First off, thanks to everyone who offered suggestions on restaurants, and on where to get a decent cup of coffee.
I had a wonderful time in Washington, and while all the meals were good, the final dinner at Komi was a home run.
On to the meals:
We were staying at the Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue, and didn't get in the first night until 10:45. At that point, the sportsbar in the hotel was closing at 11, and my husband was grumpy and not inclined to wander, so we stayed at the hotel. I figured the hamburger would be a safe bet, and it was: full-flavored, cooked medium rare as requested, and with an army of shoestring fries that were hot and crispy. So..we got a lucky break on the 1st night for $10 each.
Tuesday was my first full day for exploring, and I walked all over downtown, and managed to twist my ankle around 4:00 in the afternoon. After icing it at the local Starbucks (OK, I now have to change my attitude about chains) and a glass of wine at the hotel, we hobbled over to Ten Penh down the street. We had called, and they had said they were full, and we could eat at the bar. But when we arrived, they managed to find a table for us, and we had a great server at first, although the service fell off as the meal progressed. I loved the setting; my husband really liked the food, but I think the entrees were much better than the appetizers and desserts. For first courses, we had the curried crab calkes and the spicy tuna tempura roll. The crab was lukewarm, and the roll looked like it had been sitting for a while. Main courses, however, were delicious. He tried the fried pickled ginger panko crusted tuna on a seaweed salad, and I had the tamarind glazed chilean seabass (non pc). It was served with a buckwheat soba noodle seaweed salad cake, which was a little heavy, and a wonderful red bell pepper sambal, which really worked with the fish. Dessert was not memorable. The meal was $160 with tip.
Wednesday, I was again on my own, and after visiting the Textile Museum, tried Johnny's Half Shell for lunch. They put me in the window as a sole diner, which was great for people watching and overhearing conversations (who was that famous author next to me who had the smoked trout?). I had the gumbo, and it was everything gumbo should be....great base, spicy, and nice and hot. I then wandered the neighborhood, and had a cap at Sette at the bar, and decided to return for dinner sometime during the week.
Wednesday night, after the Spy Museum, we went to Jaleo, right around the corner. I was really looking forward to this place, particularly since it was flamenco night. Turned out to be way too noisy, so even though the food was good, the amiance didn't work for us. My husband haad the Catalan flat bread, a little too greasy, and I tried the soft shell crab with a tomato, olive, and caper salad. Loved the salad, but crab was just ok, too tough. The skewers of grilled chorizo and the pimentos del piquillo stuffed with goat cheese and mushrooms reminded me of Spain. But we couldn't get our servers attention to get another glass of wine and more food, so we escaped.
Thursday, after a day at Gettysburg, and an evening at the Phillips, we sat out at Sette's outdoor patio, and fully enjoyed the first day without rain, and the wonderful sunset. The meal was a winner on the pizza front. We started with a fennel artichoke salad for me that was a little dry, but tasted of summer. He had the tomato basil mozarella salad; small, but sublime mozarella. The pizza with broccoli rabe and sausage was perfectly spiced, with a great crust. Only letdown was the dessert: dry cheesecake and a hot chocolate cake that wasn't hot. But the latte and cap were the best of the trip.
Friday, we ended up at a place in Chinatown after seeing Star Wars...sorry, don't have the name. Great chicken with vegetables, spicy fried shrimp.....all for about $15.00.
The great meal of the trip was our last night at Komi. I had made reservations a month before, and if I had a place like this in San Francisco, I'd be there once a month. The room is minimal in a very positive sense, and the servers, all women, were on their game. While we had a main server, anyone who walked by and saw that we were finished with a course, or needed water, would take care of it. I've never seen a staff so finally tuned, and the meal flowed. I started with the mezzethakia, crispy squash blossoms stuffed with cheese, with fava beans and pecorino on the side, and warm olives. The blossoms were perfectly fried and crisp, and the plate was an artistic marvel with the blossoms at the bottom, the olives in the middle, and the fava beans on the top. My husband had the black tagliatelle with heirloom cherry tomatoes, tarama and chive, and he gave me a little taste, which featured homemade pasta, simply but skillfully prepared.
I was torn on the entrees: the roasted quail with foie gras and fig stuffing, with morels, or the speck wrapped white tuna. With help from our server, I chose the quail, and was in heaven when it arrived. Two quail, mounded on top of each other in a kama sutra pose, served with broccoli. This is the dish I would go back for, it was just a perfect marriage, and the quail was moist and tender. Hubby had the strip steak, and while it looked good, I was focused on mine, so can't report on the taste.
Dessers were cherry gelato for him, and a fabulous combo of strawberries and balsamic vinegar in a phyllo crust with cinnamon ice cream for me. My hub had ordered a Barossa dessert wine to end his meal, and they graciously brought my a riesling on the house that they thought would go well with the strawberries. This was one of the best overall food experiences I've had this year. Can't wait to come back and try the rest of the menu.
Thanks again for all the advice, and I still have plenty on my list for the next visit.
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