Yes, it is windy and cold outside, but at least it's not snowing (yet), which was cause enough for my friend and I to walk from J-Ward to the Slip and lunch at the Urban Farmhouse Market and Cafe. We were both curious about their commitment to both urban renewal and good food from local sources.
The space is beautiful with incredibly high ceilings and cozy love seats sandwiched between tables. When we arrived shortly after 12:30, there was only one two-top free, which we grabbed, but within a half hour, the tables had turned over completely. Lots of creative business-looking types came and went while we lingered. It's one of those places where you order at the counter, take a seat and wait for your name to be shouted out, which makes me want to come up with a more creative name for myself next time.
I ordered the Turkey and Sesame with Fresh Scallions (with ginger garlic aioli, toasted sesame seeds and fresh organic scallions) and my friend got the Lemony Ceasar Salad with free-range chicken with their house made egg-less Ceasar dressing. She was especially pleased that walnuts replaced the usual tired croutons in her salad; I enjoyed actual sliced turkey breast rather than deli turkey on my grilled sandwich which came with carrot sticks and potato chips, no doubt to balance each other out.
The large windows made for a delightfully sunny meal and really opened up the corner space. I was amazed to find that the ceilings were just as high in the bathroom; I can't say I've ever been in a bathroom with walls easily four times my height. Add in colorfully tiled walls on the lower third and an enormous window and it was a pretty spectacular bathroom experience, if you're into such things. Apparently I am.
Although they had an assortment of desserts like cookies, brownies and candies, we opted to go around the corner to Shockoe Espresso, me for a slice of chocolate cake with coconut icing and her for coffee. I was surprised to learn that their desserts came from Garnett's which explained why my huge piece of cake was so well done. Coconut + chocolate = dessert nirvana, at least in my world. Can you say Samoas?
Walking home and into the wind on shadowed streets wasn't nearly as enjoyable as the walk east had been, but we detoured into Ghostprint Gallery to check out their latest show "Italian Art & Design." There were some striking ceramic relief pieces in colors too beautiful to describe, as well as vintage Italian pieces from the mid-twentieth century. One was a wooden bar cart with swans for handles connecting the wheels and trays. Another was a lacquered goatskin coffee table with a built-in well for an ice bucket; it was incredibly groovy circa 1960. Chairs of various styles and materials looked more like sculpture than furniture. Most of the pieces looked like they would have been right at home in an urban loft right around the time the cultural revolution was taking off.
Walking the last few blocks home in the wind, my friend thanked me for helping her wile way a rare afternoon off. Hell, I'm practically an expert when it comes to creative time use, even with a wind advisory that would have kept saner people inside.
But then I've heard sanity is overrated.