I’m jealous

Totally jealous.

One of my dear darling friends is starting a website that I totally wish I had done myself!

http://drinkfxbg.blogspot.com/  – The plan is to review Fredericksburg, VA’s great watering holes. A sort of where’s where of downtown Fred, with thoughts from several contributors who will consider the merits of the locale’s atmosphere, beerosphere, and general sphereosphere.

It’s probably going to be mostly brew-focused, which may leave poor Perky out. Unless I can suddenly muster an enthusiasm for beer? Unlikely. Extremely unlikely.

But I do hope to be a family-friendliness critic! So keep an eye out, follow the page. Drink FXBG is also on Facebook – follow them! I just might pop up with my best tips for diaper changes during happy hour!

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Tasty Thai

Last night, M and I went to one of our favorite restaurants, Tarntip Thai.

Located on Route 1, Tarntip is close to UMW, nestled in the midst of a few other shops. M and I have been here probably 4 times now, and we have not been disappointed a single time.

I always start with the Curry Puffs. Two crispy pastries filled with curry paste, chicken, peas, and potatoes. These are served hot, with a cucumber raita, and carrot garnish. They are always delicious. I do occasionally wish there was a dipping sauce to match them, but they are good on their own. 

I usually get the Beef Kapow – a medium spicy dish where you choose your protein, and it is served with basil, red and green peppers, and cooked in a delicious broth. It also comes with white rice.

M varies his choices – he enjoyed the won ton soup last night and a deep fried seafood special: crab, shrimp, and squid. It was served with a thick garlicky sauce, and he (no surprise) cleaned his plate. He has also had Tom Yum, extra spicy please, and Lad Na.

Overall, Tarntip is a great place for a quick, consistently delicious meal. The service is always good, and the food comes out quickly. Unfortunately Tarntip never has a crowd there, but hopefully they continue to serve Fredericksburg for many more years!

Blue & Grey Brewery

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Fredericksburg is (fortunately for us!) in a great spot for people who like wine, bourbon, and brews. We have many nearby wineries, distilleries, and breweries.

Last night, M and I went to Blue & Grey for dinner. M had a coupon from Restaurants.com, and it was Happy Yappy hour. Dogs were welcome – we did not bring ours because Pickles skews more towards tazmanian devil clown dog than well-behaved quiet dog, and Chutney would be terrified at the number of inanimate objects, much less people.

Blue & Grey is a little out-of-the-way, but it has a nice outdoor eating area and a decent-sized interior space. The weather was phenomenal Thursday, so we ate outside.

 

M got Blue & Grey’s Stonewall Stout and Falmouth American Pale Ale. He prefers the APA, which is more of a refreshing summer beer. I had Reisling (I forgot which one!).

M ordered the Black & Blue steak, which is smothered in a creamy gorgonzola portabello mushroom cream sauce, and served with a side of delicious creamy mashed new potatoes. His steak was good, and he cleaned his plate. Which he always does, but still. This dish is also recommended to pair with Stonewall Stout.

 I had the Shepherd’s pie, which was essentially a deconstructed shepherd’s pie with a tiny lamb chop on top. The sauce for the meat was really good, and the potatoes were phenomenal. We both agreed, however, the chef seemed to be a corn-fanatic. The sheer quantity of corn kernels was a bit overwhelming.

Overall, we enjoyed our food. We liked seeing (well-behaved) dogs, and speculated Pickles will be society-friendly when he’s approximately 12. Chutney will need massive quantities of doggie anxiety meds.

Capital Ale House

Last night, I was itching to go out for dinner. I had absolutely no preference – really, my suggestions were Chipotle, Ruby Tuesday, Chinese, Indian, Thai, noveau American…. all over the place.

We wound up going to Capital Ale House, located on the main happening street downtown. On Mondays, CAH does Burger Night! We both opted to do the special. M got a beer, I got a glass of wine, both slightly discounted due to Happy Hour. We also ordered a side of fries.

The burgers themselves were delicious! Smothered with cheddar, and sandwiched in a pillowy golden delicious bun. M also opted for jalapenos on his, and made a nice festive sandwich. Image

I love randomly going downtown, just the two of us, and especially when it is still light out We were in and out in about an hour, and had plenty of time to come home and keep enjoying the daylight!

Oh my Yum…

I skipped lunch today and purposely drove home after work starving, tummy-growling hungry. Why? Because I knew my dinner of left-overs was going to be amazing.

Last night, M & I went to Peter Chang‘s, a restaurant that opened in Fredericksburg a couple of weeks ago.  First, I’d like to roll my eyes at M’s failure to communicate: I was fully expecting another Chinese buffet or Hibachi: Fredericksburg clearly needs more of those.

Our server’s name was Susie, and she was great. She was attentive, pleasant, and gave us some background on the dishes (served in clay pots the same way they are served in the markets in China).  She also mentioned, unfortunately, that most people are asking for the General Tso’s chicken. This is NOT a Gen. Tso’s kind of place. If that’s what you want….head to Fortune’s or order some takeout.

The restaurant is wide and open, and had a steady flow of diners. The me

nu is pretty substantial, broken down by appetizers, soups, types of meat, noodles & rice.   And….it has puffed pancakes.

Puffed Pancakes!The size of his head!

 

A puffed pancake is kind of like Roti on crack. It’s basically thin layers of dough pressed together, then dropped into super-high heat, and the end result is a hollow, magical balloon of deliciousness. You pop it, tear it into pieces, and dip it into a nice yellow curry sauce (not spicy). The dish comes with two puffs, and probably should be split between 3-4 people. M & I managed to kill ours, of course.

This puff was the perfect way to start off: it reminded me of traipsing around Malaysia on a hot muggy night with M’s Grannie yelling directions in Hokkien to find the best late-night Roti spot. It’s a fun, happy, inclusive type of food.

M ordered a cilantro-fish springroll. Another dish meant to share (seeing a theme?), these were thing, cigar-shaped eggrolls stuffed with cilantro and seafood. M enjoyed them, but they could use a sauce for dipping/moisture. Cilantro-fish Egg Roll

For our entrees, we knew the dishes are meant to be shared, but we both wanted different things. M got a clay pot of mixed seafood in spicy black

Seafood

bean sauce. It was one Pepper on the menu and was a pleasingly tingly spice level. The seafood included shrimp, squid, fish, and scallops, as well as garlic cloves, mushrooms, and red peppers. A warm, soupy family.

 

I got a two-Pepper dish – Chicken with Onion and Chili served in a strainer-type basket over a flame. You stir every 2 minutes until the flame goes out, keeping it hot and making it fun! This dish had a nice burn that sticks to your lips, but is slightly addictive. That “but it hurts so good!” kind of deal. Spicy Chicken

We both had fried rice for our sides – well made, a nice blend of soy, veggies, and well-cooked rice. And Diet Pepsis. We were being boring on the drinks.

Friends, be warned: I am going to demand this place for my birthday dinner in October.

April – a Whirlwind of Wheeeee

M and I spent a lot of time out and about this April.

We went to Happy Hours almost every week, dinners together, and lots of time with friends.

Much of that time involves Kybecca – we met our new favorite bartender, Eugene, on a slow Friday night.

 

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He shakes drinks faster than your eyes can follow, and is personable and pleasant.

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He mixed up an amazing whiskey and elderflower drink for M,

Orange Fizzand a creamy orange fizz for me.

 

 

We also went to Mussel Mondays at Kybecca. Each Monday, mussels are all you can eat and come cooked in two different broths.  The broths change every week from a spicy chorizo tomato broth to a creamy buerre blanc. M managed to eat 72 mussels in one evening, an astounding and disgusting gastronomical feat!

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We are moving on to May, and it is already off to a great start!

Restaurant week continues…

Friday night, we met up with our great friends JS & MS.

We had reservations at 730 at Ristorante Renato, which none of us had ever been to before, despite many years living in town. Renato is an old-school Italian restaurant, and feels immediately familiar even on the first visit. The food is classic Italian, with lots of white wine sauces, marinara sauces, and veal dishes.We decided to warm up with some drinks – MS had a sav blanc, I had pinot grigio, and the boys… Well, M ordered a dirty martini. JS, for some reason, decided to order one as well. He had never had one before. He hates olive juice. The drinks were served, he tasted it and said “well, it’s certainly dirty…”  JS was a champ and managed to finish it, though.

We all agreed on the restaurant menu from the get-go. M and MS ordered Oysters Rockefeller, and JS and I ordered the mozzarella in carozzo.

Here’s the thing: MS & I joke that our husbands are interchangeable. JS is as picky as I am about food, and MS and M are both the adventurous eaters with similar “favorites”. MS and M prefer red wine and seafood, JS and I are happy with sweeter white wines and basic chicken dishes. A double date match made in heaven!

Anyhoo, MS and M both really liked their Oysters. M said he liked this oyster dish better than True Luv, but only because Renato gave him two oysters instead of one. J and I both agreed the mozzarella was good, but we also wish the sauce had been thicker or poured on right before serving. The breading sat in the white wine sauce and of course got a little soggy. Sometimes the crunch is the best part, and I did miss that.

For entrees, MS and M both got tilapia with crabmeat, which was served as a generous portion. JS ordered the cheese ravioli, which looked wonderful and had perfect pillows of pasta. I ordered the Pollo Milano, breaded chicken in white wine sauce. It was accompanied by pasta with marinara sauce, which was perfect to cut through the white wine. We all cleared our plates!

For dessert, we decided to each get one of the three options. We asked our waitress to explain the Spumoni – she advised it was an ice cream dish with cherry, strawberry, and something blue. But DEFINITELY not pistachio. Maybe blueberry.

So of course, when the Spumoni arrived….the “blue” layer was bright green, pistachio, and had slivers of pistachios throughout. We thought it was hilarious, and while I’m not a fan of pistachio, it was still quite well made. M and JS ordered the cappucino panna cotta, and MS had the cannoli. The cannoli was small and had a pleasant cinnamon taste.

Afterwards, we trekked out into the cold and went a block down to Castiglia’s. Castiglia’s is another Italian restaurant that recently had an amazing renovation to a chic, modern, upscale neighborhood bar and restaurant. We squeezed into a table at the back and the boys had a beer, MS had another wine, and I had a Ciroc Chic (Ciroc, pineapple, pomegrante, twist of lime). We sat and talked, laughed, and caught up.

We had a delicious meal, but the company of great friends makes anything memorable and more fun.

http://images.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=Ristorante+Renato&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&docid=f5eMR70Toyzs7M&tbnid=f4GAYrR0y5eBAM:&ved=0CAUQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffredericksburg.com%2FNews%2FFLS%2F2011%2F042011%2F04142011%2F618644&ei=sQFJUejbHq2r2AWcxYBY&bvm=bv.44011176,d.b2I&psig=AFQjCNHVG3n6zryGvNFRE5KtFy1VqrVSYQ&ust=1363825453437098

Restaurant Week in Fredericksburg!

It’s a lovely time of the year! Our downtown restaurants offer 3 course dinners for $20.13.

M and I went to Kybecca first.  He had an appetizer of cuttlefish and sausage, followed by beet salad, and then braised pork cheeks. M also tried the wine flight. He enjoyed his food overall. The beet salad was a bit too large of a portion for him. I thought the braised pork cheeks would benefit from a sauce or jus of some sort. It was very fatty, which is great, but a bit dry.   The menu didn’t offer anything appealing to me, so I picked the hummus plate and the garlic truffle double-fried fries off the regular menu. The hummus needed a lot of salt, but was fresh and clean. The fries are addictive, and served with a cilantro aoli. A more acidic or stronger aoli would be wonderful – perhaps roasted red pepper. Fair warning: it’ll take a few days to get all that garlic out of your mouth!

M and I also went to True Luv’s, which is a lovely restaurant on the banks of the Rappahannock River. M had a fried oyster with caviar and a seafood risotto with scallop and shrimp. The risotto was creamy and well prepared. For dessert, he had a gingerbread cake with pumpkin ice cream, which he absolutely loved. I chose, from the regular menu, the fried chicken lollipops with clover honey and french onion soup. True Luv really has amazing frying techniques – we can’t decide if it’s the breading, the oil, or both. Their batter is always perfectly crispy, the meat wonderfully juicy, and just absolutely delicious. For dessert, I had a warmed chocolate cake with a healthy dollop of whipped cream. The cake was huge, but rich, moist, and delicious.

 

A great weekend about town

This was a great weekend.

Fredericksburg’s annual Wine Festival at Old Mill Park was this weekend. Husband and I went yesterday, Saturday. We were there about 5 hours, and got to hit each vineyard. My favorite wine was Westwood Farm‘s raspberry wine. It was delicious, great with chocolate, and I got a glass to end the day perfectly. We wandered around the booths and then sat on the banks of the Rappahannock river, talking and waiting out a quick drizzle. Before we left, we purchased three cheeses from Marshall Farms – white cheddar, garlic and parsley, and buffalo. They are SO good and will not last long in my fridge!

We came home and took a nice nap, then headed out to Taj, a brand new Indian restaurant right near us. The food was good – I had a Lamb Do Piazzo (spelling?), and Husbie got the buffet. He had three huge plates before he finally gave up. I had leftovers as well, but the sauce for my lamb was delicious. Spicy, but not overbearing – it was a cozy, warm dish that was perfect with the cooler temps of the evening.

Friday night, we went out with friends for a late night birthday celebration at Bonefish. Great company, great food, and amazing service from our waiter Matt. This is the second time we have had a large 10+ group there, and Matt has been attentive and wonderful each time! We passed a thank you on to his manager, so hopefully he gets a nice kudos!

Hope you had a great weekend!!

Restaurant Week 2012

Tuesday night was girls’ night – we made the plan to meet at Kybecca before realizing it was restaurant week. And somehow, only 1 of the 9 girls actually ordered off the restaurant week menu! Most of us got the panko goat cheese salad – a great spring mix with two balls of fried goat cheese. So good, but I think 1 extra goat cheese ball would send it over the top.

The best part of Kybecca, in my opinion, is the Xenomatic wine bar. You get a card, similar to a Metro trip card, and load it with any amount of money. Then, you put the card in the machine and pick a wine (they seem to have 20-30 at any time) and tasting size. It’s a great way to taste different wines and the process of it is fun. As far as the food and service, I find it somewhat inconsistent. We’ve ordered food before and gotten desserts with parchment paper still on the bottom, and lamb chops that were in three very different degrees of done-ness.

Then Wednesday, I met with L for a quiter lady date night while M was out of town. We went to Jake & Mike’s, which is one of my favoritest restaurants. I haven’t had a bad meal yet, and I’ve been there about 8 times. It’s even gotten the stamp of approval from my parents, who are foodies with high standards! Their goat cheese bruschetta is non-negotiable; you MUST order it. It comes out slightly different every time, but is always delicious. Then I had the spinach and goat cheese salad, with cranberries and walnuts; and the french dip sandwich, which is so good. It was perfect for a chilly winter night! L did the restaurant week menu, which had the same salad, a pan-grilled chicken breast with zucchini, and a grilled pound cake with dulce de leche drizzle and ice cream.

It’s a great restaurant; small, with great waiters and consistently great food. If you come to Fredbg, you MUST go to Jake & Mike’s!