Fossett's Brings Molecular Gastronomy to Charlottesville

Terry and I went to Fossett's for dinner last Saturday night to celebrate our anniversary since Clifton Inn was all booked up for dinner.

Not that we were disappointed to go to Fossett's, it's just that we haven't been to Clifton Inn for a longer time, and wanted to go back. But we do like Fossett's quite a bit, and the fact is we have been there more times than to Clifton.

But it has been a while since we've been there, and I was surprised to see on the menu an entire section offering molecular gastronomy foods. They're not touted as such, I think the menu calls them "innovations" or something like that. But both Terry and I got our appetizers from that section, and his was clearly all molecular-gastronomic, since it was foams and gelees of tomatoes and such. I got the beef carpaccio, which was fairly normal, it just has these two molecular-gastronomy-type blobs of food that were delicious, but I didn't remember from the menu description what they were made of.

But for all you traditionalists out there, most of the menu is normal good food. I was very happy with the grouper entree. I preferred it to Terry's duck (he gave me a bite). And I really liked my strawberry shortcake dessert. It was non-traditional in presentation, but it was surprisingly good given that I normally consider strawberry shortcake a sort of plain dessert. I ordered it since it had the least amount of dairy of any of the desserts, since I'm still avoiding dairy foods for William's sake.

The service at Fossett's was impeccable, it's one of the reasons I enjoy dining there. They even have valet parking, so I didn't have to traipse through the parking lot in my pretty shoes. And they thoughtfully gave us a quiet table since they knew it was our anniversary dinner (they asked when I made the reservations). I enjoy the view afforded by the floor-to-ceiling windows in the dining room over the golf course. And the dining room is a nice size, not large enough to be cavernous, but not so small as to feel that you're right on top of adjoining tables. There was a wedding going on in the ballroom down the hall, but the dining room was far enough removed from that that it didn't disturb our dinner in the slightest. And although we were sitting on the side of the room nearest the piano, it wasn't so loud that it interfered with our conversation at all.

Overall, Fossett's is a near-perfect restaurant. Based on New York standards, the food could be just a tiny bit better. But it's hard to ask for more right here in C'ville. The service is certainly up to NY standards, in my opinion. It's so far above any other local restaurant that it feels like a vacation every time I go out there. It certainly helps that it's located in a fancy-schmancy resort.

If you haven't been there yet, I highly recommend it. It's pricey for the area, but not for what you get, I'd say it's a pretty good value if you appreciate the whole fine-dining experience.

Although they've raised the price of their lunch buffet (it's not at Fossett's exactly, but nearby in the resort and you can dine on the patio in nice weather) from $15 to $19, it's probably still a pretty good value. I'll have to go back to confirm that (twist my arm!).

They now have this lunch incentive program I wasn't previously aware of:

Keswick Hall Preferred Villa Lunch Program
3rd visit: 10% off menu price
5th visit: bottle of Barboursville Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay Reserve
7th visit: $50 gift certificate to Keswick Hall
10th visit: 25% off dinner at Fossett’s Restaurant – 4 person max
12th visit: Weekend Breakfast for two
15th visit: 50% off holiday buffet – 6 person max
17th visit: One Hour Cooking School with Executive Chef Craig Hartman
20th visit: Certificate for a one-night’s stay at Keswick Hall, double occupancy

If they weren't on the other side of the county, we'd probably have worked our way to the middle of that list by now, but as it is, we do have to go out of our way to eat there. But having just had my memory refreshed last weekend about how good the food is, I will now spend a little more effort suggesting to Terry that we go back more often, for lunch even if dinner is a little too daunting with William in tow.

Asian Fusion Is In Seminole Shopping Center

I had to think for a minute to come up with a nice title for my blog post, since I hate to slam a business or product if I don't really hate it. And I don't hate the Asian Fusion, but I do think it's a pretty mediocre buffet.

When Terry and I were running errands in town the other day, I suggested we stop there for lunch. I didn't realize the restaurant was now called "Asian Fusion" and is located close to the Office Depot in the shopping center. I thought it was still called "Great Wall" and closer to the Boathouse restaurant.

The interior decoration was fine, it's all relatively new and therefore relatively clean, fresh, and not dingy, which is a plus.

The buffet had an enormous selection of food, which was good. But none of it was particularly good, which was bad. The only thing I really liked was the seafood roll. But honestly it tasted more like a recipe from the back of a Pillsbury can of refrigerated dough than anything remotely Asian. I thought the rice noodles were ok. Everything else was mediocre. The only thing I didn't eat was the spareribs, I really didn't like them. Everything else was passable, although I might have passed on more items had I not been as hungry as I was.

The next time I want Chinese buffet, I'll try the place next to the shoe store in the Shopper's World.

BrownieCakeCookiePie Baking Demo

After reading a description of a Cake Cookie Pie on a blog last week, I determined I had to make one. Except that what I really wanted was a BROWNIE Cake Cookie Pie, so that's what I made. I recorded a video so anyone who wants to make this can see how it's done. I highly recommend it, it's deee-licious.


Bossa Nova Original Acai Juice Tastes Like Exotic Blueberries

I was perusing the Odwalla case in the Whole Foods when I saw Bossa Nova brand drinks on the right side. I wasn't familiar with the product, but had heard about acai juice, and since a bottle was only $2.99 (therefore less than any of the Odwalla varieties), I decided to give it a try.

I got the original flavor, which is just sweetened acai juice-- the variations included other juices blended with acai. The description on the bottle said it was an "exotic berry flavor with blueberry notes" or something to that effect. I'd say that's an accurate description. I enjoyed the drink, but it's not nearly as filling as the Odwalla drinks, so it's not a replacement for that. But it's a good choice if I just want a glass of juice instead of drinking water.

I don't know much about antioxidants, except that they supposedly remove free-radical oxygen from your body, which is good since it causes signs of aging. I've never really put much stock in products touting "antioxidants" because I don't understand how they work. Acids, I get. Anti-bacterial products I understand. Moisturizers, cleansers, check. Organic, natural, free-range are concepts I grasp.

But anti-oxidents? How do you know if a product is really getting rid of free-radical oxygen molecules? Do you look better? Feel better? Younger? Do they lower your blood pressure? Give you a boost of energy? I suspect that any product that touts antioxidants is just a bunch of marketing hype until I see some concrete evidence of efficacy.

I didn't notice any special benefits from drinking the acai juice that I wouldn't have gotten from drinking any other juice. It sated my thirst. It tasted good. That's about it. But really, that's all I'm looking for in a juice. It's pretty much a pass-fail test as far as I'm concerned. And acai juice passed. I'll buy more of it and keep it stocked in the house if the price ever comes down. Otherwise, it's just another novelty drink I'll get if I feel like it from time-to-time.

Where's The Cheese?!?

Is it just me, or has McDonald's gotten extremely stingy with their cheese lately? I don't remember the slices always being this small.

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