Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Updates on My Life and a Semi-Restaurant Review: Verbena

For the two or so of you who are interested in what's going on in the life of your humble blogger...this week has been a big one. At 6:30 this morning, Cooper and Dixon and I finally returned home, after nearly a week in exile while our floor were finished. They look nice, though they have a little more of an olive undertone than I'd like - I'm not sure how I feel about them with the cherry cabinets, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Whatever the color, we're just happy to be home. Especially Dixon. He took a nap about 4 hours earlier than usual today, and I think it was just because he was psyched to be in his own crib.

For the past few days we've been flitting in between my parents' and Cooper's parents' houses, with a quick trip to Richmond (sans Dixon) thrown in. Tom and Cail (aka my brother and his girlfriend) live in Richmond and we don't get down there to see him nearly as much as I'd like to. It's only a couple of hours, but planning-wise, it might as well require a day-long flight. It's hard to coordinate.

Richmond was fun, though, and we ate well while we were there. As soon as we arrived, we headed to Tom and Cail's local, Can Can, for drinks and a snack. Mussels for Cooper and Cail and me, and quiche for Tom. And frites all around. Delicious, crispy, hot frites.

A few hours later, we met some friends for dinner at a new place called Verbena. It's only been open since the first of February, but Tom and Cail had been a few times already and one of the friends we met for dinner is tight with the owner (I think Tom's friend is the owner's lawyer), so we had high hopes, despite the newness of the spot.

The space was very cool - simply decorated, a fantastic and shiny copper (?) ceiling and cool little alcoves in the walls displaying wine bottles. It was a touch on the loud side, and it seems that they may not have worked out all of their scheduling issues (we didn't wait, but we ran into some people who had to wait for over an hour, despite their reservation), but on the whole it was a fun meal, the food was good and the wine list was both solid and reasonably priced. I had quail with brussels sprouts and wild rice and enjoyed the whole mess of it (though I do wish the sprouts had come whole or halved, instead of flaked).

However, for those who like drama with their meals, we had some. After dinner, we were lingering in front of the restaurant, saying goodbye to the friends who were heading home and coordinating our next stop with everybody else. The manager came out, looking concerned, and asked if everything was OK. Seems that, despite the note on the menu saying that parties of six or more will be charged an 18% gratuity, our server didn't add one to our bill...and we didn't notice. We'd left some tip, but not that much.

Everyone felt badly (partly for not paying attention more - apparently you could bill us for anything and we wouldn't notice) and we took care of the oversight. Yesterday, Tom forwarded me an email he got from the owner, just making sure that the experience was OK and apologizing for any confusion. Nice, I thought, and smart from a business standpoint, too. Tom and Cail eat out all the time and during dinner, we ran into two or three of their friends, plus one of Cooper's friends from college...Richmond is a small town and I would imagine that word of mouth really matters.

After the drama, we wrapped up the evening back at the bar at Can Can (where I drank a thousand pom fizzes - just pomegranate liqueur and champagne - a delicious headache), then back at Tom and Cail's. Words can't describe how tired I was during our drive home on Sunday morning, even after our obligatory stop at Waffle House and our quick drive through Cooper's alma mater.

Really, I'm glad to be home.

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