Oct 2006

Pyramids – Washington D.C.

October 9, 2006
Cuisine: Moroccan

600 Florida Ave NW *CLOSED*
Washington, D.C. 20001

Phone: 202-232-6776
Website: none

Entree I: B’stilla – Sweet, seasoned pie in the best Moroccan tradition. Baked layers of thin pastry sheets (ouarqa). Stuffed with minced chicken, almonds and saffron. Sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Entree II: Lamb Shawarma Sandwich – seasoned and roasted in lemon and garlic, served with fries.

James is the luckiest boy I know because his neighbors are Ethiopians and Moroccans. I am very jealous of the abundance of ethnic cuisine around James’ ‘hood (Shaw-Howard U Metro). Although the Ethiopians dominate, I saw some Thai and Soul food as well. Mmm boy.

Pyramid is located just a few short minutes from James’ pad and serves mainly Middle Eastern fare. However, the menu does offer “American Favorites” such as burgers and fries! I ordered a chicken B’stilla (a seafood B’stilla was also on the menu), while James went for a Lamb Shawarma Sandwich.

The B’stilla was INCREDIBLE. Crispy pastry shell, complex interior, and just enough cinnamon and sugar to make our taste buds go bananas. In fact, the B’stilla was so good that I ordered one “to go” for the Astronomer. The B’stilla was truly divine and my mouth still waters at the thought of it. I can’t wait to have another. The B’stilla was served with a potato salad that was very flavorful and not mayo-based. The salad consisted of potatoes, carrots, iceberg lettuce, and onions in a vinaigrette. It offered a nice contrast to the B’stilla’s sweetness.

James’ Lamb Shawarma Sandwich was very delicious as well. There was plenty of lamb wrapped inside a pita, which was thin like a tortilla. The entire sandwich was doused in a strong tahini sauce that complimented all the flavors very well. I didn’t try the French fries, but James seemed to like ’em.

James, me

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Oct 2006

L'Enfant – Washington, D.C.

What do you call a substantial snack that takes place between lunch and dinner? Afternoon Tea? Or “low tea” as the Brits sometimes call it. My beautiful friend James and I enjoyed low tea (without tea) at L’Enfant. The weather was gorgeous so we sat on the patio with quite a few other patrons. The ambiance was relaxing, the food was terrific, and the conversation was flowing.

James and I shared the cheese board and enjoyed water out of a tall bottle. The amount of cheese served was enough for a party of four or five, but that wasn’t really a problem because we have never encountered a cheese that we didn’t like. Bring it on.

The board consisted of two huge wedges of Brie and Bleu, a tall stack of Swiss, lots of red grapes and a few strawberries. The baguette was sliced into little rounds and was the perfect vehicle for the cheeses. James and I agreed that the creamy Brie was the best. However, I prefer my Brie without the rind, while James likes it with. The Bleu was tasty as well, but a bit overwhelming towards the end. We took the the Bleu “to go” for later. The Swiss was right on target–the perfect contrast between the mild Brie and the strong Bleu. We had to ask for seconds on bread because there was SO much cheese! The grapes were fabulous, as were the strawberries.

I’d definitely like to return to L’Enfant to try their sweet and savory crepes!

L'Enfant on Urbanspoon

L’Enfant Cafe & Bar
2000 18th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
Phone: 202-319-1800

Oct 2006

Farmicia – Philadelphia

October 7, 2006
Cuisine: American (New), Bistro

15 S 3rd St, Philadelphia 19106
Btwn Market St & Chestnut St

Phone: 215-627-6274
Website: www.farmiciarestaurant.com

Appetizer I: French Lentil Salad – baked goat cheese, greens, sherry dressing

Appetizer II: Crispy Fried Shrimp – sweet corn fritters, lemon horseradish sauce, and microgreens

Entree I: Duck Breast – crisped skin, raspberry basil sauce, steamed carrots & fennel, wild rice w/almonds

Entree II: Roasted Eggplant – Cannelloni Italian grain & home-made ricotta filling, roasted tomato sauce, spinach

At Farmacia the emphasis is on “great tasting food crafted from local, organic, and artisanal producers.” The Astronomer and I dined at Farmicia before the Built to Spill show and found it to be a wonderful eatery.

Farmicia’s pre-meal bread is from the Metropolitan Bakery and is served with a fantastic butter with chives. On the evening that we dined we were offered three types of bread: New York Rye, White, and Baguette. We tried all three. My favorites were the baguette (crisp outside and soft inside) and the Rye (great contrast to the butter). We asked for seconds and thirds.

Appetizer I:
Gastronomer: I picked out the salad appetizer and left the second appetizer up to the Astronomer. For the salad appetizer I chose the French Lentil Salad because goat cheese, greens and lentils are a few of my favorite things. The sherry dressing was perfectly tart and not too sour as vinaigrettes sometimes tend to be. The goat cheese made the dish spectacular because of its intrinsic rich creaminess. The lentils were mixed with small diced vegetables such as carrot and zucchini. Very tasty.

Astronomer: Our meal got off to a fantastic start with a French Lentil Salad. My mom began incorporating lentils into her cooking sometime during high school, and I used to look scornfully upon them. However, they have grown on me, particularly when they are accompanied by massive quantities of goat cheese. All in all, the combination of flavors in the Farmicia salad was delightful.

Appetizer II:
Gastronomer: The shrimp appetizer came with five good-sized crispy shrimp (perhaps they were dusted with cornmeal), placed on a “corn fritter” (more like a pancake), drizzled with a lemon horseradish sauce and topped off with greens. I loved the flavor of the horseradish sauce, especially paired with the pancake. The shrimp were warm from the deep fryer. Oh boy!

Astronomer: The crispy fried shrimp were delicious. I made a split-second decision to order them, and for a second afterwards I was scared I might actually not like horseradish sauce, but they turned out to be as tasty as I had hoped. The sauce was good enough to warrant sponging up with bread.

Entree I:
Astronomer: Despite the success of the appetizers, the true highlight of the meal was my entree: duck breast with raspberry basil sauce. It was some of the most delicious meat I have ever enjoyed. It was somewhat questionable how much it actually tasted like raspberry, but whatever it was, it was good. The duck came with carrots and fennel and wild rice with almonds. All of them were well executed, and I even enjoyed the wild rice. In all honesty, however, during the time I was eating the side dishes I was usually anticipating my next bite of duck. Needless to say, at the end of the meal, bread was a good vehicle for raspberry sauce.

Gastronomer: I had one bite of the duck (prepared medium rare) and found it moist, tender and down right perfect! The wild rice was nothing special, but to be fair, it is pretty much impossible to compete with an amazing duck.

Entree II:
Gastronomer: I chose the eggplant cannelloni for my entree. The dish was served in a TV dinner like platter. The side dishes were in little compartments on the “tray,” which is perfect for a girl who hates “contaminated” food. The cannelloni was fantastic! The filling really made the dish; the ricotta cheese was mixed with spelt and had the most wonderful texture. The eggplant and marinara sauce were pretty basic, which let the filling shine. I was served three cannelloni, but could only finish two. The cannelloni came with three side dishes: firstly a carrot, mushroom and onion mixture, secondly some white beans in a vinaigrette, and thirdly some sauteed broccoli rabe. I adored the mushroom dish the most, even though it was on the oily side. I hated the broccoli rabe because it was extremely bitter. Two for three isn’t terrible.

Astronomer: The Gastronomer ordered roasted eggplant cannelloni. I steered clear, as I am afraid of eggplants and tomato sauce. Perhaps I should have helped her out–there were leftovers, but unfortunately the last cannelloni was eaten by Chinatown.

The food at Farmicia is very delicious, well thought out, and presented beautifully. Our only complaint was the pacing of the meal. The appetizers were brought out quickly and our entrees soon followed. As a result, I couldn’t finish my entree and had no room for desert. What a shame.

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