Woops. I Forgot to Title This. Let’s Call it “Fall Complaints”

Welcome to Daylight Saving Time, also known as Poe Hell, aka: Five-Month Hibernation Period.

Twisty country road out in Northern Virginia. Best enjoyed from one's car.

Even though I left work at my normal time, I felt like I got home soooo late tonight. I rushed home and then didn’t want to go back out. And that will be the pattern for the next five months. I’ll skip happy hours. I’ll avoid running errands. I won’t even be tempted by shop windows.  I’ll come directly home from work and change into comfy house clothes and eat and sleep my way through the winter. Preferably on fluffy clouds of macaroni and cheese.

I know it’s incredibly original to say, but I DETEST DST. And fall. And winter.

I want to seriously punch people who say, “But we gained an hour!” No. No we didn’t. We took an hour of sunlight from the end of the day and shifted it to the beginning. That’s it. Still the same number of hours.

Do you have any idea how many leaves can pile up on your tiny patio? We don't have a single tree on our property, but we have to rake every single weekend.

You see, thePoeLog is a cold-blooded creature who needs to bask in the sun to warm up and increase her
metabolism, much like our little tortoise pal, Yertle. Here are just a few reasons I hate this time of year:

  1. I do not get the concept of layering. I try. I really do. And as a consequence, I almost continuously find myself in a situation where my torso is excrutiatingly warm, and my hands and exposed face are frozen. This especially happens on the walk to and from the metro. I can feel sweat running down my back and trapping itself in the layers of lightweight wool and cotton I’m wearing, while my hands are so cold they can barely hold on to my purse handle and my nose is running and pooling on my upper lip, requiring a mad dig (with frozen fingers) into said purse for a wad of Kleenex. I loathe layering.
  2. Speaking of which, can we just talk about tights for a minute? I know I need them, to keep my legs warm. And, I do have quite the collection of knee high boots (seriously, I have, at least 10 pairs of knee high boots). But tights get twisted and are very uncomfortable. They require hopping about on one foot in the morning and jamming ones foot into a wafting piece of fabric floating freely in the air. They leave marks and they’re a pain to get in and out of, making every trip to the bathroom a sweaty wrestling match (again, because I’m wearing layers, and any physical activity causes profuse layer-induced sweating).
  3. Since there are now all these layers, and sweat, at play, there is, of course, a serious uptick in the amount of laundry required on a daily basis. And we all know how I feel about laundry.
  4. Coats. Holy Wool Overload. I moved to Washington DC with one winter coat. I have now amassed a ridiculous number of coats. They all are made of different materials, have different weights, and serve different purposes. There are fall coats for every day, fall coats for going out, rain coats that are ok with pants, rain coats that are ok with skirts and dresses, rain coats that are too casual for work and therefore are for weekends, leather jackets, winter coats for when it’s snowing, winter coats for when it’s not snowing, vests for when I only need my torso to be warm, but apparently, not my arms. We won’t even begin to address the various footwear required to make it through fall and winter.
  5. But speaking of footwear: Now that it gets dark earlier, I have to change my walking route home from the metro. My normal, preferred walking route is through a nice neighborhood, with very little traffic or need to stop at intersections and smooth, continuous cement sidewalks. But this route isn’t very well lit. So now that it gets dark at 5 pm, I instead have to walk down King Street, which is very well lit indeed, but the sidewalks of King Street are made of brick. Do you have any idea what brick sidewalks do to high heels? Even lovely knee high boots? It eats them. That quaint brick sidewalk running through historic Old Town is a death trap on many levels, but especially, for heels that slip between the bricks. My cobbler, incidentally, probably loves fall and winter.  Also: King Street? Tourist megahighway. So instead of meandering along in my lovely neighborhood, I have to dodge masses of enchanted tourists looking at all the old timey fun buildings, while dislodging my heel from shifting bricks every few feet. Somebody ought to make a video game out of this scenario. Something like, “Urban Obstacle Courses,” or something.

    Quaint, but quite ankle-twisting.

The one good thing about this time of year, however, is Fall Fun Day. I’ve mentioned Fall Fun Day before. It’s my favorite day after Super Spring Spectacular, which is celebrated in the same manner. It’s sorta like Treat Yo Self Day.

Fall Fun Day celebrates and recreates one of the first dates that my life partner/spousal equivalent XFE and I ever went on. It involves driving out into the lovely twisty country roads in the wilds of Northern Virginia. Which, all cynicism aside, really is beautiful this time of the year. From the comfort of one’s car.

All these people seem to be enjoying the whole "fall" thing.

Anyway, we take in all the beautiful changing foliage, stop at a few wineries, do some serious people watching/judging, and chit chat about the humongous houses sitting on acres of property out in the middle of Virginia horse country.

Mostly, we speculate about ways to do away with Daylight Saving Time.  Or, at least I do. XFE loves fall and winter. He’s so weird.

Does anyone else hate this time of year? Or are you all hypnotized by the beauty of the colorful leaves (which, by the way, signal death and decay. Just so you know)? Any survival strategies that don’t involve eating and sleeping?

Food Porn: Palladio at Barboursville Vineyards

My opposite-sex-partner-for-life XFE and I don’t really celebrate an anniversary per se. We met, we started dating, but I never really remember exactly when, and I don’t know which date we should commemorate: when we met, or when we had our first date, or when we had our first kiss? I know we met in October, fairly close to Halloween. But we’re not a stickler for the “love” holidays – we don’t really do Valentine’s Day, or even New Year’s Eve (which, to me at least, seems like a “couples” kinda holiday as well), and we don’t do anniversaries.

What we do every year, however, is celebrate Fall Fun Day. It’s in honor of one of our first dates, which was a drive out to a couple of Virginia wineries. Again, I don’t remember the exact date or the names of the wineries we visited that particular year, but I do remember it was a beautiful fall day and my stomach was full of butterflies I was so excited to be sitting next to this amazing person on our way out to a day of who-knows-what.

So we replicate that day every year. Usually in the fall. But this year, since our fall is getting pretty busy, we kinda did Fall Fun Day a bit early. And, we focused on just one place instead of the 3-4 we usually go to.

We first went to Barboursville Vineyards in January on our way to an amazing restaurant in Chilhowie, Virginia, which turns out, is a hell of a long way from DC. So we broke up the trip and stayed a night in Charlottesville. And we went to a few wineries along the way.

Barboursville blew us away. It’s a gorgeous setting, but lots of wineries have that. Since it was January and there was a ton of snow on the ground, we were pretty much the only folks in the place which meant we got a lot of individual attention. And the tastings were very generous. There must have been about 15 wines and the tasting price was only $5. Most importantly, the wines were amazing. We bought a ton.

And, we got the low down on their Italian owners, Zonin Wines. That lead to a visit to the Zonin headquarters and museum when we went to northern Italy this past March, and for me at least, it was one of the highlights of the trip. We were treated like rock stars by the folks at Zonin. So we definitely have a soft spot for Barboursville at this point.

This trip to Barboursville was a bit different because we were going for a tasting (which was much more crowded and less personal), sure, but we were also going for lunch at their restaurant, Palladio. We had heard great things about the restaurant, but on our first visit, we were still full from an earlier meal, so we had to skip it. This time, we made sure we’d be hungry for our 12:30 lunch reservation for a four course tasting menu and wine flight.

The dining room at Palladio is a bit old fashioned, not much to look at. The service was great, very friendly and attentive without being overbearing or pretentious. The chef, Melissa Close Hart, has been named one of the 25 best chefs in the mid-Atlantic region by the James Beard Foundation, so we had pretty high expectations and were not disappointed.

The wine flight was 3 of Barboursville’s Reserve wines – Nebbiolo 2008, Cabernet Franc 2008 and Octagon 2006, which the winery is justifiably famous for. This is a wine that was served at the president’s inauguration lunch. And it is really, really good.

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XFE started with a house-made charcuterie plate that had duck prosciutto, bresaola with an olive tapenade, and a house-made salami with cheese. I started with a warm goat cheese flan with a beet puree and golden beets. I go back and forth on beets – sometimes they’re just too earthy for my taste. Both starters were very good, the flan was just the right texture, the duck prosciutto was very gamey but delicious.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the next course, XFE had gnocchi with peaches, speck, a bourbon reduction and basil. It the dish I had my eye on, but considering our main course choices (he went with veal and I had fish), it made the most sense that he take the lighter second course. I went big and heavy with a risotto with braised rabbit, rosemary, tomatoes, and cipollini onions. It was amazing. Both dishes were great and we ended up swapping plates a number of times.

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As I said, XFE had the veal chop for his main and it was awesome. It came with fingerling potatoes, Swiss chard, mushrooms and most awesome of all – house-made bacon lardons. That’s big chunks of smoky delicious bacon for those uninitiated into this bacon greatness. My fish dish was lovely, if not quite the showstopper of XFE’s veal. I had cobia and polenta. I’d never heard of cobia, but it was great. It’s a firm flesh white fish, very buttery. It stood up well to the herbed polenta (perfect crispy nuttiness) and the pickled fennel salad, which I was less in love with. I just don’t eat fennel enough to know if it was great or not.

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For dessert, XFE was again the winner with his trio of chocolate a warm tart with dark chocolate sauce, white and chocolate Bavarese (basically, semi-soft discs) with a raspberry sauce and chocolate-almond “salami” that was pretty fun and very delicious. My tiramisu was very good, but it’s hard to beat chocolate-almond salami!

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It was a great meal, very pleasurable, no real misses. The pacing was perfect, the service smooth. The price was fantastic – four-course lunch was $52. We upgraded to the reserve wine flight for another $20.

Which left us plenty of money to buy a case of Barboursville’s wine, including an entirely unnecessary magnum of Octagon 2005. Petunia would have preferred a case of Whisker Lickins.

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“What do you mean you didn’t bring me anything? Now you’re gonna get the bitchface!”