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May 2005

April 2005

Mother's Day is May 8 - Don't Forget!

Don't forget that Mother's Day is May 8th - The first second Sunday of May. Here are a few places doing something extra for Mom this year.

Corduroy will have a 3 course menu at $40 a person. The special menu will be offered from 12 noon to 2:30 pm and 5:00 to 10:30 pm.

You get to choose one dish per course:

First Course Choices
Red Snapper Bisque, Hearts of Romaine Caesar Salad, Asparagus Salad with Frisee and Chervil
Salad of Beets, Baby Carrots and Goat Cheese, Seared Barnegat Light Sea Scallops with Mizuna, Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Wilted Greens and Ver Jus

Second Course Choices
Wild King Salmon with Fava Beans and Local Shiitake Mushrooms, Alaskan Halibut with Potato-Leek Broth, Roast Whole Baby Chicken with Arugula and Shallots, Roast Lamb Top Sirloin with Garlic Creamed Spinach, Ridgefield Farms Beef Tenderloin with Shallot Sauce

Desserts
Fresh Fruit Sorbets, Selection of Homemade Ice Creams, Seasonal Berries with Creme Anglaise, Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, Chocolate Sabayon, Chocolate Tart with Caramelized Banana, Strawberry Tart

Citronelle is hosting their annual Mother's Day champaigne brunch buffet Sunday May 8 from 11:30 am to  2:30 pm. $75 for adults and $35 for children.

I also like Tabard Inn for brunch as well. You'll find some of the best poached eggs in the city here, and their homemade donuts are heavenly. They aren't doing any special menu that I know of, but you can be sure that the food will please both you and your mom.

Also, don't forget that Cashion's Eat Place also has a Sunday brunch.

Finally, on the cheaper side, Cafe Atlantico has a Mother's Day, three-course tasting menu for $24.95 per person from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The menu can be found here.

 


D.C. Foodies Travel Edition - Aruba

I'm baaaacck! I've returned from Aruba a refreshed man, ready to take care of a newborn in the coming months at home and tackle one of the largest software development projects I've ever had the privilege of managing the development of at work. So what did I do in Aruba? Basically nothing. I sat on the beach, read books, and I ate out a little. Ok, a lot. Don't hate me too much. This was the first vacation I've taken in...forever! I literally had 140 hours of vacation saved up at work from previous years and I had to use it before my company literally took it away. I really should have gone for two weeks, but Amy didn't have the vacation time for two weeks. She, unlike me, actually uses her vacation.

Aruba is typically known as one of the better places for food in the Caribbean, at least as far as the travel agent that sold me on the idea of originally going to Aruba. After returning to Aruba for a second time, I think I can announce that this travel agent either has no taste, or they were just plain full of shit. Most likely, it is the first, but probably partially the latter as well. In all honesty, I would not say that Aruba has the worst food out there, but they are one of the few places that has close to zero local delicacies. I searched far and wide for restaurants or eateries that served local fare - I talked to many locals, hotel staff. They all continued to refer me to the touristy restaurants that plague the island, almost all of them serving steak, lobster and seafood that hasn't been caught locally. The locals were probably just protecting their favorite eateries from the annoying tourists (which I couldn't blame them for). Nobody likes a tourist - especially one like me that's going to go home, write about your favorite local restaurant on my web site, and suddenly cause it to be overflowed by tourists from Washington, DC. LOL. I wish I had that much power...

Continue reading "D.C. Foodies Travel Edition - Aruba" »


Chateau Carbonnieux Wine Dinner at Le Paradou

OK. I've been inundated with emails this week about events they are holding. I'm not sure why this is happening the week I am on vacation, I guess it's a good thing because restaurants are starting to notice me, but I decided to wake up "early" this morning and post a bunch of them.

Le Paradou will be hosting a Chateau Carbonnieux Wine Dinner on May 2 at 7:00 pm. Now, I've never been to Le Paradou, but I've read about Yannick Cam's exquisite cooking on both eGullet and Chowhound. The meal is $150 a person which includes taxes and gratuity, but if you consider that a six course meal usually costs $110 a person and then add wine tasting, tax, gratuity on top of that, $150 really isn't all that bad. If you were thinking about trying Le Paradou, this might be a good time. I know I'm considering it, especially since finishing Kitchen Confidential, in which Anthony Bourdain's descriptions of French dishes really peaked my appetite.

From Le Paradou's web site:
This property is one of the oldest in Graves. Named after Ramon Carbonnieux in 1234, the Château and vineyards were purchased in 1740 by Benedictines who started bottling wine at the Château. The Benedictines were ousted by the Revolution and the property changed hands several times between 1790 and 1956 when it was acquired by Marc Perrin, father of the current owner. A member of a family of wine growers of Burgundian origin, the Perrin's had been producing wines in Algeria for the last four generations. Marc Perrin and his son Antony improved the vineyards, restored the Château and modernized all of the working areas. Château Carbonnieux produces as much white wine as it does red.

The menu will consist of six courses:
Aumonière de Homard, Jus de Carotte au Gingembre
Lobster Purse with Carrot Jus and Ginger
Blanc 2001

Queue de Langoustine, Flan de St. Jacques, Jus de Homard au Safran
Langoustine Tail, Scallop Flan, Sauce of Lobster and Saffron
Blanc 2002

Poitrine de Pigeon au Miel, Epices et Baie de Genièvre, Mousseline au Foie Gras
Breast of Pigeon with Honey, Spices and Juniper Berries, Mousse of Foie Gras
Red 1996

Noisette d'Agneau Poêle, Purée d'Aubergines aux Champignons des Bois, Jeunes Navets a Fanes
Lambchop, Puree of Eggplant with Wild Mushrooms, Baby Turnips
Red 1998, 2000

Taleggio, Poires Rôti, Jeunes Salade au Vieux Balsamique
Taleggio, Roasted Pears, Baby Greens with Aged Balsamic
Red 1997

Saveur de Chocolat, Emulsion au Thym, Glace Noisette-Citron Confit
Chocolate Saveur, Thyme Sauce and Hazelnut-Citron Confit Ice Cream

The cost for the dinner is $150 per person (which includes tax and gratuity) and reservations are required as seating is limited.

Please contact Heather Tighe at (202) 347-6780 or heather@leparadou.net for reservations.


International Religious Freedom and Human Rights Food Event

I received an email from someone at Sesto Senso about this event today.

The Institute on Religion and Public Policy and Sesto Senso Restaurant cordially invite you to attend a reception with special guests Senator Sam Brownback, Representative Tom Tancredo, and more in support of International Religious Freedom and Human Rights Wednesday, April 20, 2005 at Andalu (downstairs entrance).

1214 C 18th Street
6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
$75 tax deductible donation requested at door
R.S.V.P to Liz Covey by April 19, 2005
Tel: 202.835.8760 Fax: 202.835.8764
Email: covey@religionandpolicy.org

Now I can guarentee that my web site will be blocked by the Chinese government. Oh well. :-)


Milestones

Today, I reached a new milestone in my life.

I finally, after 2 years, finished reading Anthony Bourdain's book, Kitchen Confidential. I'm sure you're all curious what in God's name, could possibly take me so F-ing long to finish a single book. Well, for one, I'm an annoying impatient bastard--I can't sit in one place for more than an hour without twiddling my thumbs and wondering what's next. I drive Amy batshit crazy because I'm always wondering what we're going to do next, where we're going to go and how we're going to get there.

“CAN'T YOU SIT STILL FOR TWO HOURS WITHOUT ASKING ME WHAT YOU WANT TO DO NEXT?!!” She'll always ask me.

On top of that, I'm also an incredibly slow reader, unlike my wife who read the same book, in a single day, three years ago (in a couple of hours) sitting on the beach in Aruba. Which reminds me…

In case you're wondering why it's been a week since I've written, it's because I’m back in

Aruba

again, which is also why I finally finished The Book. I’ve had countless hours sitting on the beach with nothing else to do but read. Well, I’ll give myself some credit – I did finish it the first day here.

Kitchen Confidential is a brilliant book in my opinion. It does a great job of making sure that people like me NEVER, EVER open a restaurant or decide to become a cook. I mean, I don't know how many times I've turned to Amy and said, "God, I NEED to open a restaurant" or "Man, I should become a cook," soley based on the qualification that I LOVE food.

It also reminded me how much room for improvement I have when it comes to writing.

My favorite quote from The Book: “The new waiter doesn’t know what prosciutto is, and my heart sinks.” I burst out laughing on the beach and everyone turned and looked at me. It’s funny because it’s true.

So tomorrow, I start reading The Man Who Ate Everything, by Jeffrey Steingarten. Hopefully I can finish it faster than Kitchen Confidential. If I don’t, then maybe I’ll be writing another post like this in another two years.


Weekly Radio Segment

I was on Z104 Morning Drive yesterday morning with Matt Blades. On case you missed it, you can listen to it here. I talked about outdoor dining spots in DC including Cafe Ole, Straights of Malaya, and Zed's. In case you want to listen every week, I think I will be on the air at about 9 am on Tuesdays now. Next week we'll be talking about my favorite pizza places, (as if any of you faithful readers don't know what my favorite pizza places are...) so don't miss it!


Restaurants by the Tidal Basin

First thing...Whatever you do stay away from The Waterfront.

Instead, you should head up north of Constitution Ave to a couple places that I went to this weekend.  But before I get to the recs, let me tell you about how last Saturday went...

In the 7 years Amy and I have lived in this area, we've NEVER seen the cherry blossoms. Yeah yeah, I know!  How can I call myself a Washingtonian??!! So anyway, we decided to head downtown because it was such a BEAUTIFUL day. I really wish the weather was like that all the time around here. Perhaps it's time to move to San Francisco. We took the Metro from Tenleytown to Metro Center and then walked down 14th St to grab something to eat. First, we stopped at Red Sage's Border Cafe and I had a couple margaritas. I feel bad sometimes drinking in front of Amy, but what can I do?? I can't pass up a good margarita. We also had some chorizo empenadas, black bean chili and a Cuban pork sandwich - none of which were outstanding in any sense of the word. I think I'm spoiled from eating at Samantha's. Red Sage does make a fine margarita though. Either way, Red Sage's Border Cafe serves better food than I've ever eaten at Austin Grill or Rio Grande Cafe so it's a good place to stop for lunch. Their prices are pretty reasonable as well since you can get an entree there for under $10.

After we were done at Red Sage, we decided to walk around the downtown area a bit. There was a Japanese street festival on Pennsylvania Ave so we walked around to see some of the shows. After about a hour or so there, I started getting hungry again. We headed back up 13th St and came across Chef Geoff's. Since it had been a while since we'd been to Chef Geoff's, we decided to stop in and have a salad and some appetizers. Chef Geoff's has some great appetizers like fried green tomatoes and mushroom gnocchi. Of course the gnocchi isn't close to as good as Palena's, but really, it's pretty good. It's a little more expensive than your average lunch destination, but on the other hand the food there is much better than your average lunch spot so it's worth it. I had a couple glasses of wine and we just hung out at the bar for a little bit and talked.

By now it was around 5:30 pm. Amy had a sunburn (pregnancy makes you more susceptible to sunburns) and we were both tired from walking around all day. We were also going to a dinner party at our friends that night so we had to go home and get ready. Being lazy and not feeling like walking anymore, we hailed a cab and took it all the way home.

In the end, we still haven't seen the Cherry Blossoms. Oh well, maybe next year.


Outdoor Dining

Ahhh...there's really nothing like having a nice casual dinner at your local restaurant with an outdoor dining area. Yesterday evening, while it was still nice and not raining, I took my wife for a quick dinner at Cafe Ole. It was so beautiful out, I just couldn't help it. I love to go to Cafe Ole, sit outside on their patio and have a glass of wine while eating a few of their Mediterranean tapas. The other place in my neighborhood I like eating outside at is Cafe Deluxe since they have a mighty fine Manhattan - although usually I'm ready for a nap after a couple of those and an hour or so in the sun...whiskey just does that to me.

That's Cleveland Park. In some other neighborhoods...

Adams Morgan has Straits of Malaya. Their rooftop deck is pretty nice and the food is even better.

In Georgetown you have Zed's, which I have yet to write a review of, but I certainly think their Ethiopian is the best in the city.

Downtown, you don't really have many choices. I'm totally blanking right now...bah!

I didn't have my most favorite meal there, but in Dupont Circle, Firefly has a nice outside terrace for dining.

Let's see, what else is there...

Bethesda...I remember after I saw Bend It Like Beckham with my wife at the Landmark Theater, I had an enormous hankerin' for Indian food so we went to Dhelhi Dhaba and we ate outside on the sidewalk. That really hit the spot!

Where do all of you like to go in your neighborhoods?

I really hope it's nice this weekend so I can eat outside some more.