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Sperryville, Staunton I had two great pizza's in the past couple of months.  The first was at the Rappahannock Pizza Kitchen in Sperryville.  The second was at Newtown Baking in Staunton.  Both f

Catawba (near Roanoke) Right on the outskirts of Roanoke in a town called Catawba there's a restaurant called home place. It's on top of a mountain and they are open from 4-8. They serve the same thi

Winchester Grover and I were in Winchester last weekend (okay, Thursday through Sunday) and to celebrate a special occassion, we decided we'd take advantage of Chef Ed Matthews of One Block West and

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Danville


At least there's a wireless internet connection here at VIR. But Danville totally sucks for food. There's a run-of-the-mill Italian place (Joe and Mimma's), the worst Japanese ever (I've blocked its name from memory), a choke-n-puke Mexican (Los Tres Maguyes), and a thoroughly mediocre barbeque joint (Short Sugar's). The best bet is Outhouse - um, Outback Steakhouse - and there's usually a loooooong wait for a table.

Please, will one of you tell me there's hope? I'm willing to drive as far as South Boston or Roxboro for a decent meal while I'm here.

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I love that place - for breakfast.  :angry:   But they ain't open for dinner.  :)

When did the hours change? They used to be open through the early evening.

You can make a short run across the border to NC and try to find BBQ but Short Sugar's used to be pretty decent.

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Can you drive 40 miles south? Serious. Sadie Mae's just north of High Point for absolutely serious southern Italian. And, did I mention the Lexington Drive In, i.e. #1 which is-for many-the best bbq joint in all of Carolina, north or south.

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did I mention the Lexington Drive In, i.e. #1 which is-for many-the best bbq joint in all of Carolina, north or south.

You just have to be able to push through all the NC State Police who seem to be there 24x7. Safest place in NC to eat.
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Warm Springs

Last Saturday I had the distinct pleasure of doing a wine dinner at Garth Newel Music Center in Warm Springs, VA, about five miles north on US-220 from the Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA. Garth Newel is a combination chamber music venue and bed-and-breakfast. Performances are generally Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, with a four-course dinner following the Saturday performance.

This year and last year, I have conducted Wild Grape wine dinners associated with a Saturday night performance of the Borromeo String Quartet, a very prominent group based in Boston. After the dinner I did last year, head violinist Nicholas Kitchen (whose father played piano at Garth Newel over thirty years ago!) and I stayed in touch; I saw them play in Boston this past April (a movement-by-movement study of Schoenberg's Fourth Quartet) and we agreed to do another dinner at Garth Newel, which was the one I did last weekend.

Folks, this place is not CityZen or something like that. The food is elemental and ingredients-driven, with some ingredients better than others. Saturday's dinner prominently featured chanterelles foraged just outside the door of the kitchen--that, well, did not suck. The people, from Chef Ed McArdle and Executive Director Jacob Yarrow, do a wonderful job taking the incredibly pastoral setting and fitting in a most comfortable venue for great music, dining, and conversation. The Board of Directors, many of whom have retired to Bath County, are incredibly nice--one of them even opened her guest quarters for my to crash Saturday night!

Garth Newel is one of the most peaceful places I've been to on earth. To be able to "work" in such a wonderful setting, for such great people (and with a quartet as good as the Borromeo) is the most fulfilling thing I've done in this business. I highly recommend checking it out--and I'll most likely be there next summer with the Borromeo again, schnooking away!

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Winchester

From a good friend (and food lover) who lives in Winchester: "I had a group dinner at Brewbakers that was very nice; haven't been there for lunch. Also I like One Block West on Indian Alley."

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Danville

There is decent barbeque near Danville, and it ain't at Short Sugar's. Last weekend I had a great dinner at a new-ish place called Tater Bugs, on US 58 a few miles east of Danville proper. Not earth-shattering, but very good. The ribs were nicely smoked through and the sauce, though not great, wasn't cloying or overwhelming, either. Good hush puppies, onion rings, sweet potato fries, and sweet tea. No alcohol served (yet). The place is small but shockingly clean. Mr. Tate gave me a tour of his smoker out back. happy.gif

Next time I'm in Danville Tater Bugs is on the list for at least two meals.

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Winchester

From a good friend (and food lover) who lives in Winchester: "I had a group dinner at Brewbakers that was very nice; haven't been there for lunch. Also I like One Block West on Indian Alley."


Any updates on dining in Winchester or its surrounds? Or a more recent review of Brewbakers. Nothing fancy -- casual, good cooking will do.
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Staunton


I'm heading to the Shenandoah this weekend with some friends - one of whom is from Staunton, VA. He's recommended that we have dinner at Staunton Grocery. Their website currently lists only a sample spring menu. Does anyone have any experience with this place or know anything about the chef (Ian Boden)?
I don't know anything about the Staunton Grocery, but Wright's Dairy Rite (old-school drive-in) is a regular stop for us, and we have had many good meals at Mrs. Rowe's (and often pick up a pie or frozen meal on our way through).
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Staunton

Staunton, VA

I'm heading to the Shenandoah this weekend with some friends - one of whom is from Staunton, VA. He's recommended that we have dinner at Staunton Grocery. Their website currently lists only a sample spring menu. Does anyone have any experience with this place or know anything about the chef (Ian Boden)?

I've eaten at The Mill. I think that's what it is called. It's a big converted flour mill that seemed to be pretty popular with the locals. It's pretty cool to eat inside a flour mill, but the food was nothing to get excited about. My burger was OK.
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Staunton; Winchester

The buzz over on the RoadFood forums is that Mrs. Rowe passed away a few years ago, and her kids aren't exactly maintaining her standards. Too bad, because I drive right by it en route to my parents and would love to stop there for a meal if it was like it was in its heyday.

On an unrelated note, in Winchester, there's a decent frozen custard place on Route 7--if you're driving westbound it's on the left just before I-81. I liked their banana custard quite a lot. It's called Pack's Frozen Custard, although the big sign on the building that you can see from the street does not say so. I'm not sure if they're open year-round. It looks like a dump with walk-up windows, like all good frozen confection places should.

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Harrisonburg

Klein's in "downtown" Harrisonburg has one of three vintage Electro Freeze machines from the '50's left in the state of Virginia. This is frozen custard that seriously rivals Fredericksburg's Carl's or the old Frozen Dairy Bar that was in Falls Church fifteen years ago.

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Charlottesville

It's that time of year again. Does anyone know of anything new and good on the US 29 corridor south through Charlottesville and Lynchburg to Danville?

Dr. Ho's Humble Pie at the crossroads. about 8 miles south of C'ville on the Northbound side of the road.
humble pie
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Danville; Roxboro, NC

Spring 2008 Report from Virginia's South Side

Tater Bugs on eastbound US 58 a few miles east of Danville had the best pork ribs I've ever eaten, nicely tender but with some chew left in 'em, lightly smokey and lightly sauced with a barely sweet, barely tart sauce. The sides ranged from adequate to good, the place is as charming as ever. Go for the ribs (available in 1/3, 1/2, and full rack sizes).

The best carnitas I've ever had were at a typical "authentic Mexican" swillery in nearby Roxboro, NC, called La Cocina. The salsa was acceptable, the chips decent, the cheese dip awful, the ubiquitous refried beans and rice yucky as they always are, almost everywhere, but the carnitas were perfect. I don't know how carnitas are made and I'm no expert in the subject, but these tasted like pork shoulder roasted long enough for the fat to melt and seep into the meat, then pulled and fried just long enough to get the outside brown and crispy while keeping the insides succulent. These carnitas lasted like pork and nothing but pork (that's a good thing), until a squeeze of lime and a spoonful of intense, fruity, not-too-spicy made-from-dried-chili peppers and garlic sauce brought them to a new high.

I'm not saying drop everything and go to Roxboro, it's not time to alert Jane and Michael Stern, but if you're anywhere nearby, do give these a try.

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Winchester

On an unrelated note, in Winchester, there's a decent frozen custard place on Route 7--if you're driving westbound it's on the left just before I-81. I liked their banana custard quite a lot. It's called Pack's Frozen Custard, although the big sign on the building that you can see from the street does not say so. I'm not sure if they're open year-round. It looks like a dump with walk-up windows, like all good frozen confection places should.


It's literally right before I-81, as in occupying the space where a cloverleaf would be in the southeastern corner, if VDOT had built one, on the appropriately-named "Dairy Corner Place". Another vote for the banana custard. I asked for a small cone, which apparently means about half the size of your forearm to the girls working the counter. Most of it was merely good, but the first part they pulled from the machine, the part closest to the cone, had that marvelous supercold and slightly grainy texture that I adore.

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Staunton

Wright's Dairy Rite (old-school drive-in) is a regular stop for us

We stopped here on the way back up I-81 yesterday - the burgers are good, and the onion rings are really, really, really good.

They also have one particularly evil sounding dessert lurking at the bottom of the ice cream menu - the "Wright's Wheelie" consists of a glazed donut topped by a scoop of ice cream, whipped cream, and your choice of sundae topping. blink.gif I didn't try it because I needed to be able to drive without vibrating out of existence, but someone else may want to take one for the team at some point.
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Bedford

Last weekend I had one of the most enjoyable dining experiences in recent memory at the Millstone Tea Room. In a house hard by VA Rte 122 (aka Big Island Highway) north of Bedford sits this marvelous spot. Taking their cue from Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the produce is grown on the farm.

The menu is so simple that you start looking for something missing. Pick a protein, pick a veg, pick a soup or salad to start with (there are also a couple of appetizers). menu

The wine list consisted of about 30 or so bottles and has a couple of interesting things on it. Our pinot noir was presented much too warm but was fine after a little time on ice. There was a dirt cheap Verdejo that I thought went quite well with my wife's shrimp and grits.

I took a velvet potato soup to start, grilled quail, and bacon cheddar grits.

The potato soup had exactly the right texture and consistency and needed nothing more than a quick dash of pepper to make it come fully alive. The grits were, well they were what grits are supposed to be -- rich and gooey. The quails were absolute perfection. Seasoned with a dry rub and grilled to perfection. Served upon the aforementioned grits. Beautiful in simplicity and absolutely delicious. I'd say it was better than any other restaurant fowl dish that I have had in a long time. An espresso creme brulee for dessert and a pretty good coffee and I stepped outside to the earthy smells of a working farm a very happy boy.

Service was pretty casual with some minor hiccups.

Millstone may not be a true destination restaurant, but if you happen to find yourself within about 100 miles of Bedford, it's well worth a detour.

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Winchester

Just a quick plug for One Block West in Winchester. Even if you are not in the northernmost part of Virginia, Chef Ed's online musings are well worth a bookmark:

One Blog West, via Chef Ed Matthews of One Block West in Winchester, VA

Chef Ed is a passionate advocate of locally sourced ingredients, a concept that does not necessarily have high demand in that part of the state. The level of detail he includes in his postings has directly translated into several new practices and products in my own kitchen. Do a search for the phrase "chef's tasting" to get a quick glimpse into his most playful and nuanced creations. In addition, anyone who has worked the back of the house will find many a knowing smile in this chef owner's unapologetic diatribes regarding certain customers and suppliers. This is an artist in action.

I've been to One Block West twice, once for lunch and another time for dinner, but both in the dead of winter. The meals were a delight, as was meeting Chef Ed. However, I need to return during the abundant, warmer months when local ingredients are at the peak of showcasing.

If anyone visits One Block West, I welcome learning about your experiences. And again, Chef Ed's blog is a keeper.

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Reedsville

Hi:

We're two seniors that eat out a fair amount -- Northern Va, DC (Foggy Bottom) and also Fredericksburg VA.

No connection with the food industry, so no axes to grind.

Last weekend we had a very fine dinner at a place named "Tommy's" in Reedsville Va. It's gotten
a fair amount of good press there over the last few years, and it seems well-deserved. Tommy is the
owner.chef and likes to prepare local foods (crabs, rockfish ...) with a bit of New Orleans flavor -- he's
had some background down there.

Chow ciao.

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I really enjoyed his story about why he did not get a Wine Speculator Award for his list - from everything I have heard about this award I have no problem believing his story.

"I was dumb enough to fall for this years ago. I packaged everything and sent it off to New York, along with a check for $250."

Don't feel bad, Ed - I made the same mistake twice in applying for a James Beard Award, shelling out $100 each time. Haven't bothered since.

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Staunton

which reminds me that i found two worthwhile, moderately expensive restaurants in staunton early this year: zynodoa and staunton grocery. the former pits polyface and ayrshire farms against each other in a pork and chicken appetizer. i don't recall details of the food coming out of these modern American kitchens all that well, but i suspect that i would be visiting frequently if they were closer. both make interesting use of their deep, old storefront spaces. they are located on beverley, the main commercial street going through downtown, within a few blocks of each other.

near the train station, the small wine cellar has a nice selection from local vineyards.

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Lynchburg

A quick search on Lynchburg roadfood brought me to Moore's Country Store (6963 Richmond Hwy, Lynchburg), a local landmark since 1926 that seems to be famous for two things: the large tree that grows through their front porch, and their super-spicy chili hotdogs. For about a buck-forty apiece, you're presented with a dog that manages somehow to reach rarely-seen levels of humility. The bun is a soft processed object that probably leeches nutrition out of the rest of your stomach contents. The dog itself is a mystery meat, unusually homogeneous and smooth, and surface-dyed to an eery red color. The slaw is finely-chopped, stinky and sweet. There's a smear of mustard too, and a bit of chopped onion. But the guest of honor is a thin streak of dark brown beef chili that's carries an up-front peppery burn. I wouldn't rank it among the spiciest foods I've eaten, but the heat-timid should probably look elsewhere on the menu.

Deviled eggs were $1.09 for a slightly soggy (condensation) plate of four pieces, and a generous tray of onion rings is under two bucks. You can buy styrofoam containers of the chili separately, but this gutbuster of a dog is really the way to go. That is, if your intestines will forgive you afterwards for slipping them a couple of timebombs.

Moore's is in a shady hollow along US 460, less than a mile east of the intersection at the northeast side of town where 460 becomes the bypass for US 29.

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dinner, 9 May 2009
not shown: Tums, Gas-X

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The dog itself is a mystery meat, unusually homogeneous and smooth, and surface-dyed to an eery red color. The slaw is finely-chopped, stinky and sweet. There's a smear of mustard too, and a bit of chopped onion. But the guest of honor is a thin streak of dark brown beef chili that's carries an up-front peppery burn. I wouldn't rank it among the spiciest foods I've eaten, but the heat-timid should probably look elsewhere on the menu.

This sounds like a very close relative of the infamous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog (note that they've "interviewed" the hot dog itself, which is a little scary. Also note that the race is sponsored by Tums. :lol: )

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Purcellville; Stephen's City; Winchester

Heading out into the country for a well earned break from life, we stopped by Magnolia at the Mill at the end of the WO&D trail in Purcellville. The restaurant is aptly named as it occupies a former mill and still has many of the workings attached to the beautiful old lumber (or at least representations of them – to my completely untrained eye they looked real but who knows). But we were not there for the scenery, we came for food. The beer list is far more adventurous than I would have expected, I believe this is a nod to the (sub)urban bikers that are looking for a break after finishing the long trail, the glass of Straub’s Premium Lager would have been great after a 45 mile bike ride.

Our lunch started out strong with Buttermilk Onion Rings, about as perfect an example of rings as I have ever had. The breading was crispy, and flavorful, and the onions cut to just the right size to allow them to be cooked through without burning the coating. We had hoped this was a harbinger of things to come, but… my wife’s Southwestern Grilled Chicken Salad was poorly dressed monstrosity, in some places there were large glops of dressing, others were bare. The toppings were generous, but this was definitely the case of quantity over quality. The first impression upon seeing the Tre Carni pizza was that it looked like a pie from American Flatbread, this impression lasted after the first bite, but there was something wrong, what was it? It took me a minute, and then I realized that there was no chew to the crust, it was more like a dinner roll that had been baked in a stone oven – if they took care of the crust, this would be an outstanding pizza.

Our journey continued onto Stephen’s City and the charming little Inn at Vaucluse Spring. If you are looking for a romantic excursion I would certainly keep this little gem in mind. As noted before, they only serve dinner on Friday and Saturday, and it is surprisingly good. The previous chef has left and gone to work with her husband full time at Glen Manor Winery, she was replaced by a young ambitious graduate of Johnson and Wales who came to the Inn by way of a now closed spa in Winchester (sorry I forgot to jot down his name).

The Friday meal is referred to as supper and is a less formal event than the Saturday meal, but it was well executed. The star being a cider braised pork loin on pearl barley with an apple cucumber slaw, the generous serving of locally raised pork was cooked to medium rare retaining the moisture that this cut usually loses, the barely gave the dish a delightful chew and earthiness while the slaw brought a snappy flavor and a crisp texture. Saturday’s dinner, is a little more involved, and started with a gorgonzola terrine that was beautifully paired with roasted beets and a curry cashew brittle. The one thing I believe would have significantly improved this dish were to either grind the brittle or cut it into much smaller pieces – it was too hard to cut, and the flavor really worked well. The biggest stretch of the evening was also the biggest stumble, and that was an agnolotti stuffed with chicken confit, the pasta was fine, but the stuffing was a bit too stiff, the potential was there, it just has not found it. The entrée was a beautiful piece of wild caught Scottish Salmon that had been seared, and served with a light sauce and locally grown asparagus. I would have liked my salmon to have been cooked a little less done, but the flavor was fantastic, but the simply prepared and impeccably fresh asparagus stole the show.

Vaucluse has gotten quite a bit of press for their breakfast, and it is well deserved. Our first breakfast started with a very moist carrot cake muffin with cinnamon butter, which was followed with a bowl of local strawberries, and finally an asparagus quiche with a side of locally produced bacon. Sunday’s breakfast could have ended with the delicious coffee cake and I would have been happy, but I would have missed out on the bananas foster French toast, and local sausage which would have been a shame. The French toast was made with fresh egg rolls, and topped with fresh bananas and caramel syrup (no not quite a real bananas foster, but still damn good).
Not only was the food remarkably good, but the service was both relaxed and attentive.

Saturday we were on our own for lunch, I took the advice mentioned up-thread and gave One Block West a try. The room was a little darker and fussier than I was expecting, but was certainly not a distraction. I was quite happy with the selections of wine available by the glass; I started off with a Tavel that was refreshing and delicious. After ordering it, I noticed that they also served the Glen Manor Sauvignon Blanc that has been raved about, but they were out of it at the time so I went with the glass of the Viognier, and I was treated to a wine every bit as good as what I have had out of the Languedoc (I later found a bottle of the SB at a Winchester wine store, I look forward to giving it a try).

I started with a cup of Cream of Crab Soup; I was expecting the typical flour thickened sherry spiked soup that usually comes with the name, but what I was presented was more like Half and Half of Crab Soup – a thin yet deceivingly rich broth with healthy amounts of crab and leeks. The only thing that would have improved this soup was a little freshly cracked pepper. My wife’s Spinach Salad could not have been any less unlike the monstrosity she was served the day before; this was a classic salad with blue cheese and walnuts with a simple yet effective vinaigrette. For mains, I had the Shrimp and Grits, which were eight well cooked shrimp around a stone ground grit cake and a scattering of Surry sausage; unfortunately it was bathing in too much lemon juice that added an unpleasant amount of acidity to the dish. My wife had a similar issue with her grilled chicken pasta (called Ed’s Pasta), which was overpowered by the astringent combination of artichokes, brined capers, tomatoes, and white wine – the poor pasta never stood a chance. My father’s Smoked Surry Sausage was a star, it several large pieces of delicious sausage matched with a warm mélange of apple, celery, walnuts, and dried fruit. This dish was a balance of flavors and textures. The soup and the sausage assures me that great things can come out of the kitchen so I would be more than happy to give them another try.

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Waynesboro; Staunton

Wanted to report that McAllister's Deli in Waynesboro is not a deli. And in fact they put cheese on my Mufaletta. I was not happy. We picked up sandwiches on our way back to Ivy and perhaps it was the drive that they didn't fair well, but their sweet tea which is very good. The cold make your own sandwiches are probably good, the selected sandwiches though just weren't very impressive. They were ok, just not great.

Next time will stop at the Greenwood Grocery.

Also at Downtown at the Clocktower in Staunton. It was ok. Hubby seemed to like his BBQ sandwich. I had the portabello sandwich on pretzel roll. It was very good, except the pretzel roll was smushed and got soggy on the bottom. The whole sandwich seemed a little... flat, literally. All the bread seemed to be smushed down which I don't particularly like, and it seemed the sandwich got smushed too. But the flavor of the sandwich minus soggy bread was good. The fries, however, were odd. Something about them tasted sweet, and it wasn't good, I think the the sweet potato fries were better. I also think they use a sweet ketchup, probably Hunts instead of Heinz, and I really was not fond of it. Not gourmet or high end like the Grocery, but wasn't bad either. And considering how much was closed it was probably our best option at the time.

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[Yeah, at some point, I'll split this thread out by county, I think. It's a mess.]

how bout strike thru it like sheridan did? the valley: one topic

and leave the 95 corridor to grant: woodbridge, the wilderness, fredericksburg, spotslyvania, yellow tavern, richmond, petersburg (and points east and west). another.

nova, well that's easy.

now that leaves the great dismal swamp.... oh wait, virginia beach.

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