I wanted to take you to Mt. Vernon, George Washington’s historic home on the Potomac River but the weather did not cooperate. We really enjoyed our one day stay in Alexandria, Virginia on our way to Florida… so much that we decided to stop on our way back to New England. We made a reservation for two days at the Lorien Hotel and Spa in Old Town Alexandria. We stayed at the hotel on the first night of our trip to Florida. I was looking forward to visiting George Washington’s historic home just a few miles away but it rained. It seems that we can’t escape the rain except on our driving days…they have been dry. As soon as we get to our next destination, the weather turns gloomy and wet.
What is a girl supposed to do. You know that I am a foodie and love finding great restaurants no matter where I am in the world. My only option is to continue to sacrifice my body to added pounds and find restaurants that I think you might enjoy if you visit the area.
As soon as we arrived at the Lorien, we went for a walk because it was our travel day and it wasn’t raining. Our hotel is on King Street, the major street in Old Town.
It is fun to stroll along King Street, looking into all the windows of the boutiques, antique shops and at the menus in the windows of the restaurants that line the street. We made a reservation at Vermilion for an early reservation the next evening…guess who took his wife there for Valentine’s dinner (the President). This trendy restaurant is a few blocks down the street from our hotel.
Just a block off King Street, you find wonderful historic homes. Many have been lovingly restored…others have building permits in their windows. Thank goodness people care about restoration in Alexandria.
Back on King Street, we stopped to check out a tiny storefront restaurant, Hank’s Oyster Bar.We had heard wonderful things about this restaurant’s oyster happy hour. After looking at their menu, we knew that we would be staying for dinner as well.
We were standing in front of their door just when they opened and got their prime window table. This little unassuming restaurant did not disappoint. The oysters were extremely fresh…the platter contained two varieties from the Virginia waterways and one variety from Prince Edward Island.
Our main courses were fresh seafood and they were prepared in a way that brought out their delicate flavors.
Grilled octopus, scallops and shrimp with a watercress, red onion and fennel salad was delicious as was the sautéed sea scallops with cauliflower fondue, sea beans and wild mushrooms. A small bowl of broken dark chocolate came with the bill.
It was raining the next day and Mt. Vernon was not in our future on this trip. Thank goodness for the internet. Within thirty minutes, we were heading to Falls Church, Va. for lunch at 2941 Restaurant which is owned by chef Bertrand Chemel. He grew up in France where he was classically trained and then moved to America where his mentor was Daniel Boulud. His cooking could be described as modern American with French and Mediterranean influences.
Maybe I should be doing a rain dance…in hopes of always finding such a great restaurant as the one we encountered on our rainy day. The dining room has a contemporary casual look with floor to ceiling windows looking out onto a beautiful wooded lake and small waterfall.
Lunch was great! We started with two “nosh” dishes…Labneh, a spiced ricotta and the black truffle mac and cheese croquettes.
Next was the “noodles” course. We had the forest delicacy which was wild mushrooms, parsnips and chervil topped with light sheets of pasta.
We also had the cheese raviolini with spiced cured duck leg.
We then had the “need” course. Foie gras topped veal tenderloin with sautéed spinach and sunchokes.
Also, lobster risotto with foie gras.
Finally the “naughty” course, a carrot cake with white chocolate cream cheese frosting with candied pecans.
When we returned to the hotel, we cancelled the reservation at Vermilion and decided to have a simpler dinner. We chose to stay at our hotel and dine at Brabo Tasting Room.
It was a great choice for a casual dinner. When we arrived, we were asked if we would like to sit at the communal table to avoid a wait and it was perfect. Everyone comments on all the dishes as they arrive at the table. We had two small plates to share for appetizers and a wood fired tart for the second course.
Every person that works at Brabo is so friendly and helpful and that makes for a great dining experience.
The perfect ending to a day all about food.
Hopefully, I’ll return to Alexandria sometime in the future and take you to Mt. Vernon.