I learned to drive late in life, mostly to fulfill a promise to my dad on his deathbed. There was a time when I couldn’t make left turns. Naturally, I missed out on some things, places I could go. Also, it was a a big switch for me to be “present,” which you have to be when driving. I’m much more of a dreamer. Recently, I ended up on the Beltway by accident and I’m good with never doing that again. I’m getting more comfortable with driving for longer periods of time, but it still has to be on the backroads, with nobody tailing me and the destination has to have good parking.
I’m not a hermit and so, I must venture out every once in a damn while. For a good chunk of time, I headed to a local inn/watering hole that has become, as Yogi Berra said, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s become too crowded.” The place must be printing their own money, because their parking lot is jam packed every single day. One time, there simply was not a space and I had to park on Falls Road. Two dicks blocked me in and I was afraid to ding their Beastasaurus F-350s trying to swing out. I simply don’t have the skillz. I waited in my car for a half hour until one of them drove away, to be able to go home. One would think that with all of the crowds, it would be so fun — that you could meet new people. But it’s more clique-y and let me tell you, you can feel lonelier in a crowd than at home with your puppy. Maybe it’s being a woman going out and about by oneself. At any rate, I’ve shied away from that place.
About a week ago, I saw someone on Facebook posting about how great John Brown General & Butchery is, that she had always driven by and finally stopped in. It was a lovely spring day and I didn’t want to punish myself staying in, just because driving freaks me out. I headed up there and I’m telling you, it’s gonna be my new “2’d home”. Back in the day when I met with private clients in public places, I would have met them there!
The first time, I had missed their lunch time (11:00 – 2:30), because I tend to dawdle and dream, then it takes me about a half hour to get up there from the city. The front section is a real, honest-to-god butcher that also makes a lot of charcuterie — it’s not just random animal parts in the case. I have purchased beef heart, a dog treat, plus bacon ends that I sauteed with some kalettes they sell there. It turned out excellent, but watch those ends cooking: they burn fast.
The store also has interesting food items! There’s a Japanese mayo that they talked about in Lucky Peach magazine. It apparently is secretly loaded with MSG, making it super tasty. Apparently, you really have to pump fluids after eating it, though. I look like Winnie the Pooh after a 1/2 sandwich, so I will wait on buying it for a bit. They sell the special heirloom Carolina Gold rice that really tastes like buttered popcorn. My nutritionist is against eating rice like that . . . but now, JBGB sells the new brown rice version. Nivana!
They have luxe ciders, wines and liqueurs, farm eggs and duck eggs.
In back, where you can eat lunch, there’s a gorgeous long farm table for communal eating and also, a little deck out back. There, they sell local artisan crafts and delicious smelling candles. Local freebie papers and mags are there to peruse . . . it’s horse country, so most of the articles and ads deal with Hunt Cup and bridles. College radio plays in the background.
Though their lunch offerings are a little pricier than some places, between $8-$14, I found my cheeseburger to be succulent. It had iceberg chiffonade, which is vastly superior to throwing a big, cuckoo leaf on top. The “secret sauce” a la Big Mac was a tangy remoulade and the artisan pickles elevated everything. They ran out of fried chicken by the time I got there, but that was at the $14 end. I try to keep things to a dull roar.
Next door is a little historic coffee shop that I haven’t tried yet. It’s supposed to be really artisan with 3 little stools inside and a picnic table in the shade (yay!) outside. I’m sure I will investigate as the weather gets warmer. If my dad were still alive, he would’ve come there with old Schwann music catalogs, sat there for hours and greeted everyone. Since it’s on Shawan Road, that would’ve been cute. If you see me there, come up and say hi!