Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Disappointment and Butterbeans

We had a wonderful Sunday mapped out. After breakfast with my daughters, the elder of which was back in town for a couple of days on a break from college, Ann and I planned to visit both a restaurant and a winery that we had never visited before, then come back home late afternoon for a light dinner.

Although we had a great day together, the reality of the restaurant and the winery were a whole lot less than we had expected. We had lunch at the Rail Stop in The Plains, VA, where the service was friendly but really bumbling (it just seemed the crew couldn't get it together on Sunday; they probably got hammered the night before) and the food was so-so. So-so is very subpar for a place with the aspirations of the Rail Stop. There are no pictures here because nothing merited a picture.

Best Thing at the Rail Stop
We ordered a burger and chorizo hash with poached eggs. The burger, ordered rare, came between medium and medium well. The bun was a tiny, soggy mess. The toppings were decent including a nice ripe tomato and well-grilled red onions. The eggs on top of the chorizo hash were poached about 6-7 minutes, to the soft-boiled stage. And that is a travesty.

The wine list is nothing to speak of, with only a handful of wines from which to choose. I'm sad to say that there isn't a bottle of local wine anywhere on the list. We ordered a bottle of Clifton Pinot Noir Sonoma 2011. It's not a great wine, but it's not bad either and it seems to be reliable across vintages, always being a light-bodied wine with a good bright red fruit streak, a touch of smoke, and decent enough acidity (especially for California).

As for nearby Philip Carter winery, we had never been there before either and so didn't know what to expect. We do have a couple of their better wines on our list at the restaurant. The first and second things we saw upon arriving pretty much set the tone for our visit: a stretch limo and a bunch of children shrieking about. We tasted a lot of really mediocre mass market wines and we skipped out of the tasting before the home-grown sangria could be poured for us.

Our plan to buy a decent bottle and chat the afternoon away quickly morphed into "let's beat a hasty exit, go home, open a good bottle, and watch a movie." Which we did.

When we got home, I grabbed a nice bottle of Ayres Pinot Noir from Ribbon Ridge in the Willamette and a big bag of butterbeans and headed for the patio, where Ann and I shelled out our dinner.

Beautiful Day to Sit and Shell
Good butterbeans don't need a lot. I covered them in water with a pinch of salt and let them simmer until done, about 45 minutes. Then I served us each a big heaping bowl with a pat of butter and a touch of salt and pepper. Good, so good! Finally, a wonderful ending to a disappointing day.

I Love Butterbeans!!!

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