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Friday, October 14, 2011

Name Drop Theatre

My husband, Rob, being the hilarious man that he is, has coined the phrase "Name Drop Theatre".  This refers to the douche bags (reference Ed Hardy shirts, Range Rovers and overly waxed eyebrows) that go about telling a story in this manner: 

Normal Guy: "Hey, what happened to your hand?" 
DB: "Well, I was getting out of my Maserati, on my way to meet Brad Pitt for lunch at the Ivy and the cuff of my Armani suit caught on my Jacob watch and I slammed my hand in the door." 

Or, you huge DB...you slammed your hand in the car door.  End of story.

So, for this episode of "Jen Eats Food" (the word episode is a CLEAR hint to you, Ellen DeGeneres), I will put on my (non-existent) Louboutin's, grab my (invisible) Hermes bag and lead you down the path of the famous restaurants that I have had the privilege to indulge at.  Before you judge, you should know that Rob and I have one financial vice in life.  Good food.  Well, that and good wine, but that goes without saying since one without the other would be like Abbott without Costello. 



MY FIRST TIME


I have always loved food.  But I will never forget the first time I fell in love with food.  I was at Asia de Cuba with two of my best friends, a restaurant appropriately named for its fusion of Asian and Cuban cuisine.  We ordered what was suggested by the waiter (ALWAYS a good idea when at a great restaurant) and then it happened.  It came to the table like a culinary Buddha ready to change and enlighten our lives with its peaceful but powerful ways. 

The Butterfish.
This was by far the most delectable food I have ever eaten.  Still, to this day, probably 10 years later, the lingering memory of the Asia de Cuba Butterfish is what I attribute my love of all things amazing about food to. 

On that note, you all really need to travel to one of the few Asia de Cuba restaurants in the world and pay homage to the awakening of the awesomeness that is "Jen Eats Food".

 

TOO EARLY
When I was a tad younger, my taste buds were not ready for the appreciation truly good food deserves.  However, since this is Name Drop Theatre, I find it appropriate to mention that I ate at Aureole in Las Vegas.  Unbeknownst to me, many years later I would reintroduced to Charlie Palmer in our nation's capital and I would have yet another life changing food experience.  But at that time, I was not ready for all Aureole had to offer.

Now, one thing I was able to still appreciate in my juvenile state is their abundant wine collection and the "wine angel" that soars around the glass tower where it is stored each time a bottle is ordered.  Yes, it really is that cool. 

 

BEST RIB EYE
On that same inexperienced trip to Vegas, I ate at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant, Lupo.  I had a Rib Eye that was aged for 28 days, was the size of my plate and melted in my mouth.  As I stated above with the wine at Aureole, I was still able to appreciate that beautiful steak.  I was young, not dumb.

 

BEST STEAKHOUSE
Without a doubt, the best steak that I have ever had was a filet mignon at Charlie Palmer Steak in DC.  In fact, every bite of food was incredible; including the chocolate peanut butter dessert I had both times I have dined there.  In addition to the outstanding food, Rob got the honor of meeting John McCain while he was out front waiting for me to arrive.  (I will forever hold a grudge for that cab driver taking the long route...)  Charlie Palmer, although known for his incredible preparation all of things pork, also knows how to grill a mean piece of beef.

 

THE CLASSIC
When in our Nation's Capital, there is one place you absolutely must stop by to have a drink.  The food is great too, and you will run into many politicians (the only people that make me star struck). Its website brags the following:

"Old Ebbitt Grill is just steps from The White House and museums in downtown Washington. Established in 1856, it was a favorite of Presidents Grant, Cleveland, Harding and Theodore Roosevelt and is still a popular meeting spot for political insiders, journalists, celebrities and theater-goers.

Its Beaux-Arts facade, mahogany and velvet booths and bars set in marble, brass and beveled glass are Washington at its finest, and The Oyster Bar at Old Ebbitt is D.C.'s most famous."

And every word of it is true as this place just screams Early America.  But seriously, go to the bar for a drink...it is a wonderful place.

 

BEST JAPANESE
While in Napa with two of our best friends, we had the absolute privilege of eating at Morimoto.  I had the braised black cod and it was incredible.  Granted, any type of fish is pretty much a guarantee of incredible when prepared by Mr. Morimoto, but Rob's pork kakuni was just as delightful.  The nigiri was so fresh it was almost invigorating.  Even the white rice at Morimoto deserves acclaim. 

It could have been the excessive wine drinking over the course of the weekend, but I am putting this food experience in my top five.



BEST OVERALL EXPERIENCE
On our second wedding anniversary, my husband surprised me with a trip to San Francisco for the evening.  Dinner that night was at Hubert Keller's Fleur dy Lys.  A restaurant known for its multiple course formal French style, we joked on the cab ride over that we would hit up Taco Bell afterwards as we would clearly be starving after eating such tiny portions.  After the amuse bouche, the five courses of entrees, the cheese plate and six, count them six dessert courses, I am surprised I ate at all the next day.  We were pleasantly and gluttonously in French heaven.

Being a connoisseur of great bread and butter (seriously, if there was a way to become an expert on bread like a sommelier for wine...sign me up), I will say that it is worth the trip alone.  The salt for the butter must have been a mound of angel dust because there is no other way to explain it.  Don't tell my husband, who paid the bill, but I would have been happy with the bread and butter.  Well, that, and all six dessert courses.

The restaurant itself is beautifully decorated with Victorian extravagance.  The servers are hospitably formal and the lighting would make even the Hunchback of Notre Dame look dashing.  (Cheesy allusion intended.)  Even a horrible restaurant is amazing if I am with my husband, but I am glad I was able to share this amazing experience with him.


So, there you have it.  My culinary Name Drop Theatre. 

Cheers!

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