Asheville Vacation Round Up, Part 3

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

Friday

Of course the last full day in town was the only day when rain wasn’t in the forecast at all. There were ended up being plenty of clear mornings, but we saved hiking for the least-rain-chance day, just because. We got up fairly early and drove back to Craggy Gardens. We decided that since neither of us had been hiking in YEARS that we’d like a short hike with awesome views. Craggy Pinnacle was only a mile and a half out and back with 360 degree views at the top- which had an elevation of almost 5900 feet!

The rhododendron at the beginning of the hike. It felt like walking into a fairy tale. IMG_3408

Shortly after we started the hike, I was sucking some serious wind. I was fairly dismayed that 4 days of food and bev with minimal working out had atrophied my fitness so much… and then the lady reminded me that we were OVER a mile UP. I’m sure the all the eating and drinking didn’t help, but I felt a little bit better about my huffing and puffing.

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It was surprisingly chilly up there. Well, I suppose it shouldn’t have been a surprise. Glad I packed a jacket!

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The cloud coverage was pretty thick on one side of the 360 degree view, so we probably only got about 240 degrees. But that was ok, it was still incredible. It was awesome to be up IN the clouds.

After our hike, we felt that brunch was in order and we went to one of the recommended West AVL spots, King Daddy. Because what’s better than chicken and waffles after a hike? I had a bloody mary and the lady had an Asheville-made orange creamsicle soda. I decided on the buttermilk waffle with fried chicken with the habanero sweet potato sauce on the side (I was too afraid to order it all slathered in it).

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The waffle was waffly, and the chicken was PERFECT. Crispy, juicy, tender. I was glad I had ordered the sauce on the side. It had quite the kick, but it was also delicious. I almost always add hot sauce to my chicken to balance out the sweetness of chicken and waffles- so this sauce was perfect for me.

The lady also had the buttermilk waffle, but she had the Korean chicken.

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The Korean chicken was delicious. It was a perfect complement to the waffle. It’s not something either of us would have thought of to put with waffles, but pretty brilliant.

So, one thing I loved most about Asheville is the abundance of restaurants that serve breakfast food all day. It makes brunch possible any day of the week- which is something I find myself craving when wandering the streets of Georgetown for lunch on a regular basis. I need DC to get (more) on board with this.

After we stuffed ourselves full of chicken and waffles, we had to take care of picking up a couple of souvenirs for family and friends. We wandered around the couple of blocks downtown that we hadn’t yet made it to. It solidified that Asheville is just a cool place. And that there was definitely some stuff that we missed and that we have to return.

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We decided to retire to the goats for a bit to pack up our stuff and relax until it was time for dinner/ our evening plans.

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While we were at Lex 18, old friend and her person told us about Asheville Distilling Company, they make Troy and Sons whiskey and moonshine, and how amazing the space was and how it was right next to Highland Brewing Company. Troy and Sons is only open on Friday and Saturday, so we waited to visit both places on Friday.

First impression was that the space was HUGE. The tasting room at Highland was the size of a warehouse. A little dark, pretty nice! We started with a flight there.

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I really enjoyed all the beer, but my favorite was definitely the St. Terese’s Pale Ale. I’ll definitely be picking up a 6-pack of that next time I see it. If I can find it here!

Then, just after Troy and Sons opened, we headed over for a tour and tasting. That space was also nice. Very bright and warm. Small tasting room. Lots of reclaimed wood accents. We had a short tour of the space and then a tasting. Everything we had was SO smooth. I usually am not a big whiskey fan, or even a big liquor-tasting fan, but the white spirit, whiskey, and blonde whiskey were all so smooth I could sip them. I have to get a bottle of that blonde whiskey, if I can find it anywhere. They weren’t allowed to sell on-site and we weren’t able to get to an NC liquor store before we left.

We were going to head back downtown for dinner, but noticed some food trucks behind the building and decided to check that out first. We figured that would be easier than trying to find a parking spot and get into a restaurant downtown. So, we decided on Smashbox food truck. The coolest part was the meadow behind the building. It was a huge field area with picnic tables and tents, a stage, and even a bar pouring Highland beer. We pulled our picnic blanket out of the trunk, laid it out in the meadow, and had a picnic food truck dinner. It was perfect. And the food was really, really incredible. I had the steak box and the lady had chicken box. So, meat in beans and rice with a slaw, tortilla chip, and fried plantains. The slaw had green tomato thinly sliced in it. Why have I never thought of that?!

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After we ate, we did eventually head downtown to Top of the Monk. We wanted to be able to say goodbye to them and polish off a couple more of their fantastic drinks.

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We were rewarded for our return visit with a rainbow visible from their roof deck.

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We also wanted to make one more stop at French Broad Chocolate Lounge. Where I got vanilla cake and the lady got a couple of truffles. A perfectly sweet ending!

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Saturday

We knew we wanted to fit in ONE LAST stop at a recommended spot before we left town on Saturday morning, so we headed over to W AVL to Biscuit Head to pick up breakfast before we hit the road. Biscuits for breakfast just seemed like the most perfect end to our southern vacation. I had the Fried Green Tomato biscuit, which came like eggs benedict but on a biscuit, also topped with salsa. It was huge and amazing. I do wish I had gotten something that let the biscuit shine more, but how could I complain about this?

 

 

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The lady had the country ham biscuit. Which also came with fried green tomato, egg, and red eye gravy. Because the south.  It was all the fuel we needed until like 3pm that day.

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We cleaned ourselves up and packed into the car, said goodbye to the city and hit the road. It was a wonderful week of food and drinks. Scenery, mountains, nature. Chatting with strangers and seeing old friends. So, when do I get to go back?

Asheville, NC Vacation Round Up Pt. 1

You guys. Asheville, NC is a fantastic place. We spent last week eating, drinking, and exploring all the city had to offer. And there’s still so much left for next time! I’m going to move the blog to AVL this week to round up everything we did. Back to regularly scheduled DC-fare next week! I hope you enjoy these posts as much as we enjoyed our visit.

Monday

We rolled into town at about 2pm on Monday. We couldn’t check into our housing until 3, so we navigated to downtown to kill some time. We grabbed some ice cream at Kilwin’s and wandered. The guy who scooped our ice cream was super friendly, chatty, and had all sorts of recommendations for us. He tipped us off to one of our favorite places, a book store that’s also a wine bar! We checked into our adorable eco-studio out in east Asheville, met the owner, her dog, and her goats, several of which were babies. This ended up being one of the biggest perks of the whole trip! Goats are awesome, ya’ll.

IMG_0385 After the dog and goats jumped all over us, we unpacked, cleaned up, and I texted with a friend who recently moved away from AVL for dinner recommendations. I asked for a good pizza spot and she recommended we go to Asheville Brewing Company and check out Ben’s Tune Up afterward. We split a delightful pizza and had a couple of beers at Asheville Brewing. I had the Fire Escape, which was a jalapeño pale ale. Not too spicy, but with great flavor. The lady had the Rolands ESB. This was a perfect start to a week of really amazing beer and excellent food. Our server here also had some excellent recommendations, one of ended up being our very favorite bar in AVL. Chatting with strangers is not something that happens so much in DC, and it’s something I really enjoyed about being back in the south.   IMG_0383 Ben’s Tune Up is an interesting spot just around the corner. It’s a sort of indoor-outdoor bar that brews their own sake. IMG_0382   We sat at the bar and ordered a couple glasses of sake. I had the lemon ginger. It tasted a lot like ginger beer, so of course it was right down my alley. We weren’t feeling the vibe of the bar at the time. This bartender seemed slightly disinterested in us and it was a bar where I feel like I could have used some guidance, so we just had our sake and headed back to the goats. I really liked the space and feel like had the first impression been better, we would have gone back.  

Tuesday

On Tuesday, we decided to tackle the River Arts District. It’s a whole neighborhood along the river full of artists galleries and workspaces. IMG_0404 Mostly, I was just itchin’ to get to White Duck Taco Shop. I mean, RAD was really fun to wander through, but local artist neighborhoods like that tend to be pretty similar across different cities. It WAS nice to see the vibrant community and chat with the artists. And was tasty to get some tacos! We got there about 10 minutes after they opened and there was already a bit of a line. But we got in and we ordered all sorts of tacos! I ordered the lamb and feta and the fish taco. The lady had the steak and cheese and the thai chicken. My lamb taco was out of this world. IMG_0436 IMG_0438 After lunch and a morning/afternoon of walking around, we decided to take a driving tour to see some scenery. We followed this route. Up and over mountains, around curvy roads, and just a nice little drive. After our tour, we headed back downtown to the bookstore and champagne bar that the guy at Kilwin’s recommended, Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. We cozied up on a couch upstairs and enjoyed a couple of mimosas. This is a brilliant idea and I’m not sure why this doesn’t exist in more places. Oh, and it’s dog-friendly! Someone in DC, take note! I will be a regular! IMG_0426 We decided to grab dinner at Early Girl Eatery this night. I had a hard time deciding if I wanted breakfast for dinner, but ultimately decided to go as southern as I possibly could. Fried catfish, collard greens, grits, and a biscuit. Boy did it hit the spot. Perfect. I also had a Asheville Brewing Company Rocket Girl Lager, which came in an awesome can. Another tasty beer. The lady had a fried chicken sandwich. IMG_0439     IMG_0440 After dinner, we had plans to meet up with an old friend of mine (who I hadn’t seen in 6 years!) and her person. We weren’t sure how long it was going to take them to get ready and meet us, so we dipped into Lex 18, a MOONSHINE bar! for a drink to  kill time. They ended up getting there more quickly that we expected, so they just joined us there. We posted up at a table in the bar area and enjoyed the atmosphere. There was some low key live music going on, the lights were dim, the drinks were AWESOME, and it was nice to catch up. I had a couple of fruity muddled drinks and the lady had a couple of lemony drinks. And it was awesome. IMG_0442 IMG_0441 We wrapped up at Lex 18, and headed around the corner to The Social Lounge and Cocktail. They apparently had the best Old Fashioneds in town. The lady enjoyed hers. I honestly don’t remember what I had. I blame the moonshine. We were going to make one more stop, but were in need of sobering up before the drive back to the eco cottage. So the friend and her person took us to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. This was the perfect end to the evening, sobering up place! the lady and I split a brownie and marveled at how busy the place was for 10:30pm on a Tuesday night. The pic below was obviously taken during the day. We made another stop on our trip. It was that good. IMG_0421 After chocolates, we said our goodbyes, and headed home for the evening.

On day 3 of the trip, we discovered our very favorite spot in all of AVL, a private club cocktail bar above a popular beer bar. More about that In Pt. 2 of the round up!

Skip to Part 3!

Catoctin Creek Distillery (Purcellville, VA)

We knew that we would have some free time out in wine country during the SIL’s wedding weekend, so I  thought it would be a good idea to crowd-source some wineries to visit just to see if anyone had any must-try favorites. My co-worker replied and reminded me that Catoctin Creek Distillery was there, and informed me that if I didn’t visit while I was out there, that I was dead to her. That’s reason enough for me! Then, once I was doing my plotting and planning, I figured out that the distillery was just 10 minutes from the wedding venue. It was a done deal, and done very easily.

On Friday, we  headed from the farmhouse to the venue to help with a little bit of setup for the wedding. Once it got to be lunch time and I started getting hangry, we headed out to find lunch and to taste some whiskey! We rolled into adorable downtown Purcellville, checked out our lunch options, and decided that burgers were the perfect lunch before booze tasting. We grabbed a delicious lunch at Market Burger Fries and Shakes, just across the street from the distillery.

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I ordered a burger but topped like their black bean burger. It had pepper jack cheese, avocado, chipotle mayo, lettuce, tomato, and grilled onions. It was SO GOOD. The lady just had a burger with the standard toppings. We also split a GIANT order of fries. The coolest part was that everything was locally sourced. It was a surprising find in such a small town. Oh god, it was delicious, and it handled my hanger just perfectly.

After we finished lunch, it was just about time for the distillery to open, so we wandered back across the street.

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They let us in just a few minutes before opening time and we took a seat at the horseshoe shaped bar. The space was very warm and inviting. Wooden stools, concrete bar, wooden tables, metal chairs, exposed wooden rafters. It was a fantastic space and I felt very comfortable and happy just to be there.

I had a hard time deciding between the flight options, be it the original (The Mosby ‘s Spirit, The Watershed Gin, and The Roundstone Rye), the whiskey (Mosby’s Spirit, Roundstone Rye, and Roundstone Rye 92 proof) , cocktail, or the brandy flight (peach, pear, and grape). I decided on the brandy  because of the fruity flavors and she decided on the whiskey.

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I’m not the biggest fan of the taste of straight liquor, so I should have gone for the cocktail flight (you can choose 3 of about 8 cocktails made with their different liquors). But it was still a fun adventure to try brandy. Definitely outside my comfort zone.

The lady looooves whiskey, so the whiskey flight was right down her alley. The white spirit was a little harsh for her, it was basically moonshine. She liked the middle, lower proof whiskey the best. IMG_0231

I will definitely be getting the original flight or the cocktail flight the next time. I’m just itchin’ to try that gin.

I was a little concerned about time and having to get back to the hotel, get ready for the rehearsal dinner, etc, so we weren’t planning on doing the tour. We found out the the owner, Scott, who also runs their Twitter and who I had been Tweeting back and forth with for a few days, was the one giving the tour. The tasting also didn’t take very long, so we sprung for the tour. I’m really glad we did, because it was a lot of fun.

Scott walked us through some of the history of the distillery and all of the steps of the process. He made sure to stop at every step to see and smell the sights and smells of the process. The hands-on aspect was really great. He also talked about how the leftover rye is sent out as feed and that the way their production plays out that they are basically in the feed business, with whiskey on the side. One of the most fun facts of the day was that the cows that made up our lunch were fed that rye.

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He said that they are at the point where they are distilling and bottling every day. They don’t want to be in every store in every state, they like staying fairly small, but that they are growing like crazy. I think my most favorite fact was that of the 19 (?) or so states that they’re currently in- Washington DC accounts for a majority of their production and sales. How awesome is that? Also, I’m not the slightest bit surprised. This city sure loves its craft alcohol!

  • Favorite flavor I had: I think I probably liked the Mosby’s Spirit or the Roundstone Rye the best.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: Definitely the original or the cocktail flight!
  • What makes this place stand out: The space is incredible and the owners were awesome! I’m so excited I got to meet them and am excited to see what comes of the future.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions)The lady wants to make another trip out for more wine tastings, and the Brother-in-Law’s family farmhouse is out there, I hope to find some time in the next month or so, but definitely by the fall.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Downtown Purcellville is super cute. There were some little antique shops and such there, and tons of food options. There are also a zillion wineries in the surrounding area. You could totally make a day of it.

 

 

 

A Weekend in Roanoke, Part 2: The Sights

It’s been a couple of weeks since my visit, but I’ve finally been able to put together my second Roanoke post. Check out Part 1 of my Roanoke posts: The food! 

The beauty of Roanoke is not something I fully appreciated until I moved away after college. When you’re in the Roanoke Valley, you’re surrounded by the gentle, rolling Blue Ridge Mountains. I didn’t realize how much I loved those mountains until I took up residence in the DC swamp (No, I know it wasn’t actually a swamp). But while gorgeous in its own way, DC can’t beat the beautiful blues.

 

The Star

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One of the most unique things in Roanoke is that giant 90 foot neon star atop Mill Mountain. It’s where Roanoke gets its nickname, the Star City. To get there is just a quick drive up Mill Mountain. And the views from their are so worth it. You can see all of downtown and beyond. I noticed that they now have a sign up there telling you the names of the mountains you can see. That’s pretty awesome.

 

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The Farmer’s Market and Downtown Roanoke

Most of my Roanoke Food post centered around downtown Roanoke. So, if you find yourself down there, you’ll definitely want to check out the market on weekends. You can’t miss it. Tables have everything from produce to handmade goods. While I was there last weekend, there was also some live bluegrass happening. It’s definitely one of my fave things to do when I’m in town. There are also a lot of brick and mortar shops along the same strip as the market stalls.

 

Taubman Museum of Art

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Taubman didn’t open until after I moved away, at the end of 2008. The design of the building, however, was in great contention while I lived there. Many argue that it disrupts the overall look of downtown, but personally, I love it. The modern glass and metal design is pretty in its own way. I’ve only been once, but I was fairly impressed with the space. It’s small, but definitely worth a visit.

 

Science Museum of Western Virginia and & Hopkins Planetarium

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I haven’t actually been since I was a little kid. However, on my last visit, we decided to dip into the building just to check it out. It was recently remodeled and I wanted to see the building. Once we got inside, I realized it was so much more than it used to be. Now, in addition to the museum, there’s a planetarium, a butterfly garden, and an awesome roof deck with a fantastic view of the city. This is a must-see if you’re there with kids. Or if you just want to check out the view!

Grandin Theatre

The Grandin neighborhood is definitely worth checking out. There are shops, cupcakes, Pops, a coffee shop, restaurants, TWO dive bars, the food co-op, and a great independent movie theater. this is where Roanoker’s go to have any hope of seeing a movie that is not in wide release. The charm of the theater is really great. I once saw a movie here in a theater that had all of 10 seats. Just awesome.

 

Hollins University

And finally, if you want to see the most beautiful place in the world (I’ll admit I haven’t seen much of the world, and I’m totally biased, but this post wouldn’t complete without this), then you need to visit . Just take a drive or walk around “the loop” that fully circles the university. The views from the top of the hill looking back toward the library take my breath away every time.  I did spend 4 of the best years of my life (so far!) living there, but I really think its beauty is apparent to anyone.

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There’s no way I could cover everything about Roanoke on the blog, but I hope I’ve given a little insight about why it’s actually a pretty cool little city. I may have moved away, but I certainly never mind going back to visit.

A Weekend in Roanoke, Part 1: The Food

Welcome new readers! Please feel free to chime in on the comments, let me know how you found me.

As much as I love DC, there’s another place that also holds the designation as “home” in my heart. That place is Roanoke, VA. I technically grew up in Salem, but went to college at Hollins University in Roanoke- so the whole area is home. I’ve been away for almost 6 years, but am still absolutely charmed by the city every time I go to visit. The mountains, the people, the architecture. It’s all great. Like I mentioned in my post about The River and Rail, things seem to be picking up just in the past couple of years. Maybe it’s because I was blind to things when I actually lived there, but I really think the city is improving and growing. And man do I miss those mountains. So much so that I’ve tattooed them permanently onto my arm. They’re always with me.

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I made a trip home over Memorial Day Weekend and thought that would be a good time to take a bunch of pictures for a post to share some of my favorite things about the city with you. I’ll be splitting this into 2 or 3 posts to make sure I cover everything. First, the food!!

The River and Rail

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I’ve already written a whole post about the wonderful River and Rail. Seriously. The best food I’ve ever had in Roanoke in my entire life. It’s one of the reasons I know Roanoke is on the right path.

 

Texas Tavern

Texas Tavern is a dive joint just on the edge of the center of downtown Roanoke. As you can see from the picture, you can get a full meal for well under $5. The menu isn’t huge, but it’s perfect late-night or hangover food.  There is only one row of stools, so if you get there during a busy time, you might be waiting for a bit, but it’s so worth it. I recommend a Cheesy Western with (this means with onions) and a bowl of Chile.

 

Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea

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Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea is were Roanokers fulfilled their coffee needs WELL before Roanoke got its first Starbucks (which wasn’t until I was in college, so 2006?). I’ve spent many hours sitting in each of the locations (there are about 5 all over Roanoke, Salem, Daleville, and beyond the Roanoke Valley), doing homework, hanging out with friends, just killing time because there was nowhere else to be. The menu is huge, any coffee, tea, smoothie, drink you could possibly want. They also have some pretty great baked goods and even sandwiches and salads. It’s definitely a place to dip into if you find yourself near one.

 

The Market Building

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The city market building sits in the very center of downtown and was just remodeled a few years ago.  It basically serves as a food court for downtown. There’s a great variety of things there, everything from noodles and dumplings to vegetarian fare to subs to hot dogs. Anything you could want. I recommend Fork in the Market and Firefly Fare.

 

Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint

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I first went to Jack Brown’s just before we left town to head to our New Year Eve plans. It’s also in the center of downtown. My parents had been recently and told me all about it. They had really creative burger toppings and a great craft beer selection. Burgers and beer, can’t beat that! It was a perfect meal to end our Christmas visit.

 

Veranda Bistro

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Oh, the bistro. I’ve talked a little about it before and I’m sure I’ll do a whole post on it in the future. It’s located a few miles from downtown, near Hollins University. It’s actually tucked in beside a gas station, but don’t let that fool you. I started working there just a couple months after they opened and worked there for all of college. It’s where I really learned how to cook- where I learned how to toss pizza dough and how to properly season food. If you want good greek comfort food, this is your place. The pizza and calzones are my favorite and the baklava is to die for.  Greek Night is certainly worth checking out. If you do go, tell Irene and Chris that Melody says hello. And see if you can find my picture framed in the restaurant. Oh, and make sure you sit on the veranda if the weather is nice and take in that amazing view of Tinker Mountain.

 

Macado’s

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Ah, Macado’s. This is one of the places I have missed the most since I moved away. I’ve found other sandwich places in DC with huge menus, but I still haven’t found a sandwich that rivals my ‘Do’s favorite, the Bobagger. I’ve been ordering it consistently for like 15 years and haven’t gotten tired of it yet. I’ve had a lot of great times at Macado’s- it’s a great place to go with a group. I celebrated my 21st birthday there, and still to this day, marvel that you can get a pitcher of Blue Moon for under $10. Just imagine how cheap a pitcher of Miller Lite is…

This is obviously not an exhaustive list of all the places to eat in Roanoke, there are so many I missed! These are just the ones I keep returning to time and time again. So Roanoker’s, what did I miss? What do I need to try next time I’m in town? I’ve heard A LOT about Lucky. It’s definitely on the list for my next trip. Some other friends of mine have been talking about Thelma’s Chicken and Waffles, too.

Up next, Roanoke: The Sights!

Out of Town- The River and Rail (Roanoke)

This Memorial Day weekend, I decided to head home to Roanoke/Salem, VA to visit my parents. I’m putting together a post all about stuff to do in Roanoke if you happen to find yourself there, but first a review of some of the best food I’ve ever had there.

It seems like since I’ve moved away from Roanoke, things have really come up. Well, that’s not entirely true. Very shortly after I moved away, the recession seemed to hit pretty hard. There were lots of empty store fronts and a once bustling downtown Roanoke seemed sort of dead for a while. But I’ve noticed in the past couple of years that things have picked back up, and the dining scene is really bringing its A-game. In the past year or so, I’ve been hearing about certain places repeatedly. River and Rail is one that kept coming up and after getting a recommendation from Roanoke foodie John Park that I should try their brunch, I was sold. I made the reservation for my parents and I before I even hit the road. John also connected with me Chef Aaron Deal on Twitter. The morning of, I was chatting with Chef Deal via tweet. I told him it would be fantastic to meet him if he had a chance to step out of the kitchen, the time of my reservation, and my name.

 

We arrived a bit early for our 11:30 reservation and were seated at a fantastic table in the front window. My first impression of the place was just “this is a great space!” I particularly liked that the kitchen was open to the dining room.

 

Since we were early, they started us the with Snacks and Drinks menu. Mom and I ordered their drink special, the MoreMosas. A mimosa with strawberry puree, vodka, and St. Germain. It was a fantastic twist on a mimosa. And I’m going to make them at home.

 

We also started with the Jar of Pickles, which was a mason jar of assorted pickled veggies. We dug in too quickly for me to get a picture of that. It had celery, cucumbers, carrots, mushrooms, beets, radishes, onions, etc. It was surprisingly delightful. Mom and I really loved the mushrooms. They were a touch sweet, which balanced out the pickle.

After we placed the order for our starter, the clock struck 11:30 and they brought us the menu. We decided on 3 different dishes and 2 sides, so that we could get a good variety of things. I went with the Crab Eggs Benedict on Buttermilk biscuit, Mom went with the Vegetable Omelet, and Dad went with the Brioche French Toast with strawberries, hazelnuts, and maple syrup.  We ordered the Carolina Rice Grits and bacon as sides to split.

 

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Several of the dishes came in little cast iron pans, as you can see in the pictures. I thought it was charming plating. It did, however, give my dish a slightly metallic taste in the first bite or two. Besides that, the biscuit was huge, and delightful, because you know, biscuit. The crab meat was excellent, and was nice big chunks. The eggs were cooked perfectly, the hollandaise awesome, and the spinach a perfect balance to everything. The grits were super creamy and flavorful. It was a nice cross between grits and risotto. Dad’s french toast was amazing. It was super fluffy and just covered in delightful things and therefore was just delicious. Mom’s omelet was served with a little salad on the side. It was lighter than the other two dishes, but jam-packed full of flavor. The bacon left a little to be desired. It was very thinly cut, and was sort of chewy. Dad read my mind and said that had it been thicker cut, it would have been perfect.

My parents do love food, but aren’t in the habit of going fancy and spending a lot of money on it. I don’t blame them, in Roanoke, it’s hit or miss as to whether or not it’s  going to be worth it. However, they were both thouroughly impressed with River and Rail and I can’t wait to get back for dinner next time I’m in town.

The kitchen was fairly busy the entire time we were there, so I wasn’t sure if Chef Deal would even have time to check his Twitter. I could have just walked up to the exposed kitchen and said hello, didn’t want to bother him. Very shortly after we left, I got a tweet back saying that he looked up and we were gone. I was so impressed that he would take the time to seek us out and respond to me. I love supporting businesses run by nice people. I will certainly be back to meet him and enjoy more of his delicious food.

 

  • Favorite thing I had: The pickled veggies were really interesting, way more so than I expected. The rice grits were awesome! The bite I had of Dad’s french toast made me super jealous I didn’t order it. My benedict was good- you can’t beat eggs, crab, and hollandaise on a BISCUIT!
  • Favorite thing the parents had: Dad really enjoyed his French Toast. He said it was nice and fluffy and just sweet enough with the strawberries and maple syrup. Mom was thoroughly impressed by all of it. Her faves were the pickled mushrooms, the grits, and her omelet.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The dinner menu! The Country Ham Board.
  • And how was the service?: The service was absolutely perfect. The server was attentive without being annoying. At no point did we ever need a thing.
  • What makes this place stand out: It’s some serious, high-caliber food in a place that you might not expect it. I go to awesome places in DC all the time, and I was super impressed with this. It’s not just great for Roanoke, it’s just great.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): If I lived in town, I’d probably try to get there about once per month. It is a bit pricey for the area, even for somewhere the lady and I would go on the regular- at least the dinner menu. The brunch menu was affordable. That being said, I think I’ll be able to convince the parents to go a little bigger than usual for dinner there next time I’m in town.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): There’s not too much nearby. There’s a cupcake shop called Bubble Cake about half a block away. It’s a pretty easy trip up Mill Mountain to the Star from here too. Or you could just pop back downtown.