That one word summarizes my entire weekend. Goodness, folks.
I’m now on a wine sabbatical.
Anyways! This past Friday I was lucky enough (with Meg, my partner in crime since high school) to get the opportunity to have dinner at a wine shop and restaurant called The Curious Grape. For those of you who live in the Arlington,VA/Washington, D.C. metro area, this place is located in Shirlington, i.e. this adorable new neighborhood that I want to pack my bags and move to immediately.
Their mantra, according to the owner, is “Bringing wine down to earth.” Everything is pretty reasonably priced because you can do half orders of most dishes, so I can see how that holds true. And I have to say – the staff (including the owners) were SO nice and very friendly during our visit.
This place does not kid around about their wine love. First up I ordered a Viognier from Michael Shaps winery (local!), and Meg selected a Torrontes from Argentina. Both were very smooth and ended up being the perfect choices.
Then we got to eating, aka Meg and my main hobby.
Cheese plate, tailored for white wine drinking. (The first two on the plate are goat cheeses, aka my favorite)
SO good! Because of my lactose intolerance I have generally steered clear from cheese other than on pizza (let’s be serious) for the last few years, so I can’t even tell you the last time I just ate a meal of straight cheese and bread. This was fantastic though.
Appetizer one rocked my socks.
Braised pork empanadas with cilantro, pumpkin seed salsa & crème fraiche on the side. Holy moly.
Appetizer two, Meg’s choice, was fried green tomatoes with tuna.
Personally, I think the empanadas were the winners in this race, although both dishes could have use a teensy bit more flavor in my opinion. The empanadas, although really tasty, only packed a flavor punch when dipped in the accompanying salsa/creme fraiche (which was very good!).
By now obviously it was time for another round of wine. For me, a glass of pinot gris from Oregon and for Meg gruner veltliner from Austria.
For our entrees we both ordered the half orders per the recommendation of the waitress, who I’m pretty sure thought we both had not eaten since 1992, My eyes flew to the chicken dish automatically… and I know, I know -chicken?! Boring. But this chicken was way more interesting than anything I usually create in my own kitchen.
Ahem: spice-roasted chicken with green onion polenta, braised kale & tomato.
Yes – KALE. I’m so healthy.
This was delicious. And a pretty big portion despite being a half size.
Meg ordered the scallops and cleaned her plate.. I’m not a seafood fan, so I didn’t taste anything more than the black rice (<–never had that before!) on her meal.
…and a mango/blackberry tart with a chocolate crust.
Why stop at one dessert when you can have two, right? Simple logic.
They were both pretty good, although to be honest I was already very full by the time dessert rolled around, AND I’m actually not a big sweet dessert person (despite loving to bake). Meg was a big fan though. 🙂
The Curious Grape is also a wine shop (duh), so there were lots of bottles to choose from in the wine shop section of the store.
Ugh, so fun. I can’t thank The Curious Grape enough for hosting me!
And did I mention I followed up Friday with a wine fest and then wine dinner on Saturday?
I can’t look at a bottle of wine for another month, but man that was goooooooood.
How was your weekend??
*Disclaimer: I was invited to attend this dinner at The Curious Grape by a restaurant/food PR company, but the opinions and photos were 100% my own. The check was compensated, but it was NOT based the promise of a positive or negative review.