October 14, 2015
Special to The Alexandria Times
Richmond is getting a lot of ink from around the country as it blossoms into a desirable destination for seasoned travelers. On a return flight from Ireland last month I was seated next to young German headed to Richmond for the 9-day UCI Road World Cycling Championships. He wasn’t a journalist, or even an athlete (for emphasis he patted his expansive belly), this was his first trip to America and he was off to our state capitol for a world-class sporting event.
Change comes quickly to a place when creative minds are firing on all cylinders and Richmond’s renaissance began in fits and starts in the 1980’s with the careful restoration of historic portside factories into airy lofts, galleries and restaurants. Today young entrepreneurs have seized on the affordable rents for their fledgling businesses and the city has exploded with new life. Even the film industry is onto the stunning architecture of this historic city. Spielberg’s epic drama Lincoln was shot here, as was the soon-to-be-released PBS Civil War drama, Mercy Street. This is not your buttoned up Southern city any more.
Once seedy Broad Street is humming with new activity, in part due to the more than 31,000 students attending VCU located in the heart of the city. Now formerly overlooked neighborhoods like Church Hill are grabbing the spotlight. Across the city the trend shows no sign of slowing down with historic buildings being preserved and rehabbed into stunning contemporary living spaces.
New restaurants open every week – – some doing tasty riffs on Southern classics, others drawing from exotic cuisines. Many pair their food with Virginia wines or any of the thirteen Richmond-area microbreweries. Next year California-based Stone Brewing Company will open its eastern U. S. brewery operations and World Bistro & Gardens along Gillies Creek in the historic Fulton Hill neighborhood.
As for the Arts, apart from major international touring art shows at the prestigious Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, there is also a flourishing local art scene with galleries and colorful murals dotting every area of the city. Look for the new VCU Institute for Contemporary Art to open a 43,000-square-foot museum showcasing innovative exhibitions, performances and films by 2017.
(L-R) Swan Bed – Italian Garden at Maymont
Maymont offers 100 lush acres of breathtaking gardens, a nature center, and a Romanesque Revival-style manor house chock-a-block with Victoriana reminiscent of the Gilded Age. Take time to stroll through Japanese, Italian and Victorian gardens or ride a horse-drawn carriage through magnolia-lined allées. www.Maymont.org
Lewis Ginter Garden
Ranked No. 2 among America’s Best Public Gardens, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden features themed gardens including the Children’s Garden, Healing Garden, Rose Garden and Victorian Garden and the South’s most magnificent domed conservatory filled with hundreds of exotic specimens. www.LewisGinter.org Both are part of the Richmond Garden Trail as are six other sites.
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Along with more than 33,000 works of art from around the world, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts houses a collection of beautiful Fabergé jeweled eggs. “Rodin” arrives in late November with over 200 works from the Musée Rodin in Paris. www.VMFA.museum
The Virginia Historical Society featuring a fascinating and comprehensive collection of Virginia history from 16,000 BCE to the present. Opened this month “Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times” features 36 costumes from PBS Masterpiece’s Downton Abbey series. www.VAHistorical.org
The Valentine Museum tells the story of Richmond’s early history including the women’s suffrage rights, the slave trade and civil rights. A current show, Classical Allure: Richmond Style, features select gowns and artifacts from their Costume and Textile collection of over 40,000 pieces, the largest of its kind in the South. www.TheValentine.org
The Science Museum of Virginia
Science is cool at the Science Museum of Virginia. Housed in the grandiose former Broad Street Union Station, designed by architect John Russell Pope in the neo-classical style, explore tons of interactive exhibits on space, health, electricity and the earth. A new exhibit, Alien Worlds and Androids features early TV and film robots up to present day outer space heroes. Be sure to check out the 76-foot Dome theatre – – the largest screen in Virginia. www.SMV.org
Stroll Cary Street for cute shops – vintage clothing at Bygones; gifts and more at Mongrel; and great consignment shops such as Ashby and Clementine.
TASTE THE TOWN
(L-R) Sub Rosa Bakery – Plum tarts from Wood-Fired Bakery
Breakfast – Sub Rosa Wood Fired Bakery in Church Hill where a brother-and-sister team, Evrim and Evin Dogu, use a German-made mill to grind organic flour to bake into their crusty breads, yummy cookies and rustic tarts served on eclectic plates from Tree Hill Pottery in Richmond. www.SubRosaBakery.com
Brunch – Sunday Champagne Brunch at The Jefferson hotel is prepared by Chef Patrick Ehemann and served in the Rotunda lobby. It is the pinnacle of Southern haute cuisine. Be sure to try the soufflé-like spoonbread. Reservations recommended. www.LemaireRestaurant.com
Lunch – Tucked into a residential neighborhood, Stella’s serves modern Mediterranean and Greek dishes; The Savory Grain for New American comfort food with a large selection of microbrews and craft beers; and a perennial favorite, the French-inspired Can Can Brasserie in Carytown.
Ardent Craft Ales brewery
Sips – The bar at Lemaire; Saison Restaurant cum gastro pub, or The Roosevelt for craft cocktails in a two-story red clapboard house; on-site brewed quaffs at Blue Bee Cider, Virginia’s only urban cidery in the Old Manchester district; the cool scene at Ardent Craft Ales, a brewery in the burgeoning Scott’s Addition neighborhood. Best Autumn saison, Sweet Potato & Sage. Check their calendar for open brew days.
(L-R) Roasted Beets with beet mousse and navel oranges – Sable Fish with Maitake mushrooms, charred scallions and dashi broth – Espresso Chocolate Mousse, with orange, hazelnut, and anise hyssop at Maple & Pine
Dinner – A tough call with so many to choose from. The intricate fusion dishes by Executive Chef Lee Gregory at the sophisticated and hip Maple & Pine in the glamorous new Quirk hotel; Comfort for locally-sourced, meat-and-three contemporary Southern from Rising Star-awarded chef, Jason Alley; The Roosevelt for three-time James Beard Foundation nominee David Dunlap’s snappy Southern cuisine; Mamma Zu for old school Italian; and Perly’s for serious Jewish deli.
Meat Loaf, squash casserole and cheddar cheese grits at Comfort
With 70-foot-high ceilings and a staircase long rumored to have appeared in Gone with the Wind, The Jefferson Hotel’s Rotunda lobby is one of Richmond’s most sought after spaces for important events. In his 1987 nationally broadcast Sunday morning segment for CBS News, Charles Kuralt described it as (arguably) the most beautiful (public room) of any hotel in the country
Luxuriate at The Jefferson – The Queen of American Beaux Arts hotels, this opulent jewel of an historic hotel has cut the number of their rooms down from turning the remaining guestrooms into expansive suites. For the ultimate stay, book a Grand Premier Suite that features a lavishly appointed marble-tiled bathroom with a television invisibly incorporated into the mirror, soaking tub and separate dressing room. www.JeffersonHotel.com
Quirk Hotel and Gallery – The new kid on the block. Recently opened and lovingly restored, this hip boutique hotel had a former life as a swank department store. Sip handcrafted cocktails on the rooftop terrace. www.DestinationHotels.com
Fire, Flour & Fork – October 28th – November 1st – A four-day culinary gathering with tours, special dinners, classes featuring local chefs, cookbook authors, culinary historians and beverage experts. A foodie’s wet dream. Fire, Flour & Fork
On November 13th from 7pm till midnight revel in InLight Richmond. Organized by 1708 Gallery, enjoy a free, public exhibition of light-based art and performances to be held at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Watch the Community Lantern Parade along with performances, sculpture, video, and interactive projects that illuminate pathways, walls, sidewalks, green spaces, trees, benches, building facades, and more, in and around the VMFA campus.
November 27th – January 11th 2016. The nightly holiday extravaganza Dominion GardenFest of Lights: H2Whoa at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden features over half-a-million twinkling lights, hand-crafted botanical decorations, model trains, holiday dinners, firepit with s’mores, hot chocolate (for purchase) and more. This year’s “H2Whoa” theme showcases water in all its forms. Experience a dazzling 30-acre light and botanical display of magical, whimsical water events. Stroll through twinkling “rain storms” as crystal raindrops and fluffy storm clouds float overhead while you marvel at a thunderstorm of lights. In the Conservatory you’ll see a wintry wonderland, rainstorms and rainbows, and even a tropical rainforest.
For more information on upcoming events go to www.VisitRichmondVA.com
By Cary Pollak for Whisk and Quill
Special to DC Metro Theater Arts
In January Crave American Kitchen and Sushi Bar, a Minnesota-based chain, opened its newest outpost in the Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda. The restaurant is living up to the ambitious expectations set for it by its Twin Cities parent company, Kaskaid, Inc. Kaskaid has created four restaurant concepts since its inception in 2007 and Crave may be its most successful, with four branches in Minnesota and a total of ten nation-wide so far, popping up in locations from the Las Vegas area to Austin, to Coral Gables and more.
At a recent dinner featuring some of the newest additions to their seasonal menu, the able staff proved that American and Japanese cuisines can fit together as comfortably as cherry trees at the tidal basin in Washington. Each course seemed like a natural precursor to the next.
The evening started out with a few specialty cocktails. The ‘Crave’ is a blend of Stolichnaya ‘Razberi’, Chambord, pineapple and Domaine Chandon Brut. If you are going to name a cocktail after your restaurant, you may as well pour my favorite California sparkling wine in case the Russian vodka and the fine raspberry liqueur don’t make enough of an impression. The ‘Angry Dragon’, a happy combination of Bacardi Dragon Berry rum, lychee, cranberry and citrus zest, was another option. In addition to these Crave creations, Bar Manager Jordan Harrington is in the process of concocting specials just for the Bethesda branch, such as a Sweet and Spicy Mojito and an Egg White and Blueberry Fizz.
Crave General Manager Michelle Went has a firm grip on the Angry Dragon
Our cocktails were followed by an exquisitely crafted sushi platter, that I pondered whether to devour or leave as an undisturbed work of art. Among the choices presented were the ‘Rainbow Roll’, the sushi chef’s version of a California roll, topped with four different types of fish, and the ‘Bamboo Bite’ which had tempura shrimp wrapped in sushi rice, crowned with overlapping slices of avocado, and decorated with a thin cross section of jalapeno. Adorning the platter were pieces of pickled ginger placed together like rose petals and wasabi molded into the shape of a leaf. Hand-sliced cucumber and apple slices were shaped into fans.
‘The Caterpillar’, sporting a fuzzy top made of bits of fried batter soaked with cranberry and beet juices, features spicy tuna, roe, cucumber, mango, avocado and sweet ‘Unagi’ sauce made with soy sauce, sugar and sake. Its whimsical appearance did not detract from its fresh and complex flavor.
Even after this delightful introduction, the main courses easily held my interest. Seared scallops with curry, caviar, arugula and papaya gastrique, showcased large scallops sliced horizontally. Grilled Mahi Mahi came served on a bed of red rice, with red pepper curry sauce, and banana fig butter. Medallions of certified Angus beef (which amounts to less than 8% of all beef produced in the U.S.) were accompanied by potato purée, pencil-thin grilled asparagus and a smooth demi glace. Each course was expertly paired with a wine chosen from the glass enclosed wine room.
Medallions of Angus beef
Executive Chef Joel Hassanali, a Trinidadian, explained that the chef at each Crave restaurant can create 25% of what goes on to the menu. Look for dishes that will reflect the chef’s Caribbean origins and his experiences growing up in the restaurant owned by his parents.
Executive Chef Joel Hassanali
Small tastes of a number of desserts were brought to the table – – fluffy coconut cake, enhanced by an infusion of coconut syrup and fresh coconut, and small parfaits presented in a decorative serving piece that held them up like horses on a merry-go-round.
Coconut cake and parfait-like dessert choices
These delicious bites included French Silk Chocolate Mousse, Tiramisu, Lemon Meringue and Salty Caramel Mousse. Everything is made in-house, down to the artistically decorated dark and white chocolate candy pieces atop some desserts that looked as though they popped out of a Godiva box.
I opted for the lemon meringue, a newcomer to the regular menu, and a particular favorite of the chef’s. I thought I noticed shreds of toasted coconut in my first spoonful, but soon realized my taste buds were not confirming what my mouth was feeling. Thin shreds of lemon zest were punching up the tartness to balance out the sweetness. Digging deeper into the glass cup, I discovered another surprise – – cheesecake filling.
Negotiating with the other guests for a taste of their desserts, was not an option. Clearly my dinner partners had fallen in love at first bite. Seems as though I’ll have to return for more taste testing. As if I needed an excuse…
Photo credit: Cary Pollak
October 8, 2014
Special to DC Metro Theater Art
Photo credit – Jordan Wright
For many years Ferran Adria’s now shuttered elBulli held the title of “The Best Restaurant in the World”. Since then the fiercely sought after accolade has gone to his former student Rene Redzepi, Chef/Owner of Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark. Four years ago Redzepi’s publisher Phaidon sent me a copy of his coffee table size cookbook. “Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine”, which at the time I included in my “Best Cookbooks of 2010”. The book continued my interest in the science and artistry of elegantly prepared wild foods. In 2002 I’d read French chef and forager extraordinaire Michel Bras’s book “Essential Cuisine” and saw how a Michelin-starred chef could elevate wild local plants, locally caught seafood and humanely raised animals to their highest culinary purpose while at the same time employing a flower-strewn, naturalistic style.
A grazer since childhood, I munch on violets, honeysuckle and the early blossoms of the redbud tree. And if I’m lucky enough to find them I still chomp on wild ramps, dandelion leaves and the tender watercress that pops up along small streams and culverts in the spring. I consider it homeopathic and secretly believe it’s what keeps me from seasonal allergies.
Tarver King is a chef who answers the call of the wild too. When we first met he was cooking at the Ashby Inn in Paris, Virginia where he wedded molecular gastronomic techniques to simple, local ingredients and spent many hours putting up jars of glistening cantaloupe jelly, pickled vegetables and berry jams from ingredients he picked from the bounty of a small garden behind the inn.
Chef Tarver King
After gaining experience in such legendary kitchens as The French Laundry, Le Bec Fin, The Inn at Little Washington and the Woodlands Inn & Resort in South Carolina. King now has found is roost in the kitchen at the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm where he is the architect of the menu. Using the bounty from owner Beverly Morton Billand’s vegetable and herb gardens, wildcrafting “weeds” and morels from the nearby woods and sourcing from the 40-acre farm where Billand raises chickens, ducks and beef cattle, he has a myriad of options at his command, including fish from the sustainable catches of local East Coast fishermen.
King’s commitment to local, seasonal and organic, as well as his compelling artistry has not gone unnoticed by the industry. He was named “Grand Chef” of the year by Relais and Chateau, received the RAMMY award as “Chef of the Year” 2013 and this year earned the coveted title of “Best Chef – Mid-Atlantic” from the James Beard Foundation.
Reflecting his keen attention to land, sea and farm, the menu is divided into “Found”, heavier on seafood, “Grown”, some meat but largely paleo, and “Raised”, which leans more towards meat protein. Each affords the diner with amuses bouche, noted as “snacks”, and a five-course progression menu of the chef’s design.
Snacks before dinner – Gougeres – Beet Cream
Some of the menu’s descriptors – smoked kraut, cicely gastrique, lambs quarters, sorrel soda, chicory root custard and hyssop ice cream – reveal the adventure.
Seared Wahoo with ramp chimichurri
King, who spends three days a week cooking and the rest experimenting, started us off with delicate gougeres and a beet cream toast, followed by Scallop Mi-cuit, a semi-cooked scallop enhanced by creamed corn, chanterelle puree, and lambs quarters, a wild edible. Crispy Shrimp is sauced with cicely gastrique, ratatouille puree, fennel fronds and mustard cream – each element contributing to the nuanced whole of the dish. My dinner partner who opted for “Raised” was busy devouring the Pork Fried Chicken with whey and mustard butter, smoked kraut and pole beans, which preceded Beef Cheek with whipped grits, grilled beets, horseradish and nasturtium leaves. A happy carnivore, indeed.
Beef Cheeks with whipped grits and nasturtium leaves
The dining room is an enormous brick-paved, all-glass greenhouse (sans plants). A separate white-tented space for outdoor dining features a view of the river and Harpers Ferry Bridge beyond and is decorated with nosegays and candles. Very romantic.
Chicory root custard with cocoa nib crumble, puffed rice and whipped fromage blanc
Courses came swiftly delivered by attentive and gentile wait staff, who re-described each dish as it was set forth. We finished a spectacular evening of gastronomic delights and surprises with a lovely Silver Needle Jasmine white tea from local purveyor Shab Row Tea Emporium in nearby Frederick, Maryland.
Reservations, of course. www.PatowmackFarm.com
Cary Pollak for Whisk and Quill
August 17, 2014
The first Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop opened in Wilmington, Delaware in 1976. Lois Margolet and her brother Alan started their business in Wilmington’s Little Italy section, but it was turkey that put them on the map. Building their menu around the freshly roasted bird set them apart from the many sandwich shops in the area, and soon they were beating the stuffing out of the competition. Today there are more than 105 company-owned and franchise locations in 14 states across the country. Their unique menus feature subs in three sizes, as well as sandwiches and salads comprised of various meats, cheeses and vegetables. Highlights among their offerings include three types of spicy peppers and vegetarian options with soy-based meat substitutes.
“Bobbie” Sub sandwich
Capriotti’s second location in the Washington Metro area (in addition to the shop at 18th and M Streets, NW in the District) opens on August 25th at 11:00 am at 1500 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. The first 100 patrons in line will receive a free “Bobbie” sandwich, with the first 50 of those also receiving certificates for “Bobbies” for a year. This “Thanksgiving on a Roll” sub sandwich is the most popular item on the menu and consists of slow-roasted turkey, their special recipe cranberry sauce and an herbed dressing (Northerners know it as stuffing), and mayo. This comfort food combo is known as Vice President Joe Biden‘s favorite sandwich, and has earned “Best Of” awards in Las Vegas, San Diego, Delaware, Dallas and other cities around the country.
L to R : Joe Combs, Director of Operations.
Paul Rothenburg, Rosslyn BID. George Vincent, Jr.,the owner.
Jordan Schneider, Director of Catering
George Vincent, Jr. is the 33 year-old local businessman who introduced Capriotti’s to the DC area, and he plans to open a dozen outlets in the next two years. Mr. Vincent is off to a good start and clearly intends to earn our thanks, giving us some of the best and most interesting sandwiches available in the metro area. For more info visit www.capriottis.com.
Photo credit to Cary Pollak
July 1, 2014
Photo credit Jordan Wright
Special to the Alexandria Times
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
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
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 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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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…
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
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
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
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.