This past weekend I found myself in Washington DC visiting my younger sister Ali who recently started college at George Washington University. It had been a while since I last visited our nations capital, but instead of dedicating my two-day trip to the usual landmarks I decided to focus on catching up and enjoying good noms.
I must say I was quite impressed with my sisters selections when it came to food this weekend. To be honest, her and I are quite the opposite when it comes to eating out. While I prefer to be adventurous and love trying new things she prefers to stick to the basics, often opting for a Caesar Salad and other plain-ish dishes. However this weekend was different as I saw a change in my sister’s taste in dining. Could it be… in just one month had college enlightened her taste buds and started turning her into a little foodie? I don’t know if I’d go that far, but her new life in Georgetown has definitely introduced her to some fantastic eateries that should not be missed when visiting the area (or if you find yourself there to stay). Here are my top noms from the weekend…part 1.
Le Pain Quotidien | 2815 M Street, NW. Washington, D.C.
Located just a hop, skip and a two minute walk from our hotel (The Latham which was fabulous!) was Le Pain Quotidien. I had never heard of it before, but according to my sister it is a chain, with another location in New York City (where she’d been previously). According to their website, they’re an all organic bakery with a mission to do good for our bodies, our communities and our earth. OH, and they also have locations ALL OVER THE WORLD! Literally. Just take a quick look at their website. Having started out as just a small bakery in Brussels, Le Pain now serves their all-natural goodness all over the globe, from Australia to Kuwait. But enough about the history, lets get into the good stuff.
Fresh off the plane, having just arrived from my 9AM flight, I was STARVING to say the least. We entered Le Pain and were immediately escorted through the restaurant, ending up outside on the other side, in what can only be described as the most adorable outdoor courtyard/patio. Filled with umbrellas and tons of small tables, the patio had a casual, comfortable, welcoming way about it. Every table was consumed with their conversation and food, as they continued brunching, unfazed by the bustling of people coming and going around them.
As always, I had some serious issues deciphering the menu. Everything looked good. And, to my delight, Everything was organic. And I mean EVERYTHING. From the egg’s, to the bread, to the jelly’s and jams. Even the salt and pepper was their own, locally purchased and labeled by Le Pain. Let it be noted that the drive to do good doesn’t end with the food, even the wooden furniture is reused and recycled and all lighting is eco-friendly. Let’s just say, if Mother Theresa ever decided to open up a bakery, this would be it!
After a while I finally made up my mind and ordered the wild mushroom and gruyere omelet which came with a side of breads and mesclun mix (all organic obvs). It was perfect! Small. Light. Fresh. It didn’t really cure my starvation but it was enough to tie me over for a while, and unlike the massive brunches I usually eat, it didn’t slow me down for the rest of the day.
My sister ordered the whole wheat french toast topped with strawberry’s and Agave syrup. Also delicious and light. Everything was fresh and the crisp fall weather could not have been more perfect. Brunch was great and before we knew it we were off shopping.
Later over the weekend we happened to stop back in for a snack one day. This time I decided to try out one of their open faced Tartines. Specifically, the prosciutto & mozzarella di bufala with sundried tomatoes and basil pesto. Served with a side of melon, it was perfect just like everything else at Le Pain Quotidien.
It’s official, I’m obsessed! When are we getting one in Boston?!?
Pizzeria Paradiso | 3282 M Street, NW. Washington, DC
Next up on my favorite nom-spots was Pizzeria Paradiso, the critically acclaimed pizzeria and birreria. With two locations, one in historic Georgetown and the other in Dupont Circle, Paradiso makes the type of pizza you wish they served everywhere. From the dough to the sauce, you can sense the amount of effort and perfection that goes into each pie. I had heard about its amazingness, and so on a rainy afternoon I decided to stop in. To my delight, they had QUITE the extensive beer list. Unable to pick just one, I decided to try their Oktoberfest Flight. Yum!
I couldn’t resist ordering the antipasto, and I must say I was very impressed. For a cheese/meat-plate lover, I must say it can be hard to find and antipasto that has everything you want and more. This one had a big variety of different cured meats and that same with cheeses. Served with homemade bread and olive oil, it was exactly what I wanted. Well done Paradiso!
I wasn’t feeling that hungry, but as soon as I saw a few pizza’s come out of the stone oven in the middle of the restaurant I knew I had to have one. I was having a boring moment so I went for the Margarita (which I have to admit I almost never do) personally I like my pizza’s a little more on the creative side but the simple tomato/basil/mozzarella combo was perfect.
I’m still thinking about how fresh and organic everything tasted. It really did make a huge difference in the flavors and the food. I’m usually not one to advocate chains but I’m all about Le Pain and Paradiso. I hope they expand, and fast! You can believe I’ll be the first one cutting the ribbon at their opening when they come to Boston.
More noms from my weekend in DC to come, but for now you’ll just have to wait; I have a dance party in Austin, Texas to attend.