Monday, October 27, 2008

Not-So-Trendy Monday: Homecoming (also Restaurant Review: The Ironhorse)

Is there anything less hipstery and "cool" than spending a rainy Saturday celebrating Homecoming listening to a cover band in a KA house in the middle of Virginia?

Probably not, but I've spent a lot of weekend days under similar circumstances, including this past Saturday. This year was Cooper's 10-year reunion at Randolph Macon, so we drove down on Saturday morning and hung out at the (really humid, kind of miserable) reunion tent during the game, and at KA for a little while afterwards. Tom and Cail drove up from Richmond to meet us (making Tom probably the only Hampden-Sydney alum in the reunion tent).

It wasn't an ideal day for a football game - it rained all day - but at least it wasn't cold. In any event, the rain didn't ruin Dixon's day. Not only did Cail take him outside the tent to watch "the real Thomas" (a giant CSX train), he also got to show off his dance moves at KA, and roll around in a mud puddle (not on my watch). Also not on my watch, he managed to convince Cooper to feed him the following:

- a keg cup full of water mixed with Old Bay (I know, so disgusting, right?)
- a giant cup of red Kool-Aid (mostly ended up on his white shirt)
- cookies
- Hershey bars (OK, I was complicit in this one, too)

Not surprisingly, after that much sugar, plus the dancing and some extra, sugar-induced jumping, all of the Kool-Aid ended up back on his shirt. I think he was the first "drank too much" casualty of the party.

After all of the excitement of the afternoon, Dixon settled into a really nicely timed, outrageously late nap - he slept from 6 to 8 while Cooper and Tom and Cail and I had dinner at the Ironhorse Restaurant.

The restaurant is practically on campus, so Cooper had eaten there a number of times in college. It's probably the nicest place in Ashland - white tablecloths, a pretty bar, seasonally changing menus, good service. We were all a little damp and scraggly from a day in the rain, but I think our waitress understood (by the time we left, half of Cooper's pledge class was in the bar).

The food itself was really very good, too. We started with the shrimp and grits, plus the chevre plate and a plate of roasted garlic knobs and blue cheese. The cheeses were excellent and though I like my roasted garlic a little more done, it was still delicious.

For dinner, Tom and I both had the braised lamb shank, which came with sweet and sour kale (and, yes, several "sweet and sour Cail" jokes were made) and mashed potatoes. The lamb was literally fall-off-the-bone tender and had great flavor. My only complaint was that there was way too much of it.

Cails scallops looked great, too, and she was really happy with how perfectly they were cooked. And Cooper's Brazilian strip steak was topped with a really fantastic and fresh chimichurri.

The wine list was nice, too, and we had a very good, but not expensive bottle of Pinot Noir (Hob Nob). Overall, dinner was fantastic and it was a nice way to relax after the craziness of the afternoon (also nice to get to talk to Tom and Cail without a band in the background. Not that I don't love a band, especially one playing covers from my high school and college years.)

Of course, then we had to get back in the car and drive home to Baltimore, which was exhausting. And I got up yesterday morning for brunch with my high school girl friends at Garry's Grill in Severna Park, and then I went sailing with my dad. It was beautiful out, but I was so tired by the time I got home that I could've gone to sleep around 5.

So that was it - my highly un-trendy weekend. And now we're on to Halloween week which, apparently, is going to be an exciting one in our house.

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