Sunday, February 13, 2011

Road Trip-Worthy Brunching

How fortuitous that I had a road trip planned for this beautiful, sunny day. I have a friend who is a food writer in DC and instead of meeting there, we had arranged to meet in Fredericksburg for a change.

So I joined the clusters of guys on Harleys that inevitably show up on Route 301 on sunny Sundays and made the scenic drive to wine and brunch with my friend. We were even trying a new-to-me destination, Kybecca Wine Bar.

Oh, I've been in the wine shop many times but never in the restaurant, so I was looking forward to catching up with my friend and seeing what the kitchen could do.

We were smart to meet early because the place continued to fill up the longer we were there, which was a good four hours' worth. We took a three-sided banquette table, but I admired the community table as we walked by it. Had I been alone, that's just where I would have sat my tights down.

Since it had been a while since we'd broken bread together, we started with the pretty and festive hibiscus cocktail, made with Riondo Pink Prosecco, a touch of hibiscus syrup and an (edible) hibiscus flower.

We found they went down like water (and the flower's sweetness, described by our server as "rhubarb and raspberry," was delightful) and moved on to a bottle of the Bebe Prosecco Rose to stay in pink mode.

It's my friend's habit to taste around the menu, so we did (it's one of my favorite reasons to eat with him).

I chose the chorizo and scrambled egg crepes (two crepes filled with locally-raised chorizo, duck thigh meat and scrambled eggs, topped with Cypress Grove's lamb Chopper cheese mornay sauce).

He chose the fried egg and bacon baguette (toasted baguette filled with two over-easy eggs, crispy bacon, cilantro mayo, shaved Pecorino) and yeast-risen waffles with fruit, house-made whipped cream, berries and Virginia maple syrup.

The point in ordering the waffles was the menu's claim that in order to achieve the incredible texture of light and airy on the inside and crispy on the outside, they start the batter the night before.

Well, we'll just see about that, we decided. And the waffles were stellar, light as air, with deep squares for obscene amounts of cream and syrup.

The baguette was, to say the least, challenging to eat once the yolks had broken, but the generous amount of bacon and mayo made it downright decadent. The baguette butt made the perfect sopping vehicle for everything that dripped onto the plate.

But I'd have to go with my crispy crepes as the standout; when the chef saw me all but licking my plate, he came over to see how I'd liked them (or collect compliments, but I don't want to presume).

He turned out to be a charming and friendly guy ("No ring, either," my friend prodded me) who appreciates a duck-lover. We got a second order just to verify our first impression, which pleased him no end.

Since it had been a while, I had lots to share with my friend and he's always got great recommendations for me of new and obscure places to eat in my hometown. Anacostia, here I come.

With plans for several upcoming trips to DC, I actually made a few notes so I won't forget his suggestions (because he will ask and he will chide me if I don't try them and have opinions).

By this point, it was mid-afternoon and the place was full, except for the outside tables, but the wine was gone and we still had room for a little something. And we were nowhere close to done talking.

I chose the Kung Fu Girl Riesling (because I'm a big fan of Charles Smith's wines) to go with the pound cake panino (two slices of poundcake with Nutella inside and grilled with a panini maker). Friend got the chocolate pot de creme, knowing I'd eat what he didn't.

The panino was stellar, crispy and smeared thickly with Nutella between the slices. The blackberries and strawberries from the waffles reappeared on top (no doubt from south of the equator at this time of the year). We devoured this first and then moved on to the excellent and creamy pot de creme.

When our server came back to collect our plates, she actually asked if we wanted anything else. We laughed and declined; it was nearing 4:00 and we both had plans for the evening, so hitting the road was in order.

And after all the talking we'd done (this is one guy who can talk as much as I can), I was ready for a talk-free trip home.

And, of course, I ended up singing the whole way back. How can you not when you're driving down 301 listening to Band of Horses and The Stills?

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