My own Top Chef taste test in DC

Greetings everyone!

Sorry I’ve been away a bit too long. I hope everyone had a lovely Memorial Day holiday. I spent that Sunday at my parents and my Dad made his famous ribs. He smokes them on his smoker, with a dry rub, and OMG they are good. He also does our Thanksgiving turkey on the smoker. YUM!

Here are a few mouth watering photos for you and one of the chef…

They were so good! After years of buying them at Costco, he bought them at Wal-Mart. They might have been his best ribs ever.

Ok so now to the Top Chef taste test. The first weekend of June I headed to Maryland to attend my good friend Jenn’s wedding to her beloved, Blake.

A photo of the happy couple…

After the fantastic party…I headed down to Silver Spring, coincidentally the bride’s hometown, to visit an old college friend, Amina. She made this beautiful brunch of fresh fruit, tomatoes and basil, and Quiche. Delicious! So wonderful to see her.

And then it was to DC for a few days of sightseeing. I’ve been to DC a few times, but never have done the touristy stuff because I’ve been in and out for meetings, etc.

On Monday, I hit the Air and Space Museum, the Newseum, and the Museum of American History. Also on my hit list that day was Good Stuff Eatery. A burger joint owned by Spike Mendelsohn who was on Top Chef Season 4 and Top Chef All Stars. I am a huge Top Chef fan and follow a lot of the chefs on Twitter. Speaking of which…you should follow this blog on Twitter…@whatkatetastes. Just sayin.

Anyway I knew his burger joint was on Capital Hill so I mapped it out and incorporated it into my plan. Speaking of my plan, a huge shout out to the DC Metro trains and my iPhone for guiding me in a city I wasn’t familiar with.

I took this photo en route from the Newseum to the restaurant. I would really like it if the folks that work in there could get something done and not wait until after the election.

Ok back to food! So I walked in and ordered a farm fresh burger w/ bacon and cheese. I also got a hand spun chocolate shake and village fries, which are fries with sea salt, thyme and rosemary.

It took about 10 minutes to wait for my order and that’s when I noticed they had siracha mayo and old bay mayo in addition to ketchup for your fries, etc. Definitely tried both of those. Liked the siracha the best.

I got my burger and headed upstairs where they had seating. They wrap everything like it is to go and give you a tray if you are eating there. I didn’t love that and you will see why in this photo.

My burger got kinda smushed. Now, don’t get me wrong, this was a delicious burger. Very much reminded me of my favorite In N Out burger. My fries were good, but would have been so much better if they were crispy instead of soggy. My shake rocked. All in all, it was worth the walk but I was expecting much more.

The following day, I started at the Jefferson Memorial, walked my way to the new MLK memorial, saw the Lincoln memorial and the Vietnam Memorial Wall. Very cool, very moving day. The weather was perfect for walking.

I was on such a mission that day to get going, that I didn’t have breakfast (unusual for me) so I decided to have an early lunch at my other Top Chef stop, Graffiato. Mike Isabella was on Season 6 of Top Chef and was a finalist on Top Chef All Stars. This was my second visit to Graffiato (so it kind of wasn’t a fair fight to begin with).

The last time I was there was in the fall and the menu reflected that. They had chicken thighs with his famous pepperoni sauce and pumpkin zeppoli’s that I will never forget.

I sat at the bar that overlooked the wood fire oven and the kitchen which was fun because I love to see how chef’s make things. They had a special pick three items for $20 dollars for lunch so I chose to do that and ordered the roasted cauliflower with mint and pecorino, fresh cut spaghetti w/ tomato sauce, and salmon with artichoke, white beans and capers. I knew from the last time that it is tapas style plates so I could handle three.

I also ordered myself a few glasses of white wine. That’s how I do vacation on a Tuesday.

The cauliflower arrived first and it is and forever will be the best cauliflower of all time.

I tried to watch the chef to see what exactly she was putting in there…but never figured it out. There was a bit of red onion in there. Yum. Garlic. Yum. And of course the mint and the cheese. Amazing. I cleaned this plate.

Next out was the spaghetti. Simple. Clean. So good.

The Salmon was next…and sorry I forgot to take the photo before I ate a bite. That happens a lot. I can’t help it.

The salmon was perfectly cooked with a great salty crust. The artichoke and white bean mixture it sat on was awesome. I was a very happy girl.

I was full and happy but decided to entertain the thought of dessert. My server, said her favorite was the blood orange cheesecake with passionfruit and microbasil. There are times when you just need to listen to your server…this was one of them. So good.

After I rolled out of there and got back on the Metro to Dupont Circle I stopped by Kramer books. A few friends had suggested it and it was a very cool bookstore…with…

Yup. That’s a bar. Coolest. Bookstore. Ever.

So with that my visit to DC came to a close and so does this blog.

See you all soon!

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