My wife and I have been enjoying watching Season 7 of Top Chef. First, we love the show. Second, we cooked and dined around MD, DC and VA for 17 years between the two of us.
We just finished watching (online) Episode 5, “Farm Policy.” This episode features two of our favourite things from Virginia, Ayrshire Farm and Patrick O’Connell (the “patron saint” of the Inn at Little Washington).
If you love organic, locally-sourced foods, visit Ayrshire Farm (including Hunter’s Head Tavern and their classic butcher’s shop in Middleburg — where we used to live). If you love animals, visit Ayshire’s animal fair in November (in the house that Ulysses S. Grant built for his granddaughter).
If you love the combination of beautifully-balanced flavour, ingredients, execution and country style, visit the Inn at Little Washington. Hint 1: Call for reservations exactly 30 days in advance, by 10am. Hint 2: See if you can get the Captain’s Table (usually requires one year of planning). Hint 3: Take your coffee and petit fours outside in the garden. Hint 4: Ask to see the kitchen (and take a look at the magnetic induction burners). In all, a wonderful experience.
BTW, if you are in Little Washington, go down and buy a pound (of five) of coffee at Central Coffee Roasters (dark beans, not black—but dark brown, with the oil and roasting date and time of day still on them). I used to buy my coffee here every month. (Hint: try their Central American roasts)
A friend of mine in in St. Tropez this week. It reminded me of a place my wife (then newly my fiancé) stayed 12 years ago: Christophe Leroy’s Les Moulins de Ramatuelle.
The setting is wonderful (we now own dining chairs that were made to look very similar to these). The food — dinner and breakfast — is amazing (especially in the freshness of the ingredients). The one word of caution: get a room farther from the kitchen (so you can go to sleep before 3am). Otherwise enjoy!