Latin-Asian Appetizers at Zengo

So sorry for the abrupt hiatus everyone!

Graduate school was having its way with my life for the past -- I can hardly admit it -- 8 weeks...

In any case, I'm back with a quick post from Chinatown.

M & I found ourselves in the heart of the District and decided to visit Zengo.

I've been here a handful of times, but I'm still not sure if Latin-Asian fusion has won me over.

Gosh, this really was ages ago -- the lights are totally giving me away... ^^

We sat in the upper dining room and ordered the Miso Soup:

This was actually a really exciting take on the traditional recipe, with a chipotle-tomato kick.

Not really in the mood for a big meal, we just ordered a few appetizers to share:

The Charred Tuna Wanton Tacos with sushi rice, guacamole, mango salsa & a hint of Pasilla peppers,

the Thai Chicken Empanadas topped with a mango-curry salsa...

...and filled with oaxaca cheese & poblano chili peppers,

and the Shrimp Veggie Potstickers served with a red chile-dashi sauce.

I *might* have eaten most of everything, except the soup. M loves soup.

As we were getting up to leave, our dear friend Brenda caught our attention.

Little did we know, she was sitting with a large group of friends at the table next to us!

It was really great catching up.

In terms of the food, she said she really enjoyed the Mexican Chocolate Tart.

Too bad we didn't think to look at the dessert menu!

Richard Sandoval has several other popular restaurants in DC, including Masa 14, El Centro,

and a new Latin steakhouse that recently opened on Eye Street called Toro Toro...

More soon,

Brunch at District Commons

Before the holidays, we went to District Commons for a late lunch.

Seated at the private round booth near the very back of the restaurant,

we looked over the menu:

Ahmed ordered the "Cast Iron Skillet" Huevos Rancheros:

(with black beans, avocado & XXX sauce)

Salam ordered the "Steak & Eggs" -- without the eggs:

Shane ordered the Louisiana Omelet:

(with crab, shrimp, crawfish, green onions & goat cheese)

I ordered the Pan Seared Salmon Cakes Benedict:

And instead of Shrimp & Grits, Mickey ordered the Jumbo Lump Crabcake Sandwich:

I snagged a bite of this and immediately wished I had ordered it myself... SO good.

Since it was Salam's birthday, he received a Boston Cream Pie with salted caramel sauce:

It was so good, he couldn't keep a straight face:

Then we rolled out...

...and took a short road trip to Tysons.

More soon!

Dinner at Floriana on 17th

For our second-year anni, M & I went to dinner at Floriana on 17th.

We caught an unusually warm weekend and sat outside under the patio lights:

M really enjoyed the Salumi & Formaggio -- a daily selection of cured meats and cheeses, olives and nuts:

and the Calamari with papadu peppers, spicy chili, herb aioli:

I was intrigued by the Black Gnocchi appetizer and had to try it:

Smothered in lobster cream, served with rock shrimp, Andouille sausage, and roasted peppers,

the gnocchi was rich, flavorful and very filling.

Reminded me of the Nero di Seppia (black spaghetti) at Bibiana...

For his entree, M ordered the Pork Tenderloin served with crispy polenta and a grappa fig reduction:

I snagged a few of these cucumber scoops...

...but M ultimately decided he prefers the Pork Tenderloin at Dirty Martini.

I ordered the Risotto with white truffle oil and nearly-submerged diver scallops & shrimp.

Overall, the service was noticeably slow that night, but we both agreed the wait was worth it.

We went home with our leftovers, but I look forward to trying more of the menu!

More soon,

Unum on M

Luckily, my friend Henry snagged a last minute reservation at Unum while 

he and his buddy, Sebastian, were in town for the Redskins-Bears game.

Unum is an unassuming spot on M Street that I read about in DC's Modern Luxury over a year ago.

Glad I finally made it!

After the three of us decided on a bottle of Allegrini Palazzo Della Torre,

Sebastian picked out a variety of cheeses and charcuteries for us: 

Unum Rabbit Terrine (top left), Humboldt Fog (top right), Unum Chicken Liver Mousse (middle),

Thomasville Tomme (bottom left), and Black Truffle Salami (bottom right).

 I won't name names (hah)... but the words "food Kama Sutra" were spoken at this point.

For plates to share, we ordered the Grilled Quail -- an Unum specialty:

(served with sauteed spinach, pistachio nuts, dates, and date demi-glace)

the Rosemary Gnocchi:

(flavored with butternut squash, beech mushrooms, brussel sprout petals, cranberries and truffle butter)

the Boneless Shortrib Pasta:

the Sesame Crusted Scallops:

(served on wasabi risotto with edamame, shiitake & tobiko, 
spiced shishito peppers, pickled vegetables and nori beurre blanc)

and the Chorizo Stuffed Squid, which was excellent:

(served on lemon-saffron risotto with fried calamari and a honey lime chipotle sauce)

This dish alone is worth coming back for.

In the mood for more surprises, we agreed on a few desserts...

The Chocolate-Banana Semifreddo Terrine on a bed of
honey peanut butter powder, garnished with a brandy tuile:

and the Pumpkin Panna Cotta with figs and amaretti cookie crumbs:


Bottom line: highly, highly recommend -- Unum has both phenomenal food and service.

It'll be a challenge to find a comparable restaurant next time Henry & Sebastian are in town...

Although we were of the last to leave, we ended the night at ESL with Sunday night cocktails.

Until next time,