Last week I was walloped with what might have been the worst flu I’ve ever experienced. I was struck with it suddenly, the weekend prior, and it incapacitated me in its hateful, feverish grip for nearly four days.
The following three days were spent recovering, gaining strength, and thinking about how awful it would have been had I died alone in my condo. (Would anyone have known?? Would Elvira the black cat have eaten me??)
I had plans to spend the weekend at Ingleside Vineyards, and I was determined not to let this flu garbage get in my way. One of the owners had invited us, accommodation and all, and I had a handsome friend who was offering to drive me there.
So, off we went, me bundled up and still out of it, he blasting basketball updates (le sigh, March Madness), bopping down I-95 on our merry way.
The vineyard is in the Northern Neck of Virginia, an apparently very historical area of the state that I had not had the pleasure of visiting before (George Washington, Robert E. Lee, James Monroe—there are monuments and homes littered about that belonged to lots of old, important white men).
On the way, we stopped for brunch in Fredericksburg, which was the last town before we had to exit off the highway onto small Virginia roads. A little brunch spot had been highly recommended to me. It was called FOOD.E and touted that it is, simply, “gourmet for the rest of us.”
But how do you pronounce it, we pondered? Food-eee? Food-eeh? To get into the restaurant you walk down a decorated brick alleyway, which they have made into patio seating. Very cute.
Inside, there is a rather strange system. Instead of being seated and then having a server take your order, you get in line at the register and order your cocktails, your appetizers, and your brunch dish. Then, you have a seat at a table if you were assigned one, the community table if you weren’t.
Eventually, your cocktails and food arrive. Flu be damned, I ordered a mimosa. Their house mimosa came in a mason jar with a sugared rim and a fresh orange slice. So lovely. It was very tasty, too, with La Marca prosecco and all-natural OJ.
It was a great drink, and the sugar rim was a great touch. Though, I was eyeing the gorgeous pink grapefruit mimosa—not to mention the beermosa—across the community table, too.
The brunch menu has a lot to offer, so it’s a game-time decision when you’re at the register. So much pressure! There are “today’s biscuits, eggs & other brunchy stuff,” plus bites, snacks, salads, sandwiches, and other plates. We, of course, went for the “brunchy stuff.”
First, a few slices of pimiento cheese toast. Had we known how tiny they were, we would have ordered five of these. Each. They were warm, crunchy, and had just a little kick. Like a mini spicy, greasy grilled cheese on French bread. Yum.
I ordered the buttermilk fried chicken biscuit, because it sounded amazing on the menu. In reality, the biscuit sandwich was very dry and tasteless. The egg was cooked with plain cheddar, and the fried chicken didn’t have much to offer. It needed to be bathed in a gravy or sauce Yes, that would have made this “brunchy” perfect.
The redeeming dish was the veggie scramble, which we ordered with char-grilled steak. It was a three-egg scramble with a mixture of organic veggies and sharp cheddar cheese. It tasted delicious, was made just spicy enough, and served with a side of potatoes.
The ordering system is odd because, what if I wanted another cocktail? I’d have to get in line to order and have another credit card check. And, there was always a line at the register—the place was packed.
I suppose this strategy does turn the tables faster. We were certainly in and out of there in less than an hour—off to Ingleside Vineyards, which proved to be a lovely way to spend a Saturday post-brunch afternoon.
We were lucky enough to have a private tour of the winery, to ooh and aah at the acres of grapes, the great big barrels of wine, the bottling and labeling machine, and the many awards that they have won. Ingleside is the oldest winery on the Northern Neck and the fifth oldest in Virginia, and it used to be a Dairy Farm, which makes it very charming.
After our tour, we had a tasting of no fewer than 18 varieties of wine from estate-grown grapes. Our favorites? The blue crab blanc, their flagship Petit Verdot, and, of course, their Virginia Brut. Ingleside was the first winery in Virginia to produce a methode champenoise sparkling wine. Love.
After our tasting, we sipped on wine in the sunny courtyard and thought, isn’t this a great place for a party? Ingleside is way ahead of us, of course, as they’re throwing a ton of bashes this spring and summer, including a Spring Barrel Tasting on April 20, a Ladies Only wine class on May 20, a Dancing under the Stars (Benefit for Rappahannock Pops) on June 15, and a Summer Beach Bash on June 22. Get details here.
But the day wasn’t over yet—eventually we made our way to The Pointe, a beautifully appointed house right on the Rappahannock River (Ingleside guests can rent one of two houses for weekends at a time). We watched the sun set over the river and toasted another brunch adventure.
The Bitches say: A meh B for FOOD.E.
1006 C / D Caroline Street
Fredericksburg, Va 22401
FOOD.E serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.
5872 Leedstown Rd
Oak Grove, VA 22443