Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bilbo Baggins: Or There and Almost Back Again

Ever since The Boy enthusiastically embraced biking as a form of entertainment (as long as it leads to somewhere with Beer), I've decided to come up with at least one "bike date" per weekend. This weekend's bike adventure would be riding to Old Town Alexandria and having dinner at Bilbo Baggins/The Green Dragon Pub.

I had been here once before in the beginning of September. I heard it had a really great beer selection, and I decided to meet up with a friend of mine that lives in Alexandria for lunch and try it out. Unfortunately the Curse of VA* struck, and I had to have my friend bail me out. I was a little frazzled, and didn't get to fully experience the restaurant. I recall the dish I had was okay, and I never got to try any of the beers (I probably could have simply ordered a beer without getting carded, but the Goody Two Shoes side of my personality wouldn't let me).

So, I convinced The Boy to try it with me this past weekend. I warned him that the ride is slightly longer than the ride to lockhouse 6. He was still game. The day of the ride I literally had to drag him from bed. He works midnights, and had an especially long night at work. In hindsight, I don't know why I didn't simply wait until the next day to do the ride so he would be fully rested, but I had it set in my mind that we were going to do it Sunday, darn it. He was already grumpy to begin with. Then it turns out he left his rain coat at the bar, so he didn't have a coat to wear (it was chilly & drizzly out). Oh, and he didn't eat anything before setting off, either. Great combo ;-)

 We took the 15th Street cycletrack all the way down to the Jefferson so we could then ride over the bridge to VA. I keep meaning to "review" the cycletrack in this blog, but I've been putting it off. Let's just say The Boy was not impressed. He was very frustrated at the red lights we kept getting stuck at. I agree with him (hint at upcoming review: cyclists will not use cycling infrastructure that is not convenient. The 15th Street cycletrack is not only inconvenient when going southbound, it also borders on frustrating). At 15th & Constitution we encountered the most annoying group of Segway tourists I have ever come across.

Tourists + Segways = Satan's Smelly Balls.

I don't care for tourists. I loathe Segways. Having them combined scares me. This particular group was about 15 people deep, and they took up THE ENTIRE 14 FOOT WIDE SIDEWALK. Normally, their guide instructs them on segway etiquette before setting off (i.e. be respectful of other users of the road/sidewalk, stay single file, keep right). Apparently they skipped over this portion of the orientation, because they were all over the dang place. I dinged and dinged and dinged my bell behind one particular offender who simply would not move to the right. At first I feared she was deaf, and I was looking like an ass. But when I called "move to the right, please" she finally looked behind her and had that blank look of "oh, you meant ME? I thought that dinging was for someone else!" and finally moved out of the way. I shot the tour operator a dirty look, but I think it was lost on him.

Finally we were up and over the bridge (am I the only person that believes it is bad luck to pass people on bridges? It is, folks. Trust me. You don't pass on bridges. If its not a rule, I am making it one right now) and onto the Mt. Vernon trail towards Alexandria.

I like this trail. I've never had a problem on it. This day was no exception. There were a few runners (most of whom looked miserable in the weather) and even fewer cyclists. Yet for whatever reason, The Boy hated it. Probably because he didn't realize how long the ride was going to be, and he was starving. And cold. And wet. He kept saying it was crowded and narrow. It didn't feel like that to me, but I've ridden it many times before.

After about 45 minutes, we arrived at our destination (why does the "trail" suddenly get cut off in Alexandria? You have to ride on a sidewalk, and then over train tracks, and if you aren't familiar with the area its easy to miss where the trail part picks back up again).

We entered the restaurant and the bar area was full (it was a Sunday during football season, big shocker, right?) so we opted for a table. I will say that our server was very attentive. So there's that. I think The Boy was going to blow a gasket when the first beer he ordered was out. We looked over the menu, and immediately my stomach sank. The Boy kept saying over and over again how much he was looking forward to having a nice, juicy burger during the ride. Being a "beer" restaurant, I never questioned them having burgers on the menu. Unfortunately, I didn't see sandwiches of any type on the menu! Oh no! First, they were out of the beer he wanted, and now no burger?! He was never going to bike with me again :-(

Then I saw it. *Way down* on the bottom of the appetizer list: a burger! Sort of. It was served on an English muffin, but it was still a burger. So there was that. The Boy ordered a bottled IPA and the burger and I ordered my favorite seasonal beer (Schlafly Pumpkin Ale-On draft!) and a pasta dish since I was also starving. I'm not a huge seafood lover. I will eat some things, but given a choice of cuisine, seafood is on the bottom of my list. Apparently, Bilbo Baggins is a seafood restaurant, since 80% of their menu consisted of seafood items. I did not know this. There was nothing to indicate this. Pretty much ALL of their pasta items contained seafood. I chose the Tortellini Chardonnay because a) I wanted pasta and b) I can live with salmon & crab. The description indicated that this was tortellini stuffed with salmon & crab & dill, in an apple & ginger cream sauce. Okay. I like all those things!

Look! A little teeny tiny Bilbo. I was hoping the cast of The Hobbit might stop by, but that didn't happen.

I didn't even finish it. I took the first bite and I was put off. It was like eating gobs of glue. The flavors just did not work together, and the pasta itself was awful. I stole a bunch of The Boy's fries instead. :-/ At least he seemed happy with his burger.

Ok. Maybe dessert will be better? The description of the bread pudding looked intriguing (I LOVE bread pudding).

When it came out, it was was huge. More than enough for two people to share. So we did. I couldn't finish that either. Not because it was bad, but because it was SO SWEET. Way too sugary. And I love sweet things! I have a huge sweet tooth. I literally felt sick afterwards because of the sugar rush in my system. I had to wait at least 45 minutes before even contemplating riding anywhere. Luckily that gave me time for another pumpkin ale ;-)

The Boy wasn't too enthusiastic about riding another 10 miles back to DC in the dark. So we decided to Metro it instead. We rode through Old Town (by the way, the best time of year to check out Old Town is during the Fall, and I fully intend to do that during daylight) and we almost stopped at Hard Times Cafe- if only to get the taste of Bilbo Baggins out of our mouths. Instead, we decided to go straight home. So we rode to the King Street Metro. I was a little worried Betty wouldn't fit in the elevators, but she did just fine. The Metro ride was fine & uneventful.

Chillin' on the metro.

We got off at our stop, and rode home.

So...not the best date. I wouldn't mind stopping by Bilbo Baggins again, but only for the beer. They really do have a wonderful beer selection. I don't think I would *eat* there again, though.

At least after a few beers at Bilbo Baggins (plus the burger) The Boy was in a much better mood. It wasn't a total loss after all. Hopefully, he'll be willing to try again ;-)

Next weekend I'm thinking we'll hit the CCT and do something in Bethesda.

*The Curse of VA: I don't know what it is about crossing the Potomac, but every time I do, something goes wrong. The first time I rode to Alexandria, I brought the wrong lock (I grabbed The Boy's lock by accident) and couldn't lock up my bike, so I had to turn around and ride back home. The second time I rode to Alexandria (this time to meet up with my friend at Bilbo Baggins), I forgot my entire pannier! I even carefully packed it keeping in my mind that I brought the wrong lock the last time. Plus it looked like rain, so I packed rain gear. My wallet and I.D. were in there too. I packed it all up, and then promptly forgot to attach it to my bike when I left! Not only did I not have a way to lock my bike, but I had no wallet and no I.D.! I didn't discover this until I got to the restaurant. I was so mad, I almost cried. Luckily my friend (HI MIR!) I was meeting brought me a lock and covered the bill for me. Still, something bad always happens when I cross the bridge to VA. It's curse, I tell ya.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to here that you get to enjoy Schlafly beer on the east coast. I'm lucky in that I live a few blocks from one of their breweries and work a few blocks from the other (and the both have good food).