Monday, 29 April 2013

Trip to Washigton D.C. / Virginia: Part II

Trip to Virginia Part II

The second part of my trip to visit my sister and brother in law included a trip to Old Town Alexandria, visiting the Port City Brewery for a beer tasting, enjoying a night by Heather and David’s new fire pit, a picnic at a park near Reagan National Airport and mom and I taking advantage of Heather’s drink mixing skills among other things.

Old Town Alexandria has a nice little stretch down the town’s main street, called King Street, where people can shop a variety of quaint private businesses.  We parked in the parking lot at St. Coletta, the school where David used to work before he and the school moved their main campus to Washington DC. Saint Colette is the patron saint of women looking to conceive a child, expectant mothers and of sick and orphaned children.   I liked the drawings on the walls in the parking lot so I decided to snap a picture of them.   We went into several little shops along King Street, including a cigar shop where David picked out a couple of cigars for us to smoke later at home while relaxing out by the fire pit.  Heather also showed us the private office where she works from.  I’d never be able to keep a private office as neat as my sister does. >.<   We ate lunch at La Tasca,  a Spanish Tapas restaurant.  I had never had Tapas before, but I was quite impressed.  My favorite was the Canelones de Berengenas which are eggplant rolls stuffed with herb-roasted roma tomatoes, grilled sweet piquillo peppers and mild goat cheese.   Next time you’re in Alexandria, Virginia, make sure to check it out and tell them Jon Bear sent you.  Well you may not want to say that last part as they might look at you funny.  On the way back to the car we stopped in at the Olio Tasting Room where they have a large variety of olive oils you can sample.  Some of the flavors tasted like plain Olive Oil to me but others really stood out like a sesame olive oil and a blueberry olive oil I sampled.

Later we went to the Port City Brewery for a beer tasting.  The Brewery is conveniently located right behind the Police Department.  I’m not sure if that’s as a place for the officers to let off some steam or if it’s an easy ticket stop for visitors leaving the brewery after a beer tasting?  Perhaps both?  At any rate the beer tasting is a flight of 6 different brews on tap served in rather large 6 oz. sample glasses.  Mom and I got a strong buzz off the samples.  I quite enjoy the fact that the U.S. has become much more involved with microbrews during the last decade.  The beer drinking landscape is more diverse and of a higher quality than ever before.   In case you were wondering, we made it back home without any trouble from Alexandria’s finest.

Back at Heather and David’s house they made us all a Seafood Paella for dinner that was outstanding and probably my favorite meal of the entire trip.   The paella included fresh scallops, squid, shrimp, among other seafood with a Spanish rice and sauce.  I won’t give the exact recipe incase Heather and David have any designs on opening their own restaurant some day and wish to guard the recipe.  Mom and I also got to enjoy Heather and David’s new fire pit, the most recent addition to their home.  It’s a great excuse to spend time outdoors and revel in the spring and summer weather, if the weather itself were not reason enough.  David and Heather have already gotten a lot of use out of the fire pit and are extremely happy with the investment.  David and I smoked the cigars that David purchased for us in Old Town.  I was instructed not to inhale the cigar, which I did with varying degrees of success or failure throughout the night. I had to have Dave re-light the cigar on a few occasions for me, and I was grateful for the experience, even if I felt a bit light headed once I had finished it.  Heather also made us a variety of outstanding mixed drinks during our trip.  My personal favorite is the Pear/Ginger Martini that she makes.  David is particularly fond of Heather’s Manhattans and insists she makes the best he’s ever had.  I definitely enjoyed it, as I had one for the first time ever.   Knowing that I’ve had the best now though I do not intend on having any others, except when I visit Heather and David again of course.

On our last day David and Heather took mom and me to a park near Reagan National Airport for a picnic.  We had a tasty salad that Heather put together along with some cheeses we’d picked up in the cheese shop in Del Ray before we went to the park.  It was fun taking pictures of the low flying planes as they came in for a landing. After the first couple pass you get used to the sound and it really doesn’t bother you at all.  We had a little red winged black bird visit us for some snacks during the picnic too.  All in all we had a wonderful visit with Heather and David.  I can’t thank them enough for the hospitality they show us whenever we have the opportunity to travel south to Virginia and visit with them.  I am a lucky Jon Bear to have the sister and brother-in-law that I do.  Thank you Heather and David! *hugs*
St. Coletta's parking lot drawings.
Old Town Alexandria, one block from King Street.

A view of the back yard and fire pit from the deck.
And GOD created FIRE!  Well... Dave in this case. >.<
Hello Puck!  And Alex Ovfishkin I think.
Plane coming into Reagan National.  Yes that's the Washingon Monument peaking over the river in the background.
No zoom used on the camera. Picture of the underbelly of a plane coming into Reagan National Airport.  Got that on the first try too. *toots own horn* *toot, toot!*
Landing. YAY! Welcome to Virginia!
A visitor to our picnic.

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