Girls on Food

Washington DC

Good Vibes Only: Brunch at 801 Restaurant & Bar D.C.

There are a few reasons why brunch is my favorite meal:

  1. Anything with an egg on it can be considered a “brunch” dish. e.g. burgers, pizza, etc.
  2. Mid-day drinking is approved
  3. It usually kicks off the day on a bright and positive note

So, when I was invited to try out the brunch menu at the new 801 Restaurant & Bar in D.C., I was more than excited.


801 Restaurant & Bar
801 Florida Ave NW, Washington D.C., 20001
http://801dc.com/


Located in the hopping Shaw neighborhood of D.C., 801 Restaurant is making it’s mark in the area’s competitive restaurant scene. Restaurants can be competitive because there are so many about and it takes an exceptional run restaurant with amazing food to do well. A POS System may interest you if you have a restaurant or are thinking about opening one up, it is important to manage the restaurant properly, you may want to take a look at RestaurantPOSSystems.com to decide whether this is the right option for you. This restaurant was one of my favourites, after arriving at about noon, it was already packed with lively diners enjoying their Sunday afternoon buzz. As we waited for our table, I overheard a few groups praising the menu items as well as the bottomless mimosa options and confirming 801’s quick reputation as the new gem in town.

One of 801's three bars
One of 801’s three bars

801 Restaurant has two floors of dining space, a rooftop bar, and three additional bars. The atmosphere is laid back and chic, with fresh flowers adorning each table as well as around the restaurant. Being from New York, it reminded me of sitting in a little cafe in Astoria, Queens, so I love 801 Restaurant even more for the nostalgia it gave me of back home. Service was also attentive, and everyone from the wait staff to the managers was busy making sure diners had a comfortable and welcoming experience.

To kick off our brunch, our waiter Mel (so wonderful) served us our bottomless mimosa bar. It consisted of a bottle of Prosecco and four juices: grapefruit, strawberry, blood peach and orange. The bottles of Prosecco and the juices were refilled upon request; THIS is how you do brunch my friends!

From left: Grapefruit, Strawberry, Blood Peach, Orange
From left: Grapefruit, Strawberry, Blood Peach, Orange

Next, we were served five dishes from 801 Restaurant’s Chef Javie’s arsenal. Chef Javie expressed that these were his top five dishes on the menu, and so we were ever so grateful to experience them.

Healthy Starter

Greek yogurt topped with mixed berries, apples, and their homemade pistachio granola. The pistachio granola was a pleasant addition and added a delicious sweet & savory flavor.

Avocado Breakfast Toast

Fresh avocado over toasted multi-grain bread with a sunny-side up egg and a green side salad. I have to admit I’ve been trying to avoid the “avo-toast” craze but today became a believer. I 100% believe that “love” was the secret ingredient.

Bailey’s French Toast

French bread dipped in their special Bailey’s batter and topped with whipped cream and fresh berries. The French bread was a pleasant surprise, and it had the perfect balance of sweetness. Hands down my favorite dish of the day. The portion was also very generous!

California Benedict

Avocado, poached egg and tomato on an English Muffin topped with Hollandaise. I appreciated their decision to do an Eggs Benedict sans the meat. It contained all of the same flavors but felt a lot lighter and clean.

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in… – The Godfather

Just when we thought we were done, Chef Javie hit us with the game-changer:

The 801 Breakfast of Champions

A hash containing bacon, sausage, ham, and cheddar cheese, topped with a sunny-side up egg and avocado, over a salsa verde. LAWD! This dish definitely came in as a tie for my favorite dish. Reading the description on the menu, I wasn’t expecting it to be a hash of all of the meats, so I was pleasantly surprised. The salsa verde gave it a perfect little kick as well. It is absolutely the “champion” of their brunch menu.

All of the items served on 801 Restaurant’s menu are classic brunch staples with distinct little touches of their own that make them stand out amongst their brunch competitors. Prices are also reasonable ranging from $8 – $16 an entrée. Right now, brunch is only served on Sundays from 11-4p.m. but will kick off on Saturdays as well beginning Labor Day weekend.

Overall, 801 Restaurant & Bar has proven to be a standout addition to D.C. and the Shaw neighborhood. I can’t wait to go back and finish out the summer on their rooftop!

Celebrate Bastille Day at La Madeleine Country French Cafe!

Happy Bastille Day!

What better way to honor this French national holiday, which celebrates the unity of the French people after the storming of the Bastille, then enjoying its rich culture and culinary delicacies!

If you are looking for a place to indulge in French-inspired cuisine or want to feel whisked away to the French countryside today, then La Madeleine Country French Cafe should be on the top of your list.

La Madeleine Country French Cafe

Various Locations
http://www.lamadeleine.com


To celebrate Bastille Day, La Madeleine will be offering a free mini Liberté Tart all day today.

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The Liberté Tart has fresh blueberries, raspberries, and whipped cream, to represent the blue, red and white of the French flag. There is no purchase necessary, just simply request your free tart and enjoy!

However, while you’re there, you shouldn’t just stop at dessert. La Madeleine also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, as well as wine, which is important because French food should always be accompanied with wine, in my humble opinion.

When I visited La Madeleines location in Alexandria, VA, not only was I able to grab my free Liberté tart (they also offered this promo on the 4th of July) but I was also able to try their new French Tartine Trio sandwiches, and of course topped my meal off with a glass of Rosé. I couldn’t pass up on Rosé!

The French Tartine Trio sandwiches are three open-faced sandwiches. One had chicken & goat cheese; another had Roasted Vegetable and the third ham & swiss. They were each baked on herb ciabatta bread and paired with a Cranberry Pecan Salad. Each sandwich was better than the last and perfectly flavored. I remember being slightly bummed when I finished because there was no more left. That could be the fatty in me, but I’m almost positive it was mostly because the dish was excellent!

My husband had the Chicken Friand,  a puff pastry with balsamic chicken and mushroom filling topped with wild mushroom sauce, which was to…die…for. Of course, I couldn’t snap a picture because he eats so fast, but I was able to try it, and it did not disappoint. The pastry melted in your mouth, and the flavors of the balsamic chicken and mushroom sauce combined were out of this world!

The delicious French inspired dishes coupled with the casual countryside decor makes La Madeleine an excellent choice to celebrate today’s holiday.

So, make sure while you’re out celebrating Bastille Day today, that you stop by one of La Madeleines locations for your free Liberté tart and a sure to be filling, relaxing, magnifique breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The Pig in Washington DC: Dinner for Bacon Lovers

The pig

1320 14th St NW
Washington D.C., 20005
http://www.thepigdc.com/


The Pig is located in the Logan Circle area of D.C. amidst a lively nightlife scene, which makes it perfect for date night!

On a gorgeous Friday evening, my husband and I ventured to The Pig for dinner. The decor was casual, with barn wood accents that made it feel cozy and welcoming. They also had outdoor seating which is a plus when you want to enjoy warm D.C. nights.

The menu, as described by its website, “is a celebration of pork and the whole animal.” Indeed it was. They also locally source their ingredients and own a farm in Maryland where they grow their own fruit and produce. If you’re a pork or sausage lover and appreciate small business and locally sourced produce, then this is most certainly a place for you!

A few dishes we enjoyed and that I would recommend were:

Bacon with Soft Shell Crab

The bacon was flavorful and melt in your mouth delicious. The soft shell crab was a fun and surprising pair.

Yes, this is bacon!
Yes, this is bacon!

Sausage stuffed pork belly with berries

I would have never thought to pair berries with pork belly and sausage, but the combination of flavors was fantastic! Sweet and savory at its finest.

Gimme S’more dessert

One word: BOMB! There is something magical about chocolate covered in toasted marshmallow served with a side of smoked vanilla ice cream. This dessert was the icing on the cake to a delicious meal.

In addition to a creative and tasty menu, The Pig also specializes in craft cocktails and has an impressive list of whiskies. During happy hour (at the bar) they offer tasting flights of their 3 “Whiskies of the week” for only $8! Bacon and whiskey? Yes, please!

We had a great experience at The Pig. The freshness and quality of their ingredients, along with their creative menu, attentive service, and charming decor, made our evening there very memorable, and I can’t wait to return.

A Night of Luxury: Nuit Du Champagne’s D.C. Event

By Sara Maldonado and Jiselle O’Neal

On Tuesday night we stepped out on the town and into the Sofitel DC hotel for a night of luxury and bubbly. Sofitel, the premier hotel in Washington D.C. was host to the kick-off event for the Nuit Du Champagne nationwide tour. Starting in the District and moving west, the tour’s goal is to reaffirm to the nation that French champagne is the only authentic champagne!

In partnership with Moet & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, and other leaders of the champagne industry, Nuit Du Champagne allows event attendees to sample and purchase a variety of champagnes directly imported from France’s Champagne region, located in the northern part of the country. The Champagne region of France is so treasured that it has been named a UNESCO world heritage site.

Highlights of the Event

The Sofitel hotel served as the perfect backdrop for this event. The hotel itself oozes elegance and luxury, so the added glam of French champagnes, caviar and chocolates just put it over the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the event, we were able to sample the Moet & Chandon Ice Imperial with strawberries and raspberries. The flavor was crisp, fresh and light which makes it a perfect beverage for hot summer nights. We recommend adding some mint as well to give it some extra pizzazz.



Also offered was a cheese spread, various small bites and chocolates from La Maison Du Chocolat, to pair with the different champagne options. If you have not tried truffles from La Maison Du Chocolat, we suggest you give them a try asap!

Overall it was a beautiful event and spotlighted some of the great bottles of authentic French bubbly we all know and love.

The tour’s next stop will be Houston. Tickets start at $70. Learn more and purchase your tickets on their site.

A Meat Lover’s Boozy Brunch at Medium Rare DC

Medium Rare

3500 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington D.C. 20008

http://www.mediumrarerestaurant.com/


I never had a bad day that started with champagne. – Mike T. Dark

Last weekend, my husband and I ventured to the Cleveland Park neighborhood of D.C. for brunch. Neither of us has ever been to this neighborhood since our move to the DMV, so we were excited to venture into new territory and check out the brunch scene.

Choosing Medium Rare to enjoy our mid-day drinking session was an easy choice because 1. it has outdoor seating so we could enjoy the beautiful day and 2. in addition to Mimosas, they also offered screwdrivers as a bottomless drink option! This was a very important detail because my husband hates champagne! ::gasp:: 

What made Medium Rare also appealing was its brunch deal! For $24 you get bottomless Mimosas, Bloody Mary’s and Screwdrivers, a yogurt parfait or fruit to start, and choice of an entrée.

Screwdriver for him, mimosa for me! Everyone’s happy.

To start, we both chose the yogurt parfait. It was creamy, and refreshing and served in a cute wine glass. Those types of little touches get me every time, and they’re perfect for Instagram-worthy pictures.

For entrées,  I chose the Egg Frites and Sausage, and he chose a classic, Steak and Eggs. One thing to note about the menu at Medium Rare is that it’s definitely for meat lovers. There are only five entrées on the menu to choose from, and each includes either steak or sausage. This was not a problem for me, but a good thing to keep in mind if you are ever thinking of trying it out.

Egg Frites and Sausage
Egg Frites and Sausage

The Egg Frites and Sausage were delicious! The poached eggs, however, I thought were a little too soft. So I think next time I’ll go with the scrambled eggs instead. Despite that, the taste was great, it was filling, it made for a great egg porn shot, and it paired nicely with my never-ending glass of champagne and OJ!

I couldn’t snag a pic of the Steak and Eggs because “someone” started eating too fast, but I can report back that the steak was cooked perfectly and their “secret steak sauce” was a great addition. It was similar to a light gravy consistency.

For dessert, (of course, there had to be dessert), we settled on their Hot Fudge Sundae and Apple Pie A La Mode. Lawd have mercy; the dessert was the best part of the meal! It was also very hard to choose which ones to try. My sundae featured the classics: vanilla ice cream, hot fudge sauce, nuts and about a pound of whipped cream. I was in heaven.

Hot Fudge Sundae
Hot Fudge Sundae

The Apple Pie was also amazing. It was a decent slice, came out warm with a flaky crust, and was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Overall, my experience at Medium Rare was a very positive one. The food was flavorful, the price was just right, and the servers were great at making sure our glasses were truly bottomless.

Medium Rare makes for the perfect weekend afternoon brunch with a loved one or friends. I can’t wait to go back!

Tip: Make sure to make a reservation, ask for a table outside and don’t leave until you’ve had the Hot Fudge Sundae. Thank me lata!

Brunchin’ in DC: Kafe Leopold

Kafe Leopold
3315 Cady’s Alley NW, Washington, D.C.20007
http://www.kafeleopolds.com/

leopold4Brunch is an important part of the Washington D.C. culture. Dozens of restaurants around the city offer amazing brunch menus, bottomless drinks, and brunch specials that allow for your Saturdays and Sundays to be pretty much planned out for you. Brunch in D.C. is also a full and lengthy event. You gather some of your friends, dress up, and plan to stay out in the brunch restaurant of your choice for, at least, 3-4 hours – it is my favorite part of the week! This past Sunday was no different than others; we went out for brunch! My boyfriend looked up some nice places to try out and stumbled upon this interesting-sounding place called Kafe Leopold, located in the beautiful Georgetown neighborhood, on 3315 Cady’s Alley NW that is located on the back of M St.

 

The alley in which Kafe Leopold is located is so incredibly charming and European, which makes Leopold’s outside terrace an even more appealing spot to dine. Unfortunately, we did not have a reservation and were forced to “settle” for the first available table, which did not take long even though the restaurant was absolutely packed! The hostess was very nice and accommodating and showed us to our table rather quickly.

Let’s start with the theme of the restaurant before we get into the good stuff. I was slightly confused about where in the world the chef was trying to take me with the menu. There was no doubt that the underlying theme is European, with Austrian, German, Swiss and French staples such as Spätzle, Muesli, Croque Madame and Monsieur, and Apfelstrudel (traditional warm Viennese apple strudel).  I was so overwhelmed by the different countries and regions represented in the menu that I believe it would be better if they were to stick to a more real theme. With that being said, once I ordered, I was not disappointed, and I couldn’t even care less about the fact that I was traveling across Europe at the speed of light.

leopold2First off, I ordered a staple brunch drink – a Bloody Mary. Leopold’s Bloody Mary was pleasantly chunky and spicy, which was the best part. It was garnished with charred cherry tomatoes and green olives; the tomatoes were, unfortunately, not charred enough, which was a shame because a charred flavor would work so well with the chunkiness and smokiness of the Bloody Mary. However, I couldn’t get enough of the green olives that were surprisingly of high quality; they were especially tasty once they got a chance to soak in the Bloody Mary juice and absorb all of the wonderful and spicy flavors.

leopold 1After much deliberation about what to order, my boyfriend finally decided to order the Tartine, and I ordered one of their brunch “specials”: the Bratwurst and Spätzle breakfast, with two sunny-side-up eggs. This is where it all becomes dreamy. First, the food was served on aesthetically pleasing white plates, and the garnish was simple, elegant and eclectic. The Tartine was a sizable dish, but not an entrée portion. The flavors were nothing short of miraculous: the creamy melted mozzarella; the sweetness and earthiness of the wild mushrooms; the aroma of the fresh herbs; and the saltiness of the Serano ham and the olive bread, on top of which all of these wonderful items were placed. The Tartine was fantastic, but nothing could compare with the dish I was presented with; it was incredible.

leopold3My Bratwurst/Spätzle brunch special was served in an iron pan placed on a white plate. On the bottom, the beautiful little Spätzle dumplings were swimming in a creamy Béchamel sauce with Gruyere cheese together with sautéed Bratwurst, Oyster mushrooms and an impressive amount of Thyme. On top of this concoction, two perfectly-cooked “sunny-side-up” eggs were placed and garnished with a generous amount of fresh arugula. I cannot even begin to explain the flavors that this combination produced.

 

It was a spectacular execution of this German-inspired brunch delight. Kate Leopold received a “ten out of ten” in my book. It is definitely a place I’m coming back to!

nadine brunch
Kafè Leopold Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

A Nation United Under Cupcakes: Sprinkles Cupcakes Georgetown

Washington, DC is not only the nation’s capital but it is also the nation’s cupcake center. Having seen the TV show DC Cupcakes promoted all over the city via billboards and busses, got my sweet tooth going. I figured I’d try the OG of cupcakes, Sprinkles, since we now have a Georgetown location.

Sprinkles Cupcakes
3015 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007

Irish Chocolate Cupcakes

cupcake

The Irish Chocolate cupcake was delicious. The cake itself was moist and buttery. It was topped with Bailey’s Irish cream cheese frosting. The frosting was creamy, rich, and not too sweet and plentiful. I even shared the cakes with some frosting lovers, who couldn’t get enough of it. Like my coffee, I prefer a little less cream, but whatever floats your boat cake!

HOP collection

hop

The HOP samples offered an interesting variety of cupcakes. The box had dark chocolate, red velvet, swirl, and carrot cupcakes. Out of all of these, my favorite was the dark chocolate. Like the Irish Chocolate Cupcakes, the cake was soft and fluffy. Although I’m not much of a carrot cake person, I did appreciate how much real carrot was used in the cake. If you’re a red velvet fan, you will love Sprinkles’ red velvet cupcakes. The frosting was very complimentary to the red velvet cupcake.

My favorite aspect of the HOP collection was the presentation of the cupcakes. The top row said “HOP” spelled across each cupcake and the bottom ones were super cute, especially the bunny! A HOP box would make a great gift to bring to an Easter party. The packaging and aesthetic of the cupcakes are attractive. I loved the cake of the cupcakes. Though the frosting is plentiful and it does taste really good and is easy to take off if you start to feel that it’s too rich.
Sprinkles Cupcakes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Farmers Fishers Bakers – Washington, DC

Farmers Fishers Bakers
3000 K Street NW, Washington Harbour
Washington, DC 20007
http://www.farmersfishersbakers.com/

On a recent visit to Washington, DC, I hopped on the Metro to the Foggy Bottom stop in Georgetown and walked over to Farmers Fishers Bakers for dinner. The restaurant is located in a great spot with views of the Potomac River, Kennedy Center and Roosevelt Island. Seating is available both inside and outside. I recommend reservations because this place was busy! As the name suggests, the restaurant’s concept is one of sustainability and seasonal availability. This idea carries over from the food to the decor as well. The interior is classy and earthy without being too rustic. The restaurant offers plenty of natural light. Our server was a great help and very attentive.

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The menu is extensive. You can order everything from sushi to onion rings. For an appetizer, I ordered the Baby Cheeseburgers. They were served on mini brioche buns with a side of french fries. The burgers were moist and flavorful. They were topped with mayo, grilled onions and special sauce. The fries were fresh and hot. Served in a paper bag with their skins on. I am not sure what the sauce on the plate was, but I can assure you there wasn’t any left. The burgers could have been a meal in and of itself, but I didn’t stop there.

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Next up was the Meatball Pizza. It arrived hot and ready to eat. It was perfection. The crust was crispy but not cracker-like. It was topped with a rich tomato sauce, roasted red peppers, small slices of meatball, fresh basil and creamy ricotta. Each bite was bliss. I am so glad I had leftovers. It was just as good later that night on the couch watching Late Night with Jimmy Fallon!

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Check out this cool installation in between the women’s and men’s restrooms. Nice touch.

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A view across the Potomac River at Kennedy Center.

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Farmers Fishers Bakers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Elevating Burgers to New Heights in DC

Columbia Heights is known for delicious Latin American cuisine. But on the corner of 14th and Park Street NW is a small neighborhood restaurant called The Heights. Serving American fare, The Heights is an interesting addition to the diverse area. Although The Heights has existed for a few years now, it has recently changed ownership. I decided to visit and see how this change has affected the menu.

The Heights
3115 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
http://www.theheightsdc.com

I ordered The Heights Burger, medium, with a side of sweet potato fries. The Heights Burger is topped with mushrooms, aioli, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, crisp bacon and a perfectly fried egg.

The sweet potato fries were accompanied by spicy ketchup. Finger lickin' good!
The sweet potato fries were accompanied by spicy ketchup. Finger lickin’ good!

I’m not a big fan of red onions so I picked those off. However, my first bite into the burger was magical. Spoiler: there was yolk spilling everywhere. The burger patty was incredibly juicy and not too pink. Mixed with the yolk and aioli, the burger had a ton of flavor to offer.

Generally, mushrooms are one of my favorite burger toppings. The mushrooms on this burger seemed to be sautéed in some type of vinaigrette but didn’t have as much flavor as I thought they were going to bring. They were also a bit soggier than expected.

The Heights features an upscale casual atmosphere.
The Heights features an upscale casual atmosphere.

I don’t usually like cheddar on my burger, either. Typically I opt for provolone but in an unexpected twist, I ordered the cheddar and I am so glad that I did. The sharp cheddar combined really nicely with the soft flavor of the egg.

Whether you take a seat in the outdoor patio or a comfy booth inside the restaurant, be sure to order The Heights burger. The waist of your pants may feel a little tighter when you’re done but trust me, it will be worth it.
Logan @ the Heights Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Slurps Up!: Daikaya Izakaya in Washington DC

Ramen is usually associated with college and days with small bank accounts. However, at Daikaya in Washington, DC, you can find an assortment of Sapporo style ramen. Crowded with delicious noodles, vegetables, and meat, the broth bowls are served in heaping portions with a side of chopsticks and a big ladle spoon ready to help you slurp up the soupy goodness.

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The flavorful broth and noodles were the stars of the soup. Photo: Sara Maldonado

Daikaya Izakaya
705 6th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
202-589-1600
http://daikaya.com/ramen_menu.htm

Tucked away in a corner of Chinatown is the small, non-assuming restaurant. When you step inside, you are immediately greeted by a cheery wallpaper print and a friendly hostess. The restaurant has communal tables as well as more private booths making it a versatile location for different types of outings. However, if you are coming with a big group, make sure to arrive at a non-peak hour as the restaurant is popular and you may end up waiting a while for a table.

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Daikaya is tucked away behind the Verizon Center in Chinatown. Photo: Sara Maldonado

I ordered the Shio Ramen which features a Chintan stock. The stock is made with chicken, pork bone, seaweed, dried fish, and other ingredients. I didn’t add in any special ingredients as I wanted to taste the dish without any extras. The broth was thicker and featured a more robust flavor than I expected. I was thankful to have the ladle to drink it up.

The noodles were by far my favorite part of the dish. They were hearty and cooked to perfection. They did not skimp on portions either. The soup had more than enough noodles to satisfy even the biggest noodle lover. The full-length noodles were a perfect pair to the stir-fried bean sprouts. The mix of crunchy and soft was delightful. I’m looking forward to visiting again!

Daikaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato