Cruising along in the automobile, the back roads and urban streets of Stockton – it’s 106 plus or worse. Yes, another hot, very hot, and steamy day in Stockton! Sweltering comes to mind. Although, it’s summertime and the living is easy everyone is ducking for cover and the A/C. On this day, California Delta breezes – usually Nature’s air conditioning – are dry and unforgiving. We’re heading for French 25 and evening festivities up on the roof of the Hotel Stockton. The jazz styling of Wendi Maxwell & Trés Hot Shot Jazz, libations and good eats are in store. Did anyone check the Farmer’s Almanac before planning this soiree?
Don’t sweat the small stuff here in Stockton. Right on schedule, the California Delta delivered a cooling breeze, clouds and a breathtaking sunset. The rooftop gathering – hopefully the first of many such events – was in full swing by 6:30pm and a change in the weather had everyone smiling. Beer and wine and big plates of New Orleans-style fare – ribs, hush puppies, gumbo, fried chicken po' boy – and music. There are greener options too including a variety of salads. While it’s not the Big Easy, French 25 has raised the festivity bar in downtown Stockton.
It was a good crowd for a Monday night. Wendi and the Trés Hot Shot Jazz delivered an ideal entrée for the work week ahead. The evening sky and restored architecture of the Mission Revival-style hotel was the perfect backdrop for Wendi’s vocals and the five-piece band – sax, drums, guitar, stand-up bass, and a vibraphone – one of very few in the region. Home of the Brubeck Institute, Stockton’s pool of world-class musicians is enviable.
From atop historic Hotel Stockton, the views are like no other. The waterfront aglow and, thanks to those California Delta breezes and clear skies, even the shadow of Mt. Diablo was visible to the west. Rooftop guests took more than one camera-phone picture of the blazing sunset. This first-time event was clearly a big hit for all in attendance. Here’s looking at you French 25 and hoping praying to be up on the roof again and again. But in meanwhile, we can enjoy the well-dressed décor of French 25 at ground level – enjoy happy hour Monday-Friday, 4pm to 6pm and everything else in between.