Smaug’s Economy

December 24, 2013

This weekend I met my good friend Jenn, and we went and saw the second Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug.  Blah blah, the movie was awesome and also super long. That’s not what I want to go on about here.  Specifically, I want to speak to the amount of gold the dragon, Smaug is hording.

For those that have not read the book, there is a dragon named Smaug, who moved himself into a mountain stronghold that formally belonged to a dwarf nation.  Since he has been living there, he has been hording mass amounts of gold, as is traditional for dragons.  In the 2013 movie, we see the enormity of Smaug’s stash.  There are piles and heaps, and literal mountains of the shiny stuff everywhere.  Smaug is nowhere to be seen, because he is literally, buried in the stuff.

My first though was, dang, Bilbo better be careful he doesn’t drown or get crushed in a gold land slide.  My second thought was, it would take millions of dump truck loads to carry that out of there.  Basically, the enormity of the gold flooding the inside of this mountain, is unfathomable.

My next though was, ‘Well hell, if they liberate even one percent of that gold, and if floods into the market, it is going to rock the economy of middle earth’. Like seriously smash the economy.  Anything gold would be practically worthless.  Men would be building houses out of it because wood and rocks would be more valuable.

Maybe silver would become the new gold? Personally, I prefer silver to gold anyway.

Can you even spot Bilbo running on top of all that gold?

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Clementine’s Cafe – Harrisonburg, Virginia

April 9, 2013

My favorite local night spot is Clementine’s in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  It is relatively new at only a few years old, and is just as colorful on the outside as it is on the inside.  Owned and operated by the same people that have had success with Hanks Smoke House and the Thunderbird Dinner, both located in nearby McGaheysville, Virginia, Clementine’s has a completely different feel than the other venues. 

It has excellent food, operates as a comfortable bar, and hosts live music events, all in the same room.  I have tried several of their menu items and have enjoyed each one.  The steak medallions are cooked to juicy perfection, the asparagus is crispy and flavorful, the burgers are perfection in a bun, and the fish can’t be beat.  They have original and flavorful appetizers like pita and goat cheese, and fresh baked chips and dip.  And their beer list is long and diverse, full of crafted variety and flavor. 

I have also seen quite a few good music acts at this venue, including quite a few modern blue grass favorites like Larry Keel and the Natural Bridge and Yarn.  The stage is not too big, or too tall, letting patrons feel a part of the show.  Although it can get crowded, there is still room to stomp some feet and get a boogie on. 

Clementine’s also has a basement bar, that is used for trivia nights, debate viewings, reserved banquets and other social events.  It is also more generally patroned by the local college population, where the main floor tends to be favored by adults.  There is also outdoor patio seating that was opened last summer.  I have yet to try this option, but hope to this summer. 

A fun location, with ambient lighting with a collection of aesthetic staff, Clementine’s is a great addition to Harrisonburg life. 

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Jenn and myself

 

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Larry Keel and Natural Bridge a few months ago

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Larry Keel and Natural Bridge a few weeks ago

 

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James Justin a few weeks ago

El Sol Azteca – Ashburn, Virginia

April 8, 2013

One of the things we did on the bachelorette weekend event was go out for a fun dinner.  The bridal party was joined by two of the brides old friends and we went to a animated Mexican restaurant called El Sol Azteca in Ashburn, Virginia. 

The patio was closed and it was dark when we got there so I did not get much of a view of the outer façade. The inside was well decorated and vibrant.  From the multi colored air ducts running along the ceiling to the alternatingly vibrant painted walls, the interior popped.  Every aspect was in theme including the heavy wooden chairs and the tribal inspired table tops.  The place just felt fun and festive. 

We had to wait for about an hour to be seated, but enjoyed some of that time getting a drink at the bar.  I noticed that one of the fashionable things at this restaurant was to get guacamole, which is made to order, at your table from a rolling prep cart.  It looked fantastic, and was the complimentary chips and salsa. 

Our waiter was fun and entertaining and he brought our tables assorted orders accurately.  Between the six of us we got a variety of entrees and everyone reveled in their meal.  Mine was superb.  Perfectly cooked, with soft and crunchy textures blended perfectly.  Coated in a light cheese sauce, and garnished with guacamole, tomatoes and sour cream, the flavor combination was spot on.  I would be hard pressed to decide what to get on a return trip, this edible work of art I have already tried, or something new, and likely just as good. 

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Grilled Cheese Mania

March 31, 2013

On Friday I went to lunch at Grilled Cheese Mania with some workmates.  It is a quaint little red trailer parked along rt42 on the south side of Harrisonburg, Virginia.  The owner, Kathleen, was working the stand along with Emilie.  Both dressed in yellow polo shirts and brown aprons with big smiles on their faces.  The stand is clean and  appealing to the eye, with some flower boxes around front an attractive logo used liberally.  The happy and enthusiastic workers made the place feel extra welcoming and fun.  

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Between the group of us, we tried an array of items including the Classic Johnny, the Larold, the Triple Lindy, the Suzie Pepper, Cole’s Veggie Chili, Mikey’s Mac & Cheese, and Becca’s Tomato Bisque.  The sweet tea and limeade came in a wide clear cup that makes it surprisingly more appetizing.  Kathleen brought us out a few samples to try, and we thought each item was fantastic.  Grilled to perfection, the sandwiches were all top notch, with crisp bread held together by melted goodness, a true selection of gourmet grilled cheese.  The tomato soup was outstanding, with a strong fresh tomato taste, mixed with a creaminess and perfectly simple selection of herbs and spices.  I am not usually a fan of mac and cheese, but this mac and cheese was really appealing and tastefully original.  It started with large shell noodles, conchiglie I believe, slathered in a white cheese sauce.  Yum.  

Randy – “It’s really good.  I wish it were closer to work.”

Rachel – “I got a classic grilled cheese with tomato soup. When I took my first bite out of my sandwich, I was in grilled cheese heaven. I’m not even big on tomato soup, but this stuff was fantastic.  I think there’s some type of secret ingredient in the food because once everyone started eating, everyone had a smile on their face and it never left.  I’m pretty sure we put this on our list of places to eat at when we go out for lunch!” 

We all left, over stuffed, with the same smiles on our faces that the workers had.    We will certainly be back. 

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Delgado’s Mexican Antojitos

March 15, 2013

One thing the Harrisonburg, Virginia area has is an abundance of authentic food from south of the boarder.  My current favorite is “Delgado’s Antojitos Mexicanos”.  Antojitos is a term for Mexican street food, and it describes this little road side stop perfectly.  It is a small trailer, set up in the parking lot of a martial arts studio on Pleasant Hill Road, operated with a friendly smile.

The sopas are my favorite.  They are stuffed with beans and come one each, chicken, pork, beef and steak, topped with some cooked onions.  The chicken is my favorite.  Yum.

My husband and I can split an order of sopas and get a nice filling meal out of it.

The stand is operated by a very friendly lady who speaks limited English.  And boy she can cook.

It is well worth stopping in for a try, and supporting a small local business!

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Shoe Renewal

January 31, 2013

I am not a shoe girl.  I have a small selection of footwear, and I like it that way.  I have one of each type of footwear I need and I generally put effort into purchasing sturdy, semi better quality ones so they will last a long time and hold up well.  I also have wide feet so finding a good fit is often difficult.

I few years ago I purchased a pair of Targhee II Keen sneakers.  They came in a few different colors, and for $15 more you could get them in the waterproof version.  Hating wet feet, and needing sneakers that would hold up to everyday rough wear, I went with waterproof.  I purchased these sneakers in brown with maroon details from my favorite local shoe store, the Soul Source, in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

A year later they were starting to wear out, so I purchased the exact same shoe again.

And a year later I again replaced them with the same shoe, but I switched up the color to grey with pink details.

And figuring you can’t go wrong with a good thing, this winter I again replaced these sneakers for a fourth year in a row, this time with the grey with blue details.

Still love them.

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