Washington DC

I had forgotten that Washington DC is truly an international city until I took that first bite of dinner our first night there. We weren’t in a quaint Georgetown eatery. We were transported to Spain in a crimson and black restaurant pulsating with the music of flamenco dancers as food was served on small plates. Dinner was a parade of rich seafood and tasty vegetable dishes washed down with goblets brimming with sangria and fruit. La Bodega marked our first night. (See the details below for what we ordered for all three meals.)

The second night took us to India, where pungent curries and spicy stews greeted us at the doors of Rasika. The waiter assured me that the Chicken Tikka Masaala really wasn’t spicy. I begged to differ as I dove for a glass of ice water, though it was good.

 

Alas, I saved the best for last. Zaytinya, a Greek/Turkish restaurant, was simply amazing. The steady parade of dishes were mouth watering. From the piping hot, fresh pita delivered with a tray of three savory spreads, to the platters of lamb, vegetarian dishes and don’t even get me started on the dessert: fresh apricots marinated in liquor topped with creamy yogurt, a dollop of rich ice cream and crusted with pistachios. You would really have to taste it to believe it.

Zaytinya was created and is directed by celebrity chef Jose Andres, host of the PBS cooking show “Made in Spain,” author of numerous cookbooks, creator of many of DC’s most innovative restaurants and czar of a food empire. Yet, he was both humble and friendly as he stopped to chat with all the dinner guests and shake our hands. I was a bit starstruck!

The details — If you are in Washington DC and want to visit these restaurants, here is what we ordered and would recommend.
La Bodega: Sopa de Pescado con Fideos (Traditional Seafood Broth with Clams, Mussels and Fideo Noodles), Sopa de Lentejas  (Lentil Soup With Chorizo Sausage), Ensalada de Peras y Nueces (Field Green Salad With Pears, Walnuts & Goat Cheese In A Light Honey Vinaigrette), Tortilla Espanola, Spanish Tortilla (Potato, Onion & Egg Omelet), Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp Saute?ed in Garlic, Piri-Piri Pepper & Crismona Olive Oil)

Rasika: Naan (traditional Indian bread), Chicken Tikka Masaala (a flavorful chicken stew served with rice), Lamb Roganjosh (a lamb stew with curry and chilies served with rice), with a side dish of Eggplant Kozambu (eggplant, tomatoes and curry)

Zaytinya: Pita with three spreads (htipiti — marinated roasted red pepper, feta and thyme; hummus and Tzatziki — Greek yogurt with cucumbers and dill), Crispy Brussel Afelia (crispy brussel sprouts with spices and garlic yogurt), Hunkar Begendi (Turkish braised lamb shank with spices) and for dessert, marinated apricots with yogurt, ice cream and a pistachio crust.

 

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