Friday, April 25, 2008

Charlottesville, VA

Soo… last weekend was awesome. Seriously. I needed the break from work, needed to see my sister, and needed to have people to run with. Since I've rehabbed, I've been either running on a treadmill (booorrring) or forcing myself through a run outdoors. No fun at all.

But I finally got to see my dad and sister and run with them in the Charlottesville Half Marathon – yay! Well, even though I couldn't run the entire half with them… I did manage to run more than was planned – I was to meet up with them around mile 7 and run 4-6 miles depending on my hip. Since it was an out-and-back race though, and my sister had connected seeing me with being over halfway done, I was pulled into the race by her a little after mile 5! So I got to run 7 miles instead, which was sooo much fun. A half marathon is definitely in my future now.

Now then, back to regularly scheduled programming… Because this is a food blog and all, here's where I went while in Charlottesville:

Blue Moon Diner
I had cinnamon swirl french toast with a vanilla ginger syrup – that syrup was to die for! And they're known for having a different "artisan bacon" every week, so I couldn’t pass that one up! Nodine's Peppercorn Bacon was wonderful too, with just the right amount of pepperiness.

Martha's Café
Their crab cakes were seriously amazing. My dad thought it had to do with the type of breadcrumbs they used, but I didn't care. They were just good. And the shrimp provencale was delicious too – linguini with shrimp and goat cheese in a white wine sauce that wasn't too buttery.

Bluegrass Grill and Bakery
Now this one was probably my favorite of the whole trip. Even though we had to wait over an hour for a table, it was totally worth it. I had an omelette with a sage-portabello mushroom spread which was soooo good, and I got my requisite grits and biscuit. The biscuit was moist rather than flaky, so it wasn't a traditional Southern biscuit as I think of them, but I was so wowed that I asked the owner for the recipe. She didn't give me a "recipe" per say, but enough hints that reproducing them is going to be a project of mine in the near future.

Mono Loco
This Cuban restaurant was my dad and sister's favorite when he went to move her in to graduate school last fall, so it was a required stop in their minds. The glazed coconut shrimp were wonderful, with a nice mix of spicy and sweet, and my pulled pork burrito with Maytag blue cheese was great too. All the portions were huge, so I had to send half of my burrito home with my sister, but I don't think she'll complain!

Bodo's Bagels
There are three locations for this particular bagel chain, which specialized in "New York Water Bagels." I had a salt bagel, which was chewy on the outside and fluffy inside; it wasn't quite an H&H bagel, but it was pretty good. I guess I shouldn't be too elitist about my bagels...

Mudhouse Coffeeshop
We stopped in here multiple times, since it's one of my sister's regular haunts. Oh, and because the first time we stopped there I saw a sign. And it said "Cupcake Fridays." Seriously, how can you say no? Well, I found out one thing not to do – go there right when a new baker is taking over. The cupcake (vanilla-vanilla) wasn't anything special and was a little dense, and the cranberry-lemon-ginger muffin needed some lemon zest and crystallized ginger to make those flavors pop alongside the cranberry. But hey, the coffee and tea were great!

Splendora's Gelato
This was another multiple-stop location, because gelato should be an everyday sort of thing. The first time we went it was ~85 degrees, so I went for the lemon gelato, which was wonderfully tart and refreshing. Later in the weekend I got the espresso chip, which was amazingly good – the chocolate "chips" were made by drizzling chocolate in while they churned the espresso gelato, so they were different sizes and shapes. My sister got the gianduja, which was a creamy, slightly less sweet version of Nutella. In other words, sooooo good. I love chocolate and hazelnut together!

One place I wanted to go to was the Albemarle Baking Company, which looked like it had amazing breads and pastries. Due to time constraints and the fact that is wasn't open on Sunday though, I took a raincheck.

Another thing that I noticed while on this trip – my habit of planning for the next meal while eating is a trait that is common to my entire family. We'd be sitting and eating breakfast, making lunch plans, etc. Basically, my family plans our lives around food. Not a bad way to live, eh?

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