I’ve mentioned in a post or two that I have a particular fondness for old drug stores that are still filling prescriptions and also have a soda fountain and/or lunch counter. They are probably a rarity in every region of the country at this point, but the Southeast seems to have a few more left than most other areas.
There are none in Staunton or Richmond and Goolrick’s of Fredericksburg, which we would have almost certainly stopped at on our way home, went out of business in the past year or two. But Timberlake’s Drug Store in Charlottesville is still going strong and we would be driving by there on our way to Richmond. So we naturally stopped for an ice cream break.
The store is on Main Street in the heart of downtown Charlottesville. Main Street isn’t actually a road and is only open to foot traffic. I’m not sure whether that’s always been the case or if it’s something that came about in more recent years. We passed by at least a couple street performers as we made our way to the drug store.
Upon entering Timberlake’s, one must pass through the drug store and past its many crowded shelves to get to the soda fountain and luncheonette in the shop’s rear.
The dining area looks a little worn, but I imagine it hasn’t changed much over the course of many years. They have classic old milkshake makers on display behind the counter and a chalkboard menu full of sandwiches that are named after various people – I would guess old customers and/or employees – on the back wall.
I was a little disappointed when our ice cream arrived in regular bowls instead of traditional soda fountain dishes, but my hot fudge sundae hit the spot, while my wife enjoyed scoops of mint-chocolate chip and peach ice creams.
We arrived at our downtown Richmond hotel late enough to head right back out to our planned early dinner after checking in.
When I perused various best-of lists for Richmond restaurants in preparation for the trip, one Chinese restaurant came up several times; Full Kee, which is in northwest Richmond, about 15 minutes from our hotel in an area with numerous Asian restaurants and businesses.
I loved its classic sign, although the building’s exterior is fairly bland.
I had read that Full Kee specializes in roasted meats, Cantonese-style food and dim sum, but our menu didn’t include the latter. After we ordered, I noticed other tables were getting dim sum and had a separate menu for it. I guess it’s something that needs to be requested.
In any event, I didn’t have much difficulty finding things to order from the options I was aware of.
We had settled on both roast pork and duck appetizers, but when I was informed they were out of duck, I switched to soyed chicken; a dish I’ve seen on menus in Philadelphia but had never ordered. I added an egg roll while my wife ordered noodle soup. We also both felt the need to add a little greenery to the scene. That came in the form of sautéed green beans.
The egg roll had a very nice outer crust, but the filling was just okay.
We were amused when my wife’s noodle soup arrived as a bowl of broth and a large plate full of thin noodles. She wound up using some of the noodles as the base for a takeout platter she put together when we were too full to eat any more.
The roast pork had the same wonderful flavor I’ve enjoyed while eating this dish in Philadelphia so many times over the years. But it wasn’t as tender as some of the better versions I’ve had at home; especially the pork at Sang Kee Peking Duck House in Philly’s Chinatown.
As previously alluded to, the soyed chicken was a new dish to me, and I can safely say I’ll be ordering it again. The meat was so soft and infused throughout with flavor that I would guess it was poached in the soy-based sauce with which it came.
The string beans were excellent – so good that I took several helpings of them, something I don’t often do with green vegetables.
We had a busy day planned for Sunday and got started in the morning by walking from our hotel to the American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar, a former iron works site.
I wrote last year about the extremely positive impression the National World War I Museum made on us during our 2017 visit to Kansas City. The American Civil War Museum isn’t as large as its World War I counterpart, but they still manage to fit a tremendous amount of material into their exhibit space. As was the case with the Woodrow Wilson museum, I’m only giving a small sample here of what I saw. I highly recommend stopping by to check the rest out in person to anyone finding him or herself in Richmond.
We only had pre-packaged items from a cafe on the same block as our hotel before heading out to the museum, so we were ready for something more substantial by the time we left there. Not surprisingly, I had a place in mind, and it was within walking distance from where we were.
As was the case with Full Kee, Perly’s – a Jewish-style deli-restaurant – popped up on some, if not all of the best-of restaurant lists for Richmond that I checked out before our trip. In fact, it appeared to be fairly popular among Richmond’s urban hipster set.
There was a crowd of people outside when we arrived. I was told it would be a 45 minute to an hour wait for a table, but unlike Friday night in Staunton, I was highly invested in eating at Perly’s. It may have even been the meal I was most looking forward to in Virginia. So there was no question as to whether we would wait as long as it took to be seated.
There was a nice array of options on their menu – some of it the usual Jewish deli fare, but there were also interesting takes on old-school classics and a few surprises.
My wife ordered the Shapiro chicken schnitzel sandwich along with an assortment of pickled items, including dill pickles, from a list of options they had posted on a board.
I would have loved to have included photos of a corned beef or pastrami sandwich here. But I was eating so much red meat on this trip – including a large helping of beef short rib at the hotel in Staunton Friday night – that I felt the need for a change of pace. So I opted for what I almost always order at a Jewish deli when I’m not having corned beef or pastrami – a bagel with kippered salmon and cream cheese.
The presentation and fish were both excellent. I requested the bagel untoasted, as I normally do when I’m eating a fresh bagel from a place where I’d expect it to be a good one – that would generally include most Jewish delis. But unfortunately, this bagel was not up to the level I’m used to at delis in the Philly area or New York City. I’m not sure whether it’s hard to get good bagels in Richmond or if Perly’s just needs to switch to a better supplier. I should have gotten it toasted.
Still, with the cream cheese, salmon and slices of tomato added to the equation, it made for a very enjoyable brunch.
We noticed a case with assorted rugelach when we were ushered to our table and ordered a few to eat in our room the next morning before hitting the road for home. The raspberry one I tried was particularly good.
While walking back to our hotel after the meal, we passed by this 19th century home where Robert E. Lee briefly lived at the War’s conclusion and where his family stayed while he was fighting it.
In the interest of keeping the length of this post reasonable, I’m going to stop here and conclude tomorrow with part 3, which will cover the rest of Sunday and our meal stop during the ride home Monday.
3 thoughts on “Our Long Weekend in Virginia: Part 2”
Two places of which I was unaware. Thanks! I was aware of Full See. It’s related to one in DC — now defunct, I believe. I was a regular there for lunch, usually getting either shrimp dumplings or roast duck in noodle soup with a side of Chinese broccoli sautéed with garlic. MAny’s the tie I ruined with that soup.
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I wonder what the meaning of Kee is. We have Sang Kee and M Kee in Philly’s Chinatown.
I googled and came up with promise, remember and praise
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