It seems as though the best times in life occur almost by accident. It has been a long week for both of us and we couldn't wait to unwind on Friday night. Kristal suggested we go up to Ashland for dinner and some drinks. It's a cute town with a lot of character, as the railway line passes right down the high street. Living in Glen Allen, we're really very close to Ashland, but it feels much more like the country.
We decided to dine at the Smokey Pig, a BBQ joint on Route 1 that we have often driven past with curiosity. As one would expect, it was a friendly place serving good, honest food. One item on the menu was slightly unusual, which was the apple puppies. Of course I had to order them! They turned out to resemble hush puppies (fried dough balls) but the batter was sweeter and included finely chopped apple. They were served covered in a lemon sauce than strongly reminded me of lemon meringue pie filling. In any case, they were a bit sweet, in my opinion, to be served as a side to the main course, so I saved them to the end of the meal!
After dinner we headed on in to the center of Ashland with the intention of have a drink or two at Ashland Coffee & Tea. As the name suggests, it is a coffee and tea shop, with sofas and books and the comfortable atmosphere that Starbucks wishes it had. The adjoining room, however, is the famous 'listening room', a distictive music venue where we hoped to catch a decent band. As luck would have it we arrived exactly as the show was about to start. The entertainment for the night was provided by a bluegrass outfit called Some Assembly Required. I thought they did a fine job, especially the banjo player who had mad banjo skills, and the mandolin player who had some funny stories up his sleeve. The beers of choice turned out to be from an German organic brewery called Pinkus. I enjoyed a bottle of their Jubilate Lager, and then their Pilsner. All in all a very relaxing evening, without hardly planning at all.