Well Dined

31Mar/150

Inn at Little Washington – Birthday Surprise

You guys - I have a computer again!  Yay!!!  We are still in the process of settling in, but I at least have a place to post from now.  Right before we moved was my 30th birthday, and I was kind of bummed because I had wanted to do a big trip to New York but the timing with the new house meant that we couldn't.  Jasper told me that he was going to plan a smaller trip to a surprise location, so right in the middle of packing we hopped in the car and head to... The Inn at Little Washington!  What a great surprise!

Well Dined | Inn at Little Washington

Welcome Cocktails

It also worked out nicely as a pre-anniversary trip because it was almost to our 5 year wedding anniversary!  I can't even believe it - time flies!

Well Dined | Inn at Little Washington

We arrived just in time for afternoon tea, which was lovely.  Both the sweet and savory bites were delicious and I love that they make all of their own accompaniments.  I had a delicious caramel tea that I ended up buying from the store because it was so good.

20Nov/140

Atelier Crenn – San Francisco

While we were in San Francisco visiting family, Jasper and I wanted to have a nice date night to ourselves to try one of the many Michelin rated restaurants.  We choose Atelier Crenn, a 2-star restaurant with a seasonal and locally sourced menu written in the form of a poem.  Yes, it is a little bit silly and pretentious to present your menu as a poem, but chef/owner Dominique Crenn seems to have some reasons for doing it.  Crenn hails from Versailles, France, where her father had a painting workshop (called an "atelier").  She considers her restaurant to be her own artist's studio (hence the name), with the plate as a blank canvas, and the ingredients as the paint.  So perhaps we can consider it to be more artsy than pretentious.  And it did provide a fun game to try and figure out what would be in the next course based on the poem.

From the website: "Poetic Culinaria: Atelier Crenn, a painting. An empty white canvas. With tools... a brush, paint and a vision, creativity is given its breath. Here, from this place, the artist can suggest emotion. A lasting moment from childhood... little drawers of heartbeats."

Crenn seems to be inspired by her childhood and her father, whose paintings decorate the restaurant.  Playfulness and nature are the overriding themes of the menu we received, which I have copied below:

Summer has come and is full of sweet surprises
Under the midnight glow, I can taste the sweetness of the sea,
hear mellow serenades of colors licorice and orange
I touch the earth and play
Where the broad ocean leans against the Spanish land,
I remember an oceanic feeling
Here, the earth proffers its juicy, vermilion gifts
and above, the half moon floats, silky and smoky
In its cool, milky light,
the forest still radiant with possibility
Nature rejoice! chasing childhood memories
Feeling the black sand under my toes, I dreamed of
these creatures' languid movements
Walking deep in the woods, as the earth might have something to spare
bird song, see the water rippling from their visit
a token of the summer
Summer has come, the sea beckons
sweetness, bounty, thanks

28Aug/130

Marcel’s – with pics!

I have written about Marcel's before, but not extensively enough considering it is our special occasion place.  It is where Jasper proposed to me (and I said yes) and where we spend most of our anniversaries and New Year's.  It's also where we go every time we see a show at the Kennedy center.  The provide a special Pre-Theater menu (though you can also do 3 or 4 courses off of the tasting menu), make sure that you get out on time, and provide a car service to and from the theater - brilliant!  They also have just the best people working there - from Adnane Kebaier, the Maitre d' who always greets us by our names and seems happy to see us (here is an interesting interview with him about the ins and outs of the job), to Moez Ben Achour, the fabulous Sommelier, and especially our usual server, Jonathan Crayne, who is also the Senior Captain - everyone is just amazing.  Anyway, I've never been able to show you photos of their food because it's usually very dark by the time we get there.  But we recently went for a Pre-Theater (for Book of Mormon, which is HILARIOUS by the way) and because it is summer, the sun was still out!  So I am able to show you some of the gorgeous dishes from our favorite restaurant!

Well Dined | Marcel's Restaurant

An amuse bouche from the chef - smoked salmon with creme friache, chives, and caviar.

Well Dined | Marcel's Restaurant

An elegant take on Crab Louis - crab, avocado, and tomato gelee with remoulade.

Well Dined | Marcel's Restaurant

Alaskan salmon - smoked in house - with red onion, chives, pine nuts, and croutons.

Well Dined | Marcel's Restaurant

The melt-in-your-mouth signature dish - Boudin Blanc.  This is our absolute favorite, we both order it every single time (even though they have started adding a $12 supplement).  It is a white poultry sausage that is more like a mousse - so light and creamy, but also rich.  It usually comes in a truffle sauce of some sort - this time with bits of foie gras in it!

Well Dined | Marcel's Restaurant

Steak with mushrooms, potato puree, bone marrow.  This was Jasper's entree so I don't know much about it except that he let me eat the marrow.

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We both ordered the same dessert - peach souffle with peach ice cream and blueberry sauce.  You can't get more summery than that!

I'm so glad I was finally able to share photos with you from a place that is so special to us!