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Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm part two: the inn

July 28, 2011

Farm-to-Fork, the Loudon County celebration of locally grown food and wine, was well underway when I visited Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm. Here, the distance from farm to fork is a mere ten minute walk up the hill behind the restaurant complex. After an enchanting morning with Farmer Tim, it was time to check out the inn.

I know first-hand what private events manager, Melissa Carroll means about the best part of her job. “It’s seeing the twinkle in peoples’ eyes as they come in here. Everyone, all ages.”

Trellised patio (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Trellised patio

Clyde’s Restaurant Group bought a number of antique timber buildings in the early 1980’s with no particular plans, so they disassembled the structures and put them away in storage.

When the opportunity presented itself to build a new restaurant, Clyde’s Group CEO, John Laytham (who started with the company as a bartender), conceived  its design in collaboration with the Weather Hill Company and Rust, Orling Architects.

Audobon prints hang in the main dining (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Audobon prints hang in the main dining

What makes visiting Clyde's Willow Creek Farm such a magical experience (besides the brilliant reconstruction and exquisite landscaping) is its collection of museum-quality American antiques and art displayed throughout the four main dining rooms and bars.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Nineteenth century carriages hang from the ceiling of the Carriage Bar, and you can find the complete collection of Original Havell engravings of John James Audubon’s Birds of America featured in the front dining room and adjacent bar. Two beautiful sleighs are poised outside the entrance, and Santa’s is stored in the farm's barn.

I caught up with general manager, Paul Fox in his favorite place, the Samuel French Room in the main building. As he told The Georgetown Dish,” The two most important people are the customers and the employees. Work is fresh, no two days the same.”  Fox started his Clyde’s career at Old Ebbitt’s Grill as a busboy. "Laytham is a restaurant genius." Paul continued, "We’re a destination and a neighborhood place.”

Paul Fox, Melissa Carroll and Tim MacLean (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Paul Fox, Melissa Carroll and Tim MacLean

After Diana Chappell made me a fragrant Mojito (inspired by tasting the chocolate, pineapple and mint julep mints on the farm), I was ready for lunch.

Mike La Manna, executive sous chef (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Mike La Manna, executive sous chef

Fried purple fairy eggplant with smoked tomato marinara and Pecorino Romano (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Fried purple fairy eggplant with smoked tomato marinara and Pecorino Romano

Fried green tomaotes with herb goat cheese (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Fried green tomaotes with herb goat cheese

Sorrel and herb salad with grilled shrimp (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Sorrel and herb salad with grilled shrimp

Roasted garlic and basil quiche with cucumber salad (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Roasted garlic and basil quiche with cucumber salad

Summer vegetable gnocchi (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Summer vegetable gnocchi

Blackberry semifreddo with linden verbena shortbread created by dessert chef, Amy Harper (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Blackberry semifreddo with linden verbena shortbread created by dessert chef, Amy Harper

When they build the guest bungalows I requested, I'll never have to leave.

Daily calendar of  farm produce hangs in the kitchen (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Daily calendar of farm produce hangs in the kitchen

For part one, my visit with Farmer Tim, click here.

Clyde's Willow Creek Farm  is at 42920 Broadlands Boulevard in Broadlands, VA.  Tel: 571.209.1200

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

 

 


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Open space, no wood s'il vous plait

July 27, 2011

When you find a Bulthaup kitchen, an Alessi toilet not available in the U.S., a Waterworks bathtub, an Italian bathroom sink that drains from behind the basin, and walls covered in Calcutta marble, you must ask: Who lives here?

Wednesday evening at an open house to celebrate the completed renovation of a duplex condominium on 31st Street, we found out.

Bruno Lassus (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bruno Lassus

Turns out, it’s a barefoot man with an infectious grin and clear blue eyes who knows exactly what he wants.  For that, he turned first to Bulthaup. “I’d known Bruno for six years when we did his kitchen, general manager, Alison Tilley told The Georgetown Dish. “We did the kitchen and introduced him to Christy Schlesinger, and the rest is history.” Schlesinger Associates Architects, that is.

As Christy says, “Bruno is unique and the best client. It was a nice melding of similar styles and vision.”

And that vision? Bruno Lassus explains, “I like open space and no wood” His grin widens. “You see, my grandfather made wood furniture in France. We had so much of it …” Pressing for more explanation, “I like the cold of  stone …” A few choice pieces of red gum tree wood custom cabinets, but otherwise, stone and tile and marble prevail.

As 42 Degree Catering prepared elegant appetizers in the kitchen, guests enjoyed the view. Developer Greg Rooney, vice president of The Bernstein Companies said, "This is exactly what Georgetown needs."

Alison Tilley of Bulthaup (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Alison Tilley of Bulthaup

Classic modernism. Corbusier black leather sofas, Norman Foster dining table, large red abstract painting by contemporary Vietnamese artist. Sound by Bang & Olufsen. Bruno points proudly to the 1980’s speakers he had rewired from 220 to 110 U.S. voltage. What you don’t see is a television. Another grin, “I haven’t had one for 30 years.”

Norman Foster dining table (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Norman Foster dining table

“I like to make people happy,” Bruno said when I asked him what he does.  Eventually I learned Bruno Lassus began his professional life as a medical doctor, then a dentist.  Now, vice president at 3M Cogent Inc. conducting bio-metrics around the globe. Add photographer and kayaker to his vitae.  And it was two years living in a tropical rainforest where he learned the joys of going barefoot. The better to enjoy all that cool marble under foot.

Bang &Olufsen speakers and Corbusier sofas (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Bang &Olufsen speakers and Corbusier sofas

Italian sink with rear drainage (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Italian sink with rear drainage

 


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Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm part one: the farm

July 26, 2011

“Best office I’ve ever worked in” proclaimed Tim MacLean, as we meandered around the Celeste fig trees, past the Deerfield purple garlic, Mexican sour gherkins, rhubarb and artichoke bushes, tasting Killarney raspberries, chocolate mint and lemon basil along the way.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Killarney raspberry bush (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Killarney raspberry bush

Clydes' Willow Creek Farm gardener and farmer extraordinaire since 2008, MacLean graciously gave The Georgetown Dish a private tour. 

Tim MacLean on the restaurant patio (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Tim MacLean on the restaurant patio

We met at the restaurant (subject of part two) and walked the short distance up a hill, across a small bridge and past a pond before reaching the two restored barns.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

the farm (Photo by: Judith Beermann) the farm

MacLean unlocked the gate, and resident bee-keeper, Patrick Staniford would have been proud.

The busy bees gate (Photo by: Judith Beermann) The busy bees gate

In both hives, all workers were, in fact, as busy as ... well, bees, pollinating wildflowers and making honey for the restaurant.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

Vegetables and herbs from the acre and a half “boutique” garden in the middle of a wildlife habitat on the grounds of a former Broadlands, Virginia dairy farm make their way to the dining table every day.

drying elephant garlic in the barn (Photo by: Judith Beermann) drying elephant garlic in the barn

On 21 raised beds, MacLean grows everything from Chires baby corn to Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. Following organic farming methods, he employs "beneficial insects like praying mantises and ladybugs" instead of toxic pesticides.

(Photo by: Judith Beermann)

With his farmhand buddies, a “funkified gnome” called Basil and Scary, the scarecrow, MacLean greets his daily visitors with varying degrees of eagerness. “Mortal  enemy, the groundhog," MacLean explains,  “dine and dash. They wait for huge tomatoes to turn the perfect shade of ripeness, climb over the fence, and then can’t quite manage to carry all their stash to safety. Racoons and deer and rabbits all come by regularly for a sniff and a nibble at the gourmet salad bar.

artichoke bush (Photo by: Judith Beermann) artichoke bush

purple peppers (Photo by: Judith Beermann) purple peppers

The little purple peppers were safe to try, but those “million Scoville Ghost peppers" were definitely not on the tasting tour. To give you an idea, a Habanero chili pepper’s heat range is 350,000 Scovilles. However, a preview of lunch did include sampling the Brandywine tomatoes and Little Finger eggplants.

Santa's sleigh in the barn for the summer (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Santa's sleigh in the barn for the summer

A tour of the restaurant, a unique American inn designed from four restored farmhouse buildings and furnished with museum-quality antiques, is the subject of part two. And oh yes, a farm fresh lunch will be served.

The road to lunch (Photo by: Judith Beermann) The road to lunch

Clyde's Willow Creek Farm is at 42920 Broadlands Boulevard in Broadlands, VA. Tel: 571.209.1200

Scary (Photo by: Judith Beermann) Scary

 

 


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