March 13, 2013 § 2 Comments
This weekend, finally, I packed my bags and headed north to visit a kindred spirit, my friend Alison. Life has taken her and her husband Jared to Nashville, and it had been 3 months too long since I’d seen her. I like a good road trip, especially if I’m smart and build in enough time for pit stops along the way. After the experience of blowing a tire on the way to Thanksgiving last year, I’ll admit that a few of those stops were just to check the roundness of my tires. I swear, every time the asphalt changes, I start to feel antsy. Thankfully, my trip was uneventful in that regard. I arrived Friday night and surprised Alison and her dog Scout during their evening game of fetch. Hugs and rapid-fire conversation ensued and by 10 o’clock we’d worked up an appetite…for something sweet. On my short list of places to visit during the weekend was Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Apparently, it topped other people’s lists too as the line of hipsters and couples and parents out-on-the-town slowly meandered from the outside in, inching closer to the cold cases. The tasting was holding up the show, but I couldn’t complain; I planned to try as many as I could get away with. The goat cheese with red cherries was surprising and creamy, if a bit too tangy for my tastebuds that night. The Savannah Buttermint tasted exactly like its namesake, those soft, pastel mints offered up in crystal bowls at many a wedding celebration. As my eyes wandered back and forth over the menu, I spied mention of a cherry cheesecake parfait about the same time as Alison did. That was our choice, and an inspired one it was. We watched as deliciously flecked Ugandan vanilla bean ice cream was scooped into a bowl and layered with cheesecake sauce (what?!!?) and sour cherries and graham cracker crumble and then topped with whipped cream, a cherry and mint sprig.
Sharing this parfait kicked off a wonderful weekend of catching up, cracking up, and occasionally tearing up and tearing in to some delicious eats. We started off a cloudy Saturday with a brisk walk around Radnor Lake, along with just about everyone else in the nearby vicinity. We explored Leiper’s Fork, a preserved/restored village of sorts just outside the city. Country Boy Restaurant gave us great fried chicken, biscuits and cornbread, plus spiced fried apples with the skins still on, which I had never seen before. I oogled a set of Jane Austen’s collected works in a rare bookshop called Yeoman’s in the Fork. Jared and Alison took me and their friend Josh out to Whiskey Kitchen before we watched the Nashville Predators play, and sadly lose to the Minnesota Wild. On Sunday, Alison and I finally got into the kitchen and my friend Bethany who also lives in the city came by to enjoy spicy poblano burgers stuffed with cilantro and spices, topped with a cilantro chipotle cream and pickled red onions. It was like old times: Alison wouldn’t touch the raw meat and I had to wrest the red pepper flakes from her while prepping the sweet potato fries. Alison’s sweet mom also treated us to pedicures and popsicles from Las Paletas, which I’d been wanting to try. (Note to self: always go for the creamy ones!)
Sunday night and my drive back home came all too soon. I never wanted to leave the sleepover when I was in school, and I still don’t. At this time in our lives, with careers taking precedence or spouses or other life changes, I cherish the time spent face-to-face with my friends even more. Last weekend was certainly one of those times, and I left feeling thankful for it and the ability to make the trip.