By: Laurie Wallin
Capital Cooking Contributor
I remember eating at (the first) America Eats Tavern – Jose Andres’ pop-up restaurant that was created to accompany the “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?” exhibit at the National Archives several years ago. Like many others, I loved learning about the history of many of our dishes and truly appreciated the thought and effort that went into the restaurant (not to mention the delicious food). The restaurant has been reborn, opened earlier this summer, and I was thrilled to visit its new location in the Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner for a Virginia wine tasting on Wednesday, August 20.
America Eats Tavern’s wine program was designed by ThinkFoodGroup’s Wine Director, Lucas Payá, and is designed to celebrate the history of wine production and consumption in the United States. The all-American wine list also dedicates a special section of the wine menu to Virginia wines. Guests were able to sample four VA wines that America Eats Tavern features on their wine menu.
Wednesday’s tasting included a Linden Sauvignon Blanc, a Rappahannock Cellars White Blend (Chardonnay/Viognier), an Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir, and a Linden Claret. I’ve drank both Linden and Rappahannock in the past (Linden remains one of my favorite VA wineries), and I was pleased to be introduced to the Ankida Ridge Pinot Noir. A winery I had never heard of until that evening, the Pinot was smooth, fruity and very food-friendly. I suspect I will be looking to take a trip to Charlottesville sooner rather than later to try their other wines!
America Eats also provided small bites to guests to be enjoyed alongside the wines. My favorite snack of the night was the Hush Puppies with South Mountain Creamery Butter. I snuck a peek at the rest of the menu, and was pleased to see the small descriptions that accompanied each dish – similar to the menu at the (first) America Eats Tavern.
This event was a great showcase of some of the wonderful VA wines that America Eats is featuring, and there’s no doubt that they will pair beautifully with Chef Nate Waugaman’s food.