Happy Hour(s)!

This Friday, we joined friends for Happy H our downtown. This is slowly becoming an every-other-week habit for M & I.

We stopped by Kybecca first, to meet up with JC & MC. They were mid-dinner at a small table, so we agreed to head over to Castiglia’s and meet there.

I had a house white ($5.00 until 7:00 p.m.) and M had a draft beer ($4.00!). We munched on the house bread bites, which come with two dipping oils. One has a herb mixture, and one is minced garlic. Both were delicious! The bread is unique – small circles of a English muffin type bread that has been panin-pressed. Crunch, chewy, and warm.

M ordered a Sea Bass entree, I had the Caprese panini, MC had a veggie platter, and JC ordered mussels. We all more or less cleaned our plates. I won’t order the caprese panini again – it was slightly chilly bread, cold cheese, and halved cherry tomatoes. In my opinion, a panini should be hot and pressed together so the sandwich is essentially melted into an oozy gluey entity. This certainly was not. ¬†Fortunately, the conversation was great!

After Castiglia’s, we headed back to Kybecca to meet JG & RG. They were in the newly renovated bar area. Kybecca used to be half wine store, half bar/tapas. They’ve converted the wine store part into a sleek, sexy bistro. Red lamps, blue walls, dark tables and exposed brick wall behind the bar. The lighting fixtures were great: I’ve never been a fan of the string bubble light, but it fits perfectly in Kybecca. I’ll try and snap a picture next time we go! The owner, Rebbeca, was excited to have us there, as her first large group seated! The boys wound up ordering Pork Belly, which was served in large cubes and perfectly cooked, a warm tender melty goodness that combines the best of bacon and the best of BBQ pork flavors.

Source: Fredericksburg’s Free Lance Star

Kybecca also has some great new serving wear, as a result of teaming up with a local artist! Once I can find the article, I will add it here…. ¬†What we love the most about the area is it feels intimate, even though there’s plenty of space and a flow of people in and out of the bar. The service is always fantastic, and the food has been on spot for our recent visits. There’s a reason Kybecca is always on our group’s Happy Hour list!

Retro MTV


MTV is airing retro tv this weekend. I’ve been watching the San Francisco crew. The years this show started airing were the years my interest in pop culture began. As the years pass and we grow older and busier, we forget what the past was like.

What happened to MTV? What happened to this type of reality tv? The cast of the Real World used to be thinkers and doers. People talking about change, hardship, politics, culture. They were not all about partying and drinking and sex. In the three episodes I’ve seen this morning, beer is mentioned once, in a discussion about fridge space.

I always wanted to submit a video and be on Real World. I would think about who I would be, how I would behave, what I would say. I still think about that, but it is a way of denying that time has passed. The older casts are more my age. The newer casts…I’m too old for them now.

Its interesting how our early fascinations can change our lives, or can fade away as we move on to other fascinations.

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Back to Ristorante Renato

My parents are food snobs.

There, I said it. Now let me back up…my parents are not snobs, but they are foodies. Mom is an amazing cook, and they both have great taste. Picking a place to take them to dinner has always made me slightly nervous. I think “What if they hate the food? I hope the service isn’t terrible. Will they have Maker’s Mark??”

They came up for the UMW-CSO James Galway concert. I decided to take them to Ristorante Renato, which we went to during Restaurant Week. The restaurant reminds me of NJ, where Dad lived for several years for work. It has an old-school feeling, it’s cozy, there’s no pretension, and it’s tasty delicious.

It was a hit! My parents thought the food was great. They adored the calamari, which is very lightly breaded and comes with a wonderful marinara dipping sauce. We all devoured our house salads, which had a light but zesty Italian dressing. Mom had a veal chop, which was huge but tender and perfectly cooked. Dad had veal parmiggiano; he thought it was good, but couldn’t decide if he was 100% a fan of the breading. Mom believes adding mozzarella to veal parmiggiano is always a bad decision. Potato, potahto. M had the fish special, and I had chicken marsala (yes, I’m boring, I know). We also had several drinks – Dad’s aforementioned Maker’s Mark and then a red wine, Mom had prosecco, I had cosmos, and M had his beloved Dirty martini.

The service was great, and although the booths are small, they generate a family feel and promote conversation. We really enjoyed our visit, yet again!


Sir James Galway!

M plays in our town’s community-student orchestra. He started playing in college, and continued playing after he graduated. He even has shiny pins for his years of service!


This past Saturday, the orchestra hosted Sir James Galway and his wife for a concert. The UMW-CSO played the first half; then they broke into a smaller group and played with Galway for the second half. I personally wasn’t familiar with Galway, but it was a good show and great music (as always!).

I never figured I’d wind up with a band geek, but it’s been a great experience. The UMW-CSO has traveled around the world and I’ve gotten to go along with them. We’ve been to Europe on two trips, playing in churches from the 1400s in tiny towns in rural France and sightseeing along the way. It’s an amazing group to be part of, and I am so proud of M for being in it!

Drunken Karaoke

M and I have an odd habit.

We’ll randomly start blasting Youtube videos and start doing karaoke. While drinking, of course. This used to involve M hooking up his laptop to his Slingbox so it would stream up to the tv. Now we have a Visio smart TV with a direct connection to Youtube…I can’t believe it took us a month to bust it out!

Last night we pulled up all sorts of videos from rock-opera (M’s choice) to 90s Pop (mine, obvi). We take turns, each picking out a song, and then occasionally throw in a few duets. I am a terrible singer, but Dh has helped me select songs/artists that I could potentially do in public and be passable. Namely Britney and Avril, which isn’t surprising, but also Kid Rock and Eminem. Go figure!