New Places to Eat

May. 9th 2013

As I was staying at the plantation several weeks ago, I had the chance to visit two local restaurants in the area. If you visit the area, these are some wonderful places to stop and eat.

My first stop was with Brett at Fujiya House, a Japanese Steakhouse. It is located in Fredericksburg in the Central Park area. Just so you know, Central Park is a shopping and dining mecca.  With hundreds of places to shop and eat, you never run out of choices.

Central Park


If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love Asian Food. So I love trying new places to see how good they are. This Japanese Steakhouse was really good.



The inside is open and inviting with what I have come to expect from a Hibachi style restaurant. Grills and a Sushi Bar with tons of fun watching the chef cook our food.


No sushi for me this night. Brett and I both had a steak entree with Brett adding scallops and I added shrimp. Our meal started with a clear chicken soup and was followed by a salad with a ginger house dressing.



Brett ate his scallops so fast, I couldn’t get a picture of it!


With a colorfully decorated room, this was a fun place to enjoy a dinner out.

You can visit Fujiya House’s website at to see more of their wonderful restaurant.


Our next stop was in Colonial Beach, Virginia. Colonial Beach is located just 20 miles from Belle Grove and it’s beach is on the Potomac River. There are several restaurants there and some wonderful artists that have shops in the downtown area.


We decided to visit Seaside Thai and French Restaurant. This is a “fusion style” restaurant that combines Thai and French Cuisine. We have eaten here before and loved it so it wasn’t a hard choice to go back.


The restaurant is in an older Dutch style home, but is decorated wonderfully.


We started out with a Thai appetizer called “Satay”. This appetizer is skewered and grilled chicken served with a special Seaside House Peanut Sauce and Cucumber relish. This relish is to die for! I could have eaten it and been just as happy!


Brett and I both ordered the same entree, Bistro Filet Mignon. This wonderful steak was cooked to perfection and was served with Shallot and Red Wine Sauce with a side of Roasted Herb Potatoes and Vegetables.

But we didn’t stop there! We decided to order dessert!


Brett had a bowl of Coconut Ice Cream…


I had a Fried Banana drizzle with sweet honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with Vanilla Ice Cream!

It was all very wonderful! Brett and I agree this is a great place for dinner and will be returning soon!

You can visit Seaside’s website at to see more of their wonderful food!

To see more places we have visited

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Food and Recipes | 20 Comments »

Sushi and Lincoln

Dec. 4th 2012


With Brett being gone for the week, I have been left to my own devices. Generally when he has to go for a business trip, I run for my favorite comfort food, sushi. I know that doesn’t sound like the typical comfort food, but for me it is. Brett doesn’t really like sushi so I don’t eat it a lot with him. So I guess you can say it’s my chance to have it.


My favorite sushi restaurant is a little place here in Chesapeake called “Kyoto’s Japanese Steak House”. My daughter and I have been eating there for years. She was the first to be so adventurous as to try sushi and in turn got me hooked on it. However, I have to say I am really picky when it comes to which one. I tend to stick to one roll and that is all. It’s called a green spiral roll. The center is made of crab, Japanese mayonnaise, tempura flakes, fish eggs and another sauce for spice. The center is kind of like a crab salad. It is wrapped in a thin layer of raw tuna and cut into individual pieces.

On Saturday, my daughter, who is generally my sushi partner wasn’t available so I invited my father. My parents divorced when I was young, so during the past month, I kind of felt like I was ignoring him during my mother’s illness and death. He understood. He is also my backup partner for sushi. The only difference is he will only do the grill (hibachi). But that is good with me too. When we arrived we were first to be seated at the table. Shortly after, we were joined by another party with three ladies and four gentlemen.

This is one of the things I love about the hibachi grill, the chance to meet new people. If you haven’t figured this out about me, I am not really shy. I love talking to people and this gives me a chance to do so. As soon as the parties had ordered their drinks, I started listening to their conversation. It didn’t take long to hear something that caught my ear. One of them was a Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps, just as I had been. When I asked where he was stationed, he told me that he was from Camp Lejune, North Carolina, but was here visiting with another of the gentlemen who is from the area. He also told me that he had just returned from Afghanistan. I also have a nephew who just returned from Afghanistan and is also at Camp Lejune. He is a Naval Corpsman, just like my husband was. When I told the Lance Corporal that my nephew was also home, I asked if he might know him. What a surprise, he did! They didn’t know each other very well, but he had met him after a rollover accident and had remembered him. What small world!

BTCS J.D. Gardner from Illinois, LCpl Cory Sackett from Virginia and LCpl Fabrizis Fasano from Florida

BTCS J.D. Gardner from Illinois, LCpl Cory Sackett from Virginia and LCpl Fabrizis Fasano from Florida

One of the other gentlemen seated next to me was also in the military. He is a Senior Chief in the Navy. I had informed the group that I too had been in the military as well as my husband. As we compared duty stations, I found that the Senior Chief and I shared a common experience during the first bombing of Libya. During 1986, I was a radio operator in the Marine Corps. During this operation, I worked the radio shot from the General’s conference room. That morning I had sent a message to a ship stationed in the Atlantic. That ship related the message to England. Of course, I had no idea what the message said as all messages are encrypted. But I knew it had to be something big. When I arrived home later that day, a news alert came on television that we had bombed Libya. I looked at my then fiancé and said, “That is what I did today!”

The Senior Chief then surprised my father and me. He paid for our meals! We tried to explain that it wasn’t necessary, but he insisted. I just couldn’t say no. He outranked me! But the meal was wonderful and we had a great time sharing our military experiences. It really started my evening with a bang!

After the meal, my father and I head to the movies in Virginia Beach. I have wanted to see Lincoln since I saw the first trailer. If you follow our blog, you know what a huge history buff I am. We arrived early so we decided to get some dessert at Ruby Tuesday’s Restaurant there by the theater. Dad has this love of red velvet cake, so he ordered a red velvet cupcake. I had to have one of the pumpkin cheesecakes. They were so good!

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Pumpkin Cheesecake

We headed into the movie early so I could get my favorite spot, top section, front row, and center. It has a railing there that I like to place my feet up on so I can give my legs a rest during long movies.  After what seemed like hours getting through the previews, the movie finally came on. I had joked with my father that I knew the movie was about three hours, but what I didn’t know was that the first two and half were previews!

Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln

Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln

We settled back to enjoy the film. I found it just fascinating. To see Daniel Day-Lewis bring life to this iconic figure of Abraham Lincoln was just mind blowing. I have heard criticism of his Southern accent and I do have to say I heard a bit of English accent every now and then, but it didn’t take away from what I would say was a very good midwestern accent. I loved that they showed that Lincoln had a good sense of humor too. But it was his apparent love of his youngest child Tad and oldest Robert that showed him as a real person. As a parent with a son who wants to join the military, I can understand Mary and Abraham’s plea to keep Robert save.

Lincoln with his son Tad from the movie Lincoln

Lincoln with his son Tad from the movie Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln

Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Robert Lincoln

Sally Fields as Mary Todd Lincoln

Sally Fields as Mary Todd Lincoln

Sally Fields was just a wonderful as she is always. And they could not have picked a better likeness for Edwin Stanton, Secretary of War under Lincoln. Bill McGill was a dead ringer for his likeness! Tommy Lee Jones was also wonderful as Thaddeus Stevens.

Bill McGill as Edwin Stanton

Bill McGill as Edwin Stanton

Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens

Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens

Do I think this movie has Oscar written all over it? I am sure that many nominations will come from this movie. But I am not so sure that we will see a clean sweep. Daniel Day-Lewis I think is a shoe in. But the others will be a little harder to get.

Do I love the movie? From a history buff, yes I loved the movie. But I think it will be lost to most that are not. Going into the movie, I expected more of the Civil War and other events of his last months. I felt they were glossed over. This movie was more about the political side of Lincoln and his fight to get the 13th amendment passed. Don’t get me wrong, I think that was a really important part of his time as president. But you missed that he was not only trying to get the amendment passed while so much more was going on in his life.

A couple more points I was also disappointed at were that fact that they brought into the early part of the film that he had prophetic dreams. But at the end, they left out the most important dream he had that was documented. He had reoccurring nightmares of his own death days before he died. The extraordinary details are recorded in “Recollections of Abraham Lincoln, 1847-1885″ (Ward Hill Lamon, 1911):

“About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. It was light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break?

I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered.

There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. ‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers ‘The President’ was his answer; ‘he was killed by an assassin!’ Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which awoke me from my dream.”

Another point was that they glossed over the assassination. It was as if it were an afterthought. It seemed like they came to a point where they were over time and just dropped it in there. If you didn’t know much about the assassination, you would have missed it all together until it was on you.

While I did love seeing Abraham Lincoln come to life, I didn’t leave the movie with as much excitement as I had when I came in. I plan to take Brett to see it once he comes home so maybe it will have a better result in a second viewing.

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 54 Comments »