Friday, December 29, 2006

Bilbo Baggins, Alexandria, VA

Eating out during trips is considered a hassle by most, with a lot of people sticking with the popular food chains. I personally love trying out tiny shacks and small cozy looking places whenever I am out of town. Recently, I visited Alexandria, VA, which is right next to Washington, DC. Walking through the quaint old town, we came across a yellow-painted restaurant called Bilbo Baggins ( Being a die hard Tolkien fan, I had to try it out. The interiors of the place reminded me very strongly of Bag's End, with pots and pans and baskets lined all around the walls, mounds of raisin bread for all guests and an atmosphere where food is the only thing that remains in your head the minute you walk in. The afore mentioned raisin bread is really worth commending, I could have just that for breakfast, especially when lined with a thick layer of whipped butter. The American breakfast and Frodo's French toast were the two things we tried, and both turned out to be a delight, especially the latter one. A mound of sweet bread served with strawberries and caramelized apple, it is wonderful. The service is pretty quick and friendly, and don't miss the orange juice, it is freshly squeezed and comes with real oranges... Yum, yum!

Eating out.. yumm!

Eating out can be considered as the world's most popular past time, especially if you are thousands of miles away from home and pocketing an income of your own (no matter the size!). Some of us can walk into a restaurant with an unheard of name and still come out with our hungers satisfied, for those who cannot or who prefer tried and tested names, the Web is the answer. After dinner last evening, giving suggestions of a good eat-out to some friends, it struck me to try and do some good to the society by attempting to jot down my weekly "taste tests". My friends and I constantly try out new stuff with an ongoing competition as to who has tasted food from the most number of cuisines, I am still on the losing side mainly because of my reluctance to try sushi, but between us we have taken on about 15-18 cuisines, trying them at places fit for a pauper and those that may be overboard for even a prince!! Alright, I was exaggerating a bit, but anyway I hope I can list some interesting places. If you try a place after reading this and do not like it, please don't mail me a curse or a howler, however, if you do like it... post me a comment :)!!

For starters (and as a safe bet), one of the most interesting places I have been to in New Brunswick is Makeda ( An Ethiopian restaurant with a very well done, partly ethnic, partly modern ambience, this place is definitely a 'keep-returning' restaurant. The food is very tasty and caters to vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian palates. My personal fav is the 'wot' - it comes in veg, chicken and fish kinds. If you are a wine lover, try the Van Loveren Pink Lady Muscadel (Rosé) 2003, a blush wine that goes very well with the food served there. Being brought up as a non-vegetable eater, I was reluctant to try out their egg plant appetizer, but one bite made me a fan. The desserts are equally good, the chocolate madness being true to its name (its makes you crazy). If you are the more experimental type, try the pecan-bourbon tart with vanilla gelato - its mind-blowing!!

More later... till then Ciao!!