About a month beforehand, Patrick surprised me by making a reservation at the "Inn at Little Washington" in Washington, VA, which I had been wanting to try for awhile. Their founder/head chef is famous in the culinary realm, particularly for helping to inspire the whole farm-to-table movement.
Needless to say, the food was fantastic and definitely some of the best we've eaten. Not only was it perfectly prepared, but the ingredients were fresh, with many of the vegetables plucked from their own gardens and the seafood caught just the day before and flown in overnight from places like Alaska (cod), Hawaii (tuna), and Maine (lobster).
They even custom-made the menu to read "Happy Anniversary Patrick and Monica" on the top, which they wrapped in an envelope for us to take home at the end of the night. (Sadly I can't get my scanner to work so I don't have a copy of this to share).
Luckily I brought my camera along and took a picture of each course, so I think I will let the pictures do the talking.
*Sidenote: the server told us ahead of time that the meal would take just over 2 hours to complete. Since we were sitting next to a window, you can see how the lighting changed from evening to night.
The night started out with these lovely bite-sized palate teasers:
a fried risotto ball, some sort of foam (I don't recall the flavor),
the world's smallest baked potato, and braised pork belly.
We decided if he ever wrote a book, this would be his author photo.
Black Truffle Dusted Popcorn
Great way to start the night. The server came out with a huge
tennis-ball shaped truffle which he grated liberally over our popcorn
like it was no big deal.
Here's after I ate all the truffle shavings off the top.
And then I proceeded to eat the rest.
A Shot of Chilled Local Plum Soup
Loved this!! The plum soup was smooth and refreshing...
Also featured is a little cigar filled with a ham mixture and dusted with chives.
Caviar "Caterpillar" of Avocado and Peekytoe Crab
Perfect combo: sweetness of the crab,
creaminess of the avocado, saltiness of the caviar.
I think I ate mine in one bite.
Chilled Maine Lobster with Braised Celery Hearts and Citrus Vinaigrette
One of my favorites.
You can also see the fried lotus root
and citrus sorbet that was served alongside it.
Miniature Filet of Black Cod Saute
with Lemon Vodka Sauce and Lilliputian Shrimp Dumplings
Patrick's favorite. It was perfectly cooked -
crisp on the outside but moist and tender on the inside.
My Rose Wine
Maine, Day Boat Scallop Sauteed
with Tomato Gnocchi, Capers, Brown Butter, and Lemon
A solid dish. Can't go wrong with scallops.
Even the bread was exquisite.
Potato Wrapped Tuna Wellington
with Caponata-Filled Ravioli and Sauce Bearnaise
Bearnaise sauce = winner.
Another angle. You can see the potato crust better here,
which was nice and crispy.
View from our table into the interior of the restaurant.
Braised Veal Cheek on a Salad of Summer Vegetables
from the Inn's Garden of Eatin'
Don't judge until you've tried it. Braised veal cheeks are delicious!
So tender you could cut it with your fork.
Vanilla Panna Cotta with Blackberry Sorbet
Loved how the tanginess of the blackberry sorbet paired
with the creamy richness of the panna cotta.
Chocolate Menage a Trois:
A Miniature Black Forest Mousse Bombe,
Chocolate Creme Brulee, and Bittersweet Chocolate Souffle
The chocolate souffle came out hot and was by far my favorite of the night.
"Happy Anniversary" message
Inside the black forest mousse bombe.
A good-bye gift in the shape of the Inn at Little Washington,
filled with cookies, chocolate covered nuts, and candy.
While it was easily the most expensive meal we've ever eaten, it was well worth it. (However, I don't think our wallets will be encouraging an encore anytime soon... good thing we only plan to celebrate our 2nd Anniversary once). :)