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Earlier in the year, I started using a notebook to write out some thoughts.  I often have ideas, phrases and sentences that suddenly appear and then just as suddenly disappear.  While I can’t capture all of them (when I’m driving or trying to fall asleep),  with the little notebook, i have been able to write some down while taking the bus or waiting on the platform.   The purse-size notebook has been helpful for capturing some good ideas of what to write, how to connect my thoughts and my blog posts.   I’ve even managed to scribble in some ideas for future posts and draft up to-do lists. Of course, it’s all good until I have to read my messy and illegible handwriting afterwards.

I was meeting some former colleagues for dinner this evening in Richmond.  I was the first to arrive and (ridiculously) early for our reservation.  Not to worry, I pulled out my little notebook from my purse and started to draft this post about Harold’s Bistro & Bar.

My first dining experience at Harold’s was for a work Christmas dinner in 2009.    I vividly remember the cheerful atmosphere as we took up two long tables in the middle of their dining room.  Although I had already completed my temporary position just months earlier, I enjoyed the group so much that when they invited me back for the Christmas party, I immediately marked it on my calendar.  I remember ordering an entrée, but the appetizers looked far more interesting.  Here are some old photos that I dug up (from 2009):

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Years later, I was asked to do some vacation coverage at the Richmond office.  I was happy to go back and help out.  Now that another temporary position has me working in Richmond again, I’ve been back for after-work dinner,  lunch and (this evening) even weekend dinner.

I met up with Patricia for an early after-work dinner last year.  We decided to go to Harold’s to enjoy a sit down dinner.  It was a weekday evening and the restaurant was relatively quiet.  That was the ideal environment needed to unwind after a busy day in the office.  As we pondered over the menu, the memory of the calamari (from 2009) resurfaced.  We agreed to share a calamari to start and then each order a main item.

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My order of Lamb

My order of Lamb

Patricia's order of Fraser Chicken

Patricia’s order of Fraser Chicken

It didn’t take long for the food to arrive at our table.  The calamari was as appetizing, both in appearance and taste, as I remembered it to be.  We had only started to munch on our calamari when the main dishes came out.  I turned my focus to my big portion of lamb.  Although I managed to finish my tasty plate of lamb, I was stuffed by the end of the meal.  We still had more than half a plate of calamari which I packed the rest to go.

A few weeks ago, after another long day at work, I went out for dinner with Barb and Winston.  As we arrived at the front desk, we noticed a big party being seated in the dining room.  With the size of the party and all the chatter, they were quite noisy.  We claimed our reservation and when the hostess asked us if we wanted the dining room or the lounge, I asked her where she thought it might be noisier.  She suggested the lounge might actually be a bit quieter this time as the other party was just getting seated and the group we saw at the front was only part of their entire reservation.  She offered us a booth seat in the lounge.  What a fantastic suggestion!  Even though we were seated in the lounge, there were times that we could still hear the big dining party. Imagine being right beside them in the dining room!  Oh my!

I looked over their World Cup theme Feature sheet before turning to the menu.  The minute my eyes hit the word “crab” I didn’t need to look any further.

Crab Cake Burger

Crab Cake Burger

Yes, I ordered the Crab Cake Burger.  I love crab cakes — yum yum!  You can’t really see the crab cake in this picture but it is in there underneath all those greens.  The burger was really tasty but I found it a bit messy.  By the time I was half way through the burger, the sauce had dripped all over my plate.  I enjoyed the crab cake and the greens that went with it but the bun was only okay.  Note to self, next time, consider ordering the burger without the bun or just go for an appetizer order of the crab cakes.

Barb ordered the Chicken Pot Pie which looked absolutely delicious.  I made another note to myself … try the Chicken Pot Pie next time.  My next visit wasn’t a long wait as I met up with my high school friends for lunch one day and we found ourselves at Harold’s.  As always, time spent with my high school friends just seems to whizz by.   Had I not just sat down…?  and suddenly I had to leave to get back to work.  😦

Despite our short visit, I managed to do two things.  Firstly, I learned that Harold’s offers complimentary parking in their lot — you just need to register your license plate number with them.  What a bonus!  Secondly, I was able to try to Chicken Pot Pie.  It tasted just like it looked…. absolutely delicious!

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

This evening, I met up with some former colleagues (from the fun 2009 group) for dinner and one of them picked Harold’s.  Sounds good to me!  I shared my little knowledge about the complimentary parking with them and since I was the first to arrive, I also let them know that there was ample parking out front.

Our server was fantastic.  Because I told him I was (ridiculously) early, he poured me some water and then left me alone.  He came back to check up on me a little later and took my drink order.  When all of us were at the table, he gave us a few minutes to settle in before returning to take our order.

Ahi Tuna - 6 oz steak pan seared rare with house blend spices, papaya relish, & green beans

Ahi Tuna – 6 oz steak pan seared rare with house blend spices, papaya relish, & green beans

(hmm.. I have to admit that I didn't catch which burger was ordered...) with a side of Chicken Noodle Soup

(hmm.. I have to admit that I didn’t catch which burger was ordered…) with a side of Chicken Noodle Soup

Steak Sandwich - 6oz Angus steak with caramelized onions and mushrooms

Steak Sandwich – 6oz Angus steak with caramelized onions and

My order of Arctic Char (from the Feature Sheet: icy water arctic char, succotash, mini gem tomato salsa, baby kale)

My order of Arctic Char (from the Feature Sheet: icy water arctic char, succotash, mini gem tomato salsa, baby kale)

The Arctic Char was good and I particularly liked the flavourful mini gem tomato salsa.  In order of preference though, the Crab Cake Burger or the Chicken Pot Pie are slightly ahead of this Arctic Char.

As long as the food quality and service keep up with what I have enjoyed so far, I’ll be back here more often.

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