Barcelona (DC)

Finally made it to a Barcelona Wine Bar in DC.  They have several locations and I hit the one in Cathedral Heights.

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I was going to have wine, of course, but when reading the menu I was lured to the sangria.  At this time of year they make it with lavendar, sage and rosemary.  That…tasted…so…good.

The venue is tapas-styles, so small plates with many cheeses and charcuterie.  After much glancing at the menu, with many choices of sheep and goat cheese, we opted for the Cabra Romero, which is goat’s milk crusted in rosemary and the drunken goat, which has had it’s share of wine.

Also went with some Hand-Sliced Jamon Mangalica, which is cured Hungarian pig and a Catalan sausage (I believe).  They bring this all out with some amazing bread.

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I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get to this place.  I can’t wait to go back and try more of their food and wine.  They also have locations on 14th St. and in Reston.

Kapnos, DC

As a person who could live on a mediterranean and mexican diet, I recently had to check out Kapnos in Washington, DC.  It is one of Mike Isabella‘s (from Top Chef) many restaurants.  It’s in the U St. corridor, just a few blocks from the U St./Cardozo Metro on the Green Line/Yellow Lines.

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The restaurant is said to have small plates so you can have a few per person.  That’s a good thing to know because there were too many mouth-watering options on the menu!  Several of us were there so there was good sharing opportunity.  We were able to cover the menu quite well.

Started with the pikilia, aka a sampling of three spread and got revithosalata (chickpea, tahini, sultan chutney), melitzanosalata (smoked eggplant, roasted peppers, walnuts, feta) & favosalata (yellow lentils, scallions, black garlic, pine nuts).

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After much debate, the rest of the food that hit the table was:

roasted duck phyllo pie  cress, cherries, pistachio yogurt

IMG_3955roasted cauliflower baharat spice, pistachio, golden raisin

IMG_3959charred brussels sprouts  sweet potato, coriander honey, candied pecans

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fava yellow lentils, spinach, butternut squash, saffron, pearl onions

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american red snapper sunchoke, celery root, saffron broth

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marinated lamb bulgur, cous cous, wild rice (didn’t get a picture of this one)

spit roasted chicken  lemon potatoes

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Some of these ‘small’ plates were huge.  There were five of us at the table and there was more than enough.  We weren’t going to let any of this go to waste so made room…  Everything was mouthwatering and beyond delicious.  Since there were so many options on the menu totally worth going back to explore other options.  Isabella also has other places in DC and there is a Kapnos opening in Bethesda in early 2016 which will be a good one to check out.

Encantada…oh yes

Encantada can normally mean two things.  In Spanish, it’s that you’re delighted.  In Baltimore (MD), it can mean a restaurant.  But I recently learned a third definition of this word…eternal food coma in beyond state of bliss with exceptional service, view, imbibery and edible goods.

Got to check out the aforementioned restaurant, Encantada, recently and it was a great time.  It’s on the top floor of the American Visionary Art Museum in Federal Hill, Baltimore, MD.  The restaurant “support(s) regional farms, ranches, and aqua-culture, thus nurturing the concept of sustainability.”

encantada(image source: encantadabaltimore.com)

My friend and I wanted to check out so much of the menu and they are small plates so we were able to cover a good amount of it.

But of course, cocktails first.  We opted for A Cheshire Cat (Anchor Junipero Gin, Cucumber-lemongrass Syrup, Fresh Mint and Lime, Fizzy Water, Magic Velvet Blue Ice) and an I Dream of Genie (Organic 123 Tequila, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, House Sour, Hibiscus Sea Salt Lime Foam).

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IMG_3569Cheers, oh, cheers.  Amazing tastes in those drinks!  And the magic velvet blue ice never really completely went away…  And that foam on top of the margarita (or Genie) just can’t be explained unless you taste it.

For dinner, they had a Prix Fixe of $30 for 6 items from the menu, which was great.  Time to share!

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We actually opted for 7, just because we wanted a lucky number.

So first we had to get some bread going, so picked the Housemade Bread served with a mushroom butter & a romesco.  Apparently that butter was really good.

IMG_3572Next up was probably one of THE most amazing dishes I have eaten for awhile.  Portabellos with carpaccio, white miso, chimichurri and pine nuts (though we opted for no carpaccio).  Those mushrooms were so thinly sliced, the flavors melded together in some fashion that was and still is inexplicable.  Wow.

IMG_3578After that the Cauliflower arrived, which is served nashville style with vegan ranch dressing, bread n’ butta’s, and corncake.  It was deep fried and a bit too spicy for me but my friend devoured it.  It was essentially chicken wings but with veggies.  There was nothing left to be seen on that plate.

IMG_3581Next up, Skate, which is a mildly-flavored fish.  This guy was served with sunflower seed romesco, a fried artichoke and pickled zucchini.  Very nice!  Had never had an artichoke like that.
IMG_3585More veggie time now…enjoyed some delicious heirloom tomatoes with cucumbers, olive oil, black garlic, sea salt.  The black garlic was very cool.  Had a different taste and we honestly couldn’t identify it at first!

IMG_3586Grabbed some Brussels Sprouts next…take me to heaven!  They were served with blistered grapes (totally unique), pine nuts, and fig cotta — another one you don’t get often.  There wasn’t enough on this huge plate!

IMG_3589Needed more meat so we ordered some duck, which was a fennel & juniper cured breast, english peas, blackberry gastrique and fresh blackberry dish.  Another one that was out of the park.

IMG_3593[1]During all this time there was also the need for some wine so we ordered a Malbec, a nice balance to all the flavors.

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Ok, so to sum this all up.   So many good flavors, so many choices, will have to go back to explore the menu even more.  Good thing they had very affordable valet parking since we needed to roll out of there and our car was right in front of us!