There you go, that's the ticket! More pics!
In other food news, Mrs Tif and I just spent a lovely weekend in Washington D.C. She had a work conference in Alexandria, and we decided to make a trip out of it. Meant we flew separately, and on different days, but it was still a good opportunity to visit one of my favorite cities together for the first time.
We ate at Jaleo (2x), Oyamel and Graffiato. Jaleo and Oyamel are wonderful restaurants, I could eat at either every day if I had the opportunity. Jaleo is Jaleo; excellent Spanish tapas, created and served with one hand on tradition and one on modernity. Oyamel is a Mexican restaurant that focuses on refined interpretations of street food (which I consider to be its own food group). They had two dishes that featured huitlacoche
(sort of a fungus that grows on corn), and each were outstanding. New favorite ingredient. Graffiato (by Top Chef contestant Mike Izzabella) was less successful. The flavors of all the dishes were tasty enough, and the charred octopus was as good as I've ever had. But something just felt.... I dunno...... off. Great space, great menu. Just, the whole felt less than the sum of the parts.
One odd thing was that all those restaurants are within a few blocks of each other near the Verizon Center. So I was immersed in Caps fans. That was fun.
We also had a couple 'pit stop' bites between hot dog lunches and dinner proper. First was this Thai place in the plaza at the Verizon Center. I want to say it was called Thai Chili, but don't quote me on that. If there's one thing L.A. does better than just about anywhere in the U.S., it's Thai food. So I pretty much just wanted a light aperitif and a beer (or two) before dinner. The lettuce wraps we got were delicious, but not at all what I've come to expect as a Thai flavor profile. So either the dish was representative of a different region of Thailand (most places out here are southern), or they weren't even close. Regardless, it was tasty. Next day, we noshed at the Old Ebbit Grill, across the street from the Department of the Treasury. This is a Washington institution, known for seafood. The oysters did not disappoint, but the service was oddly disjointed.
Then on Monday, I had several hours to kill before my flight. I decided to head back into the District and have lunch at Zaytinya... so between Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya I would have eaten four meals at José Andrés restaurants in four days. And while the food was certainly tasty enough, the highlight of the meal was that Chef Andrés happened to be in the house for a press event.
That's Chef Andrés on the left, btw. Apologies for the blurry image; it's a cropped shot from a camera phone that was zoomed in 4x.
Didn't get to speak with him, because he seemed to be conducting a phone interview (in Spanish). But he ended up sitting right behind me for about 15 minutes or so. I really wanted to say hey and thank him for opening a new world of culinary and cultural exploration for me and my wife, but I really needed to get going and he wouldn't hang up the bloody phone.
I make no bones about being an ardent fan of José Andrés; after this weekend, we have had eight meals at his restaurants (only one of which is in our hometown). The guy is without question one of two or three biggest influences on me as a cook and foodist, and "Made In Spain" is one of the best cooking and food culture shows that has ever been produced. To say I was excited to see him in person is a bit of an understatement.
Anyway, that was a cool little coda for the trip.