Richmond Getaway

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Sampling the ciders at Blue Bee Urban Cidery in Richmond

Last weekend, my husband and I packed our overnight bags and made a spontaneous trip to Richmond, Virginia.

Richmond is only about 90 miles away from us, yet we’ve only ever passed through the city on our way south. We spent our getaway exploring downtown and the old neighborhoods, visiting Museum of Fine Arts, and eating and drinking our way around the city.

Hope you enjoy the highlights!

Day One

Our first order of business on Day 1 in Richmond was food and drink, of course. We headed to the Naked Onion sandwich shop and got the famous Pork Belly Banh Mi (pictured above) and Manchego grilled cheese with red pepper coulis. These sandwiches were good and such a bargain as this take out place is a local cheap eats favorite.

From there, we needed a little refreshment and being cider fans, we visited the Blue Bee Urban Cidery. Since it was a cooler day, we sat inside one of the cozy stone walled tasting rooms. We’ll visit again on a warm day to enjoy the outdoor ambiance and the special hops and ice cream sandwiches they serve!

After lunch, we stopped in the famous Jefferson Hotel to admire the grand lobby with tall marble columns, burgundy walls, and portraits of presidents and snap a few photos. They serve a lavish brunch on Sundays and we made a note to return to enjoy that soon.

Next up was the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts., which houses some great collections. We particularly enjoyed the mummies and ancient Italian exhibits. In addition, the outside grounds are beyond beautiful and we were intrigued with the unusual sculpture of a head which changes from male to female depending on what angle you look at it.

At 4 o’clock, it was cocktail time, so we headed to The Rogue Gentlemen. This small dive bar serves the most interesting drinks, each labeled with its dominant characteristics (sweet/refreshing/citrus/herbal/bitter/smoky/etc ) so there’s little chance you can order wrong. My husband ordered something called “Vampire Kit to ward off the Vampire” made with garlic infused Oster Vit, Beckerovka, rum, and lime. I know the garlic part sounds a little bizarre, but I promise, it was surprisingly sweet and fresh tasting and not garlicky at all.

They can also custom create a cocktail just for you. I jumped at the chance and requested something herbal and refreshing and got this lovely rum, blood orange, and basil creation.

When in Richmond (or anywhere in the South, really), you must eat pimento cheese. So we couldn’t resist the jalapeño pimento cheese crostini platter. This restaurant also serves a tasting menu with each course only $12. This is such a bargain compared to prices in DC and we observed some really tasting looking things coming out of the kitchen, but we had other dinner plans at Burger Bach, so we stopped with our cheese platter.  (No picture, but our burgers were awesome too)

Day Two 

After a restful sleep, we made our way at 9 am to The Fancy Biscuit. When we arrived, there were nearly 50 people waiting in line ahead of us! Not ones to be deterred, though, we stayed in line. This is usually a good sign that the food is something special.

And it was so special! The Fancy Biscuit might be my favorite new restaurant.

They specialize in biscuits (hence the name) but not your plain biscuits with butter and grape jelly (though I don’t mind those either). These are biscuit creations with all kinds of toppings from goat cheese to collard greens to apple slaw.

We ordered two versions. One had pepper jelly, goat cheese, and fried chicken. The  other had a poached egg, ham, and Sriracha hollandaise. So good! Will definitely be trying to recreate these at home.

Our final stop on our Richmond itinerary was the beautiful Maymont Gardens. It was the perfect early Summer day for a walk in the park, and this one featured both Italian and Japanese gardens. This park was absolutely free and it was the best way to end our weekend trip to Richmond.

Kimono Jacket in Old Town

Old Town Alexandria is one of my favorite neighborhoods. On the weekends, we love to take our dog, grab a coffee, and then walk around the brick-lined streets admiring all the historic houses.

This time of year is especially pretty too. There’s ivy everywhere and floral wreaths on every door. We also discovered this cute little courtyard for the first time tucked in between houses. 

So, this Kimono jacket is from Dodo Bar Or. I totally fell for it seeing it on Net-a-porter a few months ago.

Originally, I bought it for a trip to Florida a month ago. Imagined it would be great for sitting at a cafe or as a coverup at the beach. Turned out Florida was waaaaay too hot to wear something with long sleeves.

So, it’s making an appearance now. The weather here cooled off last weekend so it was perfect for a walk around Old Town.

This summer, I’m planning on wearing it with denim shorts and maybe even white pants. 

Current fashion trends normally don’t attract me too much, but the kimono jackets popping up everywhere lately have me dreaming of lazy summer days to come.

What about you? Do you have any summer trends you’re looking forward to?

Sundays at the Winery

With weather in the 80s the last few days, it already feels like summertime here in the DC region. And I’m not complaining!

Last Sunday, we took advantage of a pleasant morning before the afternoon heatwave to visit Barrel Oak Winery in Northern Virginia.

This is one of our favorite wineries ever. The pastoral farm setting is so peaceful, the wines are nice, and best of all, it’s dog friendly!

We timed it so we could enjoy their Sunday morning special which includes a breakfast champagne cocktail, bagel, newspaper, open space, and all the green you can take in for miles.

One of the things I really love about this area is that roads are sign and billboard free, meaning there’s just nature to appreciate. And what could be more peaceful on a lazy Sunday morning than that?

This winery can get crazy crowded on the weekends, but the morning hours had the  perfect amount of folks for people-watching and interacting with other dog-owners. We were able to snag a picnic table with umbrella next to the fields.

There are so many wineries in this area and we always vow we’re going to branch out and try something different. but in the end, we gravitate back here though because the setting is so pretty.

It’s safe to say, I’m sure we’ll be making lots of trips back here over the next few months. How about you? Do you have a favorite nature setting in your area?

*My dress is from Brooks Brothers .

 

 

Dinner at Pineapple and Pearls

Don’t let the name of this restaurant fool you. It’s no frothy lightweight experience.

In fact, this year Washingtonian magazine ranked Pineapple and Pearls the number one restaurant in DC.

And let me tell you. Getting a reservation here is no easy feat. You have to be on the website the second, er no, millisecond the reservations open and hit “reserve” before you can blink. Do not hesitate.

This is how you beat out 2,000 other eager diners (so we were told by our server)  for a dinner spot. But even then, your meal might start at an awkward time like 9 pm on a Wednesday night and go until almost midnight like it did in our case.

Even though I’m more of a person at heart who’d rather be in her pajamas in bed by 10 pm, we were so excited about going here.

The restaurant is a classy tiny space for only about 30 diners at a time. Because we were a party of two, we sat at the chef’s counter, where we got to see all the action as it happened in front of us.

The chef right in front of us was assembling a dish with what resembled mashed potatoes all night. Only later did we find out what it really was!

Like our meal at Minibar, it is truly fun to watch the chefs in their habitat, and the whole scene unfolds like a perfectly choreographed event.

The meal starts with something called “Afternoon Tea” which offers up a trio of beautiful little bites including a foie gras canele paired with a teacup of gin with Cloosterbitters, rum, and quince.

Next, we had a series of more little dishes including the most intense beef tartare & caviar, charred octopus, split pea consommé, and a french omelet.

All delicious, but I have to say I was partial to the octopus. Didn’t know it could taste that good.

The next course was black sea bass (another fish I didn’t know could be so delectable)

This was followed by probably my favorite of the entire night, a sweet bread taco served along side a mescal Paloma cocktail.

At about this point, we could’ve stopped and been perfectly happy with the meal.

But there was one more savory to come!

This trio of sides (persian rice, white beans, and dolmas) for the lamb dish.

The savory part of the meal completed, the next course was a resheshing pineapple granita with beet soda.

This was followed by our last fancy drinks of the night, amari and coffee and dessert.

I think you need a closer look at the dessert. It was Okinawan purple potato ice cream (ice cream close to our hearts) with chocolate cake and chestnuts.

 

Finally, the meal rounded out with the most exotic fruit plate with starfish, banana chocolate lollipops, and candied gooseberries.

All in all, the food was delightful and the service was top notch.

But in the end, perhaps one of the most luxurious parts of the experience is there is no bill at the end.

No check. No waiting. No figuring out the tip. You pay upfront for all of it when you get the coveted reservation (food, drinks, and gratuity).

So, you just decide when you’re ready to leave, get up, and go.

Daily Looks April

Hey there friends… Happy Easter!

I was incognito last week due to a hectic work schedule, but this week I’m back.

Here’s my latest round up of outfits for early April.

Saturday Breakfast Outing

This long navy blue dress from Nordstrom is one of the most practical purchases I’ve made in the last year or so. It’s works most seasons of the year and for so many occasions (summer work days with a lightweight sweater, fall with boots and jacket). I wore it this morning for a fun casual breakfast at a pie shop.

Tuesday Work

This shirtmaker style dress is so comfortable. The blue chevron print works great year round too.  This morning was a little chilly, so I topped it with a trench coat, which was quickly shed by noon.

Wednesday Work

This day was a little more casual than usual, so I wore jeans with this white dress shirt and long sweater. The sweater actually attaches on the ends and wraps up and around my neck. But I figured out I can wear it long this way like a duster too. You know, I’m all about finding new ways to wear my items.

Thursday Work

Recently, I found a wonderful youtube channel, Justine Leconte. Justine is a French fashion designer and she offers up so many helpful tutorials about dressing for one’s body shape. After watching her channel, I have so many ideas for things that are way more flattering for my figure, and this outfit was born out of applying her advice. (Milly A-line skirt to skim the hips and wide shouldered top to accentuate the upper body more). Check her out and you might get some inspiration!

Easter Sunday

How many peeps did you eat this year? I managed to get through without a single one… This comfy Tahari sheath dress was front and center for the day. It’s the second time in two weeks I’ve worn it after it’s been hiding in my closet.

Advice when you feel like you have nothing to wear and you are tempted to buy something new? Shop your own closet. What’s been sitting in the back, unloved for months, or even years?

Daily Looks: End of March

The weather finally warmed up in DC!

We’ve had some really lovely days lately, which meant I could break out a sundress, wear spring blazers instead of a puffer coat, and even put on sandals!

Saturday afternoon

While cherry blossoms didn’t bloom as gloriously as usual this year due to a late spring cold snap, it was still nice to visit the Tidal Basin and see a few blooms. This was also our first warm day in a while, so the yellow sundress was in order.

I’m always a little unsure of how this bright yellow dress will go over. But at a restaurant, a random guy told me he loved the color.

I’m also wearing my new comfy classic black flats. You guys, I just can’t seem to do high heels most days anymore, especially if there’s any degree of walking involved. You with me?

Sunday

As big fans of Chinese food, my husband and I had to try District Dumpling, a new restaurant serving a dozen different kinds, including creamy edamame and bulgogi beef. So good!

Monday 

It was a nice warm day, which called for bright pink. This pink dress is knit material and so comfortable, but it feels more like a going out dress because of the color, I think. To tone it down for work, I topped it with a denim blouse.

Tuesday

This Banana Republic linen blazer is one of my favorites, but it always seems to get lost in my closet. This year, I’m bringing it out front and center so it can get the wear it deserves.

Thursday

Thursday was on the cooler side and a little rainy. I wore this pearl Zara sweater over a black linen dress with a full skirt. I really like the retro vibe of this outfit… I felt a little like Audrey Hepburn the whole day.

Friday

We headed to Orlando for the weekend, and this is my travel outfit for the airplane. Hurray for blue jeweled sandals!

Early Spring Daily Looks

Last week, after a very warm winter in DC, we had a random snow storm.

Yes, the daffodils had already bloomed. Cherry blossoms were poised to open. I had packed away most of my winter items. And I was on Spring break from work. Then there was snow.

Anyway, here’s what I wore. Because it wasn’t a normal work week due to Spring recess, my outfits were casual. I’m happy to report the weather forecast is sunny, warm, and temperatures in the 60s from here on out…

Sunday Afternoon

Anticipating being snowed in this week, my husband and I headed to a local coffee shop to get out of the house and spend a few hours reading, eating ginger scones, and drinking tea.

Monday

Inspired by the winter splendor (albeit in March!), I put on white jeans for the day!

Tuesday

This Zara sweater and Lysee denim leggings are the comfiest!

Wednesday

One thing  I will miss about winter is these long scarfs. Happy I got a chance to wear this gray wool scarf one last time.

Thursday

I did have to attend a work meeting this day, so this White House Black Market jacket fit the bill. I love the buttons on it and how it’s a dupe for a much more expensive Balmain version.

Friday Evening

Have you been watching the show “Love” on Netflix? The themes are pretty gritty but the writing is really really good and I recommend it. Through the first few episodes of Season 2, the main character wears a version of this leather mini skirt.

So that inspired me to wear mine, which I bought at Christmas, but somehow forgot about. Does that ever happen to you?

Wore it to my favorite restaurant right now, an Afghani restaurant where I ate the best spicy lamb.

I guess I should say something about this crochet sweater. I bought it when I was a senior in high school. (I can’t even tell you how long ago that was).

But the important thing is that I loved it so much then (and I still do) that I took extra special care of it through the years. I’m still kind of amazed that it’s lasted this long.

Do you still have something you wore in high school?