Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Local Restaurants- Part 2. Palladio + Our Engagement

Palladio Restaurant is part of Barboursville Vineyard in Barboursville Virginia. The restaurant being named after Andrea Palladio who greatly influenced the design of the family's estate. Set in idyllic central Virginia and surrounded by lush rolling hills it makes for a beautiful peaceful get away. I'm lucky to say I grew up in the same county that plays host to this beautiful locale along with many others such as President James Madison's Montpelier and The Inn at Willow Grove.

June 21st 2013. MBM and I had planned to each take off a half day and meet in Fredericksburg VA, we had tickets to a dinner theater that he had bought me for my birthday back in April. Earlier that week he asked me if I could take the whole day off, and we'd make a day off it and head to the vineyard for wine tasting and lunch and a nice walk around the ruins. I had an inkling something was up, but dismissed it because he had been talking about not having alot of savings recently, so he must have just wanted to go all out for my late birthday celebration.
Our reservation was for noon (the earliest they open for lunch) so we showed up around 11 and got started with the wine tasting. (we figured that was the best idea since we still had to drive 20 minutes back to my parents and then 30 more to the theater). We only got through the whites and blush but even with that- he found a favorite in the Sauvignon blanc and I found two that I loved: A lightly oaked Chardonnay- I usually hate oaky chardonnay but this was beautiful; just a hint of that warmth from the wood in a wonderfully light wine, and the Blush- which is unlike any blush I've ever had; a warm, dry more red taste rather than the overly sweet taste of most wines in this category. But alas we never got to the reds. It was time for our lunch reservation. (we plan to go back in the near future to finish our tasting).
We decided to go all out and get the four-course lunch, the hard part was deciding what to get for each course. We ordered a bottle of MBMs favorite Sauvignon Blanc and were surprised with a glass of their new Brut to start. Apparently theyre not allowed to call it Champagne because they do not use typical grapes from the Champagne province in France. I have to say I have NEVER liked champagne unless it was served in a mimosa or a bellini until I tasted their Brut. I don't even know how to describe it other than just saying its light and bubbly and delicious! 

I apologize for not remembering all of what MBM had for lunch. Ill include my dishes and what I remember of his though.

Appetizer: Me- Seared Sea Scallops with Fava Bean Puree, Honey and Microgreens. My scallops were cooked perfectly with not a grain of sand to be found and a beautiful rich seafood flavor, the only bit of crunch came from the microgreens that were surprisingly peppery and contrasted nicely with the honey and fava bean. My first time eating both fava beans and microgreens- big thumbs up to both. Him- Assorted Charcurterie with accompanying condiments. He couldn't stop raving about the meats; three types of prosciutto and two types of pate including beef, duck and pork- each with its own condiment ranging from from infused mustard to apricot preserves.

First Course: Me- Potato Gnocchi with Braised Goat and Cheese Crisps. Oh My gosh- Goat is my new favorite meat. Another thing I had never had before I decided to take a chance. It. Was. Amazing. A little gamey (which personally I like) and incredibly tender- the broth warmed your soul and the gnocchi were perfect little pillows of potato which contrasted beautifully with the crisps.The only downside was picking out diced pickled red onion because of my intense hatred of onion, but it did not detract from my love of the dish at all.

Second Course: Me- Pork Cheeks in Gravy with Pea Puree and Caramelized Carrots, Topped with Crispy Potato Straws. As I told MBM, those potato straws need to be patented and sold in stores everywhere. They're like potato chips but like a billion times better! Never before had I eaten something that sounded as weird as Pork Cheeks. But I am so glad I was taking chances this day- they are all the things you love about pork but better. They are beyond tender- in the way that a well cooked Pot Roast is tender, it just falls apart with your fork. If you could manage to get a bit of everything onto your fork for a bite, it was pure heaven. (Well I don't know about with the carrots... I don't like carrots either).

Dessert: Tiramisu. Me- When tiramisu is on the menu- is there any other choice!? Coffee and Cocoa powder and marscapone with dollops of vanilla and raspberry sauce on the plate to dab each bit into. Beautiful, and with the ability to make the taste slightly different from one to the next, Love. Him- Creme Brulee with Madeleines and coffee. Creme Brulee is his go to dessert as much as mine is Tiramisu. He said it was fantastic- creamy with the perfect bit of crunch from the caramelized top.

After lunch we went for a walk up to the ruins of the old Barbour family mansion and then through the field and woods behind it (Star marks the spot!!). It was then that he started rambling. Talking about everything we've done together over the past year and a half plus. He was quite nervous which was cute, and I finally clued in that I had been right in the beginning- something was up! When he dropped down to one knee I was shocked and overwhelmed by emotion. Maybe it's cliche but I couldn't help it- one hand flew to cover my mouth as it hung open in disbelief and the tears began to well up in my eyes. I didn't start crying right away- because I was giggling slightly at his inability to get the ring out of his pocket. Following that was an enthusiastic yes, and a good deal of hugging and kissing, and of course staring at my ring in happiness and shock. He did a wonderful job surprising me and the ring is exactly what I wanted. I am blessed to have him as my fiance and to be planning a life with the most wonderful man I have ever met.



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