America Eats Tavern Hosts Virginia Festival
From June 17-30, America Eats Tavern inside The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, 1700 Tysons Blvd., McLean, will celebrate the commonwealth’s rich history with its inaugural Virginia Festival, featuring special events and Virginia-themed dishes throughout the two-week festival.
The festival spotlights local and regional flavors inspired by the country’s most historic dishes and drinks. Highlights of the festival will include Virginia-themed dishes, wine flights from local wineries, tastings from local distilleries and a “Blend Your Own Bordeaux” competition.
Available throughout the festival, head chef Nate Waugaman will offer a variety of Virginia themed dishes, available through a prix-fixe tasting menu or à la carte, featuring local ingredients and reflecting the rich history of one of America’s first colonies.
The prix-fixe menu is $45 per person and starts with Edwards Surryano ham carved off the bon and served on mini biscuits with pepper jelly. The second course to share include fired Chesapeake oysters with rhubarb remoulade, cucumber and pickled rhubarb salad, and Norfolk crab and ham sauté with Virginia ham and lemon butter air. The third course include shrimp ’n Boyd Mill grits, Meadow Reserve cheddar, pearl onion petals and ham hock with a choice of fried chicken with cold slaw of carrots, Brussels sprout petals and house-made hot sauce or Yohanan Farm roast chicken with mushroom jus and pickled lemon. The meal also includes an assortment of vegetables to share including stewed cherry tomatoes with biscuits; asparagus casserole with Vella dry Jack cheese sauce, bread crumbs and boiled egg; and summer squash casserole with zucchini and yellow squash. The meal ends with lemon chess pie.
A la carte offerings include Sally Lunn bread served complimentary with biscuits; cheddar shortbread cracker cheese straws; Virginia harvested oysters on the half shell; Virginia hams such as Olli Becker Lane prosciutto and Edwards Surryano; Virginia peanut soup garnished with celery and blackberries; and a selection of Virginia cheeses. The items from the prix-fixe meal are also available a la carte.
Wine flights are also available. The 2-ounce pours of red include Barren Ridge Cabernet Franc, Linden Claret and RdV Jose Cuvee for $16. The 2-ounce pours of white wine include Rockbridge Riesling, Early Mountain Petit Menseng and Barboursville Chardonnay for $14.
carrots, Brussels sprout petals and house-made hot sauce.
During a media preview on Sunday with a limited menu, my favorites were the ham biscuits with the tasty pepper jelly and the sweet “stewed” tomatoes, but the star was the shrimp with cheesy, creamy grits. I was disappointed that we didn’t get to sample the crab and ham sauté or the lemon chess pie, two dishes I was looking forward to tasting.
Catoctin Creek tasting – June 17 from 5-6:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a tasting with Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. representative Chad Robinson, featuring their award-winning 92-proof Roundstone Rye and Watershed Gin paired with America Eats Tavern hors d’oeuvres, including hush puppies, a selection of Virginian ham, and shrimp and grapefruit cocktail. Located in Purcellville, Va. Catoctin Creek Distilling was founded in 2009 and is the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since Prohibition. No RSVP is required.
Blend Your Own Bordeaux – June 19 from 6:30-9 p.m. For $50 per person, guests sign up as teams of two or three to participate in the “Blend Your Own Bordeaux” competition. After enjoying Virginian hors d’oeuvres and sparkling wine, contestants will create and submit their entries for judging. ThinkFoodGroup master sommelier Andy Myers, Jason Tesauro of Barboursville Vineyards and Jaleo sommelier Jordi Paronella will judge the entries. Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories, including taste and creativity. For additional information, reservations and tickets, call 703-744-3999 or email email@example.com.
Early Mountain Vineyards tasting – June 24 from 5-6:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy tastings of local Virginia wines from Early Mountain Vineyards, located in Charlottesville, Va. Early Mountain Vineyards is dedicated to celebrating the unique history and terrain of the region and the best of Virginia wines. No RSVP required.
Trump Winery tasting – June 29 from 5-6:30 p.m. The Virginia Festival winds down with a wine tasting from Virginia’s largest vineyard, Trump Winery. Guests will enjoy a complimentary tasting of wines, including one of Trump Winery’s Bordeaux-style reds, a fruity chardonnay and a sparkling rosé. Wines will be paired with bites from the America Eats menu. No RSVP required.
Editor’s Note: This article was updated to reflect the prix-fixe menu and the wine flights.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.