Friday, June 8, 2007

Wherein there are many shelled and belegged creatures of the Sea

A week ago today, Friday, Avram and I decided to go on a date, the first in many weeks. Why not? We have many free babysitters (the best advantage to living with family). So we left Lydia with my sister-in-law Sariah and went. The plan was to just go to dinner; we're not too exciting of date people. We drove down to Fredericksburg, hunting for a quaint, local, cheap and good restaurant. The kind of hidden treasures one sometimes stumbles into. After driving to downtown Fredericksburg, we saw a quaint and local restaurant, Claiburnes, and parked and went up to look at its menu. On the way we passed the valet parking sign, and I knew we probably weren't at the right place (Avram had already suspected that; it looked a little too quaint). Our feelings were right; at $35 an entree, it was definitely out of our price range.

So back in the car, we headed for the cutsey main street, where quaint and local is plentiful. About this point Avram and I bemoaned the fact that we couldn't call Matt up and ask him where we should go eat in Fredericksburg. We feel crippled without his good eating opinion; he's never proven us wrong yet in where to eat. We even drove down main street, but there was no parking because it was so quaint. Having visited Fredericksburg once before as newly weds, when I wanted to go sight seeing, I remembered that there was parking further away, and there were signs for parking that validated this. So we headed away from main street, and right into a party zone/fair thing. Where all the parking normally is. So that was out, plus it cost money to get into the fair. So I turned right at the light, to go one more block out; and lo and behold, I had turned onto a bridge! So we left Fredericksburg over the Rapphahanock River, and that was that.

By this point Avram was slinking into the seat, sunken with hunger, and I decided to give up some of my requirements for a restaurant, only keeping cheap and good. We stumbled onto a "town" called Chatham, which consisted of two strip malls and a light. The first strip mall contained nothing, but the second strip mall had "Steamers." Avram has a rule, "never eat seafood in a land locked state." So we've never been to a seafood restaurant in our whole married life (excepting once, but we ordered steak). Avram was unsure of the restaurant, for one thing, half of it was a bar. And it turns out he doesn't really like seafood in an ocean bordering stater either. But we forged ahead nonetheless.

Here is where I must admit my already shaky reasoning broke down. Granted, fate had landed us here (so I hoped), and there really wasn't anywhere else to turn. On the menu they had Papa's Steam basket, where there were oysters, clams, shrimp, and crab legs. It sounded healthy. It sounded Seafoody. I convinced Avram to share it with me (after all, it cost $21, so I figured it was the kind of sharable entree one sometimes sees). Then they delivered it. I hope the waitress did see our faces at that moment, because I'm sure both looked repulsed. Avram and I stared down at the large bowl, filled with small creatures still in their shells, with spiny legs arching over all. This did not look like a meal, it didn't look filling; it didn't even look edible. But Avram and I are cheap, so we ate it, every last disgusted, slimy, stringy, bland bite. The shrimp still had their legs attached, too. It made me think of the Dave Barry opinion of Lobsters, which are related to Cockroaches, and so essentially when you order one you have a large Cockroach on your plate. Except we had only gotten the cockroaches legs and small shelled friends.

Now I am sure there are people out there who enjoy seafood. I've even enjoyed seafood, when it's battered and fried, or combined with a tasty dish. But straight, it all of its inedible glory? I am truly NOT a seafood person. We laughed through the entire dinner, at how thoroughly disgusting it was, and how stupid we were, to have ordered it, and how cheap we were to eat it all. Finish it we did, and then drove home, hungry and dissatisfied. (by the way, I have never been asked so much my restaurant personnel how I enjoyed my meal. The waitress asked us. The manager asked us. The busboy asked us. The hostess asked us. Either they are a very polite restaurant with great customer service, or Avram and I looked like we might be sick all over the table.)

We decided then and there that one of us should post about this, so that way we could count spending that much money as a good expense (with our side dishes and tip, it cost $30), because it was a "story," instead of just a bad dinner. So if any of you ever stop in our neck of the woods, don't ask us where you should eat, because we don't know.


  1. Bork Bork!
    Ben and I hate seafood too! for valentines day this year he took to to ocean shores ( abt 2hrs away) and we stayed at a shilo inn there. The resturant was nice looking so we decided to eat there. One problem it was either surf or turf! so he orderd a pasta dish and I got a steak. Every thing from the steak to the mashed potatoes on my plate tasted like seafood. We were so discusted that we had to order dessert which made up for some of the nasty seafood tasting stuff that we made ourselves eat. The moral of the story? DO NOT UNDER ANY CONDITION EAT AT A SEAFOOD RESTUANT!(even if they serve hamburgurs. :)
    I love you sis
    I hope that the rest of your eating in the US goes ok :)
    Love you

  2. After I laughed all the way through I noticed you had posted at 6 am. What's this morning person thing? Not taking after your mother, surely. I slept in clear until 4:30 this morning but I was the walking dead when I returned from my temple shift at 1:30. I like sea food but I am selective in what I order.

  3. *is rolling around laughing* Man, Thora, I miss listening to you tell stories about the crazy things you accidentally end up doing.

    I did not eat anything seafoody or disgusting today, although I was present when one of my bosses went to the freezer to get some ice for her diet coke discovered a snake lying on a magazine when she opened the freezer door. (The occupational hazards of working at the Bean Museum. There was also a duck in there, wrapped in a plastic bag and shoved in among the cans of frozen juice.)

  4. Thora, you have to LEARN how to eat seafood:
    1. I hope you knew enough to peel the legs off the shrimp before eating them!
    2. I also hope you removed the shells before eating the seafood.
    3. There's a knack to getting the lobster our of the legs and claws in one piece. Then you dip them in melted butter (sometimes with a little garlic in it), and it doesn't matter how bland it is. Yum!
    4. You don't eat seafood to get full, except at an "all you can eat" place serving fake crab meat and something that may or may not have once been alive, somewhere on a planet that is mostly ocean.

    Bottom line, if you ever decide to eat seafood again, take a knowlegable friend to teach ou how.

  5. We did shell the legs off. Also, there was copious butter. But as Avram has observed, Crab dipped in butter tastes like...butter. And then it's not even healthy any more.

  6. Also, Our computer's clock is off, or something. It was actually eight in the morning. Hah! I only wish I were more of a morning person.

  7. I seem to recall eating large amounts of raw and cooked seafood with you two recently at a sushi restaurant which you seemed to enjoy, so I'm hoping your experience hasn't put you off seafood altogether!