Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Trip to Alexandria, VA (part deux)

For dinner, we originally were going out for happy hour oysters, but the restaurant was closed for a wedding rehearsal (with very little signage, so it took us a minute to figure out what was up), and so we decided to go back to Cafe Salsa for some happy hour munchies instead. Appetizers were half off, and drinks were cheap. I had a glass (okay, two glasses) of their Red Sangria, which was very good - not too sweet and with a good amount of fruit tossed in. Mr Llama had a mojito, obviously the overindulgance from the night before had little effect on him! We ordered their ceviche (raw seafood marinated in citrus juice), Papitas Rellanas (mashed potatoes around cuban meat and deep fried), and the Arepitas (cornmeal cakes topped with shredded pork). The ceviche was by far the best, tangy and a bit spicy, with noticible cumin and cilantro flavors. The seafood was firm and moist and very tasty. The cornmeal cakes with shredded pork were good but not outstanding, and I liked the papitas mostly because fried mashed potatoes are good in any form.

It was still early, so we decided to walk up and down King Street, where we spotted a sign for a wine and coffee bar called Grape + Bean. We sat down at the bar, I had a glass of Sauv Blanc, and Mr Llama tried a wine flight. Unfortunately, after mojitos and some wine, I forgot to write down any of the wines we tried. However, we did try a fabulous Muscatel paired with some artisanal chocolate. . . . While we were there, I pulled out my Pomatomus sock to work on, and ended up in a number of conversations with nearby patrons, two of which knit as well! We talked about the pattern, knitting while drinking, it was fabulous! We probably spent two hours in the wine bar, since it was dark by the time we left.

After more wandering, we finished the night at Mai Thai, where we shared an order of Scallion Rice Cakes, sticky rice shaped into patties, wrapped in scallions, and fried, served with a sweet Hoisin-based dipping sauce, and and order of vegetarian spring rolls, crunchy vegetables wrapped in rice paper. Neither dish was spicy, so we asked for hot sauce and got a tray of four different chili sauces - peppers in vinegar, a dry spice mix, a sambal-esque sauce, and a darker, milder combination that tasted almost like XO sauce. Full and happy, we headed back to the hotel.

Stopped at Candi's Candies and bought a big bag of taffy - they have more flavors than I've ever seen in one place! Even things like molasses and honey, which, although they're two of my favorites, could not be considered to be the most popular of flavors.

(I am posting this even though I didn't finish it because it needed to be done! --Llama 3-28-12)

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