So the other day, I had the tv on, and this commercial was playing:
I can’t speak to the product (though it doesn’t look good), but the video is a fine piece of marketing. What really peaked my interest was a lyric of which I was unfamiliar, “Karamu.” Since I didn’t know its spelling, I googled the lyrics, found it, and then headed to wikipedia. As it turns out, Karamu is most likely the feast of feasts that is part of Kwanzaa. That mystery solved, and then turned my attention to another lyric I was unfamiliar with: liming. As it turns out, liming is another word for what my people call loafing (can you detect a pejorative aspect to this term used by no nonsense mountain people?), and what in college, Diddle and I fondly called foononing. Liming is not just relaxing or socializing though, there are some parameters:
The concept of liming encompasses any leisure activity entailing the sharing of food and drink, the exchange of tall stories, jokes and anecdotes etc., provided the activity has no explicit purpose beyond itself.
A Deeper Cut:
The etymology of the word liming is obscure. It is a Trinidadian word, probably of recent origin since English has been a popular language in Trinidad for less than a century. It means, roughly, “hanging around” – but as we shall see, there is no exact linguistic or cultural equivalent to liming in the cultural contexts with which most of us are familiar.
The concept of liming encompasses any leisure activity entailing the sharing of food and drink, the exchange of tall stories, jokes and anecdotes etc., provided the activity has no explicit purpose beyond itself. As such, it may seem as though liming occurs in most societies. But whereas idling and inactivity are frequently seen unequivocally as shameful and slightly immoral kinds of social situations, liming is in Trinidad acknowledged as a form of performing art; it is a kind of activity one wouldn’t hesitate to indulge in proudly. In liming contexts, verbal improvisation, ingenuity and straightforward aimlessness are highly regarded, provided one follows the rules, which, however, are nearly all implicit. For my own part, it took me a great deal of time and effort to learn how to lime; many of my Trinidadian acquaintances would doubtless be of the opinion that I never really mastered it, despite a large number of determined attempts.
Liming is, in other words, an activity not subjected to a formal set of rules. Its value to the participants is entirely contingent on the shared meaning that can be established spontaneously. A typical lime begins when two or several acquaintances (neighbours, colleagues, relatives or simply friends) meet more or less by chance; in the street, at the grocer’s, outside somebody’s home, or in the rumshop. For it is impossible to lime alone: liming is inherently a social activity; it is constituted by the (minimally) dyadic relationship and cannot be reduced to the individual agent. A second necessary condition for a lime is the presence of an ambience of relaxation and leisure. Both (or all) limers should relax physically (recline in chairs, lean against walls etc.) in a manner enabling them to converse at their ease. Thirdly, the situation should assume an air of openness: a lime is in principle open to others who might want to join. Liming is, in other words, a social and public activity.
The term liming is nowadays used locally for almost any kind of unspecified leisure activity; in this analysis, I opt to restrict it conceptually to the kind of contexts outlined. Groups of people meeting in each others’ living-rooms are therefore not true limers unless the context allows for the intrusion of gatecrashers.
Its my opinion, and as far as Americans go, I am an expert limer. I certainly take my liming very seriously. However, and unfortunately for Americans, it seems that an essential part of liming is providing the opportunity for passers-by, whom you probably know (at least have seen around) in a small community, to join the festivities. In college, I lived in the party house (unofficial frat house), and we were the liming headquarters 24 hours a day. But now, in modern American suburbia, nobody just stops by. Not even when invited. Busy are busy and keep to themselves. Might as well be New York City (though hopefully this will change as the neighborhood gets younger, I get older, and I make friends with my kids’ parents). Its definitely not like Mayberry (though I do think of Falls Church City as the Mayberry to Mount Pilot’s DC). I do still get to enjoy some real liming on occasion. For instance, we always have a pig roast in the fall in the Northern Neck, and neighbors from all over hear the music, smell the hog, and just come down. I’m going to think on how I can increase my opportunities to lime, as its definitely something in which I believe.
Now that I’ve inspired you to lime, how about an end of summer playlist that may get the neighbors in a festive mood, and want to join you for a drink this weekend:
by rsiv with no comments yet
It was beautiful out, so RP came over and we grilled. My parents brought me back some assorted forcemeats from France, so we pan-fried some duck terrine to top our steaks. The food was great, and we had some real talk.
The next day, we went to Paladar in Tysons for dinner because we wanted to eat outside. I had a very different ceviche (it had lots of different citrus in it, very interesting). We also were surprised by the uniqueness of their chips and salsa.
I took a moment to appreciate the huge tree in our front yard from the comfort of LeBeef’s convertible.
I endured a 2.5 hour eye appointment, only to find out I can’t get laser eye surgery now (and I probably will never be candidate). Then they dilated my eyes to add insult to injury. It was a very bright day out.
At least that evening was pleasant. Marteen came over (long time no see – business trip), and we grilled some tuna and salmon. Apparently, Whole Foods will season anything that comes out of their butcher shop for free. HB had this mango, coconut, habanero seasoned salmon filet that was delicious. Marteen opted for jerk spices, and I went with salt, and aleppo peppers.
Pictured above, snapshot and snapshot. On Thursday, on the recommendation of HW, HB got us some Taco Bamba. Not only was it delicious, its very affordable. We’ll definitely be back.by rsiv with no comments yet
This Sunday was Sunderland’s home opener against Man U. Here on the East Coast of the good ‘ol US of A, thats an 11am match. We went to Public House No. 7 for brunch. I ordered some eggs benedict, and a proper pint. It was a great atmosphere, as we had friends rooting with us, and the owner of the pub rooting against us. As it turned out, we got a point. Three pints and one point, I can’t complain. Next time Sunderland is on NBCSN, you’ll find me at Public House No. 7.by rsiv with no comments yet
We went to Plaza (Plaza Time!) with HW, Li, and Virginia. It was a very corridge time in corridge. I had a big beer, white sauce, and a grown up version of nachos chicken, extra cheese: fajita nachos. Unlike college, you may see a baby behind my big beer.
We also went to OHOP. I had an unfinishable omelette, and the best bacon money can buy.by rsiv with no comments yet
After getting back from an amazing babymoon, it was back to reality. That means catching up on work, and baby friendly restaurants. The best iteration of the latter of which just reopened. It feels like its been sooo long since I’ve had Anthony’s. It did not disappoint.
I ordered a greek salad (which seemed to be of much better quality than at the old location) and a pizza with bacon, jalapenos, and gyro meat (which was just as good as I remember). My wife has always been jealous of how the women that work at Anthony’s coo over the babies and pregnant women. Since Anthony’s in FCC closed before she got pregnant (and we didn’t visit the Manassas location) this was her first chance to show off the bump and the ladies at Anthony’s were all about it.by rsiv with no comments yet
I saw Spencer Trappist Ale on Uncrate, and had to try the first American Trappist Ale. I was unable to find a local source, so I went to the interwebs. I found the flavor to be more subtle than other Belgium-style ales I’ve had. The carbonation seems higher than other Trappist ales I’ve imbibed. Perhaps I’m just not familiar with a refectory ale/patersbier. Overall, I found the beer to be particularly interesting, very drinkable, and quite enjoyable. Its definitely unique. I hope Spencer puts out more styles, for instance, a dubbel, tripel or quad. I have seven bottles left, but after I go over to my buddy HW’s tomorrow, I’ll be sure to save the remaining five for special occasions.
From Spencer’s Site:
Our recipe was inspired by the traditional refectory ales known as patersbier (“fathers’ beer” in Flemish) in Belgium. These sessionable beers are brewed by the monks for their dinner table and are typically only available at the monastery. Spencer is a full-bodied, golden-hued ale with fruity accents, a dry finish and light hop bitterness. The beer is unfiltered and unpasteurized, preserving live yeast that naturally carbonates the beer in the bottle and keg and contributes to the beer flavor and aroma. Spencer is the first and only certified Trappist beer made in the United States.
I also became interested in the difference between Trappist monks and Benedictine monks. Best I could figure off of google, Trappist monks are more strict. I was not able to find a reliable source however, so if you know for sure, comment or drop me a line.by rsiv with no comments yet
If The Greenbrier was the milkshake of the babymoon, the Inn at Little Washington was the cherry. That metaphor might work for the aspect of time, but how can one sum up such an amazing and complex experience in one small aspect of a metaphor? After a beautiful drive though the country, we checked in. We were given an amazing suite.
There were many nice touches, and even a personalized note from the chef. After being thoroughly wowed, we dressed for tea.
Under normal circumstances, “best tea ever” might sound absurd, but we had just come from The Greenbrier.
After tea, we had a private tour of the inn and grounds. Chris was very informative and passionate. You could tell he loved the inn, and enjoyed telling its story. Not only did Chris give a good tour, he made sure we were having an amazing time throughout our stay.
After the tour (if you go, definitely enjoy the tour), we dressed for dinner. Before we were seated, I was given a boutonniere. After looking around the restaurant, I figured out that the boutonnieres are a subtle and classy way of making guests of the inn easily identifiable.
I won’t go into detail about the courses, but needless to say, dinner was superlative, and easily the best meal I have ever had. The marriage of hot and cold foie gras with sauternes gelee and spiced local peaches paired with a glass of Sauternes may have been my favorite, but the veal sweetbreads and lamb were also exquisite.
Best. Meal. Ever. For dessert, I ordered a glass of Madeira, but since they were out, they offered me a glass of Graham’s 40 year tawny port. It was incredible, and I even made it last until we had a cigar on our balcony. This might have been at least partially due to our exceptional sommelier, Jess, who’s hand was as heavy as his descriptions were vivid and enticing. When we were finished with our dessert, Chris offered to give us a tour of the kitchen. As you’ll see below, we were able to meet Chef O’Connell! He was very gracious and very funny.
After I’d finished my port, and my Trinidad Robusto T, it was time for bed. I’ve never had all my senses so overwhelmed. Its really impossible to put the experience into words. Fortunately, the experience had not yet come to an end. Breakfast was shockingly good the next morning. The wife had a parfait, and I had eggs benedict. Each of the four juices we were able to sample were amazing.
When we finished eating, we took a walk around the grounds. Its crazy how lucky we got with the weather all week. We also seemed to be right on time all week. At The Greenbrier, we were on time for tea, meal, etc., and at The Inn, we arrived just before tea, then were right on time for the tour, which concluded in time for us to get dressed and make our reservation. When we got to the garden, Jenna (The Inn’s farmer in residence), gave us a wonderful impromptu tour. Again, perfect timing.
Below, you can see our balcony, which was right above the kitchen.
The Inn had really lived up to its expectations. I can’t wait for our next milestone, so we can come back.by rsiv with no comments yet
My wife’s company provides a stipend for employees to enjoy a babymoon (like a honeymoon but for expectant parents). Friday morning, we put the top down and headed to West by God Virginia. It was a beautiful sunny ride down, and since the drive was about 4 hours, I almost got too much color. We chose The Greenbrier because we hadn’t been in seven years, and its America’s great resort. Its absolutely beautiful, luxurious, delicious, comforting, and full of adventure (as you’ll see below). It really is a special place.
We enjoyed the decor, got settled, and then hit the pool for a late lunch and some mountain sunshine.
For dinner, we went to Draper’s. I went with some amazing chicken and waffles and the wife had a pot pie. Everything, including the service, was excellent.
This was our first trip to The Greenbrier since they added the casino. I was a little skeptical when I heard about the addition, but it was well done and enjoyable. After my first proper julep (though The Greenbrier insists on serving their julep with a full length plastic straw – they could at least cut it to proper length), we saddled up to the craps table. We just about doubled our money and decided to celebrate with some Blanton’s and a cigar.
We’d only been at The Greenbrier for ten hours, but we’d already had a great time. We couldn’t wait for more pool time, falconry, fly fishing, food, and more fun.
Day two started with Southern Eggs Benedict with fried green tomatoes and Virginia ham.
My wife and I have talked about trying out the sport of kings for a while. Since my wife can’t shoot, ride horses, etc., due to her pregnancy, we finally had a great reason to check it out.
The scale that the hawk is perched on was one of the most interesting parts of the demonstration. Only hungry birds will hunt, so their weight has to be monitored. We also found out that a Harris’ Hawk can be trained in only about 8 weeks.
Falconry consists of the handler walking around, trying to scare up prey, while the hawk perches above and watches. Hunting with larger birds can involved separate handlers and flushers.
When the hawk makes a kill, it shields its spoils and is very possessive. Its important for the handler to quickly offer meat to the hawk in order to get possession of the kill.
We had a great time and learned a lot about falconry. My favorite was the owl. Apparently, an owl could help me with my feral cat problem at home… The falcon definitely looked the coolest. After Falconry, we relaxed at the pool until tea time. This flowah was wiltin’, so I opted for iced tea.
After tea, we changed for dinner. It was great that The Greenbrier provided a garment brush since my shoes picked up a bunch of fuzz on the trip down. This was the night of our dinner in the main dining room, so we put on our best, took some pictures, and enjoyed some libations.
I’m surprised my wife didn’t get a dress code reminder card for wearing camo:
At dinner, I opted for a julep rather than a glass of fine. Then I ordered some lamb, which unbeknownst to me, came with mint jelly. It actually paired pretty well. The live jazz was also an unexpected but welcome accompaniment.
After dinner, we lost the previous night’s winnings and then some in record time at the craps table. With the table cold and it still early, we grabbed our kindles, poured some blanton’s, and picked out a cigar. The porch below provided an excellent location to enjoy the evening. It had cooled off, and was beautiful out.
The fountain below used to be outside of a restaurant at The Greenbrier that no longer exists. My family did a 12 course tasting menu with wine pairings there once. It was the first time my future wife and mother got tipsy around each other. It reminded us of that great time we had and we were glad its still there.
Day Three started with a Dorothy Draper omelet (Virginia ham, green peppers, shiitake, American cheese). We had a leisurely morning in the hotel, and then went down to the outfitters’ for our excursion.
Another activity we’d been wanting to try, and that pregnant women can do is fly fishing. Our instructor, Demian, taught us the basics of roll casting, and then quickly got us on a picturesque stream. It was a little colder than usual, rain was coming in, and it was overcast. It wasn’t the best season for fly fishing, but the conditions weren’t bad at all. It couldn’t have been more than fifteen minutes before I landed a fish. I was able to keep good tension on the barbless hook by stripping the line, and after a short fight, I netted my first fish on the fly ever. Just a short while after that, my wife hooked up. Demian was over with me still, and after setting the hook, she yelled, “Fish on!!!” Demian laughed, and hustled over to give her a hand. A few hours later, we’d caught 14 fish between us. I credit Demian’s teaching abilities and skill at his passion. HB initially struggled with keeping the rod bent and tension on the line, but he was able to show her how to successfully bring in a fish (and she landed plenty). He was quick to switch out flys that were not hitting, and deftly handled any snags we caused while figuring out the cast. We really can’t thank Demian enough (though the last thing I need is another expensive hobby).
I have a friend that offered to teach me fly fishing if I taught him sporting clays. Now that I know the basics and have landed a fish, I might have to take him up on his offer. The weather had held out, so we changed for dinner and went out to our sitting spot. I’d finished the book I brought, The Paris Wife, and decided to start on A Moveable Feast (to get both sides of the story).
I thought the picture above was an interesting juxtaposition of old and new. Not unlike The Greenbrier itself.
We’d had such a pleasant dinner at Draper’s we almost went back. Instead, we decided to give Cafe Carleton a try. My wife did the prix fixe option, and I order a charcuterie plate. Both were very good, as was the wine flight: No one expects the Spanish Libation. The food was spectacular, and our waitress, Jennifer W was a lot of fun and made great recommendations. After a decadent meal we played the rest of our comp’d slots and then played a few hands of roulette. Nothing hit, but I optimistically reflected that I’d rather be lucky on the trout stream than in the casino.
We ending the night by participating in an old Greenbrier tradition. I won’t explain it, as the text in the picture below should do so better than I could.
We decided not to mess with success, and went back to Draper’s for our last breakfast at The Greenbrier. I had the Springtime omelet: jumbo lump crab, asparagus, and brie. Our waitress on our last day was not rude, but was not particularly chipper either. Everyone has off days. However, our first waiter, Adrienne came over to greet us. He has noticed that we’d been there three days in a row. He was very friendly, and at least on that day, was a beacon of cheerfulness in a sea of frowns. Adrienne truly improved the quality of our stay.
Later that morning, my wife went to the spa for a prenatal massage and I took my kindle and coffee down to the pool. An elderly lady (lets say at least 75) was swimming lap after lap, and inspired me to swim a few. I got a little winded, but lets blame that on all the booze the night before.
After a short walk, we packed up and checked out. At reception I heard a gentleman say that he had been since the 4th of July and was staying until Labor Day. I was more than a little jealous. HB and I took one last look, and headed off to our next adventure. I don’t know how soon, but I know the three of us will be back.by rsiv with no comments yet
On Friday, I went to Mediterrafish in Merrifield. I was nearby doing some physical therapy nearby, and I’d wanted to stop by for a long time after seeing their selections in the window. I went with monkfish, and salmon for the pregnant. I seasoned the monkfish with olive oil, herbs de provence, and rosemary. I put some jerk seasoning and butter on the salmon, and put them on some cedar planks.
Saturday morning we went back to Paladar for brunch. I got the tacos, which were awesome.
Later that day, we sold the wife’s car. Her VW Golf gave us 10 great years of service. She was very sad to see it go.
Then we took the back way out to my buddy CW’s. He has a week old newborn, so we went to visit. We drove through the battlefield, and up the blue highways.
CW had some burgers from a fancy butcher that he grilled up. They were delicious. The farmers’ market corn was also great. We got into his Yuengling Premium reserve, which means its just about time for a trip to WV to restock.
Sunday morning it was amazing outside; we went to brunch at Mad Fox. I got the pork belly benedict, and added fried green tomatoes. I paired it with their English style brown ale (on cask).
Then we did some dogsitting. My sister’s boyfriend just rescued a german wirehaired pointer. My hopes that he could one day hunt were buoyed by the fact that he did some fetching, treed a squirrel, bent his leg to point a little, and started to learn to come when called. However, when treats are involved, even Lord Snackington will come when called. If nothing else, Otto got some more calories out of the training, and I burned a few.
After driving back from my CW’s place, I realized there was a screw in my tire. I went to MB to get it fixed. The car I was driving was my Mom’s company car, so I sent her the picture of the SL below, and told her that her SLK was totalled, and I’d be bringing an SL home for her. She said the white looked nice, but she’d prefer to stick with red.
Later that night, we kicked off DC restaurant week at Chef Geoff’s in Tysons. For value and convenience (its close to us), it can’t be beat. Especially on half priced wine night (Mondays). I was skeptical that the key lime pie would pair with the mango, but it was surprisingly good.
Wednesday, I ran over to my parents house on a beautiful day. Really enjoyed the city on the walk back.
If y’all aren’t following me on Twitter yet, hit me up: @BonVivantVA . I just started the account, but I’ve already been retweeted/favorited by JackRoseDC, Quail4ever, National Bohemian, The Greenbrier, Nauti Foods, an author, and food writer, and more.by rsiv with no comments yet
A buddy on Cigarpass just hooked me up. I’m definitely bringing of few of these to The Greenbrier next weekend for the babymoon. I imagine they’ll have enough rest before the trip. After a great meal, or during some fly fishing, I’ll light one up and life will be good.
by rsiv with no comments yet