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.
For the sake of synchronicity, here are the paczki I bought this weekend. Two raspberry, one blueberry, and one glazed. No cream-filled this time.
I posted these on Facebook, and my friend Mig (who lives in Austria) said “Those are Krapfen!” The technical differences between krapfen, paczki, Berliners, and all the other jelly donuts that are made in Europe this time of year are very small. It’s sort of like how every middle eastern cuisine from Greece to India makes some kind of baklava.
My wife and I agree that the raspberry ones from Coffee Time are the best.
Speaking of Lenten doughnut treats, our favorite doughnut shop in Salem, Coffee Time, does paczki this time of year. Because the paczki are so popular, they start early and run past the end of Lent. These paczki come in several fillings, and with or without whipped cream. Weather permitting, I intend to have one for breakfast on Sunday morning.
Maple glazed nuts, marinated olives with pickled red onion, Vermont cheeses, Märzen-style beer
I mentioned our October trip to Vermont yesterday. We stayed at the Hotel Vermont in downtown Burlington for the weekend. Maybe the most Spartan hotel room I have ever stayed in – white walls with no decor, an uncarpeted floor, very little lighting. At least the bed was comfortable and not just a stone slab. Anyway, we weren’t terribly hungry for dinner the first night because we’d stopped for lunch at a barbecue joint on the way, and barbecue sticks with you. So we wandered down to the bar, which clearly wants to be A Scene and got drinks and nibbles to take back to the room.
This turned out to be a much better choice than I expected. The maple-glazed nuts were absolutely delicious. They gave us enough olives and pickled onions that we nibbled on them all weekend, and actually ended up having to throw away some at the end of our stay. The cheese came with some crispy toasts. All in all, it was an excellent meal, when all I had expected was a little nosh.
Sufganiyot (plural for sufganiyah) are a type of jelly donut made for Hanukkah. This one was filled with raspberry jam. The donut shop where I bought it also had ones filled with apricot jam, and apparently they also sometimes have custard filling. This donut shop also makes Polish paczki for Shrove Tuesday. There is a Polish community in town, and this is one of several places that have various Polish delicacies like this.
The Germans call this style of donut a “Berliner”, and I’m sure that most people have heard the story that when John F. Kennedy went to the Berlin Wall and proclaimed “Ich bin ein Berliner!”, he was really saying “I am a jelly donut!” due to a poor translation job, however, sadly, this is just an urban legend.