One of the most fun short trips from Washington D.C. is a road excursion to Charlottesville, Virginia. Many don’t realize that the city of Charlottesville is a great deal more than just the home of The University (i.e. UVA). It is also a city of small shops and great restaurants and hotels. This trip, I once again stayed at one of my very favorite places – The Clifton Inn.
Nestled to the east of the city, Clifton has the perfect ingredients for a romantic and fun getaway. The rooms and suites are each uniquely decorated and are elegant and very comfortable. Many have working fireplaces in the rooms. The staff is extremely friendly and helpful but also completely professional. There are little touches such as decanters of Madeira with glasses in each room since Madeira was the wine of choice during colonial times. Of course, the standard fluffy robes and shampoos and creams are in the bathrooms. (Don’t worry even though the property was established in the late 1700s, the bathrooms are large and totally up to date.)
In addition to a great facility that has an infinity pool, clay tennis court, hot tub, and a dock on the lake for relaxing with your toes in the water or fishing, the inn has an amazing kitchen. We decided to do the Chef’s Table this trip so as to not only enjoy all sorts of tastes with four or five small courses but also to watch the preparation of all the other orders for the night. It was perfect for a foodie since you sit at the high counter overlooking the preparation table for all the cold dishes and salads and right behind that are the hot items prepared on the massive stoves.
Another amazing fact about Clifton’s restaurant is how much of their ingredients are made by their kitchen and grown in their garden. They even churn their own butter (which is amazing!). Here are some of the dishes we tasted in addition to the homemade breads (make certain for breakfast you eat the biscuits.):
- Mixed Green Salad with Peanut Nougatine, House made Ricotta, Surryano Ham and Apple (Surryano ham is a local ham)
- Roasted Cauliflower with Black Peanut Agrodolce Curry Oil and Garlic Chips
- Duck Liver Mousse with Coffee Pickled Carrots, Crispy Sourdough Puffed Rice and Tomato Honey
- Seared Bay Scallops with Black Garlic Dashi, Daikon Radish, Roasted Apple and Nasturtium
- Grilled Pork Loin with Buttered Turnips, Roasted Sunchokes, Asian Pear and Cider Glaze
- Poached Oysters with Bacon Vinaigrette, Brussels Sprouts and October beans
- Slow Cooked Egg with Musica Beans, Stone Ground Grits, Delicata Squash, Crispy Kale and Ham Consomme
- Dry Aged Ribeye with Baby Eggplant, Salsify Puree, Red Kale and Charred Onions
- Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert
Those are just some of the amazing dishes this week. On Sunday, November 16 there is a Blue Crabs and Blue Grass event featuring Maryland Crabs in case you have time to make it down.
Do make a trip to Clifton Inn as soon as you can and be prepared to be pampered!