Alright y’all. It’s that time of year…Cupid is upon us. If you read my “Love Letter to My Girlfriends” a few years back, you’ll remember that it is not exactly my favorite holiday.
Nevertheless, many of you with more tender hearts or the optimism to remember that it is a day to be thankful for love, not just romantic love, you might like to have a special meal. And who am I to deny you that opportunity?
Enter, Stomping Ground Valentine’s Dinner. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday we are serving up three courses for $55. You select one from each course. Raquel is currently tasting through delicious wine parings for the menu, which will be priced at $25 and $45.
Mini Chive Biscuit, Creme Fraiche & Red Roe
Crispy Prawn, Preserved Lemon, Roasted Garlic
Grilled Avocado, Falafel Pistachio, Green Goddess
Steak Frites, Green Peppercorn
Seasonal Salad with Prawns
Creme Fraiche Gnocchi, Roasted Fennel Broth, King Trumpet Mushroom, Braised Leek
Apple Toffee Bread Pudding, Whipped Cinnamon Cream
Vanilla Pavlova, Berries, Lemon Curd
Dark Fudgy Brownie, Chocolate Cream
Nicole’s cooking style is rooted in, but not limited to, her love of southern biscuits and her diverse culinary upbringing. A military brat, she spent her childhood in the Chicago suburbs enjoying her great-grandmother Mae’s Lithuanian cooking. As a tween, she moved to Paulding County, Ga. where she begrudgingly fell in love with the charmingly perplex small towns of the Deep South. She fondly remembers grubbing on Martin’s biscuits, late-night Waffle House debauchery and cooking with her family.
After graduating from the University of Georgia, Nicole started a marketing career at an art nonprofit in Atlanta. At 25 years old, she became the youngest executive at the local Atlanta NPR affiliate.
Chasing her dreams, she moved to Alexandria, Va. where she took a short post in the Whole Foods marketing department. Realizing that cooking had been her true love all along, she began night courses at L’Academie de Cuisine. She completed her apprenticeship at Blue Duck Tavern where she was promoted to a line cook after graduation. From there, Nicole worked as a private chef for busy Washington D.C. executives and their families.
As grown-ups tend to do, Nicole realized something about her childhood — the best parts were enjoying small town communities, cooking with her great-grandmother and sharing meals with family and friends. She opened Stomping Ground to build a safe and welcoming community around yummy, handmade food from local sources. As her first foray running her own kitchen, she has shamelessly hired better, smarter cooks to fill her kitchen and your bellies. Her great-grandmother’s recipes often appear on the Stomping Ground menu without advertisement and, no, she won’t tell you the secret ingredients.
Nicole lives in Del Ray and won’t shut up about how much she loves living there.
If you wander down Del Ray’s, “The Avenue,” you won’t miss the farm-red building with a rustic fence bordering the patio. Stomping Ground opened two years ago and quickly became popular for its made-from-scratch biscuits and its neighborhood vibe. On weekends, excited guests line up before Stomping Ground opens hoping to be the first to get a just-out-of-the-oven biscuit or a fresh salad. Stomping Ground is mostly known for its fast casual breakfast and lunch but on Thursdays and Fridays they provide a full dinner service after 5:00pm. All meals are built from local, seasonal food that is organic whenever possible.