Saturday, May 21st, 2011.
Let me start out by saying I love what these ladies are doing. Love love LOVE it. I love the "farm-to-table" concept and think it's one that more restaurants should adopt. I love the fact that smaller and/or local farmers and growers are being supported by local businesses. I especially love the fact that what is being served at Foode isn't anything that I wouldn't feed my family at home. It's natural. It's fresh. It doesn't come out of a can. There is no factory processed mystery behind a single ingredient. If I were to open a restaurant, this would be the route I took. It's win/win. Support your local eateries who support the local economy and enjoy eating real food. Oh! it's win/win/win. And, it's delicious. As usual... I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm pretty excited, but I'll try to stay on track.
Back to Saturday evening... We'd had an eventful, fun day in the area, what with the Renaissance Faire at Lake Anna Winery and then getting the Large One and his girlfriend off to prom. At around 7pm, we realized that we hadn't been caught up in any kind of apocalyptic chaos or The Rapture or anything, and we were child free. It seems I found myself alone with a man on a Saturday night, and I didn't have to work. You know what that means?
We get to EAT! We jumped into the car and headed downtown.
K parked us on a side street and we walked down Caroline until we saw the sign for Foode. I had hoped that there would be a bistro table available outside in the courtyard, but apparently all of Fredericksburg has discovered this new hidden treasure, and has welcomed them with open arms. Not a table in sight. We almost turned around when we saw the group of people standing in the doorway. I went to see how long the wait was.
We were greeted by a woman who told us there was no wait, that we could sit at one of two tables. We chose one by the wall, and were given water, menus and silverware. We were then told how the restaurant works: You order your food at the register and they bring it to you. Huh. This puzzled me a bit. Like Noodles and Co.? Yep. Order your food, take your seat and wait for the goodness. I have to stand up? I'm going to need a drink.
Thankfully, Foode has a lovely selection of beer and ridiculously reasonable prices on their bottles of wine. I think the most expensive bottle that day was $22. Yes, I said bottle. And it was $22 because it's organic. They also offer sodas and both sweet and unsweet tea, and some other choices. We decided on "The Margarita", which is described as an "organic agave wine margarita cocktail", and the pitcher was $15. I haven't a clue what was in it... but it was goooood. It was served in a small rocks glass over ice and garnished with a salted lime. I was pretty geeked about the lime and tossed it into my drink before I realized I really wanted a photo of it. Oh well. Next time. Take my word for it, the lime is pretty.
For our appetizers, I ordered two pimiento cheese toasts ($1 each) and the Rosemary Loaf, which is served with a dish of their housemade dipping oil. There was balsamic involved. I wanted to swim in it... Anyway, the bread... well... half of the bread... is pictured above. It was really really good. Warm, soft in the center, crusty on the outside, with just the right amount of rosemary. The loaf is huge, easily 8-9 inches in diameter, and plenty for a group of four. The portion of dipping oil is generous, too. The pimiento cheese toasts were thin slices of French bread which were spread with house made pimiento cheese and then presumably broiled. I think I'm going there to get some for lunch this weekend. Yum.
For our entrees, K chose the slow-roasted pork bowl, described as organic, vegetarian fed pork, slow-simmered and served in a clay crock filled with black beans, seasoned rice, spices tomato sauce, corn tortillas, house pickled slaw and crumbled queso fresco. I selected the pan-roasted chicken, which was 1/2 of an all natural, vegetarian-fed chicken, marinated then pan roasted with fresh herbs, served with creamy mashed potatoes with basil pistou butter and sauteed organic field greens from Blenheim Organic Gardens.
When the server brought our food, I was immediately jealous of what was placed in front of K. It looked and smelled incredible. This is not to say that my chicken was inferior by any means, the presentation was lovely, the greens were obviously fresh, the potatoes light and delicious. I just think there is some Central American blood in me somewhere. Those of you who know me are aware that in 2004, my family lived in Nicaragua. I love the people, the culture, the art, the food, the way restaurants smell there, the taste of fresh tortillas and the smell of beans and rice cooking on the stove.
Crap. I can't do it. All I can think about it the pork. There's a picture of the chicken up there. It really was good.
For dessert, we were offered home made chocolate chip cookies or a chocolate torte. We were too full to even think about dessert, but boxed up the rest of the giant rosemary loaf to take home for the after-prom snack attacks.
I should mention that I also had a Groupon that I had forgotten to use when we paid initially, but the woman at the register was so sweet that she made it work. What would have cost us just over $60 cost us around $20. I love me some Groupons.
My overall impression of Foode: Impressive. Really. Aside from a couple minor details, I was so impressed with what the owners have done. Read the blog at http://thefirst365.wordpress.com/ and you'll come to appreciate all of the blood, sweat and tears they've put into this place. Being in the restaurant business myself for so long, I understand what it's like to start fresh with new ideas and it was encouraging to watch them succeed in this town. Again, the farm to table, organic, clean-eating concepts are ones I would love to see in more restaurants. An ever changing menu based on what is fresh and available, delicious food that won't break your budget or waistline. It's all there. The drawbacks were minor. The biggest was that I actually enjoy the interaction with a server and I missed that at Foode. We had different people deliver our food and I spoke to the women at the register, but I did miss having one person dedicated to ensuring our meal was everything we wanted it to be. Don't get me wrong, it was. It was great. Really. I just think I like messing with people and K has already heard all my jokes. The only other thing that was a little different was that the kitchen is upstairs, and the restaurant downstairs. The food comes from the kitchen, down an outside staircase and into the inside restaurant. That's all fine and good, because it wasn't raining, but when they bring the food into the restaurant, they yell your name. So, we would be in quiet conversation and then hear "MATT!" or we would be talking about one of the kids and "BOBBY!" or as I poured more margarita into my glass and "CHERYL!!!". I don't know how they could change that, and maybe I'm the only one that was jarred by the way that was done. Will it keep me from going back? Nope. I still love it. Should you go?
But call me first. I want to go back... and I have another Groupon. :)
1006C Caroline Street
Fredericksburg, VA 22401