Today, we’re off to Washington D.C. The first restaurant is my namesake—Olives. It’s at 1600 K Street (202)-452-1866. This ain’t the Olive Garden. It’s a Todd English restaurant. Beautiful atmosphere. First floor has a bar and about a dozen tables. Both times I’ve been here, I managed to get a table downstairs where it’s a little quieter. The first time they gave me a special table when they saw my name was Olive. White table cloths, several booths, and very elegant service. On each table are two bowls of green and kalamata olive tapenade for dipping with flat bread. I enjoy olives this way and it’s a nice change from just bread and butter.
I love bibb lettuce and they have a very nice bibb lettuce salad, with thinly shaved onions, a walnut dressing, and sprinkles of Maytag blue cheese. I have to be careful or I could eat several of these. Don’t want to get too healthy! One appetizer that I think is amazing is his Tuna tartare. It’s thinly sliced sushi-grade tuna with a compote of pureed cucumbers, topped with rock shrimp and a scallion crème. Take me now, Lord! Two main courses stand out. The first is pan-seared sea scallops with corn-filled ravioli, morels (a type of mushroom), Smithfield ham, and a fava bean succotash. Scallops can be tricky. Undercook them and they’re mushy (yech!). Overcook them and they resemble a superball. These were cooked perfectly, very sweet and juicy. A glass of Schloss Schönborn Riesling Kabinett and I was good to go.
The second entrée (forgive me Nebraska) is a wood grilled sirloin topped with wasabi butter complemented by rockfish fried rice and a stir fry of vegetables. The wasabi butter really goes with the sirloin which I had medium rare. Nice and pink but the cow didn’t “moo” when I stabbed it with my fork. Wine with the sirloin was a glass of Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot, with lots of fruit, jammy raspberry, and easy drinking.
Olives also has some very nice pastas but I always find them a bit heavy. For dessert, molten chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream. The cake has a center of molten dark chocolate and being a chocolate lover, it’s definitely worth the calories. So much for weight watchers.
The next restaurant is a bit odd. I spend a lot of time in airports. I got caught in National Airport in D.C. with a bunch of delays and a lot of time to kill. Needless to say, airport food isn’t fit to feed your dog…usually. National is home to a funky little wine bistro called Cibo’s Bistro and Wine Bar. What a find! I spent two and a half hours here the first time and it’s now a regular on my trips through D.C. I started with lunch and a glass of Chateau St. Michelle Riesling. Lunch was a brie cheese and prosciutto Panini. Wow! What a sandwich! Since I had about six hours to kill, I went back for “dinner,” which was an Ahi Tuna BLT. Seared Ahi tuna, bacon, chopped tomato, chopped lettuce and a pesto aoli nestled on a chiabatta bun. Had a glass of Whitehall Lane Sauvignon blanc. Honestly, I’ve never had sandwiches this good and in an airport no less.
Well, that should give you some place to eat in D.C. Gotta go finish packing. I’m actually taking five days of vacation. Off to Chicago and the world’s best pizza (Giordano’s) and hotdogs (Henry’s). I’ll report back in a week.