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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dave Matthews, July 4th at Monticello, Charlottesville, VA

Dave Matthews is the featured speaker at the July 4th naturalization ceremony at Monticello this year.  This will be the 51st annual Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony held on the West Lawn.  The event at Monticello is the oldest continuous naturalization ceremony that is not held in courtrooms in the USA.  Thomas Jefferson felt that we should celebrate the 4th of July to "refresh our collections of [our] rights, and undiminished devotion to them".

Music will be provided by the Colonial Williamsburg Fifes and Drums and the Charlottesville Municipal Band. 

Dave Matthews (yes that Dave Matthews - lead vocalist and guitarist of Dave Matthews Band) became a naturalized US citizen in 1980.

If you haven't gotten your tickets yet I hate to let you know that they are all sold out.  But you do not have to miss the ceremony and the speech.  It will be streamed live at 9:00am - just follow the directions on www.monticello.org.


Dan & Kathryn Bundy, Innkeepers
Foxfield Inn, a Charlottesville VA Bed and Breakfast

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Strawberry-Lemonade Muffins from Foxfield Inn, Charlottesville VA

Strawberries have arrived in full force here in Virginia, so we wanted to share one of our Foxfield Inn recipes that will be a perfect addition your early summer breakfasts: Strawberry-Lemonade Muffins.  The guests at our bed and breakfast in Charlottesville love them!

Strawberry-Lemonade Muffins

Yield: 30 mini-muffins or 12 regular size

Ingredients:

  • 12.5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
  • 1 cup strawberries, finely diced





Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 380F. Generously coat muffin tins with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.  Stir well.  Set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine sugar, vegetable oil, egg, yogurt, and lemon extract.  Stir well.
    *Tip: Batter can be made the day before, to this point. Simply refrigerate your wet ingredient mixture and keep your dry ingredients covered on the counter. Proceed in the morning when you are ready to bake.
  • Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients and mix.  Stir only until just combined – do not over mix.  Gently fold in strawberries.


  • Fill muffin tins until they are three-fourths full.  Bake for 10 minutes (6 minutes for mini-muffins).  Then rotate pan and bake for an additional 5 minutes (4 minutes).  Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.  Remove from pan and let sit on a clean kitchen towel.

Optional: Fill each muffin with a bit of lemon curd for an extra decadent touch. We do this by spooning lemon curd into a ziploc bag fitted with a small piping tip. Then we simply force the tip into the center of the top of the muffin and squeeze a dollop inside.



Be sure to bookmark some of our favorite strawberry patches if you would like to pick your own berries when you visit us in Charlottesville. Critzer Family Farm is just a short drive into Crozet, and Liberty Mills Farm in Orange will both send you home with the freshest, ripest strawberries.

Won't these muffins make a fabulous treat for your loved ones' breakfasts? Leave a comment below and tell us how you liked it, or let us make some for you to enjoy when you book your next stay at Foxfield Inn.

Print Recipe |

Dan and Kathryn Bundy, Innkeepers
Foxfield Inn, A Charlottesville Bed and Breakfast
2280 Garth Road | Charlottesville, VA

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Restaurant Review: Bella's


A popular topic of conversation at a Foxfield Inn breakfast centers on dinner, as guests share where they ate the night before and where they hope to dine in the upcoming evening. Increasingly, Bella's, an Italian spot on Main Street, has received rave reviews, so we decided to check it out for ourselves, snapping a few photos along the way.

Even though it prides itself on authentic Italian fare, here's what you won't find at Bella's: red-and-white checked vinyl tablecloths, drums of tomato sauce and bottles of olive oil gathering dust in front of Old World-themed wallpaper, and bottomless punch bowls of salad dominated by iceberg lettuce.

Rather, the ambiance is warm, cozy, and tasteful--even the bar is tidy and inviting--creating a perfect setting for sharing a meal with your loved ones.

 

And indeed, sharing is the name of the game at Bella's. Along with the knife and fork awaiting me at my place was my own oval-shaped white plate, the perfect size for transferring individual portions from our table's communal serving dishes as each course emerged from the kitchen. This, a refreshing change of pace from the meticulously composed dishes in many contemporary restaurants these days--you know, the ones where you're nervous to cut the first morsel of your entree for fear of disturbing the "art" on your plate or worse, risking looking like a dilettante as you wonder whether that garnish is edible. 

At Bella's, the focus is on enjoying the company of the ones you are with amid a truly satisfying, shared meal. Their revival of the family-style meal is further reflected in the menu portions: each appetizer, salad, pasta dish, and entree is available in a half portion that feeds 2, or a full portion that feeds 3-4. The friendly and helpful waitstaff will happily guide you through the menu, suggesting dishes to share whether your party (or your appetite) is large or small.

The small portion of bruschetta came with 6 hefty slices of Italian bread smothered in cheese, Italian herbs, fresh tomatoes and basil with a balsamic glaze.


Spaghetti alla carbonara is the comfort food of the Italian kitchen, and it's how I personally evaluate an Italian restaurant. This one didn't disappoint. Crispy, salty pancetta added a delicate crunch to the silky, parmesan-laced noodles. My husband and I could have finished a half portion between the two of us, but we purposely left some to take home for lunch the next day. 



Our waiter highly recommended a slice of the homemade tiramisu for dessert, but I've always been a cannoli kind of gal, so that's how I ended the meal, saving one for my breakfast the following morning. 



Bella's is the type of place that if I had any relatives of Italian descent, I could imagine an aunt or a grandmother sitting next to me, twirling pasta around a fork and enthusiastically offering it to me to taste again and again, watching my facial expression for signs of sincere enjoyment. She'd tell me I was too thin and needed to eat! eat! because this, this is-a how-a the parmigiana is supposed to be, almost as good as her own-- and it is delizioso, non?

Well, even if I don't have any Italian blood in my genes, family is certainly an important foundation at Bella's. The grandparents of the restaurant's namesake were flown in from Rome to train the chefs, using their own family recipes. While you're waiting for your meal, take in the charming family photographs on the wall. If you're really lucky, you may be greeted by Bella herself at the front door. But if she's not there, take a look at the photo hanging over the hostess station by the front entrance--that's Bella as a young girl. Be sure to take a moment to thank her for sharing her family's love of food with you.

Whether you're a foodie seeking comforting, authentic Italian food, or simply want to reconnect with your loved one in a relaxing setting, it's easy to see why Bella's is so popular with our guests. I, too, look forward to dining there again.

Tell us and other guests what you most enjoyed about Bella's in the comments below! If you'll be visiting soon, tell us what you are looking forward to or what questions you have for the Bella's staff, and let us know how we at the Foxfield Inn can help you make the most of your stay. Buon appetito!

Dan and Kathryn Bundy, Innkeepers 
Foxfield Inn
2280 Garth Road | Charlottesville, Virginia