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Found 5 results

  1. Name certainly doesn't bring me visions of moules-frites...more visions of a certain barber and a bakery shop .
  2. To kick off our week of dining out (my vacation), last Sunday we tried Bistro L'hermitage, technically in Woodbridge, but close enough to Occoquan to be considered part of that area. Halfway through our brunch we were already talking about a return visit. The restaurant is beautiful, and very much what I think of as a French country bistro (in my imagination, at least). We were greeted graciously, and service throughout the meal was attentive and professional. I ordered the hanger steak, medium rare, and egg, sunny side up. Both were perfectly cooked and delicious. The mixed greens salad was coated with a delicious vinaigrette, and the fried potatoes were crisp on the outside and soft inside, tasting like . . . potatoes. I loved every bite of everything on my plate. WW thoroughly enjoyed his grilled chicken Reuben with warm potato salad. The potato salad was lightly dressed with a mustard vinaigrette, and the taste I got was a perfect balance of acid and potatoes. I couldn't taste his sandwich, but he declared it wonderful. The menu is filled with tempting offerings, and if all of the cooking is as careful and skillful as it was at our brunch, this is going to be one of our favorites--and we only have to cross the Occoquan to get there!
  3. I know you are probably in the District, but Mom's Apple Pie Company in Herndon makes great pies. It is all they do. I don't know if they sell at any of the farmer's markets but you may want to call them. They are seriously good. Moms Apple Pie Co.
  4. Tidal water has a presence, a cadence, a palpable feeling of being. You know the moment you arrive, without looking, that you're there. The water pulse is in the air, and it's more than witnessing the sudden drop off landscape behind a row of buildings. You can feel it. The enduring rhythm, ions, and humidity are also nature's sedative. People residing in a small seaside town live several steps lower on the anxiety scale. Shallow life worries are replaced by the constant reminder of nature and the broader world, with an ever-present hum of liquid life bigger than ourselves. Occoquan lived for me on a recent Friday morning. I arrived around 9:30, early for a breakfast appointment, and walked the empty, main drag on Union Street. Damp, chilly, counter-intuitively dense air embraced me, emanating from the river as a thief of the heat. Union Street is the stuff of my wish-for-the-world business dreams. The avenues showcase small mom and pop shops, cafes, boutiques, and services, many with hand-painted signs and the other personality tells of an owner carefully expressing the hopeful art of selling. I considered each storefront, made a quiet wish for prosperity and happiness, and sent virtual smiles to any new patrons who would enter their doors that day. The Blue Arbor Cafe, tucked away on Union and Mill streets, was my destination. Recommended by a friend, the website seemed promising of a good experience, reinforced by the enthusiastic reviews on FourSquare. I opened the door to perhaps a dozen tables, via two small rooms, and greetings from nearly every staff member. My dining companion had chosen a table adjacent to a bay window. It encompassed a stained glass interpretation of the building, providing a cozy, sunny environment. I received an attractive menu of surprisingly enticing soups, sandwiches, and breakfast fare, a good-value price range of $4 to $12. The daily specials board indicated a lobster roll option, and at least one soup of the day. Paralyzed by good choices, I wound up mirroring my companion's selection, berries and cream crepe ($5.95). I dined lightly with the intention to order a couple of sandwiches for takeout. Unfortunately, our lively conversation ran overtime, and I was unable to do that, so I must return in the near future to try the French Orchard (ham/apple/brie/pepper jelly) and the Not A Reuben (which read very much like a Reuben, there must be a story there). The crepe was immensely delicate and flavorful, graced with honorably treated fruit and rich, whipped cream. Split this as a dessert when you go, if you can look past the homey options such as Bourbon Street pecan pie and peanut butter bomba. Service was attentive and caring. The friendly owner shared his smile with us, and every table, halfway through the meal to ensure complete satisfaction. We lingered far longer than we should have for such a small repast, and business was picking up dramatically by 11:30, but we felt zero pressure to "turn the table". And the thoughtful server literally ran out to my dining companion's car with alarm when she realized he left his phone on the table. These are signs of authentically caring hospitality, leaving each patron a bit more relaxed than when they arrived. I noted the small town lull only goes so far. On the quiet street, no strangers passing by made eye contact nor uttered "good morning" as they focused intently on their destination or data devices. The pulse, ebb, and flow of the calming river tide followed me to my car, out of the area, and evaporated back towards it's source as I merged onto the crowded highway to return to the city.