I don't write about restaurants and food shops on the blog just for the sake of writing. If it's bad, it's not worth my time writing about, nor is it worth your time to read. And if it's good but not great, well you don't need to read about that either. So these reviews, they're about my favorites. My go to, miss it when I'm out of town, never had a bad meal, love the people and know their names, insist you go if you're in town sort of places. And Hidden Valley Eatery in Washington, Connecticut is one of these such places.
Hidden Valley is casual, not overdone. And it's full of character and heart with rocking chairs on the front porch and an arch made from tree branches at the entrance to the dining room. The ambiance is friendly and comfortable, everyone who works there makes you feel at home, and the food is perfection.
When the Man describes Hidden Valley, he says that it's very Anne food. friendly, meaning there are a lot of things for me to order despite my dietary restrictions. I pride myself in trying to navigate a menu with as little help as possible from the server, mainly because I try not to be a pain in the neck about the pile of stuff that's off limits for me. Occasionally I have to ask if there's dairy in something, but if possible I try to order a dish that's obviously safe, and avoid the things that are unclear and potentially hazardous. You know that person who has a million allergies and requests the beef wellington with no pastry, or the cream of tomato soup with no cream... I refuse to be that person. And maybe I go a little overboard the other direction.
But at Hidden Valley I never have to think about it- they actually note gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan dishes on their menu, which is quite helpful for the person like myself who refuses to ask. But don't let the labels deter you folks who scoff at the limited-diet fad, because Hidden Valley has plenty of Man food as well. In fact, the Man's favorite pancakes can be found at this fine place. (And they're actually gluten-free, but you'd never know...) They also serve perfectly cooked eggs, bacon and potatoes at breakfast, and great sandwiches at lunchtime. As for me? I typically have a hard time choosing between eggs with a side of perfectly cooked vegetables and goat cheese, or the Eatery's Granola (Did you see it up top? Isn't it gorgeous? Those figs and berries...!).
And now, on top of all its other excellent qualities, Hidden Valley is where the Man began to ask me to marry him, which makes it even better. Yes, we're getting married! And yes, he began to ask me to marry him out in front of Hidden Valley. He finished asking me overlooking nearby Lake Waramaug in Warren, as the oh-so popular Hidden Valley had a parking lot full of pedestrians which proved to be a a bit much in terms of a proposal audience... (See that tree? The almost scene of the crime!)
It was perfect. Casual, full of character and heart, not overdone... wait this is beginning to sound familiar. Hidden Valley really was the place for us to have breakfast that morning!
Back to the restaurant- it's also a store. All of their amazing gluten-free and gluten-filled sweets (carrot cake, anyone?) are available to take home with you, as are an assortments of oils, honey, maple syrup, jams, snacks, chocolate, kombucha and other pantry favorites. Eat there, and go home with a nibble for later. Can't beat that. And apparently magical things happen at Hidden Valley Eatery too! It's worth a visit. It will become your local haunt. I'll see you there.