Well, the birthday celebration is all wrapped up. Friday evening’s get together was lots of fun although my pool skills may have reached a whole new low. Meanwhile, my shuffle board skills are getting better. Many friends were around to celebrate and I just hope everyone else had as much fun as I did. Last night was the last part of the celebration. My friend and I went to dinner to celebrate both of our birthdays at The Inn at Little Washington. It is about an hour and a half drive from “big Washington,” and we were treated to a beautiful sunset as we headed out into the country. It felt a little bit like spring, which was very welcome given the winter dreariness we’ve had lately.
I decided to try to subtly take photos of our dinner, and my friend is a good sport. It was a dimly lit dining room, so some may not have turned out as well as I would have liked, but I was trying to avoid using my flash. Don’t worry. I’m not going to go all “M.F.K. Fisher” on you now (even if I could!), but I will tell you about what I had to eat.
I was so engrossed in the menu that I did not take any photos of the amuse bouche, but I will give you a quick description. The first thing to arrive at the table was a plate with four little spoons. Each spoon held an interesting little bite of something. For example, one held a small bite of a beet mousse, and another had a little ball of pear soaked in a liquer and wrapped in prosciutto. After that, we were presented with tiny teacups filled with a velvety smooth pea soup. After our little “mouth amusements” it was time for the first course. For my first course: A Melange of Spicy Big Eye Tuna with Mango, Avocado, Crispy Shallots and Sake-Yuzu Sorbet.
The fresh, uncooked tuna was mixed with several ingredients including, most noticeably, cilantro and mango, and then topped with a slightly sweet and incredibly refreshing sorbet. I love to order spicy tuna at sushi restaurants, and it did remind me a bit of that although the sorbet certainly kicked the complexity up through the roof. For my second course, I was torn between a lobster dish or the macaroni and cheese. My love of cheese won out and I ordered the Macaroni and Cheese with Virginia Country Ham, Aged Gouda and Shaved Black Truffle.
As my friend pointed out, it looks like a tobbogan. The “sled” is made of crisped cheese (possibly of the parmesan variety, but I’m not sure), and was so delicious. I loved having my pasta presented to me arranged in an orderly little line, and it is hard to go wrong when truffles are involved. The aged gouda was strong and savory, but it didn’t overpower the truffles. The ham added a nice salty bite to go along with the cheesy sauce. This was a dish full of earthy, pungent and intense flavors and smells, and I think it will be one of the most memorable parts of the meal for me. I REALLY loved it. For my main course: Parsley-Crusted Elysian Fields Lamb Loin on Lentils Du Puy with Morsels of Foie Gras.
The lamb was perfectly tender and incredibly succulent (“succulent” is one of those words that makes me roll my eyes a bit, but I can’t think of one that works better…), and it went perfectly with the lentils. The foie gras… I’m just going to be honest. I’m sure that it was excellent foie gras as far as foie gras goes. I think, after trying it a few times now, I might just not be a big fan of foie gras in general. If you’ve never tried it, it doesn’t have a strong taste. It is actually very delicate in flavor with the texture of butter, and I think there is something about the texture that I don’t love. I’m sure this won’t be the last time I try it, but I won’t be craving it any time soon.
After the main course, we decided to have a course of cheese along with a glass of port. Cheese is one of my favorite foods. Period. This is where the Inn’s sense of humor is the most obvious. They have a large plastic cow, named Faira, and if you order the cheese course, the cow will be rolled over to the side of your table. She came complete with a cowbell (because more cowbell is always good), a mooing device, a bazillion fragrant cheeses and a very knowledgeable man who helped us pick a good selection of cheeses ranging from mild to pungent. Here’s Faira’s rump as she was moooving away from our table:
Apricots, pecans and quince preserves went along with our amazing little array of cheeses. The cheese in the spoon is a French cheese, epoisses, and it was one of the more interesting cheeses on the platter to me. I loved the Italian cheese that is second to last and, of course, I can’t remember it’s name. Grrr. Also, the Roquefort was interesting in that it had a bite that was hotter than any other blue cheese I’ve tried before. We enjoyed our cheese plate and port with some tasty crackers and bread, and then it was time for dessert. I have a hard time picking just one thing when I know that I can have little tastes of lots of different things. The perfect choice for me was: The Seven Deadly Sins: A Sampling of Seven of Our Most Decadent Desserts.
As you can see, my plate was festooned with a “Happy Birthday” banner in the corner. In addition to that birthday touch, our menus were personalized with a birthday greeting, and various staff members wished us well as they came to bring tasty things to our table. Upon leaving, we were presented with our menus and with little inn shaped boxes containing some tiny cookies and treats. I have to say that the staff is really remarkable when it comes to funny little touches like that. I also have to say that I would prefer some pleasant birthday wishes any day over any birthday celebration that involves the wearing of sombreros, clapping waitstaff or the blowing of whistles.
Now, let me quickly tell you my plan in the weight watcher’s context. Obviously, this meal involved a lot of points. I don’t regret eating any of it– except– I did eat more bread and butter than I should have. I think, despite trying to have a filling low points lunch, I was hungrier than I should have been when I arrived. They kept my little plate supplied with some warm crusty bread. Eating less of that could have saved a few points with no real sacrifice at all, which is why I say that, looking back, that’s the one thing I might have changed. Truthfully, I have no regrets. Bread is good. I may try to track these points, but I’m skeptical as to my ability to guesstimate any of it very well. So, here’s what my real plan is: I’m going to continue working toward my usual point total of around 30 activity points for the week (I already earned 7 yesterday!!), and I’m going to stick to my daily points target of 22 for the rest of the week with no extras. I have no idea what will happen on weigh-in day, but I think that’s the best I can do. I also know that there is no reason to stress about it. To be honest, there have been weeks with meals like this where I still lose. We’ll just wait and see. In the meantime, I need to get busy earning my activity points for today.
P.S. Happy Birthday and many thanks to my friend for putting up with my camera addiction. I’m also so glad (insert sarcasm) that she brought the scary monkey murals in the inn’s lounge to my attention. I’m not a fan of monkeys, and I found one little segment particularly disturbing.
Is he about to turn this little bird into his very own amuse bouche? Did they have to exaggerate the point that he has thumbs? Shudder. If that doesn’t inspire me to run faster, nothing will. I’m off to the gym!!