I'm a big fan of the neighborhood market and even more so when it includes freshly-made food.
My regular Monday lunch buddy and I made our second attempt at House of Homemade today after they'd been closed for a catering gig when last we tried.
The new Church Hill spot is adorable, offering limited essentials for nearby residents, but it's a thoughtful inventory.
The eggs are local (22 miles) and brown. Two varieties of tomatoes were available, along with potatoes and local greens.
Milk, organic oatmeal and peanut butter (breakfast and lunch!), Flour Garden breads, and Tall Bike Coffee, both beans and prepared are for sale.
But we were there to eat from the small but appealing menu.
The Renaissance sandwich was homemade curried chicken salad with raisins, toasted almonds, field greens and cilantro on a multi-grain bread.
Its curry flavor was perfect: subtly spicy with enough sweetness from the raisins for a nice contrast.
With it, we got a quarter pound of one of their four prepared salads to share. The garbanzo-lime salad was a definite winner too, with bits of red pepper and onion.
We devoured our meal at one of the two tables in the big front window of the place, watching as Hill residents jogged and strolled by.
For dessert, we chose a dark chocolate cupcake with orange cream icing and although the cake was a tad on the dry side (it was just after the weekend, though), the orange cream icing was out of this world.
It didn't hurt that it came with a big hunk of dark chocolate sticking out of it, either.
We asked what the space used to be and learned it was a laundromat and, long ago, a diner (perfect, I thought).
Back when it was a laundromat with no change machine, customers knew to go to the house across the street for change.
If you yelled up, an upper floor resident would lower a bucket on a rope, you'd put your bills in and he'd send down quarters.
I wanted to know if he took a cut, but the counter girl today didn't know for sure.
It only makes sense. Operational costs and all.
After a satisfying lunch and agreeing that we'll be back, Friend and I braved the VCU campus for the Libraries Book Sale, my first time scrounging their stacks.
I've been getting queasy lately because I am on the last book of my former stack.
Not having more books at the ready makes a devoted reader question the meaning of life.
And while I've still got 500 pages to go in Arthur Miller's autobiography, it'll be a less anxious read knowing I have others waiting in the wings.
We had no problem finding a parking space, but it limited us to a mere hour.
And there was so much to look through! I spent so much time looking at albums that when our time ran out, I'd only found two books.
Biographies of George S. Kaufman and Noel Coward should up my theatrical literacy, but they're not nearly enough to ease my book stack unrest.
Fortunately, the sale runs through Friday. And next time I'll walk so time won't be an issue.
Stack anxiety makes a smart girl plan ahead.