Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Weekend in Washington

I was in our nation's capital recently visiting my friend Anne, who left NYC for greener pastures (or more trees, anyway) last year. My dear pal gamely oriented me to the city, explaining its layout and basics. Naturally, I grilled her on what foods are quintessentially "DC." Understandably at a loss, she checked her Eyewitness Guide, but its suggestions, while mildly interesting, were generally lukewarm and included Caesar Salad and southern breakfast foods like grits. Not really in full food discovery mode anyway, I let Anne guide me, and wound up with some delicious meals.

She'd reserved us a table for Friday night at Petit Plats, a French bistro a few blocks away from her Woodley Park apartment. It was a lovely restaurant in a converted townhouse, with four (!) fireplaces and a French-speaking host, whose little daughter was doing her homework at the bar and chatting with Maman about le week-end. The pureed vegetable soup was excellent; it was followed by a classic herb-roasted chicken with french fries. Aside from the portions (which were huge), it was a très French meal and the perfect spot for us girls to catch up.

Saturday evening found us in Georgetown, where Anne and I did some pre-dinner shopping (including a stop at a great cosmetics shop called Blue Mercury, where I somehow got talked into getting a makeover). Made up in full Trish McEvoy fabulousness I stunned the crowd at Clyde's of Georgetown, a bar/restaurant established in 1963. Frommer's says Clydes is a hangout for "university students, Capitol Hill types, affluent professionals, Washington Redskins, romantic duos, and well-heeled ladies who lunch"--or dine, as the case may be. We started with a crab and artichoke dip (served with French bread) that had ample bites of both ingredients. I followed this with a burger with sauteed mushrooms that ruled. It was delicious. After dinner we progressed to another local watering hole, Martin's Tavern, which may or may not have been the place where young congressman John F. Kennedy proposed to journalist Jacqueline Bouvier (a guide to the restaurant's famous clientele, which was in a small frame on the bar, was rather unclear, and after a few glasses of wine we had some difficulty following it). Nonetheless, Martin's is a fine establishment with a homey vibe and good drinks.

But Caesar and grits, listen up: I'll be back.--S

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