The theme of February 2010 was snow. SNOW EVERYWHERE, in flurries, in blizzards, in mounds. Even I was hesitant to head out in the big storm, only making it out once when I made it over to Westend Bistro to sit at The Pass on Sunday night after Round 1 of the storm had settled. Restaurants in our area struggled to stay open, they weren’t able to get wait staff in, shipments of food weren’t making it through the snowy streets, and even if places were open, it wasn’t the same turnover they would normally get on a Friday or Saturday night. It was a tough month – places were hurting after the break, and institutions like Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup ran happy hours this month to make up for it. I’d encourage you to get back out there in March and support your favorite restaurants, they’re hurting, and don’t you need to get out of the house anyways?
But that PSA isn’t what I’m here about. I’m here about all the things I ate in February that I loved. Unfortunately, when you combine being out of commission for 7 days stuck in my apartment, along with February being a short month, and I think I have broken the record for LEAST amount of places eaten in one month. I did much more cooking for myself than letting others cook for me. Luckily, this short month, when I did eat out, was full of DC classics. I was still able to hit a few of my favorites, and wound up with some delicious dishes, regardless of the time constraints.
Where I’ve been: Blue Duck Tavern, Screwtop Wine Bar, Bakeshop, Proof, PS 7′s, Ping Pong Dim Sum, Westend Bistro, Zaytinya, SEI
Cocktail: Lychee Rose Martini at Ping Pong Dim Sum. While I had a miserable experience at Ping Pong a few Fridays ago (the bar was too crowded to sit, the food arrived late, the wait staff was not knowledgeable, and it was super pricey) this cocktail was a beacon of light in an otherwise dim (HA I am so punny) dining experience. So for the record, I’m not a big fan of Ping Pong at the moment, but if you find yourself there against your will (try harder to convince your friends to round the corner to PS 7′s) then the Lychee Rose Martini may very well save your night. It’s made with Bombay Sapphire, rose petals, lemon and lychee juice, and its the perfect pink drink. The rest I’l leave, but the martini, I’ll take.
Bread Basket: Wasabi Guacamole and Wonton Chips at SEI. I had a struggle with breadbaskets this month (I’ve already named Zaytinya’s bread basket to Eat Like Me, or it would have been the clear winner) and so I turn to a not-quite breadbasket (especially since you have to order and pay $9 for it) but the Asian guac and chips at SEI are a fun intro to a meal. The guac is spiked with just enough wasabi (not too much, no clearing of the sinuses) and served with a lime to squeeze over the avocado. The fried wontons are just like big versions of those that come in Chinese take out, and SEI does a good job of refilling the chips.
Appetizer: Cheddar Bacon Bruchetta at Screwtop Wine Bar. I was joking with a friend a while back about how you have to like bacon and cheese to eat at Screwtop. You can’t escape either – the entire menu is built around the two fabulous fatty foods. This appetizer, slices of toasted french bread topped with a cheesy, creamy bacon concoction, combines both into happy bacon cheese oblivion.
Entree: Braised Beef Ribs from Blue Duck Tavern. A true classic from one of DC’s most beloved eateries, the braised ribs at Blue Duck are succulent, savory and gorgeous. While Blue Duck’s interior is super swanky, I also love the focus on sustainability and local sourcing. It’s such an all-around winner: great food, great place, great ingredients.
Dessert: Coupe from Westend Bistro. YOU GUYS. I have a crush. A girlie, all-consuming, all out crush on the coupe at WEB. It is this saucy little minx of a dessert – Chef Joe Palma basically crafted a glorified ice cream sundae served in a bowl together with fresh fruit, lemon custard and sorbet. If all of DC decided coupe was the next big dessert trend for spring and summer I’d be the happiest girl alive. HINT HINT.