No, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is me, and yes, I am eating a salad, with fruit in it, in a quaint outdoor setting, with flowers, communing with nature.
Before you think aliens have replaced me with a lookalike, let me explain how this came to be. It all started with our executive producer, Nancy Foreman.
"Robert, you have got to go to Charlotte's in Danville. It's a great place to eat."
"It sounds a little girly."
"Oh no, no, no, no."
"I'm going to have to disagree. You'll have to go see for yourself."
Despite her reassurances, I was pretty sure I was headed for a really girly place.
"It is kind of a girly place."
"You know, when we first opened, most everybody who came through the door was a woman. And then, the businessmen started trying the food, they liked the portions, they liked the food, and now we have just as many men as we do women."
David Quick and his wife, Verna, are the owners. But, there is a Charlotte and the restaurant is named in her honor. Sadly, she did not live to see the business which carries her name.
"We got the name Charlotte's for the lady who lived in this house. She lived on this corner for 54-years."
"We thought it would be nice to name the business after her because everybody in the community already knew her, but they just didn't know the great things she did quietly."
So, what's on the menu?
"We have a salmon BLT salad, we have a baked chicken salad, we have a chef salad, we have a crispy chicken salad, we have a fruited spinach salad, we have a healthy choice salad,.."
Is there anything that is not salad in this joint?
"The biggest thing the men seem to like is the Italian beef sandwich."
OK. That's a little more my style, but let's find out what other customers are having.
"Well, me and her split an Italian beef, and they had some sandwiches and he had coffee."
"My favorite is the muffins. I'm a muffin eater."
Wait! David, the owner is a guy! What does he eat?
"Any of the desserts. If you are asking me, I always say eat dessert first, and usually have three desserts a day."
OK. I've done my research. Time to order up. In the spirit of things, I stuck with salads, egg salad, chicken salad, ham salad. The grilled chicken and "salad" salad with fruit. And, so I can keep my "man card," Italian beef.
I'm not ashamed to admit that it was all really good. And not just the Italian beef. Even the salads. And yes, the "salad" salad was awesome, too. Which is how I came to be not just eating, but enjoying a salad with fruit in it, in a quaint outdoor setting, with flowers, communing with nature, and loving it.
I learned a couple lessons on my road-trip to Charlotte's in Danville. The first, never trust a producer, because, let's be honest, Charlotte's is a little on the frilly side. But, I've also learned not to judge a book by its cover.
Robert couldn't eat dessert while he was there; he was full of salad, but he took home some coconut pie and says it was worth the drive all by itself.