I’ve had one of those great birthdays this year, the kind that tends to spread itself over multiple days/weeks. The party ended yesterday, and it’s back to reality now. But what a nice little send-off!
I met my folks at their place in Richmond mid-morning where I was put to work before crossing the threshold (the consultation bill is in the mail). I was then given a birthday card/directive which included a trip to a local consignment shop. I told her earlier that I’m looking for inspiration for my kitchen renovation. I’m going for a French provincial theme, without being too obvious. And this consignment shop, Eclectic Stuff Consignment, was a great resource. I walked out with a toile(ish) planter and a big blue platter for the wall which is no means french but has the right feel. I’m very excited for my recycled gifts!
Continuing with the French theme, we had lunch at Amour Wine Bistro in Carytown. What a treat! I’m still in awe that Richmond has an authentic french cafe. I’m still in awe that Richmond has so many wonderful restaurants these days (it was a culinary wasteland when I was coming up). We chose the two-course lunch and paired with two wines chosen by the owner. All combined we had mushrooms with a balsamic glaze, a simple salad with poached egg, a tartine, and tuna/cranberry-horseradish chutney/millet & grits/asparagus all the way around. Oh, and a burgundy with round one, and pinot noir with round two (both vastly superior to my normal $6 grocery store selections, I assure you). We ended with coffee with a tiny block of dark chocolate, a wee madeleine and, for the birthday girl, a golf ball-sized dollop of mango sorbet. With a candle! As I’ve pointed out, all the portion sizes are relatively small, but all told it was a perfectly satisfying amount of food. However, if you are under the delusion that food quality and quantity are in any way related, this is probably not the place for you.
I’m taking great care to remember all the wonderful food because 1) it was wonderful, and 2) the diet (that I am not talking about) resumes today. Though wine is out of the picture for a while, I did manage to cook perfectly poached eggs a l’Amour this morning. Just a reminder that a diet does not have to be a death sentence.
After lunch we stopped by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. I realize I’m in the minority, but I’m not really into Chihuly (though I dig his pirate’s patch!) and was happy to pass the ridiculously long line of visitors waiting for tickets. I was there for the abstract expressionism and the Jacob Lawrence exhibits, the latter which ended in July (of course). We had to cut through the Asian and Indian galleries to find the expressionism exhibit, which was a treat into itself. The exhibition spaces are stunning, and I can’t wait to go back and spend a day Buddha and a million Hindu deities.
We ended the afternoon driving around the city to see all the new renovation projects. VCU is rapidly expanding and filling many abandon lots and replacing ugly/neglected eyesores all around the campus. The Fan remains vibrant and quirky, and Shockoe and Churchill are progressing slowly but progressing nonetheless.
It’s days like this that make me realize how much I love my hometown and how, on some levels, I wish I were still there. There’s no telling what my experience would have been like had it not been for The Worst Job Experience Ever. Fortunately, that’s all in my past, and I managed to get out before requiring psychiatric intervention (and that’s no joke). For now, I’m happy tucked away in the mountains and even happier that I can afford the time and money to drive to Richmond any time I like. I can’t ask for more.
Thanks for the great day, Mom & Pop!
So there it is. Another birthday come and gone. The party’s over, but a new year is still before us. My mind is spinning with gardening, construction and art projects. If only time would just slow down enough for me to get them all done.