Patrick O’Connell, Chef/Owner of the Inn at Little Washington, wins the 2013 Silver Spoon award from Food Arts Magazine.
One of my favourite restaurants in the world is Patrick’s “Inn at Little Washington”, located in rural Virginia (about an hour and a half drive from Washington DC). There is a quaint Inn to stay at, and of course the restaurant in the Inn to eat at. Patrick owns the Inn and surrounding buildings. He is a genius of the culinary arts.
I have had the pleasure of dining at the Inn on fourteen separate occasions over the past several years, and have stayed in the rooms and cottages as well. A reason to drive to Palm Beach instead of fly is to be able to spend a night (or two!) at the Inn on the way in order to enjoy the amazing work that comes out of the kitchen there. My mouth waters just thinking about it. I have toured the kitchen on multiple occasions, and been photographed with Patrick more than once. If I had to be marooned on a desert Island with a fully equipped kitchen and was allowed one chef to cook for me - Patrick would be the man. He is that good. If I were the real Gatsby I would want to hire him as my personal chef.
I am not going back in time to pull past dinners from memory to review in this blog - I go only forward - and I will return to the Inn at Little Washington again to review it for you in the present tense. I will not speak of the main courses, but today I will just touch on a couple of finishing touches (from photos I have taken myself at the Inn while eating there) that Patrick does to show his eye for detail:
Miniature baked potato (can be eaten in one or two bites) served with sour cream, bacon bits and chives served on a spoon-like plate at The Inn at Little Washington.
A refreshing small bubble tea smoothie to clean the palate between courses at The Inn at Little Washington.
My rooms in a cottage across the street from the Inn where I stayed on one visit (Patrick owns these cottages as well as the Inn itself) shows an evening snack left on my coffee table of fresh apricots with a bowl for the pits.
My cottage’s living room with working fireplace.
The bedroom had a working fireplace too and a four-poster bed with colonial-era horsehair mattress, which was very romantic (Emma, not being receptive to me as a suitor, was not present).
The entrance to the Inn at Little Washington.
The after dinner lounge in the Inn:
After dinner one can have a drink in a lounge that resembles an English country house or private London gentleman’s club - that crystal bottle on the table to pour yourself a drink from is Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac. Ah, Patrick loves details and his guests at the Inn are treated like royalty.
Morning breakfast served at the Inn only for the overnight guests. Couples meander in after a romantic night to enjoy a breakfast feast. An excellent weekend spot for Romance.
When I bid goodbye to continue my drive to Florida the staff didn’t want me to suffer the gas stop food of eateries off the I-95, so they packed me a picnic lunch hamper to take in my car - ‘pull off at a rest area with picnic tables and enjoy the surprise lunch we have made for you’ they said. The Inn at Little Washington is wonderful.
Patrick, what can I say my friend…you deserve the Silver Spoon and, while this is selfish of me to say, I hope you never retire. You are a genius and I am privileged to know you.
In addition to winning the Silver Spoon, Patrick’s Inn was ranked this month by the readers of Travel + Leisure Magazine as the # 2 for best of the best in North America (Canada + USA) with an overall score of 97.65%. Patrick was very happy at this honour, and said on Facebook that he sees there is now room for growth and improvement as he aims to be ranked #1 in North America next year. We love you Patrick - thank you for being you!