Sunday, October 21, 2012

Biking and Belgian Beer at Cock & Bowl

I exercise so I can eat and drink what I want.  Yeah, it makes me feel good after I'm done and sure, I enjoy the sense of accomplishment.  But most importantly, I like to not have to think about calories and fat content... I just want to order what I think looks most delicious off a menu.  And then eat desert.  So in order to do this, I exercise.  I run and I bike.  And NO, I do not adorn my car with stickers that advertise this fact to other drivers on the road.

Our family lives in Burke, VA and honestly, there isn't much happening around here in terms of great places to eat.  There are a few decent places, and places the kids like (such as Glory Days) but if we have a babysitter and go out to dinner, we usually head to DC or Arlington.  The other day though, I stumbled upon Cock and Bowl in Occoquan, VA.

For those of you who have never been to Occoquan, it's actually a quaint little town right outside Fairfax County, VA.  It has a historic downtown area with little shoppes and restaurants on the water.  If you've driven on 95, this is right about where you hit traffic right after the "Mixing Bowl."  Ha, now you know where I'm talking about!

When I saw the outdoor patio at Cock and Bowl, their European style menu, and the selection of Belgian beers, I knew I had to try it out.  Since it was a nice day, I thought I would take my road bike down Rt. 123 to Occoquan and have lunch with my husband at Cock and Bowl.  That way, whatever calories I burned off riding down to Occoquan I could replace with Belgian beer. Perfect.

Cock and Bowl is actually very tiny inside, I think it is a small row house.  They have about 4 tables downstairs and 4 tables upstairs.  They also have about 8 tables outside on their patio.  Lucky for us, it was not crowded at lunchtime.  But I can imagine the wait on a sunny fall afternoon during the weekend.  

We sat down to lunch and looked through the extensive Belgian beer list.  It was impressive how much beer they have on their menu.  Generally to get a beer menu like that you have to go up to DC and go to places like The Brickskellar.  But now there is one close to my house... nice!

We decided to order a beer we could share.  The first beer we chose was no longer in stock, but the waitress was smart enough to bring three other bottles to the table for us to choose from.  I always am impressed by a wait staff that actually knows what they are serving and can make recommendations based on what you originally ordered.  Nice job, Cock and Bowl.  We decided on the La Chouffe brewed by Brasserie d'Achouffe which was delicious, light and sweet with a little hoppy taste.

I don't know what that little gnome is doing, I hope it's making beer!
 Since I had biked down to lunch, I was definitely ready to eat.  We started off with the Pommes Frites and the Pâté a la Maison

Perfect amount of frites to share...
The frites were crispy, salty and delicious.  The side of mayo was exactly that, mayo.  It was not the like the lighter dipping sauce usually served with frites (which you can sort of replicate by cutting regular mayo with garlic and fresh lemon juice).  That was a little disappointing.  

The pâté (chicken liver terrine) was served with toasted bread, cornichons, and stone-ground mustard.  It was good, a nice addition to the frites.

Between the frites and pate, I had restored my salt content
After our snacks, we shared a bowl of mussels.  I like my mussels prepared in a simple broth, so we opted for the mussels in white wine, garlic, shallots, parsley and butter.

Serve these in a pot!
The mussels were good.  There were a good number that didn't open in our bowl, which is annoying.  But they provided a generous quantity of mussels, so that made up for it.       

For dessert we ordered another Belgian beer and the Turtle Waffle.  The beer, St. Bernardus Abt 12, was definitely more thick and complex than the first - it was creamy and sort of tasted like caramel.  Perfect for dessert.

Another 'person of the cloth' having fun with beer! I may be in the wrong profession...
The belgian waffle was topped with chocolate, caramel, pecans and whipped cream.  It was sooo... good!

umm, I might have to bike back home after eating this
We had a yummy lunch at the Cock and Bowl.  The food was good and the beers were even better.  And, it's super close to my house!  If you are ever stuck in traffic on 95 in Occoquan, now you know what to do... hit up the Cock and Bowl, have a beer and wait for traffic to end. 
Cock and Bowl on Urbanspoon
  

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