Bloody Mary with Celery FoamAs a twirtysomething, I’ve noticed brunch has become the new Saturday night. Raucous girls’ nights in Adams Morgan are replaced with cozy dates or -for some – hanging with the kids. Naturally the next best thing to a boozy Saturday night is a stiff Bloody Mary on a Sunday morning.  And what better Bloody Mary to sip than a Jill Zimorski version of the classic Bloody Mary with tomato water and celery foam? 

The Cafe Atlantico Latino Dim Sum brunch has been on our must-try list for far too long. The weather was warm, our weekend was open and it was time to do something about it. We were joined at brunch by Los Alemanes and their adorable boy Lucas.  

We’d been lucky repeat visitors at Andres’ MiniBar upstairs and couldn’t wait to try his unique take on dim sum, a traditional Chinese breakfast. We were not disappointed.  Brunch at Atlantico is offered a la carte, with a selection of roughly 25 small plates that can be mixed and matched to create your ideal meal.  But they also offer a pair of tasting menus that put your choices in the hands of the chefs for $35 (14 dishes) or $25 (12 vegetarian dishes) and allow you to experience a broader range of tastes in one sitting.  We couldn’t help ourselves – we went for the tasting.

Oyster with Mango Lime OilThe chefs wasted no time getting us started.  Out came one of the most intensely flavorful bites I have ever enjoyed at a brunch: a small, silky kushi oyster topped with a sweet mango puree and a few snippets of chive.  We exchanged looks around the table and knew that we were all thinking the same thing: Wow.  With an opening salvo like that, we couldn’t wait to see what would follow.

A play-by-play of the other thirteen dishes (and a detour for some tableside guacamole) after the jump. (more…)

blog-for-the-bayIn honor of Earth Day, local bloggers FoodieTots and Arugula Files have organized something they’re calling “Blog for the Bay.”  It’s an effort to support clean water in the Chesapeake and to urge the EPA to move forward on Bay clean-up efforts.  They’re also encouraging anyone who’s interested to sign the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s petition.

As part of the project, we here at Capital Spice are happy to share one of our favorite things about the Chesapeake: Chris’ Marketplace and their delicious crabcakes!

If you’ve ever walked through the Dupont Circle or the Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market, chances are you’ve been drawn to Chris Hoge’s stand.  It’s a simple setup – just a few tables and coolers with a pair of butane stoves and a dry-erase board – but it’s been known to draw lines of people queued up to enjoy some of Chris’ delicious seafood specialties.  Chief among them are his jumbo lump crab cakes, made from Chesapeake Bay blue crabs.

It should come as no surprise that Hoge knows what he’s doing: he captained a commercial fishing boat for a time before settling into his current role as a vendor of “value added seafood products.”  With his connections to top-quality wholesalers and his knack for bringing out the natural flavors of his raw materials, his crabcakes (not to mention his shrimp refresco and his empanadas) put the competition to shame.

Details on where and when to find Chris – and what makes his crabcakes and other seafood dishes so damn addictive – after the jump. (more…)

rasika-logoClose your eyes.  Imagine yourself at your favorite Indian restaurant.  What’s the first thing you think about?  Chances are you’ve flashed back to the aromas and the flavors – that unique bouquet of spices that gives Indian dishes their distinctive character.

It’s far less likely that your first thought was of the atmosphere or the cocktail menu – unless your favorite Indian restaurant happens to be Rasika in Penn Quarter.  This modern take on subcontinental cuisine delivers on the traditional flavors (curries, chaats, tandoori stews), but Chef Vikram Sunderam takes diners in some very unique directions, as well.  He has to – the upscale decor and the creativity of the bar creations could easily overwhelm a more restrained menu. 

palak-chatAs part of our effort to see as many of the top Oscar-nominated movies as possible, we decided to check out Slumdog Millionaire at the E Street Cinema last week.  And because it had been far too long since we enjoyed Chef Sunderam’s wonderful palak chaat, we quickly decided that there was nothing wrong with making it a themed evening by starting with dinner and drinks at Rasika, just a few blocks away.

All the hits (and a rare miss) after the jump. (more…)

Co Co Sala, the new chocolate infusion restaurant in Penn Quarter, is not for the curmudgeonly. It’s loud. The menu may confuse. There is an emphasis of style over comfort in the seating and restroom design. But if you can get past these things, you could be in a for a fun treat.

Co Co Sala’s menu is heavily focused on adding unique chocolate elements to dishes, but you have an opportnity to satisfy more than just a sweet tooth. The menu items are set up tapas-style, including multiple options of mac & cheese, crabcakes, sliders (the darling of DC menus these days), and salads.  Of course, there is a wide dessert selection as well.
Details on our experience after the jump! (more…)