Monday, February 15, 2010

Zaytinya, Washington DC

Waking up to a little Winter wonderland such as this invokes strong emotions within me. Strong emotions because I knew I had f**kloads of shoveling to do before I could leave the house. Well at least the snow had stopped and the three hours of shoveling worked up quite an appetite to justify another meal.

It wasn't our intention to hit another "tapas" style restaurant the very next day but technically Zaytinya does mezze style dishes which is pretty much er... Middle-Eastern tapas. The food here has strong Greek, Lebanese and Turkish influences which were evident in the flavor and selection of dishes.

Warm pita bread on a cold late morning, most welcomed.

Smooth humus with a generous pour of olive oil, this accompanied the bread very well.

Escargots on a bed of mashed potatoes served with a garlic butter sauce, a tad salty but these were still quite tasty snails.

Now this was very tasty, minced lamb kebab koobideh seared just enough to cook the exterior leaving almost a tartare like raw finish within. Delicious!

The homemade veal sausages were also very good with a surprisingly very snappy casing which pretty much just burst forth with full flavor on every bite.

Crisp pita bread filled with seasoned minced lamb, I could imagine this as a nice snack or sandwich to go, the bread remained nice and crisp despite the juicy mince.

Here's a risoni with grilled chicken and shaved parmesan, this felt a little heavy but that could probably be due to the fact that we were already pretty full before this last savory dish arrived.

Zaytinya's rendition of the Turkish delight. Walnut ice cream with Skotidakis Farm goat’s milk yogurt mousse, honey geleé, orange-caramel sauce and caramelized pine nuts. I'm not a big fan of the typical Turkish delight confectionary (way too sweet for me) but this was a nice refreshing change.

And just to balance up the desserts, here's the Greek yogurt and apricots. Muscat soaked apricots, vanilla yogurt cream, apricot sorbet and pistachio powder. Not bad either.

The almost obligatory Turkish coffee ended the meal.


Monday, February 08, 2010

Jaleo Revisited, Washington DC

Whenever I'm in DC, I make a stop by my favorite Spanish tapas joint, Jaleo. I've reviewed this place before, so I skipped the upload of many repetitious pictures but here are some dishes that I tried for the first time.

A starter of smoked chorizo and pata negra (jamón ibérico de bellota apparently), cured meat of the black Iberian pig which was thankfully released for sale from Spain to the USA in July 2008 . Oily, smooth and salted just enough, this was good stuff.

Shrimp quick boiled and drizzled with a chili and garlic infused olive oil was up next. The seafoods really shine at Jaleo and I've never been disappointed with the freshness and quality of the seafood here.

Broiled octopus with baby potatoes; fresh seafood well cooked again with a nice sprinkle of paprika.

A great winter dish was the stew of tenderly braised veal cheek with a medley of mushrooms including fresh porcini! A lot more subtle in taste than the dried ones, this should still delight the porcini lovers out there.

We finished our meal with a pair of desserts including this rich vanilla flan with brandy whipped cream. Deceptively rich, it went well with our coffee.

The service as usual is impeccable and they were still just as hospitable and gracious towards us despite the fact that they were planning to close early that day due to the crazy blizzard. That's a photo from the window by the way.