The Family that Eats Together

“I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

– written by J.R.R. Tolkien, said by Bilbo Baggins, The Fellowship of the Ring

This past Saturday, I spent the first spring-like day of this never ending East Coast winter in Williamsburg, Virginia, with family from my dad’s side that I haven’t seen in almost 10 years.  We ended up meeting up with my cousin, Mark, his wife, Lauren, and their 4 awesome kids ranging in ages 5-15.  They were visiting Williamsburg on spring break.  We joke that we only see each other whenever someone gets married, which is partially true; the last time I saw them was at a HuYoung wedding.  Doesn’t it end up happening that way?  Weddings and funerals always brings family closest together…anyways I digress!

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My Cousin’s Kids – they are half Chinese like me!

Life does get busy, and with family spread all over the country, it’s hard to get everyone together.  But when we are able to see each other, albeit 10 years later, it’s always a good time.  I also really enjoyed the opportunity to show my family around my alma mater and Williamsburg.  With it being spring break, a Saturday, and the first nice day of spring, the historic area was absolutely swamped with people.  I wanted to try out the new DOG Street Pub and their extensive beer menu, which I got the opportunity to try last summer, but it was over an hour wait.  Absolutely crazy!

We were able to get a table for our party of 9 at Blue Talon, which was perfectly fine with me.  We had a 15 minute wait, but the kids went to the Peanut Shop and sampled all the yummy peanuts and chocolate covered nuts (I may have sampled a few too) while we waited.  I love free samples!  Anyways, Blue Talon is so yummy!  All of their dishes are French-inspired.  I ended up getting the Chicken and Mushroom Crepe, which was delicious.  It’s a creamy chicken/mushroom (bechamel sauce – I think) combo, wrapped in a crepe, then topped with Parmesan cheese and baked.  I also got a side of their fries – I never eat fries, but Blue Talon fries are so good!  And I got a Champagne Julep, which my cousin said tasted like spearmint gum; it was very refreshing!

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Chicken & Mushroom Crepes
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Champagne Julep! Minty!

After lunch, we went in a few of the Merchants Square stores –  Ocean Palm to look at all the pretty Lilly dresses I can’t afford, the Christmas ornament store, the toy store, which all the kids liked…and there was a live band in Merchants Square that day too!

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Why are little kids so cute?!

I then suggested we go to the Wythe Candy Store.  All the kids wanted candy, and my dad ended up buying them each a treat…you can’t take a kid in a candy store and not let them get a treat…that’s just torture!  However, they were so well behaved, and didn’t beg for anything at all!  There was a little “can we get this?” but no whining!  They were very well behaved!  The adults got chocolate truffles at $2.50 a pop, which we cut into fourth’s and enjoyed later in the evening with a bottle of Col Solare wine – yum!

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Is there really anything better on this earth?

We still had about two hours until dinner, so we walked over to “old campus” and I tried to convince my cousin’s eldest and only son, who is 15, that he should consider William & Mary for college! 🙂 Then we ended up going to Aroma’s, a W&M staple, for some wine (for the adults) and tea/soda for the kids.

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The gang minus a few at Aroma’s

Dinner was at Peter Chang, which is like this cult Szechuan Chinese restaurant that originally opened in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Many of the items are very spicy, and all their food is authentic.  Seriously, check out the link and go, it’s delicious.  There’s also a location in Glen Allen, Virginia, in a strip mall next to the Wal-Mart in Short Pump.  Peter Chang, so they say, doesn’t want the fame and fortune that comes with an amazing culinary establishment.  Apparently, he hates the interviews, and just wants to cook…so much, that the Charlottesville location, after much acclaim, closed.  The Glen Allen location, on a weekend, fills all its tables around 6 pm and has people waiting.  The Williamsburg, Virginia, location was busy, but did have empty tables.  We got so. much. food.  My family loves to eat.

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Family Style Chinese!
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SO.MUCH.FOOD.

It was so great to see my family after all these years, and I really hope it isn’t another ten years (or me getting married) before I see them all again!  Life does get busy, and I’m famous for saying “life gets in the way”, but it’s really important to maintain the relationships we have with people that are important in our lives!  This weekend definitely reinforced that belief for me.  Even if people don’t make an effort to reach out to you, you have to be persistent because if not, they will slowly fade out of your life, and maybe reappear five years later, and you’ll sit there, with your glass of wine, being like “Why didn’t we do more to maintain our friendship? etc.”

Now that I don’t really have any commitments (i.e. I’m not married, don’t have a demanding job, not in school, etc.), I feel like it’s a really great time and maybe even should be a goal for me to visit family and friends that I don’t get to see very often.  In the long run, family and friends are the most important things in life.  I’m guilty of spending an entire weekend vegging, doing nothing, when I could spent it getting to know people I don’t see very often!

Quick update!  I was misinformed and there actually is a Peter Chang restaurant in Charlottesville.  They just closed for a while to move to another location.  You can find it here! 2162 Barracks Rd.  Charlottesville, VA 22903

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