July 31, 2012

Mussels in DC - Part One

Since I became a pescatarian one of my favorite things to have for dinner is mussels. I love how they arrive at the table in a big steaming bowl of broth and crustaceans. I then remove each one individually from its shell before beginning to eat the seafood and dip my bread or frites into the broth.

This year my aunt and I have made it a mission to eat mussels at as many different DC area restaurants as possible. This is part one of our adventure and covers two places - Granville Moore’s and Brasserie Beck.

Our first meal was at Granville Moore’s on H Street. This comfy and rustic restaurant is located on the recently rejuvenated H Street in Northeast DC’s Atlas neighborhood. The menu focuses on pub fare, mussels, and Belgian beer.While ordering I made one good choice and one okay choice. First, I ordered the champagne mussels; then I ordered a glass of Spanish red wine. My aunt ordered the marinare mussels and a glass of sauvignon blanc. All the mussels were fantastic, however, I preferred mine over ones my aunt ordered. Her’s were cooked in a traditional white wine, garlic and herb sauce. Mine had cream broth with mushrooms and crispy artichokes that elevated them to the best mussels I’ve ever had. After eating the mussels, I used my bread to soak up most of the broth. We both agreed the wine was okay, but not memorable. (A glass of wine is normally my beverage of choice. However, at a restaurant that specializes in beer I should have ordered broken my habits for an evening.)

Wine at Granville Moore's

Mussels at Granville Moore's

Next up on our crustacean adventure was Brasserie Beck. This is a more elegant restaurant and it has a lovely sidewalk patio for good weather. (It was a fairly tolerable summer evening by DC standards - 90 - so we decided to sit outside and enjoy the city.) In addition to mussels, frites, and beer, Brasserie Beck has an extensive wine list, and many other Belgian and European food specialities. We both ordered a glass of wine and mussels. Again my aunt ordered the classic white wine mussels and I ordered wild mushroom, truffle cream mushrooms (minus bacon). The mussels at Brasserie Beck were good, but not quite as good as the ones at Granville Moore's. However, the wine at Brasserie Beck was excellent and the bread at this restaurant is wonderful and chewy. (And good bread is important when eating mussels so you can soak up all the steaming broth.)

After our meal we decided to indulge and order a chocolate gateau. It was rich, creamy, and delicious - a lovely end to our meal and part one of our mussel quest.

So far, my favorite mussels are at Granville Moore’s...

July 11, 2012

And the Sun Goes Down...

A beautiful summer sunset in my neighborhood tonight!

Columbia Heights
Washington, DC

July 5, 2012

A Perfect Place for Pakoras and Paneer

I recently noticed a new Indian / Pakistani cafe open near on Georgia Avenue called the Salt and Pepper Grill. While there are several Indian restaurants in Washington, DC they all tend to fall into two categories - good, tip, and elegant or forgettable. There are very few comfy cafes that serve good, authentic Indian or Pakistani food. I checked online and was excited to see Salt and Pepper Grill had been reviewed by a few people, the majority of whom agreed the food was delicious and authentic.

So, with much anticipation my husband Jonathan and I headed over to the Shaw neighborhood to try Salt and Pepper Grill. The cafe is simple - almost no decor, a counter where you order your food, and a few tables. We got fish pakoras, palak paneer, and some whole wheat paratha bread. Then we got some water and sat down to wait for our food.

Fish Pakoras
First the pakoras arrived. They were very good - breaded with a light batter and served with chutney and tamarind sauce. Next we got our palak paneer. This was fresh and delicious - probably the best I have ever had. The bread was also good - warm, flaky, and served with butter.

Since our first visit, this has become one of my favorite places to stop for a simple - delicious - dinner on the way home from dragon boat practice or a long day. On my subsequent visits I have tried other dishes and all of them have been really good. In my opinion Salt and Pepper Grill is the best place to get unpretentious, authentic Indian / Pakistani food in Washington, DC!