D.C. Photos 4/16-4/23/22

A few more photos from our DC trip a couple of weeks ago.

We ended up having dinner in the hotel bar a couple of times, and the food was actually pretty good. The crispy pork belly bao were great, as a matter of fact. The charcuterie board was nothing amazing, but it was our last night in DC, we were tired, and everything was tasty if unremarkable.

That same day, we also had lunch at Mikko, a little Scandinavian cafe that was a short walk from the hotel. From that website, I was sort of expecting a fancy European restuarant, but it was a small walk-in with a couple of tables inside and on the sidewalk. We sat outdoors, since it was a very nice day. I had the Skagen, an open-faced shrimp salad sandwich. We also shared a bowl of the mushroom soup. The soup thoroughly exceeded my expectations. It was a thick puree rather than a creamy or brothy soup, full of deep mushroom flavor and almost nothing else.

We had a hard time finding food tours in DC. I don’t know if the pandemic killed hem off, or if it’s just not a thing there. There were only a couple we could find online: one that took people through the U Street neighborhood and focused on the Black ethnic cuisines there (Ethiopian and Jamaican, mainly), and one in Georgetown. We opted for the Georgetown tour, though I am sure we would have enjoyed either. We met up at District Doughnut and then very briskly walked through the gorgeous neighborhood, stopping at several spots that were involved in JFK’s time there pre-presidency. We enjoyed an excellent falafel from Falafel Inc., had the meatloaf special at the famous Martin’s Tavern, and a creme brulee at a newer restaurant whose name I now forget. Overall, the tour did not live up to some of our previous food tour experiences, but it was nice to walk around the neighborhood and sample some local favorites.

Somehow, when I posted the photos from Albi last week, I managed to forget to include the dessert tray, so I have added it here. Tiny little bites of wonder to finish off such a memorable meal. The baklava was especially good.

New Year’s Eve 12/31/21

New Year’s Eve buffet

Our New Year’s Eve tradition for a while now has been to put together a buffet of assorted small bites – meats and cheeses, fruit, olives, sweets, and such – plus champagne or prosecco.

Caviar is sometimes part of the feast as well. Usually we cheap out and buy the inexpensive whitefish caviar that you can find at Whole Foods, or even sometimes at a “normal” supermarket. This year, I decided we deserved a little splurge, so I ordered a very small tin of very good caviar from a company I found online. Not the most expensive stuff on offer, but still about a hundred bucks for a 1.75-ounce tin. For a once-a-year treat, that didn’t seem unreasonable. And it did indeed turn out to be an improvement over the supermarket variety. The flavor is a lot more subtle, and the texture a lot silkier. We don’t always finish the jar of the whitefish caviar, but we ate every last little egg in this tin.

As I mentioned previously, there was enough cheese left over from our last visit to The Cheese Shop of Salem to cover New Year’s Eve as well, plus my brother and his wife gave us a Christmas gift of a new cheese board plus some cheese and crackeds to go with. So the cheese tray consisted of Garrotxa, Shropshire blue, Brabander, Port Salut, Kerrygold Dubliner (an Irish take on Cheddar), some herbed goat cheese, and also some pimento cheese spread my wife likes. We also had some left over Wagyu bresaola, cornichons, olives, and pickled red onion.

Rounding out the savory selection was shrimp with cocktail sauce. For fruit we had mandarin oranges and grapes. The sweets included some chocolate-covered almonds, “Katzenzungen” (“kitten tongue”) chocolates, Lindt milk chocolate balls, torrone, and some Walker’s shortbread.

Yes, you’re right, that IS a lot of food for three people, and we came nowhere near finishing all of it.

Lunch 12/11/21

Charcuterie plate

One of my favorite things to do for lunch at home is to make up a charcuterie plate with a variety of meat and cheese. These days I try to buy the food from the local cheese shop (since there is, in fact, a lovely little cheese shop in our city), but have also procured similar fixings from Whole Foods, or even the ordinary supermarket.

The cheeses on this plate were a Shropshire Blue (the yellow one in the photo), a Brabander, and a Garrotxa. Both the Brabander and the Garroxta are made with goat milk, but they were not “goat cheese” in the style of Chevre. Brabander is a kind of Gouda from the Netherlands, super buttery and creamy. Garrotxa is from Catalonia and is earthy and a little acidic.

To go with the cheese, there’s some very thinly sliced Wagyu beef bresaola, and a locally-made Genoa salami. The salami looks a bit more like bologna in this photo thatn maybe what one usually sees, but has the same taste profile. The bresaola is salt-and-air cured like prosciutto, intensifying the flavor of the beef.

To round out the plate, there’s some cornichons, pickled red onion, and mixed Spanish olives (most of which are being obscured by the big slice of Brabander). Plus some baguette slices. And the best part is that I still have enough of all of these things (except the bread) to have some again, probably for New Year’s Eve.