Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mom and Dad come to Wilmington

It has been a busy and fun four days! The parents came for a visit on Thursday and left at the crack of dark this morning. Looking back on the trip, it appears that all we did was eat and shop. Even though I am NOT a shopper, I had a blast.

They arrived Thursday at noon and I picked them up at the airport and we went straight to lunch. One of our premier restauranteurs opened a new place recently, and I wanted to try it out, so we headed over there. It's called The Union Pub.

Dad made fun of the wait staff's get-ups right off the bat, and I can't really say I blame him. I don't know what Ash is going for here, but it's a little too "upscale Hooters" to me. They're all wearing really short plaid skirts and white shirts and kneee socks or boots. Like sexy schoolgirls. And don't say it's just because I'm getting old. I know that already. Kind of reminded me of a heavy metal video. Then the fact that the menus are on wooden paddles didn't help. Oh... the food? It was fine. Not up to his usual standards, I don't think, although I have to admit, I was totally stoked that they had tater tots on the menu. (!) The food was good, not great. Dad had a burger and said it was fine, Mom had the sliders (one pork, one burger) and said they were "really good", and I had one of their hot dogs and the tots and they were also good. Not "wow", but good. They do grind their own meat for the burgers, and can therefore serve them to you to order, instead of well done, like everyone else in the state. (Blegh.) So for tots and a medium burger, I'll probably go back, short skirts, wooden paddles and all.

We went from lunch to Red Bank Wine to pay a visit to Sara and Eric and pick up a few bottles. After shopping a little at Mayfaire, we swung by Fresh Market so I could grab something to cook for dinner and so my dad, Snack Man, could load up.

For dinner, I opted for a simple roasted chicken. It sounded good. I served that with roasted fingerling potatoes, a salad with blood orange vinaigrette and dried cranberries, and asparagus. Dinky played host for Dad.

Friday, our first mission was to get a flu shot at Costco. (Do we know how to party, or what?) "Unfortunately", Costco was out. We consoled ourselves with a giant jar of Jelly Bellies for Snack Man while we were there. (I come by that predilection honestly).

I insisted on lunch at Catch, and silenced my seafood-fearing father's faint protests by rolling his finger up in the car window. (Sorry, Dad!). Keith Rhodes (chef) had prepared a delicious duck noodle soup. Crispy duck confit nestled in a bed of ramen noodles (not the college kid kind) in a mild and fragrant duck broth with broccoli and carrots. It was a grey, drizzly, cool day outside, and that was just perfect. Mom had the blackened catfish and grits, and given the fact that there wasn't much left of it, must have enjoyed it. Dad reluctantly ordered the the firecracker shrimp (he's not a huge seafood fan) and licked the plate. And sort of forgot about his injured digit. Keith knows his stuff.

After a little more shopping, it was time to take Snack Man to La Gemma.  Ohhhhhh, man. Dad's face lit up like a Christmas tree when he walked in there. See?

We pointed and asked questions, and ordered and pointed some more and ordered some more, until we ended up with a nice sample of almost everything they had.

We took our treats to the car and most of them were gone by the time we got out of the parking lot. Holy my cow-thighs, those cookies were good. We scooted down the street to Walgreen's for another attempt at the flu shot, and were foiled again. They'd already stopped giving the shots for the day. (Whew.)

Dinner that night was at Marc's on Market. Marc and Sara were very good to us, as usual. Marc made a salad special for Dad (in case you haven't picked up on this yet, my dad is a little picky about food), and he and I both had the ribeye, done perfectly, all tender and well-seasoned with perfect mashed potatoes. Mom and Phillip both had the salmon, and ate every bite. For dessert, Mom had the pumpkin cheesecake, which I'm totally snagging the recipe for from Sara. Dad and I shared the carrot cake, and given his oooooohhhhs, and mmmmmmmssss, I'll guess it was a pretty huge hit.

Saturday morning found us down at the Farmer's market, where we visited with Dave and Christen, bought some produce (Dad said "You're not planning on cooking that eggplant tonight, are you?") and some flowers. After we got home to dump our goods, Phillip decided he needed to get in on the shopping since the temperature dropped pretty drastically and he realized he "didn't have a thing to wear!" When you drop 45 pounds, your old fall clothes don't fit anymore. We ate lunch at Brasserie du Soleil, another Ash restaurant. It was excellent, as always. Dad really liked that one. He agreed with me that the pommes frites were the best.

Saturday night I cooked a pork roast in an apple cider glaze with apples and onions. I served that with mashed sweet and white potatoes and a salad with apples, maple pecans, and an apple cider vinaigrette that Dad pronounced "Um... tart." He ate it anyway. No eggplant, though, so I think he was happy.

This morning I got up at 5:00 AM, toasted a bagel for my mom and picked them up at their B&B and took them to the airport. I miss them already. But I probably need to get back to eating a little cleaner and do a couple of extra rounds of plyo to work off this visit.

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