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A Short Report on our Staunton VA Anniversary Trip

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I’ve put myself behind the 8-ball a bit because I let so much time transpire before getting this trip recorded.  The dates were 3/18-3/21 and I somehow forgot that I hadn’t written it up.  So, I’m having to work with photos, memory, and FB.  I’ll hope for the best! 


We decided to go to Staunton VA for something new.  Not a lot of big plans, but we knew there was a huge antique mart there.  And some good or good sounding restaurants. 


3/18 Off we go:


First stop was D&L Doughnuts which were completely out of doughnuts at 10AM!  So, we ended up at a place called Kathy’s for what ended up being a really great breakfast.  This is a family owned and frequented restaurant – lots of locals and older folks (just my type of place).  Mr. Kim had the eggs and country ham with biscuits, potatoes, and grits:


That was one gorgeous slab of ham.  Thick and juicy and not at all overly salty.  I had over medium eggs, sausage links, grits, biscuits and gravy:


We judge grits by flavor and whether you can eat them with a fork or not.  If you have to use a spoon, they are too thin.  These were perfectly forkable grits. 


Our next stop that day was The Factory Antique Mall just up the interstate from Staunton.  Advertised as the largest antiques mall in the US, it is certainly enormous.  We figured that we got about 1/4 way through before stopping to share a chili dog at the café:


For what amounted to a snack bar in the middle of an old-fashioned peddler’s mall, they serve a fabulous dog.  We reckoned this was a Costco dog – it was about that size and more than enough to share.  It was perfectly grilled and topped with a chili that I’d guess was someone’s grandma’s secret recipe.  It was wonderful.  Found lots of food related stuff – nothing that we were specifically looking for – including this fun looking pamphlet:


…from 1952.  I wasn’t willing to spend $12 on it, so it got left behind.


Dinner that night was at the Byers Street Bistro.  We started with some gorgeous Brussels sprouts and fried green tomatoes:


Flash fried with bacon and candied pecans and dressed with a honey/thyme vinaigrette. 


These were panko breaded and served with a corn relish and pimento cheese.  I’m stealing that pairing – it was perfect. 


For my main, I had fish and chips:


The fish and slaw were good, but I wish they’d been chips.  I just don’t like waffle fries. 


Mr. Kim, weirdly, I thought, chose pizza:


I was wrong.  This was surprisingly good pizza. 


3/19/2023 When we’d been disappointed at the doughnut shop the first morning they suggested that we call them early the following morning to place an order and they would set it aside for us.  We got up bright and early and called.  So, finally we DID get our doughnuts:




No clue at this point what kind they all were but based on our tastes at least one of those top ones is glazed, one is lemon filled, and one is black raspberry.  One of the chocolate ones has to be Boston crème – Mr. Kim’s favorite.  My creaky memory is telling me that the one with the crumbles on top is some kind of toffee?  The black raspberry one:



This was just our pre-church snack; we also had brunch.  We went to a service at Trinity Episcopal church – so beautiful and welcoming.  Large congregation, but folks seemed to know each other and were very chatty.  Lots of outreach and community involvement.  We went back the 21st to really look at everything and take pictures.  They have some gorgeous Tiffany stained glass windows. 


Brunch was at Zynodoa.  I didn’t get any really trusted recommendations for restaurants in Staunton like I usually do – we didn’t decide on it early enough for me to do any in depth research.  So, I relied on Yelp, menu reading, and the city tourism website. Overall, it worked very well and Zynodoa is a great example of that.  Excellent food, great people, interesting menu and beautiful surroundings:





Their focus is local procurement, and they have a chalkboard listing their partners:


The list has many places we recognized including our @Jim D.’s Santiago chocolates.  Our drinks  – I was the boring ice tea and Mr. Kim was the spicy Bloody:



We started with this amazing duo:




Brûléed cornbread and Wenger’s grape jam.  Doing that to cornbread was something that never occurred to me and serving it with grape jam certainly never did.  But both things were incredible.  I’m not even sure how I would go about brulee-ing a cornbread, but I’m definitely going to try.  And I’ve been a Welches’ girl all of my 63 years, but this stuff was SO good.  We even drove back to Waynesboro a couple of days later to pick up a couple of jars from the farm that makes it. 


Mr. Kim had the Farmer’s Breakfast: Edward’s Surry sausage, Autumn Olive Farm bacon. Walk About Farm scrambled eggs, homefries, and a biscuit:


Looks a bit of a mess, but it was delicious.


I had the Eggs Benedict - poached eggs, hollandaise and Edward’s ham on an English muffin with home fries:




The one thing that was not excellent were the potatoes.  For such a great place, with food that was so carefully collected and prepared, they were a disappointment.  I’m pretty sure they were just boiled and then deep fried – very plain and uninteresting.  The breakfasts would have been perfect with griddle or pan-fried potatoes and onions. 


Dinner that night was at the Edelweiss Restaurant.  We think we’d eaten there years before when we lived in Charlottesville, but aren’t positive.  It’s German, of course, which we love, but we thought (and our German friend agreed) that this was not fantastic and that there are better German/Bavarian restaurants in the area.  Good, but not great.  I started with a really nice salad, though:



For dinner, I had the wiener schnitzel:


This tasted pretty good but the coating didn’t adhere to the pork at all – the more I cut into it, the more fell off until I ended up with a pile of coating and naked pork cutlets. 


Mr. Kim had the rindsrouladen:


This was very tender and tasted good, but the gravy was a bit gelatinous.


The sides are served family-style and were all very, very good:


Green beans, Bavarian cabbage, spaetzle, and red cabbage.


3/20/2023 Our 41st Anniversary

We took a long ride through the countryside in the morning and stopped at Mrs. Rowe’s for lunch.  Just outside of Staunton, it has been in the same family for over 75 years.  Just good, homey American food.  They do all their own baking – breads, pies, cakes, cookies, etc.  Nothing very elegant, but very good.  I had this inelegant, but delicious hot turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes:



Mr. Kim had the meatloaf with pintos, collards, yeast rolls, and mashed potatoes and gravy:


This is the kind of “meat & 3’s” place that you can order just the vegetables and have a fantastic meal. 


We were too full for dessert, but we got some cookies to take with us.  We spent the afternoon touring the American Shakespeare theatre.  The “group” was only US, so it was like a private tour.  Once the docent discovered that we were (former) theatre people he regaled us with stories and showed us all over the place.  The tour is supposed to take 45 minutes and I think we were there for about an hour and a half.  We’re looking forward to going back for a show sometime. 


Dinner was at Blu Point Seafood Co.  I started with calamari with horseradish dip:


This was really excellent – very sweet and perfectly tender.  Someone in the kitchen knows how to cook this!  Mr. Kim started with their version of Oysters Rock – made with kale and Parm:


Very good.  They didn’t overdo the Parm like so many places do.


For dinner, I had the Captain’s Platter – fried shrimp, bay scallops, and haddock with hush puppies:


…and the most enormous onion rings I’ve ever seen:


The quality of the fish was good, but the breading was too heavy and not for me.  I really prefer a thin, brittle crust on seafood.


Mr. Kim had the blackened catfish with black eyed peas & rice and Cajun cream sauce:


He enjoyed this very much.  He suffered most of his life from family and neighbor-caught muddy tasting catfish and only in the past decade or so has discovered the joys of sweet, fresh tasting farmed catfish.  So, when it is on offer, he’s most likely going to have it. 


3/21/23 This was the day that we went home.  In the morning we toured and photographed the church we’d attended on Sunday:







Then was lunch at Wright’s Dairy-Rite which I’ve mentioned a few times before.  Just a classic, old-style burger, fries, and shake place.  I had their Super Burger – their version of a Big Mac (except Wright’s came out before McD’s) and their incomparable onion rings:



Mr. Kim had a big cheeseburger, fries, and a malted chocolate shake:




Everything was fantastic except, sadly, the fries which were lukewarm and flabby instead of hot and crisp. 


On our way out of town, we stopped at @Jim D.'s for a nice visit and to pick up a box of his delectable Santiago chocolates:


Every time we open a box of his chocolates, we discover a new favorite. This time Jessica’s was the passionfruit ganache molded in white chocolate.  Mine was the chocolate and buckwheat honey ganache enclosing a toasted hazelnut.  Mr. Kim’s was the crème brûlée – crunchy bits of dark caramel, vanilla buttercream molded in dark chocolate.  He also gave us a chocolate bar with pecans and the best candied orange peel I’ve ever tasted.  The three of us fell in love with that. 


Going home – one of our long-time road trip traditions:


Pretty much any time we are going any real distance in the car we stop and buy two Good Humor bars – one strawberry shortcake bar and one chocolate éclair bar – and share them.  When I was a kid these two were alternated with Toasted Almond and Coconut bars – both sadly discontinued now.  Since it was just the two of us, we only had one bar. 


I have to say that, as good as most everything was, the theme of the trip as far as food went was “It could have been hotter”.  Almost every single thing we were served was cooler than optimal.  It was very strange.  Not cold enough to send back, but cool enough to notice and so pervasive that we started giggling at it and competing to see who said it first. 

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Thanks for the report. On the cornbread I do something like that and my leftover get "toasted/broiled" in toaster oven. Gotta watch closely to avoid burn. Brings out  nice flavor. Also like horseraish with your calamari.

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Sounds like a lovely trip. Besides all of the fine-looking food I particularly noticed the beautiful stained glass at the church (Mrs. C used to do stained glass, but now is starting to learn fused glass).


And those chocolates look fantastic. Thanks for the report!

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1 hour ago, C. sapidus said:

Sounds like a lovely trip. Besides all of the fine-looking food I particularly noticed the beautiful stained glass at the church (Mrs. C used to do stained glass, but now is starting to learn fused glass).


And those chocolates look fantastic. Thanks for the report!

Oh yes forgot to mention stained glass. I did a NOLA trip once mainly to focus on church stained glass. Food of course was explored and enjoyed!

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What a fun trip report! Thanks for giving us the quick tour, and happy (belated) anniversary!


My thoughts and questions, in no particular order:

Does the restaurant name "Zynodoa" mean something, or is it someone's name?


At the German / Bavarian restaurant, what was that 'wonderful' German salad dressed with? And at the same meal, what made the Bavarian cabbage "Bavarian"?


I laughed at your great fortune at having a "private tour" because it was just the two of you, and you had a theater background. Very cool. My mother, sister and I had a similarly lucky experience at Hearst Castle one time. It wasn't because we had any special background, but it was just the three of us. "So what do you want to know about?" asked our guide, "the architecture and art, or the gossip and scandals?"


And yes, that stained glass is glorious. Thanks for the photos.


Back to food: it would NEVER have occurred to me to coat cornbread with a sugar coating and flame it. That is what you mean by the brulee, right? If not, I hope to see the correct version in some of your future posts. You did promise to steal and show off the idea. 🙂


Catfish: the first time or two I had it, I swore off the stuff. "Muddy bottom-feeder" came right through in the flavor. Since then I've had what you describe: sweet, delicate flavors. It's good to know that someone else has become a convert, and that the fish doesn't have to taste muddy.


Finally: thanks for showing some of @Jim D.'s wares. Lovely-looking stuff! 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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9 hours ago, Smithy said:

Does the restaurant name "Zynodoa" mean something, or is it someone's name?


It is an early version of what is now Shenandoah.



Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.


"No amount of evidence will ever persuade an idiot"
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8 hours ago, Smithy said:

Does the restaurant name "Zynodoa" mean something, or is it someone's name?


Back to food: it would NEVER have occurred to me to coat cornbread with a sugar coating and flame it. That is what you mean by the brulee, right? If not, I hope to see the correct version in some of your future posts. You did promise to steal and show off the idea. 🙂



I see that @liuzhou has already provided information on the name.  The restaurant's version is that it is the Native American word for "Shenandoah."  Staunton (which, by the way, is pronounced "Stanton") is located in the Shenandoah Valley (between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains).


And the recipe for their cornbread (which is fantastic reheated for breakfast) was published in the Los Angeles Times:  https://www.latimes.com/recipe/zynodoas-bruleed-cast-iron-cornbread


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Thanks for the blog, @Kim Shook.  A question on catfish:  can you tell by looking at it if it is farmed?  Every now and again I see it for sale here, but I always stand there, hemming and having until I finally leave without it.. I've never heard good things about it but I'd be willing to try it again.


And @Jim D., those chocolates look amazing!

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5 minutes ago, Jim D. said:


Thank you very much.  Even though Kim and her husband live on the other side of the state, they have become good customers.


If only you were closer.......

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38 minutes ago, kayb said:

Enjoyed the trip, @Kim Shook! I think I’m headed to the Shenandoah Valley this summer. Plan on contacting @Jim D. and ordering chocolates to pick up!


What a great idea.  Bring a cooler!  But you already know that.  If you're an adventurous eater, I also have a place to recommend.  @Kim Shook decided it was a bit too adventurous for her!

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44 minutes ago, Jim D. said:

If you're an adventurous eater, I also have a place to recommend.  @Kim Shook decided it was a bit too adventurous for her!


I get down your way from time to time, so I would be interested to hear your adventurous recommendation!

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41 minutes ago, C. sapidus said:


I get down your way from time to time, so I would be interested to hear your adventurous recommendation!


It is The Shack (it used to look more like its namesake, but they have gussied it up a bit with their ever-increasing fame--the restaurant was reviewed in the Washington Post, which stirred up D.C. visitors).  Here's one course from the current menu:  yellow tail – grapefruit – rhubarb – camomile.  And another:  rabbit – morels – ramps – peas.  My chocolates almost made it into the adjoining Staunton Grocery, but there was an issue with having chocolates and pickled vegetable in the same refrigerator!


I should add that sometimes the restaurant is a bit too adventurous for me!

Edited by Jim D. (log)
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I appreciate so much all the interest and good wishes! 


@Smithy – the salad at Edelweiss was dressing in their house dressing – just a basic vinaigrette. The greens were so flavorful that I used very little dressing – something I almost never do.  And, as far as I could tell, their Bavarian cabbage was a very flavorful braised cabbage – caramelized, but still a little crisp and not as strongly spiced or sweet as red cabbage.  And thanks to @Jim D. for posting the link I’ll be trying that brûléed cornbread soon, I hope.  I love your Hearst castle story, too.  Gotta love a tour guide who loves their job! 


@Jim D. – thank you for the link to the cornbread recipe.  I will absolutely be trying that.  We even went out to the farm in Waynesboro and bought a couple jars of the jam to go with it.  And I have to agree about The Shack – I’m afraid that with such a limited menu, I’d end up paying a LOT of money for a bunch of things I wouldn’t eat and a few I would.  There are lots of restaurants that do a tasting menu that I wouldn’t go to for the same reason.  We considered it but decided it just didn’t make sense.  I would like to go to the grocery next time we’re in town.  I think @kayb is familiar with The Shack because I got their recipe for deviled ham from her. 


@ElsieD – I don’t think that there is any way of telling if a catfish is farmed or wild without it saying it on the packaging.  I know in the US packers are required by law to label the fish about the country or origin and whether the fish is farmed or wild caught. 


@kayb – you’ll be glad if you visit Jim D.  Not only for his chocolates either.  Every time we’ve picked up candy, we’ve had a wonderful, chatty visit. 

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  • 1 month later...

My apologies.  After all the great recommendations you've given us in Richmond (which is usually a stop going and coming on our Florida drives from NYC), I just realized that I never posted on eG about my 2017 dinner at Zynodoa.  Well, here it is, copied from the post I did make on donrockwell.com.  Better late than never (& not so helpful, huh?):



Went to Zynodoa several nights ago, as our last stop before home from Florida was Staunton, Va.   We loved the town, we loved the restaurant.  Lots of food, all made very well with mostly local ingredients & high skill.  We were going to order the app. of cornbread w/grape jelly while we were at the bar drinking (a very good local Reisling) but the couple next to us got one and it was huge and would've destroyed any chance of eating a large dinner.  When seated (in a front booth, not the back tables), we had a great waiter and ate too much.  I had fried catfish bites with thin onion rings that was excellent.  My wife had the pork belly app (yep, an app.) which was large enough that I had to help and was glad to do so - excellent).  My dinner entree was blackened catfish (I didn't feel at all silly ordering catfish and catfish - no, not at all) & this was very nice.  She had beef tips which, again, could not be finished, this time even with my help.  A sweet corn dessert was great and we didn't eat again till Brooklyn.  Highly recommended.


Glad you had a nice trip.

Edited by Steve R. (log)
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