Wednesday, July 14, 2010


So tomorrow is our tenth anniversary, right? And since we'll be traveling home tomorrow, we decided we would go out for dinner tonight. Great restaurants are hard to find in any rural area, and Damascus is no exception. However, several people mentioned one restaurant in particular, open just a few evenings a week, as the best in the area. They only serve organic, locally grown food. The back of the menu has a list of the farms from which all of their food has been harvested. You get the picture. One of the girls in the bike shop also casually said, "Yeah, the woman who runs it wrote a book about living only on locally grown food. It was the first of its kind, and she's kind of locally famous for it." So, you know, this sounds like a place we will enjoy.

First of all, it was seriously the best meal I have ever eaten in a restaurant. It had just the right amount of seasoning to enhance the natural flavors of the food. Nothing was overstated, which is how we like to eat at home. Everything was just ... fresh. Clean is the word Brian always uses - not too greasy, not too heavy. We also had dessert, which we don't eat in a restaurant very often. Zucchini cake with nutmeg buttercream frosting - so, so good. Anyway, great meal. Great atmosphere. It was the perfect anniversary dinner.

So as we're leaving, I mention to Brian that I want to find out about the book the girl in the bike shop mentioned. "Maybe it has recipes or something," I said. "That would be fun to take home." We walk through their little gift shop (which is more of a venue for local artists than any sort of trinket store), and say to the girl behind the counter, "Somebody mentioned a book that the owner wrote. Can you tell me about it?" She says, "Actually, it's his wife who writes books. We have several of them here," and she points to a row of books behind her. A row of Barbara Kingsolver books. "BARBARA KINGSOLVER OWNS THIS RESTAURANT?!" I squeal. "Barbara KINGSOLVER is the 'locally famous writer'?" "Yeah ..." The girl says. She is clearly excited that I am excited, but she also had this look of, "Why are we excited?" on her face, so I tried to play it cool. Barbara Kingsolver, MY Barbara Kingsolver, who wrote The Bean Trees and Prodigal Summer and Poisonwood Bible, who writes about nature and hope better than anyone else on the planet except God himself - THAT Barbara Kingsolver owns the restaurant I went to tonight. That 'locally famous book' is Animal Vegetable Miracle, which many of you have read and talked about with me. And just exactly as I would expect from her, she has not associated her name with the restaurant in any way - in other words, she is not capitalizing on her fame. Her husband is a professor at the local college, she is a writer, and together they have this phenomenal restaurant in their small town in the mountains. WHO KNEW. She also signs all of the books they sell in the store, so I bought a signed copy of The Bean Trees (it was one I don't have anyway, though who knows how many times I've checked it out from the library) tonight.

Can you BELIEVE that?


Anonymous said...

Ok, I know that I already said this once, but SERIOUSLY SO JEALOUS! (and yes, that deserves all caps and more!)

Cindy said...

I'm SERIOUSLY SO JEALOUS too! She wrote my favorite fiction book, and then her Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book is what sent me down the road to giving a hoot about food and animals. LOVE HER. The menu you linked to sounded amazing - and they use my favorite cheese - Kenny's from Kentucky. Yum.

So happy for you to have such a wonderful experience. My stomach and mind are living vicariously through you this week. Congrats on 10 years!

mary said...

That's awesome. At the very beginning of this post I wondered if the book was Animal Vegetable Miracle, but then I thought - obviously not!

SO interesting that you ended up there unintentionally to celebrate your 10th anniversary. Very very cool.

Valerie said...


Yeah, when you said the girl at the bike shop said it was the first of its kind, I was thinking "Well that can't be true- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was the first one."

So awesome. Also, Happy Anniversary.

buf said...

happy anniversary, lovely twos

I just read a crapload of your blogs and want to comment on them all but I am at work so I will just say I love youse guys, I love your boys, I did not like the ONE BK book I ever read, perhaps I should try out some others. Or maybe because it's been a decade, I will like that one now. Who knows?
Glad you had a gorgeous vacation, I can't believe it's been ten years already! xo - jane'

Carrie B. said...

first of all, happy anniversary!!!! and second of all, YAY!!! Ever since i read that book, I've been saying I want to go on vacation to her town and stalk her. =) now that i know there's a restaurant, it makes it so much easier. =) LOVE that this is how you celebrated your anniversary.

Mrs. Shehane said...

What a special way to celebrate your anniversary. Just perfect. I love both of you -- thank you for the wonderful opportunity to keep Asher and Silas. Our tie together was very special...

I'm so very proud of you, Stephanie -- and Brian. I thank God for your happiness, for the way you love and care for your two children.

Blessngs multiply. I thank God for you! - love, Mamamamamamama

Baron said...

I don't know how far you are from Staunton, VA, but my childhood friend Mike Lund is a chef at a local restaurant there that does the organic, local thing. He's been invited to the White House to cook for an Obama state dinner.

Here's a story on him.

Jamie said...

WHAT!?!? Are you SERIOUS? I'm calling you right now!!!

Danielle said...

Wow! I had no idea she owned a restaurant either. Now I want to go too!

Congrats on 10 years too!!