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Twenty-four Hours In the Lap of Luxury at Salamander Resort & Spa

Jordan Wright
July 1, 2014
Photo credit Jordan Wright
Special to the Alexandria Times

2015 Hyundai Genesis at Salamander Resort & Spa

2015 Hyundai Genesis at Salamander Resort & Spa

An hour’s drive to the tony village of Middleburg doesn’t seem far at all when the end game is a posh five-star resort.  An overnight stay was planned to coincide with a test drive in Hyundai’s recently launched 2015 Genesis.  It seemed an appropriately prestigious match for the latest in luxury properties from founder, Sheila C. Johnson.

For our one-night getaway we chose Salamander Resort & Spa, a spectacularly posh destination in the heart of wine country where horses, spa treatments and gourmet dining were on our “to do” list.

The restored Aldie Mill

The restored Aldie Mill

Just past Gilbert’s Corners where Route 50 and Route 15 meet, you’ll come into the quaint town of Aldie.  If you have an hour or so be sure to stop in at the Aldie Mill Historic Park to tour the four-story grain mill where President James Monroe had his grain ground when he lived at Oak Hill.  Flanked by the merchant mill, storehouse and granary, the early 19th century mill is powered by tandem water wheels that still use the original French burr stones. It is quite a sight to behold.

Arriving at the luxury resort midday, we checked in at the concierge desk where guests are offered a complimentary glass of the day’s featured Virginia wine.  Very civilized.  Strolling around we began to notice the elegance of the hotel and its equestrian themed touches – room numbers decorated with stirrups, horse-and-rider silhouettes emblazoned on porch rails, lamps adorned with horseshoes, and grand reception rooms decorated in the style of many of the manor houses in hunt country.  Even the bellmen sport riding breeches here.  It’s all quite tasteful and understated.  But once you’re on a mission to find these elements you can spy them everywhere, even in the Main reception room, said to have been designed after Dr. Johnson’s private living room.

Sushi in the Gold Cup Wine Bar

Sushi in the Gold Cup Wine Bar

We took a simple lunch of sushi with a glass of Virginia wine in the Gold Cup Wine Bar, that takes its name from the area’s august biannual steeplechase race of which Salamander is a major sponsor. Then it was off to a Gluten-Free Cooking Class given by Chef de Cuisine, Chris Edwards.  Held in the state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, the classes are part of an ongoing culinary teaching program, popular with both guests and locals, and overseen by the resort’s Culinary Director, famed DC Chef, Todd Gray.

Chef Edwards teaching the Gluten-Free cooking class

Chef de Cuisine Chris Edwards teaching the Gluten-Free cooking class

As we learned the science of baking with grains as diverse as buckwheat, sorghum, quinoa and millet, and turning them into popovers and pizza dough, we sipped complimentary champagne and nibbled on Pastry Chef Jason Reaves’ herb-infused version of ice cream sandwiches – - Blackberry Basil, bracketed by almond cookies, and Mint Chocolate, homemade spearmint ice cream swathed in chocolate cookies and dipped in bittersweet curls.  Learning can be so stressful.

Herb infused ice cream sandwiches

Herb infused ice cream sandwiches

Next on the agenda was the Mindfulness Trail Ride, a leisurely amble across some of the resort’s 340 acres.  Down at the stables, however, we discovered that the previous day’s gullywasher had rendered the trail too slippery, even for our sure-footed steeds.  Thankfully all was not lost when at Equestrian Director Sheryl Jordan’s suggestion, we substituted a woodsy ride for a riding lesson with one of the instructors, and after a carriage ride into the village with our coachman, James.

A carriage ride through the storied village oh Middleburg

A carriage ride through the storied village of Middleburg

Dinner was in Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill.  Named after Pamela Harriman, the socialite and former Ambassador to France who owned the original estate, it is the more formal of the two restaurants and a stunning showcase for the skills of Executive Chef Sean McKee.  Especially lovely were dishes enhanced by herbs and produce from the property’s two-acre kitchen garden.  Mozzarella Caprese salad was really a ball of creamy burrata nestled beside grape tomatoes, olives and fresh basil and came with a tableside drizzle of aged balsamic.  Lobster Seviche, served in a glass-lidded box, was strewn with microgreens and cilantro clipped fresh from the kitchen garden.

Lobster Seviche - Mozzarella Caprese Salad -  Spring Collection vegetarian entree

Lobster Seviche – Mozzarella Caprese Salad – Spring Collection vegetarian entree

Entrées are listed separately from “Cuts” which include beef, lamb and pork from neighboring farms.  A choice of seven different gourmet sauces includes escargot in garlic butter, chimichurri and foie gras butter.  A vegetarian entrée we found especially delightful was “Spring Collection” – a colorful array of seasonal veggies served with a cylinder of pan-seared polenta.  After dinner enjoy a stroll into the field for s’mores at one of the firepits, or catch a game of pool in the wood-paneled game room.

Ribeye steak at Harrimans

Ribeye steak at Harrimans

Regrettably we passed up sunrise yoga on horseback.  It sounded terrific in the brochure, but a dawn-breaking class was not part of our agenda, even if it does involve horses and getting your inner spirit in balance.  Instead we languished in the room (all have private patios overlooking the rolling countryside) with a full-on breakfast and freshly made green smoothies, before heading downstairs to the spa where I had booked a rejuvenating Vitamin C facial.  The sumptuous treatment involved a face massage with reparative serum, and while that was being absorbed into the skin, a relaxing foot massage.  Facials are just one of the dozens of restorative treatments and massages available in the holistically-inspired full-service luxury spa.

The heated infinity pool, one of three

The heated infinity pool, one of three

Afterwards a dip in the heated infinity pool, a jungle rain shower, replete with lightening and thunder, and a power nap on mosaic-tiled warming beds, prepared us for our departure.

Mosaic tiled warming beds in the spa

Mosaic tiled warming beds in the spa

Though the hotel was abuzz with guests due to the Upperville Horse Show (Salamander is also a major sponsor of this oldest horse show in America), we managed to secure a late departure.  It wasn’t easy to leave the comfort and luxe, but we toddled off along winding country lanes for a planned tour of RdV Vineyards, where Bordeaux grapes planted on a granite hillside mimic the terroir of the Bordeaux region.  Inspired by the unconventional owner’s vision – he lives in an Air Stream trailer on the property – they are producing some of the most revered wines to emerge from Virginia.

RdV vineyards overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains

RdV vineyards overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains

It is a quiet and modern place, built primarily underground in German Bauhaus style.  You won’t see buses filled with tourists, pets, kids or BBQ grills.  This is an exclusive and serious experience befitting wines of the highest caliber.  You’ll need to reserve in advance, but the informative tour includes a tasting of their premium wines, an experience you won’t soon forget.  We left laden with a few bottles, if only to keep the memories alive…

RdV Vineyards

RdV Vineyards

Traveling back on Route 50 in Upperville we decided to while away a few hours at the horse show, where the country’s top riders and their million dollar mounts are put through their paces.  We even spied former New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s daughter, Georgina, soaring over some daunting jumps while keeping an ear to owners’ and competitors’ running commentary.

Taking the jumps at the Upperville Horse Show

Taking the jumps at the Upperville Horse Show

Building up a ferocious appetite from mentally riding our imaginary horses, we fueled up at Hunter’s Head Tavern in the village.  Built in 1750, the restored Colonial log house serves superb British pub fare sourcing meat and eggs from the owner’s nearby Ayrshire farm.  Here you’ll find bangers and mash, bubble and squeak, and a terrific shepherd’s pie.

At Hunter's Head Tavern with the charming patio in the background

At Hunter’s Head Tavern with the charming patio in the background

I swooned over the liver and onions, a dish as scarce as hen’s teeth these days.  Before heading home we raised a pint to one of the tavern’s reputed ghosts.

Liver and Onions sourced from the owner's Ayrshire Farm certified humanely raised beef

Liver and Onions sourced from the owner’s Ayrshire Farm certified humanely raised beef

For information and reservations at Salamander Resort & Spa or to learn about their new Tree Top Canopy zipline tours visit www.SalamanderResort.com.  For a tour and tasting at RdV in Delaplane, VA, go to www.RdVVineyards.com.

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Protein Bar Opens A New Location In Downtown DC

Cary Pollak for Whisk and Quill
July 6, 2014

Napkin dispenser inspires diners to spread the word

It seems like branches of Protein Bar are sprouting up all over the Washington, DC area, not to mention other parts of the country.  The fourth and latest local edition of the fast food eatery opened two weeks ago at 925 17th Street, NW near K Street, joining thirteen other outlets in their home town of Chicago and three in Colorado.

As an opening day promotion the first 100 customers received $100 gift certificates – an offer that attracted a lot of media attention and some eager customers.  Notwithstanding the generous incentives, athletes and health conscious diners have already found the food to be creative and delicious, while simultaneously living up to the eatery’s motto, “We do healthy … healthier.”

Organic quinoa blend

Organic quinoa blend

There is a method to ordering here – building a meal by creating it yourself.  Start off by choosing the base protein for the “Protein Bar-ritos” – either all-natural chicken or organic tofu.   Or try the “Quinoa Bowls”.  Using a blend of red quinoa, golden quinoa, white millet, amaranth (a grain biologically similar to quinoa) and crunchy flax seeds, this base features the ancient, high protein, naturally gluten-free grain first cultivated in the Peruvian Andes.  Then add toppings like Black Bean, Spinach and Pesto, Buffalo, Chili (there are chicken or veggie versions) or Healthy Parm, made with chicken, house-made marinara sauce and Parmesan cheese.

Super 6 Salad Mix

Super 6 Salad Mix

“Signature Salads” use a house blend of raw veggies for maximum nutritional value.  The “Super 6 Salad Mix” is a combination of romaine, spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots and purple cabbage, and is served with your choice of several house made dressings.  More complex salads appear on the menu with geographically inspired names like Southwest, Memphis, Buffalo and Baja.

Samples of the filling for the Buffalo Protein Bar-rito

Samples of the filling for the Buffalo Protein Bar-rito

At a recent sampling of the menu’s offerings, guests enjoyed several different items including the “Buffalo Protein Bar-rito” made with chicken, quinoa blend, blue cheese, house-made Buffalo sauce and the crunchy good salad mix.  The bold flavors work well together and the Buffalo sauce gives it a spicy kick. The “Superfood Vegan Signature Salad” features tasty marinated tofu.  Here it is paired with kale, pepitas, chickpeas and creamy chia seed dressing.

Abbas Lochina preparing a “Hi-5” juice drink

Abbas Lochina preparing a “Hi-5” juice drink

“Signature Drinks” and “Raw Juices” are naturally sweet.  No refined sugar is used.  Instead sweetness is achieved with agave syrup or ripe fresh fruits like pineapple used in the leafy green drink, “Hi-5”.  Along with extracted juices are the smoothies.  The “Blue Line” Signature Drink, a blend of vanilla protein, blueberries, banana and choice of milk, 2%, skim, almond or soy, is as high in flavor as it is low in fat.

The Protein Bar’s concern with the nutritional value of food is evidenced by the information printed below each menu item, listing the number of calories and the grams of fat, carbs, fiber and protein.  Their commitment to providing flavorful menu selections is just as serious.  Protein Bar defines its mission as “to change the way people eat on the go.”  Next time you are on the go, give them a chance to change your mind about what fast food can and should be.

Select locations serve breakfast till 10:30am on weekdays and 12:30pm on weekends.  To find a location near you visit www.theproteinbar.com.

Photo credit Cary Pollak

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A Trip to Warrenton and the Black Horse Inn

Jordan Wright
June 18, 2014
Special to The Alexandria Times
 

The Black Horse Inn in Warrenton

The Black Horse Inn in Warrenton

Less than an hour’s drive from Alexandria lies the small burg of Warrenton where tree-lined streets reveal a pedigree that goes back centuries.  Its stately architecture reflected in a Classical Revival courthouse, 18th and 19th century mansions, and the Old Jail Museum, an 1808 brick-and-stone structure filled with intriguing arcana and an alleged ghost.  The area is known as a refuge for old line Virginia families raising thoroughbreds and children in understated elegance.  Unlike avid history buffs exploring Fauquier County for traces of the Civil War and its battlefields, we were in search of good food, good wine, and a luxurious country inn.

Chris Pearmund of Pearmund Winery

Chris Pearmund of Pearmund Winery

Our first stop was Pearmund Cellars, a mile or so off Route 29.  Awarded Virginia Wine Lover magazine’s “Best of Readers’ Choice Award for Best Winery” in 2014, the winery credits its success with stunning viogniers, petit verdots, chardonnays and a superb Ameritage (a Bordeaux blend that took gold at the Virginia Governor’s Cup this year).

The tasting room is low-key, wood-paneled and cozy – nothing elaborate with the exception of the wines, which are stellar.  Chris Pearmund, a legend among Virginia’s winemakers, was waiting for us.  Gracious and knowledgeable, he brought out bottle after bottle, including older wines from his private cellar, which he then generously offered to a small group, who were beyond ecstatic to sample from such precious vintages.

Every summer Pearmund leads wine tours to a different European country.  This year, he’ll take a group on a ten-day trip along the Danube.  In 2015 he will conduct a tour along the Rhone River in France.  Trip info is on the winery’s website www.PearmundCellars.com

We took lunch at the Red Truck Bakery & Market across from the courthouse.  Housed in a former filling station it is instantly recognizable by the cherry red ‘54 Ford truck parked out front.  Owner Brian Noyes bought it from fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger and christened the store after it.  The small shop with the rustic décor is where Noyes turns out notoriously decadent granola and mouth-watering baked goods.  Try the Double Chocolate Moonshine Cake made with corn whiskey from the next county.

Curried Chicken Salad sandwich at Red Truck Bakery

Curried Chicken Salad sandwich at Red Truck Bakery

Sitting at a communal farm table we gobbled up tomato peach gazpacho, homemade meatloaf and curried chicken salad sandwiches followed by first-of-the-season strawberry rhubarb pie.  Noyes sources all his fruits from nearby farms.  We left with cranberry orange muffins as big as your fist, whole wheat bread studded with nuts and fruit and bags of the addictive granola.  www.RedTruckBakery.com

Along Main Street you’ll find tons of shops.  Check out Be Boutique for clothing, handbags and accessories, The Town Duck for gifts and upscale home accessories, and G. Whillikers for old time toys and children’s books.  Drop in at Jimmie’s Market for a proper cuppa in the Madison Tea Room while browsing vintage tchotchkes and furnishings from its former life as a 1950’s barbershop.  You might like to pick up a bauble or two from Carter & Spence, a particularly fine jeweler featuring high-end designer pieces.  And if a horse enthusiast is on your list, you’ll need to stop in at Horse Country Saddlery, where riding gear and tweed jackets share space with fashionable hats suitable for Gold Cup.

The foyer at the Black Horse Inn

The foyer at the Black Horse Inn

The rain was coming down in sheets as we headed to the Black Horse Inn, our sanctuary for the night.  Minutes from the center of town, the inn is a stunning 19th century colonial with spacious receiving rooms furnished in elegant period antiques and hunt country décor.  Innkeeper Lynn Pirozzoli graciously welcomes guests with an open bar along with cheeses and fresh berries.  Since you’re in Virginia Hunt Country, Lynn will arrange for guests to ride in any one of ten local hunts.  Guests can bring their own horses or rent made horses from her stables.  The estate also offers a novice cross-country course on the property.

Bouillabaisse at The Bridge

Bouillabaisse at The Bridge

Dinner at The Bridge Restaurant and Wine Company, where tables are surrounded by an impressive collection of floor-to-ceiling bottles of wine, was outstanding.  The charming two-story restaurant is known for innovative and locally-sourced cuisine, exemplified by a rich rendition of a Marseille-inspired bouillabaisse and giant lump crab cakes over fennel slaw.  Locals cherish Monday’s all-you-can-eat mussel nights, gooey Irish cheddar grits, Lobster Mac n’ Cheese, and plates of charcuterie and artisanal cheeses.  On Thursdays sample the free tastings of Virginia wines in the stone cellar. www.TheBridgeWarrenton.com.

Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes at The Bridge

Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes at The Bridge

On our way back to the inn the skies opened up (so much for a refreshing spring rain)  and we returned to the inn where we stayed in the honeymoon suite, amusingly called “Great Expectations”.  All nine of the inn’s well-appointed guest rooms have private baths, fine linens and fireplaces.  There’s even a separate cottage, the “Hunt Box Suite”, with its own kitchen, Jacuzzi and wet bar.  We nodded off to the mesmerizing sounds of torrential rains pinging from the roof of our very own screen porch.

Breakfast at the Black Horse Inn

Breakfast at the Black Horse Inn

Morning brought clear skies and sun glistening off fiery pink azaleas, dappling the gazebo and streaming through venerable oaks.  After a hearty breakfast augmented by specially requested green smoothies, we toured the inn’s spectacular event space, “The Gilded Fox”.  Situated beyond the house in a pretty vale the stately building is framed by boxwood gardens and a garden terrace.  www.BlackHorseInn.com

Back in town we stopped for lunch with Shelley Ross, the owner of the Natural Marketplace.  A Certified Nutritional Consultant, member of the American Association of Holistic Practitioners and certified in raw food nutrition, when we met she had just returned from a transformational journey to a healing center in Phuket, Thailand.

Reuben sandwiches at the Natural Marketplace

Reuben sandwiches at the Natural Marketplace

The store can only claim 2,600 square feet of a Colonial house, yet it is filled to the rafters with a comprehensive selection of organic and nutritious foods, cookbooks on healthy eating, and natural supplements.  Recently they beat out thousands of stores to win the “The National Retail Award of Excellence”, especially singled out for their sense of mission.

Sitting on the front porch we ate grilled Reuben sammies on sprouted multi-grain bread and sipped on Lemon Cayenne KeVita probiotic drinks, while locals streamed in for fruit smoothies, organic veggie juices and monster stuffed sandwiches – all made to order.  The store and small take-out restaurant is a health food lover’s fantasy realized. For information about the marketplace’s holistic therapies and other wellness services, visit www.NaturalMarketplace.com.

Winemaker Sudha Patil of Narmada Winery

Winemaker Sudha Patil of Narmada Winery

On the way home we popped into Narmada Winery in Amissville.  Situated on 51 acres of rolling countryside, owners Pandit Patil and his wife, Sudha, brought a slice of India to Amissville, Virginia when they bought their property in 1998, planting acres of vines as a hedge against the boredom of retirement.  The tasting room is quite pretty with sage-colored walls adorned with curry-colored Indian scrollwork and the winery’s peacock symbol.  Gorgeous handmade ceramic tiles by local artisan Libet Henze of Far Ridge Ceramics frame a large fireplace.  A nice variety of Indian foods are offered.

The winery opened in 2009 and almost immediately won the Riverside Wine Competition Chairman’s Award for “1st in Class” for their Cabernet Franc Reserve. Soon after their viognier garnered a Gold Medal in California.  While they currently use 75% of their grapes from the property, they soon will up that to 95% estate grown grapes.

We were looking for reds and Sudha brought out her best for us to taste – a 2010 Tannat, a rich, plummy wine – very fruit forward; a 2009 Cab Franc Reserve with echoes of mulberries; and their 2009 Allure, a port-style wine perfect for after dinner cheeses.  www.NarmadaWinery.com.

Photo credit Jordan Wright

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Alexandria: DC’s New Dining Capital

Monday January 27, 2014
It’s Restaurant Week!! Learn about Alexandria’s magnet restaurants and what they mean to our city’s regional and national appeal.

In recent years, the reputation of Washington’s restaurant scene has soared nationally. Not coincidentally, more Alexandria restaurants are climbing the list of DC’s top dining venues. Our celebration of Alexandria’s dining scene features Chef Cathal Armstrong – one of the best-known chefs in the culinary industry, exhibiting great culinary command creativitiy, technique, presentation, and even business. He will share his vision – including why he chose Alexandria as the base for his growing gastronomic empire. Alexandria-based food writer Jordan Wright will talk about Alexandria’s rising stature in the DC dining scene and share tips on places you should know about. Claire Mouledoux of the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association (the organization that gives us “Restaurant Week”) will explain how this dining renaissance benefits our city.

FEATURED SPEAKERS
Cathal ArmstrongStar Chef Cathal Armstrong

Irish chef Cathal Armstrong’s cuisine and philosophy reflect ideas planted in the atypical Dublin household of his childhood, where garlic was used fearlessly and fruits and vegetables were grown in the garden. The family’s travel business launched Armstrong into a myriad of different countries, cultures and cuisines where he began to develop an appreciation for gastronomy in the differing landscapes of Europe. As the family traveled, Armstrong was educated in the languages he now speaks fluently: English, French, Spanish, German and Irish. For those not versed in the Dubliner’s native language, the “t” in Cathal is silent.
At the age of seven, Armstrong began his annual student exchange in France with the Boudain family. His food curriculum involved visiting truffle-farms and vineyards, eating peasant-style food and picking fruits and vegetables on the farm. These early culinary experiences inspired Armstrong’s philosophy. He is committed to sourcing locally, valuing animals and respecting the land, so much so that Armstrong cites innovative farmer David Lankford of Davon Crest Farms in Maryland as one of his biggest inspirations. Armstrong is now an active member of The American Farmland Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting the nation’s agricultural resources.
At the age of 20, Armstrong opened a fine dining restaurant in the Dublin suburbs with two partners. After a two-year tenure atThe Baytree, Armstrong decided to move to Washington DC where for the next 11 years he moved his way through various top kitchens learning the fundamentals from mentors including Greg Mitchell of New Heightsand Jeffrey Buben of Bistro Bis. It was during his time spent at Gabriel under Gregory Hill that Armstrong met his future wife and business partner Meshelle Armstrong. Together, they dreamed of a place where they could balance a commitment to farmers with their vision of fine dining.
The Armstrongs found it in Alexandria, where in April 2004, 13 years after first arriving in DC, they opened Restaurant Eve. The modern American restaurant (with French, Spanish and Irish influences) showcased Armstrong’s playful personal style and deep-rooted commitment to purveyors. In the summer of 2006, Armstrong openedEamonn’s A Dublin Chipper and PX, or The PX, a cocktail-driven speakeasy lounge five blocks from Restaurant Eve. Both venues are named for Armstrong’s children, Eve and Eamonn. Armstrong has since been inducted into the Share Our Strength Leadership Council, a group of culinary notables from around the country who advise this non-profit dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in the U.S. Armstrong’s self-described “pork fetish” and the Irish roots at the base of his culinary experience are showcased in decadent but playful dishes like “Bacon, Egg, and Cheese.” The dish makes full use of the versatility of pork fat with a cured and braised pork belly, seared to order, a tender crepe with ham and leeks, and a rich golden cheddar foam.

Claire Mouledoux
Claire Mouledoux
Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association

Claire is the Director of Communications for ACVA, Alexandria’s nonprofit tourism marketing organization, which contributes to the economic vitality of the city. Each year $738 million in visitor spending generates $23.7 million in tax revenue, providing needed city services and helping to support the community’s many small businesses. Claire directs the overall message and voice of the Alexandria visitor brand by managing ACVA’s communications strategies and guiding a team of professionals in media relations, social media and digital marketing. An Old Town resident with a passion for the city, she has been promoting the allure of Alexandria’s remarkable dining, shopping, arts and history for nearly four years as part of the ACVA team. Formerly the Director of Communications for the Torpedo Factory Art Center, she currently serves on the advisory board of The Art League and is an active member of the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance.VisitAlexandriaVA.com

Jordan Wright Jordan Wright
Whisk & Quill
Jordan Wright is an accomplished writer on food, spirits, travel, and theatre. Her clients have included the tony Georgetowner and hip sister publication the Downtowner, the Washington Examiner and San Francisco Examiner, as well as LocalKicks.com, DC Metro Magazine, Washington Life Magazine, Washingtonian Magazine, MDTheatreGuide.com, Indian Country Today On-Line and Print Publications, The Alexandria Times, Hartkeisonline.com, and now DCMetroTheaterArts. Her articles feature restaurant openings, food and wine events, food-oriented film reviews, food trends, restaurant reviews, food memories, new food products, hotels, spas, resorts and interviews with the country’s leading chefs – from Jose Andres and Top Chef’s Carla Hall, to CakeLove’s Warren Brown and Top Chef’s Spike Mendelsohn. She has also interviewed famed chef and TV star, Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, cookbook author Joan Nathan, and director Robert Kenner for an in-depth article about his film Food, Inc.
Program
Co-Chairs:

Alan Dubow, Shari Bolouri, Terri Hauser andMichael Hobbs

All programs are held at:
Holiday Inn Eisenhower Metro Center - 2460 Eisenhower Avenue CLICK HERE for directions
Reception at 6:15 p.m. (Cash Bar) Buffet Dinner at 6:45 p.m.

MEMBER PRICE NON-MEMBER PRICE SAVE BY PLANNING
$28 $33 with reservations made by 5:00 pm on the Friday prior to each meeting
$35 $40 for late reservations and walk-ins

Program only  7:15 p.m. (free to members/$5 non-members) -  Presentations are followed by a question and answer session based on written questions from the audience.  Programs end promptly at 9 P.M.

Dinner reservations strongly encouraged. Seating is not guaranteed for walk-ins.   CLICK HERE TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE

Agenda:Alexandria, a non-partisan, non-profit organization which began in 1998, sponsors eight dinner meetings a year with presentations on topics of interest to Alexandrians.  Membership is only $35 a year and open to anyone, whether or not you live or work in Alexandria. Topics are wide-ranging and past topics have included such issues as transportation, education, the arts, public safety, history and preservation, public health, the City budget, the waterfront, the environment and aging in Alexandria.

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Mothers Get the Royal Treatment This Sunday

Jordan Wright
Special to The Washington Examiner
May 2, 2011

 

Ah!  The requisite Mother’s Day brunch tradition – a singular opportunity to secure your yearly standing with your mother, grandmother, spouse or mother-in-law.  Here are a few elegant dining ideas designed to take it up a royal notch.

Adour at the St. Regis Hotel – Executive Chef Julian Jouhannaud, helming Alain Ducasse’s DC outpost, presents a glorious five-star fixed price menu that echoes spring with yellow fin tuna tartare, seared foie gras with wild apples and grapes, Ducasse’s ambrosial signature cookpot of green vegetables coupled with mushroom duxelle, and a choice of Maine lobster thermidor with morels, striped bass Riviera style with braised fennel, or roast veal loin with au gratin vegetables.  For dessert, think regally, with the Louis XV praline crunch and raspberry macaron with rosewater cream.  Brunch is $88.00 per guest and is served from 11 till 4pm.  For reservations call 202 509-8000.

Kiwi Mango Mousse at Seasons - photo credit to Jordan Wright

Kiwi Mango Mousse at Seasons - photo credit to Jordan Wright

Seasons at The Four Seasons Hotel – Under Executive Chef Doug Anderson’s beautifully expressed cuisine, mothers will be duly impressed with the sumptuous open buffet as they dine beside the C & O Canal in tony Georgetown.

The elegant dining room features lavish breakfast fare of omelets, cheese blintzes with wild blueberry sauce, and fresh berry-topped waffles to iced oysters, shrimp, crab claws, snapper seviche, house-cured salmon, grilled octopus with citrus and caper salad and Maine lobster rolls.  Carved rack of lamb and beef sit beside a groaning board of dozens of crafted salads and hot side dishes like double truffle meatloaf cupcakes, green pea and Virginia ham arancini, mini chicken pot pies.  A separate room is devoted entirely to the most exquisite desserts imaginable.  The gold standard for brunch in this city.  Brunch is $100.00 per guest and is served from 10 till 3pm.  For reservations call 202 944-2000.

CityZen at the Mandarin Oriental, uber Chef Eric Ziebold has a dazzling open buffet menu with a modern American twist featuring such delicious openers as blackened tuna with pickled okra, blue fish rillettes and smoked salmon.  To refresh the palate choose tangerine and beet or a light asparagus salad.  Brunch classics include scrambled eggs with biscuits and country gravy, dark and stormy ribs, Nona’s Cecelio’s spinach malfate and barbequed Carolina shrimp.  Dessert is playful with made-to-order crèpes, butterscotch popcorn and banana pudding to mention a few.  Brunch is $65.00 per guest and is served from 11 to 3pm.  For reservations call 202 787-6868.

At the Park Hyatt Hotel’s Blue Duck Tavern in DC’s West End Executive Chef Brian McBride, alongside new hire Sous Chef Eric Fleischer, presents a three-course brunch with starters and desserts served buffet style, and entrees ordered from a specially designed menu.  Here you’ll find eggs served with rock shrimp and potato roesti or cod cakes with buttermilk sauce, lump crab cakes, mustard seed crusted salmon with champagne cream, roasted beef tenderloin with foie gras sauce, and braised lamb shank with fava beans. Brunch is served from 10:30 to 3:45pm and is $90.00 per guest.  For reservations call 202 419-6755.

The Jockey Club at the Fairfax Hotel is the posh spot for the embassy crowd and Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who loves the Dover sole here.  Executive Chef Mark Timms has been wooing and wowing guests with his creativity and classic technique since his arrival this February.  Mother’s Day brunch at the hotel features starters like matzoh ball soup with chicken and dill, local field greens with lavender vinaigrette or carrot parfait with caramelized ginger.  Fabulous entrees are the sea bass with orange mist cream, roasted sunchokes and pistachio powder, beef tenderloin with duck fat fried potato logs, chicken Wellington with buttered foie gras mashed potatoes, or scallops with pickled watermelon and lemon curd.  Dessert is chocolate crème brûlée with pistachio biscotti.  Brunch is $40.00 per guest.  For reservations call 202 835-2100.

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