This weekend, my grandparents came to visit me in DC and while this means several things, most importantly for all of you, it means great food! I certainly didn't starve this weekend and it was a great break from my usual, student dining restrictions.
When they arrived Thursday night, we went to dinner at one of my favorites: Kinkead's. This long-standing restaurant is a bit of a dining classic in DC, especially for seafood. The restaurant calls itself "an American brasserie" and it's menu reflected this broad name. Though about 95% of the dishes involved some type of fish of seafood, there were dishes ranging from spicy ceviche to Asian influenced fish with coconut broth to their "Kinkead's classics." last time I peered the simple salmon, which was far from simple but delicious, so I decided to be a little more adventurous this visit. For my starter, I choose the "Mexican-style" seafood cocktail because the waiter told me t was one of their newest menu items, and one of his favorite. It was sort of like a ceviche married a shrimp cocktail in a joyous and flavorful ceremony. Served in a cocktail glass, the appetizer had a tomatoe sauce base like a traditional cocktail. Yet, it was diluted with a acidic and vinegary mixture, like a ceviche. The glass was then loaded up with several shrimp, a few scallops, a clam or two, and some white fish. All of the fish was fresh and full of the flavor. To help flavor the cocktail and add crunch, there were also jalapeños, peppers and onions with the sauce. It was a delicious, fresh, light and surprisingly filling appetizer! For my main course, I ordered a pasta with a simple sauce of garlic, olive oil and a little vinegar. The noodles were fresh but what really made this pasta though was the giant and flavorful head-on shrimp topping the pasta. These giant prawns were succulent, beautiful, and full of flavor. The clams in the pasta were also well cooked and the tomatoes were perfectly steamed. The pasta was simple but full of flavor! Despite being so full I was concerned about my ability to walk home, I naturally ordered dessert. For dessert, I got a mini pecan pie tart with rum ice cream. The ice cream tasted very strongly of rum but the tart was perfect! The outside was crunchy and subtly sweet while the inside filling was sticky, crunchy and yummy. I tried not to imagine it having the same effect on my arteries. It was a struggle to walk home after eating all of this food. (But totally worth it.)
Friday was a busy day of sightseeing, shopping in Georgetown, and the newseum so miraculously, I was hungry again by dinner time. For dinner, we went to a hidden gem I discovered freshman year, I Ricchi. Tucked off from the street and situated between the downtown business center and DuPont Circle, I Ricchi is truly a worthwhile find. How does a lowly freshman discover such a great restaurant you may ask? , of course! The small inside is intimately decorated with vines, a few plants and sandy orange hues which truly give the restaurant an Italian feeling. The open window to the kitchen, decorated with copious amounts of bread adds to the Tuscan ambiance. After being seated, our waiter came to our table where he talked us through the huge three page menu, pointing out his favorites along the way. The individual attention of the waiter, who was only serving one other table despite a nearly full restaurant also helped add to the atmosphere of the meal. The entire first page of the menu was full of the daily special starters, salads, pastas, seafood and meat specials. The next two pages consisted of an enormous list of their staple offerings. Our waiter encouraged us to order Tuscan-style since it was a traditional Tuscan restaurant, meaning we order a smaller portion of pasta and then a meat. For my starter, I opted for one of the daily specials: a smaller portion of a risotto with sun-dried tomatoes and cheese. It was delicious! The rice was perfectly cooked and the sauce mild but flavorful. The rice was ideally al dente: soft while maintaining a slight crunch. The sauce was made of a mild tomato base but was simple, allowing the flavors of the tomatoes and cheese to truly flavor the dish. I could not get enough! For my main course, I ordered one of the special fish dishes of the day. It was a trout grilled with only a few spices and then served with sauteed artichokes, lemons and a simple lemony roux. The sauce was full of flavor but not overpowering, the artichokes were tender and the fish, which flaked easily, was perfectly cooked. For dessert, we ordered a chocolate mousse which was one of the most unique dishes I've enjoyed! It was prepared and looked like a slice of cake, with a thin layer of meringue on top of the dish, which was then dusted with powdered sugar. Beneath the meringue was a generous portion of dark chocolate mousse and then a thin layer of chocolatey crunch. Then, a layer, equal to that of the dark chocolate, of semisweet mousse and finally another layer of chocolate crunch on the bottom. Chocolate + chocolate + chocolate mousse + chocolate mousse + meringue = more please! In case the dessert wasn't sweet and decadent enough, one side of the plate had a tart, simple rasberry sauce which helped balance the chocolates but the other side had powdered sugar and cocoa powder in case you wanted to make it more chocolatey. It was AMAZING!
Overall, it was a lovely weekend full of delicious meals! If anyone else wants to come visit me at school, I can promise just as exciting a culinary tour of DC and a shout out in the corresponding blog entry. Just throwing it out there...