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Virginia is For Foodies

Words by Courtney Cox

Until recently, I had never visited Virginia and, to be frank, I was floored by what I found. The state boasts beaches, the Blue Ridge Mountains, rolling vineyards and some of the prettiest countryside I’ve seen. Driving down unassuming country roads, I passed signs for the homes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison – to name a few. Hosted by Virginia Tourism Corporation, I went on a road trip to explore what the state had to offer for romance travelers – including the growing food scene and various budding restaurants.  Here is a sampling of delicious eats I discovered on my Virginia adventure. 

Richmond

The Roosevelt: Located in Church Hill, Richmond’s oldest neighborhood, this restaurant has historic charm to spare. The Roosevelt is ideal for intimate rehearsal dinners or a honeymoon night-out. Quench your thirst with a unique, craft cocktail or one of the many regional beers on tap. The cuisine celebrates the South with dishes like bistro steak served with cheese grits, bronnolini, red wine sauce and bone marrow butter. Manning the wheel is James Beard nominee Lee Gregory – the chef and co-owner of The Roosevelt.

Charlottesville

Red Pump Kitchen: Located in the Historic Downtown Mall, this restaurant has the feel and flair of a European café. Surrounded by charming architecture and a pedestrian friendly shopping area, Red Pump Kitchen is in the middle of it all. It features an open kitchen concept – complete with a wood burning pizza oven. The menu is a delightful mix of Mediterranean and Italian flavors, with dishes like prosciutto pizza with crimini mushrooms, pulled mozzarella and aged balsamic. In addition to wood-fired pizzas, Red Pump Kitchen offers handmade pasta dishes like tortellini en brodo with guanciale, smoked tomatoes, arugula and parmesan brodo. 

Loudoun County 

Harrimans: Located in the breathtaking Salamander Resort & Spa, this high-end stunner is open to the public for breakfast and dinner. The menu changes seasonally based on what is being harvested locally and what is in season in the on-site Chef’s Garden. Chef Chris Edwards is a Virginia native who studied the culinary scenes in both Spain and Charleston, to create a unique and inspired menu. Harrimans' best-known dish is the Crispy Sesame Cauliflower; a true must-try. Also notable is the restaurant’s outstanding service and sweeping views of Salamander’s stables. 

For more recommendations and information about Virginia, be sure to pick up Destination I Do’s Spring/Summer 2016 issue, which is on newsstands now. Under our “Drivable Destinations” section you’ll find “Virginia: A Road Trip Revealed.” If you would like our latest issue delivered right to your door, click here.

Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Courtney Cox (1st, 3rd & 5th), rooseveltrva.com (2nd), redpumpkitchen.com (4th).

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