The Swede and I have been making the rounds in Virginia and Maryland lately, driving here and there and everywhere, which is particularly beautiful now that leaves are changing and most of these travels have taken us down winding, tree-lined roads. It’s all fresh air and sunshine, and kind of makes me want to start humming the Green Acres theme song, except that we have not said “Goodbye, city life!” for good, we’ve merely traded it in for a couple of hours in favor of places that have no public transportation. And don’t have emergency vehicles racing up and down the streets at all hours of the night. And don’t have taco trucks.
Plus, in case you haven’t noticed, I am not Eva Gabor.
For one thing, I am not blonde.
Nor am I Hungarian.
I’m Polish, dammit.
(And Scottish and English, for that matter.)
(Yes, I really am almost as white as you can get. Why do you ask?)
ANYWAY, we were driving down a two-lane road from point A to point B a couple weekends ago, enjoying the scenery. Scenery like this:
Despite being past the corn season, it’s still kind of bucolic and lovely, no?
And then we saw this:
Which, while not all that bucolic, is indeed lovely. Sure, it looks like a cute, quaint house, one that you often see along a road in the more country-like places, but this one, this one was special. Can you see why? It’s right there, in the corner. No? Don’t see it? Here. Let me show you.
That right there is a smoker. And that house isn’t just a house, it’s a café. The Upperco Market, to be precise.
And it’s a café (market? what is this place?) where The Swede and I stopped to split what may have been the best fucking pit beef sandwich I’ve ever had.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s no Whistle Stop Café as far as charming atmosphere, but it was a hard decision to make as to whether we wanted a pit beef, pit pork, or pit turkey sandwich. Settling on the beef was not settling at all, as tender and smoked-tastic as it was.
And yes, the rest of the place really is someone’s home, as evidenced by the fact that when I used the bathroom, they pointed me upstairs, and I bypassed a kitchen with a garbage can overstuffed with Dr. Pepper 2-litre bottles (empty), various bags of chips and snacks (crumpled), then entered the bathroom. Looking to my right was a shower, a high shelf next to it stocked with Pantene products and some shaving cream, a couple of towels hanging on hooks underneath.
A little odd. A little disconcerting. I almost felt like it was a dream, and this wasn’t really a restaurant, it really was just someone’s home and we’d simply seen the smoker outside and said, “Hey! Let’s stop! Maybe they’ll feed us!”
Except that they took credit cards. And if I wanted to come back for breakfast, I certainly could, because they start serving at 5:30 in the morning.
And I don’t know very many people who willingly welcome others into a house that is just their home at 5:30 in the morning.
I know I sure as shit wouldn’t.
Unless maybe you brought me a pit beef sandwich.
And a Diet Pepsi.
Then I might consider letting you in.