My boyfriend and I have been enjoying lots of barbecue, grits, sweet tea, sweet sodas, pralines, she-crab soup, mint juleps and more over the last week.  We had several meals in Norfolk VA and North Carolina on our way to Charleston SC where we spent most of a week and Savannah GA where we spent one day.

Here are pictures of some of the food and drinks we enjoyed, plus some stuff that we didn’t try ourselves but it was so entertaining that I just HAD to photograph it.

I’ll fill out this post a little more when I get home with restaurant details and links.  But in the meantime, here are some mouthwatering and curious culinary highlights from our vacation so far!

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Charleston has so far been filled with rain, food, history, unusual sodas, and more rain.  We’ve been on several tours so far, of the city itself, of the harbor, and of the Magnolia Plantation.

Tonight we have a pub tour, then over the next few days we have more excursions booked — a civil war carriage tour, a ghost tour, and visits to Fort Sumter and the Hunley.  And in between our tours we eat awesome food and try to dodge the thunderstorms.  Good times!


  
  
  
  
  
  
  

The plan was to head down to Norfolk and spend the weekend there before going further south to Charleston.  We had a lot of fun in Norfolk — awesome food, historic buildings, and a great look at the past and present of Navy ships.  But MAN, were there a lot of rules in this town!

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
  
BTW, “No Horseplay” might be one of my favorite rules of all time!


I visited Italy with my grandmother once, over 20 years ago.  I think she packed a bottle of Woolite, a box of Sanka, and a couple of light jackets.  I’m not quite sure why I need to pack this much for one week, but … well, in my defense, about half of this stuff is electronic devices and chargers.

Okay, I’m off.  Talk to you soon, Dear Readers!

A week from now we’ll be headed south, on our way to Charleston and Savannah to enjoy some relaxation, history, she-crab soup, and mint juleps.  But in the meantime, here’s what’s been going on …

Work has been the usual mix of mind-numbingly boring transactions mixed with a sprinkling of unstable and eccentric patrons:

The Spanish Civil War Guy still comes in periodically, but he usually chooses not to deal with me and goes to one of my colleagues instead.  Ever since he told me that our staff were “fucking incompetent” several years ago I haven’t been willing to do him any favors.

Mr. Mensa will ask me questions, half of which will have solved themselves by the time I walk over to his terminal (hint: if you keep creating documents that are hundreds of pages long, then yes, they will take longer than usual to open).  The other half are things that leave me bewildered, saying things like, “What do you MEAN, your email won’t let you log out?”

The Cat Lady still comes in, sometimes alone and sometimes with covered carriers which might or might not contain cats.  She then calls us over to help with one thing (like a print job), but once you walk over to help you get sucked in by her gravitational pull and suddenly she’s telling you her views on Hillary Clinton, or showing you the personal documents that have been emailed to her, or showing you a picture of a guy who claims that he’s her brother but couldn’t possibly be because of the shape of his eyes.

The Creepy Old Flirt is at it again.  Last week he said to Betsy, “You’re so efficient.  No, first you are pretty, THEN you are efficient!”  And that’s the kind of thing we dream of hearing … right, ladies?

We checked in on my brother yesterday, and when I was walking through the kitchen I peeked in his freezer.  By which I mean ONE of his freezers, because let’s not forget the standing freezer in the living room which my mother had us buy because there wasn’t room for both of their food anymore.  Anyway, he had FIVE QUARTS of ice cream and THIRTY Italian ices.  I should probably mention that my brother lives alone and is not in the habit of hosting ice cream socials.  Oh, and I also noticed a pile of newspapers he’d put on the floor of my mother’s room and spoke to him about recycling them.  I know that my brother has great hoarding potential, but dammit, it’s not gonna happen if I can help it.  Of course, “if I can help it” is an intangible thing.  Because if I had any say in things, there wouldn’t have been even more packages of newly-purchased DVDs in his room.  *SIGH*

In happier news, because of my boyfriend’s summer school schedule we’ve been able to spend more of our weekends together.  That means we’ve been able to eat out at exotic locales: Raceway Diner sign Then today we went out to Hawk’s place for a Meatapalooza experience!  We tried out our new Waze app to get there (D. recommended we get it for our drive down south, and this was our first big test run).  The app was very helpful in getting us to faster routes and showing us real-time traffic hazards, and I earned us some points by reporting a few hazards myself!  After you’ve used the app for at least 100 miles you can customize your avatar, which is how we ended up on the road with fellow Wazers that looked like zombies, ninjas, cats, etc.: Waze Then we arrived, and it was time for meat, meat, and more meat: Meatapalooza (Hidden under the hamburger bun: even more meat!)

We also played a rousing game of Exploding Kittens.  I backed them on Kickstarter, and this week my package arrived! Exploding Kittens Well, technically I got one regular deck because I thought I would play it with my teens this year, and I also got one NSFW deck in case I was going to play with grownups.  And clearly, this was a grownup game … Playing Exploding Kittens Anyway, we had lots of fun and the game was a hoot!

The rest of the week I’ll be tying up some more loose ends, running programs, catching up with a doctor’s appointment, dealing with website issues, and having a book committee meeting.  But after all that is done, it’s mint julep city for me!

After some long, tiring, and understaffed days at work I was delighted to have some time off.  Luckily, my boyfriend was free, too, so we’ve been spending some time hanging out together and getting lots of walking done. Last night after work and most of today we spent time exploring the Hamilton Heights neighborhood.  We ate out at a couple of great places (Harlem Public for dinner yesterday and Unione for brunch today) and we walked around staring up at the fancy architecture and visiting Trinity Cemetery, the museums at Audubon Terrace, and the High Bridge.

At home we’ve been catching up on good TV (Wayward Pines, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, The Soup, @ Midnight) and awful movies (Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, Zombie Shark, Swamp Shark, etc.)  You might be seeing a theme here, which is that I’ve been watching a lot of the SyFy channel lately.  Should I even mention the fact that tonight will be the debut of a little movie called Lavalantua?  Combining, you know, lava and tarantulas?  Should I even mention that it stars Steve Gutenberg and several of his Police Academy colleagues? Probably not.

But I WILL mention that I learned of Lavalantula’s existence from a New York Times article about Sharknado 3.  Here’s what inspired me to tune in tonight:

The standout among these secondary offerings, though, is “Lavalantula,” if only because it represents one of the weirdest cast reunions in history. It stars Steve Guttenberg, Leslie Easterbrook and Michael Winslow, all of the 1984 comedy “Police Academy.” It also features special effects worthy of a video game from the same year.

In any case, volcanic activity rattles Los Angeles and spews giant, fire-breathing tarantulas all over the place. For some reason only Mr. Guttenberg’s character, a washed-up action-movie star, has any success battling the creatures. There’s never a tarantula-eating shark around when you need one.

Oh, yes.  That definitely sounds like a good time to me!

It’s been alternating between slow and busy this week.

I was trying to cram lots of YA books into my head before our last book committee meeting on Friday, and then after talking about those books I picked up even more books for next month.  I’m not sure when I’m going to have time to get through all my piles if I just keep rebuilding them, but that’s part of the challenge, I suppose.

Our branch manager has been on vacation, so I’ve been dealing with “person in charge” stuff more than usual.  Which sucks, but it’s one of the perils of the job.  At least I’ve been dealing with staff issues rather than “this angry patron wants to yell at the person in charge” issues, which tend to suck even more.

I did a lot of walking on days when the weather was good, and very little when it was lousy — like getting stuck in a rainstorm yesterday and staying out of the high temps today.  Today has definitely been a good day to stay indoors in the air conditioning and RELAX:

Luna Relaxing

We started the day with a lovely breakfast that my boyfriend made for us incorporating the Taylor Pork Roll we got this week (because I always remember Artie Lange talking about how getting a “Taylor Ham and Egg” sandwich was a big New Jersey thing):

Taylor Pork Roll Colorful Breakfast

Then we went to visit my brother’s apartment, where he had the windows open but NO fans and NO air conditioning were turned on.  My brother isn’t sensitive to the heat the same way we are; in comparison, my boyfriend and I were about ready to keel over.  My mother was the same way — she would turn on the AC if she knew that I was coming over, and would make a point of telling me that SHE didn’t need it.  Anyway, I’d like to point out that I THOUGHT about telling my brother that if it got too hot he would start sweating, and then he would need more Axe Body Spray … but I DIDN’T say that because I am a civilized person and I have self-control.  You know, mostly.

We left his apartment and took a trip to Whole Foods, where we planned to buy some cold cuts for dinner and something small for lunch that wouldn’t require heating anything up.  And yet we somehow ended up spending $169 on stuff that we didn’t realize we needed.

Now we’re back home enjoying our air conditioning and watching some On Demand movies, and we started with a documentary called The Wolfpack.  We’d heard about this movie a while back and we’ve been curious to see it ever since.  It’s a true story about a family in NYC where the kids spent most of their lives trapped in their apartment, and they learned about the world outside by watching movies.  It was fascinating, compelling, poignant, and uplifting.  It also made me want to find out more about what happened with these kids, and there is a LOT of information out there!  Coming up next, we’ll be watching Red Army, which tells the “Miracle on Ice” story from the perspective of the Soviet team.  [ETA: We just finished this film, and it was also awesome.  My boyfriend loved it for the hockey, and I loved it for the Soviet Union / propaganda angle.]

Next on the agenda … My boyfriend booked our vacation hotel a while back — The Mills House in Charleston — and I’m going to be planning some day trips while we’re there.  I also need to read some books, watch some TV (True Detective, I am compelled to watch you but you are stepping on my last nerve!) and work on some website stuff.

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