My Must-See Restaurant in Washington DC

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Hi, remember me?! ;)

I feel like I haven’t gabbed at ya’ in days!

We’ve been keeping busy here in Washington DC, which is my ideal kind of vacation. Get up, sight see all day, then come home exhausted and have a cocktail. Something Ben’s family does well. I appreciate that. ;)

A lot of people have mentioned that they thought DC was just about memorials and museums which, don’t get me wrong, you could totally spend a week out here just touring memorials and museums, but there is so much more to do in and around DC.

Over the past several days we’ve hit up mind-blowing outlet malls, driven through the obscenely picturesque countryside (where we saw estates. Palatial estates – never seen anything like ‘em!) visited historic towns that had roles in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, hit up some great restaurants, and, yes, visited a museum or two – including the National Archives where I came this close to the Declaration of Independence – whee!

We haven’t had time yet this trip, but I also have to mention that there is an incredible parks & recreation system around here for hiking, rafting, and general merry making in the great outdoors.

I mean, it’s true, DC has a ton – a ton – of traffic, and there seems to be about a zillion people squished into a 30 mile radius, but I think this city and surrounding areas are really, really special. Great vibe, great energy, and I always feel like I’m in another time or place when I’m walking around.

The weather this week is making our time out here extra special. Besides the first day, when it poured all day, it’s been outrageously mild and warm. Yesterday I was out in a light fleece and the temps topped out in the upper 50s. On December 30th!!! My brain almost couldn’t comprehend!

I love it out here. :)

I also loved, nay ADORED, the restaurant we went to for dinner a couple nights ago – Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm.

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Clyde’s is a restaurant group in DC with several locations in and around the city. Last trip we visited one of their locations, Old Ebbit Grill, which is steps away from the White House and all the action on Capital Hill.

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Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm restaurant, in Northern Virginia, is really special though.

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“The history of the design of Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm goes back to the early 1980s, when Clyde’s Restaurant Group purchased a series of antique heavy timber structures that had been destined for the wrecking ball. They included the Chandler Barn (c.1885), the Samuel French Tavern (c.1804), the Roxbury House (c.1810), and the Richmond House (c. 1780). These structures were disassembled,¬†moved, connected, and restored with various reproduced ells, to create a truly unique restaurant.”

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Basically the restaurant is a combination of four, massive 18th and 19th century wooden structures that have been combined to create the ultimate country club-esque restaurant, with countless dining rooms, and 4 bars to boot.

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Each dining room is different, and the one we were seated in had an equestrian theme.

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An enormous, wooden-beamed ceiling gave the room an upscale log-cabin vibe, and the warm-toned chandeliers completed the mood.

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We were seated and ordered a cocktail to sip. I got me an Old Fashioned because, well, I was feeling very old fashioned. I swear I could have been sitting in the middle of an 1850s east coast dinner party.

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I’ll cheers to that!

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While the restaurant felt like the most luxurious country club I have ever been to, I was totally tickled to see a reasonably priced menu.

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Everything sounded incredible – Bourbon-Glazed House-Cured Bacon Wrapped Shrimp over Cheddar Grits, anyone? – but as I was in need of some vegetables, I got a juicy Steak Salad.

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Rare, and with crispy onion rings on top.

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I’m pretty sure our waiter thought I was crazy. An old fashioned, and rare steak salad? Ah.

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After dinner – which was dy-no-mite – we headed off on a self-guided tour of the restaurant. Yes, it is so big that it deserves a tour!

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First up was the Chandler Barn Dining Room.

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Huge – HUGE – and anchored by a large stone fireplace on one end, with tiered chandeliers reaching almost to the tip-top of the soaring ceiling.

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A visit to the Carriage Dining Room and Bar was next.

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Aptly named for the carriages hanging from the ceiling!

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We grabbed ourselves a seat at the bar and toasted to an incredible meal and family with a luscious nightcap.

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Clyde’s at Willow Creek Farm is a must-see sight for anyone in the DC area!

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I’ve got more to show ya’, but the family is calling my name to make NYE plans.

PS CAN YOU BELIEVE TONIGHT IS NEW YEAR’S EVE?!

Wherever you go, and whatever you do, have fun and be safe. In that order. ;)

Happy new year!

~~~~~

Gotta ask it – what’s your new year’s resolution?

Mine is to be a better listener. I feel like I always have 50 different thoughts running through my mind at any given moment, so focusing on the individual I’m speaking to, and really giving them my undivided attention, is something I’d like to get better at this year.

Plus a billion other standard items – eat better, workout more, blah, blah, blah. ;)

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Comments

  1. Cristy 12.31.2011

    That place looks AWESOME!!!! So glad to see you’re having a great time in DC. Come visit Del Ray! They have a cool new BBQ joint called Pork Barrel that has been hugely popular (soft opening day began at 5. They were out of ALL FOOD by 9!). And you must see the Dairy Godmother. Oh, and Cheesetique. Oh, and shop at Kiskadee. Oh, and coffee at St. Elmo’s. Oh, and…. ;)

  2. Ji 12.31.2011

    Lovely! I think you’d love Old Town Alexandria too. Happy new year!

  3. Diane 12.31.2011

    That looks like the neatest place! I’ll definitely have to check it out the next time I’m in DC. Happy New Years Kristin!

  4. Glad you’re having a good time in DC, love weekending there since it’s so close, so much to do! Also, I wasn’t planning on making any new years resolutions this year (I never get into them for some reason) but I really really like your idea of resolving to be a better listener. I think that I just might have a resolution this year for once! :)

  5. Fran 12.31.2011

    All I can say is “WOW” what a place, thanks for posting. I love seeing the history, architectural, and decor of places from all over. Looks like you are having an awesome time. Have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve!!!

  6. I agree, del ray and old town are the places to be! We’re celebrating NYE in old town actually :) can’t wait!

    My new years resolution is to save more money and to enjoy each day!

  7. How fun! It looks like you are having a wonderful time!

  8. Brittny 12.31.2011

    That’s one of my favorite restaurants! The school I teach for has their annual end of the year lunch here! There food is delicious, local, and fresh!

    I’ll be celebrating NYE with my bf and his family :)

    My new years resolution is to not use my credit cards!

  9. The DC area is great! I would love to live there. My husband applied for a teaching job there a few years ago and we were so disappointed that he didn’t get it. I’ve only been there once when we visited a couple friends down there, one in Alexandria, VA and one in Annapolis, MD, and we had such a blast. Plus I love that all the museums are free!

  10. Caroline 12.31.2011

    This is so cool! I actually live right across the street from Clydes Willowcreek and I LOVE it. I just had the Grilled Chicken Pasta there last week. The farmer that grows the vegetables they cook with is such a nice guy too! Did you happen to get dessert? It’s fantastic! Great choice.

  11. Connie Conlon 12.31.2011

    Love seeing a picture of my girl Carla…sure miss her !! I also visited that same place and it is really cool. Happy New Year to you and yours. Weather back here in Iowa is gorgeous….in the 50’s but changing tomorrow.

  12. dawn 12.31.2011

    OMGosh, I am so jealous of your visit to that place. It looks like something right up my alley! Thanks for sharing.

    Today we got up and worked out and it was in the 70s so we went for a bike ride and now just taking it easy.

    Tonight, bbq steaks, ceaser salad and some champaigne at home!~ Nice and safe as well as fun!

    Happy New Year IGE and Family!

  13. That’s so funny, I grew up about 10 minutes from Clyde’s! (and we’re staying there right now!) I’ve only been once or twice, but it is pretty awesome! I love getting the tour and hearing the history behind the building. Glad you’re having a great time! Happy New Year!

  14. Jeri 12.31.2011

    It’s 50’s here in Des Moines, too!

  15. Jane 12.31.2011

    Awesome pics, looks like you are having a great time. I have to brag a bit, it was 64 degrees here today, in Kansas!!! love it! :) have a Happy New Year!

  16. Brian 12.31.2011

    head over to Bethesda and go eat at Mon Ami Gabi – there is also one in Chicago – fantastic French Bistro

  17. Anna 12.31.2011

    This makes me miss the East coast! I’m from PA and everything near us everything is either historic or family owned. I wish Iowa had more restaurants like this, I feel like there’s so many chain’s out here.

  18. Allison 01.01.2012

    Hope you had a fun evening celebrating the new year! Wishing you the best in 2012 :D

    P.S. It’s awesome reading your posts about my hometown- NoVA raised and moved back after college, love it! We’re considering that Clyde’s location for our wedding rehearsal dinner!

  19. Rachel 01.01.2012

    How fun! I haven’t been to DC since I was 12, and would love to go back sometime.

    My resolutions for this year are to pay down some debt, work out more, eat better, and (finally) begin trying for baby #2 (in that order!)!

  20. I love DC as well, my Dad and Step-Mom live in Alexandria and it’s such a pretty area with so much to do. Being a good listener is a great resolution, I think I will add that to my list. Mine is to be more patient!

  21. Melissa 01.02.2012

    What a wonderful looking place! Happy new year.

  22. Julia 01.04.2012

    Wow! That place looks great! We’ll have to check it out sometime. The DC area must be sad you’re gone–we’re currently having our coldest weather since last winter!

  23. Amy 01.05.2012

    I live close to there and you’re right – it’s a special place. Glad you had fun! Happy New Year! :)

  24. Amy 01.05.2012

    My husband took me to Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm on one of our first dates for Sunday Brunch. 2.5 years later, we’re happily married and we go back as often as we can. And, of course, I always get the steak salad!

  25. Vicky 02.23.2012

    Next time you’re in DC if you like Thai food I highly recommend checking out Thai X-ing (http://www.yelp.com/biz/thai-x-ing-washington) – it’s amazing – and definitely a very strange dining experience – it’s basically a restaurant in a guy’s home and he has turned his kitchen into a commercial kitchen but the food is amazing. He cooks everything from scratch and there’s a set menu each night which includes around 5-7 different types of dishes.

  26. I’m so thrilled you discovered Clyde’s at Willow Creek Farm. I tell everyone about it. I’m having my rehearsal dinner there in April, actually :) so glad you enjoyed yourself!

  27. Angie 04.17.2013

    I have just found you by happy coincidence, from Dessert for Two, to Better Homes & Gardens and now to your blog and BOY! am I glad that I did! and Julie from Table for Two is a follower of yours too, and I follow her (what a small world…..) I am loving some of your entries, so I clicked around to your 2012 favorites to get a “fla’va” for your site and found this entry! The Willows is right down the street from my house! I was totally meant to find your site, love it, and I am now a subscriber!

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