We didn’t know when we drove to church in Asheville that we wouldn’t be home for 12 hours. On the way, we texted with grandson Nathaniel in Charlotte. He was free to have dinner with us at 4:00. Change everything! This was too good to miss.
After church we had a little time to kill, so I suggested we run in the dollar store to buy a few silly things for Nathaniel. Since we knew he would not be with us last Christmas, we didn’t have stocking stuffers for him, as we did for David. Also, his birthday was only six days ahead.
While we were driving, Nathaniel chose a restaurant. Since he is majoring in baking and pastry, he hears about local eateries. We headed for Tupelo Honey, only to find it closed five minutes before we got there because of the Super Bowl game. There was no notice of that on their web site. Thinking quickly, he ducked across the street to the Manchester 1812 restaurant. He must have looked at their menu quickly, because he came back and said we could probably order anything but steak. What a find that was! The place opened the previous year and was said to be a hot spot for trendy people. Because of the football game, there were very few patrons. We had fish and chips, a fried pork chop, and something called Bishop’s Chicken. All the food was good, but the chicken was exceptional – fried chicken bits with a sweet sauce over rice.
We kept asking questions about classes, so Nate regaled us with stories of desserts and breads. The bread baking course was his favorite. He used technical terms that were new to us. As to plated desserts, he said he wouldn’t care if he never had to do that again. We had no idea a plated dessert was different from a serving of pie or cake in a restaurant. A plated dessert must have five components. They are the sweet itself, two sauces, a cold bit (ice cream, sorbet, or whipped cream), and something crunchy. If you go to a fine restaurant and have a dessert, see if your plate has these things arranged artistically.
We gave Nathaniel the dollar store finds when we got back to campus. I had intended to get a pack of toothbrushes, since everyone else got that in their stockings from this dentist’s daughter. We found the brushes and tossed in a tube of toothpaste. Nate said he would have needed toothpaste in a few days. David helped choose a Valentine bowl, balloon, garland, and pillow, knowing Nate likes to celebrate holidays. The photo shows the first things he pulled out.
He laughed at the last item – toilet bowl cleaner. He shares a bathroom with one other fellow, and they have to provide their own supplies. We had hand soap for him, too. For the finale, Nathaniel draped the garland around himself and posed for a silly picture.
We drove home as quickly as possible, because John wanted to be off the road when the Super Bowl game was over. We spent five hours on the road to visit with Nate for three hours. It was worth it! We all enjoyed the time together.