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Jackie Colson-Miller

Jackie Colson-Miller, CIPS
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The Real Estate Sizzle in Washington, DC…Great Restaurants…Tampa Real Estate News and More

I have enjoyed the past few days attending a conference in Washington DC. To my delight, it happened to be “Summer Restaurant Week”, with many of the best restaurants in the city participating in “prix fixe” menus for Lunch/Brunch and Dinner. I had done plenty of research prior to my trip, and had a list of many “must try” places, including plans to visit all of these restaurants, but was pleasantly surprised with the opportunity to sample more of the menu items at each venue, during this special week.

“Restaurant Week” prices, in all of the participating restaurants, were set at $20.10 for brunch/lunch and $35.10 for dinner. What a
great way to enjoy some amazing food at rock bottom prices! Most restaurants also offered a “flight” of wines with each menu. Tampa, are you listening? Get with this program!!!

This was my culinary adventure, last week ,in Washington, DC:


Breakfast/Brunch

POSTE Moderne Brasserie

This top-rated restaurant is located in the classic Hotel Monaco in Penn Quarter. The sleek styling and open kitchen offers diners eggs from local farms, and is focused on sustainability, including greens from their own garden. While deciding on my options for the three-course brunch (for $20.10), the wait staff provided a basket of fresh baked goods, including scones, croissants, fruit bread and a blueberry square on the order of “blueberry bread pudding”. At that point, I knew I was in for a treat. The first courses sampled were the “house made” doughnuts with chocolate ganache, lemon curd and seasonal jam fillings, as well as a granola parfait. The yeast raised, sugar crusted treats, served with a cherry crème fraiche sorbet, were the stuff our sweet tooth dreams about! As I gobbled them, I realized I had forgotten to take a picture, so the waitress happily obliged me with a fresh batch for the photo op! The granola parfait was served in a martini glass, perfectly layered with fresh yogurt, granola, blueberries, strawberries and a drizzle of organic honey! Oh my! I sent pictures ,via my Blackberry, to my favorite foodie friend in Tampa!

Next up, …the Eggs Hussarde .The poached eggs were nestled atop a marchand de vin sauce in the perfectly spiced and crusted potato skins. After devouring them, with the side of nueske bacon and a simple arugula salad, I was wondering how I could possibly manage the “final course”…the 8th Street Market Cobbler. This final “delight” arrived “en pot” fresh out of the oven. A mélange of perfectly chosen blueberries and peaches was topped with just enough sweet and spice to tantalize the tastebuds. A scoop of crème fraiche sorbet “topped” it off.
We enjoyed mimosas, fabulous food and very attentive service. This restaurant would be on my “must go” list for the next trip to Washington, DC.
Poste on Urbanspoon

LUNCH
At the top of every “list” I had seen about great restaurants in Washington, DC, one name kept reappearing…Zaytinya. Described as Mediterranean/Greek, I was expecting something one might find in a typical Tarpon Springs restaurant. Wrong, I was. The glassy, open and contemporary, Zaytinya, occupies a prime corner in the Penn Quarter area. I stopped in for a “late” lunch after a full day of sightseeing. Also participating in the “Restaurant Week” adventure, I was beginning to REALLY enjoy this concept of the long, leisurely, multi-course lunch, which I so loved while living in Europe many years ago. I settled in at the bar and the affable bartender offered me the menu, along with the “Four Course Lunch” ,for this special week. Four Courses, fourteen options…this was getting to be lots of fun!
I chose the crispy eggplant with roasted garlic-yogurt sauce as my starter. The generous portion arrived perfectly seasoned and fried to perfection. Next up, the Garides Me Anitha..sauteed shrimp swimming in a delightful blend of dill, shallot, mustard and lemon . I had to pace myself, at this point, and ordered a glass of Tempranillo, a great choice for the third course…Lamb Kleftico…tender morsels of lamb, with feta and spices, wrapped in phyllo and served with a dill yogurt. It was sublime! The finale, was a “shot glass” of Muscat-soaked apricots , vanilla yogurt cream, apricot sorbet and chopped pistachios…a festival of flavors for my tastebuds. Some of the “regulars” were lamenting the recent loss of Zaytinya’s Executive Chef. No need…this place is “humming” with a great staff and a creative menu. The bar was packed on Friday night, so consider this a “must go”…and RUN!
Zaytinya on Urbanspoon

DINNER
Scouring the reviews for the “perfect” DC Restaurant prior to my trip, I settled on the unique, CEDAR
, both for it’s menu , rave reviews and unique location and secured a reservation in advance. Nestled in a basement space, in the restaurant-filled Penn Quarter, it was small, quiet and intimate, the perfect respite after a long travel day, at the best table in the house… A quiet corner to relax and enjoy the feast ahead. This was my “first” adventure for Summer Restaurant Week and a very special one, indeed. Cedar was offering a Three Course dinner for the “Restaurant Week” Price of $35.10, along with a Wine Pairing with each course for $20.
The bread basket arrived with a side of unsalted butter and sea salt, a nice European touch.
Of the five offerings for appetizers, we chose a Market Lettuce Salad with fennel, corn, tomatoes, parmesan and an mustard-tarragon vinaigrette. This light tasty mix was served with a Domaine de Bernier Chardonnay, from the Loire Valley. Light and crisp, with no hint of oak, it was the perfect choice.
Partial to Red Wines, I chose the Roasted Beet Salad with dates, carmelized pecans and goat cheese, appropriately paired with the Spanish Garnacha Campos De Luz. Other unique offerings included a Crispy Pork Belly with watermelon/jalapeno jelly, Chilled Corn Soup with Blue Crab and a Marinated Calimari.

The Creekstone Farms Flat Iron Steak was served with white bean ragu, bacon, green garlic and pea tendrils. It was deliciously paired with a Rutherford Ranch Cabernet, one of my favorites, and not listed on the wine list! The Grilled Fin Tuna with cherry tomato confit was perfectly done and paired with the same Chardonnay as the salad. The staff was very willing to “swap” wine pairings, as they did when I ordered my dessert course and opted for a St. Germain/Elder Flower Liqueur & Champagne, in lieu of the assigned Riesling, which paired with a heavenly Yellow Peach-Almond Crumble Cake topped with Tahitian Vanilla Chantilly. Due to a mishap in the kitchen, we were able to sample ALL of the desserts that evening. The Coconut Tres Leches Cake with passion fruit sauce arrived overdone and was promptly replaced with a Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Bar with Candied hazelnuts…a chocolate lover’s dream.
CEDAR earns major kudos on every level….creativity, ambiance, service and quality…put it at the top of your list for great restaurants in Washington, DC.
Cedar Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Of course, there are some “less than memorable” Restaurants…let’s say they are on my “didn’t love it” list.

Bistro Bis
Highly recommended, I stopped in for a nice breakfast to “power” me for a long day of sightseeing. While the corned beef hash was delicious, and the poached eggs perfectly “runny”, as requested, the staff was “stiff and rude”. It felt like a scene from the Stepford Wives. No personality. No verve. No return visit.
Bistro Bis on Urbanspoon

Acadiana
This restaurant was touted for their char-grilled oysters and New Orleans Style food. The large space and outdoor patio were busy and the bar area was packed on a Friday night. The service was slow and the wait staff a bit surly, with a 15 minute wait on the bottle of wine. I ordered a Red Snapper that I am convinced was really Grouper, which arrived uncooked. It later reappeared seemingly “trimmed” of my initial bite and, I suspect, had been “microwaved”. Nothing special here…plenty of better options in DC.
Acadiana on Urbanspoon

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