Williamsburg was in bloom this weekend, and the weather was gorgeous! After enduring the usual traffic frustrations yesterday on I-95, I’m finally back home and in the usual routine. The reunion was fun, and it was nice to revisit some of my favorite places in Williamsburg. I’ve missed posting, and I thought I’d give you a few highlights from my weekend.
On Friday, I started the day off pretty normally with a healthy breakfast and lunch. I packed some apples and bars, along with my ever present bottle of water, and set out for the 2 1/2 hour drive to the ‘burg. Thanks to some crazy traffic, it took 2 1/2 hours to cover what should have been the first hour of the trip. What was my response? Eat snacks! There was also a frustration fueled snack wrap eating incident during a bathroom break (remember the water) at a McDonald’s somewhere along the way.
When I finally got to my hotel and checked in, it was such a relief to be out of the car. I changed clothes, and walked up the street to meet some people at this place:
Berret’s has great food and some of the best bloody marys around, and I enjoyed one of those on the patio along with the gorgeous weather. After we had drinks at Berret’s, a few of us went to dinner at The Fat Canary.
I love the saying over the door. By the way, I should tell you that I took these photos during my run, which is why they are all sunshiny. It was quite dark in the restaurant, so, even though I didn’t take any photos, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have turned out anyway. Here’s the menu, just so you can get an idea of the type of fare they serve:
I had the Crispy Cornmeal Oysters to start, and they definitely got the meal started on the right foot! The cornmeal gave them a nice crunch without weighing them down in a heavy gummy batter, and the chile butter was such a perfect accompaniment. It was a great start to an amazing meal. For my main course, I had the Grilled Beef Tenderloin. The beef was perfectly cooked to medium rare, and the Roquefort butter was just decadent. I have to say, however, that my favorite thing on the plate was the Oyster Mushroom and Leek Tart. This was a little square of fluffy phyllo with some perfect springtime mushrooms and leeks nestled in the middle. I could have just had a huge tart and been happy. After that, of course, I had to have dessert. I am Sweetie Pie for good reason, and dessert was, not surprisingly, my very favorite thing of the evening: Warm Cinnamon, Apple and Walnut Cake with Butterscotch Rum Sauce and Calvados Ice Cream. Pure happiness on a plate. We also enjoyed several different wines with dinner, including a very good pinot noir from the Van Duzer Vineyards. I love a good pinot noir, and I’m glad I have friends who are good at choosing wines that make me happy.
After dinner, we went to hang out at the Green Leafe, which is where many of us spent a good deal of time during law school. Law school friends, this photo’s for you!
The next day, I planned to get up and go for a run. The weather was amazing so it wasn’t too hard to stick to my plan. I had a Luna bar and an apple before heading out.
I took some obligatory photos of Colonial Williamsburg as well as the above photos from the places we visited the night before while I was running up and down Duke of Gloucester Street. I call this style of running “Photo Op Training.” I really only stopped a few times, and I still managed to burn 450 calories in less than an hour. Not bad, right? The thing I’m most proud of is the fact that I managed to exercise at all on my little mini-vacay. That doesn’t usually happen! I often pack my workout clothes and never unpack them until I get back home. Now, for a few Williamsburgian pictures:
Spring really is a beautiful time of year to visit Williamsburg– especially, if you love tulips as much as I do! After my run, I got ready to go and meet a couple of friends for lunch at one of my very favorite places to eat in the ‘burg, The Cheese Shop.
The Cheese Shop makes the best sandwiches ever, and I’m a big fan of their house dressing. They also have a great selection of gourmet food items and cheeses. It’s well worth a stop if you are in the ‘burg. I had a turkey and ham combo on whole wheat with house dressing, water cress and provolone.
It was well worth the wait, and there WAS a wait. The Cheese Shop gets really crowded during peak tourist times, but they have a relatively efficient system given the number of people they serve. I got some yummy bean salad out of the deli case to go with my sandwich (congratulating myself on choosing veggies rather than chips…) and a piece of cake topped with a berry streusel mixture. I don’t miss a chance to have dessert when I’m on vacation!
After lunch, I got started on a couple of my Williamsburg errands. Coffee bean shopping was at the top of the list. As a student, I became hooked on coffee from this place:
I used to stop on my way to school each morning for a huge cup (with tons of cream and sugar), and I always stock up on their beans when I’m in the ‘burg. They roast their own beans at the Coffeehouse, and they have a coconut flavored coffee that is my absolute favorite. I bought two pounds of the coconut beans, as well as a pound of hazelnut, a pound of English Toffee and a pound of a lovely dark roast called Celebes Kalossi. I’m sure you will be seeing some alongside my oat bran in the days to come!
While at the coffeehouse, I ran into some other friends who were in town for the reunion, and they were there buying beans too. Did I mention how good the coffee is?? I decided to meet up with them, after I had my beans safely in the car, for a little bit of ice cream at Bruester’s. Ah yes, dessert #2 of the day. I sipped some coffee from the coffeehouse while I enjoyed my little ice cream treat. I got the smallest cup of cake ice cream, and that was just enough. It had interesting big chunks of blue frosting. Blue food. Yum!
After that, I made a quick trip to the outlet mall and scored a great deal on a new dress at the BCBG outlet, which I then wore to the dinner that night. Dinner wasn’t until 8:00, and I tend to get hungry earlier than that so I snacked on a bar. I didn’t take any photos of the dinner, but it was your typical buffet. I sipped some wine and nibbled on some cheese and figs during the cocktail hour before dinner, and then ate a pretty big plate of food. I had a salad with blue cheese dressing, a little bit of pasta, a few roasted potatoes, a small slice of chicken, a slice of beef, or “dinosaur leg”, as one friend described it, carved up by a nice lady with a big knife, and a roll with some butter. For dessert, I had a little tartlet with some nondescript fluff and a little bite of cake. Yum. Cake!!
After dinner we returned to the Green Leafe, and hung out there until we determined it was time for late night sandwiches and Doritos from Wawa. I had forgotten how good Wawa’s sandwiches are. I don’t typically eat sandwiches at 2:00 in the morning, but it seemed like the thing to do. I enjoyed mine. I wish we had Wawa closer to where I live now, but, then again, maybe it’s a good thing we don’t.
The next morning, I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to have for breakfast. The only thing I really wanted was a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts WITH cream and sugar. I sometimes get their coffee black, but I very rarely treat myself to their coffee with cream and sugar. I decided that I would just get the coffee, resist the temptation to grab a couple of donuts since I could have those any day, and have the coffee and an apple along with a bar I picked up somewhere along the way. I had the peanut butter one before the dinner, and the vanilla one for brekkie.
This filled me up sufficiently, and I’m glad I saved those donut calories. I was going to need them. I went back to the outlet mall to pick up a few more things, including a set of tartlet pans that I can’t wait to play with, and then I went to meet some of my friends for lunch. The Green Leafe on campus where we hung out at night has opened up a second location in a big new development called New Towne. I hadn’t checked out New Towne yet, and it was so interesting to see all of the stores and things that weren’t there during our law school days. In case you haven’t noticed, sticking an extra “e” on the end of words is ye olde colonial thing to do!
When it came time to place my order at the Leafe, I had my heart set on a burger and fries. I decided on the Gorgonzola BBQ burger, and it was huge!
I ate all of the burger, but I didn’t eat all of the fries, although they were some of the best I’ve had in quite awhile. Afterwards, I didn’t feel so good. That was the first time all weekend that I was uncomfortably full, which says something about the choices I’d made up until then, but I really didn’t feel well. I should have eaten about half of the burger instead of the whole thing.
After lunch, we said our goodbyes and I set out on my last errand before heading out of town. I had read that Barney Butter was available at the Fresh Market, which was my favorite grocery store when I lived in the ‘burg. There are a few things I haven’t been able to find anywhere else, like my Bruce’s sweet potato pancake mix, so I usually make a stop by the market when I’m in the ‘burg to pick up a few things. Sure enough, I found some Barney Butter. I bought a jar of the chunky and jar of the smooth. I can’t wait to try them! I also picked up a couple of snacks for the car…
I was always so tempted by their bakery section, and I guess I still am. I got a cannoli, an almond pillow cookie and a fresh bottle of water, and then I hit the road.
Traffic was frustrating again, and I ended up stopping at the same McDonald’s I stopped at on the way up. I don’t ever go to McDonald’s unless I’m on a road trip. I was still stuffed from the burger and the car snacks, but I decided to get a coffee and a little ice cream cone. I was feeling sleepy and I thought the caffeine and the cold ice cream might help to wake me up a bit.
Fueled up with some empty calories, I couldn’t wait to get home and have a big salad with the spinach I’d grabbed while at the Fresh Market. Thoughts of vegetables, fruits and whole grains were dancing through my head after the over indulgences of the past few days. When I got home, that’s exactly what I had: A big spinach salad and a plate of strawberries dipped in Kozy Shack green tea chai pudding. I nibbled on a couple of Jordan almonds too and a fiber one bar before heading to bed.
Looking back over the weekend, I know that I could have made better food choices, and I know that I could have made worse choices too. Here’s what I think I learned:
Lesson one: boredom eating can be even more problematic in the car than at work. Bars are great, but they rack up calories more quickly and take less time to eat than a lot of fruits and veggies I could have brought along.
Lesson two: exercising while on vacation is a good thing! I should continue to pack my workout gear even if I’m not sure whether I’ll actually use it or not. It’s worth the investment of suitcase space on the chance that I actually will get a workout in.
Lesson three: having apples and substantial nutrition bars on hand resulted in a couple of breakfasts that were on the light but satisfying side. That’s a good thing, since I consumed plenty of calories during the rest of the day. At least I saved a few in the morning without skipping breakfast altogether.
Lesson four: don’t skip the veggies. There were a few little veggies on top of my burger, but I’m pretty sure that part of the reason I felt so sick was the quantity of fried and greasy fare and the lack of fresh crispy veg. My body just can’t handle that very well. I should view a plate lacking in bright colorful veggies as a warning sign, and proceed with caution in the future.
Lesson five: don’t eat it if it’s something you could have any day. This lesson applies to my weird McDonald’s snacks. There is a McDonald’s a couple of blocks from my office, but I hardly ever go there, and, if I do, it’s usually just for an ice cream cone. If I really wanted a snack wrap or a McDonald’s ice cream, I could get one right up the street. I know I was eating out of boredom, and certainly not out of hunger, but I did it anyway. I will say, on a positive note, that I sort of already had this lesson in mind, and applied it at Dunkin Donuts. I didn’t get donuts because I knew that I could have one of those anytime.
Hopefully, taking note of these kinds of lessons will help me to further refine my vacation eating strategies. I don’t regret the desserts, but there are some things that I could have done better. Live, eat and learn, I guess.
So, that’s about it. Whew! What a long post! It was a fun weekend, and I had plenty of tasty eats, but I was pretty happy to get back to my predictable and healthy fare today. I do hope you’ll check out some of the places I mentioned if you ever visit Williamsburg. I think they are the best!
Now, I’m off to the gym to burn off that canolli… or maybe the ice cream… I’ll see you all tomorrow!