Columbia Firehouse

In the pursuit of a proper mint julep on Derby day – a day I lost a dollar due to somebody guessing I’ll Have Another – one of the places where our search went in vain alas was Columbia Firehouse.  This is kind of funny considering the fairly Southern twist in the menu of course – but somehow despite that, we stumbled into a pretty darn good meal, competitive with Society Fare in the Old Town Alexandria fancy casual sort of deal, solid B+ level American cuisine.  I did get mint julep somewhere else fortunately.

As the link seems to indicate, the Firehouse DOES make something of its faculty with cocktails.  I ordered The Avenue, an erstwhile combination of Maker’s Mark, Calvados, Passion Fruit and and Grenadine.  Of course, with passion fruit involved, there is a fear of cloying sweetness.  Fortunately though the drink has more finesse than that.  Indeed there is some tang and a tinge of bitterness that offset the other notes (of course that is probably the whisky talking).  It was good.

The rest of the meal was concerned with sampling their spring pea soup – this was a lovely soup that is smooth and subtle, but accented with the garlic and chive flavors.  Honestly, it is one of the better examples of the pea soup genre (one with a very high amount of variability as anyone who has tried Campbell’s condensed can tell you).  The other stuff I had was part of their charceuterie, sausage and cheese platter – which was more of a mixed bag.  The charceuterie was flat out awesome – both the pate and the cured pork belly were wonderful.  I could eat the belly all day – and die at 38, but still.  The cheeses were all pretty good, although the stinky Grayson was the best.  Alas, the sausages were not very good.  I had the chicken sausage and italian sausage, and both were dry and overworked.  The homemade sausage was alluring but ultimately a downer.

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