Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Local Resturants- Part 1. Willow Grove

MBM and I have reservations for lunch at Palladio restaurant on Friday- which is part of the Barboursville Vineyards. Barboursville is part of the county he and I grew up in, is only 20ish minutes from my parents home, and plays host to the wonderful Four-County Players community theatre.

Thinking about our reservations made me realize I never posted a blog Raving about how wonderful our Thanksgiving dinner was last year!!

Long story short- It was going to be incredibly difficult to figure things out between both of our families for Thanksgiving, plus that weekend is the anniversary of when we met- SO we decided we would have a nice dinner alone at a nearby restaurant.


The Inn at Willow Grove is a former 18th century plantation home turned Inn sitting on 40 acres of beautiful lush green hills- in Orange County Virginia.

The Inn's restaurant named Vintage if fitting both for style and an impressive wine list.
Thanksgiving at Vintage was an event to say the least. Four courses were technically listed. Although the staff surprised everyone with an amuse bouche to start and a personal sized pumpkin pie to take with you at the end of the meal! (My apologies for not having foodporn photos to share).

We started off at the bar. A nice rich red wine for us to share and scotch for M. Seated at our table shortly there after we were presented with an impressive menu. I was nervous- I like to think I have a sophisticated palate sometimes- but theres so many things I dislike that fine dining with me can be an adventure.

The amuse bouche teaser was thanksgiving dinner rolled up into one bite. Turkey leg/stuffing/sweet potato confit with dressed with microgreens and cranberry preserves. I typically dont like sweet potato- or cranberry sauce- but this was so good you could taste each part- but then they blended together and it was just amazing.
For first course M had the charred beef, beet and horseradish parfait, while I got the Florida pink shrimp and corn chowder. The chowder was perfect. Sweet corn with well cooked shrimp and just hint of spice.
Second course was salad. M loves anything with blue cheese so naturally he got the frisse- he said the best part was the drunken raisins and the buttered rum dressing (which I tasted and I have to agree with him). I dislike blue cheese- the only thing worse in my book is onions so I was left with the spinach salad as a choice. It was good- but typical as far as salads go. (then again I did pick out the tomatoes and ate around the capers and most of the pine nuts- i have a weird fear of Pine Mouth Syndrome and wanted to be able to enjoy the rest of my meal! bizarre I know)
Course three was a hard choice. I really wanted the beef tenderloin- but chard-ew and tomato fondue- even more ew. I kinda felt like since it was Thanksgiving I should go with the traditional but then I wouldnt eat the sweet potatoes or the brussel sprouts, probably not the stuffing depending on what they put in it and gravy is just a huge no in my book. So I went with the Pork- I love corn and mashed potatoes so the only no go was the spinach (raw spinach-yum, cooked spinach-gross). Super tender meat, nice crispy coating on the outside. M had the fish- I remember him saying it was very good, and I certainly remember how good the orange buerre blanc smelled.
Dessert! M had the pumpkin-pecan pie because he LOVES pecan pie and even though hes not big on pumpkin the verdict was that it was terrific. I can vouch that the cinnamon ice cream with it certainly was! I had the Apple cider panna cotta and it perfectly captured the taste of apple pie with the creamy texture of panna cotta.

Dinner was followed by finishing up our wine on the veranda with the fire places blazing (It WAS November after all). A truly terrific time celebrating the holiday as well as what Ive come to refer to as our anniversary (Technically Nov 26th 2011 - two days after Turkey day is when we met).

Neither of us had this dish but so you can get your craving for a food pic in and I can entice you to visit this beautiful place here is a hint of their pretty an tasty food.


So we absolutely had a fantastic time. Its not something we can do often because $75/person prix fixe plus drinks and gratuities ended up being about $300 total, but its certainly a nice splurge for a fantastic meal- and I loved supporting a local establishment!! I am really hoping to make it back this year again! 

And Friday we will dining in yet another hometown gem, followed by a wine tasting and a tour of the Barboursville Ruins. I promise when I do the next Local recap Ill have pictures to share!

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