Essential DC, Food and Drink, The Features, We Love Food

We Love Food: Et Voila!

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People look at me quizzically when I tell them that one of my favorite restaurants in DC is in the Palisades. Most people give me a little head tilt and say, “I don’t know where that is?” “Yeahhhhh,” I always sigh. “It’s above Georgetown, towards the Potomac. Totally inaccessible, but I SWEAR OMG it is worth the trip up there for Et Voila!”

I’m sorry I’ve kept it to myself this long… I’ve uh…been busy and stuff. Plus the restaurant is super tiny, and if you knew how good it is, you’d be there filling up my seat. Call me selfish, whatever, I can take it. But I’ve finally cracked and the secret is out: Et Voila! is delicious, unpretentious Belgian food, and you should go. Don’t have a car? Get yourself a Zipcar, grab your bike out of hibernation, strap on the rollerblades, call up your ex, do whatever it takes. Even (gasp) take the D6 bus! I mean business.

So all this gushing, but you’re sitting there staring at your computer screen asking what IS Et Voila!, exactly? Located along Macarthur Boulevard, this French/Belgian gem doesn’t look like a whole heck of a lot from the outside. But once inside, I always feel like I’m in London, or even Paris. The wait staff speaks almost exclusively French, and the close, cozy interior always has a buzz about it.

Chef Claudio Pirollo and Pastry Chef Mikael Cornu have built an accessible menu full of well executed classics. Et Voila!’s Web site quips, “Chef Pirollo was named “Best Young Chef in Belgium” in 1994 and served as the personal chef to the Irish Ambassador for the past six years.” And not for naught. The menu, full of staples like mussels, french onion soup, foie gras, is in a word impeccable. The brunch menu isn’t to be taken lightly either – Belgian waffles, of course, but brunch favorites such as eggs benedict with smoked salmon, leek quiche and croque madame come out to play. The quiche has a flakey, buttery savory crust, and every detail right down to the cheese in the quiche shine through. Continue reading

The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: The Palisades

Photo courtesy of
‘dream house, pt. 4′
courtesy of ‘NCinDC’

Welcome to the last Where We Live of 2009!  It’s been a fun year exploring DC’s neighborhoods, and to close out the year I wanted to profile one of the lesser-known neighborhoods in the city: the Palisades.  This neighborhood is beautiful and scenic and has a real sense of community, but because there’s not great transit to the area it is a bit cut off from the rest of the city.  And since it is lesser-known, here’s where it is: it runs along the Potomac River, from the western edge of Georgetown University all the way to the Maryland border.  Read on to see why it’s worth a trip out there!

History: This is another neighborhood that was developed on a streetcar line.  The area was laid out in 1893 by the Palisades Improvement Company, and was developed as a streetcar suburb on the line that connected Georgetown and Glen Echo.  The residential character of the area grew, and by the twentieth century the area was being developed with large homes and estates.  The streetcar line was shut down in 1961, but the prominence of the area grew.  The post-war era attracted developers to fill the area with subdivisions and large homes, and today the Palisades is a mix of houses from many different eras.

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