To make the most out of my DC experience, I went on a José Andrés tapas crawl. It was totally by accident, but it ended up being a lot of fun, and I definitely recommend doing sort of the same thing. As you know, I first tried Pepe food truck, José Andrés fast food choice, and had a great experience. So I wanted to know his other places, and find out what the fuss was all about.
For those of you who don’t know him, José Andrés is a legend. He owns 7 restaurants in DC (minibar, barmini, Zaytinya, Oyamel, Jaleo, Pepe food truck and America Eats in Virginia), 3 restaurants in Las Vegas (é by José Andrés, Jaleo, and China Poblano), one in Puerto Rico (Mi Casa) and a branch with restaurants in Beverly Hills and Miami Beach (The Bazaar). What I find most amazing is that he specializes in a bunch of different types of foods: American, Spanish, Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Mexican, and Chinese. He won an insanely amount of awards, including a James Beard (countless nominations and a couple of awards) and Bon Appetit’s Chef of the Year in 2004. He appeared on many TV shows, including Iron Chef America (2007), Top Chef (as a judge in 2010), and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (in the DC episode, 2008). And, of course, he has 3 published books (plus another in Spanish): Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America, Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen, and the newly published Charcuterìa: The Soul of Spain. As you can see, he is no small thing. And there are rumors that he is opening a restaurant in NYC soon, so stay tuned…
We had another one of those only in New York experiences last Sunday. An oyster bar on a docked boat by the pier in Tribecca. What a day!
I have been reading about the expectation for Grand Banks for a while. It was our top priority on the summer to do list. And I wanted to go on an afternoon, to be able to enjoy the sunset eating oysters. What more could you ask for?
So we headed that way around 6pm. I actually had no idea they had such a huge entertainment area at Pier 25: beach volleyball, mini golf, tracking and sprinkles for kids. Amazing. And, right at the end of the pier, on the Hudson River, there it was:
We love Broadway shows. I, especially, love Broadway shows. It’s always a great experience, and a truly feel as if I am in a fairytale dream. But whenever we go to Broadway shows, we face a problem, where to eat afterwords? They usually end up late, and most restaurants don’t take reservations after 11PM. So to be able to squeeze a quick bite after our cultural experience, we often eat nearby, trying to get the best out of those Broadway restaurants, which are usually not very good options.
But last Saturday we decided to rush out of the theater and head downtown for a real foodie meal. After all, we hadn’t had those in a little while. But we had no previous reservation, so tried Yelp and OpenTable during intermission to find a nice place. The Musket Room had a 10:45PM slot, but we surprisingly had never heard of the place before. We decided to try it anyway, and I am so glad we did!!
So I have been spending my weeks in DC for work. I still go back to NYC every weekend, and still dine out at least twice a week over there. But I do try some nice options in Washington, DC, once in a while, and some of them are worth sharing.
One of the biggest chef’s here is called José Andrés. José Andrés is a Spanish American trained under Ferran Adrià at El Bulli. For those of you who don’t know it, El Bulli was once the best restaurant in the world. To get a sense of how big of a deal this guy is, he taught a culinary physics course with Ferran Adrià at Harvard, a course on how food shapes civilization at George Washington University, and was named dean of Spanish Studies at The International Culinary Center.
He owns a bunch of restaurants, and 6 of them are in DC: minibar (impossible to get reservations, and only has a super expensive tasting menu with 25 small courses), barmini (experimental cocktail bar adjacent to minibar), Jaleo (traditional Spanish tapas with several locations), Zaytinya (Mediterranean small plates), Oyamel (small Mexican plates), and… Pepe!