Thursday, September 30, 2010

Les poisson, les poissons...

For the consultant, more often than not, lunch is a perfunctory meal. Brown bags, working lunches, telephone calls all conspire to keep lunchtime short, and sometimes boring. While the food trucks are a lot of fun, sometimes you need a table. I love Mixt Greens and Breadline has solid offerings (their peanut soup is my favorite), but I've mostly relegated downtown lunches to the merely functional.

Last week I was meeting Y. and L. near Farragut Square, so we decided to try Kellari Taverna on K street. I had been there for happy hour before, and had heard about their business lunch - three courses for $25. Kellari's a great spot for people watching, indoors and out - picture windows on one side, and a bright and warm dining area that stretches into three rooms. Servers putter about at a rapid place, but manage to not look frazzled.

The first course options are a good cross-section of Kellari's offerings - soup, salads, calamari, and savory pastries. For a first course I had the soup of the day - a delicious potato leek with lobster. The soup was well-balanced, retaining its body without having to be pureed into oblivion. The lobster was arranged at the center of the plate, and presented in a striking square plate. Y. had the Kellari Salad - a mix of greens dressed with raspberry vinaigrette. The portion was quite generous, and the vinaigrette tasted fresh. L. had the Prasini - a take on the Wedge (minus the bacon): romaine hearts, cut, with scallions, dill, and a feta dressing.

Kellari's specialty is seafood, and the fresh catch is displayed, on ice, at the end of the bar. L. and I ordered the Grilled Sea Bass - a lovely, solid fish, resting on top of an eggplant ratatouille. While the taste was delicious and the the skin wonderfully crispy, I had the rare case of entree envy: Y. ordered the Salmon (that L. and I discounted because salmon is pervasive in our institutional offerings). Kellari's Solomos is the most beautiful plate of grilled salmon I have ever seen. The coral in the fire roasted fish is offset by the Alfonson olives, liquified into a briny, shallow, shiny pool. Roasted tomatoes and grilled fennel complete the dish, adding brightness as well as contrast to the plate. I kept sneaking tastes of the olive sauce with bread, and would have happily made a meal out of that.

The dessert portions will let you indulge without being completely useless for the rest of the afternoon. Two baklavas, all walnuts and honey, set daintily on a plate. The yogurt cheesecake with baklava crust is a wonderful play of tart on sweet. Here too, we were surprised. The Dark Chocolate Mousse Almond Torte, which seemed an afterthought, was the star. The blood orange sorbet contrasted with the deep brown, while some crushed baklavas gave it an unexpected crunch.

Suddenly weekday lunch is fun again!

Kellari Taverna on Urbanspoon
Kellari Taverna
1700 K Street NW, Washington DC 20006

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sip and Celebrate

Truth be told, as much as we get a kick out of these National food and beverage days, we have no idea who actually endorses or otherwise proclaims them. But when National Coffee Day shows up in the inbox, we stop and pay attention. Tomorrow, September 29, whether you grind, press, percolate or drip your own or get it from a chain or a tiny shop, take a moment to think about its remarkable journey. As much as caffeine is my daily crutch, I truly enjoy the taste and aroma of a good cup of coffee.

Giorgio Milos (whose job I want) spends his days teaching people about coffee history and preparation. Here's a cheat sheet for tomorrow:

· In which country was coffee discovered?
o Ethiopia

· Ounce per ounce, espresso contains more caffeine than brewed coffee. True or False?
o False! Brewed coffee contains more caffeine.

· How many coffee beans does it take to make an espresso?
o 50

· What color are coffee beans before roasting?
o Green

· Which country produces a third of all the coffee in the world?
o Brazil

· Is espresso a bean or a roast?
o Neither: it is a coffee preparation method

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy 200th birthday, Mexico!

We got the party started last night (Maria in Mexico City and Lindsey and I in DC), but today's Independence Day, so drink accordingly.

These ideas were sent to us by the folks at Maestro Dobel and 1800 Silver, which is what we used for most of our World Cup margaritas.

Maestro Banderita
Red: Bloody Mary without horseradish
White: Maestro DOBEL Tequila
Green: Diluted lime juice
Glass: Shot

A La Vida Margarita
1.5 oz. 1800 Silver Tequila
¼ oz. pear puree
¼ oz. fresh lime juice
½ oz. triple sec

Combine ingredients and blend with ice, or shake ingredients with ice and serve on the rocks.

Mexican Revolution
2 oz. 1800 Silver Tequila
2 oz. orange juice
Splash grenadine
Combine tequila and OJ with ice and stir
Add grenadine for the “sunrise” effect

Friday, September 10, 2010

Round Up

Seems like fall snuck up on us. A few things we are pondering for the days ahead, courtesy of our Twitter Timeline.

1. We really wanna check out Yards Park.

2. Saturday brunch is the perfect time to try out the Bacon Dishes recommended by Lauren at City Search DC that we haven't had the pleasure to eat.

3. Even though we prefer our produce seasonally segregated, few things beat a morning at the Dupont Circle Farmers' Market.

4. Maria bleeds HOYA Blue. We were featured in The Guide.

5. Next Wednesday we are going to party like we are 200. Cinco de Mayo will have nothing on Mexican Independence Day, the drinking holiday of the food-obsessed.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Follow Your Lunch

Orale! Usually found in Rosslyn, we love District Taco’s lunch specials from carne asada to cochinita pibil (a Yucatecan specialty that reflects the owner’s roots). Served up with fresh salsas and your choice of tortillas and toppings, you can find the day’s location and lunch specials by following them on Twitter (@districttaco). They serve breakfast tacos (eggs plus whatever you like) each morning beginning at 8am. District Taco is also in the running for Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. You can vote for them and get more details at

For more Twitter-stalking action, get your lobster fix from the just-launched, wildly popular roving Red Hook Lobster Truck (@lobstertruckdc). Serving up the “Maine” (cold knuckles and claws with a touch of mayo), the “Connecticut” (warm lobstah tossed in butter and scallions, and a shrimp roll, all on an amazing butter-infused, grilled, proper New England style roll. Round out your meal with Cape Coe potato chips and Maine-brewed craft soda (try the Mexi-Vanilla), and a homemade whoopee pie for dessert—almost as good as a road trip up the coast! Get there, early or look for one of their dinner runs—we were able to walk right up to the window at Dupont Circle with now waiting last Friday night. We also hear that plans for suburban and an additional DC lobster truck are in the works.

Happy as they make us, these two are merely the leading edge of DC’s emerging food truck renaissance (listen up, DCRA!). Next on our personal try list: Takorean—rolling out West Coast style Asian-Latin Fusion tacos, Fry Daddy—roving french fries and milkshakes, and empanadas of both the traditional and fusion persuasion from DC Empanadas--all hitting the streets in the next few days. Twitter feed getting crazy? You can track them and a number of other tasty entrants (pizza, sweets, food truck grandaddy Sauca) at