Over the past few months, my lovely wife and I have enjoyed the opportunity to travel to our Nation’s capitol on a few occasions. This was not in conjunction with the signing of the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution, or anything like that. It had nothing to do with the Presidential Election. Well, the good news. DC is not a swamp, and it will not be drained anytime soon. When in DC we noticed a lot of busy people, going about their work, minding their own business, and trying the make the country prosper. But, we enjoyed attending a couple of events at The Kennedy Center and dining in the area on a few occasions celebrating our Anniversary and Brenda’s Birthday. Our first dining experience was at Rasika West End. I have not reviewed it but others have including Tom Sietsema of the Washington Post. Here is what he says in giving Rasika Four Stars.
“Ashok Bajaj runs the two best modern Indian restaurants in the country, so where to go from there? Up, up and away in the case of Rasika in Penn Quarter and the younger Rasika West End. Poised to turn 10 in December, the original went under the knife in July and emerged $500,000 later with a plusher lounge and a better chance to eavesdrop, thanks to subtle soundproofing in its main dining room.
In a contest, Rasika in Penn Quarter wins my appetite and my affection, possibly because we’ve known each other for ages, but definitely because the food, by the masterful Vikram Sunderam, never fails to dazzle me. His duck vindaloo with red coconut rice resonates with vinegar and masala. Broccoli with mustard seeds, ginger and shaved coconut makes for a novel way to eat your greens, and who knew that quinoa, tapioca, cumin and pine nuts could add up to such a rousing appetizer? Rasika’s breads are the flakiest; its Indian desserts, the most delightful. Kulfi rolled in candied pistachios and served on a stick is ice cream that brings out the kid in us all.
The restaurant, which takes its name from Sanskrit (“flavors”) and counts a dedicated sommelier, is so trusted by the powers that be that it won the honor of cooking lunch for India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, during a state visit last year. A bridge between two cultures, the tower of chickpea-gold lasagna layered with ratatouille and circled with spiced yogurt was designed with a vegetarian dignitary in mind. Now it can be yours, for $16, at one of Washington’s all-stars.”
So, dear friends, if you truly want outstanding Indian food, head to D.C. and go to Raskia or Rasika West End. You will not be disappointed, surprised perhaps, but not disappointed.
For our Anniversary, I chose to go to Fiola Mare, the seafood sister of the Michelin One Star restaurant in D.C., Fiola by Fabio Trabocchi. We have been to Fiola twice and absolutely enjoyed the experience each time. Tom Sietsema had raved about Fiola Mare. Alas, we were disappointed, not with the food or the service, but with our table in Siberia. Here is my review on TripAdvisor:
“My wife and I were truly anticipating our anniversary dinner at Fiola Mare. I had made reservations well in advance but upon arrival were escorted to a side room off the bar, we complained and were then taken to another table, again close to another bar. That being said, the food was outstanding and the service impeccable. You could not ask for better dining options for seafood lovers. The under the sea crudo, the gnocchi, and our entree choices were superb. Just make sure when you make your reservations you request the main dining room, otherwise you will not be pleased.” Note, the picture below was not our table.
Bottom line, if you enjoy excellent Italian food, try Fiola. If you go to Fiola Mare, go during the daylight savings hour months so that you can enjoy the food and the views of the Potomac – but make sure you request a table not in Siberia.
So, for Brenda’s birthday in November we headed to the Kennedy Center to see the Cincinnati Ballet’s Nutcracker performance. After researching places that were within walking distance, I chose to take here to brunch at Blue Duck Tavern which recently received one star from Michelin. Here is my review on Open Table:
“This was our first venture to Blue Duck Tavern but it will definitely not be our last. BDT contacted me to inquire if the Brunch was a special occasion. It was my wife’s birthday. So, when we arrived they had menus printed with Happy Birthday. Our waiter, Andres was absolutely fantastic in his service and efficiency. I started with the bone marrow which was superb followed by the BDT benedict (smoked trout rillet, horseradish cream, brussel slaw, pumpernickel bread, with perfectly poached eggs). My wife had the house cured salmon with a side of crispy brussel sprouts. The BDT benedict was the best I’ve ever had and my wife’s salmon was the best since we traveled to Ireland this past year. So, food, wonderful; Service, outstanding; ambiance, very nice.”
Having spent so much time in D.C. over the past few months, we decided to go to a couple of places we had not explored including the Eastern Market and the Craft Show at The Armory. Eastern Market is THE open air (and indoor) market for Washington. There you can find produce, meats, fish, crafts, cheese, and fun. Each time we went we were able to find adequate parking nearby and then an abundance of products from which to choose. You can even enjoy lunch while you shop. Here is a picture of the indoor pavilion.
Here are some pictures from the American Fine Craft Show in 2016. It will be held this coming year, 2017, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City sometime in the middle of October. Will advise later.
So, while we have not traveled to Europe or the Far East recently, we have been busy with birthdays, attending shows, and eating well.