The Inner Sanctum of Food Excellence: Little Washington

The Inn at Little Washington was rated #1 (food, service and decor) by Zagat in 2011 -- even though it's located so deep in the countryside (Washington, Va., 67 miles from D.C.) that there isn't much cell service.

How can this be? We think it's a just a matter of choice. All good things come for those who... don't have cell service (and those who want to get away from it all).

The spot's come along way from its humble beginnings as a converted garage in the '70s. It's now an international culinary sanctuary, and much more than just a world class restaurant. It's a village. There are 18 guest rooms, gift shops, a cutting garden, the Claiborne House, walking trails and a special event ballroom on the property. 
So, regarding those 18 bedrooms: Everyone needs a place to rest their head after a long day of... eating yummy exquisite food.
All the bedrooms are luxurious and elegant (of course) and some suites even have two stories with balconies.
Looking for free stuff? Valet parking, shoe shines, laptops and WiFi are just some of the complimentary services offered during your stay. Rooms can range from $425/night all the way to $995/night (for a two-level suite with your own courtyard garden).
Oh, and about the no cell service thing we mentioned earlier: They have phones and voicemail in all the rooms, and can transfer any incoming calls to you or to the front desk. Kickin' it old-school with the landlines!
The inn considers it their business to make dreams come true and to live up to every impossible expectation, and the restaurant seems live up to those words. They offer non-professionals the chance to actually cook with Chef Patrick O'Connell with what they call the Stagiaire Program.
The program is offered in a two- or three-day format, and shows you how a professional kitchen is organized, teaches basic techniques, and lets you see your own finished dishes delivered to tables during dinner service. 
As for the food, they use products from local farmers and artisans, and whether you're on your first course or fourth, they try to keep you on your toes. Think fricassee of Maine lobster with potato gnocchi, black truffle-dusted popcorn, or a shot of liquid autumn.
If you want to sit ringside, reserve a Chef's Table (the inner sanctum) to catch all the cooking awesomeness happening around you. 
With all great food, there must be great wine. The wine cellar at the Inn houses 2,400+ wine selections, including special bottles of 1900 Chateau d'Yquem and 1966 Vega-Sicilia Unico plus many more. 
For reservations, call 540-675-3800.
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