It’s funny how some people are enthralled by a vacation to Florida or the Caribbean. How can I blame them though? The warm weather and clear blue ocean is a happy place for nearly anyone. It’s a bit overrated though (and by overrated, I mean it’s too damn expensive for a college student). You can find an adventure anywhere if you really want to.
Instead of traveling far and wide, which is honestly what I want to be doing, I took the less traveled road of a twenty year old college student and channeled my inner old soul to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. At the beginning of August, the weather was as gorgeous as Satan’s den; a beautiful arrangement of 90-95 degree days with 65% humidity. I have never chaffed so much in my life.
I honestly do love Williamsburg though. My grandmother lives there, the school that I wanted to go to is right around the corner from her, and the food and bar scene is just as good, if not better, than anywhere near me (besides D.C of course). I was never disappointed in any of the food I got, but I was out of it for almost the entire vacation. My taste buds were probably shot from mojitos, sangria, beer, cider, and the lot. How could I say no if the boyfriend offered to pay?
Anyway, after a long car ride down, I was eager to get going to a bar I had been waiting to try. The Dog Street Pub is a very popular spot right next to College of William and Mary and down Duke of Gloucester street, which I have walked down every visit since I was a kid. This slightly expensive British style pub made it’s way on my list rather quickly. After having a pint of cider and perfectly cooked chicken Tikka Masala, I wished I lived in Williamsburg. Dog Street is known for its fish and chips, a battered and fried cod filet with what we as Americans call “french fries”. Immediately when Justin saw it on the menu, he ordered it with extra chips and another beer. Thank god he did, because everything was demolished. The tartar sauce was fantastic, evidently homemade by the texture and lightness of it. I have little to complain about this place except for the overpriced and unorganized appetizers.Justin and I did return another day for lunch, but it was a bit less impressive than that first night. He ordered the fish and chips again; I, the fried cod sandwich. A pool of oil sat below the soggy under belly of the fried filet on both of our meals. However, I still recommend this place. I would be there every single day for the food, but also because I’m obsessed with everything British. Just let me pretend like a curry and a pint is a normal thing for me and I’ll binge watch Doctor Who in my Hogwarts robes.
Waking up the next morning was a bit rough, but food is always the best cure for a light hangover. Excited and ready to go, I dragged Justin out of the hotel to my favorite place in Williamsburg, if not my favorite in all the land, Aromas! As hipster as it gets, Aromas is a unique sandwich cafe offering a variety of other foods and drinks. Paintings from local artists lined the walls as the beautiful smell of espresso and man bun (maybe not so beautiful) danced through the air. Cramped and condensed, it seems like it is always packed with people making it reminiscent of a Brooklyn coffee shop. I’d argue NYC shops have nothing on this place, but I’d be as biased as Trump telling you how huge his penis is.
The food and drinks are some of the best around though. The wraps there are to die for, and so is everything else. Justin and I got a southwest omelet and a large cup of vanilla bourbon rooibos, the best tea in the world. A little known secret is the patio in the back, where Justin and I sat to eat and chat in a less crowded space. If I’m ever wishing to be somewhere, it’s Aromas.
Around the corner from Aromas is a place of magic, The Peanut Shop. All you have to do is walk through this shop to understand what I mean. After breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I walk through to get dessert, for free. To any college student, that’s MAGIC. From chocolate covered peanut brittle bites, to caramel apple spiced peanuts, I’ve tried all the samples in the store. Each counter has a variety of containers with a spoon and the hope that you’ll only take one sample, but you will always take two. My favorite, addictive little treat is the peanut butter chocolate covered peanuts. As I typed that I realized how ridiculous it sounds. It doesn’t matter because the deliciousness of them makes it worth writing out for you.
The shop also has a variety of nuts, peanut butters, candies, honey, jams, and savory peanuts. I am obsessed with the habanero peanuts. My only problem is the Chesapeake peanuts…. As a Marylander, I take offense to any sub-par food that has anything to do with the Bay. If a crab cake is done wrong, you’ll hear from my lawyer. These peanuts were similar to Old Bay seasoned (If you don’t know what Old Bay is, get your head checked and find out), but not as authentic or tasty. Overall though, I’ll let it slide. This is one of my favorite places to go and I don’t want to spoil it because of ONE thing they sell….even if it is offensive to my Maryland taste buds.
Of course, when in Williamsburg, act like a tourist. We went to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, but I’m very reluctant to tell you what I ate. In fact, I feel sick thinking about it. Chicken tenders and cold french fries, mhmmmm. It wasn’t a foodie exploration, just a fun one.
A day at the beach was the next excursion to check off the list. Virginia beach was never intended to be a food destination, but as it turns out, some of the best food of vacation was right off the boardwalk in a restaurant that looked like a shack. The Mojito Cafe it was called, with a bar the size of my twin bed and a dining room that could fit about 18. Justin and I were starving after body surfing waves and reading all day on the beach to the point where we were about to eat just about anywhere. We didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg though, so the best place was the cheapest place. The Mojito Cafe had cheap, authentic Cuban cuisine and any type of mojito the mirror of erised could show you.
A little on the sweet side, the mango mojito was empty as quick as the waitress put it down. I must say, I prefer the traditional recipe, which this cafe perfected. The integrity of the food was evident in every course, from the tostados appetizers, to the sea salt caramel cake. I rarely put my fork down. As I waited for my main course after another appetizers, the conch fritters, my mouth drooled. Everything was cooked so precisely, with the passion of chef evident in every bite. I ordered the “Pernil y Arroz”, a Cuban slow roasted pork that came with a drizzle of garlic aioli and a small bed of rice. It was nearly outshined by Justin’s dish, Marinated Mahi Tacos. If we had been in Florida, those tacos wouldn’t have even gotten close to Justin’s stomach, let alone his mouth.
I didn’t think these same feelings of food ecstasy I had experienced at The Mojito Cafe could be replicated, especially not on this trip; however, I had forgotten my family’s favorite place to eat in good old Williamsburg, Pierce’s! The small-scale, classic barbecue restaurant known as Pierce’s is a place sacred to my parents. If I ever visit Williamsburg on my own, It is a sacrilege to not bring back a container of pulled pork from this place. I’m almost positive my dad would sell me for a half a goat, not even a whole goat!, for a meal from this place. I took Justin to Pierce’s, right before we were to see the new Star Trek movie, in the hopes that it would be the greatest night of our vacation.
Both of us got a pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw, and neither of us spoke throughout the entire dinner. No words had to be spoken. It was incredibly obvious that this silence was in the name of respect of fantastic food. I felt as though I had unlocked an achievement; “Foodgasm reached with maximum efficiency.”
The most important food destination though was Farmor’s house. In all of time and space, I would choose the moments I’ve had with family and loved ones over any others, but particularly when it involves food. Farmor, my grandmother, invited us over to eat a few times during our visit, but it wasn’t until the last day of vacation that we were really able to sit and enjoy brunch with her. Well, sort of with her. My grandmother is incredible, as I have written about before. She’s independent and strong-minded. However, all she did all brunch was cook for us. It was only until the last of about 50 crepes that she sat down, took the tiniest of the batch, and ate it with a small amount
of jam. It was strange having someone in my family cook for me (that’s usually my job). I appreciate it so much more looking back a month later. I wish I could be sitting with her right now, eating crepes and talking about books we’ve read.
Instead I am here in College Park, writing for my blog instead of doing homework! I should probably get back to that, but first I’ll make some crepes and call my grandmother.