The Weekly Whisk - 6/12/19

Musings from a foodie…

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to visit the “Northern Neck” of Virginia.  It’s a specific rural area of the state where a peninsula juts out into the Chesapeake Bay.  And, while you can sort of see the lights of DC and Baltimore late at night with the lights bouncing on the upper stratosphere, you are definitely in rural America. It’s a charming area and in particular, the town Irvington, Virginia is where you’ll find the Hope and Glory Inn [ * * * * ]. The owners are Peggy and Dudley Patterson – and, Dudley does exactly what Peggy asks him to do!  Each room in the bed and breakfast is like a small cabin with a small living room, a sitting area, as well as sleeping space.  And, the crème de la crème of the place is Meserata, the cook.  She hails from Addis, Ethiopia and she was exceptionally accommodating to all the culinary needs of our small group.  Peggy and Dudley are lucky to have her as part of their team. Besides, even though Dudley is a nice guy, I’m not sure he would cook as well. 

We started the evening with local roasted oysters with pesto sauce accompanied with soft bread mixed with thyme and tobacco (yes, you got it although I could not taste it). After lots of talkin’, discussin’, and assumin’ we moved on to the main course of rock fish and blue crab.  The fish was cooked to perfection and accompanied with lentils and peas. Meserata noted that the sauce had “Ethiopian spices” but she demurred and smiled when I asked which ones.  For starch there was a potato scallop.  Not to be forgotten were the carrots with dill – in a traditional French style, brussels sprouts with red pepper; and, asparagus steamed and braised with butter.  To top off the evening, Meserata prepared a crème brulee with fresh blackberries and, it was over the top wonderful!!!  As important as the meal was the presentation which was wonderful as well.  It’s truly an undiscovered foodie place and, after the meal, you can simply retire to your room for a nap!  I highly recommend it.  Call ahead and make reservations if you’re not staying there and, even if you are staying there, call ahead to make sure Meserata will be tending the culinary delights of the customers that evening.  After all, you probably don’t want Dudley to step in :-)   Enjoy…  Call ahead and check it out: Hope & Glory Inn – 65 Tavern Road – Irvington, VA 22480 – (804) 438-6053 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Weekly Whisk - 5/1/19

Musings from a foodie…

You’re not going to believe this!!  In Changsha, China I had the opportunity to participate in a literal “feast” which exceed my wildest imagination.  First, I’ve been to many Chinese “feasts” over the years.  But, this one topped the list.  We had dinner in a restaurant located at the Fire Palace Temple Fair which is renowned in Changsha as one of the oldest temple fairs in China. In fact, even to this day, Changsha is considered one of the cities which highlights the folk culture of Hunan and the rest of the nation. To that end we were invited to our evening at the First Palace Restaurant in the notable Mao Zedong Room, named after the founding leader of the People’s Republic of China. 

Let me say simply that a description of the fabulous – remember, “beyond imagination” – meal is simply not possible.  The setting was typical with a large room and a circular table seating 20 people with a constantly moving inner disk to keep the food circling the entire table ever so slowly but regularly. But, rather than describing the food, let me simply share the litany of courses we were offered since a description is not feasible unless the entire blog were devoted to food – which some of you may wish for :-) . Regardless, the menu consisted of: Fresh tofu with a rice broth for starters, Fat back bacon or, “Chairman Mao’s” favorite, Jelly fish, Shredded tripe, Steamed baby bok choy (in season for virtually every meal), Curried cauliflower, Orange shrimp, Chicken with mushrooms in a sweet and sour sauce, Lamb spare ribs – served on a plate adorned with a porcelain lambs head, Roasted white fish with spinach, Squash soup, Fried balls of dough drenched in honey, Spicy bacon and mushrooms, Fire beef in cumin sauce, Lotus root (also, in season), Fresh fruit; and, Fried rice donuts.  Whew!!!  If reading the list does not fill you up, I suggest that you purchase a ticket to Changsha and go to the Fire Palace Restaurant  [ * * * * * ]WuYi East Road 93 – Changsha, China - +86 (731) 8412 0580.  You will not be disappointed. 

The Weekly Whisk - 4/19/19

Musings from a foodie…

It’s not just down the street, across town or even in the next state over but, if you ever have the chance – make sure you visit Fakhreldin Restaurant in Amman, Jordan.  First, Jordan should be on your bucket list for a lot of reasons.  It’s got Petra – the city carved out of stone; Jerash, one of the only Greco-Roman cities, Wadi Rum with all of its pre-historic carvings out in a desert preserve, Mount Nebo where Moses saw the Promised Land – to say nothing about the wonderful people.  We were in the neighborhood (Dubai) and I suggested that we should stop by Jordan on the way home. 

One of the best restaurants in Jordan is Fakhreldin.  It was originally built and owned by Fawzi Al-Mulki, one of the first Prime Ministers of Jordan.  It offers up some of the most delicious Lebanese food I’ve ever tasted and now has the added distinction of growing its own herbs and spices onsite which are used in the various recipes that adorn the menu.  The starters of Hommous, Grilled Halloumi Cheese was served as a grilled appetizer with local olives.  It was absolutely great (J)! Next came the Fattoush Salad with cucumbers, lettuce, tomato – in a classic Arabic salad.  What a delight.  And, if that weren’t enough – we then proceeded to the obligatory lamb cutlets or Kastaleta with potatoes and tomatoes. Ummm.  I was in heaven.  And, you will be too if you have the opportunity to visit Jordan and the Fakhreldin Restaurant – a not to be missed treat in Central Amman.  Save the location: Fakhreldin Restaurant – Jabal – 1st Circle – Amman, Jordan - +962 (6) 4652 399 – www.fakhreldin.com

The Weekly Whisk - 3/19/19

Musings from a foodie…

An Incomparable Experience – Over the last couple of decades, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to visit some of the very finest restaurant establishments across the world.  I’m thinking Steirereck in Vienna, Da Dong in Beijing, D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, The French Laundry in Napa, Charlie Trotter’s before it closed or LaGavroche in London.  Each of these places – among many others – represents a site of artistic culinary cuisine that for those of us with taste buds can be a real-time dream in the midst of reality. So, my tastebuds were humbled when I recently had the opportunity to visit The Inn at Little Washington [ * * * * * *].  It’s been on my culinary bucket list for some time and I finally made it.  Whoa!  It was indescribable!! 

First and foremost the Inn provides a lesson in exquisite attention to detail.  From the table grooming to the silver change with each course to the close observation of the diners to the truly scrumdiliumpcious flavors of each and every course – it is worth every penny.  We started dinner with bell pepper source and a puffed muffin and quickly proceeded to Wellfleet oysters with glazed hollandaise sauce and caviar.  And, if that were not enough we went on to Hawaiian big eye tuna doused with a juniper and lime vinaigrette and truffle oil accompanied by fois gras served from the tin.  I lost myself for a moment as I swirled my bread throughout the tin to capture every last drop of oil.  We then moved on to scallops with a poached apple, currants and apple puree accompanied with a cashew curry sauce.  Beyond the two seafood entrees, we then went onto buffalo short ribs in a truffle sauce and again, fois gras (I was in heaven) with a millefeulle (multi-layered, very thinly cut potato baked with cheese – ay yi yi :-) .  And to finish off there was a decorative chocolate smore and a delicate white chocolate feather crafted for the finale.  What an evening… 

I won’t even go into breakfast the next morning when it started all over again with a perfect eggs benedict!!  What a dining experience.  As I said, “…worth every penny” and then some.  There is a reason that Chef Patrick O’Connell has garnered 30 consecutive years of AAA and 29 years of Five Diamonds.  I rank it as one of the very best of the best.  And, going back – after I save a few more pennies.  The Inn at Little Washington – Middle and Maine Streets – Washington, Virginia 22747 – (540) 675-3800 – www.theinnatlittlewashington.com.  Go for it.  You only live once!

The Weekly Whisk - 1/24/19

Musings from a foodie…

I must admit that I’m a sucker for pasta.  Sfoglina Pasta House [* * * * ] has several locations in the DC area and, if you’re so inclined to indulge, you should consider a visit.  It’s basically pasta heaven.  In fact, it’s the only thing I’ve ever had and, there are all types pastas on the menu – all of which are made in house.  Fabio Trabocchi is the founder learned from the Sfogline, who are the masters of pasta making in Italy.  He learned the craft and brought it to America.  You can’t go wrong.  Enjoy with family and friends.  Sfoglina Pasta House – 1099 New York Avenue, NW – Washington, DC  20001 – (202) 525-1402 – www.sfoglinadc.com

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