Eating mac and cheese with chopsticks

15 November, 2015               Eating mac and cheese with chopsticks

I did that earlier this week – totally did not anticipate it. To be honest, it never crossed my mind since I was born that at some point in my life I would use chopsticks to eat macaroni and cheese, but there it was. Goatacado, Village Shopping Center, at the corner of Three Chopt and Patterson Avenue here in Richmond. That link has a brief description of the shopping center that includes the following sentence (which I am not making up): “Located in Richmond’s West End near the University of Richmond with a customer mix of students and adults, all with considerable disposable income.

They were unaware that I am part of that customer mix or they would have written “most with considerable disposable income.” The food was fantastic though, and Evelyn and I enjoyed both the food and the experience. Fun place with great food and great customer service. They were in the same space as “Ginger Juice” and we had great drinks there – it was a nice dining experience. Mac and cheese with chopsticks – who even knew?

Too much text and not enough photography – I’ve had a couple of “firsts” for the season this week.

Deer at Pony Pasture move to more secluded areas of the park when they’re having babies in the spring. But they mature over the summer and now they’re more predictable. This one was back in one of their normal winter hangouts:

I like that look. They're just observing. They don't even seem anxious, just aware.

I like that look. They’re just observing. They don’t even seem anxious, just aware.

Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) appear at Pony Pasture reliably around the first frost and head back north near the last frost in the spring. I’ve been expecting them for some time; today was the first time I saw them:

2 males and 3 female Buffleheads

2 males and 3 female Buffleheads

Serious cold (the kind that freezes my dogs’ outdoor water bowl solid) will happen soon. Buffleheads are purely a winter bird in Richmond.

I was driving home from the river today and a hawk swooped over the road and landed in a tree. I pulled into the Tuckahoe Shopping Center at the corner of Forest and Ridge Road; it was sitting in a tree facing away from me. I had my camera from the river and managed to get a quick picture. As you’re no doubt aware, the bulk of the hawk pictures on this site are Red-tails (Buteo jamaicensis). This is a Red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus): 

Red-shouldered hawk above a shopping center parking lot

Red-shouldered hawk above a shopping center parking lot

They’re not rare. But I’m sure that Red-tails are the most common hawk in Virginia by a considerable margin. The local hawks have not been around this week, although I heard one this morning. But Wednesday I was driving home from visiting a buddy of mine in Bon Air and this pair of Red-tails was perched (where else) on a power line tower: 

Pair of Red-tails in Bon Air, female on the left

Pair of Red-tails in Bon Air, female on the left

Just FYI, although you may not find this interesting – notice both birds (Red-tail and Red-shoulder) have scientific names beginning with “Buteo.” There’s another class of hawks in this area that are “Accipiters.” We have Cooper’s Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) and Sharp-shinned Hawks (Accipiter striatus) in central Virginia as well. But I’ve never gotten a picture! They’re smaller and fly faster and are more in the forest. A big difference between buteos and Accipiters is that buteos mostly like to eat small mammals and lizards, while Accipiters catch and eat birds. Those aren’t hard and fast distinctions, but as a general rule, buteos eat small mammals and Accipiters eat birds. 

It’s possible I’ll get an Accipiter sooner or later – I’m getting closer. When I do I’ll post it here. 

Certain things happen every autumn around the same time. The first frost, buffleheads, deer moving to their winter areas, all that stuff – and usually around now I’m running low on my leftover firewood from last year. I buy it from an old friend and he puts it in my driveway. It takes me the better part of a day to move it around behind my garage and stack it up. This will keep us warm for some time:

Our heat is on right now - and that's the source!

Our heat is on right now – and that’s the source!

Also this week my brother Kevin completed the American Family Fitness Half Marathon here in Richmond yesterday, and so did my friend Lucas. It was the first time at that distance for both of them and they were fast. The Half Marathon was run in conjunction with the Anthem Richmond Marathon and my friend Laura finished that race. It was also her first time at that distance. I won’t tell you how fast she was, except to tell you that it was over an hour faster than the best I’ve ever done. Everybody’s so fast! Great job! 

I don’t have any food pictures or marathon pictures, unfortunately. Oops! 

For a moment – to return to the subject of “eating mac and cheese” – I grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. In the 1980’s I cooked for myself regularly. And when I heard “mac and cheese” it meant this, and nothing else: 

For the first 3/4 of my life, this was mac and cheese.

For the first 3/4 of my life, this was mac and cheese.

Maybe you’ve tasted Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Don’t misinterpret my tone – I love that stuff. But this is Goatocado’s ingredient list for their mac and cheese; I quote verbatim from their menu: “rotini noodles smothered in sharp white cheddar, pepper jack, and creamy ricotta cheese.” Take my word for it that you will not have a flashback to (or renewed longing for) Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. If you’re in Richmond, try Goatocado and try Ginger Juice. 

Until next week, 

Jay 

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Birds, buffleheads, firewood, Fun, ginger juice, goatacado, James River, People, Pony Pasture, raptors, red-shouldered hawks, Red-tailed hawks, richmond marathon, Rivers, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), whitetail deer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Eating mac and cheese with chopsticks

  1. Jackie says:

    Mac and Cheese sounds great!
    Chopsticks questionable😉

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