Recently, Peter, Abby and I enjoyed a really nice day together down in Richmond.
First we had a delish meal at Kitchen 64. http://www.kitchen64.com/ We’ve only been here two times but each time has been excellent. Great food, always busy, quick service.
We then went to explore Belle Isle. It’s a 54 acre island on the James River that used to be where a POW camp was used during the Civil War (also previously home to a hydroelectric plant). It is now a park with paths, an area for rock climbing, and apparently the most popular thing to do is lay out on the rocks in the sun and/or take a dip in the river. To get there from the north side, you have to take a suspension footbridge under the highway. Earlier in the year, we visited just across the way at the Tredegar Iron Works and we’ve also been across the river at the Hollywood Cemetery.
Here are some pics I took from Belle Isle:
Someone has such long hair right now!
Afterwards, we figured oh, we might as well make a stop by Legend Brewing Co. http://www.legendbrewing.com/ We weren’t hungry for dinner yet but it was too nice out so we sat out on their deck and enjoyed an appetizer and some lagers before heading back home. All in all, a great day!
Peter and I tried a new (new to us) BBQ place. If you want the short review, here it is: 2 thumbs down, don’t go. If you want the longer review, feel free to keep reading and to see the pictures.
It’s called Virginia BBQ and apparently it’s a chain. We went to the one in Fredericksburg.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of carpet in restaurants. First thing I noticed when I walked in was dirty carpet.
Second thing I noticed was the lack of customers. Third thing I noticed was the crappy restaurant decor.
Those trophies weren’t for their BBQ – they were for some random car show. Um, ok. Makes sense.
And how about this lovely blue hue on the seats? Coordinates well with the cheap country decor and other random stuff.
So, onto the food. I’m no BBQ expert but I’ve tried a bunch of different kinds in VA and NC and beyond. I can’t say it was horrible like I was going to gag or anything, but it was definitely the greasiest I’ve had. And the workers were probably the greasiest too from the looks of it. I got NC style.
While Peter was up getting some napkins, I asked him to bring me some NC style BBQ sauce from the “sauce bar”. He brought two back:
Wasn’t sure about the lighter colored one with floaties on the right, so I just stuck to the sauce on the left. The bottles of sauce probably haven’t been cleaned out in years. Ha.
On their website, there is a quote from one of their reviews that says “The best potato salad I’ve ever eaten. Ever.” Peter got the potato salad (apparently the last bits from the bottom of the barrel according to the guy at the counter) and it didn’t look so great. Kind of gray. I played it safe with some french fries.
Also on their website, there’s a review that says, “…the service was exceptional on our visit…IT WAS OUTSTANDING.” Oh boy. On our visit, the guy that brings the food out, holds the tray out impatiently without saying anything, but with an attitude and a look that says “c’mon, take your freakin’ tray”.
There was radio music playing in the background and right next to where we sat there was a tv playing informercials (ahh, overlapping audio!). I was really hoping to watch some Slapchop or Forever Lazies (only got info on the Magic Bullet).
Oh, I almost forgot one of the best things! There was a FUN CORNER! Seriously, a corner of fun! Get outta here, so exciting!
Outside, Abby got her picture taken by one of the pigs:
Here’s the other one. Seems kind of wrong to have a picture of the pork sandwich on the pig (but then again, I’m eating it so I shouldn’t talk). As I took this picture, a breeze blew and I could smell cat pee.
We agreed that this restaurant could definitely benefit from Restaurant: Impossible with Robert Irvine. Seriously.
Last week I participated in the Anthem Moonlight Ride in Richmond for the first time, along with my brother. It was a lot of fun!
You had the option of biking 8 miles or 17 and we both did the 17 mile course which took us on main roads throughout RVA (Monument Ave.), through some neighborhoods and side streets, and through Bryan Park which was my absolute favorite part since it was so dark but the path was lined with glow sticks. There is a costume contest and tacky lights contest as well, and many people dressed up and had glow sticks, Christmas lights, etc.
I can’t say the entire course was super easy, as there were some hills to conquer but they were doable and where there’s an up, there’s a down! Keep in mind that my bike is a $150 Huffy bike from Target (snicker, snicker) – no, it does not have a basket or pom pom strings hanging from the handlebars, but it DOES have a sweet bell! Given that I don’t have many gear options, I was happy with myself that I did not have to stop, get off of my bike or stand up in order to get to the top of the hills; I just pushed on through as best as I could on the highest gear and did it. It drizzled a bit in some parts but didn’t bother me whatsoever – it actually felt good. There were at least 2 food/drink/bike mechanic pitstops along the way but I didn’t want to stop my stride. Although my bike speedometer was not calibrated correctly and said I did 28 miles, I managed to do 17 miles in 1 hr. 30 min. My brother completed in 1 hr. 13 min. I was happy with that given that the website said the avg. was 2 hrs. to complete the course. In the past, before having Abby, I had done the Livestrong 20 mile course in PA. Can’t remember what my time was for that but I remember stopping to eat along the way haha.
After the ride (not race), we got in line for our free food (Papa John’s pizza, Jimmy John’s subs, ice-cream novelties, Blue Moon beer and other drinks) and listened to the after-party band named the Good Birds. I heard that they ran out of food later on so I guess there needs to be some better planning in that area for next time. And next year I hope to do it again!
Once we left and I began the drive back home, the skies opened up and the rain really started to come down throughout the night and the next day. We lucked out with the weather!
The other night, I attempted a new taco recipe, courtesy of Pinterest: Chicken tacos w/ grilled peach salsa
It included the following:
For the chicken: grilled chicken, chili powder, lime juice, salt
For the salsa: grilled peaches, red onion, cilantro, balsamic vinegar, salt
For the topping: kale, olive oil, lime juice, salt
Corn tortillas, some olive oil
I basically did the salsa mixture first. Cut the peaches in half, grilled them (on the stove), and then added the rest of the ingredients in a bowl once the peaches were done. I then grilled the chicken mixture while putting the (raw) kale topping together. Then just plunked everything into a little corn tortilla!
I have to say, I was hoping it’d be better but I’d probably make it again. I don’t think I’m a fan of raw kale so either I’d cook it or substitute something else. My peaches also weren’t exactly ripe either.
Either way, it paired well with a Dogfish Head Festina Peche beer. Yum!
Oh man, I’ve been neglecting the good ol’ bloggy blog! Not on purpose – just enjoying the fun and sun of summertime. We’ve been having fun with daytrips, family visits, trying new restaurants, concerts, swimming at the pool, visiting the lake and “beach”, working around the house, cookouts, ice-cream consumption, walks in the neighborhood, a vacation at a cabin in the Smoky Mountains, playing outside and more. Our first summer at our new house and new neighborhood. 🙂
This evening I was scoping out some more places for daytrips and found a whole lot of wildlife refuges and state parks I want to check out with Abby (and the hubby if he isn’t working). Plus there are a number of breweries to look into, heading out towards Charlottesville and west, toward the Shenandoah Mountains. Lastly, maybe not for this summer but for next I’d like to go to Virginia Beach and Sandbridge which is just south of VA Beach… and maybe further south to OBX since we are not so far away as we once were. I want to take advantage of the rest of the summer/early fall while we have it because before we know it, it will be back to school time and the weather will be getting cooler. Why can’t summer be longer?
Maybe I will try to start blogging / photo blogging a little bit more, not sure. It’s fun to look back on older stuff but at the same time it’s annoying to find the time to update on a regular basis and sometimes bothersome to even publish a blog entry. However, it’s sometimes therapeutic to document some of this stuff we do as a family. Whatever happened to good ol’ scrapbooking? HA!
Here are a few recent summer-related pics I took:
Since we’ve moved to Fredericksburg and closer to my brother and sister-in-law in Richmond, we’ve been talking about visiting Maymont Park with them. Well la-di-da, we finally did it! The husband had a rare day off on Sunday and it was so nice out, so we took the opportunity to go with Abby, my parents, and Chris and Jennifer down to Richmond.
First, we met up for lunch at Kitchen 64. First time there – it was very busy. I ordered the Rhysdale sandwich which included smoked turkey, cranberry spread, herbed cream cheese and mixed greens. And a side of potato salad. HUGE-mongo sandwich and very good.
So, off to Maymont. It was so pretty there! There are approximately 100 acres and includes various gardens (Japanese, Italian), ponds, waterfalls, fountains, statues, big ol’ trees, lawns, horses, petting zoo, wildlife (bear, bobcat, eagles, bison, fox, etc.), and the Maymont Mansion, or Dooley Mansion. James Dooley was a wealthy Richmond lawyer and he and his wife left their house and land to Richmond to enjoy after they passed.
There was lots to see as we made our way around the grounds. Abby had a good time and of all things, she especially liked the trees that had “skirts” on them (see picture below), even though at the end she told me she was a little bit afraid of them. We look forward to going back again sometime!
“Some” (haha) pictures:
Saturday morning I ran and completed my first 10K race – the Ukrops Monument Ave. 10K in Richmond, VA. Also participating with me were my brother Chris and sister-in-law Julie. The weather was absolutely perfect – sunny, low-mid 60’s in the morning. My parents and sister-in-law Jennifer watched and stayed with Abby while we ran.
I had started to get a tad nervous (good jitters) leading up to the morning of the race. I didn’t do the greatest job of training and prepping for the race so I wasn’t sure how I’d do. I only ran outside in the neighborhood a few times and the rest were on the treadmill at the gym (and we all know running on the treadmill is not the same as running on pavement and cobblestone streets). Which by the way, I finally joined a gym around here. It’s not a big flashy gym but it’s open 24/7 and was only $32/month.
Anyway, Julie arrived at our house Friday night and we got to bed around 11:45. Probably should have been a little bit earlier but we were too busy looking up “cicada apocolypse” images on Google. The alarm went off at 5:45am the next morning. We snarfed some bagels w/ pb, banana, Gatorade and were on the road to Richmond around 7:15 after my parents picked us up. We met up at the TORX office with Chris and Jennifer and got ourselves organized before heading off to the start line. Our wave time start was 9:20 and we literally walked right up to merge into the group as they were starting to move. Perfect timing.
The race was exciting – bands on every block (playing songs like ‘Eye of the Tiger’), cheering sections, different organizations set up to cheer you on dressed in various themes, kids giving high fives along the way, people holding all kinds of funny and/or motivational signs, balloons, people dressed in funny costumes, spectators all over, people grilling on their porches and drinking beer… so much fun. The houses and buildings along Monument Ave. are impressive as well so there was always something neat to look at. There were also plenty of water stops along the course. I nabbed water at 3 of the stops because my mouth was so dry but made sure to keep walking fast while drinking (if I tried to run and drink it’d be down my shirt). If I drank anymore I would have peed my pants while running – ha! I also stopped to say hi to Abby quickly when I saw her on the sidelines somewhere between mile 5 and 6. It was so nice to see them there and helped me move a bit faster at the end to get across the finish line. I finished with a time of 73:07. My brother was just behind me by about 40 seconds and Julie was somewhere around 64 min. I felt pretty good throughout the whole race, just sore and tired afterwards of course.
We then nabbed some post-race food (bananas, 50,000 fruit cups, Martin’s rolls, water, powerade, granola bars) and other flare at the post-race event in Monroe Park before heading back to TORX.
Next, we headed to casa de Rhines to shower and clean up before heading out to nom on some Mexico for lunch. I really enjoyed my grilled chicken quesedilla with guacamole salad and spanish rice… and of course chips and salsa and queso. Tasted oh so good.
It’s funny what you can do if you put your mind to it. A few years ago I would have said I could never (and would never) do a running race. I first tried last year by doing 2 5Ks and then decided to double it and try a 10K. Did I die? No. Did I blaze on through with a fast pace? No, but I ran and I finished and had fun. I don’t consider myself a runner by any means and I probably do all kinds of things wrong in terms of technique but I feel good after doing it and I reach my goals in steps – and that’s what counts. I’ve always said that I don’t think I could do a 1/2 marathon but who knows… never say never!
Thanks to my parents for driving us and watching Abby while we ran! Thanks to Julie for being my race buddy and for motivating me! Thanks to Chris for getting us to sign up and for running w/ me… and for picking up our packets and accomodating us w/ your office location and hot showers at the house! Thanks to Amy for being an inspiration to have me just run any distance. This girl runs all kinds of races, marathons, and is training for her first triathalon in September. Given what she does on a regular basis, I should be able to get off my butt and do a 5K or 10K here and there. 😉
Can’t wait to (hopefully) do the Monument Ave. 10K again next year!
One of my new favorite, easy work-week sandwiches is this:
– Take 2 slices of bread (make open-faced sandwich)
– Add avocado
– Add strawberries
– Drizzle some balsamic vinegar or other similar dressing (try not to go overboard, it’ll make the bread soggy)
– Add as little or as much goat cheese as your goat cheese lovin’ heart desires
– Put in toaster oven on medium (may have to watch and adjust)
– EAT, ENJOY, ENERGIZE
Yesterday we took a trip down to Richmond for the day, as Peter had a rare Saturday off with us. First order of business was lunch at Q (BBQ). I think this is my favorite place to eat pulled pork sandwiches. So yummy, and their mac n’ cheese… yes please! I wish one would come to Fredericksburg.
After Q, we saw the site where Jeb Stuart was mortally wounded and then headed to the Tredegar Iron Works area, down by the James River. We walked around outside, as well as inside the visitor center for the Richmond National Battlefield Park (NPS). During the Civil War, the iron works was the primary iron and artillery production facility of the Confederates, and the remaining structures is where we visited. It was a really nice sunny day so it was great to be outside after a week of rain and gray. Abby was quite energized to say the least.
Barney had fun here too and wanted to see how the cannons worked.
We walked around the Riverwalk Park too, getting some close-up views of the James River and let Abby run around. Lots of people were out biking, running, or segway’ing.
We had some time to kill so we drove around in the car throughout Richmond while Abby took a catnap before meeting up with Chris and Jennifer at Red Robin for dinner. After we woke up Abby from her nap she was in a crabby, dramatic mood but towards the end of dinner she was ok, as she shredded her napkin and placed strips of it on Barney’s head and laughed at him. After a somewhat tough day with her, of course on the drive back home she was really good and just talking with me the whole time.
Last year I did a top 10 album list of 2011: My Top Albums of 2011. This year I think I’ll skip listing 10 and stick to 5, as my music tastes were all over the place in 2012, and I didn’t really concentrate on too many full albums.
Just a few to point out that I gravitated towards longer than usual (in no particular order):
I love Ellie Goulding and all her songs from her last album and this one. Wish I could see her live – maybe one day! Favorites from this album include Explosions, Figure 8, My Blood, and Only You.
My most current obsession and new favorite band. Going to see them live in February at the Filmore with Amy and I can’t wait! Favorites from this album include Radioactive, Tiptoe, It’s Time, Amsterdam, Bleeding Out. Oh, I love them all. Who am I kidding.
Got into Alex Clare late in 2012 and really like his voice. I thought this was an interesting album – a little different throughout. Favorites from this album include Up All Night, Relax My Beloved, Humming Bird, and Tightrope.
Intrigued by this chick. I first found out about her from a free Amazon song download called Primadonna and I thought – hm, this is a catchy little song. So I looked up more about her and eventually got her whole album. It’s catchy, poppy, and infectious but there’s something smart about it and the whole story/persona she portrays. I like all the songs on the album but some faves are Lies, Starring Role, Power & Control, Sex Yeah, and Radioactive.
5) Lana Del Rey (Born to Die)
I was seeing this chick’s album cover EVERYWHERE but never looked into it until later. Everyone had been talking about how horrible her SNL performance was also (which I agree, it was pretty bad). So, intrigued as I was, I looked her up on iTunes and actually liked her melodramatic style. I don’t think I’d ever pay to see her live but I do like to listen to the music. Favorites from this album include Blue Jeans, Diet Mountain Dew, National Anthem, Summertime Sadness, and Off to the Races.