Want to be Average?


By Robert Fezza and Steve Siders

How good is it to be average? Well, it depends. A batting average of .300 in the major leagues is good, but saving the employee average percentage into your employer’s 401k plan? Not so much. What about in the world of investing? Is earning the average investment return a good thing? As it turns out, it is!

In US dollars. S&P data © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a division of S&P Global. Indices are not available for direct investment. Index returns are not representative of actual portfolios and do not reflect costs and fees associated with an actual investment. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Actual returns may be lower.

But how often does the average return occur? The US stock market has delivered an average annual return of around 10% since 1926 (source: S&P Dow Jones Indices). But short-term results may vary, and in any given period stock returns can be positive, negative, or flat.

This is an important aspect to investing as it drives our expectations for future results. To broaden your understanding look at Exhibit 1 below. Do you see the range of historical outcomes experienced by investors? How often have the stock market’s annual returns actually aligned with its long-term average of about 10%?

As it turns out, not very often. Exhibit 1 shows calendar-year returns for the S&P 500 Index since 1926. The shaded band marks the historical average of 10%, plus or minus 2 percentage points. The S&P 500 Index had a return within this range in only six of the past 93 calendar years. In most years, the index’s return was outside of the range—often above or below by a wide margin—with no obvious pattern. For investors, the data highlights the importance of looking beyond average returns and being aware of the range of potential outcomes. This will help to properly manage your own expectations of future results. But remember – to earn the average return of about 10% you must remain invested throughout the whole time period.

It is important to have an investment philosophy. One that is disciplined and consistent so that you can stick with it through good and bad market results – this is paramount. Life is a journey. Navigate it wisely.

Robert Fezza, CFP® and Steve Siders, CFP® own Odyssey Personal Financial Advisors, 500 Sun Valley Drive, Suite A-6, Roswell, GA. Their firm specializes in working with people who are serious about making progress toward financial goals. Odyssey manages portfolios greater than $250,000. 770-992-4444, Visit their site at www.odysseypfa.comOdyssey. Securities offered through Cetera Financial Specialists LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Cetera entities are under separate ownership from any other named entity.

Theater in July

“Hairspray!” and “Driving Miss Daisy”

Above: Jennifer Massey as Tracy Turnblad and Greg London as her mother, Edna star in Hairspray: The Broadway Musical at City Springs Theatre.

By Brandy Rixey

This month you have the chance to see both a heartwarming play and a feel-good musical: Driving Miss Daisy and Hairspray: The Broadway Musical are being brought to life once again on stage and close to home. Driving Miss Daisy is a play by Atlanta born playwright Alfred Uhry that won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1988. In 1989, Uhry adapted his play into a screenplay which became a comedy-drama film of the same name. The movie received nine Academy Award nominations and won four: Best Picture, Best Actress (Jessica Tandy as Daisy), Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Hairspray: The Broadway Musical is based on the 1988 dance comedy film of the same name starring Ricki Lake, which in turn became a musical romantic comedy film in 2007 complete with an ensemble cast. The books and movies have been around for awhile now. If you enjoyed them, then definitely take the opportunity to appreciate these stories once more in a different light and watch them play out in live theater this summer.

Driving Miss Daisy
Georgia Ensemble Theatre (GET), the professional North Fulton theatre company, is driving to Brookhaven this summer to remount its acclaimed production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Driving Miss Daisy. In partnership with Oglethorpe University, GET brings Miss Daisy to the Brookhaven area college June 28 through July 21 at the Conant Performing Arts Center (4484 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta).

Set against the historical backdrop of Atlanta’s development through the mid-20th century, the story of aging Southern matron Daisy Werthan, her long-suffering son Boolie, and her chauffeur Hoke Colburn unfolds over 25 years of friendship, loss, racial tension, and ultimately—love. This much-beloved story of an unlikely friendship is the play most associated with our late Artistic Director and Co-founder Bob Farley, and this production, directed by his daughter Laurel Crowe, is a tribute to him.

William S. Murphey as Boolie Werthan, Ellen McQueen as Daisy, and Rob Cleveland as Hoke Colburn bring Daisy to life at Oglethorpe University through July 28. Photo: Don Carmody.

Featuring GET veteran Ellen McQueen in the role of Daisy Werthan with Rob Cleveland (Hoke Colburn) and William S. Murphey (Boolie Werthan) reprising their roles from earlier this year. The production runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. for four weeks. According to Co-founder Anita Farley, “We look forward to partnering with Oglethorpe again as this will allow us to give so many more Atlantans the opportunity to experience this renowned Atlanta story.”

Ticket prices will start at $35. Book early for best prices. Groups of 10 or more are welcome with great discounts available. Tickets are on sale now at GET or by calling the Box Office at 770-641-1260. All ticketing is done through Georgia Ensemble Theatre.

Hairspray: The Broadway Musical
Get ready to be swept away to 1960s Baltimore in this international smash-hit musical, piled bouffant-high with laughter, romance, and deliriously tuneful songs. Atlanta’s newest professional theatre company, presents the fantastically fun Hairspray: The Broadway Musical, winner of eight Tony Awards including Best Musical.

The “pleasantly plump” teen Tracy Turnblad has only one desire: to dance on The Corny Collins Show. She’s a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart who sets out to follow her extraordinary dreams and win the boy she loves. Starring Jennifer Massey as Tracy and Greg London as Tracy’s mother, Edna.

Playing the beautiful Byers Theatre at The Sandy Springs Performing Arts Center (1 Galambos Way, Sandy Springs) July 12 through the 21st, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. With an additional performance added Thursday, July 18 at 8:00pm. Tickets are $30-$62, with discounts for seniors, students, groups, and active and retired military personnel. For tickets and information call 404-477-4365 or visit City Springs Theatre.

The Freakin Incan

Current Hubville has progressed into a diverse Peruvian food—well, hub. There are at least three restaurants with distinct interpretations. Mambo’s Cafe is perhaps more renowned for Cuban food, but the seafood-heavy Peruvian segment of the menu is where I’ve gravitated towards for a dozen or so years, including their previous locale. Touched on in “Sound Bites” last month, the recently-debuted A-Pollo Taqueria also features a Mexican bill of fare with handmade tortillas. However, their specialty is Peruvian roasted chicken (pollo a la brasa).

Let’s home in on an eatery with a Roswell mailing address, located in East Cobb—The Freakin Incan. The cookery commenced as a food truck but now features two brick and mortar locations, the other in Tucker.

Born in Peru, chef/owner Mikiel Arnold’s family moved to the US when he was six. However, in fulfilling his culinary school graduation requirements, Arnold went back to Peru for an externship under Chef Gaston Acurio at Astrid y Gaston in Lima. It appears he was a learned apprentice.

The Freakin Incan boasts at last two standout cold appetizers that most Americans might associate with as generally served hot. The Instagram-friendly causa de camaron is as flavorsome as it is visually appealing. Mashed potatoes are enhanced with lemon juice, mayonnaise, and yellow chili paste. The taste and texture are almost perfectly balanced with dispersed, small chunks of avocado. Ensconced with shrimp, this dish is an excellent beginning to a multi-course night.

Causa de camaron is a cold appetizer with flavored mashed potatoes, shrimp, and avocado.

To the less adventurous Americans among you, don’t be dissuaded by the thought of cold mashed potatoes. You like potato salad, right? So, chill (pun intended). It’s a similar concept. A bit more avocado would have established the ideal counterbalance, but this is a highly recommended plate.

Is it possible for pico de gallo to be too good? The choros a la chalaca is another cold choice with black mussels topped with the previously stated salsa cruda. But the pico de gallo is so robust it obscures the shellfish. This die-hard carnivore will tell you it’s the salsa that is the most addicting component of this first course. For the most conventional state-siders among you, my wife and son enjoyed the chicken wings, made with the highest quality Springer Mountain chicken. I assure you, they’ve had chicken wings from most of the highly rated providers within 20 miles.

Onward to the entrees. The opposite of the robust pico de gallo mussels dish, the sudado de pescado has delicate, though highly productive flavors. Essentially a very well-stocked soup, steamed mahi-mahi has a subtly tasty aji infused mussel broth, completed with rice.

Need a little more punch? Try the seco de res, a stew with large chunks of cilantro CAB beef, delivered with trimmings of canary beans and rice. Don’t take those beans for granted. As good as any bean dish I’ve had, it perfectly rounded out the repast.

My shrimp-adoring daughter delighted in the shrimp tallarin saltado so much that she ordered it on a return visit. Faintly analogous to lo mein it consists of stir-fried noodles blended with grilled green onions, fresh tomatoes, and soy sauce. Chicken and angus beef are other protein alternatives in addition to my offspring’s beloved shrimp.

Shrimp tallarin saltado loosely resembles a flavorful chow mein.

We finished off the meal with the uncomplicated but enjoyable alfajores, which is simply dulce de leche squeezed between two shortbread cookies.

Premiering his restaurant in 2015, Arnold moved the East Cobb/Roswell location to Woodstock Road and Sandy Plains in the Movie Tavern shopping center. Some will recall the unit as previously inhabited by Corner Pizza. The bright and casual establishment is family friendly. The craft beer list is relatively short, but impressive, loyal to the Georgia breweries.

Thus far, I’ve basked in a pleasurable medley of both moderately spicy and gentle, yet ambrosial dishes. Perhaps next excursion I will seek the Heritage Farm pork stew or maybe the Maple Leaf duck entree. I’m not sure, but what I am certain of is that a next time is required.

Sound Bites:

If you follow me (and why wouldn’t you) on Twitter @CalVulcan, you are aware of my adoration for all things Mitch’s Meats. The quality and quantity of soups headline the expansive inventory of reasons. I’ve consumed 55 or so different soups. But there are still a good dozen or so “Mitch’s quality” broths, pottages, stews, bisques, and chowders in Hubville. All three clam chowders at C&S Chowder House—Manhattan, New England, and Rhode Island—are sparkling examples. In the northernmost sector of Sandy Springs, Samad Mediterranean Grill and Market produces a wicket kibbey ball. Never Enough Thyme, which just opened up a second location, generates competition caliber Texas sirloin chili…

Few soups are “Mitch’s Meats quality,” but the Texas chili at Never Enough Thyme is high on the elite list. Joe is takin’ some home.

Taste… a Seasonal Bistro in Roswell has one of the least adventurous menus. Don’t discount it though. Best thing I’ve had here is the Friday special of shrimp and grits. That’s been taken up a notch with shrimp and chicken étouffée on grits. Also, the beef burgundy sandwich on baguette is worthwhile. The menu is safe as conceivable, but above average, with just-mentioned Friday special the shining city on a hill…

Taste… a Seasonal Bistro focuses on comfort food led by shrimp and chicken étouffée on grits.

And another excellent addition for Alpharetta City Center. Ponce City Market import Botiwalla adds Indian to the “street food” craze that is overtaking Alpharetta. On my first tour, I had lamb boti kabab roll with masala smashed potatoes. The latter is served with a sweet and slightly hot Maggi catchup. It’s a little roomier than the big-city location…

Once upon a year or so ago, bride snatched takeout from the dinner offerings at Emidio’s, a venerable Portuguese restaurant in the northern tip of North Springs. The family approved of the takeaway chow. My fledgling expedition in the interior and also for the lunchtime menu was a triumphant one. Some of the most flavorful marinara sauce I’ve ever relished hoisted the Italian clams to elite status.

The francesinhas (“little Frenchie”) is one of the most ascendant open-faced sandwiches I’ve swallowed this side of The Brown Hotel in Louisville, home of the acclaimed hot brown. The creation has “bottom layer of bread, topped with linguiça, with a fried egg then covered with melted cheese in a creamy tomato and beef sauce accompanied with fries.” I crowned it with pork as alternatives were chicken and steak. It’s no shock this place has thrived for years in the extreme right corner of a shoddy shopping center abounding with vacant units. ❍

Go to Louisville for a better must-be-eaten-with-a-fork sandwich than the francesinhas at Emidio’s.

When he’s not eating, which is rare, the author is CEO of Sports Handicapping website Offshore Insiders. His bride’s gift site, Duffy Gifts is the place to go for gifts for all occasions from My Thirty One Gifts.