The Great Mix-Off


Coldplay: one band you won't find at Camino

One of my many oft-invoked rants revolves around the lack of worthy soundtracks in bars and restaurants. (A notable exception: the fine establishments run by power-couple Greg and Shelley Lindgren—anyone who’s tuned in at Rye, Rosewood, A16 or SPQR will surely agree). And while I usually restrict myself to the bar/nightlife realm, today I’m here to discuss the listening-while-dining side of things.

Sunday night I invited myself to a dinner party my friend and colleague Jessica Battilana ( was attending in Oakland. “You should totally invite me. I’m great at dinner parties!” I enthused. She had little choice but to accept. The guest list was made up of a group of people she knew from her days working at Chez Panisse. Two of these lovely people, Russ Moore and Allison Hopelain, happen to be opening a new East Bay restaurant by the name of Camino (which translates to ‘fireplace’ in Italian—I have it on good authority that their sure-to-be-a-hit restaurant will have a fantastic one). 

Upon hearing the news that they were opening a restaurant, I took the opportunity to bombard my new friends with my ideas about restaurant soundtracks and the need to improve them. Jessica took this as her cue to volunteer me to put my music where my mouth is and make a mix to be played at the restaurant.

Here’s where it gets interesting: One of our fellow guests, a charming guy by the name of Chris (who, incidentally, I’d already debated that evening on the topic of most coveted restaurant guest who’s also a local musician—his pick: Blixa Bargeld of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, mine: Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day) assured me that he had it covered. Apparently, Chris’s mix was already in the works. Clearly I had not choice but to challenge him to a mix-off.

The rules, as established by Russ and Allison

1. The deadline for the mix is Dec. 15
2. No reggae
3. No Coldplay
4. No Smiths
5. Proceed with caution in the realm of jazz
6. The winner will receive a dinner on the house when Camino opens—and, of course, have the distinction of having her (or, I guess, his) mix played at the restaurant on opening night.

So, friends, wish me luck. And if you happen to have suggestions for the best opening track, feel free to comment here. I’ll be back to report the winner and reveal the tracklist of both compilations once Russ and Allison have made their decision. 
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