Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back to Sweet Shenandoah

 I spent three years working and living in the Shenandoah Valley and I swear, going back is dangerous because I fall in love all over again every time. We're blessed to still have plenty of friends in the area, and even though we were only there for less than 24 hours, we managed to see many of them, hitting a surprise 30th birthday party, then dinner with friends in Staunton and breakfast in Harrisonburg. The shot above is of one of the many beautiful buildings in downtown Staunton.

 Based on my friend Pat's suggestion, we headed down to Byers Street Bistro, where I enjoyed a vegetable napoleon: fried green tomatoes layered with sauteed spinach, red onions, cherry tomatoes, goat cheese, balsamic reduction and creamy Monterey Jack grits. SO GOOD. I paired it with Goose Island's 312 beer, which ranked pretty high among my favorite beers ever.

 I was working in Staunton when The Split Banana first opened its doors, and it quickly became tradition to take a 10-minute work break to walk down the block for a scoop of chocolate + a scoop of Cointreau gelato.

 On Saturday, I ended up with white chocolate Grisbi, a delicious white chocolate gelato with crushed lemon Grisbi cookies. Sean went crazy and ordered a hot fudge brownie sundae...when it arrived, his eyes grew wide and he exclaimed, "AWESOME." You have to know Sean to understand how excited he must have been to have reacted this way.

On Sunday morning, we woke up early and stood in line to wait for Little Grill Collective to open for breakfast at 9. I wrote many stories about Little Grill when I worked in Harrisonburg; it's a big-hearted worker-owned restaurant determined to bring the community together. People line up for the Blue Monkey pancakes, with blueberries and bananas, but hot tip: order a plate to share. We had enough pancakes to feed three more people than we had!

It was a great little's amazing how restorative 24 hours away can be, especially when spent with long-distance friends.


Valerie said...

We were in downtown Staunton on Saturday morning! One of these days we will bump into each other....or you might just move back to the area? hint, hint...

Amber said...

We walked past some of Staunton Jams on our way to gelato and I kept my eyes peeled in case you were performing, but alas, I didn't see you. Next time, I'll give you an actual head's up, although by then, you'll probably have a youngin!