Saturday, August 18, 2012

Guide to a gluten-free Harrisonburg

Update, 12/8/13: There have been a number of additions to this list since I first made it--a great problem to have! I'm adding options as I learn about them. Thanks to all who have commented. Keep the suggestions coming! 

It's been nearly ten years since I went gluten-free, after 18 months of dealing with a digestive system that was, shall we say, uncooperative. Ten years ago, alternative flours were just starting to become  more common, and fast food options were almost nil. I still know where every Wendy's is between here and Philly because when I first started on this, my only options were that or a burger sans bun from McDonald's. Thank God for Chipotle.

But I digress. Gluten-free options are growing. It's getting easier to eat well and safely, and not spend the whole meal discussing unpleasant symptoms, explaining that "flour" is actually wheat, or asking about the ingredients in a cup of plain green tea. In short, you get to be normal. In that spirit, here's an overview of the restaurants in Harrisonburg I know of where you can eat gluten-free. Full disclosure: I'm not a doctor, nor do I have celiac disease; I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity, so accidentally ingesting some gluten doesn't affect me in the same way it may affect you. If you're not sure, ask questions--you are your own best advocate.

Local Chop & Grill House: As its name indicates, the Chop House sources much of its food locally--insert your joke about the ducks on Blacks Run here--which means less processed, which means less gluten hiding in your food. Servers are helpful, and they make risotto. Risotto! (Update: The Chop House has now added two gluten-free beers to its menu, including Omission.)

Grilled Cheese Mania can make some of their sandwiches gluten-free. Very tasty and recommended.

The Little Grill: They offer gluten-free pancakes and will allow substituting grits or potatoes for toast. They've switched their gluten-free beer option to Omission, and can make certain dishes--like the Mexi Night special--gluten-free. They don't advertise this on the menu, so do ask.

Clementine Cafe: Clem's will make its lunch wraps in lettuce upon request. Fries are made in the same oil as breaded things. 

Pizza: The gluten-free pizza options in this town deserve their own post. Vito's Italian Kitchen remains my favorite. Domino's and Chanello's both offer gluten-free pies; I've heard that Franco's and Francesco's (in Park View) do, as well. I'm most excited about Bella Luna (scheduled to open "soon" as of December 2013), which is downtown and plans to serve gf pizza and other gluten-free items (also unspecified at this time).

Union Station: Okay food, has a gluten-free menu.

Rick's Cantina will make its burritos with open-face corn tortillas upon request. 

Outback Steakhouse: One of the first chains in the U.S. to have a gluten-free menu, and their "Chocolate Thunder from Down Under" brownie dessert is gluten-free.

Chipotle: The one here in town buys pork from Joel Salatin's farm. Go for the burrito bowl or anything with corn tortillas. They do have an allergen list.

Blue Nile: I'll be honest, I still miss the Zilzil Tibs at Meskerem, though I do like Blue Nile a lot. Their injera is a mixture of teff and wheat, but if you call three days in advance, they'll make you gluten-free pure teff injera. They always serve rice at their lunch buffet.

Beyond: I last went there in my elusive search for good pad thai. Not the first place I'd recommend, but not bad either. Nice ambiance.

Capital Ale: Gluten-free menu, knowledgeable servers, and they always have at least one kind of gluten-free beer. I don't go there often 'cause I still can't forgive them for not being Cally's, plus it's expensive. They have gluten-free mac and cheese ($14.99 if memory serves) and yesterday I noticed they had Green's, a gluten-free Belgian ale, on the menu--for $17. I like Green's, but I'll wait until I'm in Charlottesville and swing by the Whole Foods.

Thai food: Try any of them--Beyond, Thai Flavor, Taste of Thai, Thai Cafe--and ponder how we've been lucky enough to get four Thai restaurants in this city.

Taste of India: My office's favorite place to eat out, and I never complain. Avoid the naan, try everything else.

The farmers market: OCakes sells gluten-free baked goods. Brown Butter Bakery is on hiatus, but I'm hopeful they'll come back some day in their own space.

A Bowl of Good: Another restaurant supporting local farmers, and less pricey than the Chop House. Gluten-free options are labeled on the menu, and they sell gluten-free brownies. 

Greenberry's Coffee has sold gluten-free brownies and other baked goods for a few years now; I saw recently that they have gluten-free bread (and so sandwiches?) on the menu, too.

Dairy Queen: Of my immediate family (parents, siblings, in-law, nephews), five of us have issues with gluten. When I was a kid (pre-gluten free days) we always marked birthdays with ice cream cakes from Dairy Queen, and had been missing that tradition. We finally figured out that the Dairy Queen in the Harmony Square Shopping Center would make us gluten-free ice cream cakes--every time, we ask them to leave out the crumb middle, and replace it with whatever we want on top of the cake. Sometimes Butterfinger bars, sometimes strawberries. Be very clear about what you need and order two to three days in advance--but they can definitely do it.

Know of others? Leave them in the comments. I plan to occasionally post here about gluten-free options and will update this list as I learn more.


I had a less-than-stellar experience at Quaker Steak & Lube not long after I first posted this. In talking to the manager who just happened to ask how our meals were--I'm not always great at advocating for myself, and sometimes it just gets frustrating to always be the one needing special accommodation--I was pleasantly surprised to realize he did understand proper, safe gluten-free food preparation. He said the Quaker Steak he'd worked at in Norfolk had separate storage and preparation areas, and food was served on distinct plates. He told me to come back in a week. I haven't, more because it's not so much my style, but I'm curious. If you go, let me know how it went?

L'Italia reports, as of November 7, 2012, that it offers gluten-free, whole wheat and regular pasta.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Corner

In a break from our regularly scheduled programming, I would like to consider a philosophical question. What makes a location cursed? Is it as simple as repeated occupancy by people who don't know how to run a business? Is it the typical direction of traffic approaching it? Available parking? What? 

Oh, you don't know what I mean by "cursed"? I'm talking about those locations where it seems like nothing can stay open more than a couple of years, although businesses around it thrive. One prime example is that spot next to El Charro on South Main, the one that has, in the past four years, been an Indian place, a Cajun place, and now..."The Vibe," whatever that is. Yesterday, I ate in one such location. It's right down town, where Water Street crosses Main. Think about that spot. Billy Jack's, Dave's, Jack Brown's, and Earth & Tea all do really good business, every day. Dave's has been in that area for ever, and I predict long life for at least one of the other restaurants on that list. And then there's...what are they calling it now? Oh, right, The Corner. 95 South Main. Not to rag on the Corner itself, per se, but why doesn't anything thrive in that spot? We've had, just in the seven years that I've been a Harrisonburger, Luigi's, Fuzions, Cuchi Guido's, and now this. I really don't get it. That location should be *awesome*. You can't get any more downtown. I mean, I remember that the stoners at Luigi's would sometimes take a couple of hours to make a pizza, but that was really good pizza. Fuzions had the poor fortune to open around the same time as Beyond, but the location was far more prominent than Beyond's; if either of them should have failed, I would have expected it to be the one tucked up on the back end of Water Street. Cuchi Guido's was, by all reports, incredibly badly managed and deserved to fail (one of my colleagues actually told the owner, "I give you three months." This turned out to be a generous prediction). 

If anyone has a theory about this location curse phenomenon, please leave it in the comments. I'd like to know what you think.

And now we have The Corner, which, if you'll forgive my saying so, I think is also doomed. In addition to whatever mystery poltergeist trashed all those other places, the food is just okay, not terrible, but okay, and the place lacks personality. I have no idea how it expects to compete with Jess's or Jack Brown's, which have similar fare, but much stronger signatures. 

Well, good luck, The Corner. You'll need it. 

  • Location: 95 South Main St.
  • Website:
  • Food profile: Beer and beer-related food. The kind of food you would want with beer.
  • Local sourcing: They don't say, but I'm thinking no.
  • Takeout: The website doesn't say, but it's the kind of place where you'd expect takeout.
  • Warnings: Not an awesome place for small children--no changing table in the bathroom, random sheets of glass leaning up against the wall. I wouldn't take my two-year-old back there until he was much bigger. Of course, I don't get the impression that they are trying to be a particularly kid-friendly restaurant.
  • Specialties: In all fairness, no one in my party had a specialty pizza, which is what The Corner is really proud of. You should give that a try. My mother-in-law had a sandwich on some sort of pretzel bread, which she said was really good and unusual.
Founded by a guy who wanted to bring the flavors of Long Island to the Valley, The Corner offers subs, pizzas, and lots of beer. I spent many summers of my childhood on Long Island, and I can attest that this is the real deal. 

As I said, it kind of lacks much personality. It's not bad, the food's not bad, the atmosphere isn't bad. It's just that the bar for downtown dining is so high, now, I don't think I would pick this place over most of the other downtown offerings. I should note that our server was totally awesome, which definitely counts for a lot.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Local Chop & Grill (finally!)

I've been super remiss in writing here. Cut a girl some slack, I've been busy. Oh, and three trees fell on my truck. Thanks, derecho! Anyway. A little over a month ago, my husband and I went out with two other couples, leaving all of our children in the care of household pets skilled babysitters. We decided to go to the Local Chop & Grill. Contrary to my pessimistic statements beforehand, they did not lock the doors when they saw me coming. Yes, I finally ate at the Local Chop. One thing that was fun was that, with six people, I got to see and sample a wider variety of the cuisine than I typically do. Here's my report.

  • Location: 56 West Gay St. It's in that renovated produce warehouse that has also been turned into condos, where Downtown 56 used to be.
  • Website:
  • Food profile:  Local gourmet
  • Local sourcing: Oh yes. The menu even, in a handful of cases, tells you *what farm* a cut of meat came from.
  • Takeout: Not that I'm aware of.
  • Warnings: Closed Monday
  • Tips: We ate in the bar, which was fun. I would mostly recommend this, except that, at six people, our group was seriously pushing the limits of the table's capacity. Also, check out their blog for events like dinners with local organic farmers (and, apparently, beer tastings!).
  • Specialties: While I'm sure the kitchen staff is more proud of their grilled meats, everyone at my table raved about the duckfat fries (and joked that they were probably nabbing ducks off Black's Run, just out the back door).
About Local Chop:
Local Chop is a restaurant with a pretty awesome mission. It's trying hard to create food in a sustainable way, and to encourage other restaurants in town to do so as well. Their website includes an impressive list of local producers who raise the food that ends up on their table. 

Food: The food was pretty good, and it felt nice to know that a large percentage of it had come from the Valley. I'd say it's on par with Clementine (although the prices are a bit more in the Joshua Wilton House range). The recipes were pretty creative, which I appreciated--like wheatberry and couscous cakes. Who even thinks of that? 

Atmosphere: This is where Local Chop is a serious winner. The space is gorgeous, with well-chosen artwork and carefully designed lighting. I'm sure that there wasn't a massive physical renovation since Downtown 56 closed its doors, but the space feels airier. The wait staff was great. At one point, I knocked over my drink (and was super embarrassed, so shut up). Before I had a moment to take a breath, one waiter was mopping up the mess and another was handing me a fresh glass. The restaurant hit its mark in this respect--I have the feeling that the atmosphere is exactly what they had in mind.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Triumphal Return

What does a food blogger do on her first week back in Harrisonburg after two months away?

Monday: got home at 9 pm. Kissed the ground.
Tuesday: whole wheat donuts from the farmer's market.
Wednesday: Lunch @ the Little Grill
Thursday: Dinner @ Union Station
Friday: Lunch @ Pennybackers, coffee meeting @ Greenberry's.

It is good to be home. Yes, it is.
A real post will be coming soon, I promise.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Blue Nile

Well, I'm out of town for a two-month gig, and I do miss my dear Harrisonburg. I miss my friends and my husband, I hear that the weather is INCREDIBLE, and, of course, I miss the FOOD. I'm in west Michigan, on the third coast, and while it's quite lovely, well, it's no Harrisonburg. There are a few good restaurants, but nothing like the diversity we enjoy in the valley.

With that in mind, I'd like to feature a restaurant that I've particularly missed, maybe because I didn't manage to include it in my mad smorgasbord of pre-departure 'burg dining. That would be Blue Nile, Harrisonburg's own Ethiopian pub.

When Blue Nile was in its old location, over by EMU, I really loathed it. When my coworkers ordered it for lunch meetings, I'd nibble some injera, and feel mildly nauseous. I thought I just didn't like Ethiopian food, which I hadn't had anywhere else, and I didn't want to seem like a rube by admitting it to my cultured officemates. I was relieved when they closed for a long time during their move. When they reopened, it took months--maybe a year--before I finally found myself standing at their buffet table, dragged there for a lunch meeting.

I don't know what happened during my break from Blue Nile. Maybe they replaced all their spices or their chef got way better. Maybe my tastes matured. Whatever it was, I'm sure glad it happened, because now I just love that place.

  • Location: 181 N. Main Street
  • Website:
  • Food profile: Ethiopian, plus alcohol
  • Local sourcing: Not that I'm aware of.
  • Take-out: Yes.
  • Warnings: Upstairs is closed on Mondays (downstairs is open every day from 7 pm- 2 am)
  • Tips: In case you aren't aware, look for parking in the back. From Main Street, turn left on Wolfe, and look for parking immediately on the left.
  • Specialties: I've heard that the special Ethiopian coffee ceremony that they offer is pretty neat, but I've never experienced it.

About Blue Nile:
This is legitimate Ethiopian food...with an awesome bar and concert venue in the basement. It's definitely worth checking out, any night of the week. Although I can't find verification on their website, I've heard that it's run by a family of first-generation Americans.

I'm not going to lie, every time I go to Blue Nile, I end up looking blankly at the menu trying to remember what it was that I got that one time, the thing that I liked. Then I point blindly and this time becomes the time I'm trying to remember next time. Usually I can talk the people at my table into ordering a combination platter (enough for three people, easily, at around $30), and then we get the result of several blind pointings! :) For this reason, I actually recommend going to the lunch buffet and writing down the things you liked the best.

This is a classy place. It's not fancy-dress-up-you-slob, but business casual wouldn't be out of place. The decor is a combination of African art and the best of Pier One. Unlike some ethnic restaurants where the ethnic decorations feel kitchy or thrown together, every piece in Blue Nile feels curated. It's a gorgeous space, too--the architect who designed their renovation deserves an award. The bar and restaurant blend together seamlessly upstairs, without intruding on each other. At lunch time, it manages to feel like a lunchtime restaurant, not a half-shut-down bar, and in the evening, it just sparkles. The staff is very attentive without being at all annoying, and they make great recommendations.

But what if I hate Ethiopian food?
Wait. Pray that your taste buds mature. Also, they now offer some more western flavors, including a cheese steak.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Indian American Cafe

As noted in my post of yesterday, I feel guilt over anything I might have done to make Indian American Cafe sound less wonderful than Taste of India. So I'm going to knock together a quick IAC post to make myself feel better. Not that anyone reads this anyway.

  • Location: 91 N. Main Street. This is one of those crazy hole-in-the-wall places I started this blog to celebrate.  There's no awning, no big street sign. You'd drive right past it and never notice, unless you happened to be stuck at that light. 
  • Website: They don't have one. Menu information is available at
  • Food profile: Indian, but more of a north Indian/Nepalese flavor than the other Indian places in town. They have all the foods on the menu that you would expect, but the spice blend is a bit different. The restaurant used to be listed as the "American Indian Cafe" in a local phone book, which I'm sure caused a good deal of confusion from patrons who arrived hoping for some spoon bread and bison. Interestingly, they used to serve what one would think of as "American" food, in addition to the Indian cuisine. I only know this because once, my team at work hired a Canadian guy whose parents were from India. On his first day at work, we decided to go to IAC, in an effort to show him that he could get the food of his people in little Harrisonburg. He ordered a hamburger. "I hate Indian food," he said. I still don't know if he was joking; that's just the kind of guy he is. Hamburgers are no longer on the menu.
  • Price: $10-12 for an entree.
  • Tip: The best deal is to get take-out. They really fill the take-out container, which is bigger than the eat-in plate.
  • Warnings:
    • Cash or check only--no credit cards!
    • Closed on Mondays
    • The waiter will ask you what "spice level" you want your food at, on a scale of 1-4. These numbers are largely meaningless, or are an approximation at best. What you actually get depends, as far as I can tell, on the cook's mood and the spice levels ordered by the other people in your party--and/or the restaurant at large. If you want really killer spice levels, try ordering a "Rick Black"--but only with the permission of everyone at your table.
    • Periodically, throughout the year, the restaurant closes for several weeks because the owners go on a trip back to Nepal. This will invariably be at a time when you wake up with a mad craving for some ponir saag with a luschy on the side. You will be disappointed. Sorry.
  • Atmosphere: Casual, but not sloppy. The staff is very friendly and the place is clean. Art from India decorates the walls. It doesn't try too hard to feel Indian--the waiters typically wear khakis and polo shirts rather than saris, and the music is as likely to be John Mayer as Ravi Shankar. There's something sort of nice about this. It's not self-conscious; it's a restaurant that says, "We're in America, and we have our home culture, and we're blending the two."

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Taste of India

So, on a recent date night--the sparseness of this blog pretty much reflects the sparseness of our dating life--the husband and I attempted to eat at the Local Chop & Grill AGAIN. I really think they don't want us there. My husband called to make a reservation, and they told him we didn't need one...then we showed up, and they were closed. As God is my witness, we will eat there some day! And never go hungry again!

Uhm. So anyway, we decided to go to Taste of India instead, and I figured I'd write about it here.
  • Location: 498 University Blvd. It's near that spot on Reservoir where you think you're cool and then suddenly it turns into a left-only lane and you can't get back over. Once you make that left turn, take the first parking lot on the right and enjoy some Indian food. 
  • Website: The site loads slowly and doesn't have a lot of information on it, but it is a good place to grab their menu if you want to look before you go.
  • Food profile: Indian (duh). Unlike Indian American Cafe, which actually is more of a Nepalese flavor, this is India Indian food. Tandoori, I guess. 
  • Price: $10-$15 for an entree. They also have a pretty sweet lunch buffet, which I think is around $8.
  • Specialties: I'm not really sure what they'd say their specialties are (the food is all good), so I'm going to go with service and hospitality. The staff does a great job of making one feel at home, keeping the water glass filled, answering questions, and generally being friendly without being obtrusive.
  • Local sourcing? Not as far as I could gather.
  • Tip: Can't decide what you want? Get the thali, sort of a combination platter. I always assumed it meant "sampler," but the last time I was in there, the proprietress (I think that's what she is--she's always there and seems to be running things) told me that "thali" means "at home"--it's like the little nosh you put together out of your fridge for a casual family dinner. Available in vegetarian and meat.
Food: A wide selection of Indian food. You can request various levels of spiciness when you order, and unlike Indian American Cafe (see, I'm going to have to write an entry about that place now, because I really do love it and here I am knocking it...), the spice level seems to mean something.

Atmosphere: The exterior looks a bit questionable, like it's part of a shopping plaza (which it is). Inside, though, the whole place is decorated with beautiful prints and statues from India, the waitresses all wear beautiful saris and salwar-kameez, and the tables are set with pressed linens. It's not the fanciest place in town, but it's no dive.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Joshua Wilton House

Today, I'd like to begin with a story (skip to the not-italic section for the normal entry): Several days ago, I was pulling into the parking lot at Ragtime Fabrics, and the man parked next to me rolled down his window. He gestured across the street to Union Station. "Have you ever eaten there? Is it good?" I told him it was okay, but not extraordinary. "I want to take my wife somewhere nice tonight. What would you recommend?"
I told him that I had heard that the Local Chop & Grill was pretty good, but I hadn't been there. "Of course, if it's a super special occasion, you should go to Joshua Wilton House."

When I got home, I told this story to my husband. Only then did it strike me as odd. "It's kind of random that he asked me about that," I said. "Do I exude this air of 'Harrisonburg Dining Blogger'?"

Fabric-store-parking-lot-dude, if you are reading this, I hope you and your wife had an awesome dinner together. It's a great town for food, and I recommend that you explore every inch of it.

One point that put me at a serious disadvantage when trying to answer this gentleman's question is that my husband and I are not really "fine dining" people. We're hopelessly casual and slouchy. We're cheapskates. We're shy and uncomfortable with the kind of waiter attention that one gets at really Nice Restaurants. The hush and clink of crystal unnerves us. My husband only wears ties to funerals and hasn't bought a suit since high school. Oh, and we have a one-year-old.

Last week, though, our son's daycare offered a "date night" and we jumped at the chance to go out without the baby (much as we love him). We decided to go to the Local Chop & Grill, because we hadn't been there. We got there, and the place was packed. The maitre d' (or hostess? I don't really know what the difference is) told us that it was JMU Parents' Weekend, so there weren't any tables available--and that, even if it weren't, we really should make a reservation on the weekend. We went to Thai Flavor instead (one benefit of knowing the hole-in-the-wall restaurants is being able to get a table, without a reservation, even during JMU Parents' Weekend!) and had a wonderful meal there. Incidentally, Thai Flavor got a new sign--good job, folks! It's much easier to find now. I'm hoping to visit the Local Chop & Grill some other time and give a full report. Incidentally, *last* year, we also had a dining issue related to JMU Parents' Weekend. Next year, I'm marking my calendar!

All of this is a really lengthy preamble to the actual entry. Joshua Wilton House is, without question, the best Nice Restaurant in Harrisonburg. It really is completely incredible. I've eaten dinner there exactly twice, and both times were transcendental experiences. Mark Newsome is a real chef, and you can taste the quality of his care and attention in every bite. He was recently featured in the documentary American Meat. WMRA's Virginia Insight did an interview with Newsome and some other people involved with the documentary, which you can listen to at their archive.

  • Location: 412 South Main Street. It's in a beautiful old Victorian house (pictured above), and has practically no sign.
  • Website:
  • Food Profile: Locavore fine dining
  • Price: An entree will run you around $25, but if you're going to get all gussied up and go out to a nice place like this, you'll want a "first course" (aka appetizer) ($10), a salad ($10), a nice beverage, and one of their beautiful desserts. So, plan on $50 or more per person, plus a nice tip. You won't regret it.
  • Warnings: They have a dress code! This might be the only restaurant in Harrisonburg that does. Don't show up in a t-shirt. Their website describes appropriate dress as "smart-casual," which I think of as what you might want to wear to an afternoon wedding. 
  • Specialties: I don't know who their dessert chef is, but I worship the ground he or she walks on. The Crème brûlée is totally amazing. Bon Appetit called it "so ethereal it could steal a Frenchman's allegiance." That really doesn't go far enough. 
  • Local sourcing? Yes. They've been doing local since before it was a thing.
  • Tips: 
    • Sound expensive? Here's my favorite way to enjoy Joshua Wilton: They have an awesome lounge/bar. It feels like the smoking room in one of those English country houses, with leather upholstery and dark wood paneling. The bartender is friendly and the drinks are incredible. Go in there, get a drink, an appetizer, and a dessert. Enjoy the atmosphere without doing the full dinner.
    • There is an online reservation form on their website. Useful, especially if it's JMU Parents' Weekend!
About Joshua Wilton House:
The house itself was built in 1888 by Joshua Wilton, a Canadian transplant who came to the Valley after the Civil War. Interestingly, Joshua Wilton was instrumental in bringing electricity to the Shenandoah region. In its long history, it has been home to several families as well as a fraternity. In the late 1980s, the Moore family purchased it, began restoring it to its original (pre-frat-house) beauty, and converted it to its present restaurant and inn configuration. Mark Newsome, Sean Pugh, and Ann Marie Coe bought it from the Moores in 2004. They have maintained the restaurant's tradition of excellence ever since.

I really cannot stress enough how incredible the food is. It is fresh and local--some of the fruit even comes from Chef Newsome's backyard. The restaurant prides itself on sourcing the highest quality ingredients. When the raw material is that good, the best chef knows to get out of its way and let the natural tastes come through. Every time I've been there, I've been impressed with the inventive, yet not over-done, combinations of flavors. Unlike the stereotypical high-end restaurants (where the joke is that the higher the price, the smaller the entree), the portions are perfectly sized. Every detail matters, and it's clear that the staff works together to assure that they all are addressed. From creating relationships with local farmers to fashioning a beautiful garnish, the Joshua Wilton House staff prides itself on perfection.

This is definitely formal dining. And yet, one of my JWH experiences included one of the zaniest people I've ever known. He was telling crazy stories and getting all of us laughing until we cried--and that didn't feel out of place. JWH is formal and yet friendly. It is a very authentic place. There isn't any pretension in the waiter's flair as he pours your wine--he is genuinely doing it in the most perfect way he knows, out of a love of excellence. The food is unadorned because it has nothing to hide. The formal atmosphere arises from a mutual agreement between the patrons and staff that there is a way one should behave in the presence of art.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Friendly city food coop grand opening

I was at an awesome and long-awaited event yesterday afternoon: the grand opening of the Friendly City Food Coop. As a member for several years, albiet not a particularly active one, I have been following the development of this project eagerly.

The store is gorgeous. It's laid out nicely, and there's room enough to room around or stop to chat with a friend (and every time I've been in there, I've run into a friend). The prices are comparable to what you'd find at Martin's, and there are a few screaming deals to be had. For example, I got a whole hormone-free, free-range, happy chicken for about $11. Yum! Even if a few things are a little pricier ($6 bag of potato chips, anyone?), remember--the community owns this place. The money stays here. So quit your whining and support it. If you want to shop there without ending up in the poorhouse, the rules are the same as at any grocery store--shop the perimeter. The produce, bulk items, dairy, and meat are all reasonably priced. It's the processed foods that get you in trouble. Well, those and the wall o' fair trade and organic chocolate bars. My friend brought a bar of the almond and sea-salt Chocolove to a get-together and it was just brain-melting-ly delicious.

Many of the meat and produce items are sourced locally. These are labeled very clearly. That's one major thing I noticed--the co-op has done a great job of making sure it's easy to tell where the food is coming from and what kind of happy special it is.

Can I just say, I'm totally biased? I'm so proud of our community for having a place like this. Really. Good job, Harrisonburg! Way to be awesome. You know where the real danger is for my wallet at this store? Not the mint-flavored Newman-Os (which are wonderful, FYI). No, it's the shwag. I already bought a FC2-branded Chicco bag for my husband as a Father's Day gift. It's only a matter of time before an impulsive moment lands another one and a FC2 t-shirt in my cart. I want people to know that I'm a member/owner. I want people to check it out, and hey, if you aren't a member, think about joining! Oh, but I should be clear--nonmembers are totally welcome to shop there.

Also, do these people ever know how to throw a party. I took my Little (from Big Brothers/Big Sisters), his sister, my husband, and my baby, and there was something for everyone. A dozen tents held information and activities provided by a number of worthy organizations, from the Radical Roots CSA to a group called New Community Project, which is working on creating a bikable Harrisonburg. Nu-Beginnings Farm had sample breads out (which you can buy at the Co-op). There were at least two booths with sample coffee. Which they gave to my eight-year-old Little. THANKS, COFFEE GUYS.

They had tie-dying, for children of all ages. Some of it came out really nicely!
Corn hole was quite popular. I still don't know how to play it, but these children demonstrated a first: I've never seen H-burgers play cornhole without simultaneously drinking cheap beer. I thought that was in the rules. Shows how much I know.
I didn't get a picture, but somebody gave my Littles a cup of dirt which purportedly had some carrot seeds in it. I hope that they grow. Thanks, whoever you are. The kids are excited.

There were some awesome raffles--really great prizes, and lots of them. My husband won a gift certificate to Earth and Tea, which is one of his favorite local eateries (oh, I should totally write a post about them!). My Little won a gift certificate to Vito's, on Port Republic. He says he's going to take his mom out to dinner for her birthday. Is that the cutest thing ever, or what? If I have done one great thing through Big Brothers/Big Sisters, it's educating this child about local dining. Before we met, his favorite restaurant in town was Dairy Queen. Now it's Jess's Quick Lunch...which is at least a moderate improvement. At least they're locally owned.

(Yes, that's Mary Jo, the flower lady, checking out the Radical Roots booth).

These guys were raffling off a $20 gift certificate to any downtown restaurant to promote their new web service, Our Common Place. I didn't win it (who needs it more than the lady who writes the food blog? FYI, I've never had a free meal in this town), but I thought I'd give them a shout-out anyway. I signed up and I've already gotten a few recommendations for local businesses. It's a nice site; you should check it out.

Is that a cute baby, or what (gratuitous baby shot)?

We encountered a number of local celebrities. If you hear a familiar soothing voice behind you when you're measuring bulk items in the co-op, don't freak out. WMRA's Tina Owens (you know her from Acoustic Cafe) is working at FC2.

Rumor has it that the Steel Wheels played at the opening, but I must have been there at the wrong time. There was a really nice band while we were there, featuring a Little Grill guy as the lead singer/guitarist. However, since the LGC peeps don't introduce themselves when they take your drink order, I've seen this guy every couple of weeks for years and don't know his name. Mystery Grill Man, nice music. Thanks!
(ETA: I've been informed that the lead singer of this band (I'm thinking they go by "The Dish Dogs" is Chris Howdyshell, aka "Howdy." My source adds: "He's good people.)

Last, but never least, my friend and co-worker Tony Lopez, a performer with local improv group No Strings Attached, was dressed as a giant rollerblading carrot.

Check out the Friendly City Food Co-op next time you have a chance. You'll be in the neighborhood, I'm sure. It's next to Kline's! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thai Flavor

  • Location: Good luck, man. Thai Flavor is actually one of the reasons I started this blog. I kept hearing about this place, but had a terrible time finding it! I finally had to beg a coworker to take me there for lunch one day (thanks, Aaron!). A stranger to our town would have a time and a half trying to locate it. It's at 51 Kenmore Street. What, you've never heard of Kenmore Street? It's kind of near the Big Lots, the Little Caesar's, and King Photo. Here's a map. You need it.View Larger Map
  • Website:
  • Food Profile: Thai
  • Price: Reasonable. Entrees are $8-$12, roughly.
  • Warnings: Like many of our fine local eateries, closed on Mondays. Also, you will think you are in the wrong place--it doesn't look like much from the outside. Just go in and enjoy!
  • Specialties: Everything I hear about the place is excellent. Everyone who ate there with me had food that was awesome, and so was mine. One of my dining partners is vegetarian, and her food was wonderful. She even was able to ask the staff about hidden meat products and got a clear and complete answer. Check out the beautiful garnishes--hand-carved butterflies made from carrots. I'm not sure if they're delicious. Mine was too lovely to eat! Also, the staff was very helpful and friendly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Taste of the World

Just a quick public service announcement:
The Taste of the World Dinner, a fund raiser for New Bridges Immigrant Resources, is this Saturday, March 26.

I volunteered for two years, and the best part about volunteering is that they give you the left overs. Lots of ethnic restaurants contribute dishes. Some groups, like the eastern Europeans and the Iraqis, who don't have a restaurant, just bring stuff. Absolutely incredible food, great music, and for a good cause.

It's $50 a plate. For the best meal of the year in Harrisonburg, it is worth every penny.

There are still a few tickets available. Call 540-438-8295 or email to make a reservation.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mr. J's Bagels

  • Locations: 
    • Market Square East (on 33, East of Rt. 81, kind of by the PetSmart)
    • Rockingham Square (on 42 south of town, in the plaza with the Food Lion)
    • Harmony Square (on 42 north of town, in the plaza with the OTHER Food Lion).
  • Website:
  • Food profile: Fresh, awesome bagels (also deli sandwiches)
  • Local sourcing: I don't know where they get their flour, but the bagels themselves are assembled right here in the Shenandoah Valley. I heard a rumor (unsubstantiated) that Mr. J himself, aided only by one friend, makes all the bagels for the entire city. That's thousands of bagels every day! If it's true, Mr. J. is our own local superhero.
  • Price: a couple bucks. Not bad.
  • Take-out: Yes! They also offer catering.
  • Warnings: If you don't know what you want, or need a minute to think, the staff can get testy. So hurry up already! (Hint: it's all good!)
  • Specialties: Bagels (duh). The everything bagel is pretty awesome, as is the egg bagel. 
About Mr. J's:
Mr. J's has been operating in Harrisonburg since 1990, when owners Dave and Jerry Jerlinski moved to the 'burg and decided that the town was incomplete without New York-style bagels. The concept had legs--Mr. J's is a popular spot for breakfast. A number of local businesses order Mr. J's one day each week as a treat for their employees. This is how I got to know the finest bagels in town--Bagel Fridays at work. It's the highlight of our week.

 I've had actual New Yorkers attest that Mr. J's offers the closest thing to the New York experience that they've encountered south of the Mason-Dixon line. They have 15 different kinds of bagels, not counting seasonal varieties. You can get a deli sandwich or breakfast sandwich served on any kind of bagel (and a couple of breads, too). For drinks, there are bottled juices and drip coffee. The bagels are the centerpiece of the establishment--they don't distract you with other random stuff.

Very casual. You'll see JMU students in their jammies grabbing a bite on their way to class (seriously, you guys go to class in your jammies?!?) as well as business guys rubbing cream cheese off of their ties--and everyone in between. Although it's mostly a carry-out sort of place, all of the locations offer seated dining.

But what if I hate bagels?
You can get a non-bagel sandwich, but why? If you're on the Atkins diet, this is not the place for you.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Leaving this post up for posterity, but Pennybacker's closed in fall 2012.

  • Location: 14 E. Water Street
  • Website:
  • Food profile: soups, salads, sammies.
  • Local sourcing: Not sure. If they use local ingredients, they don't say so.
  • Price: $7 ish for a sandwich
  • Take-out: Yes! And also catering.
  • Warnings: For a grilled cheese, if you don't specify what kind of bread and cheese you want, you will end up with American on white. The servers don't always ask.
  • Specialties: This is the place if you want a gourmet tomato soup and grilled cheese combo. All the deliciousness of childhood nostalgia, with the option of having actually good food. Yum! I'm also a big fan of the Corey. It's the only chicken salad I've ever tasted that can rival my mother-in-law's.

About Pennybackers:
This is a relative newcomer to the downtown dining scene, and may I say, "WELCOME!" They've done a great job renovating an old carriage house in the Pennybacker building. The place feels warm and friendly, like an English pub, and is decorated with old photos and postcards of Harrisonburg in days of yore. Although they're new to downtown, they've already invested in good works. Before their opening, they auctioned off their tables at a benefit for the Harrisonburg Children's Museum. Winners were able to make a design on the tabletops with pennies. Bonus: if you go there with a small child and the kid gets antsy, challenge him to find all 10 heads-up pennies in your table. The staff is generally friendly, and the management is superb. In the summertime, head up to the roof-top. The view is great--arguably the best roof-top view in town.

Pennybackers makes a great sandwich. They're piled thick with all the fixings, and the ingredients are mostly very high-quality. There's also a wide selection, and you can mix and match to make your perfect lunch combo. Pretty much everything comes with a side of tatertots, which makes me feel like I'm about seven years old again...not that this is a bad thing. My one complaint is that there aren't many ways to sub in another side without getting more food than I probably wanted (for example, adding a bowl of soup). I have a potato allergy, so I gaze longingly at my friends' tots, and usually surrender mine to them. Most other downtown restaurants have at least one non-potato side option.

The soups also deserve a mention. I had a mushroom brie soup there a few weeks ago that was just amazing. The tomato soup runs a little on the spicy side--great for grown-ups who long for the happy days of childhood, but maybe not that great for actual children. I'd avoid it if your child has a sensitive palate.

Casual, but not too casual. It's a good family place, but you shouldn't be embarrassed to take a business lunch there. It's warm and inviting, but not sloppy.

But what if I hate soups, salads, and sandwiches?
Who hates soups, salads, and sandwiches??? Go somewhere else. Jack Brown's is just down the block. Get a hamburger and wait for your normal friends to finish a great lunch at Pennybackers. You all can catch up at the cat store.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kline's Dairy Bar

  • Location: 58 E. Wolfe St. (the Jetsons-era building near the post office) and 2425 S. Main St. (look for the giant neon cone), also locations in Staunton and Waynesboro.
  • Website: 
  • Food profile: ice cream and ice cream-related foods.
  • Local sourcing: I don't think Kline's uses locally produced milk, which is too bad, given the amount of dairy farming in Rockingham County. If they do, they aren't advertising it!
  • Prices: $2.36 for a single-dip in a sugar cone.
  • Take-out: It's pretty much all take-out. Both locations offer patio seating, but you're free to take your cone for a downtown stroll. They also offer to-go containers with lids (be sure to specify when you order) and ice cream by the gallon.
  • Warnings: On Wednesdays, the flavor of the week is SUBJECT TO CHANGE. I'm just telling you, so you won't be disappointed. Don't you dare ask to mix flavors (a scoop of vanilla, then a scoop of chocolate). It's seriously against the rules.

About Kline's: 
Kline's Dairy Bar is a Harrisonburg institution. It's been in operation since 1943, when Grover and Johnny Kline opened up their store on North Main (bonus points for having a founder named "Grover." How cool is that?). In the '60s, it moved to its present location on Wolfe Street. The Kline's process is slow and labor-intensive, and it yields an unusual eggless custard-style ice cream. Because the process takes a long time, each Kline's location only offers three flavors per week: vanilla, chocolate, and one special flavor. The special flavors are listed on boards at each location (and are different for each location), as well as on their website and Twitter. On a hot summer day, Kline's serves around 2000 people!

Man, that is some nice ice cream. It's nothing fancy, but it's good. It's creamy and delicious, and the fruit flavors actually taste like there was some fruit involved at some point. My personal favorite is the pumpkin ice cream, and we're just now getting into the season for it. I'm not alone--someone on North High St. put a sign in their yard last week that just said, "Kline's has pumpkin!" Kline's is usually mobbed in the summertime, and for good reason, but you'll see me gripping my sugar cone in my little mittened hands.

Kline's has that vintage small-town-big-heart feeling. You get your ice cream and admire the planters, wave to your neighbors, and feel happy. The South Main location, through no fault of anyone at Kline's, doesn't have quite the happy, mellow feel of the Wolfe Street one. You see, once upon a time, I'm sure that South Main was a sleepy little two-lane, creeping down into Rockingham's bucolic farmland. Now, however, it's five lanes of madness. You can enjoy your cone to the dulcet sounds of an 18-wheeler's airbrakes, or a posse of Harley-Davidsons out for a joy ride. The ice cream is scrumptious at either location, but the atmosphere on Wolfe St. is less frenetic.

What if I don't like ice cream?
Well, it's not JUST ice cream, you know. I had a wonderful shake there one time...ok, that's ice cream too...uhm...Rumor has it you can get coffee there. Look, if you don't like (or can't eat) ice cream, just don't go.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Taste of Thai

  • Location: 917 S. High Street (aka rt. 42). If you're heading south on 42, it will be on your right. If you get to the Rocking R Hardware Store, you've gone too far. Check out the Asian grocery store behind Taste of Thai while you're there. 
  • Website:
  • Food profile: Thai (duh).
  • Local meats: not sure, but I don't think so. If someone from ToT reads this, please comment to let us know. If you have local or organic meats, you should advertise it! People love that sort of thing.
  • Price: Entrees range from $11 upwards to $25. 
  • Take-out: Yes! In fact, it's probably a better place for take-out than dine-in. The place is usually so crowded that it's hard to hear your dining partners. Also, many diners insist that take-out portions are larger.
  • Warnings: 
    • If you pull into the parking lot and it looks insanely full, don't panic! The restaurant is much larger than it looks from the outside. At least go in and see if there's a wait.
    • As noted above, it gets really loud in there, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights.
    • They don't take reservations for parties smaller than 5.
  • Specialties: The broccoli sesame chicken is delicious, if you're in the mood for that kind of thing, though it sometimes borders on being overly sweet. The pad talay is a smorgasbord of sea food--a variety you'd be hard pressed to find on any other plate in the 'burg. If you want to really blow your own mind, check out the Thai coffee--but not if you plan on sleeping any time this week. It's enough caffeine and sugar to power you through whatever life throws at you.
About Taste of Thai: 
This was the first wonderful Harrisonburg restaurant I ever visited, back in the fall of 2004, when I had just moved to Staunton. At that time, our fair city didn't boast the numerous downtown dining options that it now has to offer. After walking around the Court Square area, I asked someone at A Touch of the Earth where I should go for lunch. She directed me to ToT, and I was shocked that such high-quality ethnic food was available in the Shenandoah Valley. Taste of Thai was serving up yum back when Thai Flavor was just a shadow of a twinkle of a dream. They proved that an Asian restaurant could thrive in this town.

Practically everything is fantastic. The "Thai spicy" food can be pretty intense, but nothing you can't handle. The tofu curry runs on the bland side--I recommend asking for it a bit spicier. Don't miss out on the tom yum goong, a soup with lemongrass and mushrooms. I wouldn't have ordered it, but a friend told me to try it, and it's a surprising blend of spicy and tangy flavors, complex on the palate, but refreshing as well. 

This is a classy place--plush decor, a courteous staff, and beautiful serving dishes. Dress decently or you'll mess it all up. It's a perfect restaurant for a business lunch with the client you're trying to land, a family celebration, or a date that is a step above Cally's, but not quite Joshua Wilton House

But what if I hate Thai food?
Skip this place. Or get the pad thai; it's just rice noodles and veggies--pretty innocuous.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Little Grill Collective

  • Location: 621 N. Main St. If you're heading north on Main, look for the brightly-colored Our Community Place building on the right. The Little Grill is just after that, on the left. If the tire shop isn't open, you can park there, but otherwise, stick to the street. Hippies, use side door.
  • Website:
  • Food profile: Hippie.
  • Local meats: Yes
  • Price range: Entrees generally are around $8. LGC just redid their pricing so that, after taxes, you're always paying in whole- or half-dollar increments. Just less fiddly, yes?
  • Take-out: Yes! But they don't seem to advertise it--I just happened to ask once, and they do it, in eco-friendly containers, of course.
  • Warnings: 
    • No plastic! Bring cash, check, or a friend you can dupe into buying your meal. 
    • Sunday Brunch is pretty awesome, but when JMU is in session, be prepared to wait. Possibly for a long time. Outside.
  • Specialties: For breakfast, be sure to check out the blue monkey, a banana and blueberry pancake. For lunch or dinner, Go Ask Alyce is a classic, as is Ron's Mexi Plate.
  • The one thing I would improve about LGC is: Put sweet potato fries on your menu!
About the Little Grill:
Well, I should just air my bias here and now. LGC is my favorite restaurant in Harrisonburg, bar none. Why? Well, the food is great--you can't beat it for the price. The staff is friendly. The business model, where the restaurant is owned by the workers, means that every staff member cares a lot about making it great. It's a good place to see and be seen--I run into people I know every time I go. The main reason, though, is that they serve the food of my people. I grew up in a hippie community out in the booniehollers of wild and wonderful West-by-the-grace-of-God Virginia. When I went to college, I was a member of a vegetarian co-operative kitchen. The decor in the LGC, ranging from a Gonzo stuffed animal to a photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr., is so similar to that in my uncle Stump's house that I did a doubletake the first time I walked in. The music, whether new grass or Bob Marley, is always something that I heard at parties when I was a kid. When I opened the menu for the first time, I saw that LGC has a tempeh reuben, and when I bit into it, it tasted just like the ones Julie used to make in our college co-op. 

When I need a taste of home, I hit the Little Grill. If you didn't list "hippie" for your ethnicity in the 2010 census, YMMV.

So, I love the food. I do. There are a few things that aren't great--the soysage is a bit bland and crumbly, and the biscuits they use for their biscuits-n-gravy wouldn't pass muster at most self-respecting southern kitchens. A couple of minor flaws don't change the fact that LGC is an awesome restaurant. The ingredients are fresh, high-quality, and (where possible) organic and locally sourced. The last time I was there for lunch, I saw staff accept a delivery from Radical Roots Farm, of Keezletown. Although LGC's fare is mostly vegetarian, they also feature organic, free-range, and local meats. If you haven't tried free-range meat before, you're missing out. In my family, we're all beativores--we eat the happy animals. Happiness is delicious. LGC is one of the few places in Harrisonburg where you can count on some deliciously happy chicken. 

Breakfast is a great meal at LGC. The coffee is fair trade organic stuff, and $2 gets you a bottomless cup. There's a featured pancake every month, and it's always creative. My favorite so far this year was the chai pancake--an intriguing concept, well-executed. My husband nearly always gets the bricker's son, which is an egg, fried in the middle of a piece of bread, and covered with bean chili. Although I'm a big fan of the huevos rancheros and the breakfast burrito, no discussion of LGC would be complete without mentioning the Blue Monkey. It's a blueberry/banana pancake, and it's incredible. Go on, order a tall stack of blue monkeys. I dares ya. (there's even a Blue Monkey t-shirt now!). 

Not a morning person? Go by on Thursday for dinner--it's Breakfast for Dinner night.

Practically everything on the lunch/dinner menu is wonderful. Personally, I'm a big fan of the tempeh reuben. It's a grilled sandwich, but not too greasy, and the sauerkraut is just the right level of sauer. It's a bit messy, though--definitely a two-hand sandwich. If you're not in the mood for a sandwich, check out the Mexi-esque fare. It's more hippican than Mexican, not too spicy, but filling and yummy.

For dinner, be sure to check out the specialty nights. Besides Breakfast for Dinner, they also have Mexi night (Tues) and Down Home night (Fri). I have to admit to being skeptical about Down Home night--a menu from the collard greens, corn bread, and catfish chapter of the Great American Cookbook. Can hippies really pull off classic southern cooking? It turns out...yes, they can! It's definitely got a hippie twist--the gravy is "groovy" (vegetarian) and the chicken is free-range, but those adjustments are definitely improvements.

Other events:
Concerts, Bingo, open mic, World Cup--there's always something interesting going on.

To give you some idea, here's what happened the last time I was at LGC. I had my three-week-old son with me, and while my sister and I were debating whether to get the Go Ask Alyce or the Breezer, he started to fuss. After a moment's hesitation, I decided to nurse him, covering up with a receiving blanket. This was the first time I had ever nursed in public, and I was pretty nervous about it. I don't think I would have attempted it at any other restaurant in town. A waitress came up to take our order. She took one look at me, the receiving blanket, the little baby legs sticking out from under it, and said, "If you're comfortable nursing with a cover, that's cool, but I just want you to know that you don't have to cover up here." If you're the sort of person who wants to give that waitress a high-five, LGC is the place for you. If, on the other hand, you can't believe I was nursing in public, even covered up--well, think twice about going, and be prepared to avert your eyes. LGC is the kind of laid-back place where you frequently see families with tiny kids, people swapping tables to chat with a friend they hadn't expected to see, and everyone from newspaper reporters in their shirts and ties to JMU kids in their jeggings.

But what if I'm not a hippie?
Have the local organic burger. It's incredibly delicious...but it's a burger. Seriously. No hippification, except for the sourcing on the meat. No weird spices, no patchouli aftertaste, no tie-dyed bun. I promise. It even comes with fries.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A town for foods

Why start a blog about Harrisonburg dining? Well, I think our little town has incredible eats. How many other towns this size can boast three Thai restaurants, two Indian restaurants, two Peruvian restaurants, and more Mexican restaurants than you can shake a stick at? When I started working in Harrisonburg in the fall of 2005, I had no idea the gustatory delights that awaited me. Unfortunately, Harrisonburg is a city that keeps its treasures hidden. You really have to know where to go. Am I the only person who has to circle through the Lowe's parking lot to figure out where to turn for Dona Rosa's? And who would guess from a glance at the exterior that Saigon Cafe is such a treasure? I only discovered all the delicious secrets of Harrisonburg by having friends tell me about them, drawing maps on the backs of envelopes and scribbling directions like, "Park at the tire store, but only after hours."

I lived in Staunton for three years, and during that time, it would never have occurred to me to trek up the highway for a great meal, even though the selections for ethnic food in Staunton at that time were really limited (basically, it was Baja Bean for Mexican, the now-defunct Joey's for Italian, or some random crappy Chinese buffet). I think that demonstrates a major failing on the part of Harrisonburg's tourism board. How could I live half an hour away from the confusingly-named American Indian Cafe (where the food is, rumor has it, Nepalese) for three years, and not have any idea? Harrisonburg should be the FOOD CITY, in the same way that Staunton is Shakespeareville. We should have it on our bumper stickers. I actually went to talk with someone at the tourism board about this, but I don't think she got it. She pointed out that we have the International Festival. Well, it's a fine event, but that comes only once per year--and how many people from neighboring cities have heard of that? So I'm taking things into my own hands. Taste of Harrisonburg, here we go.

A few notes about what to expect:

  • Each entry will feature one restaurant or other food source in the Harrisonburg area. 
  • I will include directions, pricing, a review of the atmosphere and the food, and, where possible, some notes on the business history. 
  • I'll try to have a dining partner with me, so that you get multiple points of view. 
  • I'll note my own biases, so you know where I'm coming from. 
  • No one is paying me to write this stuff. If a restaurant offers me a free meal, I'll say so--and still review it fairly. 
  • I don't work for any restaurants, nor have I ever worked for a restaurant in Harrisonburg. I don't even have close friends who work at the Harrisonburg restaurants, at least not at the moment. 
  • All opinions expressed on this blog are my own and shouldn't be construed as any one else's.