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So husband and I made our first trip to the Downtown Mall last Saturday. It was so cute, the entire time I’m getting ready, I’m thinking, “We’re going to town! We’re going to town!” This city girl hasn’t quite gotten used to living out in BFE, but finds she’s liking it more and more. I felt like the Waltons – packing up the Model T to putt-putt down the mountain to the general store or something.

Anyway, after all this hype about the Mall, I was expecting it to be teeming with people – much like The Strip is on Saturday mornings in Pittsburgh. But “teeming” here seems to constitute a few fashionable hippie-mamas pushing strollers cheek to jowl with some WASP’s who look like they belong in a Brooks Brothers ad. Not busy by any means, but interesting people watching to say the least. I even think I saw Boyd Tinsley buying his daughter an ice cream……wearing flip flops in April! (Boyd, not the daughter).

Anyway, the day was overcast, but threatening sunshine, and warm, so we decided to eat outside. Al fresco dining in April! Unheard of in Pittsburgh (“I think I’m going to like it heeeerrrrrreee.”) Walked the length of the Mall, hoping something on a lunch board would call out to us. Finally it did. The specials board at Rapture mentioned, “Turkey with brie on baguette.” You had me at brie.

Did I mention how nice it is to eat al fresco in April? Wheeeeee! We both ordered beer (him: Rogue Ale – me: Blue Mountain Lager). My first foray into local brew was a hint of things to come, I hope. My lager was just yummy – very clean, not too cold, just right.

Husband ordered crab cake sandwich, and I got the turkey with brie. Both came with HUGE sides of fries, cooked perfectly. Often we’ll share an order of fries (40-year-old tummy can’t handle the grease) but I’m glad we didn’t today. These fries were skinny, and really, really crispy. They reminded me of the sweet potato fries at Sharp Edge Beer – my gold standard for fries (and beer actually). Often husband and I will fight over the little “crunchies” (fries that have maybe been cooked too long and many would consider burnt) but this platter was full of them. Enough for all.

Had a taste of the crab cake, which was HUGE by the way, and great. Very little filler, just scrumptious. He reminded me, “We’re in Virginia now, better crab than in PGH.” Oh yeah, right, I forgot. My turkey was great too – the brie was soft, and there was some sort of fruity taste added to it, maybe apricots? A schmear of aioli or jam or something. I was too hungry to check (sheepish grin). I inhaled half the sandwich and took home the other half for dinner. Five hours later it was still great.

Anyway, we lingered over lunch, enjoying our beers and food, and watched Charlottesville walk by. Three tubby guys with band tee shirts and baseball caps, cups full of something in hand. Three girls who really should’ve told their friend that she could never pull off that outfit. One goth teenage girl carrying a chihuahua wearing a tiara. Lots of hippie-mamas – looking adorable in their Anthropologie-type clothes – their daughters outfitted in stripey tights and cardigans with flowers. I saw like 15 women who I wanted to ask, “Where did you get your outfit? Can I get one too?”

So, my review of Rapture? Great food, great beer, great ambiance, friendly service. What more do you want? No complaints here whatsoever (unusual for me). Well, maybe one, but not about the restaurant. You’d think I’d love the fact that the Mall wasn’t that busy, but I found myself wishing there were more people about. Next time we’ll get to the Downtown Mall before noon – farmer’s market time. Something tells me it’s much busier then…..or at least what Cville says is “busy” :0)

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