I am on the NoVA Elite Squad this year, which means that I get invited to awesome events! Back in July (I'm so far behind on posting, lol) - I was invited to a tasting event at the (then) new Tupelo Honey Cafe in Arlington. We got to hear about the menu and try several dishes and drinks. It's a really great way to get an impression of a restaurant without having to visit several times in order to try a lot. That's our fearless leader, Gretchen, in the photo there (check out her blog here).
I thought the location was really cute, on a corner near Ballston with a nice patio. The decor was warm and inviting, and the staff handled the madness of the event quite well. We got to try several drinks, starting with the happy hour special of sparkling sangria. I actually did not like that drink, though many others did, because it tasted more like a vodka and soda than a sangria. After that, I ordered the Violet Beauregarde (props for the cute name) with vodka, St. Germaine, blueberry puree, fresh mint, fresh lemon, and sparkling wine. I LOVED that one. I also loved the non-alcoholic blueberry spritzer that they passed around, but not the rosemary lemonade (too bitter).
As for food, we tried the Goat Cheese Grits Poppers with Jalapeno Apple Salsa (4:00, my favorite); Fried Green Tomatoes with Grits (1:00, also really liked); Country Ham Wontons with Shaved Brussels Sprouts (10:00, very good); Pecan Crusted Goat Cheese with Apples and Figs (not pictured, pretty good); Salt Roasted Beets with Goat Cheese and Pesto (6:00, disappointed with this one); Pimento Cheese Dip (too spicy for me); Mac and Cheese with Cajun Shrimp (also too spicy for me).
My takeaway was that this is Southern food, get the fried stuff and the cheesy stuff and the grits - if you try to go healthy, you will be disappointed. Everything we tried was from the small plates menu, so I would like to return to try an entree. Or better yet, bunch - I hear the brunch is fantastic.
My thanks to Yelp and Tupelo Honey Cafe for their generosity! You can read more about the event here.
You may be interested in: Yelp Progressive Brunch at Springfield Town Center
This week, July 12-19, is Restaurant Week at the newly renovated Springfield Town Center in Springfield, VA. You can check out the menus for the 5 participating restaurants here. As a member of the NoVA Yelp Elite Squad, I was invited to try out the restaurants ahead of time. We had such a fun time and ate SO MUCH FOOD, it was insane. Check out what we were served below, and make sure to stop by Springfield Town Center this week for great deals on yummy food!
Our first stop was Yard House, an American restaurant with a huge menu including a big vegetarian section, and tons of beers on tap.
They served us an Ahi tuna salad, mac and cheese, and a Moscow Mule. The tuna was really well seasoned and perfectly cooked, but I didn't care for the greens. The mac and cheese was AWESOME - the pasta was the perfect texture and it was loaded with chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and truffle oil. So good - I definitely recommend it. The Moscow mule was light and refreshing, and really lovely on a hot day.
Next up was Chuy's - OMG CHUY'S!!! Words cannot express my excitement. You see, I am from Texas and this Austin based chain is my jam. The fact that it has migrated with me to VA is just the best. The manager here was super on point and spent a lot of time talking about how they make everything fresh in house. And yes, that is a giant strawberry margarita and pina colada swirl you see there.