In Linden, Virginia, I stepped on a dead frog and stayed in a chalet called "Hot Tub Heaven," complete with an in-house masseuse. Julian and I followed directions with no visuals, just words to turn here and there, on streets called names like "Tranquil Lane." There we dined, drank and danced with our friends Zvika Krieger and Ayelet Fischer Krieger (two joyful, multi-talented people who emanate "meant to be together"), and Ayelet's sister, Yael, and boyfriend, Dan.
To nibble and sip: watermelon, homemade hummus with a nip of agave, camembert, sangria and Moscato d'Asti. A little before 10, we started dinner. Around a tiny table, we ate an everything spinach salad with dried cranberries, seeds and nuts, tomatoes and avocado. Juicy grilled portabellos and farmstand corn. And wonderful oven-roasted tilapia padded with a Chesapeake-Japanese-soul-satisfying blend of panko, pistachio, almond, and Old Bay. More red wine, beer, and kind little touches like soy milk hot chocolate with almond extract and lemon water.
Plus, homemade chocolate challah as plush and luxurious as a Tempur-Pedic mattress (Julian finds this description gross. I find it accurate). A peach pie with fruit enhanced but not adulterated. (When was the last time you could taste the peach fuzz in a peach pie?) And, my goodness, a banana chocolate bread, gluey at the core with overripe fruit and raw batter. I can't take any of the credit for this food -- Ayelet, Dan, Yael, and Zvika commanded the kitchen with easy, effortless grace.
In the morning, we feasted again on pancakes, fruit salad, and tofu egg scramble. Though feasting is not the right word -- too 1.0. We cross-pollinated, mingled. Jam and syrup was passed. Fingers dipped into bowls, stole from other plates. We didn't even have coffee or booze, things that otherwise make our lives spin. More than those, there's this. New friends, old friends, driving down country roads, singing nonsensical country songs, and, just when you get onto I-95 and think, oh well, vacation is over. You see this.
Yes, a double rainbow.