Cherry Blossom weekend in DC means one thing, at least for many residents of the city - get as far away from the tourists as possible, this involves avoiding Downtown, Georgetown, the National Mall, and well pretty much anywhere in the city where you see pink. I'm not a hater when it comes to tourists (except for those who don't stand to the right on the Metro escalators), I just like the city a little less hectic.
Escaping the city meant a day in Virginia's countryside, an hours drive West and you're in the middle of rolling hills playing host to farms and vineyards, which is where my friends and I took ourselves. For our first stop we found a 400 acre vineyard outside of Purcellville, Breaux Vineyards is one of the few Virginia vineyards that produces a wine I actually like, it's worth a visit for the Vidal Blanc alone. We didn't visit this vineyard by chance, it's close to The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm where we had reservations for their monthly Sunday Supper, a prix fixe family style dinner which is a little less expensive than the usual menu, but I can only imagine no less satisfying.
There's no choosing at Sunday Supper, everyone gets everything on the menu, which is a meal broken down into four components: snacks, appetizers, entrees and desserts - you could say the view is a fifth course, no other restaurant in the area can touch it, savor every moment.
Small bites of Stilton Funnel Cake with a Fig Mustard, and a Fermented Cabbage Cracker with a Caraway Aoili were served to us as we were deciding on our drinks, which happened to be a selection of cocktails including a table favorite of Fire & Smoke; a tequila cocktail with a mild heat and intense smokiness to it.
Appetizers were simple enough, a Baby Green Salad and a Cheese and Charcuterie plate. A farm fresh palate cleanser for the main attraction which we were all eager to try. There were five of us dining so the portions were split into two bowls of each, more than enough of a sampling to fill our plates and our stomachs.
I'm torn on which dish I'd say was my favorite, not that having a favorite is a requirement, but the crispy skin of the Roasted Pork Belly which melted the moment it hit your tongue and the Smoked Swordfish were the two I'd travel the 50 miles back for again. A surprise hit was the Sauerkraut, the addition of salty pork rinds might have helped make this so popular. The other two entree dishes were a Swiss Chard Risotto with Toasted Goats Milk (sans one portion) and a Whipped Grit with a drizzling of Wild Garlic Vinaigrette.
Rounding out our meal with dessert was Whipped Dark Chocolate and Candied Cashews, which was by far the best dessert, the crunch of the cashews provided a layer of texture to the fluffy, rich dark chocolaty chocolate, incredibly indulgent. We'd have gladly sacrificed the Mascarpone Zeppoles and Irish Coffee Macaroons for more of the whipped goodness.
Our experience wasn't without it's irks, at times we often wondered if we'd ever see our server again, and the tranquil setting was interrupted by some kitchen noise - perhaps that was our missing risotto, which came during dessert. Pro-tip: keep hold of one of the menus, they're custom to your table so the restaurant takes them from you while you eat, so not to spill on it, for you to take home clean. I like to read the descriptions of what I'm eating as I go along.
Patowmack Farm is affordable, generous and without doubt one of the most beautiful dining experiences I've ever enjoyed, we ended the evening by sipping cocktails on the gazebo overlooking the sprawling hills which made for a perfect close to the weekend. Almost forgetting that the office loomed over all of us the following morning.
Patowmack Farm, 42461 Lovettsville Road, Lovettsville, Virginia 20180
Photo Credit: Greg Fuller and Russell W. Warnick