The occasion: fiance had a competition (which he and his partner won, by the way. Forgive my bragging). So there were lots of family members in town. We spend most of our free time in Old Town, Alexandria so we encouraged family members to stay in hotels there, rather than in Arlington near our apartment and where parents have previously stayed. IT WAS SUCH GOOD ADVICE, if I do say so myself. We'd highly recommend the Kimpton chain in Alexandria. There are three hotels, the Monaco, the Morrison House and the Lorien Hotel & Spa. The Monaco is right in the heart of Old Town and great if you plan to walk around. If you need to get to downtown D.C. you can take the free trolley to the metro or use a car if you have one. The restaurant in the hotel, Jackson 20, is also amazing. My parents stayed at the Lorien, which is just two blocks from the metro, but also close to tons of restaurants, shops and fun things to do. It was super convenient for transportation and family has already booked future reservations there. Anyway, all of the hotels are fabulous and not at all like any chain. They are cozy, elegant, but not too stuffy. They are also cheaper than downtown D.C. or Arlington, but have a great neighborhood. So I give two thumbs up.
On to food. The good stuff. We originally intended to go to Jackson 20 on Wednesday night, but then walked out of the hotel and there was a torrential downpour. I'm not exaggerating, there was a tornado warning. So walking outside seemed less than advisable. Instead we went to the hotel restaurant, Brabo. The best part of the meal was the order of mussels my parents split for an appetizer. Although that phrasing is a bit deceptive because they brought out a massive skillet that was completely full. I've never seen more mussels in one place. It was a good dinner, but I thought it wasn't as fantastic as it should have been given that it was quite pricey.
The real star of the food show was our meal at The Majestic Cafe. The EatGoodFood Group owns and operates our absolutely favorite restaurants in the area. Virtue Feed and Grain is our favorite casual spot and where we hope to have our rehearsal dinner. Restaurant Eve is where we went after we got engaged and we are definitely adding the Majestic to the list. I have literally never had a single bad meal at any of these restaurants. Not one.
The owners have done such an incredible job restoring the original restaurant and keeping the feel of a 1950s neighborhood cafe. For a nice historical touch, visit the restrooms in the basement and see the old pay phone they've left in the hallway. I definitely had a history geek-out moment. Embarrassing, but true.
The cafe is incredibly cozy and is inspired by dressed-up comfort food. Despite it's more casual atmosphere, this restaurant is incredible. And on the pricey side. However, you get a huge bang for your buck. The appetizers alone are huge and the portions for the dinner are just massive. The leftovers could feed a family. Seriously. And the desserts. The coconut cake is the stuff dreams are made of. As with all of these restaurants, the cocktails are fantastic and the names hilarious. Not only is the food amazing, but it really embodies mid-Atlantic cuisine. It's hard to explain what that means exactly, but spend some time in the area and you'll know what I mean. Huge portions, tons of shell fish, a touch of Southern, but with Northern sophistication.
We will definitely be returning to the Majestic, even if it's just for a cocktail at the bar and the homemade guacamole. I've been thinking about it for a week and every time I do I salivate. It's not a good look, but man was it tasty.
I hope you get a chance to stop by some of these places, you won't regret it, we never do!