Hello. Welcome to my first blog post. I am so glad you decided to join me! I couldn’t think of a better way to welcome you all to my blog than to introduce you to one of the most romantic cities to celebrate Valentine’s Day! It’s been a couple years since Amazon brought Alexandria, Virginia to national prominence by rating it the country’s most romantic city. Since then we have relished in that title, knowing that we have all helped this city become so welcoming; from restaurant owners, to locals, to small business owners, we take pride in our hidden gem. Anyone visiting this beautiful town is sure to see why those that live here love it so much.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, Old Town begins its preparations for welcoming lovers to celebrate with exquisite menus, pampering massage specials, and unique gift ideas. Whether you are a local or visiting for the day, I have come up with a few places that will say “I love you” to that special someone! Your welcome.
Old Town Restaurants Offering Valentines Day Specials:
For an intimate yet upscale casual Valentines’ date, the Majestic Cafe on King Street offers a lovely experience for all. Executive Corporate Chef Graham Duncan brings together his culinary expertise in this restaurant offering up inspired American cuisine. The intimate low-lit dinning room with plush burgundy diner style booths and a hodgepodge of historical photos and artwork boasts a reputation as one of the oldest restaurants in Old Town. Originally opened in the 1940’s, guests can feel a sense of pride and history in this little gem; which still houses the original fluorescent neon sign outside! For Valentine’s Day, The Majestic will be offering a 3 course a la carte menu including a lobster raviolo with mascarpone, beef wellington stuffed with forest mushrooms wrapped in pastry, a cast iron seared Chilean sea bass and lastly finishing with a chocolate fondue (for two). Delish! The cocktails are designed by bartender / mixologists who all have the opportunity to showcase their creative inspirations. My personal favorite is the whiskey thyme – a ruby port and thyme infused cocktail. Expect a fun intimate experience.
Nothing says “you are my favorite” like a bowl of warm pasta. Well at least that’s what I think! Some of you may already known about La Trattoria, the historic Italian restaurant on Washington Street. Did you know it’s recently went under new ownership and has completely transformed its interior? La Trattoria’s new owner Michael Strutton, of Sicilian decent, has always had the vision to open a restaurant with a “Vintage Italian-American concept”. Strutton purchased the restaurant in September of 2017 and began the renovations before re-opening in the late fall.
La Trattoria’s new ownership has surprised even its seasoned guests with a true passion for food. Strutton brings a fresh perspective to the restaurant by serving up rustic Italian fair in a cozy yet elegant environment. The dishes hone in on traditional Italian fair, including hand made pastas, creating that inviting and comforting smile we all seem to get when thinking of Italy while “evoking the spirit of mid- 20th century Italian- American culture” Strutton states. For Valentine’s Day, La Trattoria will be offering a five-course prix-fixe menu for $75 per person which includes a bottle of wine. The evening will start with a first course of charcuterie and cheeses, 2nd course of gnocci or spagetti, 3rd course you can pick between an array of option such as chicken cacciatore in a fresh tomato sauce or New York strip and sea scallops with a champagne butter sauce, 4th course will refresh you with a ceasar or caprese salad and lastly you will finish with a classic tiramisu or lemon mascarpone cake.
The restaurant offers fireside dining, a patio and live music several times a week. This is the perfect place to bring that special someone if you’re looking for intimacy without all the frills. If your lucky you might catch the owner playing one of the two piano’s sitting in each corner of the restaurant.
For some reason there is something about the French that just radiates PASSION. From food, to wine, to love, the Parisians have the win in my book. For the best French restaurant to visit in Old Town I chose Bastille on North Fayette Street, where Chef Christopher Poteux and his wife Michelle mix up award-winning dishes at this upscale French-Meditteranean brasserie.
Chef Christopher Poteux began his training at the French Institute and went on to work under many renowned chefs on both the West and East Coast. In 2006, Poteux opened Bastille in North Old Town- the current site of Bistrot Royal. In 2015, Chef Poteux and his wife Michelle decided to move their restaurant to its current location. The new location offers the same upscale French-Mediterranean fair in an airy, Parisian-style setting, complete with checkered floors and wicker chairs. Personally, I love their bar area where you can enjoy a glass of wine by the window and people-watch.
For Valentines Day, Bastille is offering a 3 course prix-fixe meal for $69 per person with a wine pairing for an additional $35. They are offering a variety of appetizers such as pan-roasted foie gras and a goat cheese beet salad to pair with entrees such as angus striploin & short ribs. For vegetarians they will present a ricotta gnudi with artichokes. You can also see the delicate handiwork of Michelle Poteux in the selection of desserts range from a brillat savarin cheesecake with black pepper brisée to a delightful strawberry mostarda. As for wine, their selection is ON POINT. For any wine enthusiast you can expect to see carefully picked varietals that wont necessarily break the bank – such as a Cote Du Rhone for $43 or a southern Rhone Chataneuf Du Pape for $75.
If you would like to treat that special someone to a rather special dinner, then I’d recommend Vermilion, which will be offering a five course prix-fixe menu for $105 per person. Vermilion is an elegant, yet hip, restaurant on the north end of King Street in Old Town. It’s not one of those places you go every night as dishes tends to toward the pricier side, but the cost is more than justified by the experience. Chef Thomas Caradelli showcases Vermilion’s dedication to farm to table food in this New American restaurant. The quality is easy to emphazie, as each entree is prepared and presented with precision.
Their Valentine’s Day menu will feature a five course menu with two options for each course. Some of the items featured include a starter of beef tartar with crispy brussel sprouts, 2nd course of butternut squash soup with green cardamon and marcona almonds, 3rd course of lobster and sweetbread ravioli, 4th course of strip loin rossini with black truffle and foie gras, and lastly finishing with dark chocolate cake with hazelnut gelato. As for setting, think low lighting on dark red walls, with red seats, and no white tablecloths (sigh of relief).
Enjoy A Couples Massage!
There is absolutely nothing like a relaxing massage and it’s even better when you get to share it with someone special! I chose to focus on Holistic touch because of their commitment to whole body well-being. Owner and founder Linda Wentz, a national board-certified massage therapist, acupuncturist, and health counselor combines her knowledge to provide her clients with a balanced approach to whole body well being .
Holistic Touch will be offering several couples massage packages in their private spa suite to soothe the soul. Their “Quality Time” special will include a couples 15 minute sauna session, two facials and two 60 min massage sessions, all in the private spa suite. This deal runs at $400. If you’d like to opt out of the facial you can choose their “Heating Things Up” package, which offers a 15 minute sauna sessions and two 60 minute massages with aromatherapy for $240.
Fun Gift Ideas in Old Town!
A wine tasting or a bottle of wine from Sonoma Cellar is a lovely way to bring the taste of California home to your kitchen. Sonoma Cellar is a unique restaurant and wine tasting room that offers hundreds of unique Sonoma County and domestic wines that you wont find at the local grocery store. If you don’t see something you like upstairs on their shelves you can take a trip downstairs to their wine cellar where hundreds of unique wines await your purchase! Owners Rick and Elizabeth Myllenbeck brought their love for Sonoma County wines to the East Coast a few years back when they opened on King Street a few blocks from the water in. Personally, I love this space. The decor is bright and inviting with pictures and books lining the walls on the first floor. You almost feel as if you were drinking wine at a vineyard chateau. The tasting bar offers guests the options to sit and talk with their knowledgeable staff about the wine. Upstairs hosts the main dining room.
In addition to great gift ideas, Sonoma Cellar will be offering a five course Valentines meal for $70 in their private dining room from February 12-16th. Each course will be paired with a carefully selected wine. For the first course they will be offering a avocado shrimp crostini paired (paired with Red Newt Reisling), the second course will be offering up a beautiful caramelized fennel and prosciutto salad (paired with Chalk Hill Pinot Gris), third course will be Pacific coast salmon with a mushroom risotto (paired with Copain Pinot Noir), the fourth course will be short rib with polenta (paired with PETS Petite Syrah) and lastly you will finish with a tres leche (paired with desert wine from Barboursville). Each couple will leave with a pair of Valentine’s cupcakes from Alexandria Cupcake. Yes! Who doesn’t love cupcakes?!
After a romantic night out in Old town – take your special someone home with a beautiful and elegant piece of lingerie from Lotus Blooms. Lotus Blooms is an adult boutique offering an array of fun and sexy lingerie, steel-boned corsets and body safe products. The staff there are always welcoming and will do their best to make you feel comfortable, whatever it is you are shopping for. Fun ideas for a Valentines gift include this beautiful coquette merlot chemise or this therapeutic massage candle from J-Squared.
Night out Fun!
Demo Kitchen at Society Fair
Lastly, I leave you with one more idea for how to spend a DIY Valentine’s Day – a cooking demo at Society Fair! Society Fair will be offering a fun and engaging 4-course dinner demo that includes oysters on the half-shell, seared scallops, pan roasted quail with a mushroom risotto and finishing with a strawberry chocolate soufflé to finish. How fun would that be!? Also, for those wanting a night in they will be offering a Valentines Day dinner and bubbly; to-go ! Hey- I’m all in for an easy relaxing Valentines day!
So that’s it everyone! Thank you so much for reading! I look forward to providing you plenty of more articles on fun things to do and where to find the best of the best in Alexandria, VA!
Till next time – Au revoir!