Boston Butt, Cioppino, Dublin, and Why We Don’t Regret Missing Homecoming

Jason Getz/AJC

As some of you may or may not know, Kaia and I are alumni of Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, respectively.  This past weekend was the annual joint Homecoming weekend and we had a wonderful time…in Dublin, GA.  Wait, what?  Why did we decide to go to didn’t-even-know-there-was-a-Dublin-in-Georgia Dublin, GA? We’ll sometimes, you just need to get away.  So, let’s get to the recap!

Last week, one of my co-workers was telling me about an excellent hole-in-the-wall BBQ joint that’s right up the road from where I live.  Ribs, pulled pork, Boston butt, etc.  I was like, “Oh really?”  He sold me on this being one of the better BBQ spots in the area, so I decided to stop by on my way to Dublin.  Now even though my co-worker sold me on this spot, he didn’t do a lot to help me get there.  First off, he didn’t know the name of the restaurant.  And his directions consisted of “Take the main street down the center of town, turn left at the dead end, and it’s on your right somewhere.”  Not really all that illustrative, but I was game so there you have it.

Upon leaving work on Friday, I make my way towards a restaurant I don’t know the name nor the exact location of.  I get to the town of Folkston and drive through the center.  There’s the dead end, so I turn left.  I see no BBQ joint.  So I circle around, drive around, hit a left, hit a right, and still no signs.  I then go back to the beginning of “Main St.” and make a right this time.  What is that in the distance, I see.  Is that a smokestack?  Why yes it is…coming from a Burger King.  Normally at this point, I would have charged it to the game and continued on to Dublin.  But I had some serious determination in me.  I decided to make one final sweep.  Driving slower than Miss Daisy, I spot a sign that said “Jalen’s BBQ” out of the corner of my eye. Yes! Whether this was the right place or not (it was), I was going to stop and get some BBQ damn it!  I decided to go with a Boston butt. At $26, it was a bargain since going out to eat would cost at least that with no leftovers.  Satisfied, I made my way to Dublin.

I arrived at the hotel first, got checked in, and waited upon the arrival of my beautiful bride.  As the clock ticked, that BBQ started smelling real good. “She needs to hurry up,” I said to myself.  Then she arrived.  I got mind control over Deebo.  Anyway, she brought with her a six pack of Angry Orchard hard cider.  Let’s eat!  Being as prepared as I am, I brought along a knife, paper plates, chips, and BBQ sauce.  We set up a little dining area, then I commenced to slicing away at the butt.  It was pretty darn good, I must say. As I sliced away at the porcine gold, someone kept coming behind me and snatching various bits of meat and fat before dinner officially started. I’m not naming names, but she’s short, from New Jersey, and likes purple.  At any rate, we chowed down on some smokey pig, drank hard cider, and plotted our culinary adventure for the next day.

The plan was to hit up Cake Art and Williamson’s Bakery and stash various sweets, then head to Deano’s Italian for lunch.  When we got to Cake Art, I notice that you have to spend $20 in order to use a
credit card.  That’s a whole lotta confection, with another bakery to hit up.  Oh well, Team Tyson doesn’t play by rules.  So we headed in to check out their wares, and theselection was tempting.  An array of cookies, cupcakes, barks, and pops greeted us.  After much consternation we decided on six cupcakes, a rice krispies pop, chocolate covered pecans, and cookies and cream bark.  Yes, I nice haul for sure.  Next stop was Williamson’s Bakery.  The only thing you need to know about this spot is the two pound oatmeal pie they sell.  Yes, it’s AT LEAST two pounds.  This thing is like the Rock of Gibraltar with a sweet tooth.  A confectioner’s conflagration of hubris, daring, and batsh*t insanity.  And it was only $2?!?  Come on now.  I’m surprised we didn’t get two of ’em.

 

 

 

The next stop was Deano’s.  Now Dublin is a small town in middle Georgia, with a definite small town feel.  I’d never expect a restaurant of this magnitude to be nestled in the middle of Georgia.  That probably says more about me, than it does about Dublin but I digress.  Kaia and I had visited Deano’s earlier in the year and were blown away by their shrimp & grits and pizza.  Nothing, however, could prepare us for this meal.  We started off with the Roman fries.

That’s french fries dusted with fresh garlic, parmesan cheese, and various herbs.  If that’s not sexy enough, they were served with a dipping sauce that was magical.  As we continually stuffed our face, we decided on cioppino and bacon-spinach pizza for entrees.  After quickly dispatching the fries, our entrees arrived.  The bowl of cioppino caught our noses, then our eyes.  Mussels, fish, and shrimp swam among pasta in a thick aromatic sauce.  I portioned it out into two smaller bowls.  One taste of the broth, and we both knew that we were in the presence of greatness.

I don’t want to say that this cioppino moved me in a religious manner…but it pretty much moved me in a religious manner.  Dear God, no sauce should taste that good.  We asked the waitress to bring us some bread so we could sop up the sauce.  Man, did we sop that sauce.  After we finished, we still had sauce left over.  So of course we took it back in a styrofoam cup.  It would have been a crime to let that quarter cup of sauce get thrown away.  Oh yeah, the spinach-bacon pizza was stupid good.

But that cioppino?  That cioppino?!? Ya’ll don’t even know…

For the rest of the afternoon, I watched football and Kaia napped.  For dinner?  Boston butt and some microwaveable side dishes we got from Wal Mart.  We could only get through about a quarter of the sweets we bought for dessert.  But you know what?  We ate another quarter of the sweets for Sunday breakfast.  Why?  Cause we grown, that’s why.  This past weekend was pure unadulterated Team Tyson.  And that’s just how we like it.

Advertisement

Arkansas Razorback fans, Italian ice, Jekyll Island, and the unmistakable longing for my favorite insect

Wait, there’s a festival that highlights shrimp and grits?  And it takes place half an hour from where I live?  Seriously?  How could I not attend the Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival?  It was a moral imperative.  First a little business.  Kaia couldn’t make it to the festival due to a prior engagement.  Leading up to it, she tried to make me feel guilty about going without her.  See how wives are?  And she’s the one that made me aware of it in the first place!  S.M.H.  At any rate, on to the recap.

Initially my plan was to hit up Cupcake Emporium, the bakery that made our wedding cupcakes, after leaving the festival.  During the week I got a wild hair to eat scrumptious cupcakes.  But I changed my mind after looking up a
few bakeries in Brunswick.  I settled on Achin 4 Bakin because they had some interesting “cocktail” cupcakes on their website.  But since they close at 2:00 on Saturdays, I stopped by before the festival.  Being the genius I am, I brought an insulated bag with an ice pack to store the cupcakes.  #Brilliant  I stop in and it’s a quaint small town bakery.  I ultimately decide on: Red velvet, Root beer, Chocolate Merlot, German chocolate, Peanut butter cup, and Double dark chocolate.  The best part about it?  I got a half dozen cupcakes for only $12.08…with tax!  In Connecticut, we were paying like $3.50 per.  Thank you God of Small Town Georgia Bakeries.  I threw the cupcakes in my bag and made tracks to Jekyll Island.

When  i was a kid we used to go to Jekyll Island all the time, so it was cool driving onto the island again.  Not a whole lot had change, except for the modernization of a couple of buildings.  Pretty cool to reminisce.  Anyway, I finally get to the airport where a shuttle was to take us to the festival.  As I’m driving to find a parking space, I notice that…we’re on the damn runway!  Hold up, you got us parking on the runway.  Do planes know that this runway is currently out of order?  Emergency landings be damned, you better bust a fat right and land at St. Simon’s Island Airport.  Nevertheless, I got over my initial consternation and made my way to the shuttle.  On the way I bumped into a cool couple that just moved to the area.  The wife asked me if I play football.  When I was 70 pounds lighter, people asked me if I played basketball.  The lesson here is that I’m fat and I need to lose weight….but first let’s eat a mess ‘o scrimps and grits!

So the shuttle arrives and I finally get to the festival.  It’s a pretty nice set up.  As you walk through they have all the arts and crafts vendors and what not, and most of them are in the shade.  It wasn’t oppressively hot, but any type of shade in September Georgia is much obliged.  My plan was to make a walk through and scope everything out so I can make a plan of action.  The food vendors were at the end of the festival grounds, but on my way there The Commissary caught my attention.  They promoted free samples of Vidalia onion peach salsa.  You know I had to stop in.  The peach salsa was a problem, and was only $5.  Did I buy a jar? No.  Why not?  I’m an idiot?  I actually meant to stop by on the way out, but forgot.  No matter, Kaia will be making a return trip and loading up some point in the future.

I get to the food area and it’s a wondrous melange of sights and smells.  After a quick perusal of all the vendors, I make Halyard’s my first stop.  Why?  Because shrimp and blue crab gumbo over grits is too good to pass up.

Shrimp, blue crab, and tasso ham.  Uh huh.  The flavor was very bold and rich.  A hint of spice was rather pleasing to the palate.  The shrimp, as you can see, were very plump and cooked perfectly.  My only concern was that the grits could have been a little creamier.  But they were still darn good.  For some reason, Halyard’s wasn’t as busy as some of the other vendors.  I don’t know why.  In terms of flavor, this was some of the best shrimp and grits I’d ever had.  At any rate, as I was eating I was joined by a dude from Arkansas.  We got to talking back and forth about various what not, and he mentioned he was a Razorback fan.  We both agreed that the game between Arkansas and Alabama would be ugly, but we didn’t think it would be this ugly.  Daniel, if you’re out there, I hope you’re still hungover so you don’t have to come to grips with the reality of the current state of your football team.

Trying to pace myself, I chill a little bit and listen to some live music.  I didn’t want to stuff myself before trying everything I wanted to try. #Foreshadowing  After a reasonable enough time of chilling, I made my way back to the vendors.  What to try next?  What to try?  This description from Tasteful Temptations caught my eye: “Sauteed GA shrimp with Old Bay and lemon and cream Logan grits, topped with tomato jam and corn sauce topped with crispy bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.”  Dude. Seriously.

This vendor gave you much more grits, but less shrimp that happened to be smaller.  But, the flavors were on point if not very subtle.  The corn sauce gave it an unexpected sweetness.  The bacon provided crunch and a little smokiness.  But what brought it all together was the tomato jam.  It was phenomenal.  I actually would have liked for them to make a sauce using the tomato jam, instead of adding it as a garnish. #WannabeChoppedJudge  Once again, the grits could’ve been a little creamier.  This dish was very good but not quite as good as the previous one.

At this point, the belt was tightening up a bit so I decided to take a walk.  I pass by Vincenzo’s Italian Ice stand.  I’d never had Italian ice before and it was hot. Why did no one tell me how good Italian ice was?!?  You are all to blame! I got strawberry-banana, peach, and mango.  It was soooooooo good.  It was like sherbert but better.  Much much better.  I immediately became a fiend.  I wanted to go back up there and get another one, but I calmed myself.  I mean, I didn’t come to a shrimp and grits festival to ill out on Italian ice, did I?

After a little more walking around, I decided to hit the food area again.  This time, in search of fried shrimp.  I settled on Zachary’s Seafood.

They looked stupidly, ridiculously good.  For the most part they were.  A couple of the pieces had a little too much breading, but the shrimp were fresh and the seasoning appropriately delicate.  To be honest, I was distracted while eating these bad boys.

Yes, I went back to Vincenzo’s.  Yes I got another large ice.  Yes, it was stupid good again.  This time I got mango, blue raspberry, and strawberry lemonade.  It was glorious.  Probably a little too glorious, because my stomach was starting to expand like Violet Beauregard.  There were a couple more places I wanted to try, but my stomach wasn’t having it.  So I waddled out of the festival, feeling like I weighed 500 pounds.  It was a good day, but wasn’t a great day because I was by myself.  That was a day perfectly made for Team Tyson.  Sun, music, water, great food, arts and crafts, etc.  Having my Ladybug with me would have made it a truly special day.  I didn’t feel guilty, so much as lonely cause my partner in crime wasn’t there.  Alas, next year we will do it up big.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll even enter the amateur cooking competition…

-Diallo

Honeymoon Day 10 – French Waitresses, Chowda, Maine, and the Unmistakable Foulness That Is Moose S**t

Yeah, we’re a little behind on recaps.  We know.  Montreal took about five years off of my life.  My body took an “L” from all walking and I think I brought a cold back.  I don’t think I was supposed to declare the common cold virus upon re-entering the country.  I’m not sure what tarif law that that would fall under, but it is what it is.  So, on to the recap.

Our last morning in Montreal got off to a slightly rocky start.  We decided to hit up Jarry Smoked Meats for breakfast, due to the $20 in Canadian money I still had left.  We walk up in there and seat ourselves.  As we’re perusing the menu, our waitress comes over and offers cafe’.  We say “No,” and she walks away confused like “You do not want cafe? You stupid Americans probably don’t speak Francaise.  Spit. Spit.”  When she comes back and starts speaking French, we ask if she speaks English. “I can a little bit, if I have to.” #spit  The look of disdain on her face needed no translation.  From that point on, she spoke minimally to us, while mumbling something in French as she walked by our table.  Fortunately, the meal was on point.  Sausage, ham, bacon, eggs, home fries, fruit, pancakes, french toast, and toast.  It was the perfect culinary sendoff, except for the French-Canadian spittle that I’m sure was dripping off the bacon.  I left her a tip less than 15%.  Spit on that!

The ride towards the border was interesting.  Unlike Vermont, the Canadian landscape is flat and boring.  It also, apparently, is filled to the brim with moose dung.  We passed by several pockets of extreme aromatic atrociousness.  Think of every cow pattie you’ve smelled…multiplied by 100.  We looked around and couldn’t spot any farms, so we just assumed it was an accumulation of moose manure.  Not only will these jabronis waltz into traffic and tear your car a new one, they’ll also drop bombs in the forest that straight up destroy your olfactory organs.  Moose are the most disrespectful animals since cats.

One quick thing about the border.  At the crossing we passed through, the border is demarcated by an invisible line that separates two houses.  Essentially, you can walk from a Canadian family’s back yard right into an American familiy’s front yard with ease.  There was actually a guy mowing the grass between the two houses.  He kept crossing back and forth across the border at will.  We were like, “OK, that’s secure.”  At any rate, we passed through the checkpoint without incident.

The drive through Vermont and New Hampshire was breathtaking.  We drove through Mount Washington National Park, and were awestruck and the majesty.  We both agreed that Vermont was the best part of the trip so far.  The scenery is something to behold.  I think Vermont will be on our permanent vacation rotation for the near future.  If you can swing it, you need to make it up there.  Hopefully, someone from the Vermont tourism board is reading this so we can get our cut.

The drive through Portland, ME was also pretty cool.  The scenery was straight out of an 80’s Spielberg movie.  It actually can double as the town of Amity from “Jaws.”  We were digging the vibe.  You know what else we dig? SEAFOOD!  After researching local eateries, we settled on Gilbert’s Chowder House.  All the reviews said it had the best chowder in the city.  They didn’t disappoint.

The spot would fit in perfectly on Diner’s, Drive Ins, and Dives.  And that’s a compliment.  So, we decide to order fried shrimp, seafood chowder in a bread bowl, and a lobster roll.  The shrimp came out in about five minutes.  They were some of the cleanest, freshest shrimp I’ve tasted.  As someone who’s grown up on the Georgia coast, that’s high praise.  Before we could finish our shrimp, the chowder and lobster roll.  Man, lemme tell you.  The chowder was creamy.  You could see and taste the chunks of potatoes, shrimp, clams, scallops , and lobster.  It was summarily destroyed, along with the bread bowl.  The lobster roll was everything it was cracked up to be.  Huge chunks of lobster, slathered in mayo, sitting in a buttered toasted bun.  I wanted to take about two or five home.  We drove out of our way to go to Portland for this meal, and it was worth every second.  SEAFOOD!!!

 

-Diallo

Honeymoon Day 8 – Teddy Bears, Poutine, Montreal and The Sinking Suspicion Of Being Laughed At

The day started off with a bit of lethargy.  Still feeling the effects of overeating the night before, the Tysons decided to sleep in and imitate sloths for much of the morning.  Neither of us moved with any sort of alacrity, and you’ll never see two people move with such disregard to energy.  That being said, guess what we had for breakfast? Leftover pizza, leftover sausage macaroni and cheese, and shoofly pie.  What?  We didn’t want to take leftovers to Canada. Don’t judge us, though we probably are worthy of a side eye or two.  Nevertheless, we finally got our stuff together and checked out of the hotel around 10:55, the latest we’ve checked out so far.

Next stop on the mystical magical tour was the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.  It was actually pretty fun.  We signed up for the tour, which was quite entertaining.  The tour guide took us through the entire process, and I have to admit that I wanted one afterwards.  The bears come in several different flavors, i.e colors, and you can get their clothes customized however you want.  If you run your bear over with a lawnmower, they’ll fix it or replace it for free.  How great is that?  And I can’t believe I’m waxing poetic about teddy bears.  Honeymoons mess with your brain, man.  For real.  Anyway, the place is mad cool.  The only slight drawback is the cost of the bears.  They are a tad pricey.  If you can swing it, cool.  If not, take a picture it’ll last longer.

After leaving teddy bear paradise, we hit I-89N and made our way to Oh Canada.  As we rode, Kaia read through the French translation book in a last ditch effort to ensure we didn’t look completely like ugly Americans upon arrival.  I can safely say that we still got a few warts and a couple of crooked noses.  C’est la vie.  [See what I did?]  Anyhoo, the ride through Vermont towards the border was majestic.  We didn’t even bother attempting to take pictures.  You gotta be there in person.  However, the funny part of the trip was the tension, anxiety, and nervousness we felt as we got closer to the border.  Would border control stop us?  Would they bring the dogs out?  Would they cavity search us, then strip search us?

Our fears were unfounded, it seems.  Although there was some slight tension as we pulled up to the guard.

Guard: And where are you from?

Me: Umm. Uh…United States.

Guard: Yeah, I know. Where from in the US?

Me: Umm, Atlanta?

For some reason, I thought they’d turn us around or shoot us if they didn’t like where we were from.  Hey man, I don’t know how gangsta they are in Canada.  I got nervous.  At any rate, we made it through without further incident. And as soon as we pulled off we realized that we were no longer in the States because the metric system hit us in the face.  The speed limit was 90…km/h.  What the?  Now I have to do math, while driving in a foreign country?  Thankfully my wife pointed out that the speedometer had km/h underneath the mp/h.  Like I said, I was a little nervous.

So we eventually get to our hotel and begin plotting dinner for the night.  Kaia has wanted to try poutine for the longest time, and we found a spot that received rave reviews for their poutine.  They are also purveyors of smoked meat, so yeah!  We looked out as Jarry Smoked Meat is just a frog’s jump from the hotel.  As we walked towards the entrance, all we heard was French.  Oh no.  The maitre’d  merely asked “Deux? and took us to our seat.  After a moment, the waitress came by, said something in French and gave us water.  The next time she comes to the table she starts speaking English.  We’re both like “How did you know?” Well we didn’t respond to her French the 1st time around, and I was wearing a Braves t-shirt and an Old Navy hat with a US flag on it.  I felt like such an American douchebag flaunting his American-ness in a foreign country.  Everyone in the restaurant probably went home and made fun of me.

Oh well, the food was awesome.  We started off with karnatzel sausage.  Think Slim Jim, but about two million times better.  It was a great starter for the meal to come.

We ordered poutine and Montreal style pizza with smoked meat.  The poutine was sublime.  Kaia figured they put cinnamon in the gravy, and boy did that make a difference.  The pizza was stupid.  I don’t know how they make their dough but I’m thinking they use brioche and french bread techniques.  The pizza was essentially deep dish but the crust was light, crunchy and flaky.  The meat was smoked to perfection.  It was the bomb dinner.  Even though we loved dinner, we learned our lesson and didn’t overeat.  See, no need for any further scorn or side eyes…

-Diallo

Honeymoon Day 7 – Vistas, Crostada, Vermont and The Striking Inability To Write A Recap With A Full Stomach

Whew!  What. A. Day.  This may have been the busiest day of the entire trip.  We started the day with a quick drive up to the King Arthur Baker’s Store.  This spot is the mecca of baking products.  They had all different kinds of flour, mixes, chocolates, sugars, utensils, appliances, and so on and so forth.  Kaia and I were like, “Damn, we could drop $5,000 in this mug.”  Nevertheless, our primary purpose wasn’t shopping it was to watch a live cooking demo.  The chef prepared a zucchini feta cheese crostada.

We picked up some tips on how to make a tender and flaky dough, and trust, those tips will be implemented when we get back home.  After the demo, the chef put the crostada in the oven for 20 minutes.  We had to taste it, so we stuck around…to do some shopping.  You’ll be glad to know that we only spent $22, when $100-150 could’ve been easily spent.  Go ahead, pat us on the back.  We’ll wait.  Anyway, the crostada was excellent.  I’m pretty sure I found a new friend.

As we made our way north through Vermont, we were awestruck by the ridiculous vistas we encountered.  The foliage, hills, mountains, and rock formations were damn cool.  I tried to take pictures, but they couldn’t do justice.  You won’t get a feel for the depth, the textures, hell even the air quality that you would if you were actually here.  Pretty awesome.

Anyway, next on the list was Morse Farm Sugarworks to check out some maple syrup.  You could tell they were the real deal because they were unlike any “maple syrup” I’d ever had from Wal-Mart.  One even tasted like maple liquor.  Yeah, I know.  Oh so tempting, yes?  We bought a more subtle variation, but if we ever come back I may have to put my paws on that maple liquor.

“We’re not done.  We’re not done. We’re not done. Check this out.”  The day was not over yet, not by a long shot.  Because we can be a tad eccentric, we decided to hit up Liberty Tea Company.  I was a little shaky about going there, because I wasn’t sure it would interesting enough.  I also thought planning a wedding could be a piece of cake.  So, yeah I can be a bit of a dumbass.  Turns out the tea shop was the dope.  They had about a thousand different flavors.  Basic, exotic combinations, isht I ain’t never seen nor heard of before.  The proprietor even had a “block of tea,” which is a huge block of caked tea that mongols used as currency a thousand years ago.  After sampling two hot and two cold teas, we finally made our purchases.  This was another shop we could’ve dropped over $100 in, but we limited ourselves to $22 again.  Yeah!

Ben & Jerry’s. True dat.  Next on the agenda was the famous ice cream factory.  We signed up for the tour, which admittedly had some filler, but was still entertaining.  We learned the history of the company, how their ice cream is made, and got to sample a new flavor that had not hit the stores yet – cheery malt.  I’m not usually a fan of malt, but the malt combined with cherry was right tasty.  (Think the flavor of a cherry Italian ice combined with the middle of a Whopper malt ball.)

We then decided to stand in line for a half hour to get some ice cream.  I went hard in the paint like Charles Oakley on a horse steroid bender.  I got two scoops of Triple Caramel Chunk and one scoop of 7 Layer coconut Bar in a large chocolate dipped cone waffle cone.  That’s so gangsta, prissy chicks don’t wanna mess with me.  Kaia went with a small cup of Late Night Snack.  It has chocolate covered chips and a stream of salted caramel, which actually works.

Our last stop was the Flavor Graveyard to pay respect to those fallen flavors that people stopped liking or never liked in the first place. I think I saw Kaia swipe a tear for Rainforest Crunch.

But wait! The day still wasn’t over because we had to eat dinner.  We found an Italian place called Lui Lui, which sowed the final seed of our destruction.  We started off with some bread and dipping sauce.  Apparently, too much bread and dipping sauce. Then a boat full of buffalo chicken dip with homemade potato chips made it’s way to our table.  We ran out of chips, so obviously we asked the waiter for more bread.  Then we received our entrees.  Kaia got the lobster ravioli, and I got a sausage, peppers, ricotta flatbread.

Halfway through the meal, we looked at each other and went “Uh oh.”  My stomach felt like I was carrying twin toddlers.  Kaia didn’t look to be in much better shape.  But that’s still not the end, because the waiter brought us a complimentary brownie sundae because we were on our honeymoon.  Seriously?!? The button on my jeans is about to fly off and take someone’s eye out and this dude is bringing free food.  Well, we couldn’t be rude so we eat the ice cream and pick at the brownie.

Walking back to the car was a bit of a struggle.  Walking from the car to the hotel was a bigger struggle.  Writing this recap was like running a freaking marathon with this guy on my back.  What a day.  And we still have another week to go.  Lawd’ a mercy…

Honeymoon Day 6 – Kids, Rose Gelato, Dartmouth, and The Innocuous Significance Of 35

Today is what we would call a transition day.  We transitioned from Connecticut to New Hampshire.  But that isn’t to say we didn’t have fun.  After rolling out of bed and partaking in a tasty breakfast of biscuits and gravy, we headed north to meet up with one of Kaia’s oldest childhood friends.  We got together for lunch with her and her family and talked about old times, good times, and hard times.  While Kaia and her friend reminisced, I was paying close attention to her two little kids who were adorable and full of energy.  I kept picturing Kaia and myself having a similar lunch in five years with our kid(s).  I always bring up the notion of us having fraternal twins.  I just figure it’s more efficient.  Of course, Kaia gives me the side eye of all side eyes when I bring this up.  Hey, I’m about doing things as efficiently as humanly possible.  How is that a bad thing?

Sidenote: After leaving CVS to pick up some cough drops, we bumped into a woman on the phone who loudly spoke thusly: “He must not know who the f**k I am.  I’m bi-polar!” You stay classy New Britain! Continue reading

Honeymoon Day 4 – Moscow Mules, Scallops, Connecticut and The Frustration Of Trapping Woodchucks

Every vacation needs a wind down day.  You can’t go full bore everyday for two weeks, or you’ll end up like a character from The Dark Crystal, devoid of life essence.  Yesterday was the day to chill a little and recharge the old batteries.  The day started off with one last trip to Katie’s Kitchen.  I got the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with home fries.  Kaia got…scrapple.  For those who don’t know what scrapple is, just click that link.  I sampled a piece, and to my surprise it wasn’t half bad.  I wouldn’t put it in my breakfast rotation, but it didn’t have me running for the hills either. (Kaia’s note: Hey, it was my first time ever trying scrapple too. It tastes like fried gravy. That’s not completely weird.)

Then we hit the road and headed towards New Jersey.  This drive was immensely more comfortable than the drive to Lancaster, although Kaia cussed out one or four motorists who were acting a donkey on the road.  The closer we got to Jersey, the more “Jersey” fell out of her mouth.  At any rate, the route we took lead us past my old office building in Princeton.  Can’t say I miss working there, but it was cool to see the old neighborhood.  The next stop was Piscataway, as chronicled earlier.  Apparently Piscataway used to be somewhat of a one horse town, so it was funny watching Kaia lose her isht as we encountered all the new establishments.  “We have an Olive Garden?!? What?!?”  Being from a small town myself, I could empathize. Continue reading