otbn in d.c.

Monday, March 01, 2010


I momentarily escaped the moving madness and spent this past weekend in D.C., catching up with the girls and reminiscing about our grad school days. Of course, most of these conversations occurred during long, leisurely meals punctuated by the comment: "We don't see each other enough. Let's just go for it." And extra appetizers, one more cocktail and several types of dessert would be ordered.

As a result, I suspect my caloric intake was something around 10,000 over the course of 2.5 days. But like I've said before, this is why I run, right?

We ate at all of my favorite old haunts. There was dinner at Bistrot Du Coin, whose mixed vegetable tartine had been a lunchtime treat for me back in the day. There was breakfast at Teaism, where I used to grab oatmeal and chai. (Actually, we stopped there multiple times over the weekend -- loaded up on tea, fun mugs and oatmeal-and-salt cookies.) And of course, there was the much-anticipated visit to Mandalay, my favorite restaurant of all time. (Mandalay deserves a blog entry all to itself -- I hope to get to that later this week.)

But we went to new places too: Brunch at Café Atlántico (which may be the closest I've ever come to the whole molecular gastronomy thing) and dinner at Palena's café, the much more casual front section of the restaurant.

I didn't realize it until this morning, but that meal at Palena coincided with Open That Bottle Night, the wine "holiday" during which you are supposed to pop the cork on a wine you've been saving for a special occasion.

When we got to the restaurant, there was a wait, so we stood next to the bar, which also happened to be right beside a table where four people were enjoying six bottles of really unbelievable wines with their dinner. I saw the word "Montrachet" immediately and started drooling.

I don't know exactly how this came about (especially since we were having a really graphic conversation about pregnancy that probably would've completely sicked out anyone who was eavesdropping), but before we knew it, one of the guys at the table (and he wasn't a creepy guy -- he was dining out with his wife and another couple) asked us if we wanted to share the wine. "We have so much," he said. He then gave us glasses of 2007 Dugat-Py Gevrey Chambertin.

Oh my goodness. The wine was the perfect simile for the evening -- memorable and bright and full of mirth with just enough seriousness. And I never wanted it to end.

Anyway, unfortunately, I was too shy to snap a label shot, but the photo above is Palena's gnocchi, which had black truffles and was also lovely -- like "little pillows," as Kate so accurately described it.

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