Thursday, January 20, 2011

I'm in Lurrrvvveee....

Finding a new favorite restaurant is like having a new boyfriend. You have a pretty amazing time together, then, even days after, you can't stop thinking about him, trying to replay the details of what made the last time you saw him so amazing. Then you stalk him on Facebook every day and immediately get upset when you see any girl post on his wall. WAIT, I mean, what? I would never do that...

Anywayz, with that said, it's gotta be known, that I'm pretty sure I'm in lurrvveee. No, not "love," lurve. It's way more serious. He's just my type - fun, stylish... and Italian. His name is Dino.

Through the magic of Restaurant Week, I got the girls together for a night out in Cleveland Park. Upon some investigation on Dino's website, we found out they are BYOB and have free corkage Mon-Wed! We grabbed some bottles from a couple doors down and made our way.

Holy menu - this was lurve at first sight. Not only did they offer their entire menu for RW, but I also had the option to order 2 apps and an entree instead of getting dessert. So many decisions to make... when you see things on a menu like pork belly, bufala cheese, duck fat and whole fish, it makes the swooning that much more intense.

Overall, we all ordered a lot of different things and every.single.thing. was amazing. There menu changes occassionally but I would definitely recommend any of their fish dishes (all local), brussel sprouts and any of their homemade pastas.

Cinghiale pasta with stewed wild boar & pork belly

Whole fish - yes, I ate the eyeballs. LOLZ

Brussel sprouts pan roasted with pork belly. Just like how I like my veggies
Also, the service was fantastic. After a few, ahem, bottles of wine, we referred to their website's claim that for RW they would serve "3 courses plus lots of treats," we (or just me, it's not that important) just kept yelling "treats!" It totally worked because we got at least 3 free courses to share with the table and no one rushed us out when we were clearly all wined up. He doesn't mind that I drink, albeit at times - excessively? LURVE.

Dino
3435 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington DC, 20008
202.686.2966

Friday, January 14, 2011

You're a Hot Mezz(e)

No, no, I am not repeating what I told myself last Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. I'm talking about the latest cuisine to jump on the small plate wagon, mezze. Mezze (pronounced mez-ay) is just like tapas, except Meditteranean flavors ranging from Greek to North African to Middle Eastern. I've gotten to try some really good mezze places lately and thought that in the sharing spirit of small plate eating, I'd give you all a quick rundown.

I mean, you know Jose Andres has been on the mezze tip for a minute and of course he was going to bring it to DC right. Not only is the restaurant super fabulous but the food kills. Formerly run by Top Chef's Mike Isabella, the food here is fresh but is on the pricier side. Don't miss out on the garides me anitho or patates tiganites me yaourti. The flatbreads here are also very good.

Kali's Mezze
During a recent trip to Baltimore my roommate suggested I stop by this cozy restaurant in Fells Point. Good call roomie, cause this place was awesome. The atmosphere was intimate, yet boisterous and the food didn't let me down. Our server recommended the lima beans and surprisingly were my favorite thing from here. (They were HUGE and super fancy, not like the garbage from old school lunches you were picturing). The baby lamb chops and shark fritters were also excellent.

Cava
There are like, 100 of these opening everywhere and I had to find out why. After a visit to the Rockville location, I totes get it. Nom, nom, nom. First off, good portion sizes - definitely the largest out of the three. Liked everything we ordered - disco fries, lamb chops, grilled baby octopus, calamari, htipiti and spicy sausage. For the price, this one's gotta be my front runner, even taking into consideration that now this is technically a chain. Need a quick fix? Most of their cold mezze dips can be purchased at Whole Foods in the area.

Zaytinya
701 9th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
202.638.0800

Kali's Mezze
1606 Thames Street
Baltimore, MD 21231
410.563.7600

Cava
Multiple locations

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mike Isabella's Graffiato

I don't know if you are as obsessed with Top Chef as I am (I mean, I'm not like, obsessed with Bryan Voltaggio or anything) but here's some exciting news. After some rumblings about town, it's official - Mike Isabella, of Top Chef season 6 and currently on Top Chef All-Stars, is opening Graffiato in Penn Quarter.

What he promises to be an homage to his Italian roots, Isabella will be serving up pizzas, pastas, charcuterie and small plates (the latter no doubt ala Jose Andres). Prices also promise to be reasonable in the $10-30 range.

For more info, check out http://graffiatodc.com/.