Friday, December 29, 2006

Bilbo Baggins, Alexandria, VA

Eating out during trips is considered a hassle by most, with a lot of people sticking with the popular food chains. I personally love trying out tiny shacks and small cozy looking places whenever I am out of town. Recently, I visited Alexandria, VA, which is right next to Washington, DC. Walking through the quaint old town, we came across a yellow-painted restaurant called Bilbo Baggins ( Being a die hard Tolkien fan, I had to try it out. The interiors of the place reminded me very strongly of Bag's End, with pots and pans and baskets lined all around the walls, mounds of raisin bread for all guests and an atmosphere where food is the only thing that remains in your head the minute you walk in. The afore mentioned raisin bread is really worth commending, I could have just that for breakfast, especially when lined with a thick layer of whipped butter. The American breakfast and Frodo's French toast were the two things we tried, and both turned out to be a delight, especially the latter one. A mound of sweet bread served with strawberries and caramelized apple, it is wonderful. The service is pretty quick and friendly, and don't miss the orange juice, it is freshly squeezed and comes with real oranges... Yum, yum!

Eating out.. yumm!

Eating out can be considered as the world's most popular past time, especially if you are thousands of miles away from home and pocketing an income of your own (no matter the size!). Some of us can walk into a restaurant with an unheard of name and still come out with our hungers satisfied, for those who cannot or who prefer tried and tested names, the Web is the answer. After dinner last evening, giving suggestions of a good eat-out to some friends, it struck me to try and do some good to the society by attempting to jot down my weekly "taste tests". My friends and I constantly try out new stuff with an ongoing competition as to who has tasted food from the most number of cuisines, I am still on the losing side mainly because of my reluctance to try sushi, but between us we have taken on about 15-18 cuisines, trying them at places fit for a pauper and those that may be overboard for even a prince!! Alright, I was exaggerating a bit, but anyway I hope I can list some interesting places. If you try a place after reading this and do not like it, please don't mail me a curse or a howler, however, if you do like it... post me a comment :)!!

For starters (and as a safe bet), one of the most interesting places I have been to in New Brunswick is Makeda ( An Ethiopian restaurant with a very well done, partly ethnic, partly modern ambience, this place is definitely a 'keep-returning' restaurant. The food is very tasty and caters to vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian palates. My personal fav is the 'wot' - it comes in veg, chicken and fish kinds. If you are a wine lover, try the Van Loveren Pink Lady Muscadel (Rosé) 2003, a blush wine that goes very well with the food served there. Being brought up as a non-vegetable eater, I was reluctant to try out their egg plant appetizer, but one bite made me a fan. The desserts are equally good, the chocolate madness being true to its name (its makes you crazy). If you are the more experimental type, try the pecan-bourbon tart with vanilla gelato - its mind-blowing!!

More later... till then Ciao!!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rings of Power

One of my favorite verses from Lord of the Rings...

Rings of Power
- JRR Tolkien

Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

Bilbo's Last Song (At the Grey Havens)

Tolkien rocks...

Bilbo's Last Song (At the Grey Havens)
- JRR Tolkien

Day is ended, dim my eyes,
but journey long before me lies.
Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship's beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Foam is salt, the wind is free;
I hear the rising of the Sea.

Farewell, friends! The sails are set,
the wind is east, the moorings fret.
Shadows long before me lie,
beneath the ever-bending sky,
but islands lie behind the Sunthat
I shall raise ere all is done;
lands there are to west of West,
where night is quiet and sleep is rest.

Guided by the Lonely Star,
beyond the utmost harbour-bar,
I'll find the heavens fair and free,
and beaches of the Starlit Sea.
Ship, my ship! I seek the West,
and fields and mountains ever blest.
Farewell to Middle-earth at last.
I see the Star above my mast!


" All that is gold does not glitter
not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither,
deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
a light from the shadows shall spring.
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
the crownless again shall be king. "

- J R R Tolkien

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Road Goes Ever On

"Why, if only the Fellowship had had the aid of an online trip planner, they'd never have gotten trapped in Moria!" - Scott Rosenberg

'The Road Goes Ever On'
-- J R R Tolkien

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains of the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.