The long weekend gave me the opportunity to discover Washington DC restaurants. DC has transformed into a foodie paradise since my last visit, and I was excited by the prospect of adventure. Of course there were more good choices, than time.
Rigsby Restaurant DC
The Kimpton Carlyle Hotel Dupont Circle is the perfect destination for an evening arrival. It’s restaurant The Rigsby, a retro supper club, provides the weary traveler with a range of upscale comfort foods and well made cocktails. The Lobster Fra Diavolo has house-made pasta. It’s a satisfying, traditionally Venetian dish. I also like the stuffing in the Stuffed Flounder. The Chesapeake blue crab is the star of the local ingredients in the dish. The most exotic plate I tried was the Rack of Lamb. Accompanied by Spiced Marbled Potatoes with Goat Cheese, it has more fire than traditional steak house sides. I also like the Rigsby cocktails because they are both well-balanced and imaginative. I recommend The Virginia Slim and the Smoke Show .
The National Mall
No visit to DC would be complete without a visit to The Mall. My sightseeing included the Capital, monuments, Smithsonian Museums and the U.S. Botanical Garden. However, long blocks and warm, humid weather bring about the need for refreshment.
I stopped for a snack at Mitsitam Natural Foods Cafe in the National Museum of the American Indian. Voted one of the best museum restaurants by Conde Nast Traveler, the cafe enhances the museum experience by giving visitors the chance to sample the food of the indigenous people of the Americas. I was sorry a large breakfast precluded a meal. Nevertheless fresh fruit smoothies from Mitsitam Espresso Coffee Bar quenched my thirst. I recommend trying the Mango-Banana.
Best Cupcakes in DC
I’m a dessert person. If a city is known for a particular treat, I have to try it. DC has serious contenders in the cupcake wars. Nevertheless, limited time led me to choose just one bakery, the highly regarded Georgetown Cupcake. It did not disappoint. They have a long list of delectable classics and specials every day. I tried the Mocha Fudge, Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter Fudge. Both the cakes and frostings are luscious and delightful.
More DC Restaurants
Although I didn’t have a chance to try Baked & Wired’s famous cupcakes, I enjoyed their sister DC restaurant, A Baked Joint. Located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, the restaurant is famous for their handmade breads, which they make with organic wheat each day. My Biscuit Sammie was just the right balance between a sandwich and a savory breakfast pastry. The Prosciutto sandwich on a baguette and the Meatloaf sandwich on grilled pain de mie are also good.
Jose Andres Restaurants, DC
One of the great pleasures of travel is visiting the restaurants of famous chefs. The establishments of Spanish – American chef, Jose Andres are among the best DC restaurants. Andres trained at Ferran Adria’s el Bulli early in his career. He is often credited with bringing the concept of small plates to the US. Although the chef’s properties now include several concepts, I wanted to try his original Spanish tapas restaurant.
The food at Jaleo is modern Spain. Authentic ingredients simply and elegantly elevate traditional dishes. I found the cocktail menu surprising. It includes a selection of gins and tonics, an inspired innovation, reflecting the appropriateness of the revitalizing drink in a warm climate. Jose’s Choice, a sculptural marvel of gin. lime, lemon and lemon verbena, is a worthy introduction to both the colorful restaurant and its cuisine. I followed that with a selection of cheeses and Spain’s Iberico ham. They simply melt in your mouth. I also tried another favorite, the famous tapas, shrimp sautéed in garlic. It deviates from tradition with a surprising kick of spice. My final choice, grilled house-made pork sausage with sautéed white beans also proved a revelation, with beans both crunchy and toothsome.