Aggie's Kitchen

A little mountain R&R…

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I ran away together for a few days to enjoy some alone time with each other…compliments of my sweet parents who gifted us some of their time share points and offered babysitting services. We ended up in Shenandoah Valley, VA for some much needed R&R…

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We arrived into some pretty dreary, cold weather…which was a huge change from what we left in sunny, spring-like Florida. Dreary, cold and rainy turned into snow on our very first night. I’m not going to lie…the snow kinda freaked me out (especially when we called for pizza delivery and they told us they couldn’t drive up on the mountain because people were already getting stuck…what?? Stuck? No food? Are we trapped? A little panic set in…I must have just been hangry.) Thank goodness we had stopped at the little resort grocery store and purchased overpriced eggs and toast and a bottle of wine. That would hold us over till the next morning when we woke up to this…

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…Winter Wonderland.

Wow. Pretty site to wake up to huh?

After a quick snowball fight on our back patio, my husband & I ventured out into the area. We were starving so food was high on the agenda. With the help of Yelp, we found this amazing family owned Mediterranean restaurant in the college town (home of James Madison University) of Harrisonburg, Xenia Kebab Grille.

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(My husband’s Gyro Pita)

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(My take out plate: Dolmades, Baba Ganoush (roasted eggplant dip), salad, Fresh Pita and of course Tzatziki)

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(Falafel Pita)

I have to tell you, I fell in love with this little place. The food was so fresh, and it was like eating at someones home. Our waitress was part of the family that owned the restaurant and she made us feel so welcome…when we told her how much we enjoyed our meal and asked her if they make the pita fresh daily, she told us that her mom makes the pita bread to order and then invited us into the kitchen to watch her make it in the clay oven. How cool is that??  We ate at this place twice, as well as some take out meals that we brought back to our condo.

Harrisonburg turned out to be a pretty great foodie town. There were so many restaurants to choose from that it was hard to pick where we wanted to eat.  When we weren’t eating at Xenia’s (which appropriately translates into the concept of “hospitality and welcome”), we enjoyed meals at two other local favorites, Blue Nile Ethiopian Cuisine and Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint. Both places are as different as it gets but so so good. Blue Nile was my first experience with Ethiopian food and it was really a unique meal. Everything was fresh and spiced really well and served on a large flat pancake for scooping and eating.

Jack Brown’s was your typical college town bar, but upped a level or two of awesomeness.

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The beer list was unbelievable, over 100 beers, with a rotating selection of artisan craft beers on tap. The menu was super simple…burgers and fries and thankfully a grilled cheese option for those that don’t eat meat. I ordered the grilled cheese with sweet potato fries and my husband ordered a simple cheeseburger…

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Um yea…I’ll have a bite of that. That might have been one of, if not, the best burger I’ve ever tasted.

I love college towns!!

Food was a big part of our vacation, as it always is…but we did explore a bit too. We spent one of our days at Luray Caverns and played around in their huge garden maze. The maze was so much fun…and the caverns were definitely a sight to see.

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We ended our trip with a spontaneous hike at the top of our mountain…

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and some time in DC (where we were flying out of)…

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We had our final meal before hitting the airport at Jose Andres’ Jaleo in Penn Station…a fantastic Spanish tapas restaurant recommended to me by a Twitter friend! Our meal was unbelievable…and I’m so inspired to try some of his recipes like the Garlic Shrimp and Piquillo Peppers Stuffed with Goat Cheese.

All in all my husband and I had a wonderful week together…I can’t thank my parents and his parents enough for watching the kiddos for us while we were away. We obviously ate well, enjoyed a change of scenery and definitely came back refreshed.

Have a great weekend!

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18 Responses to “A little mountain R&R…”

  1. Erica posted March 25, 2011 at 10:27 am

    What a fabulous trip! Food is such an important part of vacation. Looks like you guys found some awesome spots! I totally want your dinner from the Greek place. Hope you have a nice weekend

  2. Amy @ A Little Nosh posted March 25, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Mmmm…I love Jaleo! Haven’t been there in years but I remember it well.

  3. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) posted March 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    I love caverns! They’re so cool (literally) and mysterious. That gyro looks amazing!! Drool. 🙂

  4. pb posted March 25, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    Hi,
    I read your blog from time to time and like it..Shenandoah, luray and the surrounding areas are pretty popular in VA and favourite spots to visit in the spring and Fall.
    You should visit the valley sometime to see the fall colors.

    thanks..
    pb

  5. Jennifer posted March 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Last year for our vacation my husband and I drove through Shenendoah National Park and ultimately ended up in the Smokies. The scenic drive through the Shenendoah Valley was amazing. Sounds like it’s just as wonderful in winter! We didn’t even stop in Harrisonburg; reading this, I wish we had!

  6. Lauren Slayton posted March 25, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Your snowy view looks like my view (in Vermont) right now. I too panic when I think I may not be able to get food etc. Did you love Ethiopian food?

  7. Carol posted March 25, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    Looks and sounds wonderful! This is all very close to where Zach will be playing ball this summer. Will definitely keep all the recommendations.

  8. Barbara Bakes posted March 25, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Sounds like a great getaway. I love that they invited you in to the kitchen to watch them make the pitas.

  9. muppy posted March 26, 2011 at 12:08 am

    I love your winter wonderland, looks amazing! And how excellent seeing the pita bread cooked in a clay oven, I would have been so excited 🙂

  10. Molly at Duchess of Fork posted March 26, 2011 at 10:01 am

    What a fun getaway, Aggie! Jason and I ate at Jaleo when we visited DC in December. We loved it. 🙂

  11. fittingbackin posted March 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    What a fun trip – it’s making me miss the snow/cold weather! I want that gyro. Now!

  12. Maris (In Good Taste) posted March 26, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    What a great trip. Your pictures are beautiful.The food all looked scrumptious!

  13. Jamie posted March 26, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    What a great getaway you had. I love the photos. Everything looked great…from the food to the caverns.

  14. Mary posted March 27, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Hi Aggie,

    I have just come across your blog and it is beautiful! What a fantastic trip you had, wonderful scenery and wonderful food. I love your photos, but hopping around your blog I love your food even more!

  15. Donna posted March 29, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    Really cool photos! What a cute couple you are! Hope you had fun!

  16. JulieD posted March 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Ooh, everything looks yummy. Love that that place makes their pitas fresh!

  17. Sandy @ RE posted August 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I love this post. How did I miss it before? 🙂

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