Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Foodie Love

As I get older, I find myself more adventurous with food. Maybe it is because of all the cooking shows, but I'm more willing to try new things. So on my recent trip to Washington DC, I made it my mission to seek out good food.

My hotel was in Chinatown which has so many good restaurants. Two blocks of walking and there I was with unlimited choices.

First stop was Red Velvet Cupcakery. This was a spur of the moment decision as I was trying to get my bearings as to which was the correct entrance into the National Portrait Museum and it was just staring at me. I had a devil's food cupcake with a deep chocolate ganache frosting with gold flakes on it. I thought the cupcake was dry and the frosting was thick and chocolatey. I wouldn't get another cupcake here.

That night we went to dinner at Graffiato. I'm a huge Top Chef fan and this is owned by Mike Isabella, who came in 2nd place during the All Stars show season. I knew I had to try the flatbread with pepperoni sauce, since Gail Simmons raved about it on the show. Let me tell you, I was not disappointed. The flatbread was seasoned so well and the sauce, well let's just say there were three of us and we were fighting over the sauce. They had three specials that night so we got all of them. This is a tapas type restaurant which I had never eaten at before. I was a little worried about the specials, but I shouldn't have been. Goat was featured in two of them. First was mousaka with goat. Let me tell you, if goat tastes like this all the time, I need to buy me a farm. WOW!!! My two colleagues were gracious enough to let me finish this one. If it hadn't been served in a cast iron skillet that was blazing hot I may have licked the bowl. It was that good. We also had crispy goat which was good. The third special was pasta with calamari. It was well done but the mousaka just wowed me. We decided to just get a pizza after all the specials and it was very nice. I would highly recommend this restaurant. We started in the bar and then moved upstairs. They were having a wine dinner with a vintner from Italy. That would have been fun to go to too.

We stopped two nights at Zengo, which is located right off the metro stop's escalator in Chinatown. It was happy hour and we had a couple of rounds of drinks. I sticked with mojitos were satisfying after a long day of meetings. It was quite busy the night of the Capitals game but the next night was a Wizards game and it wasn't crowded at all.

Night two was dinner at Legal Seafoods. This is a chain on the East Coast and I know several people who eat here regularly while we are at our meetings. Well they had my favorite wine so I bought a bottle for the table (Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio). I decided to get a combination platter of crab cake, grilled shrimp skewer and grilled scallop skewer. The crab cake was delicious but the shrimp and scallops were a little too grilled for my liking. I probably should have sent them back but it was after 8 when we were eating and I didn't want the other people to have to wait. One of the women got a huge lobster and she demolished it.

Night three was dinner at Zaytinya, the number four restaurant in DC according to Trip Advisor. It is owned by award winning chef Jose Andres. Another tapas style restaurant featuring Greek, Turkish and Lebanese food. Not something we get a lot of in Oklahoma. We each picked out different things to order and share. I understand the concept of tapas as small plates but I thought these plates were ridiculously small. The food was extremely tasty there just wasn't much of it. The first dish was a butternut squash hummus with pumpkin seeds which I neglected to tell my colleagues I was allergic to until it arrived. So I didn't eat any of it. Next we had spanokopita which was the size of an eggroll and there was just one of them. For $9 I expected more. We also had seared halloumi cheese which I've often seen on cooking shows. It is grilled and doesn't melt. Delicious but ONE piece of cheese with some dates/figs around it. For meat/seafood we had a scallop dish and a pork sausage dish. You guessed sausage link that was sliced up and two scallops. The scallops were cooked perfectly but once again so small you only got one bite. By the time I left the restaurant I was still hungry but it was 9pm and seemed silly to stop at McDonald's.

Last place I had to go was Good Stuff Eatery near the Capital. This is owned by another Top Chef alum Spike Mendolhson. It is a burger joint. I got lost getting there (having made one wrong turn) but arrived before the lunch rush. I ordered a cheeseburger, snack fries and drink for $11. In DC that is a good price. The cheeseburger was medium rare, cooked perfectly, juicy with a good bun. The fries had sea salt and fresh thyme on them. I thought they were a tad greasy and not crispy. But I was able to people watch and was very full (quite a difference from the night before). I would recommend this restaurant.

All in all a successful eating adventure (along with my work meetings...the true reason for going). I can't wait for my next trip to continue my quest to eat DC!


  1. That Graffiato restaurant sounds like it was something. You wanted to lick the pan? That is some seriously good food.

  2. That is a pretty fine and well thought out tour of DC restaurants. Nicely done.

    I can tell you, no a one cupcake place here [including the "first" one in Georgetown] does a cupcake well. They are all the consistency that you had. I think it has something to do with the fact that they have to be kept refrigerated per health regulations - that and the fact you pay a pretty penny for a cupcakes for goodness sakes. Not on my radar anytime soon.

    I swear I laughed out loud about the "I need to get me a farm" - That's my girl! I'll farm right beside you. Goats are cool to [just] have, but you are so right. YUM, YUM, YUM.

    I enjoyed this post immensely. Just sorry I couldn't meet up with you and treat you to one of my old haunts in Georgetown. Next year, perhaps?

    Have a great week! Hugs, Skip