Saturday was chore day, so Sunday was supposed to be fun day.
Not only did I plot a route to a lovely destination, I even included a quick stop at a highly rated BBQ place for lunch.
It was a picture-perfect Spring day here in Virginia. Really.
It felt great being out on the road. It’s amazing what a little sunshine, fresh air, and motorcycle ride can do for one’s spirits.
Despite a little glitch in the GPS software, and a slightly circuitous detour, we managed to reach Purcellville. Can you guess what’s there? Besides the BBQ place?
Another LOVE sign. The sixth one I have visited. Sadly, it’s the least attractive sign I’ve seen yet. It’s very thin, and not very nicely decorated either. But it’s right around the corner from that BBQ joint that was supposed to be so good. So, after snagging a pic or two, we walked to the restaurant.
Monk’s BBQ is about two blocks from the heart of downtown Purcellville. They have an outdoor seating area, which was full, as well as a dining room and bar. We had a little trouble getting through the door. A local girls softball organization, which was holding a fundraiser at the restaurant, had a big table set up very close to the front door, causing a bit of a road block. We managed to make our way to the counter and place an order — pulled pork for Mike and brisket for me — then grabbed a table to wait.
It wasn’t a full-service restaurant. It was essentially a sandwich place where you place your order at one counter, wait, then pick it up at another spot.
I am sensitive to noise. Loud noise overwhelms me. Mike doesn’t like noise, or being surrounded by a lot of people, but noise and being surrounded by a crowd makes me crazy. In a nutshell, anxiety sets in first, then irritation.
Loud restaurants are the worst for me. What with all the food prep noises, multiple conversations at varying volumes, loud music, close-quarters, shrieking children, jostling, etc. And Monk’s was very loud. Thanks to the aforementioned fundraiser, it was full of families. And there were lots of children cavorting about. There was a band, too. Picture ZZ Top playing very upbeat country music.
It was all quite chaotic, to say the least. I steeled myself, I did. I mean, I know it’s my issue. But the longer we waited, the more uncomfortable I became. And the guy behind, goofing around with his kid, kept bumping into me.
I am usually far more patient than Mike, who was actually waiting calmly. But the cacophony was slowly, but surely, pushing me toward the edge.
We’d ordered two BBQ sandwiches. Pre-cooked meat that just had to be placed on buns then served. How long could it take, right?
After enduring 25 minutes of madness, I asked that our order be made to go. Fifteen minutes after that, we STILL hadn’t been served. So we asked for a refund and left. There was no push-back from the staff, but there were also no apologies. Something is seriously wrong at that place…
We were both pretty hungry by that point, so we walked down the street to the White Palace, a cute little restaurant billed as a burger joint that also served Mexican food. The quiet of the place was a very welcome change from the Hell we’d endured (yes, noise bothers me that badly).
We were served drinks quickly, which was nice. I ordered nachos and Mike ordered a burger. Simple enough.
Minutes after the drinks arrived, a young guy who was circulating among the tables — only one other table was occupied — stopped by to see if all was well, everything was okay, and ask if we needed anything.
We only had drinks at that point, which made it even weirder when he seemed to linger an extra moment after we’d said all was well.
Minutes later, my nachos arrived. After I’d taken one bite, maybe two, the “everything okay” guy showed up again.
He was getting annoying. Realizing we were pre-irritated after our Monk’s experience, we tried to remain calm.
Mike’s burger showed up about five minutes later. He hadn’t even taken a bite when a woman we suspect may have been the cook, appeared, asking how everything was. I mean, he obviously hadn’t even finished adding his mayo and assembling the thing.
We said the food had just arrived. She stood there as if she wanted to hear more.
We told her we’d just gotten the food. She seemed confused.
The woman kept standing there, waiting, mumbling as if trying to apologize for something.
Mike said, “I haven’t even taken a bite yet. I don’t know how it is.”
“Oh, okay,” she said then walked away.
We didn’t see her again, but the young guy stopped past at least two more times. Maybe three.
It was the most weirdly surreal experience ever. I swear, it felt like they’d read a how-to manual for running a restaurant, but had absolutely no practical experience. Checking in on diners does not mean interrupting their conversation repeatedly.
To make matters worse, the more I dug around in my nachos, the more turned off I became. The tablespoon or so of guacamole looked a bit brown, which meant it wasn’t very fresh. And they were oozing grease. How much grease?
See the grease on the side of the plate? That’s from where I’d poured off a bunch of excess that had collected at the bottom of my plate.
We couldn’t wait to get out of there, which is why I wasn’t going to bother complaining about my food. But, as I was paying the check, a man, perhaps the owner, asked if everything was okay.
“It was okay,” I said, stressing the okay part, “but the nachos were very greasy.”
“Greasy?” he said, surprised. “There must have been too much meat.”
“No,” I said, “it was just very greasy.”
“Yes, yes,” he nodded knowingly, “from too much meat.”
“There was not too much meat. The meat was just very greasy,” I tried again.
“Oh, okay,” he nodded smiling, still mumbling under his breath about too much meat.
After spending almost two hours in Purcellville, we finally got back on the road.
Then, surprise, surprise for Northern Virginia, we encountered traffic. Lots of it. The pretty scenery made it slightly more tolerable, but still, traffic is traffic. And we were both in sorta crappy moods after enduring Hell at Mack’s and that whole weird White Palace experience, so we just headed home.
Things did get better once we got further west, and the weather was superb, but what a weird experience.
I guess we can’t always expect a perfect riding day.