Sunday, October 01, 2006

A lovely anniversary

Ken and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary yesterday.

We orginally had the notion to grab dinner then catch a movie but when we looked at what was showing we could not agree on something we both wanted to see. The one we were hoping to see is called An Inconvenent Truth and presents in some detail the threat of global warming. Unfortunately, it was not showing anywhere within a reasonable drive time.

The DVD comes out in November, right before our Samhain event, so we may buy it and have it on hand for everyone to watch. Aren't our friend lucky?

In any case, we decided to venture out and eat dinner at a restaurant we had never tried before. There are a lot of nice restaurants in the Northern Neck which cater to the Northern Virginia vacation crowd, but most of them close after Labour Day. We found one to which we will most certainly return again.

The Mt Holly Steamboat Inn is a restaurant and bed and breakfast with an 11 slip pier. It is literally down a little crooked dirt driveway hidden between several other driveways and we had a little trouble figuring out which one. But we made it.

I had made reservations for 7:30 p.m. When we arrived, there was a party of four on the deck, a party of three in the dining room and another party of 2 in the dining room. There were many available tables. One waitress handled both the dining room and the deck and she was apparently also helping out in the lounge where there was a party of 16 celebrating something.

I was most impressed with our waitress who, despite having her hands full, was gracious, funny and bubbly without being obnoxious. She remained cheerful in the face of a frantic co-worker who was not handling the stress of the 16 very well and could be heard mouthing off about it from the kitchen.

The decor of the place needs some work. But we also know that the restaurant and inn was slammed when Isabel came through and they lost a lot of furniture, and sustained a lot of structural damage. They've got the structure repaired but are serving meals on IKEA tables and using what appear to be industrial stackable conference chairs for seating. I would have liked to have seen table clothes on the tables. Even tossed over with the points in the middle, it would have rendered a softer image with a bit of country flair.

And there the criticism ends.

Ken was driving and so stuck with iced-tea for a beverage but I ordered a glass of the house Chardaney. It was very nice. Crisp and fresh. Our waitress kept Ken's glass full and also brought me a glass of water with a slice of lemon floating in it.

For a starter we split a pound of steamed mussels. They arrived, cooked to perfection (not a tough one in the bunch) in a bowl of a garlicky, butter sauce with parsley bits. Around the edge of the bowl was balanced four pieces of crusty big-holed slices of what I think was a home-made Italian bread. Had we known how good this dish was going to be, we would have ordered a pound each and left quite happy. Considering the amount of garlic, I'm glad we split it or we would not have been able to remain in the presense of each other.

We both also received a Ceasar salad which a delightly piquant mustardy dressing and abasket of more of that wonderful bread.

For our entrees, Ken ordered a sirloin steak cooked medium and some fries. I ordered crab stuffed ravioli.

Ken's steak was a nice size: An inch or so thick, and about the size of his hand. He said it was cooked perfectly and was seasoned nicely without being over the top. His fries were clearly a potato cut up and deep fried so they were golden brown without being over or under done. It came with a bottle of Heinz Catsup which our waitress joked was of a fine vintage.

The ravioli was to die for. First of all there wasn't a speck of shell in the stuffing and each ravioli (there were 8) were of good size and tender. I suspect they were handmade on premises. They were smothered in a bisque of which I have never before enjoyed the likes. It was not over seasoned but had tiny cubes of tomatoes and bits of parsley. It was creamy, rich and really just stunning in its yumminess. I'm not sure if it was a shimp bisque or crab, but either way, it was awesome.

We both agreed the price tag of $55 for a delightful evening out was well worth it.

I suspect the Inn will see us on future dates.

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