I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself. Yes, “1 Night in Paris” is the title of the Paris Hilton sex tape. But it also describes the wonderful weekend getaway Dan and I took to Paris, VA a few weeks back. And its a weekend definitely worth writing about–especially for those of you eager to leave DC for a day or two without having to travel too far.
I had heard about the food at the Ashby Inn in Paris from a few different people, and decided that it was worth checking out. Since Dan doesn’t have a lot of vacation time, we try to fit a few weekend trips into the year instead of longer trips (though my body/skin could definitely go for a week-long beach vacation).
Paris is only an hour or so outside of DC, which makes it the perfect distance for a one-night stay. Paris, France might be a tad more exciting, but it’s a hell of a lot easier to drive to Paris, VA.
We were approaching Paris when we started seeing signs for vineyards and wine tastings. Being the alcoholics (I mean wine connoisseurs) that we are, we decided to stop in and enjoy the afternoon with some casual wine sipping. We pulled up to Three Fox Vineyards, which wound up being a total winner. With a charming winery with outdoor fire pits, plenty of seating, and even a splattering of hammocks in the woods, Three Fox was the perfect spot to laze. It was just warm enough to sit outside for a bit, but I can only imagine how idyllic it is in the springtime. As a Californian, I’ll admit that I’m skeptical of this so-called Virginia Wine Country, but was pleasantly surprised by a few of the wines–especially their La Boheme viognier. It has this incredibly smoky flavor that would go perfectly with a nice cheese plate. We also left with a lovely bottle of port–surprising, since I don’t usually like sweet wines or port. But this one was tasty. And the owner recommended using it in a brownie recipe. I was sold.
From there, we got a recommendation to go to Hunter’s Head Tavern in Uppersville for lunch. Buried in the middle of Nowhere, VA is a fantastic British tavern–complete with fish ‘n chips, bangers & mash, shepherd’s pie, etc. We opted for the fish ‘n chips, chicken pot pie and 2 pints of beer. Soaking up the sun with hearty food and a mug of beer while enjoying a nice wine buzz is my idea of a perfect vacation afternoon.
I’m going on 500 words and we haven’t even made it to Paris. Oh, boy.
So we finally made it to the inn. Delightful. Quaint. Homey. Loved it. Went to a few antique stores in the area–because what else is there to do in rural Virginia, lazed on some adirondack chairs on the grass, and took a power nap before heading downstairs for the highly acclaimed dinner.
We were lucky enough to have a 30% coupon via Village Vines and went with the 5 course chef’s menu. I was glad we went with 5 courses instead of 7, because we actually wound up being served 8 dishes. I’m a slacker and am writing this three weeks late, so my memory is hazy, but I’ll pull a few highlights:
- the puffed pastry filed with liver and topped with honey;
- the split pea soup with bacon, fresh croutons, and creme fraiche;
- the sheep’s cheese with dehydrated pinenuts and compressed apple
- the palette cleanser juice-thing served in an ice ball with pop rocks. Words cannot do this justice.
- and so much more!
The menu changes daily, and all of the products are local and organic. Chef Tarver King does such an amazing job of highlighting the flavors of each ingredient. He creates an eye-catching plate, but isn’t one for excessive technique that compromises the food.
AMAZING. We were so full. And so happy.
Then we had breakfast at the inn the next morning. LOVED the fresh brioche with currant jelly that we started with. I wasn’t quite so impressed with the braised chicken hash with a fried egg, watercress, potatoes and oyster mushrooms that Dan ordered–but he was so happy with the dish. My biscuits with rabbit gravy, carmelized pear (an amazing flavor profile that complemented the savory gravy) and sage was the winning entree in my book–so it turns out that we ordered well based on our preferences!
All in all, our one night in Paris was heavenly. I would definitely go back, and would encourage all of you to do the same!