June 28, 2008

Upstate New York needs a Palapa Joe's restaurant & bar

VALOIS, New York, USA - It was Friday night and the kitchen was torn apart for a painting project. There was plenty of food - but also plenty of paint fumes to go around and so after a few glasses of fine Niagara wine, the Admiral and I decided we should go out for dinner, rather than sit at home.

Oh Palapa Joe's of La Manzanilla - wherefore art thou?

We tossed around the names of several restaurants, all possibilities, but all more than a short hop in the car. And who wants to drive anywhere, given the price of gasoline ($4.24 a gallon and climbing).

The end result: We raided the refrigerator, microwaved quickly and retreated to the sunporch to avoid the paint smell.

But it sure wasn't Palapa Joe's.

We had sooooo much fun there this past winter & spring with parties, open mic nights, watching football. At one point, I calculated we ate there more than at home. And that doesn't even count the number of Cuba Libres, Pacificos and margaritas that were tossed back during deep intellectual discussions.

In going through my photo files, I found the shots below, but interestingly none of owner/bartender/musician/philosopher Willie. He won't be able to avoid my camera next season. Maybe I'll catch him on the guitar during one of the bar's open mic nights.

Jane Gorby's party at Palapa Joe's
Jane Gorby's going away soiree at Palapa Joe's

Palapa Joe's front door
Palapa Joe's entrada

Though sad that we couldn't have a Palapa Joe's dinner, we did make a foray to see our favorite upstate New York rock and roll band, Steve Southworth and the Rockabilly Rays who were playing at Wagner Vineyards, just a few miles up the highway.

But when we arrived we saw a lot of cars leaving the parking lot because - gasp - it turned out the band was not playing after all.

Steve Southworth had been in a car accident on his way over from home and end up in the hospital.

Steve Southworth
Steve Southworth
  • Steve's page

  • As people walked up to the door and got the news, there was a collective intake of air as they asked if he was ok.

    It turned out he was treated and released and should be back at his guitar soon.

    Steve and his Rockabilly Rays are a local legend here and play dates all over this part of Central New York. It was three years ago while dancing to Steve's music that I wrenched my knee, landing me months later in a surgical suite in California for repairs.

    Doing The Twist is off my list now.

    Perhaps with a little encouragement we can get Steve and the Rockabillys to take a Mexican vacation this winter and come to La Manzanilla for a tour. Or out to Arroyo Seco where we did build a palapa big enough for a band a lots of dancers.

    Steve and the band
    Steve Southworth and the Rockabilly Rays

    But besides band disasters and paint fumes, the weather turned decidely seasonal here.

    In other words, it's raining almost every day. And when it does - watch out...

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