Tag Archives: drinks

#followmeto…a 1618 Food Crawl

foodie b’eat….From YES! Weekly

Thinking how much we love a good food crawl, the hubs and I contemplated what we could do on our date night. And since 1618 Concepts has 3 successful restaurants all reasonably close to one another (driving distance), we thought, wouldn’t it be fun to crawl just those three spots? Owner Nick Wilson and business partner George Neal’s three restaurants are supremely popular and we’ve watched them grow from the Grille on Friendly to three restaurants and a food truck (1618 On Location). We saw that it was the last weekend that all 3 locations would have some sort of calamari on the menu and the Wilson and his personable team were encouraging all kinds of interaction on social media, etc. We decided to get in on the fun.

Remember, food crawls take pacing and if you’re on a budget, just be mindful of costs going in. Appetizers (or even entrees) are meant to be shared. Preferably with more than two people. We were on a date night, so we knew we’d only likely order one plate per restaurant.  Are you going to get drinks with your shared apps? Consider that too, as wine or cocktails can be $8-12 and beer around $4. If you avoid cocktails (but why?), you can do a 3 x food crawl for about $50-60 with tip. Mr. foodie and I almost never play it that way. There’s almost always a cocktail at least one place and usually the menu looks so good, we want one more item to try. Like I say, the more the merrier. Bring your peeps!

Going in you have to plan and that’s just what we did. Our itinerary: 1) 1618 Seafood Grille 2)1618 Downtown 3) 1618 Wine Lounge. When we got to the Grille, it was p.a.c.k.e.d.  Even the bar. So, going in you also have to be flexible so we altered our plans, decided first to hit the Downtown location, then come back to the Grille. So first stop…

1618 Downtown, 312 South Elm Street, Greensboro

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Szechuan Glazed Calamari

The featured calamari was a Szechuan Glaze with basil cream sauce, roasted peanut remoulade, chili oil, sesame carrot sprout and cilantro salad. Beautiful to look. The calamari was incredibly tender. The roasted peanut remoulade and the chili oil gave it a great sweet and spicy kick you might have had on sesame noodles at an Asian restaurant. We were really hungry and plowed right through it. It’s about enough for 2 people. This is the only calamari that is leaving the 1618 menus this week. It’s very customary for 1618 Downtown to change its menu often and the only items staying are the sandwiches. We ordered one more item, the spicy tuna crispy sushi roll. The reason is that we want to show you something that will be familiar when you go. There’s almost always a sushi grade tuna dish on the menu here. This tuna roll was still shareable, with pickled butternut squash, granny smity apple wasabi and balsamic caviar. We wish it had been a bit bigger, but it was still great. Still, calamari wins and I really wish they’d consider keeping it on the menu for a few more weeks (just so you get the chance to try it). Libation Manager, Jake Skinner, had his own suggestion, “You could do a 1618 crawl just on pomme frites. They’re that good.” If you don’t mind the carbo load, they’re of the truffle variety with spicy ketchup and honey parmigianno reggiano aioli.

Stop 2….1618 Seafood Grille, 1618 West Friendly Avenue

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Wasabi Glazed Calamari at 1618 Seafood Grille 

So in the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I’ve had the calamari at 1618 Seafood Grille.  And since, it has set the standard for any calamari I’ve had far and wide. It also has some very odd ingredients as far as calamari goes. Tossed in a wasabi glaze over red bean salsa, chipotle remoulade, sprouts and fresh basil oil. They like their sprouts at 1618. This visit was no exception. Still the most tender, crispy flavorful calamari. The red beans are very tender and have a hint of cumin, then the sweetness of the wasabi glaze and basil oil, the spicy remoulade. It’s indescribable. They absolutely won’t take it off the menu because it’s such a hit. It goes down easy and is over too soon. We would’ve order something else, but a 3rd calamari was calling our name.

Stop 3…1618 Wine Lounge, 1724 Battleground Avenue

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Back when my blog, triadfoodies.com was just a little bitty baby, 1618 Wine Lounge was my very first real post. My, haven’t we come far! And the Wine Lounge is just as popular as it ever was. Stylish, sexy and a great vibe. And just as known for its terrific small plates. The calamari is tomato glazed with percorino romano cream, fresh mozzarella, basil salad and lemon aioli. It reads like the kind of calamari you are used to. The kind that has a slight Italian spin which is dipped into marinara. But it certainly doesn’t look like that. It was so pretty, with lovely sweet heirloom grape tomatoes that paired nicely with the pecorino romano cream and the mozzarella. It almost didn’t need the aioli, but a little dab here added brightness overall. We were told by one of our servers that this calamari dish is here for another couple of months.

Winner of the night: 1618 Seafood Grille’s gorgeous wasabi glazed with the red beans. The beans!! No lie. It’s the best and we’ve ordered calamari…well, lots of places.

Sufficiently filled with baby squid, we then called it a night, only to start scheming about our next food crawl. Who wants us? Winston-Salem?….High Point?…Kernersville?

Shout out to #followmeto, founded by photographer Murad Osmann and his wife, Nataly, who travel the world and take photos of her leading him….or him following her to exotic or interesting places worldwide, hence the hashtag. They kind of started a movement so we thought we’d have our own foodie version of it here.

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Wanna go? 1618 Seafood Grille is located at 1618 West Friendly Avenue, open daily for dinner as well as Sunday brunch; The Wine Lounge is located at 1724 Battleground Avenue, open Monday-Saturday evenings until late. 1618 Downtown is located 312 S. Elm Street, open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Tuesday-Saturday. For more details and links visit 1618concepts.com

The Majestic, Alexandria, Virginia

The Majestic
As the cherry blossoms have hit their peak and you are in the DC area just to see those pretty petals (I just love cherry blossom “snow”) or if you are traveling up I-95, I can guarantee that you cannot go wrong with stopping in the Old Town of Alexandria, VA. It is a very quaint and friendly area. I asked around and so many people pointed me in the direction of The Majestic, I simply could not ignore it. From the looks of their reservation site, it can be hard to get a table. That is a very good sign. Busy can also mean “touristy”, which I was kind of trying to avoid. However, once we got there, the casual, “swanky” vibe of the place and the low key ambiance didn’t seem touristy at all.

The Majestic, Alexandria, dining room, triadfoodies

The Majestic dining room

The Majestic is part of a small, but renowned restaurant group in Alexandria that prides itself on sustainable practices, relationships with farmers and generally blowing the socks off people who eat at their establishments. We opted for the Majestic because it was casual and had a kids menu and we were told it was rustic and amazing. It’s in a building which housed the “old” Majestic and the owners came in and saved it from closing its doors and reinvented the place. It’s located among other wonderful shops and cafes along King Street…kind of the main drag in Old Town. You can park and then just window shop (or really shop) for hours in this area.

First of all, the service is incredible. The hostess and our server were so friendly, welcoming and helpful. Before we ordered the food we decided it was necessary for our sanity to have a cocktail. We’d been in the car since Virginia Beach. In traffic…a LOT! I have no idea what I ordered but it was served in this beautiful champagne glass and I know it had tequila in it. So if you are there, you will find that ordering this is refreshing and will set you right. Mr. ordered an Old Fashioned. Here at The Majestic, they soak their own beautiful cherries. What you get is a very drunken cherry and you will frown at anything out of a jar evermore.

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Libations

Libations…see Mr.’s big block of ice and that cherry?

Our server suggested The Royal Fixe menu which features an appetizer, entree and dessert for $35 per person. We decided that would be an acceptable way to really sample the goods, and be able to let the kidlets have one of the desserts. Mr. foodie ordered the Chicken Liver appetizer with toast points and fruit compote. The pate was incredible. It had such a delicious smokiness to it. I got a Wedge salad featuring the house-cured bacon, bleu cheese and their homemade buttermilk bleu dressing. It was quite big and very satisfying. I shared with Mr. He “kind of” shared with me. I can hardly blame him.

Chicken Liver Mousse, Majestic Cafe, Alexandria

Chicken Liver Mousse

Majestic Wedge, The Majestic Cafe, Alexandria

Majestic Wedge

As if we didn’t get enough at the table, I was informed that one of the signature dishes and one that is an overwhelming standout is…wait for it…Liver and Onions. Ewww….really? I’ve heard that liver “done right” is wonderful. You are not supposed to overcook it or it gets that blech texture we all dread. I took her advice and ordered it. Mr. foodie couldn’t believe it. It was a dark and rich dish with beautiful pearl onions, lardons (kind of like chunks of bacon), mushrooms and sage in a tasty marsala sauce. Yes, I ate every bit of it. The liver did not have a funky taste. It was not mealy. I will say that if you chew it to death, you could get some of that weird texture, but I just didn’t chew it to mush. I’d definitely get it again.

Liver & Onions, The Majestic Cafe, Alexandria, VA

Liver & Onions

Mr. foodie ordered the Braised Lamb Shank. He is a fan of lamb so if it’s not up to snuff, he will know. The shank was tender and flavorful…simply falling off the bone with roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, polenta taragna, red wine-olive sauce, gremolata. Hearty and delicious.

Braised Lamb Shank, The Majestic, Alexandria

Braised Lamb Shank

Girl kidlet got a burger which was delicious with a nice char and boy got a grilled cheese. It was great too. They also loved the fries.

And then dessert happened. We went with the “signature” Coconut Cake with coconut creme anglaise and the Death by Chocolate for the kids. That coconut cake was a dream. And the chocolate cake was also very good and basically bulldozered and inhaled by the kids. But that Coconut Cake…mmmmm. Well, it was the winner of the dessert round.

Death by Chocolate, The Majestic, Alexandria, Triadfoodies

Death by Chocolate

See? They didn’t wait for me to take a pic. I was snapping away at Coconut over here and off those kids went.

Coconut Cake, The Majestic, Alexandria

Coconut Cake

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The pics are a little blurry…not the best lighting and I forgot the fancy cam. But they really should call it Happiness by Chocolate. Because it was obviously enjoyed.

So, when you are beyond the Triad and you find yourself in one of the sweetest little areas outside of our nation’s capital, you might want to point yourself to King Street in Old Town Alexandria and find the neon sign that leads you right inside this awesome place. And while you are at it, do a little research and you might just decide to share the love at a couple of The Majestic’s sister restaurants.

The Majestic Cafe
911 King Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314 | 703.837.9117
If you’d like more info on other establishments of “The Fanciful Feasts,” click here.