friendly (city) TACOver: magnolia’s tacos and tequila.

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‘Twas the day after Christmas and all through my body, I wanted tacos tacos tacos. Turns out Brandy had a hankering, too, so we headed on down to one of Harrisonburg’s many awesome taco joints — Magnolia’s Tacos and Tequila.

Despite my hunger and excitement, I was a wee bit nervous. The week before Thanksgiving, while eating (ugh, I am so dumb sometimes), I knocked a freaking tooth loose. One of the itty-bitty bottom front ones. I’ve never had a dental procedure before, other than cleaning, so I was instantly terrified. The dentist determined that the tooth was not broken, but he wasn’t sure if it would tighten up on its own. We’d have to “give it time.” And if it would not tighten up on its own, he was not sure the little ridge of bone on my lower jaw was wide enough to drill into. WHAT. So if this thing didn’t tighten up, I’d be supergluing a Tic Tac in its place. Okay. Okay.

Thankfully, the tooth did tighten up (it’s still healing, really), and I got the green light to use my lower teeth to eat again. Which meant, these tacos would be the first thing I’d sink my teeth into in more than a month. Well, actually, the chicken nachos.

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Magnolia’s has a fantastic happy hour: $3 Chicken Nachos, $3 Drafts, and $3 Bartender’s Special from 2 – 7pm Monday through Friday, plus rotating daily specials. I cannot tell you how amazing it was to bite into crunchy, cheesy, spicy nachos after a month of eating crap like apple sauce. Brandy had a similar reaction and there was absolutely nothing wrong with her mouth. Big portion, all the ingredients evenly distributed… no weird skin of cheese on the very top and a big pile of plain chips underneath. We got a little of everything in every bite.

This day happened to be a Tuesday, which I think we all know is Taco Tuesday! It was like Christmas all over again. Magnolia’s offers any of their tacos for $2.50 (normally $3.25 each) with no restrictions. We ordered the Masa Crusted Shrimp with lime slaw and poblano avocado ranch; the Kelty, which is roasted sweet potatoes, lime agave nectar, black beans, sweet corn, and cilantro; and Fish Tacos, made with guajillo black pepper tilapia, red cabbage, mango pico, and poblano avocado ranch. I won’t tell you how many we ordered, but we ate every last bite and could barely move afterwards. In addition to the traditional carne asada and pork tacos, they also offer tacos with eggs, short ribs, and blackened chicken.

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Once mobile, we moved downstairs to sit at the bar. Seventy-eight bottles of tequila and one Scottish bartender greeted us, smiling. After perusing the impressive bar menu, we ordered jalapeno cucumber margaritas and Mexican mules. You could also choose mango, raspberry, coconut, organic lime, or strawberry margaritas, or other creative cocktails like the Tequila Mockingbird. All made, of course, with the tequila of your choosing. Last but not least, they offer tequila flights featuring many distilleries: Patron, Don Julio, 1800, Cabo Wabo, Lunazul, El Jimador, Casamigos, Herradura, and Tres Agaves, to name a few.

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So guess what tomorrow is? Taco Tuesday! Magnolia’s will be ready for ya!

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Copyright © 2012-18 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Words by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

sun spot: dave’s taverna.

Nothing ushers in summer like drinking a giant beer on the taratsa at Dave’s Taverna. And Dave’s has provided that for us for nearly twenty years. Twenty years! A generation. Another impressive statistic?

sign at top of buildingThree million? That’s more people than the population of Jamaica. Which is another nice place to sit outside and enjoy a meal. And if Harrisonburg’s population hovers around 50,000, then Dave’s has served each and every one of us sixty times over the years. And I, for one, appreciate that hospitality. Greece is also quite hospitable – the number of tourists who visit each year exceeds the number of citizens by a long shot – and it’s one place, during my European hobo travels, I didn’t visit. If I ever get the chance again, I’m going there. For now, I am perfectly content to eat spanakopita at Dave’s, surrounded by people I love.

On this day I was on a “bargain high.” Brandy and I had just come from Duo, where I got three items for like $20. To my delight, it happened to be Tuesday, and kids eat free at Dave’s on Tuesday. AND, Dave’s offers BIG beers for just $3ish. It’s like the God of Bargains was smiling down on us from Mt. Olympus.

woman with beersWe ordered food. I got the Steak and Cheese (Dave’s has one of the best I’ve tried), and Ben and Brandy shared the Chicken Souvlaki and a house salad. We ate, drank, and merrily chatted.

steak and cheese with fries chicken souvlaki house saladAt least once a day, Brandy looks at me, points to her hair, and says, “What’s going on here?” She’s convinced that some piece of hair is out of place or sticking out. I usually tell her, “Nothing. Looks fine.” Heh heh.

woman laughingYou know, sometimes, when you eat outside, you experience some challenges. Like wind, for instance. Or… bees. Now, let me say up front that I have a phobia of bees (and even more, moths – those things will just randomly fly right into your face/eye/ear/mouth). I’ve had several bizarre and scarring experiences with bees, like the time I was fishing with my brother and I sat right down on a hornet’s nest. Egads. So when something buzzed by me, I got a little nervous. My son, knowing my fear, said, “Don’t worry, Mom. It’s just a bumblebee. They have no power to hurt. Bumblebees are just big stuffed-animal bugs.”

people laughingTruth. So I relaxed and didn’t see another insect up there at all. But then Cal remembered his own frightening bee incident… when he was two. We were at the Wellness Center for Bree’s soccer game. Cal was sitting in his little chair, and I’d given him half of my egg and cheese bagel. A bee swooped in, landed on the hand that held the bagel, and stung him right on the finger. He promptly dropped the sandwich and howled. He was so mad at himself for dropping his breakfast…

rooftop taratsaOn your visit to Dave’s, you can enjoy dollar pitchers of Natty Light, Virginia Wines, Mediterranean foods like Baklava, a Gyro, or pizza, and American favorites like a good ole burger and chocolate cake, plus a whole lot more. And you can help Dave get to four million served!

restaurant entrance and signDave’s is located downtown, between Shenandoah Bicycle and Oasis Fine Art & Craft, open 11am to 1am, every day.

Copyright © 2012-13 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Written content by Katie Mitchell. Photos by Brandy Somers. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.

have a nice flight: wine on water.

I love running into former students and finding out what’s happened to them since high school. In many cases, they’ve furthered their education and traveled around and worked here and there and had lots of enlightening experiences… things I can only dream of accomplishing. And I love hearing what they’ve learned along the way. This was a night I learned a lot.

Brandy, Denise, and I met at Wine on Water last Tuesday evening to sample some wine. Our wine host was the lovely Katrina Hudy, who manages the establishment and graduated from BHS years ago. While Wine on Water is owned and operated by the folks at Cave Ridge Vineyard, they serve more than just Cave Ridge wines (something I didn’t know). They also feature wines from Wisteria Vineyards, Shenandoah Vineyards, Cedar Creek Vineyard, Bluestone Vineyard, and Barren Ridge Vineyard. By doing so, Wine on Water can promote the Valley wine industry: it takes time for individuals to visit several vineyards and sample their wines. This way, customers can taste wines from all over the Valley without leaving their bar stools. Katrina does all the work for you: she travels to vineyards hither and yon and chooses what they’ll serve at Wine on Water. Helloooooo, dream job. I also learned from Katrina that Virginia’s hills and valleys create “microclimates” that allow several different varieties of grape to thrive. This variance in grapes yields a broad assortment of wines… versus a place where the landscape is flat and therefore only produces one or two kinds of grapes. See? Another reason I love my Burg and am grateful I live in this area. It’s the little things, you know.

Wine on Water’s beautiful tasting room/bar is adjacent to All Things Virginia and contains Cuban Burger, which serves food Wednesday through Saturday. Wine on Water is open Tuesday through Saturday noon to seven, and they have Happy Hour on Friday and Saturday from five to seven (ooo, the elusive Saturday happy hour!). You can also ask them to host your private event.

So here’s how it works: you can select three wines from their list and get a two-ounce tasting of each, for $7. This is called a “flight,” and it’s only $5 during happy hour. There are other options, too, including buying by the glass, the half-glass, and others. Not all the wines they carry are available every day that they’re open, but the selection is ample and you’re sure to have a different experience each time you visit. The wines that we chose happened to be all Cave Ridge wines. They were the Fandango Port, the Riesling, Sangria, the Chambourcin, and the Viognier. The Riesling was very good–crisp and refreshing, a good hot-weather wine. The Sangria was made from Rambling Rose, so it was not the dark red Sangria I expected. It also contains guava nectar, pineapple, and cinnamon stick. It was MAJOR yummy. Brandy and Denise both also like the Chambourcin, and Brandy also had the Viognier, which–another thing I learned–is the Virginia State Wine. I don’t know the state bird and flower and all that, but now I know the state grape.

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I have to say… although it was a hundred degrees out that day and Port is not your usual “summer wine,” we loved that Fandango Port. We ended up ordering a glass of it after the tasting. My roommate during my freshman year of college, Darlene, kept a bottle of amaretto in our dorm room, and I’ll never forget one night after a couple of swigs, she said, “I have warm ears.” Port is a “warm ears” wine. It reminded me of the time I was backpacking across Europe and got stuck all night in the train station in Basel, Switzerland. Thank heavens for Port that night. And it makes me think of Jack Kerouac (“life must be rich and full of loving—it’s no good otherwise, no good at all, for anyone…”), and it makes me think of Christmas.

As usual, our conversation meandered along several bizarre paths. Katrina mentioned that You Made It! had a craft day at Wine on Water, and I thought to myself, “See? That’s how it should be. The barter system all the way.” We don’t even need money. Then I had a great idea: all of Harrisonburg should live in a giant castle together and just use the barter system for everything. We have plenty of people to provide food and beverages and entertainment and education and health care. Then we started thinking of things we want in our castle. Brandy wants beverage spigots like the ones at Wine on Water. You could get any beverage you want on this biiiig wall of spigots.

And Denise would want some mode of transportation within the castle, like Segways (“with cupholders!”, inserted Brandy) or maybe those motorized grocery store carts so you can carry stuff around. Then there was some confusion about a matador versus a troubadour… but we want both. And instead of a moat filled with deadly alligators and shrieking eels, the castle could be surrounded by one of those lazy river things they have at nice hotels… you know, for the kids. Because no one would ever want to attack Castle Harrisonburg–we’re the Friendly City, for Pete’s sake!

Where were we?

So, back to reality… Wine on Water is hosting a cool event this Thursday, July 19, called “It’s All About You, Ladies!” It’s not exactly a castle, but it is a getaway of sorts. For $12, ladies (only!) can enjoy wine, appetizers, massages, skincare, and makeovers, plus be entered to win prizes, and receive a complimentary gift bag! This event is sponsored by Shenandoah Concierge, All Things Virginia, and Wine on Water, and only 50 tickets will be sold, so get moving!

And if you can’t make that, be sure to stop in on First Friday, August 3, to hear music by the Harmolodics and see art by Chie Tamaki. Cheers!

Copyright © 2012 · All Rights Reserved · ilovemyburg.com. Photos by Brandy Somers. Written content by Katie Mitchell. This material may not be copied, downloaded, reproduced, or printed without express written consent. Thank you for respecting our intellectual property.