Most of you know that I'm born and raised in Japan. Well, if you don't... I am.
But now that I've moved to Tampa, it feels like I have a second place to call home. And that's Richmond, VA. It's funny how it is. While I was there, I couldn't wait to move out. I mean there were parts of it that I loved but there were more things that made me want to move somewhere else. But now that I moved, I miss it. To be honest, I really don't know if I miss Richmond or the people there. Probably both and probably weighted towards the people... but this morning, I realized that I missed the place itself as well.
In Tampa, I live 3 blocks away from Howard Ave which is known for all the cool restaurants and bars that are down in Hyde Park area of Tampa. It's a "trendy" place where lots of "young professionals" hang out. It also happens to be the douchebag capital of the world. I swear, there must be a dbag fountain somewhere around here... Ed Hardy shirts that are two sizes too small, bling-ish sunglasses worn at night indoors, etc. Yep, typical douchebags. But chicks dig that. And these are also hot chicks. So I guess everyone just plays the game. Don't get me wrong. Douchebags are everywhere. In VA, they pop their collars. But at least they weren't as over the top as they are down here. Anyways, so while I love going to the bars on Howard, I was also craving a more chill atmosphere too. Because the whole, being a dbag, pretending to be something more than you really are, and just trying to get laid is not the game I play. Just not how I roll. I'd rather not get laid for years than to sleep with someone that I don't care about that I'll never see again (until you awkwardly run into them at a bar again or whatever).
Well, when I went to get a haircut, I was talking to the dude and I asked him for some advice on places to eat. He's openly gay and lives in Ybor (kinda known for where the gay people live/hang out - sometimes referred to as "gaybor" per wikipedia, not my words) so I figured he would know more of a different feel restaurant than this Howard Ave dbag crowd (that I would assume would be extremely homophobic). And sure enough, he told me about this breakfast joint that he and his bf go. Some homely diner where they know your name, run by a family, etc.
So... today (Saturday), I decided to go check it out.
Pach's Place. Once you walk inside, it's definitely that family owned diner feel. It's small, crowded, busy, and loud... and it reminded me of the diners I used to go in Richmond. For Richmonders, think rivercity diner but smaller, boychik's but packed in tighter, or Jimmy's but louder (and def busier). I sat at the counter since I was by myself and sat next to this old lady, Connie, who told me about how the diner has been around for years and it's family owned and the people that work there has been there for years (except for our waitress who just started today). I also talked to two other older ladies from West Virginia and so I told them about how I've been to Charleston and also driven out to Huntington for a friend's wedding. I told them that I thought the state was beautiful (the drive to Huntington crossing the state is gorgeous) and they were stoked that I knew WV and that I was so appreciative of the state. They told me that you never realize how beautiful that state is until you leave there and move down here to flat FL. So true.
It was just so nice to be in a homely feel type of place. I was craving that a lot more than I realized until I got it. The food was good... I mean it's standard eggs, bacon, grits (finally found it here!), homefries, and toast (slabbed with melted butter). Ah, finally, some southern flair. As I crushed my food, said goodbye to the ladies, and left the place, I realized that for that last 30 minutes or so, it was like home sweet home. Who knew that I would actually miss Richmond like this? I sure didn't.