If you've read here for any length of time, you KNOW I love a good book, and when I come across one I like, I will rant and rave about it.
That's the first book I've read on my Kindle, then ordered the hard copy...
... Just so I could hold the book in my hand and smell the pages. And read my favorite passages again.
That's just how much I liked it. I even posted a review of Solomon's Blues.
Anyway, how did I find out about the book? Josephine and I were in a writing class together for 12 weeks last year. And when the instructor asked us to explain our writing experiences, Jo described her book and the sequel she was working on. I quickly scribbled the name of the novel in my notes.
I liked that book. 600 pages long, set back in the 1950s. Black and white relations. Awesome read.
And she and I have kept up with each other. She works at the agency across the way in my city. She works at the agency that folks from my agency look fondly upon... and wished that we worked there.
Hence, she comes up in my work email scroll which contains every government employment under our HHS agency umbrella. And I can email and stalk her however much I please. Really. (But I don't, lol. I check in for time to time).
We'd been wailing about getting together for lunch. She picked a day (Saturday, her writing day). And she was asking me to pick a place halfway between the two of us.
Man... I had no idea. But I remember seeing a little place on my GPS near her, and wondering what it was about. I even planned on seeking it out for a pre-class meal. (This didn't work out. It took me a good hour just to get to class. Humph).
And that place was The Sweet Potato Cafe.
(Jo said pick somewhere halfway between us. I am about 30 miles from her house. I picked this place which is a couple miles from her house. She was O_o. "That's not halfway!" LOL)
This is such a niche spot, as the selections are based on sweet potatoes, or contain some sweet potato side dish. Now, I really wanted to take LadyTee there for her birthday... but LadyTee said she doesn't like Sweet Potatoes (Gee, I never knew that during our over 30 years of friendship. Gee. She missing out, with her finicky self).
Back to the lunch with Jo...
I saw Jo walking there on the way, head held high, just enjoying the sunshine on her face. She lives about a mile away. I offered her a ride (We could see the Sweet Potato Cafe from my car). She declined. I imagined she likes to walk like some did in her book in the 1950s.
*ladylee speeds away and parks the car*
This place was so nice. Just right for a late lunch.
Jo had the turkey panini and sweet potato fries.
That looks good. I wanted to snatch one of her sweet potato fries. But that would be a bit ghetto. And Jo is very refined.
Anyway, we did share the sweet potato hummus.
That was some good hummus right there. Real good. Very light, light as air. Perfect take on hummus.
Jo talked about that when we were in class last year.
"That's some good hummus," I said as I dipped another warm toasted pita chip in the hummus.
"I told you," she said.
"I got me some hummus at home," I said. "I'm gonna boil a sweet potato and mix it in with my hummus I have. I wanna make some of this."
Jo shook her head. "Noooo. It won't taste the same."
Maybe she was right. If I took my hummus and mixed it with mashed sweet potato and it didn't taste exactly like the lovely concoction before me, I'd be highly upset.
I craned my head over towards the kitchen. "I wonder if they sell it. I wonder if I could get a container of it to take home."
I also thought about whether I had a container in my car. I am sure I had a random Solo cup in the car. I wondered how much she would charge to fill it up. Hmm.
But I quickly forgot about all this once my lunch came.
I am being mad strict on myself with mainly eating fruit and vegetables. So I zoned in on the vegetable based lunches.
I had the grilled vegetable soup.
Oooooh, that was so good. If the lights would have went out, I would've licked the bowl. Yes indeed.
And I had the Baked Sweet Potato with sauteed arugula and caramelized onions.
That combination... Who in the world would've thought to put arugula and onions with sweet potatoes?
But what a combination it was. It all balanced out REALLY well. The sweetness of the onions played against the bitterness of the arugula... all atop a perfectly backed sweet potato. Oh it was so good. And I love a good green salad. I didn't even need the butter (I don't have much of a taste or need for it these days since I have ditched the dairy). And the salad is just like I like... the nice baby spring greens.
What a good lunch. I was full without having need for a nap! LOL
There was much artwork around the place to admire.
I wanted to take a picture of the restaurants interior, but there was a big group there. They finally left, and I got a good picture.
Just such a sweet nice little place. Lawd have Mercy, if I lived nearby I would worry them something aweful.
"Here comes LadyLee, yall... Marching up the road like Miss Sophia from The Color Purple."
And the owner, Chef Karen Patton, came out and chit chatted with us.
I really wanted to ask her, "Could I please work in the kitchen for a day? I would gladly work for free. And I would wash up the dishes."
While I'm washing the dishes, I could spy on her making that grilled vegetable soup.
And that sweet potato hummus.
But you know me. I didn't say all that. I just told her how much I enjoyed my meal.
I truly did.
And I enjoyed lunch with Jo.
"This is like having lunch with Oprah Winfrey!" I said, on more than one occasion.
"Stop saying that," she said.
Well it was. Maybe I won't say it anymore. It is so stalker-stannish. It is.
But I enjoy whenever we talk, which has been mostly on email. She has surely gotten an earful from my normally quiet self after class, when I would follow her outside and wail about some climax or point of angst in her book.
But I needed the pep talk about my own writing. I get a little bogged down and stuck with my editing and rewrites, and she is so encouraging. It is such a solitary experience and it has always been good for me to talk to another writer about my feelings. She truly understands the thought and care it takes to write something great. She gave me some great ideas on motivation. And I'm going to implement those ideas.
That was such a nice day. And a nice new place for lunch.
I need more of this. Good food. And good convo. Those things are priceless.
So I hope you have enjoyed my food week. I was looking through my camera and found more pics of places I've been, but I have ran out of time. Maybe they will be posted in the month of May.
The Sweet Potato Cafe was my favorite find, though. I'd never been to a Farm-to-Table establishment. I will definitely be returning!
With that... have a good weekend. On purpose!
Being Present -
11 hours ago