Months and months ago, I stumbled upon this post on local foodie blog The Arugula Files. In the post, Mary reviews New York’s Blue Hill at Stone Creek restaurant, describing the highlights of her meal. She writes, “Because of the drive (five hours from DC), I probably won’t go back to Blue Hill, but I’ll food dream® about that egg forever.” And then it clicked, food dream was the perfect name for the feeling I get about certain food dishes that I eat and then look back on wistfully.
To qualify as a dish that makes me food dream, I actually have to, at some point, look back on that dish and sigh, wishing I had it. It’s a combination of longing + craving, I think. I realize not a whole lot of people feel this strongly about food, but those who do, know this exact feeling. And with my busy eating schedule (hey, at least three times a day!) I run into a reasonable amount of dishes each month that make me food dream. So I thought it would be fun to share all the dishes I’ve had this month that I’m currently food dreaming about, from start to finish, opening cocktail to dessert. So, for what it’s worth, here is the month of May in Katie’s food dreams.
Cocktail: The Magic Mojito at Cafe Atlantico will set you back $11, but I promise it is well worth it. Sommelier and mixologist Jill Zimorski has crafted an incredibly fancy house special mojito that is brought to your table in a shaker, and then poured over actual cotton candy. The flavors are bright, the drink is fresh, and the cotton candy and sliced limes make for a decident drink that I wished would never end.
Bread Basket: If you follow my food eating at all on this blog, you know I feel very strongly about bread baskets. VERY STRONGLY. Like I’ve explained before, the bread basket sets the tone for a meal. I don’t count it as a free throw-away, I count it as a meaningful demonstration of skill, like the opening note of a meal. The bread basket at Jackson 20 in Old Town, Alexandria contains two types of bread, a house-made corn muffin that is based on the Chef De Cuisine’s Mother’s recipe, and the second one is a Monticello roll, (made in-house as well). The Monticello roll was my favorite, it is a potato-based bread that is based off a recipe originally served at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello home. The butter that comes with the basket is salted maple butter that they whip in-house. I’ll say that again, just so you can get the full effect: SALTED MAPLE BUTTER. That’s right, like honey butter, but with oomph.
Appetizer: I ate lunch at Potenza recently, and had the Polipetti Carbonizza (Octopus). For $9, you’re given this little salad of tomato, cucumber, house-made croutons (remember they bake their own bread, too, and croutons are bread’s babies) topped with Charred octopus. I’m not talking calamari squid, I’m talking octopus tentacles, plump and pink, charred black along the edges. While this could (some may say should) be scary, it is not scary, it is crave-worthy delicious. I’m not lying, I’ll bet you $9 you’ll like it.
Soup: I headed to Ardeo earlier this month to try the middle plates (love the skirt steak, good mashed potatoes with it, just fyi) and wound up falling unexpectedly in love with the Spring Carrot Soup with tarragon crème fraiche. For $8 you can snag this little cup of golden deliciousness. The fresh peas are hidden in the bottom and add unexpected pop for texture. I generally hate peas, as company policy, but loved these. Testament to doing it right.
Main Course: The White Pie at Rustico is so worthy of being my food dream main. The dough, topped with provolone, pecorino, mozzarella, fresh ricotta and basil pesto is one of my all time favorite pizzas in the city. The size is perfect to share (but not with too many people, you need to get yours) and you can smell the pesto as it approaches your table. It’ll set you back $11 at lunch, $13 at dinner.
Dessert: I cannot cannot get CommonWealth‘s Sticky Toffee Pudding off of my mind, I’m not kidding. Jackson 20’s blueberry cobbler was a distant second, which doesn’t discount it, it just tells you how good this pudding is, cause that cobbler is also scrumptious. But this Sticky Toffee Pudding is worth it’s weight in Metro fare. Drowning in caramel toffee, with a warm, moist cake, it is so effing good. I just can’t get enough. Boys, there are two ways to my heart: cheese plates and this sticky toffee pudding. End of story.
So what about you, what were your favorite dishes of May? Anything you can’t stop craving?