Thursday, February 25, 2010

Anything Goes at Avalon

Tonight was the last night of my Modern Romance class, so I finally discovered what happens after the First Kiss, True Love, and Broken Hearts.

And the final stage of a modern romance is...drum roll...anything goes!

As I can attest, you can go through those first three stages and any number of outcomes are possible, good, painful and bad.

My plan going forward is to revel in the first two categories, skip the third and replace anything goes with a happy ending.

But, of course, we're talking about architecture here and tonight's class was about the years 1980-2000, the period representing the death of modernism's dogmatic point of view and the opening up of numerous viewpoints.

We'll call it post-modernism; it's the years when the focus was on how architects shifted from an emphasis on problem-solving to an attitude of opportunity finding.

Like in a relationship, it was all about how you look at these moments when they present themselves.

This week's after-school snack was at Avalon with a friend who wanted to discuss architecture, romance and fancy food, a category he thinks Avalon falls into because of the abundance of ingredients listed for each item on the menu.

Personally, I like any place that offers small plates and since he always defers to my choice of restaurants, he just has to sift through the menu for dishes that don't contain something on his "will not eat" list, like beets and Brussels Sprouts.

He did so as the bartender opened a bottle of the Fantail Pinotage for our quaffing pleasure.

Okay, so Avalon does use long-winded ingredient descriptions.

My salad read as: watercress with golden raisins, blackberries, crispy toasted pumpkin seeds and Hooks 1 year bleu cheese chunks with nutmeg vinaigrette.

I just asked for the blue cheese salad and let it go at that.

My friend ordered the deconstructed tuna sushi roll: ginger sticky rice wrapped in a wasabi pickle slice and ahi tuna with carrot coulis and a soy, rice wine gastrique.

Then he turned to me and asked, "Why they gotta deconstruct it and what does that even mean?"

I explained, knowing the man had a point about the overly descriptive names, but both dishes were excellent so what's a little extra reading?

Then we both moved on to the Chorizo course.

He followed seafood with seafood, namely the Littleneck clams with Spanish Chorizo and fennel in almond, pine nut and sherry broth with focaccia.

The broth was incredibly rich and creamy, and ideal for soaking the bread in; I know because he insisted I try it.

My plate of richness came in the form of Spanish Chorizo over saffron Israeli cous cous with Parmesan cheese.

Luckily I'd had the sense to order the small plate of this and not the entree because it was decadent.

Dessert was sharing the chocolate rum pate with berries while discussing other restaurants.

He and a date had been to a play I'd recommended with a pre-performance dinner at, of all places, Bill's BBQ behind CVS.

I made a limeade crack and he was quick to tell me about the new bar at Bill's, where you can now enjoy your limeade with the refreshing addition of gin, vodka or rum.

He questioned the owner about the origin of this brilliant stroke, only to be told, "People been doing it in their cars for years, so why not us?"

Don't you just love the corruption of a Richmond tradition?

Limeades all around!!

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