The Hungry Women are back!!!!
Well, no need to remind everyone that we just got hit by snowmaggedon. Trying to watch that amount of snow melt equals to watching paint dry at this point.
However, look at the bright side, only 56 days to Spring! In the meantime, and since everyone must have cabin fever by now, we figured we might as well give you some good reading material J.
Two weeks ago, Sherry and I took a trip to Little Washington, VA. Her childhood friend Melissa had invited us to stay at The Inn (http://www.theinnatlittlewashington.com/) and have dinner with her and her husband Dick. Sherry had done a ton of research prior the trip, and may I say that she must had teased me every single day about the menu and the extensive wine list, for 2 weeks straight. I swear she probably knew the entire menu by heart by the time we hit the road.
Since the trip was about 2 hours and 30 minutes, we decided to let the camera roll as we are pretty good at entertaining ourselves with no help from the outside world:
We arrived at the Inn around 4:30PM. Melissa and Dick were already there in the lounge area, having cocktails while waiting on us. Upon our arrival, the dream began. We got greeted by a few door men, with the cutest outfits, which almost made you feel that you just took a trip in the past instead of VA.
After taking my car keys and asking our names, they told us “we got it from here, please go inside where you will be greeted and redirected to the monkey bar”. Everyone that knows me has to know by now that I am a control freak, I am usually the one who says “I got this”, but not this time. I happily relinquished control and decided that it was time to let them pamper Sherry and I.
You are probably thinking by now; did she say Monkey bar?? no real monkeys there, wall paper filled with Monkeys, and a little stuffed one, greeting everyone on their way in.
The nice Maitre D took charge as soon as we entered The Inn and proceed to take us on a tour by taking us to the Monkey Bar first and offered us a glass of Champagne:
Walking through the Monkey Bar to the lounge area, we found Melissa and Dick surrounded by little treats, drinks and people waiting on them making sure that they had everything they need. Sherry and I sat down and I got to meet these wonderful people for the first time. We chatted a while (while we were waited on like Queen Elizabeth (who was personally served by Chef Patrick O’Connell while visiting Virginia may I add (http://www.theinnatlittlewashington.com/patrick-oconnell.shtml ))).
Since our dinner reservation was at 7:30pm, we decided to go up to our room and change while checking out the opulence of that enchanted place:
No words could describe how well The Inn was decorated and made you feel at home, which is why a video would show best our reaction to our room:
Overwhelming happiness took over all of our senses, I usually suck at selfies, but that picture describes our mood the best!
We came back down and met our friends in the dining area, our hearts pounding with palpitations, knowing that Julia Child had her 90th birthday party at The Inn. Personally, I would have LOVED to have been part of THAT celebration (https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/entertaining-tips-from-the-renowned-owner-of-the-inn-at-little-washington/2015/04/20/4c5f191a-e2cb-11e4-b510-962fcfabc310_story.html).
After sitting down, I was tasked with choosing a bottle of wine, the pressure was on! Going through the 87 pages of outrageously expensive and most fabulous wines I have seen in a long time, I settled for a bottle of Chateaux the Fieuzal 2004 Premiere Cru Classe 2004 for the itty bitty price of $105 a bottle (trust me, for that place, that is a very decent bottle of wine, average being in the $300’s, highest being $10,000!!!!).
While waiting on the wine, they brought over popcorn with shaved black truffle on top!!!!!
I will let Sherry take over the description of our meal:
After the black truffle popcorn, we were treated to several small appetizers including a pimento cheese small bite, a very southern treat which reminded me of my second mom, Helen Dudley’s recipe, highly revered by all who knew her.
A velvety hot pepper soup with a sambucca cheese ball arrived next. It was delightful!
The “tin of sin” : American Osetra Caviar with Peekytoe crab and cucumber rillette.
I have to take a moment to wax eloquent describing the “mousse of foie gras in a golden egg shell” served with sauternes gelee and a blood orange preserve. How can a chef create such a delicate, whimsical dish? How do you cut the egg so perfectly and then fill it with the light and airy mousse? This is food artistry at its most refined. A triumph!
The carpaccio of herb crusted Elysian Fields baby lamb loin with “ceasar salad ice cream” shows you how creative and improvisational this chef can be. If this dish were music it would be avant garde jazz.
Melissa bravely chose the chilled veal tongue with pickled root vegetables with horseradish ice cream. I am not sure what we expected, but it was very flavorful.
I chose the grilled endive and bosc pear salad with pomegranate viniagrette. It was the only thing that didn’t wow me.
Another selection off of the vegetarian menu was chosen by Melissa. It was a raviolo of spinach with a bantam egg yolk and white alba truffles. Decadent!
My favorite offering was the sweet and sour Nantucket bay scallops with Shishito peppers! The perfect melding of flavors was exquisite! Definitely my favorite thing!
Next, came the filet of Antarctic sea bass with lemon vodka sauce served with Lilliputian shrimp and pork dumplings…….so fresh and prepared perfectly.
Now we should mention that the portions were so mathematically prepared that you’d be surprised to know that we were not stuffed!
Dessert was in order!
Before we even ordered, they brought us this to cleanse our palette, a delicate sorbet in a bed of short bread cookie crumbs (Chef O’Connell, you can cleanse my palette anytime ):
We then ordered a trio of custards, Lemon Posset, Butterscotch Panna Cotta and Chocolate Pot de Creme, they were all great, however, Sherry and I agreed, the Panna Cotta was our favorite:
Then arrived the Chocolate, Caramel and Hazelnut Tartlet with Olive Oil Ice Cream (sounds weird doesn’t it, don’t be fooled, it is delicious, how the heck does one come up with that stuff!)
Followed by the Southern Butter Pecan Ice Cream Sandwich with Bittersweet Chocolate and Hot Caramel Sauce (I bet you anything that you probably already read that twice, I know I did and I am writing it!):
We must say that it is extremely rare in any restaurant to have the entirety of your meal served at the most perfect temperature, including the wine. Chef O’Connell and your staff: we bow down to you and yours.
Stuffed and happy, and while the staff knew that the Hungry Women were in the house (a good word from Melissa helped too), we were taken on a tour to the kitchen were all the magic happens:
Let me pause for a moment and explain the picture below. These are the kitchen seats, 2 separate tables in front of the fireplace overlooking the cooks, which is called the Inner Sanctum. You can reserve these seats for the very affordable price of $395 for 4 people (yes I am being sarcastic, and yes that is just to reserve your spot there, has nothing to do with your dinner). If it wasn’t for the price, I would personally love to be served there, especially looking over the shoulder of whoever is making that egg that was served as an appetizer.
At that point, we are officially STUFFED and decided that it was time to call it a night, already anticipating what they would have in store for us for breakfast.
Sherry fell in love with her sheets (she actually pulled her iPad, looked at the tag and found out that the name of the manufacturer was Garnier Thiebaut, France), and we came back to life around 7am.
After showering, we decided to take a tour of the town since our friends were still checking out the back of their eyelids. Very tiny place, we also heard that Chef O’Connell owns actually most of it. Here is the scenery of what we found around (they have their own garden, Lamas and Sheep!).
During our stroll, we were greeted by a very friendly (fat) cat that followed us around for a while (I was very tempted to take him home!):
We came back to the Inn and sat down for breakfast while waiting for Melissa and Dick to join us.
We started with tea (passion fruit and Chef O’Connell’s own blend of green and black tea):
The place settings, the silverware and any other details on the table are just breathtakingly beautiful, no wonder I kept snapping pictures.
A few words on the following picture: these are homemade jams and honey (each of them is described in the menu above), I can’t tell you which one was my favorite, I loved them all, so did Sherry.
The juices! Oh the Juices! Cantaloupe and Vanilla, Ginger and Carrot (I was surprised how much I loved that one!), Pineapple and Orange, Blood Orange and Grape Fruit. I was so glad that we each had our own set because there was no way I was sharing this with anyone, not even Sherry!
Now this…..nothing unusual about the berries, but that white thing in the middle, is supposed to be a homemade Greek Yogurt. I want that cow, and I want that recipe because I swear, I never tasted a Greek Yogurt like this one, that was more like Creme Fraiche to me !
Of course, I have to mention the Croissants, we are very picky about our croissants because of our friend Chef Jessica Knudsen. Jessica, they would make you proud!
These are Sherry’s final words: In my 57 years, I must say that I have never had an experience more perfect than the Inn at Little Washington. It is as if every star aligns, every morsel of food trumps the last and the attention to detail is flawless. The wait staff is attentive but never intrusive. Your every wish is met with courtesy and a real desire to please. It is like you were invited to the finest European country estate for dinner but it is balanced with American comforts.
If you ever have the chance to spend the night or the weekend at this fabulous retreat, do not hesitate. A visit to the Inn should be on everyone’s bucket list. It is what dreams are made of.
If I had to put my two cents, I would first ditto what Sherry just said. I felt like they kept giving us presents (I think the only thing they didn’t do is massage my behind, other than that, PERFECTION). But, unfortunately, Perfection is pricey! but worth this experience of a life time. Special shout out to Melissa and Dick who made it extra special!
We promise we won’t stay away too long!
See y’all soon!
Sherry and Aida, The Hungry Women.