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Welcome Chef Alexander Morris

Chef Alexander Morris brings an international spectrum of culinary perspectives to his new position as Chef of The Inn at Meander Plantation, our historic Virginia country inn and restaurant noted for its elegant accommodations and exceptional cuisine.

With a background in Italian, French and Continental cuisine, gained from family tradition, formal training and years of cooking experience, Morris plans to incorporate these elements into menus and dishes that reflect the fine dining tradition of the Inn.

“This is a chef’s dream job – a chance to use the freshest local ingredients, to create menus without any limits, to develop my own signature style. I can just look out the window (of the kitchen) and get inspired,” says the 29-year-old chef enthusiastically. “Just look at those views! This place is amazing.”

Chef Morris, who recently relocated to Orange, VA, along with wife Christina and one-year-old son Cole, joined the Meander staff in early April. As Chef he will be responsible for all aspects of food service at the Inn, with special emphasis on planning, preparation and presentation of the five-course prix fixe dinner served five nights a week and instruction at the Inn’s monthly Cooking School.

His love for food and the art of its preparation began as a youngster growing up in West Chester, PA, first helping his Italian grandmother in the kitchen and then working in his father’s Italian restaurant and uncle’s delicatessen. After formal studies at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College in Philadelphia, he began working in restaurants in the Philly and Chester County, PA, area.

But it was in 2002 under the guidance of Chef David Walti at The Gables in Chadds Ford, PA, that his passion for creating fine food and a memorable dining experience took shape. “He taught me so much about foods and different styles of preparation. He inspired and encouraged me to grow as a chef. He really ignited my imagination.”

On the operational side, Morris’ mentor is Anthony De Stefano, executive chef at Riverstone Café in Exton, PA. “Running a large operation where two restaurants operated from a single kitchen to turn out up to 1000 covers per night, I learned the value of organization, proper staff training and precise teamwork. These skills are perhaps even more important in a small kitchen like we have, where everyone has to work together at top capacity to produce plates of incredible quality and consistency.”

The Inn at Meander Plantation (http://www.meander.net) is located at 2333 N. James Madison Highway, Locust Dale, Va 22948 (on Hwy. 15 between Orange and Culpeper). Reservations for lodging in the Inn’s 10 elegantly appointed guests rooms or for dining can be made by calling 800-385-4936 (local 540-672-4912) or e-mail to inn@meander.net.

The Inn at Meander Plantation Dinner Menu for March 19-24, 2009

The Inn at Meander Plantation
David Scales, Executive Chef

Sixty-Five Dollars per Person
Not inclusive of tax gratuity and alcoholic beverages

Cocktails Hour with complimentary hor d’oeuvres starts at 6:00pm. Dinner is served at 7:00pm. Please call 540-672-4912 to make reservation.

First Course:
Parsnip Bisque with Caramelized Apples,
Brie and Pomegranate Gastrique
Or
Organic Spring Mix with Meander Chives,
Retreat Farm Hard Boiled Egg, Shallot, Peas,
Duck Cracklins and Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Second Course:

Garlic and Brown Crusted Colossal Scallop
with Curried Cream Retreat Farm Spinach
Or
Retreat Farm Lamb Porterhouse Chop with Potato Puree,
Watercress Emulsion and Lamb Demiglace

Intermezzo:
Retreat Farm Raspberry Sorbet

Entree Course (Select One Per Person):
Filet of Black Angus Ribeye, Mushroom Risotto,
Shaved Asparagus and Red Wine Demiglace

Roulade of Duck Breast Wrapped in Chard
with Butternut Squash Hash, Micro Basil and Port Wine Reduction

Seared Pacific Blue Marlin with Micro Bok Choy,
Pommes Maxim and Grapefruit Vanilla Tapioca Sauce

Dessert:

Crème Caramel with Mango
Or
Lemon Semifreddo with Retreat Farm Blackberry Sauce
and Lemon Zest Anglaise

Valentines Dinner Menu

Saturday, February 14, 2009
David Scales, Executive Chef

Sixty-Five Dollars per Person.
Cocktail Hour 6:00pm and Dinner is served at 7:00pm.
Reservations Required.

First Course:
Baby Arugula Salad with Beets, Goat Cheese, Candied Cashews, Fresh Herbs and Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette
Or
Parsnip, Apple and Brie Velouté with Pomegranate Reduction

Second Course:
Black Truffle and Ricotta Ravioli with Rosemary and Sage Cream Sauce, Parsley Oil, Fried Capers and Organic Sweet Pea Shoots
Or
Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with Avocado Puree, Retreat Farm Microgreens and Soy, Sesame and Ginger Sauce

Intermezzo:
Blood Orange Sorbet

Entree Course (Select One Per Person):
Chateaubriand Stuffed with Jumbo Lump Crab, Grilled Assorted Asparagus, Potato Puree and Tarragon Demiglace

Olive Oil Poached Colorado Rack of Lamb with Glazed winter Vegetables, Parmesan Polenta and Pinot Noir Lamb Demiglace

Potato Crusted Red Snapper with Red Quinoa Risotto, Roasted Baby Spinach and Tequila Sunrise Beurre Blanc

Dessert:
Meander’s Signature La Bete Noir
(Dense Dark Chocolate Tart with Ganache)
Or
Tiny Valentine Cakes
(Petite Sour Cream Cakes Filled with Raspberry and Apricot)

Movies on Mt. Pony: LIbrary of Congress Audio-Visual Conservation Center

Movies on Mount Pony: Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation is just 15 minutes away for the Inn at Meander Plantation.

Set on a beautiful 45 acre campus with stunning architectural design and landscaping, the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center is a state-of-the-art facility where the Library of Congress acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts, and sound recordings. The Campus has globally unprecedented capabilities and capacities for the preservation reformatting of all audiovisual media formats (including obsolete formats dating back at least 100 years) and their long-term safekeeping. In addition to preserving the collections of the Library, the Packard Campus was also designed to provide similar preservation services for other archives and libraries in both the public and private sector. The physical description of the Campus is impressive enough—415,000 square feet, more than 90 miles of shelving for collections storage, 35 climate controlled vaults for sound recording, safety film, and videotape, 124 individual vaults for more flammable nitrate film—but it is also a “factory” for acquisitions, preservation, access, and partnerships.

Although the facility is not open to the general public for tours, visitors can enjoy movies on Mount Pony when the Packard Campus hosts a regular series of film and television programming in its 206 seat theater. There are usually three shows a week: Tuesdays at 7:00 pm, Fridays at 7:30 pm, and a Saturday matinee at 2:00 pm. The state-of-the-art projection booth is capable of showing everything from nitrate film to modern digital cinema. Mt. Pony audiences are treated to a dazzling array of cinematic delights in a gorgeous Art Deco-style theater with superlative sound, state-of-the-art film projection, and comfortable seating.

All programs at the Campus are free and open to the public, but children twelve and under must be accompanied by an adult. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound DivisionNational Audio-Visual Conservation CenterLibrary of CongressPackard Campus19053 Mount Pony RoadCulpeper, VA 22701-7551Call (540) 827-1079 x79994 (or) (202) 707-9994 no earlier than one week prior to the screening you plan to attend.
Click for Theater Schedule

Meander Menu for January 22 – January 27, 2009

David Scles, Executive Chef

Please call 1-540-672-4912 to make reservations at our 7:00pm seating.
Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served begining at 6:00pm.

First Course:
Parsnip Soup with Purple Carrot Juice Reduction and Caramelized Pears
Or
Arugula Salad with Apple, Candied Pecans, Goat Cheese, Fresh Herbs and Black Berry Fumét

Second Course:
Retreat Farm Shoulder of Lamb Ravioli with Sweet Pea Shoots, Rosemary Cream Sauce, Parmesan Reggiano,
Parsley Oil and Fried Capers
Or
Seared Colossal Scallop with potato Puree, Roasted Spinach and Sauvignon Blanc Pan Sauce

Intermezzo:
Greyhound Sorbet

Entree Course (Select One Per Person):
Black Angus Steak au Poivre with Black Truffle Potato Croquette, Charred Greens and Green Peppercorn Sauce

Grilled Halibut Cheeks with sweet Potato Puree, Haricot Vert
and Wild Mushroom and Salsify Soubise

White Marble Farms Pork Loin Stuffed with Sage Sausage, Glazed Winter Vegetables, Crispy Garlic Potato
and Apple Cider Reduction

Dessert:
Duo of Chocolate:
Chocolate Torte with White Chocolate Ice Cream
Or
Grand Marnier Soufflé and Vanilla Bean Anglaise

Sixty-Five Dollars per Person
(tax, gratuity and alcoholic beverages not included)

New Years Eve Dinner Menu

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Executive Chef, David Scales

125.00 per person (not inclusive of tax grauity and alcoholic beverages).
Please call, 1-800-385-4936, to make your 8:00 dinner reservations.


Amuse-Bouche:
Oysters and Caviar

First Course:
Parsnip Soup with a Swirl of Apple,
Pear and Brie Velouté and a Hint of Pomegranate

Second Course:
Fried Striped Bass, Carrot Puree,
Microgreens and Tabasco-Herb Remoulade

Third Course:
Diver Scallops with Foie Gras,
Potato Puree, Ten-Year Balsamic Reduction
and Pistachio-Cayenne Brittle

Fourth Course:
Cumin-Vanilla Crusted Quail,
Spaghetti Squash and Black Truffle Sauce

Fifth Course:
Black Angus Filet Mignon with “True Blood” Demi-Glace and Fried Salsify

Dessert Course:
Amaretto Souffle
or
Chocolate Decadence

Christmas Eve Dinner Menu

Wednesday, December 24, 2008
David Scales, Executive Chef

To Reserve 6:30 Seating Call 1-800-385-4936

First Course:
Oyster and Salsify Bisque

Second Course:
Seared Scallop with Parsnip Puree,
Red Wine Beurre Blanc and Salted Sesame Brittle

Third Course:
Triple Bird:
Roasted Goose and Blackberry Sauce
Seared Foie Gras with Balsamic and Pistachio
Squab with Sweet Pea Shoots and Bird Reduction

Intermezzo:
Hot Butter Rum Cider

Entrée:
Smoked Short Ribs with Potato Puree,
Roasted Spinach and Red Velvet Demiglace

Dessert Course:
Thirty-Six Layer Gateau with Peppermint Chocolate Curls

Seventy-Five Dollars per Person
(Not inclusive of alcohol, taxes and gratuity)

One Hundred and Ten Dollars per Person with Suggested Wine Pairings
(Not inclusive of taxes and gratuity)

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 2008

The Inn at Meander Plantation
Thanksgiving Dinner

Thursday, November 27, 2008


First Course:
Select One Per Person
Butternut Squash Soup with Wild Mushroom Flan
Or
Arugula Salad with Shallot, Cranberry, Goat Cheese,
Candied Pecans, Bacon Lardons and Apple Cider Fumet
Wine Suggestion: Prince Michel Vineyards Barrel Select Chardonnay 2005
$8 glass/$22 bottle

Main Course(Select One Per Person):
Smoked Turkey with Oyster Stuffing, Potato Puree and Giblet Gravy
Wine Suggestion: Rockbridge Vineyards De Chiel Reserve Pinot Noir 2005
$8 glass/$21 bottle
Or
Sweet Potato Scales Crusted Striped Bass with Cauliflower-Caper Puree,
Roasted Spinach and Béarnaise Sauce
Wine Suggestion: Pearmund Cellars Ameritage Reserve 2005
$8 glass/$36 bottle

Or
Olive Poached Prime Rib with Crispy Garlic Potatoes
Collards and Cabernet France Demiglace
Wine Suggestion: Rockbridge Vineyards De Chiel Reserve Pinot Noir 2004
$8 glass/$24 bottle

Served At Every Table:
Cranberry-Orange Relish, Five Cheese Macaroni and Cheese,
Succotash, Haricot Vert and Onion Gratin

Dessert Course (Select One per Person):
Fall Spiced Ginger Bread with Cinnamon Ice Cream
Or
Thirty-Two Layer Chocolate Gateau
Or
Pumpkin Pie
Wine Suggestion: Gray Ghost Vineyards Adieu 2006

$8 glass/$32 bottle
Seventy-Five Dollars per Person
(Not inclusive of tax, gratutiy and alcoholic beverages)

Virginia Wine Academy: A Guest’s Personal Experience

This was the single most perfect way I could have possibly spent these few days. If you are at all interested in wine, you won’t want to miss the Virginia Wine Academy at Meander Plantation. The most impressive part of this package is the number of experts involved, all willing to share their knowledge and their passion for wine in general and Virginia wines in particular. Meander’s restaurant (which took an award from the wine industry last year) serves VA wines exclusively.

When I arrived Sunday evening, there was a champagne reception for all the folks attending the ‘academy’. Traveling alone, it’s always a concern about meeting and mingling, but the small class quickly became a group of friends with a common interest: wine! We tasted a couple of wines, had our introductions and some time to visit, and then all went off in their separate directions for dinner.

Next morning, we met in the ‘library’ dining room for a private breakfast just for class attendees. There were others staying at the inn who were not part of the wine school package. We were served just-from-the-oven muffins with berries, a plate of fresh fruit, and were given a choice of sweet or savory breakfast. Since my preference is for protein in the morning, it was a relief to not be faced with french toast and pancakes, without other options to start my day. Breakfast was perfectly delicious, generously portioned, with all local foods. Nicely done.

We immediately got down to business with an introduction to wine -starting world wide and bringing it all the way to Virginia in short order. The overseer of the academy is Warren Dunn, an extremely knowledgeable and entertaining guide, who is obviously enthusiastic about his topic. Notebooks are provided with all sorts of information, from wine descriptors to why certain glasses are used all the way to bottle shapes, corks, labels, and openers. We tasted and learned about five separate wines in the first session alone! You learn pretty fast that you really need to pour out your glass, instead of drinking everything that goes in it. It’s about tasting, not drinking (at least until lunch!) and there were some serious lessons that went with every taste.

Next, we were visited by a winemaker (who brought wines to taste, of course) who gave a seminar about the terms used to describe wine, and then he paired wines with each course of our lunch. The food pairings were really interesting, and apparently we could have taken an entire course on that alone.

After lunch, yet another vintner visited to spend the afternoon explaining the process of planting and tending the vines throughout the growing season. After that, it was off to the inn kitchen for a quick demonstration about cooking with wine, given by the chef. We saw a couple of reduction sauces and got a taste of things to come…

One of the couples attending class were partners in a winery and brought along a few bottles for us to try during the break before dinner. Hard to believe nobody was tipsy, but we had all been careful during the tastings and sat out on the wonderful verandah and watched the sun set over the mountains in the distance that clear, cool afternoon. Heavenly.

Dinner was five courses all paired with wines by – you guessed it – another winemaker. Actually, this one was a large operation and the owners and wine maker and hospitality manager were all there from the winery. Each wine was introduced as the course was being served, and the winemaker described the wine – how it was made, the decisions made along the way to achieve the wine, and told us what to look for in flavor, color, taste. It was fascinating! And the dinner? Oh my goodness! Sea bass, quail, steak, and chocolate cake. (Ok, there are far more perfect descriptors for each, but you get the drift.) Course after course of exquisite morsels perfectly matched with excellent wine. How’s that.

I fell into bed. Next morning, more breakfast?! No. I made arrangements for coffee only, and while I’m happy with that decision, the rest of the class had their muffins and fresh fruit and everybody ordered the egg dish, which was a creamy baked concoction filled with herbs and looked delicious. They were full of praise. I had my coffee and was quite content. Off to the wineries! First we picked grapes at Meander and crushed them and tested for sugars. Then off to a wonderful tiny one-man operation. Then a tour of one of the largest wineries in Virginia and lunch with the vintner. Information, information, information!

Dinner (dress) was the culmination with crabcakes, duck pate, tenderloin and then ginger cheesecake with red wine poached pears. And wines! All introduced by the delightful couple who own the winery who shared their stories as well as teaching us about their wines.

In the morning, one more delicious breakfast (I wasn’t about to pass that up again) with eggs baked with gruyere and cream, and sausage, and the prettiest fruit plate you ever saw. We all traded addresses and promised to stay in touch and then agreed to meet up at one last winery on our way out of town for a tour of the operation.

LOTS of information, LOTS of new things learned, LOTS of incredible food, LOTS of wines -some I liked, some I didn’t, all were interesting- and lots of new friends, too.

I can’t say enough good things about this class. But before I finish: Meander Plantation is steeped in history, remarkably beautiful, well-staffed, and well cared for. Service was impeccable at every turn. Amenities in the room (and tripled sheeted beds, which I love) were top notch. The inn was spotless, and the innkeepers gracious and warm.

What a delightful experience.

Sandee

Wine Pairings Dinner with Linden Vineyard

The Inn at Meander Plantation
Wine Pairings Dinner August 19, 2008
A Celebration of New Southern Cooking School

Featuring the Wines of Linden Vineyards
and the Cuisine of Executive Chef David Scales

Amuse Bouche

First Course

Fried Green Tomato Napoleon with Basil and Roasted Sunflower Seed Pesto
Linden Vineyards 2007 Seyval

Second Course

Pan Seared and Roasted Red Snapper with Succotash and
Chioggi Beet Relish
Linden Vineyards 2007 Avenius Sauvignon Blanc

Third Course

Jumbo Lump Blue Crab and Grits with Shrimp Fritter and
Rosemary Lobster Cream Sauce
Linden Vineyards 2005 Hardscrabble Chardonnay

Fourth Course

Maryland Chicken Fried Quail with Wilted Greens and
Buttermilk Ranch Panna Cotta
Linden Vineyards 2004 Claret

Fifth Course

Roasted Wild Boar, Carolina Gold Rice, Grilled Squashes and
Blackberry Cayenne Sauce
Linden Vineyards 2005 Hardscrabble Red

Dessert

Georgia Pecan and Cane Syrup Pie with Whiskey Ice Cream
Linden Vineyards 2005 Late Harvest Vidal