Monday, June 22, 2009


you do realize that for both Mothers Day annnnd Fathers Day, i missed half of the entire
ACTUAL holiday? let's try to forget how i was feeling on Mothers Day...and the SAME girl who
took me out the night before THAT woozy holiday....took me out AGAIN on Fathers Day Eve. i have NO complaints AT ALL this time (it was never her fault that i had many complaints physically on Mothers Day...only myself to blame. i know.) as it was THE MOST FUN i've had in a long time.

lanier is a foodie.
allison is NOT a foodie. though...i love good food. i appreciate good wine. and find it more of a privelidge to eat posh food, not an everyday occurance. i'm learning many people DO eat fine cuisine regularly and...well...i'm freaking jealous!

given lanier's all-out STALKERAGE of Chef Cathal Armstrong from Restaurant Eve, she learned that he was putting on the EVENT OF THE YEAR, out in Rappahannock County, Virginia. from their website:

Acclaimed Chef Cathal Armstrong will prepare a Summer Solstice Farm Dinner at historic Mount Vernon Farm outside Sperryville, Virginia.

Chef Armstrong is a celebrated visionary in the buy fresh/buy local movement and creator of Alexandria’s Restaurant Eve.

Guests will spend the evening under the stars with Chef Armstrong and the providers of Rappahannock’s fresh bounty and artisanal wines.

i truly have never encountered anything so magnificent, serene, impressive, ENJOYABLE and extravagantly tasty! it was limited seating in the more insane location ever...under a tent...perfect weather...incredible wine...WE WILL BE DOING THIS AGAIN!!!!!!

THEN!!!!! lanier booked us a bed and breakfast 2 miles away from the at 11pm, we drove the CUTEST place on earth, and had a wonderful, well-rounded trip to the mountains/farms/livestock. we purchased awesome meats and organic produce directly from the farmers and i feel completely refreshed after a night away without cell reception, internet, or any television. losing track of time can sometimes be a VERY VERY good and refreshing experience....

...oh. and right. and HAPPY FATHERS DAY! :)
chad had a great time with isaac...they said they took trips down to see the airplanes take off (isaac's favorite past time) and were able to "have boy time." we did a fun little meal when i got back and it was nice to have some time to reflect on what an awesome dad i have, and what a wonderful father is to isaac!

ok! back to reality....
i feel inspired by organics now. and maybe a little inspired to cook.
for those of you out there that have grown to love eating organic....please tell me if you feel it's really worth the invested time, energy and MONEY...and what your favorite organic foods are!!!

have a great week!


Chrissy said...

next time you do this, can we make it a trip for 3??? i would die and go to heaven to do this. ME? ME? ME? say maybe....

ckuretich said...

this MAY be my favorite post ever. Well I guess Isaac's birth probably tops it all, but this is RIGHT up there. :) :) :)

LOVE the pics. I so get the feel of the evening. It looks just idyllic. Glad you had gorgeous weather; the picture of you resting on the white wine made me cackle!!!!!

I love that you get to benefit from Lanier's stalkerage of various things; she is amazing. That food looks unbelievable and the B&B - I'm dying!!! who had to sleep on the little cot? :) you, little cat? cat on the cot. cot for the cat. cat cot. OMG.

My thoughts on organics and ok this is turning into a way long comment...

I think that the pesticides & chemicals in the produce & meats & milk we have eaten our entire lives are VERY dangerous and more than likely it will be discovered that these lead to or cause or aggravate cancer & other diseases. No doubt in my mind. That said - there are some things you should splurge on organic and others, not so much. Like, anything with a shell - a banana, avocado, etc. - I don't necessarily go organic, because the shell won't be eaten. But strawberries, lettuces/spinach, all that - I'm either trying to buy organic or getting them from Farmer's Markets (even BETTER to buy local organic; supporting local farms, minimizing carbon footprint, yada yada yad).

As for like, box food - crackers, cereals, etc. - I think you can kind of pick & choose. Breads I'm doing all whole grain whenever possible. All those bleaches & things in flours and processed foods, it's just best to cut down on them at the very least. I mean we still eat junk. But I think as a whole I'm much more mindful of what I put in my body and where it might have been made and how it was processed. The prices are getting MUCH better, with every grocery store producing their own organic line and TJ's being AMAZING...even Whole Foods has a store brand & things like 365Organic that are the same price as name brand non-organics, so it's like, why not?

Wow. I wrote a book. Sorry. I wouldn't really say I'm like all GREEN OR NOTHING but I think all of this stuff is very important for the next generation. getting back to simple things, eating more natural foods, and not living on solely fast junk food.

I tried not to say "you know" once in this whole comment. Did it work?

heather said...

I am SOOOOOOOO jealous. :)

YES! Organics are worth it! They taste better, for one, and I feel great about eating them (and feel great when I eat them). I am esp. sensitive to try to feed Z as much organic as possible - little bodies just can't handle the chemicals (though I discovered this weekend, she's been gnawing on her crib and eating paint chips, so, well...)

I like the dirty dozen list on - you can print out a little list to take to the grocery store that tells you the top 12 fruits/veggies that are the dirtiest (in other words, buy those organic) and the cleanest (in other words, don't worry about these ones).

Once you start buying local, though, it's hard to go back. Food just tastes better when it's fresh!

Nikki said...

um... this just looked utterly divine and i'm jealous!

Julie Nickerson said...

wow! I wanna go to that place next time!!!

And I can't do everything organic, we could NEVER afford it, but I agree about the meats and some veggies. Everything in moderation is my take. :)

Sylvie Rowand said...

In behalf of Gourmet Rappahannock of which I am a co-chair, thank you so much for coming. We were delighted to have you there, in what turned out to be a magical event. You know, one plans for those things, and make all kind of arrangements & contingency plans, and hope for the best - and the weather was a cliff hanger until that very afternoon. But oh, it worked out well.

Your pictures are gorgeous and really capture the essence of the dinner at Mount Vernon Farm on Turkey Mountain.

On a different note, I am a firm proponent of eating fresh, local food from sustainable farms (the "organic" label has issues of its own): taste better, is healthier and if one learns to cook and buy in bulk, it can be no more expensive (even cheaper) than eating industrial food (especially if one is buying a lot of processed food or eating out a lot).

Anyway come back and visit! Our farm tour is the last week of September. Of course, you don't have to wait till the fall to come back and get some of our beautiful meat, fruit & veggies.

Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or go to, our new tourism web site (new content uploaded all the time) that can help you plan your stay.

Again - thank you for coming. And thank you for sharing your gorgeous photos.

Sylvie Rowand

Vanille said...

I've just come here from Sylvie's blog. I can't agree more: Your pictures are stunning ! Like the atmosphere...

Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener said...

I tried to leave a comment on the other blog. But the url option is not available. SO I am leaving it here. Feel free to move it there (or send me an e-ail if you change the settings and I'll post a comment on The Manic Organic Project)

- so.... does the Summer Solstice Dinner get any credit for making you fall into the "I want to learn to cook" category? I am sorry you have to switch for health reasons, but I think you will see that taste and joie de vivre will follow...

Don't panic. You don't have to do it ALL at once. Switch progressively. Learn a few simple techniques. Sauteeing is sauteeing whether one saute chicken or mushroom. you know... it's just cooking. You don't have to do it like Cathal Armstrong... :)

You might want to check out this blog (a woman now in her early 30's who did not know how to cook 2 years ago and started on the journey you are about to embark on)

oh .... and nice header picture of the Smoked Trout Salad with Rappahannock Spring Greens. One day I'll have to blog about the logistic behind the Rappahannock Summer Solstice Dinner... :)

Best wishes
(and a plug for me - I teach coking in Rappahannock county, so you you ever want to spend another week-end here, check out my web site)

Laughing Duck Gardens & Cookery

Rappahannock Cellars said...

aaaaaaah-mazing photos! I think our rep was at the dinner. I'm just sad I wasn't! ... great post.

Rappahannock Cellars