Tag Archives: VA

Sunrise Donuts

I heard about Sunrise Donuts from a friend of mine who happened to stumble upon the shop in Gloucester, VA. With the post Thanksgiving traffic on Sunday, my brother and I decided to take the “scenic” route back to Northern Virginia.

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How fitting is this picture? Opened last September in a strip mall, Sunrise Donuts already has a steady stream of customers, and according to The Daily Press newspaper, some of those customers come in at 3 am on their way to the shipyard.

Flavors range from the basic cinnamon sugar and glazed to the popular maple glaze with bacon bits. Started by Holli Cohoon, her small staff cooks from 9:30pm till 2am.

And their not just cooking doughnuts. They also serve cinnamon buns, apple fritters and a selection of other pastries.

Knowing what rave reviews the actual donuts from Sunrise had received, my brother and I picked out the banana chocolate doughnut and the cinnamon sugar. Be warned, these doughuts are massive.

You can tell just how fresh these doughnuts are upon your first bite. In regards to flavor, I think the simpler the better.  To me, the banana frosting tasted artificial, but when paired with thick doughnut, the frosting flavor wasn’t overpowering– in a good way.

If you ever take the “scenic” route through Gloucester, Va, I still suggest making a pit stop.

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Northside Social

If there is one thing I love more than eating food, it’s eating food outside. It was the outside dining area at Northside Social that caught my eye awhile back.

The locally owned and operated coffee shop and wine bar is owned and operated by the Liberty Tavern Restaurant Group and is located in Clarendon. Fairly new to the area, the restaurant’s laid back feel is evident by the customers coming in with gym clothes while ordering their food at the front counter.

As much as I love eating outside, the heat wave kept me indoors, which led me to exploring the wine bar upstairs. Much of the featured wine is from small family run vineyards that otherwise could be difficult to purchase. The wine bar menu keeps it simple with primarily cheese and meat plates.

You can order wine and beer downstairs, as well as sandwiches, salads, soups and quiches. It’s not unusual to see people working on their laptops or reading a book while sipping on a glass of wine or coffee. Like the guy below, look he’s reading a book and having a beer!

The coffee is also suppose to be a standout, with different types of extraction methods. Those include espresso (their specific espresso machine is only used by two or three other places in the nation), drip coffee, a specialized coffee production per cup method and the french press.

One the 100 degree day that I visited Northside, there were still people crazy enough to eat outside in front of a massive grill. Perhaps the beef brisket they were serving was THAT good. They also have marshmallows that you can toast outside.

If the marshmallows don’t cut it, the front also has cookies, soft serve ice cream (flavors change and are made fresh daily), muffins, scones and tarts that are all made by their very own pastry chef.  I was tempted to try to the walnut coffee muffin.

Given the time of day I went, I stuck to a glass of chardonnay for $7 and the Black Forest ham quiche. The quiche’s flavor was delicious with caramelized onions through and spinach. The crust was thick and flaky, but I would have like this to have been served much hotter. The fruit and simple side salad comes with the quiche and was a nice light side for such a hot day.

When getting up the front counter, my friend asked for the best sandwich they had. The cashier insisted it was the chicken salad. I didn’t have the time to try the rest of their sandwiches to see if this guy was lying or not, but the chicken salad here is quite tasty. I’m not even a fan of chicken salad. When ordering a sandwich, you have the option of side salad, potato salad or chips. Don’t think you’ll be disappointed with the potato salad.

Much of the food at Northside is local, and you can even purchase local milk from grass fed cows.

I’m looking forward to my next trip to Northside which will hopefully involve a giant cup of their coffee and a chunky monkey scone. Fingers crossed it will be cool enough to eat outside.

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The Wine Kitchen

Wait, there is something in Leesburg other than an outlet mall and lots of antiques? My friend recently moved to Leesburg and upon visiting her, she showed me how naive I was. Yes, the historic downtown of Leesburg does indeed have antiques, but they also have some amazing little restaurants. The Wine Kitchen is one of them.

With about  ten tables in the place, the wait on a Saturday night was about 45 minutes. Not too bad, but we avoided the wait but taking two open seats at the bar and dining there. The decorations are clean in simple at the restaurant. Some exposed brick contrasts with a chandelier in the front.

Given that I was at The WINE Kitchen and I was handed the WINE list, I felt obligated to order a glass of WINE. I went with the Domaine Bellevue, a sauvignon blanc from France.

I knew nothing about this wine or what made me order it, but with each wine at the restaurant they give you a little card explaining everything that you need to know. My favorite part of this card was that my wine was described as me feeling like I’ve had a two minute massage. Just two minutes. Not a minute more, not a minute less! I will say I did enjoy the wine, but I enjoyed the write-up more.

Then came the cheese. The glorious cheese. So glorious, that as the waiter was explaining each one, I was too busy drooling. I know the first one was a blue cheese paired with cherries. The middle cheese comes from Spain and the last cheese was what the waiter called, “the best cheese in the world.” Get this man a raise because he is right! It was a soft cheese with coated with a vegetable ash and paired with onions.

The cheeses are served with a basket of thinly sliced fresh crusty bread. Honestly, I would have been content in this being my dinner.

But who are we kidding? Of course I ordered an entree. The waiter came over and asked if we were ready. I had already looked up the menu and scouted my selection 7 hours prior to sitting down at the bar. So yeah, pal, I’m ready.

Boom. Espresso rubbed pork chop topped with a cherry sauce with bacon sweet potato spaetzle and brussel sprouts. The size of the pork chop was large given that it was a reasonable $16. The pork is done medium and cherry sauce brings a sweet flavor to the mix. The spaetzle was the best part because of the thickly cut bites of bacon within. If you’re not a fan of brussel sprouts, don’t worry, there were only two on my plate.

My friend ordered the Coq au Vin, with mashed potatoes, pearl onions. mushrooms and bacon. It’s worth noting that the Wine Kitchen works with local farms to bring fresh food to the table. Another notable menu item is the “Chicken and Waffles.” Why the quotes? Because the chicken is actually farmed-raised quail and the waffles are cornmeal.

It also helps to know the cook because the dessert was on the house. The Mexican “Hot” Chocolate torta palla. A dense chocolate cake molded with a chocolate fudge and topped with spice and salt. A homemade whipped cream is in the middle and in my opinion, a necessary accompaniment to the chocolate. If you’re not one for a spicy chocolate, The Wine Kitchen offers one other dessert, raspberry beignets.

Overall, The Wine Kitchen is a simply decorated establishment that offers fresh and well-priced food.

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