Monday, May 28, 2007

A Taste of Virginia

by Xani

That's what I always say!

So I spent last week in Texarkana, TX/AR for work (Gotta thank EP for holding things down here at BCD Headquarters in my absence!). Sadly, I am not going to blog about Texarkana. Not that I didn't have some good food (particularly Mexican/Tex-Mex and the accompanying margaritas, definitely check out Zappata's if you ever find yourself in Texarakana, it's "tremendous"), but I just never got around to taking pictures of any of it!

Instead I'm going to blog about the other trip I took last week. About 12 hours after I got home from TX at 4am, I was heading BACK to the airport to catch a flight to Norfolk, VA. My good friend Sara lives there and this was another in a series of "Girls' Weekends"* that Sara, myself, and our friend Hayley have recently made a tradition. They both visited me in Baltimore in February (pre-blog) and this time we met up in Norfolk to eat, DRINK, and be silly!

* The other "Girl" attending Girls weekend was Hayley's dog Biggie, who is actually a boy. But how cute!

First stop after Hayley and I arrive: gotta hit the bar. We ended up at Guadalajara's in Virginia Beach, right across the street from Eric's (Sara's boyfriend and our gracious host for much of the weekend) house. First course at Guadalajara's was huge margaritas that we eventually just started calling "giant bowls of tequila" because that was really a better description.

We snacked on the delicious chips, salsa and a creamy ranch-type dip they gave us, then made a meal of their very yummy and fresh guacamole. After that I had just enough room left for this vat of beer:

Apparently this place is all about oversize drinks. Not that I am complaining.

All in all a good meal and a fun night, but maybe too much fun as the next morning we all wanted, no, needed, a breakfast of french fries and pizza with bacon on it, if you get my drift... [Pictures of pizza and french fries unavailable due to laziness of photographer]

Saturday night: Prom!

Sara is a teacher at a high school in Norfolk, and she wanted to make a quick stop at the Senior Prom to see some of her students. This was also an excuse for us to dress up and go to dinner in downtown Norfolk before we went to the dance. We joined a couple of Sara's friends and fellow teachers at Rama Garden, a Thai restaurant just a few blocks from the Prom. I am a big fan of Thai food, and I was excited to try some old favorites and some new flavors and see how this place stood up to my local Thai joint.

Of course, first things first, a cocktail or two:

This is a mango margarita (because apparently I had not had enough tequila the night before). It was actually more like a super-sweet smoothie than a cocktail, a bit too sweet for me actually. Perhaps I am becoming desensitized to tequila? No matter... we pressed on to the first course, where the table shared an order of crispy wontons (these were stuffed with chicken, I believe, and were good and crispy but a little boring) and, my usual appetizer, green papaya salad. This is a great starter because it is a little spicy, a little sweet, and a little tart. The unripe papaya and peanuts on top give it crunch; its the perfect thing to get your palate going. Rama Garden did a good job with both appetizers.

A few dishes from the main course:

Green Curry with Tofu

Panang Curry with Chicken

I had the Green Curry with Tofu (yes I go meatless sometimes!). Another of my usual suspects when I eat Thai--I love the creamy, spicy curry sauce, the firm tofu, and the crunchy bamboo shoots. Unfortunately this version could have used a tiny bit more heat and salt, but was otherwise quite good, and the portion was huge. Hayley had Panang Curry with chicken, also delicious (she didnt like the "meatloaf-like" appearance of the sliced chicken, but was happy with the overall dish), but, in my book, Sara had the winning dish, good ol' Pad Thai (not pictured-- hey, it was ALL THE WAY at the other end of the table. Sue me.). They did a well executed version with lots of flavor and a bit of heat, plenty of veggies and chicken mixed in, and that great "tang" you expect from good Pad Thai (which I think is from fish sauce-- I have never made my own Pad Thai at home, but I think I might have to try it soon!).

We lingered over dinner until the other teachers, who were chaperoning the Prom, were late, then headed out of there. Prom was... interesting. I saw some very unique dresses and tuxedos, and I got reminisce about my own high school dances, and how AWFUL they always were. Dinner beforehand was always the best part-- no exception in 2007.

So even though I spent another day and a half in Norfolk, unfortunately I don't have much more to report. Sara, Hayley and I ate several "meals" at her place, which consisted of guacamole, tzatziki, grapes, cookies, bourbon chicken, and leftover bacon pizza while seated on the living room floor. Nothing wrong with that, right?? I had a great time although at the end of the weekend I think we all felt like this:

Looking forward to next Girls' Weekend! Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. What did you eat?



  1. Hysterical!!! This made my morning...Big looks SO cute! We had a great time...Hayley

  2. You guys take your time between posts, but when you post it's a nice long one!
    I've always wanted to try that papaya salad and never have.
    Oversize drinks are never a bad thing. Except that vat of beer- I could see that getting warm before I could finish it.

  3. stef- I had some help finishing the beer. When it was full I had trouble lifting it!

  4. I helped with the beer (said to the tune of "I'll have it")....


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