Michie Tavern's Ordinary: Don't Miss Historic Tavern in Charlottesville
Though Mitchie Tavern is also listed in my "Things to Do" tips, I couldn't miss adding Mitchie Tavern's Ordinary to the "Restaurants" tips as well. Connected to the Tavern and on a slight slope, the Ordinary had about a 10-minute waiting line when we arrived. The Ordinary regulates the number of guests which can be comfortably accommodated at one time so that guests are comfortably seated, and it was certainly worth the short wait to me.
Once inside, the Ordinary's interior is that of a log cabin with a main fireplace and there is an additional room to the rear. Guests enter a small room and take a tray and then proceed to where food is served by period-attired servers in a southern-buffet style then find a table in the main eating area which is only a few steps away. The meal is all-you-can-eat, but any requested additional portions are then brought to you by a server rather than going back to the buffet line. The food and service are very good, and the atmosphere is relaxing.
Our southern lunch buffet's "Bill of Fare"%f* consisted of Colonial fried chicken, hickory-smoked Barbecue, black-eyed peas, stewed tomatoes, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, baby beets, coleslaw, homemade biscuits and cornbread. The buffet costs $16.25 pp for all-you-can-eat and beverages were an additional charge--soft drinks $1.95 and ales $3.75 (2009 prices). Virginia wines can also be ordered.
Favorite Dish: As I am a native Virginian, I just loved this meal. The only thing they left out were sweet potatoes or yams!! I thought for the quality and quantity, the price was not unreasonable considering this was an historic location.
Pink Cadillac Diner: Lost in the '50s
Between the Pepto Bismol pink paint and the tacky turquoise trim, the Pink Cadillac Diner, not to mention the large King Kong statue out front stands out like a fly on a wedding cake. Inside, the shrine to Elvis Presley and the music permanently affixed to Sirius XM '50s, and the ice cream parlour, if not the decor in the main dining room makes you feel lost in the '50s. I was part of a large group fresh from a political parade in nearby Buena Vista. You would think that a diner would be thrilled to see a group of 15 to 20 turn up unexpected and you would think they would be used to it given their proximity to I-81. The wait staff was unprepared for us and they made us feel like the skunk at the garden party, but my group was too hungry and/or thirsty to get up and leave. When we told her we were paying by separate cheques she gave us a look like we had insulted her. It wasn't that the wait staff served us any slower than normal given the crowd that was in at the time, it was just that unwelcome vibe they showed.
Favorite Dish: Having had a snack at the pavilion at the end of the parade route, I wanted something cool and refreshing, but something substantive enough to hold me until supper. So, I had the chef salad with oil and vinegar dressing and had some sweet tea. The portion size was phenomenal. There was an outside chance I would need to ask for a takeaway box. The taste was rather good except I put aside the processed American cheese for the dustbin. The sweet tea was just as much needed as the food. The good thing about Pink Cadillac is that you get one free refill. Overall, the food was good but not phenomenal. I was keen on the '50s vibe if not the colour combination. However, what brought it down from 4 stars to 3 was the surly attitude of the wait staff at first.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Old Forge Grill: Great eats on Route 60
Just a bit off the fast lane of I-64 is the Old Forge Grill in Providence Forge (New Kent County: just east of Richmond). The thing I like most about it is its simplicity and the "friends and neighbours" vibe Old Forge gives whether you be a local or a first timer. I'm quite keen on the fact that they offer a breakfast menu for all hours they're open. Sometimes you either get up too late for breakfast at certain chain fast food restaurants or you're just in the mood for breakfast for lunch or supper.
Favorite Dish: This time, I wasn't in the mood for breakfast. I wanted a cool and refreshing chef salad with extra grilled chicken. The portion sizes are phenomenal. Most diners would serve the salad in a lilliputian bowl and you'd be hungry before you got home, but I ALMOST had to call for a takeaway box. Next time, I'll go for something on the breakfast menu.Related to:
- Food and Dining
The Cheescake Factory: Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake
By now you know I'm addicted to the Cheesecake Factory Cheese cakes. For no reason other than to have cheese cake, we left downtown Washington and drove all the way to Dulles Town Center for appetizers and cheese cake.
Mark and I, both ordered the Wild Mushroom soup, the soup of the day. Desire had the Caesar salad, and we all shared a large appetizer; the Mexican lettuce wrap.
For cheese cake,this time around, Mark ordered the Kahlua Cocoa Coffee Cheesecake, a creamy chocolate mousse and chocolate Ganach.
Desire ordered the Pineapple upside down; Pineapple Cheesecake between 2 layers of moist buttery pineapple Upside-down cake.
I re-ordered the Lemon Raspberry cream cheesecake; a raspberry-vanilla cake, creamy lemon cheesecake, raspberry lady fingers and lemon mousse.
The service was lousy though.Our waiter behaved like he did not like his job/ well rather too busy to care if we needed coffee refills or additional food etc. I did not think much of him as the food was really delicious.
PS: "If it looks good, eat it" - Andrew ZimmermanRelated to:
- Food and Dining
- Family Travel
Flip Flops V.B. Grill: They do the grillin' we do the chillin'
I was made aware of this eating place on the Food Network programme "Diners Drive Ins and Dives". A friend of mine and I happened to be in Virginia Beach and we decided to try it out. It has a sort of a Margaritaville sort of vibe with its tropical beach atmosphere with Latin menu. The service was great and the portion sizes were phenomenal. It should be noted that this (see second photo) was an APPETISER portion. It almost had me reaching for the takeaway box.
Favorite Dish: I had the Tequila Chicken & Black Bean Nachos with chicken, cheddar, cilantro, and salsa fresca. I had them substitute the lime crema for pineapple salsa and I put the jalapeño slices aside. It was just good food with friendly servers and a neighbourhood atmosphere. It doesn't get better than that.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Chesapeake Grill & Virginia Originals: Sea Gull Island
Normally I do not write restaurant tips under a state unless it is a state-wide restaurant chain. But in this case, the restaurant is on Sea Gull Island and VT doesn't have that location in the database. The restaurant address is Virginia Beach. The Bridge-Tunnel comes ashore in Lynnhaven near Little Creek. So since I'm not sure exactly where to position this restaurant it goes under Virginia. The is appropriate since the name of the gift shop by the restaurant is Virginia Originals.
It is a very sharp turn off the road to get to the restaurant and I wasn't sure Bob was going to make it because there was an 18 wheeler tailgating us.
Hours of Operation:
CURRENT Summer Hours (mid-May thru mid-September)
6 a.m. -10 p.m. daily
Fall/Winter Hours (mid-September thru mid-May)
7 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily
Favorite Dish: We ate by the window and we both had clam chowder (the traditional kind and not the Core Sound kind) and a BBQ sandwichRelated to:
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Texas Roadhouse: Great Steaks
For a chain steakhouse the food was great,very large selection of steaks and chicken some seafood.You are able to view the size and cut of steaks before you order Menu for children also.Service and staff were fine and you can call ahead to fine out how long of a wait there is to get seated and put your name on wait list.
Favorite Dish: NY Strip Steak and Prime Rib
Extra Billy's: Richmond - Delicious pork barbecue
A day before we left the USA Nat (b1bob) invited us (my wife and me) to Extra Billy's restaurant located at the West End, 5 miles northeast of the downtown Richmond. Warning: it's closed on Saunday for privaye parties. I was told very interesting story on the origin of the that place.
William Smith was known to everyone North and South, was a result of questionable perks he had gotten as a mail contractor in Andrew Jackson's administration in the 1830s. He had owned the contract for a daily postal route between Washington, D.C. and Milledgeville, then capitol of Georgia. Smith had extended it to numerous spur routes, for which he received extra payments. When Postmaster General William T. Barry came under political attack for increasing payments to contractors, Smith's "extras" were uncovered, and his nickname was born. He was governor of Virginia at the fall of Richmond and was arrested by the invading Yankees.
Favorite Dish: We all ordered Extra Billy's hickory smoked pork barbecue. It was served with the following side orders to choose:
- cole slaw,
- baked beans,
- potato salad,
- French fries,
- baked potato (after 4.00 pm),
- vegetable(s) of the day.
Both pork barbecue and baked potato and beans tasted very good, better than in Richmond's Dunn's Bar-B-Que although I already ate better pork in my life. No wonder, we have a lot of pigs in Poland, EU leaders say that too many :-). Anyway, Extra Billy's is my recommendation.
- Road Trip
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
China Garden: All you can eat Chinese
Normally, I would say Chinese isn't my favourite foreign cuisine. However, China Garden in Portsmouth, Virginia finds a way to do it right. Those familiar with my gluttony would find it logical that I would prefer an all-you-can-eat buffet. China Garden is a small, cozy, family-owned restaurant (when my boss and I ate here, we were served by the owner) in downtown Portsmouth on High Street. There are two self-service food bars (with two soup kettles for hot & sour and egg drop soup) as well as a dessert/fruit bar.
Favorite Dish: The real question here is what NOT to eat. I lean more towards the rice noodles and plenty of egg rolls. At the salad bar, there is a dish of tomatoes and peppers in a sweet vinaigrette which is really good.
Red Lobster: Good Service, Decent Price for Seafood
Red Lobster is an American "chain" restaurant and many people dislike chain restaurants, and favor local restaurants while traveling. I prefer a mix of the two types. Red Lobster offers fine fare with a moderate price and good service which is just what we found when we had lunch at this Red Lobster Restaurant in Williamsburg.
Most of the time I order some type of shrimp dish such as shrimp scampi, fish or scallop combo which is what I had during this visit. The portion was a good size, though the shrimp were on the small size, and the meal included a caesar salad and cheddar biscuits!
The decor of most Red Lobster Restaurants is centered around a nautical theme with lots of warm-colored woods, and colors of blue, cream and red. It's designed so that you might feel you are in a schooner ship's cabin. It's a very relaxed and pleasing atmosphere. You may feel even more relaxed with a refreshment from the cozy bar.
Favorite Dish: As much as I love seafood, the caesar salad and cheddar biscuits are so good that they are a meal in themselves. But don't pass up the seafood.
Country Cookin': Country Cookin'
Country Cookin' is a small chain of country style American restaurants in Southwestern Virginia. They offer copious food for the low price. Lunch prices range from $4-6 and supper is only slightly higher. My supper cost only $5.99- even less than LUNCH earlier that day at Applebee's. All meals come with salad, vegetable, dessert and sundae bars. This was where my bosses Sam and Phyllis and I ate ate both on the evening of 10 September 2001 (in Roanoke) on the afternoon of 11 September (in Bedford, en route to Henderson). There weren't many people here. I don't know whether it was because of the time (between the lunch and supper rush) or because people were glued to the TV or radio taking in the day's events.
Favorite Dish: At both the northwest Roanoke and the Bedford locations, I had grilled liver & onions with baked potato and fries. It was very good, comforting, and filling food at a reasonable price.
Sticks Kebob Shop: Fast food...fired up!
There are two of these Middle Eastern fast food restaurants in Charlottesville and one in Richmond. I have a sneaky suspicion this will expand dramatically in the next few years and I'll have to transfer this to my USA page. Normally, my brother's culinary tastes and mine aren't exactly the same, but he made a good recommendation here. Sticks marries the convenience of fast food with the healthier offerings more people demand these days. Those who are into healthier eating should just come here rather than demanding that McDonald's and other fast food places change their menus. They offer a wide range of salads, platters, flame-grilled kebabs of different kinds of meat and, unlike the fast-mass restaurants they let you create your own meal. And what's better than good food on a stick?
Favorite Dish: I had a kebab platter with lamb, I declined the sauce, and tabouli all served with herbed Basmati rice and grilled flatbread. The lamb was cooked perfectly and the tabouli was freshly made. I'm not terribly keen on Basmati rice and I would prefer white rice instead. Still, it was a good lunch with good portion sizes and definitely better than fast-mass.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Tim's Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse - Dumfries
Tim's Rivershore Restaurant ... half the fun is getting there!
For game seven of the Stanley Cup finals, we decided to meet at a friend's house in the Dumfries/Woodbridge area to watch the game. I had heard of a great crabshack in the area called Tim's Rivershore, so I offered to find this restaurant and bring dinner.
We plugged the address into our Garmin Nuvi (named Jill), and off we went. Off of Highway 1 in Dumfries, we quickly hit a snag. New development, new roads, and a confused Jill. Finally she directed us down what looked to be an almost abandoned two lane road. It started to look more abandoned after we saw much of it had been washed out, and there was a huge pool of water covering 80 percent of the driving lanes. Then we saw the boat. A boat in the road? Yup! There was also a boat in the middle of the road, with a broken windshield and graffiti painted over the outside. Soon after that, the road turned into a dirt path with no place to turn around. No signs, no detour, nothing.
Luckily Laura had her blackberry. She pulled up the website for Tim's and, after we escaped from this abandoned road, we found our way onto the correct route (Tim's website does say, "Important: Due to recent construction, GPS navigation and online direction services may be inaccurate."). Even the correct route was interesting, quickly turning into a winding rural road that resembled my hometown in Western Pennsylvania or maybe West Virginia. Then we hit a set of railroad tracks down by the water where the road ended, and our only option was to turn left and take the trail that was squished up against the railroad tracks basically on the railroad right of way. We squeezed into the last parking space before realizing there is more parking across the railroad track, if you don't mind dodging trains.
We sat at the bar and ordered our dinner for four: a dozen hard shell crabs ($45), a pound of steamed shrimp ($16), two soft shell crab dinners with fries and hushpuppies ($15 each), and an order of onion rings to top it all off ($7), plus we had a few beers while we waited. Our bill was reasonable at about $120, and the food was excellent. The soft shell crabs were the best I ever had, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. The shrimp might have been slightly overcooked, but delicious. The large hard shell crabs were a little early in season, we heard the bartender tell another customer, but the meat was sweet and tender nonetheless.
Padow's: Hams and more
Padow's started out in 1936 as a grocery store in historic Jackson Ward. It gradually made the transition from grocery to deli by specialising in hams. By the end of the 1980s, it was a full deli with its first shop at Willow Lawn just west of downtown Richmond. Since then, it has become a statewide chain looking to expand to the Carolinas and Tennessee. The Padow's nearest to me is the one on the corner of Atlee and Meadowbridge Roads in Mechanicsville.
Favorite Dish: I always get the knockwurst on white warmed up with sauerkraut, crisps, and drink on the side.Related to:
- Food and Dining
Wild Rose Cafe: warm family diner in Chester
Wild Rose Cafe opened April 2006 and it has been a great success in Chester (just south of Richmond). Rose Matko, a Chester native is the owner and her warmth is felt the moment you walk in. They have a full and diverse menu, so no matter the different tastes in your family, you'll find something for everyone. There is also have a full bar with various wines, beers and liquor. They do karaoke 4 nights a week.
Favorite Dish: They served an appetiser plate to our party and since I had a heavy breakfast that was all I wanted. The stuffed potato skins and the egg rolls were much better than the Buffalo wings.Related to:
- Food and Dining
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