Saturday, May 21, 2011

Two DC Restaurants

A couple of weeks ago we traveled to Washington, DC for a short weekend trip. We ate at two new places (new to us, at least).

On Saturday we happened upon Cuba Libre located in Chinatown. This place turned out to be a chain with other locations in Philly, Atlantic City, and Orlando. The interior was over the top and we thought we had been transported to Disney World. No matter. The staff were pleasant, the drinks refreshing, and the food delicious.

DC - Cuba Libra Bar

DC - Cuba Libre Tables
Tables and Chairs

On the weekends Cuba Libre offers Brunch without Borders. This is an all-you-can-eat non-buffet. We could keep ordering small plates in any order or combination and for an extra $10 we could order as many brunch cocktails as we liked. We were walking, we had no real plans, so we settled in and devised our eating and drinking strategies.

Our cocktails of choice were watermelon mimosas

DC - Cuba Libre Watermelon Mimosa
So refreshing. I have to try this at home.

and red sangria using cuba libra rum.

DC - Cuba Libre Sangria
Fruity with a rum kick

We tried numerous small plates. Here were a few of them:

DC - Cuba Libre Cheese and Spinach Puffs
Cheese and Spinach Puffs - Not my favorite, but hubby enjoyed them

DC - Cuba Libre Short Rib Spring Roll and Ceasar Salad
Short rib spring roll and Ceasar salad - very tasty!

DC - Cuba Libre Crabcake and Poached Egg
Poached egg over crabcake with a spicy sauce - yummy!

DC - Cuba Libre Smoked Duck
House-smoked duck breast. This was so good I ordered two of them!

A delicious, luxuriant brunch. Afterwards we hearded over to the National Portrait Gallery to see the special Alexander Calder exhibit which is on display until August 14, 2011. If you are in DC, go see it. Although small, the exhibit is quite excellent and focuses on his wire portraits. Best of all, it's free.

On the previous evening we ate at Ripple in Cleveland Park. A locally-focused sustainable establishment.

DC - Ripple Place Settings
Ripple tables and chairs

Although we did order a California wine with a Spanish flair.

DC - Ripple Wine Front
Porqui no - California blend of Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and Petit Verdot

The cheese and meat plate (we could mix and match to our delight) was excellent. For cheese we enjoyed goat (garrotxa), sheep (fiore sardo), and cow (l'amuse gouda). And the meat blew our socks off: Benton's Tennessee Ham, aged 26 months. Sliced extremely thin so it melted in your mouth.

DC - Ripple Cheese and Charcuterie
The most important staff member at Ripple: the lady in charge of the cured meat and cheese!

DC - Ripple Cheese and Cured Meat
Drool, drool, drool

The starter was definitely the highlight of the evening. Unfortunately, our entrees arrived before we had even finished half of the first course. The tables were small and it made things a bit awkward. The small menu had some interesting selections. I tried the slow cooked duck egg in broth with broccoli puree.

DC - Ripple Duck Egg in Broth
An interesting combination

A bit too green for me, but worth a try. If you go to Ripple stick with the cheese and meat and if you want something else, wait to order it so you can savor each course without feeling rushed.


Anonymous said...

Zatinya is just across form the Nat'l Portrait Gallery and is one of our favorites in DC.

pjpink said...

We love Zatinya! Been there a few times.