Directly off Route 15 in the Town of Orange you'll find a small red and white building with two 8x10 pieces of white paper taped to the window. You'll also find a line that snakes out the door and you'll rarely find a parking spot. Real Food has caught on in our town with good reason.
On the very first week that Real Food opened my daughter and I wandered in to check things out. While we were enjoying our sandwiches and homemade lemonades about five separate groups of people came in trying to determine what this "Real Food" was all about. The majority of these wanderers came looking for their definition of real food, which was french fries and soda, neither to be found here. They left, presumably never to return. I complemented the chef and hoped to myself that this eatery would be able to survive the taste buds of Orange County. I had serious doubts. However, Orange proved me wrong and Real Food appears to be thriving.
Here's the deal, the menu changes on a weekly basis and can be found on their website (http://www.realfoodva.com/) or by just checking those two menus taped to the window as you arrive. There are normally three salads, two soups and four or five sandwich options. They have recently expanded their menu to include drink and dessert choices. In addition to their homemade lemonade, they now have Mexican Cola and Iced Coffee. Every dessert I have sampled has been fresh and unique, from a rosemary shortbread cookie with honey glaze to a banana tart with marshmallows on top to a molasses bacon cookie.
Vegetarian options can always be found in each category of their menu and from what I can tell everything here is made in-house or comes from a local supplier. Emma June and I normally head to Real Food on Tuesdays after pre-school as this is Emma's favorite restaurant. Only my child would be in love with prosciutto on ciabatta. All sandwiches and salads are made to order, and made very quickly. They have a simple cash only operation and they do it with precision and ease regardless of the line size.
Real Food has a wonderful way on combining flavors together that on paper may sound a bit strange but on the plate find perfect harmony. This is a recipe that my husband and I have been making for years now. We particularly enjoy this in the winter season with a bowl of crab soup. Enjoy.
Fresh Mozzarella & Portobello Panini
Rye/Pumpernickel Swirl Bread
4 tbs. softened butter
4 tbs. Olive Oil
1 Ball of Fresh Mozzarella
1 red onion, thinly sliced
4 large portobello mushrooms
Salt & Pepper to taste
Over medium heat saute onions and mushroom in olive oil and 3 tbs butter until very tender. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the remaining butter (more if needed) onto the outer sides of the bread. Layer slices of cheese with the onions and mushrooms. Cook on a panini press or a hot griddle using another pan to press the sandwich while cooking. Slice & Serve.