After saying our goodbyes to Jennifer and Maddy at the restaurant we were back in the car and on the road again. I was dreading our drive to Alexandria. Over the years the traffic in the Northern Virginia area had become a nightmare for me.
Well, the gods were smiling down on us today as made our way from I66 to I495 then on to I395 to Alexandria. Traffic was constant but not heavy and never came to a standstill making our drive actually somewhat pleasant.
Randy and I were looking forward to spending a couple of days with Kristine. After the weekend we all had at the graduation and the last few days we were looking forward to just kicking back and relaxing.
I was anxious for Randy to see Kristine and Brian’s dog, Miss Paige defending the house when we arrived. I opened the door slowly and there was Miss Paige at the top of the stairs with her favorite toy in her mouth with a slow growl emanating from deep within her throat. She had struck this pose when I visited Kristine’s home in March and I thought she was so cute! Seeing Miss Maige made Randy smile.
We made ourselves at home until Kristine returned home from work and set about making a decision about dinner. After a little discussion we all came to the same conclusion; stay home and prowl through the refrigerator and cabinets and see what we could find. We put together a hodgepodge of foods and made ourselves comfortable reminiscing about the graduation, Brian waiting to hear if he would be chosen for officer’s candidate school, and our plans for our shopping trip to the Pentagon City Mall the next day.
After a very good night’s sleep we were up early, enjoying hot cups of coffee, eating a light breakfast and watching the morning news, Kristine and I were off for a morning of shopping. Randy was very happy to be left behind to catch up on his email and play with Miss Paige and Miss Kitty (Elle).
I was so excited to be in ‘real’ mall. There are so many things I miss about living in the Northern Virginia-Washington DC area. I miss the malls, the museums, the theaters, the restaurants and on and on. So, each year when I come up to visit Kristine during March Madness weekend we go shopping at the mall.
It was a Wednesday morning and still the mall was filled to capacity with shoppers of all ages. We even saw a couple of school groups there. We leisurely walked around stopping at White House Black Market, Sephora, Lord and Taylor and finally at Starbucks for a chai.
Feeling very satisfied with our endeavors we stopped at one last store. It is a tradition in our family after a busy day of shopping to stop at the Godiva store to indulge ourselves with one chocolate truffle to eat on our way home. My very favorite is the raspberry chocolate truffle. YUM!
We returned home to drop off our packages and pick up Randy. We drove over to the Village at Shirlington and our favorite Thai restaurant. T.H.A.I. Shirlington is a restaurant that is always on my list when I return to the area. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is very nice and the service is great. And yes, I have a favorite dish; Panang Perfect. The chicken is always tender, the sauce creamy and the rice perfect. I have also taken a liking to Thai iced tea.
We returned to the house and settled in for a quiet evening. Tomorrow we leave to head over to Bethesda, Maryland to spend an evening with our friends Barry and Lana.
We arrived mid-morning and spent a bit of time catching up with all the news about our respective families and mutual friends around the area. Before we knew it, it was time to leave for lunch. Barry and Lana chose Clyde’s in Bethesda as our lunch destination. I had eaten at the Clyde’s in Reston, Virginia several times and always enjoyed the food and surroundings.
When we arrived I realized just how different the two restaurants were. The Reston location is more like a modern bar-restaurant while this Clyde’s reminded me of a lodge you would find out in the west i.e., Yellowstone National Park. The outside was lovely but the inside was beautiful. Beautiful polished wood, fireplaces, several bars, all manner of animal statuary, canoes, paddles, small boats hanging from the ceiling and on the walls, etc. While we waited for our meal we took a walk around the entire restaurant enjoying each room. Lovely!
I love a variety of cuisines but I have to say that I just love hamburgers. I ordered the 6 ¾ ounce freshly ground, locally raised grass-fed beef bacon cheeseburger with fries and was not disappointed. The burger was juicy and cooked perfectly. It was very tasty.
We returned to the house and spent the rest of the afternoon reclining in comfortable chairs and sofas with our feet up and light blankets over our legs and whiled away the hours talking, reminiscing and laughing.
A great deal of our reminiscing covered our years motorcycling together to the Americade and Honda Hoot motorcycle rallies, several motorcycle trips to Canada and the Canadian Provinces. Our time on the road was a wonderful bonding experience.
We continued our conversations over a wonderful homemade lasagna dinner.
The next day Barry and Lana took us to a wonderful restaurant for breakfast. The Founding Farmers restaurant was a great experience. I was intrigued by the name of the restaurant so went out to their website. The explanation read, “Our name “Founding Farmers” is a nod to our Founding Fathers, many of whom were devoted farmers long before they became trailblazers for our country. While those leaders built and contributed to the American agricultural tradition, we recognize that our mission is also about growing a new venture with farmers at the root: one that strengthens their livelihood, gives back to the community, and makes quality food accessible to all”. “Very cool”, I thought.
I loved the fact that there were so many booths available as well as seating around the u-shaped bar. We were seated at a corner booth near a window. We started our very large breakfast with steaming hot cups of coffee and Uncle Buck’s Beignets. The beignets came with raspberry, chocolate and caramel dipping sauces. They were a little crisper than I am used to but delicious.
The menu was very interesting. Aside from the usual offerings like eggs, bacon, pancakes and such there were breakfast cocktails, specialty coffee and teas and, one of my favorites from my childhood in New York, New York Egg Cream. I ordered the Founding Farmers breakfast of two eggs over medium, very crisp bacon, sliced tomatoes and buttermilk biscuits. Everything was cooked perfectly. But, oh my, I was so full!
We returned to Barry and Lana’s house, packed the car and pointed the car in the direction of Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania where we would be spending a couple of days with our friends Bill and Jane.