Kirsten and I went to see Vienna Teng (a “Singer, pianist, and songwriter working in a pop folk style”) this Wednesday night at Rams Head Tavern in Annapollis, MD.

I’ve been listening to two of her cds, Warm Strangers (2004), and Dreaming Through the Noise (2006) for awhile now at work, and I really enjoy her work.

Vienna played for about 90 minutes, and sounded great. She had a cello and violinist accompany her. A couple of her songs I hadn’t heard before, but she played most of the ones I was familiar with. We had a great time – the concert was great, and if you get a chance, definitely see her live.

The opening act was Adrianne Gonzalez (on right), who did an acoustic guitar set of about 20 minutes. She was also quite good, and I grabbed one of her cd’s after the set (she signed it for me). Her stories from the road were quite entertaining as well.

Rams Head Tavern is a small venue (seats about 250 in the stage area), and we were off to the left of the stage. Unfortunately that meant we were staring at Vienna’s back all night as she played the piano. The tables are *really* small, so unless you want real intimacy with your tablemates, eat in the restaurant before – the narrow tables only support 2 diners, though they seat 4 (more appropriate for drinks and maybe chips). The sound/acoustics were very good, though at times the noise of waitstaff filling glasses with ice overshadowed softer passages. They really should close off that kitchen area better.


We made reservations for dinner before the show in the larger RamsHead restaurant (onsite). I like the atmosphere – sortof an upscale brewpub, with brick walls and nice tables. I had a “Genius Stout” which was quite good, similar to Guinness. However, I was not as impressed with my meal as I had hoped from the description:

“GM Filet”: 8 oz center cut Filet Mignon enveloped with puff pastry, topped with Mousseline pate and a green peppercorn demi-glaze. Served with a side of garlic mashed potatoes.

Sounds good, right? Well, while the steak was perfectly cooked (medium-rare), it was not “enveloped” with puff pastry; I had been expecting a “beef wellington” type of pastry/meat. Instead, the steak was sitting on top of a flat, squashed pastry. The pate tasted like bland liverwurst, and was too soft. The demi-glaze was uninspired. Overall the dish was quite tasty, but mostly because the steak itself was such a great piece of meat. I didn’t notice until the end of the meal (we were hurrying to get to the show) that I never received any mashed potatoes. Bummer. The salad with honey-mustard dressing was good (mixed greens were crisp and fresh).

I’ll definitely go back, but I’ll probably choose a more pedestrian meal. I’ll be having the Genius Stout again, though!