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?