Back from the Road

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Long time readers may recall my taking a gastronomic road trip with my friend Matthew in January 2009. Well, on Monday, he asked if I’d be willing to accompany him on a shorter run, to and from Virginia. As you know, I’ve had a slow patch of work so the timing couldn’t have been better.I drove down to Long Island late Wednesday morning, loaded the trailer with Matthew and we drove south. Along the way, we stopped in New Jersey at a random diner, had a fine lunch, flirted with Melissa the cute waitress, and proceeded south. With the traffic and rain, we didn’t hit Winchester, VA until 9. By the time we checked in and decided we were hungry, we wound up having a late dinner, feeling as if I was back on Spanish time.Thursday we went to the storage unit and unloaded. Matthew had some other business in the area and once that was completed we went into nearby scenic Winchester. There is an open-air mall, stretching several blocks, and we wound up at the Snow White Diner. The place appears to be a local legend and has served classic grilled food at slider sizes for decades. As a result, we could order one of this and one of that and sample the stuff. The burgers were quite good and I liked the pulled pork sandwich.After wandering Winchester, we got into the car and toured the environs for the remainder of the day. That night we saw Kick-Ass at the Alamo Alehouse Cinema, an independent multiplex. You buy your tickets out front, head in and are faced with a fifteen-plus foot bar with beers, ales and other libations. No traditional concession stand but each theater is equipped with nice leather chairs, short tables and a full bar menu, including the traditional movie fare. You write your order on a slip of paper, hand it to the waitress and she’ll bring the food. Service runs throughout the film but just as things get exciting, they come to deliver the bill, and you have to divide your attention between the movie and paying before the credits roll. Nice concept, but certainly distracting.Everything good you heard about the movie is true and everything negative you’ve heard about the theme or violence was clearly written by people lacking in perspective. The movie was tremendous fun and Mark Millar and John Romita, Junior are two very talented—and fortunate—men.Apparently, this portion of Virginia likes to close their restaurants between 9 and 10 so we drove around for nearly an hour seeking a non-chain restaurant to have dinner. We wound up back at the hotel, wandering across the street to Glory Days, a regional chain.Our final day began with collecting the trailer, buying peat moss to help weigh down the trailer, and letting Matthew take care of some business. By 10, we were finally en route for home. We made a brief detour to check out a West Virginia flea market where I bought a collector’s item – an empty tin that once had Prince Albert in a can. Yes, I now own the subject of a once popular prank phone call. We drove to Allentown and bought lots of comfort food at the Farmers Market. Had lunch there then hit the road, hitting Friday rush hour traffic all through Brooklyn and Long Island. We got to their house around 7, unloaded quickly then took the trailer back, picked up pizza. I ate, repacked my food purchases and drove home, finally walking in at 10, in time to watch K-Rod pitch the 9th inning in a satisfying Mets win.All in all, a nice break from the routine, certainly nice to help a pal.

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