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dr.com Evening Event – Wednesday, August 8 The Light Horse, Old Town Alexandria


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DonRockwell.Com Summer Evening Event

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Light Horse

715 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314

5:30-6:30 Cash bar upstairs; where The Light Horse will laugh with you. With shuffleboard and skeeball, most draft beers $3. A special 30% off the "bottle only" wine list during happy hour, and Dave will also gin up (ha!) craft cocktails for our group. Earlier arrivals are OK, just mention you're with the DR.com crew.

6:30 seating for dinner downstairs; where The Light Horse will shine for you.

Dinner will be family style; $20 plus tax and tip. Menu description forthcoming.

RSVP by Sunday, August 5, either by posting here or via PM to KMango. Denote whether you plan to join happy hour, dinner, or both.

If you cannot join either event on 8/8, RSVP anyway, with the self-mocking subject line of your choosing.

Location Logistics:

  • Accessible via King Street Metro Station. A 15 minute, straight-shot walk is one way to reach the venue; the same side of King Street as the station. If you’ve hit Washington Street, or if you start walking on water, you’ve gone too far.

  • Another option is to pop onto the free King Street Trolley once you step out of the metro. You must make the obligatory Land of Make Believe trolley sounds.

  • Street parking on Columbus, Alfred, or Cameron street, free after 6PM. Be nice to your neighbor when jockeying for prime spaces.

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*bump-iti bump-bidi boom* sing along now

Thus Far:

KMango +1

Weezy +1


Anyone else want to come out to play?

P.S. Dave, feel free to post menu thoughts here...

Well, we have a bunch of menu changes going on Thursday, so I thought it would be nice to send out some of the new stuff to you all on Wednesday to try out. Adam is still hashing things out with our purveyors, but here are some things that may or may not show up on Wednesday :) :

Smoked & braised boneless pork ribs with sweet & sour red cabbage and hushpuppies

Pork blade ham steak with Path Valley tomato and corn gratin

Summer vegetable and chicken confit hash with roasted chicken breast

Strozzapreti pasta with Path Valley tomatoes, corn puree and beet greens

Needless to say, we'll have you all well fed and your thirsts quenched by the time you leave...or stagger back upstairs for more skeeball.

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Matt and I are definite maybes. :)

Would anyone else care to join us? We need to make final plans by COB Tuesday, August 7th.

Let's try and get a tentative final roster today - we have:

KMango +1

Weezy +1


ktmoomau (possible)

TheMatt (possible)

CrescentFresh + 1

Scroll up to the top post for all the details. This should be an excellent event that is flying underneath the radar of everyone.

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Nice to see you all tonight and thanks for your feedback on the new menu items we threw at you. What an awesome group of folks! I hope to see each of you many, many more times.

DR skeeball/shuffleboard tournament one day, perhaps?


P.S. I don't often get hugged after dinner by someone that has really enjoyed their meal very often. Very unexpected and supremely appreciated. :D

P.P.S. I forgot to ask what the general consensus was on the Peter Franus Albarino. Thoughts?

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What a fun and delicious night!

My head is still spinning with the contrasting images of Weezy's flying skeeballs and CrescentFresh's zinging shuffleboard pucks transitioning to quiet and refined summer abundance in six-plate form, coupled with the awe of seemingly effortless hospitality from Dave and his highly proficient team.

The domestic (Peter Franus, Napa Valley) Albariño gratis from Dave showcased a food-friendly wow on multiple levels, as did conversation with goldenticket and everyone. More on that and other magic tricks of the evening later, including photos.

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A delightful evening, thanks to Dave and his crew, as well as my fellow Rockwellians. It's a very relaxed, fun and welcoming saloon & restaurant.

The stand-outs foodwise for me were the chicken -- very moist and tender and flavorful -- and I thought the braised cabbage that accompanied the ribs was superb, perfectly balanced in flavor and a gorgeous deep red color. I think the ham steak w/ fried egg would be better unshared; we were too polite at the start to tear into the yolk to let it run free and the egg set up a bit too much before we shredded it.

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Yeah, I'm in total agreement about the chicken. I like mine tasty and juicy so I'm definitely a thigh man and not a breast man. But this dish is one that can make me think of varying my repertoire. Can't forget the leg confit with it too. LOVED having pork ribs that I could eat with fork and knife and didn't leave my fingers all goopy so I'd have to hunt for wetnaps or more napkins or my tablemate's clothes or the cat or something. The gratin that came with the ham steak was sweet and creamy and delicious, but too soupy. We told Dave afterwards and thought about it for a bit and considered that making it with some egg so it could be more custardish or puddingy might do the trick. I'll be looking for that next time. Which will happen since I'm told there's a keg of Port City Derecho Common ready to be tapped there.

Very pleasant evening, both company and meal.

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Special thanks to the Light Horse crew for enabling our felonies on Wednesday night. Given the value of the food and good times, it felt like we robbed the place.

Happy Hour

From a turnout perspective, the staff indicated the bar is the strong suit of the business right now. The intention is to build on that by growing business in the dining room through the refined menu and stellar service.

We had such a blast with seamless logistics, I recommend Light Horse for anyone looking to book a group event. Four steps to success:

  1. Work with Dave to book your next office or other group gathering. Mon/Tues/Wed is best, less fighting the crowd.
  2. Start upstairs, bringing small bills for the jukebox, shuffleboard, and skeeball machines.
  3. Dive into the killer happy hour drink specials and novel small plates.
  4. Have some of your group stay behind for the dinner menu downstairs, and you’ll be a hero as everyone raves about their good time.

Regarding our event specifically, the staff arranged for the downstairs cocktail menu to be available during happy hour, not their normal practice. Several of us indulged the opportunity, choosing Laid Back, the must-have, local gin-based “fairy water” I raved about in previous posting. We also whizzed around like six-year-olds, playing the games and jukebox courtesy of Dave getting us started with a few dollar bills.


Around 6:45, we ventured downstairs. The dining room is a cozy-yet-open space, aiming for refined without being stuffy. Napkins, plateware, glasses, etc., seemed well-suited for the environment. Our ten-top relaxed in quiet comfort, a marked contrast to the engaging carnival we left upstairs at the bar. Acoustics are A Very Big Deal™ to me and I was delighted no noise seemed to bear down from above. (Folks at the other end of the table, closer to the door, what did you hear?)

On A Pale Horse: OK, so I had to weave in the horse theme somewhere. As a gift to our table, and to thank us for not getting injured during a righteously competitive game of skeeball, Dave gave us two bottles of Peter Franus Albariño. At the end of a warm summer day, the twist of a Spanish and Portugese superstar hailing from a Napa Valley vintner was an unexpected and harmonious treat. I was at first worried by the intensely floral nose. However, once followed by hints of citrus, melon and distant mineral, met with bright acidity and lingering finish, I reveled in this keenly pleasant pairing to the evening’s seasonal fare. Wish me luck, I’ll be aiming to find a bottle or two of this small production wine to bring home for waning summer evenings on the patio.

Triple Crown: Ouch! I did it again with the horse theme. Dinner was served family style, in two courses of three plates. Local sourcing and honorable handling of carefully selected ingredients appeared throughout the chef’s selections. Chicken, vegetables, eggs, and other treasures showcased the 20 Amish farms within the Path Valley Farm collective in Pennsylvania. Oysters hailed from Dragon Creek Aqua Farm, on Virginia's Eastern Shore.

First Course (see pictures): Fried oysters, finely shredded pickled cabbage, and a punch of horseradish sauce. Upland cress, melon ball, Idiazabal cheese, mint, and bee pollen salad. Heirloom tomatoes, fresh corn, young arugula.

All ingredients were bright, fresh, honorably presented and nearly instantly inhaled. The oysters struck me as a good option for those new to bivalves---the mildness of Dragon Creek salinity would be a good first foray for anyone who wants to replace oyster apprehension with renewed appreciation. Bee pollen is always a fun flair, and Dave even brought out the bottle for show and tell. The ever-present danger of simple summer produce plates is over seasoning via aggressive vinaigrette, but no such worries here. Simple, mindful, and delightfully refreshing. I especially appreciated how the Spanish cheese interplayed with the faux-Spanish wine, a charmer.

Second Course (see pictures): Ham blade steak, fried egg, corn and tomato gratin. Roasted chicken quarter with confit chicken leg and mixed summer vegetables. Southern style BBQ boneless pork ribs served over sweet and sour braised purple cabbage, hush puppies.

I was fortunate to be sitting with family, so had no problem digging right into the knife-wielding situation for all three dishes. No KMango relatives were harmed in the making of this sharing! The crosshatch marks on the ham caught my eye, an attractive harbinger of good flavor. The pork turned out to be a touch too salty solo, but when paired with the egg yolk or gratin, outstanding. As Weezy noted, fans of the yolk need to strike quickly when the plate is served lest you get left out of the delicious running. (This happened to me at Courdoury a while back, and I’ve learned my lesson.) As CrescentFish reported, the gratin had great flavor but too much moisture…not that we left any of it behind.

On the outrageously successful moisture front, the roasted chicken, atop unctuous confit chicken and vegetables, struck the perfect balance of rich, yet not overwhelming, nourishing summer fare. Anything confit goes better with an acid-backed wine, and I was again appreciative of our treasured domestic Albariño. I was too full to enjoy anything but a small taste of the BBQ and cabbage, but others reported several compliments and delighted novelty of hands-free, dignified ribbery.

Staff service was telepathically attentive, indulgent, and just darn friendly. Meeting Chef Stein was an added bonus. The evening delivered a solid demonstration of The Light Horse’s A-Game, which, if replicated nightly, will place this venue on the list of Sure Things.








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