Wielding ingredients culled from the fields, stockyards, and vineyards of local producers, chefs craft inventive dishes such as osso buco anointed with smoked-pork au jus and pan-roasted rockfish drifting in crawfish cream. The most recent addition to the Vintage team is brewmaster Kristi Griner, who channels her 24 years of experience to helm the efforts of Vintage 50's 10-barrel brew house. Additionally, Vintage 50's caterers conjure fare for weddings and the food-fight receptions that follow and whip up dishes for offsite corporate events and holiday parties.
The chefs at The V Eatery & Brew House transform a bounty of ingredients sourced from Virginia’s rich soils and seas to a menu of fine eats paired with craft beers. They batter freshly-netted cod with Catoctin Kolsch beer and spice up risotto with diced butternut squash and parmesan cream. To pair with their flavorful dishes, they select an elite array of 14 craft beers, 6 of which are brewed in-house to flow from their taps. And to keep things fresh, they rotate these brews regularly, with headliners such as Fat Tire amber ale and Avery’s White Rascal.
To occupy diners’ eyes and ears while their tastebuds are enjoying the food, The V Eatery host live musical performers every Tuesday through Saturday. They also plan to round out their selection of meals by adding a Sunday brunch once they get their license from the National Brunch Association, otherwise known as the NBA.
After founding small bistros and cafés throughout Nice, Paris, and St. Tropez, Frederick Boukaïa decided to bring his passion for rustic French cooking to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The result is La Niçoise Café. "I want people to be comfortable in my place," Boukaïa recently explained to the Northern Virginia Daily. "Nothing fancy. Nothing pretentious.”
Indeed, it's hard to feel alienated by the café's cozy, homespun ambiance and approachable menu of French comfort foods. It helps that you can't go wrong with any order, whether it's the grilled duck breast with crispy polenta or the mussels steamed in white wine with parsley, garlic, and shallots. To complement this cuisine, the café offers a curated selection of wines from regions throughout France, although the list also includes bottles from Australian, Italian, Californian, Algerian, and Virginian producers.
Vintage Piedmont unites a grandiose group of family wineries, each cozily sprawled within a 15-mile distance of the others. Ernest oenophiles can mosey among them at their own pace, ensuring no one exhausts their seeing-eye elephant. Barrel Oak Winery boasts a pastoral setting, 20 acres of vines, and a BowHaus white that blends vidal blanc, sauvignon, viognier, and more for a bright flavor ($24). At Philip Carter Winery, the 2009 chardonnay intermixes lemon zest, a vanilla bouquet, and pear notes ($24). Desert Rose Ranch & Winery sustains an unpretentious atmosphere, unlike snobbish grape groups for third cousins of royalty. Varietals include the Hitch Hollow chardonnay aged in French oak barrels, or the Sparky, a European-style rosé. Rappahannock Cellars and Hume Vineyards regale taste buds with delectable drinks from locally grown grapes. At each libation station, take home two commemorative wine glasses and receive 10% off bottles of wine.
For Little Washington Winery, location is key. Their perch sits on the edge of Shenandoah National Park, where the mountains scatter the spring winds to fend off frost and other vine-killing maladies. The open air catches ample light for the vineyard's growing fruits, and, perhaps just as importantly, grants a panoramic view of the forests ahead. It is on this lush land that Little Washington Winery cultivates the majority of its ingredients, sourcing others as necessary from their Virginian neighbors.
Virginia Wine Lover recently crowned the vintners with top rankings for their red and white wines, as well as naming the vineyard a premiere destination for picnics due to its surrounding scenery and bounty of naturally occurring checker-print blankets. Inside the tasting room, which is equal parts cabin and art gallery, guests listen attentively as experts walk them through enjoying a curated selection of wines. If guests wish to explore the world of vino even further, they can join the dirt road wine club, which offers tastes from boutique vintners around the globe.
The menu harvests local and organic ingredients, creating tasty eats to be savored in between rounds of freeze tag with the friendly servers. Dishes are designed to be delicately paired with a fine wine but are just as tasty alongside a '98 Capri Sun. Start with a classic mouth amuser, including an assortment of three artisanal cheeses ($12) or a plate of charcuterie ($10). There are farmed feastables such as the Parisian herb gnocchi with brussels sprouts, pearl onions, balsamic, and ricotta in a brown butter sauce ($12), or netted nuggets like the pan-seared flounder ($13). Phenomenologists who reject substance dualism will enjoy the chicken and waffles dish, which is actually a deep-fried quail served with cornmeal and herb waffles and drizzled with bacon-caramel syrup ($12).