Monday, November 12, 2012

The Tasting Menu at The Inn at Little Washington

The irony of writing about one of the most elaborate, delicious, and special meals of my life whilst finishing the second to last juice of my Blueprint cleanse does not escape me, but dammit, it must be done! Until last weekend, I had no way of knowing when I'd ever have the chance to dine at the world-famous Inn at Little Washington (Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds ate there only a couple months ago!), so it just feels right to share what every bite of the meal was like with my Cupcult. You were there in my heart. Well, ya know. If I had a heart. I'm like the tin man, only more gold.
Now is a good time to add that I took all of these pictures from my iPhone, as I thought it might be a bit gauche to agonize over the appropriate ISO setting in the dimly lit dining room on my DSLR. There are some nights that would be okay--this wasn't one of them. So you'll notice that the pictures are kinda dark, but hey, it's better than nothing.
Because we were celebrating our engagement, it was the rare and perfect occasion to blend classy with a little bit of slutty in my backless Zara dress with my new Chanel bag. It was also the rare and perfect occasion to eat 10 courses of James Beard award winning food with each course paired with a glass of wine.

So, here's the thing about The Inn: it's not just a meal, it's a dining EXPERIENCE. If the food is the headlining act, the waiters and sommeliers are the supporting cast that doesn't get enough stage time. I don't mean to suggest I wanted them to pull up a chair and join us (okay, maybe some of them), but each time a new plate or glass arrived at the table, the staff described it so delightfully that I've now decided I want someone to follow me around and narrate the most mundane moments of my life. For instance, the first dish on the tasting menu arrived by a waitress who explained that Chef (that'd be Patrick O'Connell) says that coming to the Inn for dinner is like seeing a show, so why not kick it off with popcorn? Popcorn COVERED in black truffle freshly shaved tableside:
I've had black truffle in things, but this was probably the freshest truffle experience I've had and OMFG, it's everything you'd think it'd be.

The second course was this pairing of roasted red pepper soup and a cheese puff nestled on its own pedestal:
This is all I ever want to eat again on a chilly fall day.

Obligatory bread shot:
We were surprised by canapes from the kitchen that were described as a potato chip, filled with creme fraiche and goat cheese, rolled in green onion, and dotted with caviar. Essentially, chips and dip:
It tasted EXACTLY like a potato chip with french onion dip. With caviar dotted on top, natch.

Speaking of caviar, our next course was one of my favorites (though I could say that about all of them).
The caviar tin was filled with a layer of creamy crab, refreshing cucumber, and a generous topping of caviar, paired perfectly with a soft, buttery, toasted brioche.
DAMN YOU JUICE CLEANSE!!!!! I literally could LIVE off of this course.

Our next course included lobster, which we're pretty sure Kyle is allergic to, so he made a substitution for this appetizer of incredibly thinly sliced lamb, served over pesto, with scoops of Caesar salad ice cream. Yes. Caesar. Salad. Ice. Cream. And it was wonderful:
Meanwhile, I did get to enjoy the lobster dish, served perfectly over a grapefruit concoction:
The next course was an Indian inspired dish of spiced scallops with curried cauliflower and cranberries, served over mashed cauliflower:
Since we were globe-trotting at this point in the meal, it just made perfect sense to go to China with this tiny bowl of black cod, served with a handmade dumpling. That description is absolute horse shit, as is the picture, considering this was another of my absolute favorite dishes:
After a slew of wonderful appetizers, we hit the pasta course, and it was a magic combination of tagliatelle pasta with mushrooms and virginia ham:
You're probably wondering if we were full at any point during this meal. The answer: holy hell, yes!! The portions were relatively small, but after 8 of them, you definitely start to slow down. But there was absolutely no way we would have stopped, especially when this plate of duck breast, duck liver, and mulled pears over wild rice landed on our table:
I'm just gonna say this: duck liver is FANTASTIC!!!! If this means you can't be friends with me anymore, then so be it. It's just that good!!
At this point in the meal, it was time for dessert.

JUST KIDDING! It's actually time for a palette cleanser. This one was pink peppercorn granita with a lemon sorbet so rich and creamy, I actually thought it was ice cream:
Finally, dessert landed on the table, and it was a trio of berry cobbler, berry sorbet, and a light, fluffy lemon curd pudding cake:
The meal was absolute heaven. When the manager came by and asked if we'd like a tour of the kitchen by the end, it was almost too much. Which, in my book, is just enough. So, because we were treated to a tour, you are too:
Ever wondered what a James Beard award looked like? Here ya go (there's about 4 more where those came from):
Here's me and Kyle being stuffed to the gills and, let's face it, a little drunk:
The Inn is the kind of dining experience you should really reserve for only life's special occasions, because if you don't you'll end up draining your bank account to eat every meal there. I feel so lucky that Kyle and I were able to enjoy it for the first time together as an engaged couple. I feel even more lucky that he'll take me every single year for our anniversary! (We haven't worked that part out yet, but it's gonna MUST happen!)

What's your most memorable dining experience? Have you ever been to The Inn? Do you love duck liver too???


Jenna | The Eighty Twenty said...

I CAN'T. By the end of reading this, I feel slightly full, definitely buzzed and practically engaged!!! I think the potato chips would be my favorite. Goat cheese? I mean come on.

Meg O. said...

Um, wow. Seriously. Looks like an amazing experience, and you both look awesome too!!

Annalilly said...

Looks heavenly!

Unknown said...

Lucky you, the pictures look amazing


Gayla said...

That Kyle...he's a keeper! Your purse-fabulous! You-more fabulous! The food? To die for! I was feeling full halfway through just looking at your meal, and then the photo of you and Kyle at the end made me tear up a little bit. What a wonderful, memorable night!!! There isn't enough punctuation in the world to emphasize how much we are looking forward to you and Kyle being married to each other.

Lydia Armstrong said...

OMG this all sounds amazing. That canape. And you look stunning. God you must be so freaking stoked right now.

when we wander said...

I don't even know what exactly to comment on because there's so much food awesome-ness packed into one post! Sounds like there was a little bit of every type of food in existence all creatively combined!

Dree said...

What a way to celebrate your engagement! Oh man, I just had dinner before I read this and now I want more. Everything looks so incredible. The two of you look gorgeous in that last picture!

Megan | Freckled Italian said...

Oh man so magical! Everything about this sounds so amazing!

P!nky said...

I've been there and girl you presented the food fabulously. I loved the experience of the Inn and the town so quaint.

Your man is a keeper girlie!

Glad you got such an awesome celebration!


Bre said...

It sounds amazing and perfect and something JB and I totally have to do one day!

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