My shoulders relaxed and my breathing became a bit deeper as we traversed the limits of the beltway and headed west on I-66 towards Loudon County. As strip malls gave way to suburban sprawl, we crossed Rt. 15 and the country opening itself up to us. Pastoral roads punctuated by horse farms and antique shops funneled us directly into Middleburg, VA. A town where land originally sold for $2.50 an acre has become known as the "Horse and Hunt Capital" and is home to long time locals as well as well heeled Washingtonians and celebrities such as Robert Duvall and well, Wendy Pepper.
A day trip to Middleburg is an approximate one hour, 45 mile drive west of the Washington D.C. Parking is plentiful in lots and street meters. Among the shops, inns and restaurants is a unique market and eatery called Market Salamander. Resembling a rustic barn on one side, and with a gourmet market and open kitchen on the other side, Market Salamander offers a wide variety of items to fill your pantry and your stomach. Among them are cheeses, wines, olive oils,vinegars, butters and caviar. Amiable chefs work the open kitchen where a chalk board displays the sandwich and entree selection and the sides are displayed in a display case. Opposite is a refrigerated case with tasty looking confections and trifles.
I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and Frank ordered the crispy chicken BLT. The pulled pork came served on a warmed kaiser roll and was topped with coleslaw. The pork was tender and juicy with a thin bbq sauce that was tomato based with slight tang which lent a North Carolina bbq sauce note to it. The slaw was crisp and creamy, while not being overdressed and was flecked with slivered roasted red bell pepper. I chose the red potato salad side which was redolent of fresh tarragon blended into the creamy dressing. The potato chunks were large and perfectly cooked.
Frank's crispy chicken BLT came dressed with red pepper mayonnaise in a cheddar wrap. He had a side of the coleslaw and while he enjoyed that, he gave a bigger thumbs up to the potato salad.
We shared a side of macaroni and cheese, because let's face it, we were hungry and our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. A large portion of creamy fussili pasta was rather boring and bland. It needed to be kicked into adult mac and cheese status with the addition of more pungent cheeses. But for $2, we didn't mind.
With soft drinks, our meal came to just under $22. And we were too full for dessert.
There is indoor and outdoor seating. We sat outdoors on the side porch and enjoyed people watching. In back a delightful pergola covered terrace offerd more al fresco eating and we noted that dogs were welcome, and pampered actually!
So, perhaps next time we take a trip to lovely Middleburg we'll take one of our pups along to stroll the streets and enjoy a sandwich. I know I'm going back for the pulled pork.....you had me at "hello".
200 West Washington St.
P.O. Box 2082
Middleburg, VA 20118
Phone (540) 687-8011
Powder your nose: Sorry, skipped the ladies room here.
Credit Cards: yes
Additional notes: Market Salamander also offers cooking classes, afternoon tea and catering.