Photo Credit: Michael Harlan Turkell
I love throwing dinner parties. In my head, they always turn out like the cover of Bon Appetit and there’s always enough delicious food and the wine is perfect and everyone is happy. But in actuality, the food is pretty okay, it never is all ready at the same time, and I usually forget to put forks on the table. I always just assumed that the perfect dinner party was in the same category as unicorns and leprechauns, but Poste Roast proves that is not the case.
Poste Roast is a genius special event put on by the fine folks at Poste Moderne Brasserie in the Hotel Monaco. It’s part pig roast and part elegant dinner party. I admittedly didn’t really know what to expect when I forced seven of my closest friends to give over full control of their dinner and wallets to me that night, but I thought it was bound to be something memorable.
A few weeks back I was in the midst of plotting our 14th wedding anniversary. Usually we take a trip, but this year due to economy and employment, we decided to “stay in” town and dine. But where?
I was reminded by a passing acquaintance that the Jefferson was re-opening during that time, including Plume, the hotel’s restaurant offering. So I quickly set up a reservation for dinner and prepared for another fine dining experience in DC. Especially after Jenn and Catherine had enjoyed their first look at the place.
What we had that night was not just a dining experience, it was dining heaven.
Willow Bar & Restaurant by Addison H on Flickr
I have been known to insult Ballston from time to time. I have a deep fond love of Arlington, but Ballston seems to me to be all high rises, chain restaurants and it’s kinda got a mall. But places like Willow make me take it all back. Tucked in the bottom level of an office building, Willow is a gem of a restaurant with fresh, local, sophisticated food and perfect service.
I’ve become a regular at Willow. I’ve taken my friends, my parents, I’ve gone there for drinks, for restaurant week dinners. I basically love it for it’s calm refined atmosphere and unblemished menu. The crowd errs on the slightly old to very old side, I see some grey hair every time I go. But then again I’m never there for a scene, so this has never bothered me – if I wanted a scene in Arlington I’d go to Eventide or Liberty Tavern. I come to Willow to take a deep breath. Continue reading
courtesy of ‘Erica Wissolik’
Marvin is #100 on Washingtonian’s Best Of list. I thought I should put it out there in front, just because in my mind, it sums up Marvin. It’s not #10 and it’s not even in the top 50, but it’s still a choice pick. Plus, people’s opinions of it, even on our We Love DC authors list serve, vary considerably. Some people believe it to be a hidden gem (not so much on the hidden part any more) and some people consider it totally crap. Me? Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s #100. A neighborhood joint with above-average food, a rooftop deck, and some excellent fried chicken.
Marvin, named after DC native Marvin Gaye, is at the intersection of 14th and U. Thanks to the savvy folks behind Eighteenth Street Lounge, The Gibson and Local 16, Marvin is both a bar hot spot and a tasty evening dining destination. The menu pairs southern with Belgian, and has a little something for everyone. On a recent pilgrimage to The Gibson for an after-work drink, a friend and I stopped by Marvin for dinner and had a mostly pleasant experience. Continue reading
Firefly, courtesy of Me
Firefly‘s gotten a lot of mention around here but we’ve never done a comprehensive review. When I had to pick a place to meet an out-of-town friend who was staying off Scott Circle, Firefly seemed like a no-brainer selection. My darling wife and I met her and another dining companion on a Thursday night expecting a highly enjoyable experience.
We did not get exactly what we expected.
Known as one of the best happy hours in the northern Metro area, Black’s Bar & Kitchen is situated a few blocks from the Bethesda Metro station. WLDC author Acacia and I were headed to Bethesda to review Menopause the Musical (which you can read all about) and we decided we could make it a double feature – a We Love Arts and a We Love Food, all in one trip. I would recommend you replicate our Bethesda trip, I enjoyed the play, but I will probably look back with even more fondness on our eats.
We stepped into Black’s and basically halted, it was absolutely packed. The interior is sleek, stylish and clean. The bar features two and four-seater booths are built into the back wall with a few free standing tables between the booths and the bar. Large windows look out onto Woodmont Ave. and the patio featuring a small modern pond. We couldn’t find a seat in the bar area, and it was one of those pre-spring days too chilly to sit outside, but we had plenty of time to waste before the show so we decided to wait it out. Soon thereafter a table opened up, but the wait gave us time to survey the crowd. Around 6 p.m., we were bringing down the median age – it was mostly a 35-55 aged crowd, complete with power suits and ties. But by the time we left around 7:15, the average age had lowered considerably, and there were plenty more jeans and after-work twenty-somethings mixed in the crowd.
Black’s is also an oyster bar, with the goods laid out on display when you walk in the door. I was eager to try the seafood, so we grabbed beers and gave our order. Continue reading
‘Kramerbooks Glass House’
courtesy of ‘Wahig’
There are days in DC that I forget we are in a recession. Last Sunday’s brunch at Kramerbooks & Afterwords was one of them. The book shop was stuffed full with people, and every table was filled, the air abuzz with excitement for spring. I was worried that the wait for two would be at least an hour when we walked in, but we actually only waited for 15 minutes! Afterwords Cafe has lots of little parts, the glass house, the outdoor patio, the upstairs – they take advantage of not a lot of space, and stuff it full with people.
Kramerbooks is definitely a DC institution, ranking up there with Ben’s Chili Bowl and the Brickskeller as a place everyone has been at some point while living in the city. I actually had not, but was eagerly awaiting checking out both the bookstore and the cafe – I had heard mixed reviews, from horrible to mediocre, to a favorite. I was ready to decide for myself. So… the food? Well… you’ll find out after the break.
courtesy of ‘Ghost_Bear’
Situated on Farragut Square in the Downtown corridor, Equinox is unassuming on the outside. With a glassed-in atrium, it looks like it was once a lunch eatery or an after-work bar spot that has been transformed, to the best of an interior decorator’s ability, to an upscale dining room. After having a wonderful time at Equinox in the fall, partaking in the fall happy hour, I was dying to try Equinox for a full meal, and Valentine’s Day was the perfect excuse.
We were sat, and the meal started out with bread. I love bread – it has the potential to set the tone for the entire meal. Bread can be a warm welcome, a fabulous place for a meal to start, and unfortunately Equinox’s bread fell flat. Well, not the bread so much as the hummus that came with it. I’m a big fan of interesting spreads (hello, honey butter, yogurt dill cheese or herb butter) and so I was excited to try the hummus that came with a pastry puff bread and some sort of fruit and herb bread slices. It was bland. It was mostly tasteless, with sort of a weird aftertaste. I tried it with or without the bread, and have to say, that hummus was a mistake for the chef to send out. I could have gotten better hummus at Trader Joe’s. But luckily, the hummus was the worst part of the entire meal, and everything just got better from there. Continue reading
courtesy of ‘christaki’
2941 is a lot of things. Gorgeous: with high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows. Delicious: From a beef tartare amuse bouche to a delicious lemon dessert our meal was rich, creative and certainly french-nouveau. It was also Expensive. Capital E. Matt first took me to 2941 for my birthday, we heard great things about Anthony Chavez’s pastries and headed over for wine and dessert. That alone was a bajillion dollars, so we were hesitant to try dinner there, knowing tasting menus ranged from $55 to over $120 per person. We’re meager young professionals, trying to live off a lobbyist/PR and a teacher salary, folks. So when we heard word 2491 was having a $44 tasting menu in honor of Obama, we rushed to make reservations to finally taste Chef Chemel’s actual dinner food.
I believe I’ve already shared with everyone that I’m a regular reader of the local dc foodie blog Metrocurean. Matt and I were looking for a good date spot to celebrate Christmas together before I head home for the holidays, so I turned to Metrocurean’s “date spot” recommendations. Metrocurean author Amanda suggested a bunch of places I’ve been before, but one I’d never even heard of, Little Fountain Cafe. It’s getting pretty hard to stump me when it comes to good eats in this city. Between writing for WLDC and spending lots of time researching this town, most of the time I’ve at least HEARD of a place if it’s worth anything. But this one was new. A little googling, and an online reservation later, Matt and I were booked, and I was super excited. Everything I had read about said we were in for a treat.
Little Fountain Cafe is located on 18th street, right in the bustle of Adam’s Morgan. In the english basement below Angles Bar, Little Fountain is a hidden gem.
"Wall at Vermilion" by jenn larsen, on Flickr
“Mmmm…” a friend sighed contentedly into her glass of hot buttered rum, “liquor pie…”
Brunch with the girls at Vermilion on a chilly afternoon was a mellow affair, lingering over hot toddies in the brick-walled upstairs room. With the place almost all to ourselves, we curled into a corner table and indulged to celebrate a birthday.
Vermilion serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00am – 2:30am, with an eclectic menu that ranges from eggs and french toast to scallops and bifteki. The hot drinks were especially welcome, as was the laid-back service allowing us to savor everything without feeling rushed. And of course, any place that serves lamb sausage ranks high on my happy meter. Continue reading
The stretch of 9th from U Street to the Convention Center makes for an interesting walk. It’s a very exciting time to live close by, with development evolving in a truly organic way. From the Little Ethiopia of Etete, Chez Hareg, Habesha Market and Queen of Sheba, to glorious grimy dive DC9, past the beautiful boys at BeBar, vegetarian haven Vegetate, on down to the weirdness of the Convention Center’s cold empty glass. All along are pockets of blight, boarded up houses mostly owned by Shiloh Baptist Church.
On this fascinating street has dropped 1905, a small second floor bistro. The vibe is rather like visiting a quirky friend’s dinner party, whose decorating style is rustic opulence on a budget. On weekdays it’s a relaxing spot for a quiet candlelit meal or drinks at the cosy bar. On weekends the communal table ramps up and it’s far livelier, with live jazz on Thursdays at 10pm. Whichever you prefer, the staff is committed to making sure everyone has a good experience and keeps a friendly atmosphere.
The menu features kicked-up bistro and comfort food with a French twist. Like the space, it’s small, and I wonder if it will change seasonally. The standout for me is the “Grilled Merquez with Polenta and Piquillo Peppers.” I’ve had it twice and it will be hard not to have every time. Having comforting polenta and spicy lamb sausage together – well, it’s like kissing a shy boy and finding out he is a bad boy. Seriously, that’s my metaphor and I’m sticking to it. Continue reading