When asked what my favorite aspect of blogging is, I usually respond, “The community I (was shocked to have) found!”* Lucky me, I gained not only blog friends, but also a blog family. And on Sunday night, I finally got to meet them!
*Sometimes I switch it up and say “free meals”
[Original Photo Source]
After spending the day driving from Pennsylvania to Charlottesville, to finally unload a few boxes at my new house (just unload, not unpack), I headed to Fredericksburg to meet my “Blog Mama” for the very first time. On the way, I (nearly) finished off my Dark Chocolate Dreams, using my “signature chopstick move.” [This will be important later.]
You have heard of Tricia
before, as last year she sent me
mountains of (incredibly delicious)
fudge and (even better)
English toffee for the holidays, and, more recently, helped me check off an item on my Culinary Bucket List by instructing me–via co-pos
t–how to roast a chicken. I was SO excited to meet her “in real life”!*^
*In case you are wondering, Mama Smart feels no jealousy. She actually sent me off by placing a persimmon in my hand saying, “Please tell Tricia I’m so glad you are able to have her in your life.” I swear there were tears starting to form.
^Also, there won’t be pictures of us together. She doesn’t like pictures of herself on blogs (hers, or mine).
The evening began with dinner at a restaurant in downtown Fredericksburg called Sammy T’s
picked it specifically because it had an entire vegan section on the menu!
A menu that I took very seriously, as witnessed by this photograph, shot by my Blog Papa, Ed, who is a professional photographer and followed us around with a camera all night.
(I’ll let you guess about how much I enjoyed having my own personal paparazzo.)*
*And also how excited to be wearing what I shall forever now refer to as my “TyFlo^ outfit,” from when Tyler Florence realized how awesome I was.
^Still trying to making TyFlo happen, Karen.
We started with a Mediterranean Plate as an appetizer, featuring tzatziki–beloved yogurt dip that I could no longer eat
–veggies, pita bread, and Chi-Chi
…which is Sammy T’s
way of saying hummus
. The Chi-Chi was super herbacious, but I couldn’t put my finger on just what was in it.*
*Perhaps I was so overcome with the intriguing nature of it being served warm–or wondering what funky name I could start calling MY hummus–that my tastebuds couldn’t focus?
Good thing I liked that “Chi-Chi,” as it was featured in my main meal, The Camper’s Special: a tortilla wrapped around grilled bean-and-grain “burger” mixture, hummus, and sauteed peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms, served with a side of Lemon-Tahini dressing. I made the whole thing vegan by leaving off the melted cheese on top.
Man alive, y’all, it was not only super yummy, but it was filling! I swear I was not even hungry when I woke up the next morning…
…and I even took home half of it!
It was also not super heavy on the veggies, which, although not necessarily what I normally would have preferred, it somehow fit the environment. It was like “vegan bar food,” if there was such a thing.*
*Or, I guess this proves there is.
I should also mention that one of the specials was called “The Happy Place” and featured a lox and cream cheese sandwich with a side of a Choco Taco. And yes, it was ordered. These people are related to me (at least in the interwebs) after all.
Another sign that my blog family and I were destined to meet (aside from ordering the weirdest thing on the menu…just because)? After dinner we hung out at a grocery store. Specifically, Wegman’s.
Now, while I did spend some time disgusted by how pricey fresh truffles were (and making chipmunk faces?), the most important thing we had to do was find the nut butters…namely, Peanut Butter & Co. flavored
And find them we did! After mentioning how I’d polished off the Dark Chocolate Dreams in the car, and therefore was fine without frozen yogurt dessert, Daniel, the “sort-of son” of Tricia
and Ed [clearly they like adopting children...and dogs! ]
said, “Wait. They make chocolate peanut butter???” So, this is a picture of me coercing everyone to buy multiple jars of PB & Co.
, “because the White Chocolate Wonderful will change the face of your peanut butter & banana Sandwiches forever.”*
*Direct quote. Of myself.
I would have bought my own new jar, except, you see, I had just left a new one in my new house, after transporting it, tucked behind the passenger seat and then in with my cookbooks (and random supplement samples), all the way from Austin.
Peanut butter procured, we headed home, where I had an impromptu photography lesson from my Blog Papa about “the triangle”…
…and how to make everything in the background blurry–or not–depending on your aperture.
He compared photography to golf, and I realized I had been “just hitting the ball randomly and hoping it would go where I wanted it to” this whole time.
But please, don’t start judging my pictures any more than you do already. “Happy Bob” isn’t going to. [Besides, a bunch of the upcoming recipes I've already photographed. ]
The next morning, I was headed home, but not without scavenging for oatmeal…and chia seeds!
[Please note, I now am able to intentionally focus on specific parts of the photo. In this case, the ch-ch-ch-chias.*]
*Not to be confused with the “Chi-Chi” at Sammy T’s, mentioned previously in the post.
I’ve now wised up, and rather than fashion
a paper-towel-and-aluminum-foil faux travel mug for my oats, well, I got ‘smart’ and just put them in an actual
Thank you, Sister Smart, for allowing me to borrow* yours for my journey.
My oats were looking a little needy, so, I took advantage of my peanut butter-purchasing persuasion and put a dollop of both Mighty Maple and White Chocolate Wonderful on top.
Having been unable to truly decide which of the two was my favorite, I just decided that I like them both together the best [and also that I might just need to make a maple white chocolate nut butter of my own...]
Another sign my blog family and I are perfect for each other? Blog Papa also loves to rescue ugly vegetables and orphaned fruit…like the lone bananas that have been picked off their bunches (but still deserve a good home…like my stomach).
Three hours and some oatmeal-munching later,* I arrived home, where I found a package waiting for me from my Blogger Pen Pal for this month.
*No, your eyes do not deceive you…these are my non-chia and PB & Co.-ed oats from the day before. I’m just creating an illusion here.
I’m pretty sure she’s psychic, because along with a number of things I will tell you about later, she sent me something that caused me to literally laugh out loud:
Oh, PB & Co., I guess you are haunting my (dark chocolate) dreams!
[This post was not sponsored by Peanut Butter & Co., but if you, or anyone you know, works for them and would LIKE to become a sponsor...I'm open to it. Totally.]