Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rose's Luxury

I think I found the first restaurant in DC that I am excited about and want a lot of other people to be excited about too. The name is Rose's Luxury and it is located on Barracks Row. It's a small ish restaurant that does not take reservations. I fully support that policy. The menu is small but has more than enough options. It fits the mood and mold of the establishment. There are four sections (cold, warm, pasta and other goods), plus a "family style" section with two large, share-able plates. Each of the other sections offer three, small and share-able choices with more than half available as or made vegetarian. In addition to a nice menu and small but inviting dining space, the staff was tremendous top-to-bottom. From the moment we walked in to put our names down (quoted hour and 45 minutes on a Friday night), the services was friendly, gracious, funny and attentive. They take your phone number to text you when the table is ready but since they were running late we got a phone call with apologies (I think unnecessary but welcome) and free cocktails when we sat down. 



Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Founding Farmers

I think an appropriate way to ring out the year is with a review from one of the most recognized and covered restaurant in Washington - Founding Farmers. Go out with the old, and start the new year fresh with a new restaurant (that's coming). Ever since I knew I was moving to DC, I couldn't go more than a few conversations without people asking or telling me to get to Founding Farmers as a pillar of the best available in the city. It took me a little while to make it happen (and only thanks to a friend from Chicago no less), but I did, and now I continue to favor by taking months to actually write about it. Happy New Year and cheers to more good eating in 2014!

Overall my experience at FF matched the expectations, but more appropriately matched MY expectations of a "fantastic" DC restaurant experience. Our service was top notch, very helpful, friendly, nice, etc. We even received a very nice and unexpected touch of a free dessert because our server like US so much. It's been a while since that happened. The drinks and cocktails were great and timely - we were well served. The entire theme and menu is really fun and refreshing. A menu crafted with sustainability and locally sourced ingredients is always a plus and variety of choices also welcoming. 

From the small plate section to start our meal we went with the trio of Devil-ish Eggs Combo (Maine Lobster, Crab and Smoked Salmon). I don't remember which one I like the most, probably the crab with bay seasoning, because all were great and fun. I haven't had fun eating deviled eggs since childhood. That was joined by the fried green tomatoes and the skillet corn bread (with sea salt and honey butter). 




Monday, December 16, 2013

Doi Moi


It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize I've had less interest and time to devote to eating out and blogging about the DC food scene. Hopefully that changes eventually but can't make any promises anytime soon. There are two posts I'd like to get done with before the New Year and start fresh. 

Taking the place of trying new restaurants all the time, I've spent more effort in just getting to know a few places I enjoy and can rely on. Doi Moi arrived on the 14th corridor with good buzz and has been quite busy since the doors first opened. Somehow I've managed to not only eat dinner twice, but I've also spent an evening in the cocktail lounge Two Birds, One Stone directly underneath. 

I would say Doi Moi is exactly what I expect from an above average fun DC restaurant. It doesn't blow my socks off, but there are plenty of interesting dishes to enjoy. The ambiance is great with lots of people, not too noisy, a long bar for dining on right when you walk in, but also a drinking bar further down. The mostly white theme is also fun and clean. I don't love the floor to ceiling windows surrounding the restaurant. I personally would want to have more control over what diners see than just whatever madness is occurring on the streets and sidewalks. Plus, on top of that you feel like you're in a fish bowl as every passerby on the sidewalk gets to see what you're doing and what you're eating. Maybe I'm over reacting compared to others but I am rarely a fan of large expansive windows on restaurants. 

The menu is plenty large for a variety of tastes and options. They let you know everything is share plate size (of course, right?!) - which is fun because you can order a lot of different things - but also not fun when you get the check. It's not cheap to eat there. Share plate size with full plate pricing it felt like. 



Corner Bakery Catering Experience - Sponsored Post

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sampling a (free) catered lunch from Corner Bakery. I have always enjoyed my lunch breaks at Corner Bakery no matter if I was in Chicago, Washington or anywhere else because the menu and quality are always consistent. For all the years though I had never experience or even looked into their catering business (frankly I never had the need). I am glad to have had the chance and make some co-workers extra happy.

The actual catering options are quite extensive for all meals and occasions. The website is also very helpful and easy to navigate to place an order. I was offered a Medium Corner Classic that includes the following:








































Monday, September 30, 2013

Kapnos

I admit, I used to be a huge Top Chef junkie. And it all started back on season 6 with Mike Isabella. Who would have figured four years ago watching a foodie TV show that I would later move to DC and then eventually eat at a new opening restaurant of a previous contestant. I know, maybe it’s not that crazy, especially given how many contestants there are now running around (especially in Chicago with Stephanie Izard), but just the DC location and way back memory of my Top Chef viewership makes it interesting. Haley and I showed up at 7pm with reservations but at that time the place was pretty empty. It’s a cool space with a neat bar area to the left of the main door, an open kitchen view with bar style seating for a front row action seat (Chef’s seats they call them? – not special reserved either), and plenty of large tables for groups or regular dining. And yes, Chef Isabella was in the house and working hard. I liked the extensive use of dark wood all around and the lighting felt good, even though we were sitting in the kitchen (practically) so was facing the large rotating spits and not the dining room.


 

Equinox

I’m a lucky guy that has nice friends. In this particular example I was the beneficiary of a work-gift to Kelly for a meal at Equinox – an upscale American restaurant serving downtown DC’s working professionals (i.e. not a place most 20 somethings hang out). The restaurant is relatively small but there is a side/private room that can add a bunch of seats if not booked. The décor is elegant and clean, and the menu reflects this desire with expensive pastas (~$30 each), “meat and game”, seafood choices and sides. There is also an extensive wine list to pair perfectly with your duck, yellow fin tuna or saffron papparadelle angus beef Bolognese.

Since we were in a celebratory mood (free food does that) we ordered a healthy amount: truffle risotto fritters, salmon, beef strip loin, fried green tomatoes and truffled macaroni and cheese.  They also serve a small amuse bouche of tuna pate that was actually quite interesting. We were also expecting the risotto fritters as an appetizer but something went wrong and they brought us the mac and cheese instead. We didn’t really to eat that first but it was strange and our server noticed shortly after it came out as a mistake. No harm no foul. It’s deliciously rich and after we finished the entire side, realized we might not have as much room for the rest of the meal as intended. I’m not that upset though since it might have been the best thing I tasted all night.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Quick Takes - Ghibellina & B Too

When I first moved to Washington and I told people I was living near 14th St., the first reaction was always, “there are so many new places opening there.” I obviously didn’t have much of a concept of what “14th St.” was or what scale “so many” really meant. Now that I’ve been here a few months I have a much better picture of both phrases. I thought Chicago did a good job of opening new places, but I think this section of DC might take the cake. It seems every week you walk down the street there are not one, but MANY new spots to check out. It’s moderately ridiculous, and from what I’ve heard it’s not slowing down. If this was rappeats circa 2010 I would be in heaven and overwhelmed. Unfortunately the reality of full-time employment and a few years of wisdom (debatable) yield less available time to explore the local dining scene at the same pace as previous times would have allowed (maybe that can change when winter arrives and there will be less competing distractions??). In any event, I have managed to briefly check out two new-ish spots on 14th for happy-hour and/or snacks – Ghibellina and B Too.

Ghibellina
This was the choice for a Friday evening happy hour. And it was a good choice because the vibe is great, the bar is exquisite and the food (pizza) perfect for the time/place.  You can only eat if you have a seat in or at the bar area which can be a challenge but since the bar is 30 yards long (literally) there is a lot of turnover. From what I remember the happy hour (ends at 6:30) is half off beer and pizza. It’s a good deal when beer is usually $7 and pizza $15. Of course we stayed long past the happy and made up for the savings with $7 Peroni, but c’est la vie. The two pizzas we tried were the sausage and Bianca (veggie with rapini, mozzarella, garlic, calabrian chilies, fennel seed and pecorino romano). Both were quite tasty, particularly when fresh, hot and firm crust. The Bianca had a nice spice kick to it and I enjoyed the combo of ingredients used. The sausage was equally nice and devoured. I’m not sure which on I would order again first. So from a taste of two pizzas and a lot of beer, and a good value for part of the evening I really don’t have any complaints. The rest of the menu looks nice too and a fun place to dine with great décor and a high energy atmosphere. I would definitely go back for happy hour and hope to get a chance for a full meal.




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