Back at the end of March (whoops!) I was invited to a media dinner at Bon Vivant Cafe in Del Ray, Alexandria. Daylight savings hadn't hit yet and the lights were dimmed for the dinner ambiance so my photos sucked, hence the lack of a post. I enjoyed the experience and made a mental note to come back and try them out, finally managing to do so recently.
Bon Vivant was started by a husband and wife team - Jawad and Tania. They originally began serving food at local farmers markets but grew in popularity and decided to open a restaurant! Their goal is to "celebrate the ingredients," letting them speak for themselves. Jawad ran the media tasting and let us know his favorites depend on the day but he prefers the Tarragon Chicken Salad and the meatballs.
When we came in March, they mentioned they were in process of building a patio (which was apparently kickstarter funded). They did a great job, it really is lovely and is the type of patio that makes you sad the season is about to be over.
Mac and I both ordered smoothies. I went for the Green Refreshcucumber, spinach, mint, avocado, lime + green tea$5.90 because I knew I would probably be indulging in dinner (although I ate a sandwich for lunch soo I don't really know what was going through my mind). I enjoyed this as much as I could enjoy a green drink and did not think it was too overwhelming as it lacked a sweet (apple, pineapple, etc) addition. Mac ordered the Mango Basilmangos, strawberries, basil, oj $5.90 and she really liked it.
Carrie and I both took the carb filled route and ordered sandwiches, which are served with a side of greens. I went with the Italian Sandwichprosioutto, smoked gouda, tomato and basil $10.25. Carrie ordered the Roasted Beef with Blue Cheese Dressing $10.50. Both sandwiches were good, but needed a little more substance inside to balance out the amount of bread. The baguette stole the show and was fluffy and crunchy and soft and tasty.
Mac took the healthy, smart route and ordered the Southwest Saladgrilled local-pastured chicken, bell peppers, avocado, corn + habanero tomato dressing$11.95. This salad was packed full of flavor. The habenero tomato dressing had a slight kick to it, and for those that shy away from spicy, I was told it was manageable. Bonus points, this salad had a half of an avocado on it!
Feeling slightly under the weather Carrie also ordered the 72-hour 100% Grass-fed Beef Broth $5. The flavor is a little bland, but when she dipped her steak sandwich in it, she said it made the perfect aus jus. Beef broth seems to be a new health trend. A glass of broth a day is said to help with digestion, skin (something about the collagen) and other things - check out here for more. But hey, if Chuck Norris drinks beef broth, then perhaps I can get on board with this new trend.
When I came for the media tasting we also got to try a variety of soups, including a Chickpea and Kale soup that I was head over heals for. The soup was gluten free, dairy free and vegan - yet packed full of flavor and texture. We also tried a Key Lime Parfait that the table all really enjoyed. If you have any sort of dietary restriction or are looking for a sugarless dessert this is a good option - however I prefer my desserts to be full of fat and sugar and butter and would most likely not order it unless I had to because of my diet.
All in all round 2 was a great experience - I wish it was a little closer to my office as they have some really impressive salads which Old Town severely lacks.
Would I come back? Yes. In addition to their cafe, they have a little shop that serves locally sourced goods, including some amazing bread. I also want to try a few more of their salads.