Thursday, August 27, 2009

Eating my way through D.C.

I love food.  This, of course, is glaringly obvious to anyone who has known me more than five minutes...well, hopefully a little longer than that.  I wax nostalgic about Texas food, dream about touring America's ballparks simply for their culinary offerings, and bake boozy cupcakes (need to get back on that bandwagon, by the way - coworkers have actually been stopping by, asking where the cupcakes have gone.  Do they actually appreciate them, or are they just out for an afternoon sugar rush and anything will do...I'm guessing option #2, but I'll humor them).  I tend to gaze adoringly at desserts, often without even thinking about it, and I'll order the mystery meat charcuterie platter in a Parisian café without giving it a second thought.

Here inside the Beltway, Washingtonian magazine annually entices the area population with a 100 Best Restaurants list, which covers not just D.C. but a chunk of Northern Virginia and a slice of Maryland that hangs out north of city.  Now, the list is completely subjective, and I wouldn't be surprised if several of the restaurants shell out some key dollars and over-the-top meals to the five Washingtonian employees who dictate their presence and position on the list.  However, I'm a sucker for it, and since most of the recommendations showcase an actual experience at the restaurant, I'll take it for what it's worth and try out at least a few.  I even have a +1 in these food adventures in Dana, she of the NYC dining scene who loves food almost as much as I do.

Now, it would be prohibitively expensive for me to dine at every one of these restaurants, although some of them are actually quite reasonably priced.  That's why I look forward to Restaurant Week the way fashionistas revere Fashion Week.  Fairly reasonably priced meals at the schmancy restaurants.  Sign me up, yes, please.  Last night Dana and I treated ourselves to dinner at Bistro Bis, a French restaurant on Capitol Hill that comes in at #22 on the list.  It was delicious, and I felt like they didn't shortchange us for coming in during Restaurant Week.  We could pick any dessert off the menu!!  They didn't just force some sorbet on us, for which I was extremely grateful as I devoured every last bite of my summer berry bread pudding with crème anglaise.  I'm really not sure how I managed to eat all of it since I'd already consumed the vast majority of my steak tartare (who knew raw meat could be so appealing and tasty?  It was a first for me - I'm all about trying new things), duck leg with toulouse duck sausage and a tomato concassé, and several bites of Dana's spicy mussels.

I've also made it to BLT Steak, Rasika, 2 Amys, Zaytinya, Jaleo, Brasserie Beck, Leopold's, DC Coast, Acadiana, and Liberty Tavern.  So...11 down.  Hmmm.  I really don't think I'm going to make it through all 100.  However, now that Bryan Voltaggio is gracing the airwaves on this season of Top Chef, of which I am a complete addict, I'll probably be making the journey to Frederick, MD* with fellow Top Chef junkie Dana to check out his restaurant, Volt...#15 on the list.  Oh, to be the person who gets to eat their way around town and rank restaurants.  Probably best for my arteries and waistline if I don't land that gig.

*Ok, so I just pulled up Frederick, MD on Google maps and...and this man's restaurant is 49 miles from my home.  Which in traffic could really stink.  It's on par with a trip to Baltimore.  But...maybe Frederick is adorable and worth the trip!  We'll see...

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