Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bang On!

I've been a bit busy this week and haven't done any cooking yet. And what
I do tonight will be preparing for a dinner party tomorrow. I'm really
excited and look forward to sharing with you all, even though all the
recipes have been shared once already. There should be pictures.

But in the meantime I thought I would give little mini-reviews for two
restaurants that I hadn't been to before and am just getting around to
doing now.

In mid-June, the old sckool brunch group got together again. For J-lo and
I, it had been a long time since we'd seen this full group of friends, so
we were really excited. And we got to celebrate someone's birthday!!!
We headed to Belga Cafe on Capital Hill. There has been some conversation
on a few blogs about this little Begian restaurant and most of the
experiences were less than great. Perhaps is was because we went for
Saturday brunch, but we had a great time and wonderful food.

There were seven of us total and we were seated immediately (we called
ahead) and right away we had water and a waiter asking our drink orders. I
went with a 'lavender champagne.' Frilly and girly, but really cool. A small touch of lavender syrup/reduction was in the bottom of the class and the champagned poured over. If you order this, give it a quick stir with a straw or something, otherwise you get all the syrup at the end of the glass and it's way sweet by itself. (It might have been a lilac syrup as well...can't remember).

Shortly after the drinks, I was able to place my order, coffee, crepes with nutella and bacon. The coffee was great...Illy Brand (?). The bacon was super thin, abundant and just at the nearly perfect crisp state, so there was a slight chew to it. Great! I had only had crepes once, nope, twice before and both times were bad...but these were delicious. Ate them all up! And there was a small strawberry on the plate...note to the chef...give more...A little strawberry, crepe, nutella....sweet mother of god it was good.

I don't remember what anyone else ordered, so I can't speak to specifics, but I know everyone seemed to really enjoy their meal. Throughout, the service was attentive without being intrusive. The restaurant had a nice level of hustle and bustle for a Saturday morning.
And from the looks of it, if you like mussels, they have a pretty good selection of them with a wide variety of sauces/broths/service options. But I generally don't like to eat something that lives in its own house, I'll pass on that offer.

Oh, I think there was bread brought to the table and I kept eating it and didn't really share, so it must have been good.

Belga Cafe
415 8th Street SE
Washington, DC 20003

This past Tuesday I headed out for a book club meeting to discuss our recent read (or what I didn't finish reading in my case) at Elephant & Castle at 12th & Penn Ave, across from the Old Post Office Pavillion.

FYI, the book club selection was NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro.

E&C was fun. It's a Ye Olde Tyme British pub sort of place. Lots of beer, good ol' comfort foods (Shepherd's Pie, Fish & Chips, etc.)

I order up a pint of Fuller's Porter, it was really good. A full dark, rich beer that didn't have a heavy body to it. Tasted like rich chocolate coffee!!!

I shared an appetizer/starter of potato skins...small order, but they were tasty. Note to the chef, if that is in fact the size of the portion (which is appropriate for a portion size), put it on a smaller plate. On the larger platter they were served on, it looked tiny and like a waste of money.

My entree...Stuffed Yorkshire Pudding, Roast beef, onions, mashed taters all piled together with a Yorkshire Pudding and covered in gravy. The beef, well, it was alright...nothing to right home about, but not something I didn't want to finish. The onions were overly sweet...almost like they might have been artificially sweetened, but the potatoes and gravy, and the pudding was all pretty good. This was served with a nice portion of green beans, but they were just barely overcooked...almost limp, whereas I prefer my green beans to be more crisp and snappy.

Next up, I think I'm going try their fish and chips...looked really good and you can choose between Cod or Halibut, which you normally don't get a choice when you order F'n'Chips at a restaurant.

I'd head back here from some beers and food in a fun casual setting. The service was nice, considering we were a table of 16 or so, and I feel like our waitress had just started.

Elephant & Castle
1201 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20004

Hope you're all doing well and not schfitzing too much in this humidity.

PS: I looked to see if my version of schfitzing is in the dictionary, it's not but schlepping is...!


ScottE. said...

PS, blogger is retarded again, I have to camera phone pics of brunch at belga to share. when it decides to stop acting up, i'll try to get those photos loaded.

Chilefire said...

Naomi and I eat at Belga all the time - And we love it. We have never had a bad time - or bad food there. Brunch is an excellent time to go - Love the fries!!