papa, paparazzi.

Paparazzi in Georgetown holds a very special place in Chris and I’s hearts.  Before we met, Chris had been a few times with good friends, and I’d actually enjoyed my 16th birthday dinner there!  Most importantly, however, Paparazzi was part of Chris and I’s “epic first date.”  This date began at the museum and gardens of Dumbarton Oaks, then carried over to coffee at Dean & Deluca, and then after some serious strolling around Georgetown, we ended up at Paparazzi for dinner.  (Date length = 7 hours.)

So it’s only natural that Paparazzi would get a blog post at some point.  :)  The occasion this time was that Chris’ dad and uncle were in town.  As expected, we all definitely enjoyed the meal!

We started out with the Calamari Con Fritti appetizer, which is a favorite for Chris.  The jalapeños involved were a nice touch!  I was excited to learn that Uncle K shares my interest in Italian arrabiata sauce.  He actually ordered a pizza with arrabiata sauce!  We hadn’t heard of that combination before, but it proved to be very yummy.  I also went spicy, and here is my Penne All’ Arrabiata (“pasta quills with browned garlic, virgin olive oil and white wine in a spicy pomodoro sauce”).

Penne All’ Arrabiata

The wine turned out to be a great choice.  We went with a Poggio d’Elsa Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese.  I’ve had those grapes separately so many times, but this may have been a first for me to try them as a blend!  I am definitely a fan.  This is a huge and unfair generalization, but at least for me, basic cheaper Italian wines (like most basic cheaper Old World wines) often seem to be more medium-bodied, with flavors that are further brought out only when you’re eating the right food.  For instance, I find that cheaper Chianti wine is mediocre when alone, but it comes to life with Parmesan cheese.  Anyway, my point is that the blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese made for a surprisingly bold Italian wine on its own… for a very reasonable price!

Poggio d'Elsa Cabernet Sauvignon/Sangiovese

No complaints here, Paparazzi.  You know we’ll be returning to you for more special moments when we are craving solid Italian cuisine.

the livingsocial best of washington party!

Thank you, Washingtonian Magazine and LivingSocial, for putting on an incredible party last night!  What could be better than trying out numerous food and beverage samples from the top spots in the area, while looking glam in the National Building Museum?  Such FUN!  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

Best of Washington Party at The National Building Museum

Salmon Sashimi w/ Tomato Salad & Basil - J&G Steakhouse

The "Best Of" Magazines

Foie Gras Panna Cotta w/Macerated Summer Berries, Micro Basil, & Candied Pistachios - Bastille

Assorted Cupcakes - Georgetown Cupcake

Smoked-Duck Lettuce Wraps - Jackie's

Lemongrass Sangria - Ping Pong Dim Sum

One of the bars.

Decorations, the fountain, and the bidding area.

Chris & I’s Favorites:  1789’s fried peach pies, BGR The Burger Joint’s Greek sliders, Bistro Bis’ Vidalia-onion vichyssoise, Cava Mezze/Cava Grill’s mini pitas, Citronelle’s tomato tartare, J&G Steakhouse’s salmon sashimi, Jackie’s Restaurant’s smoked-duck lettuce wraps, Kushi Izakaya’s drunken chicken, Perrys’ scallop sashimi, Ping Pong Dim Sum’s lemongrass sangria, Rappahannock River Oysters’ raw oysters, Red Hook Lobster Pound’s lobster rolls.

Regular ticket-holders could enter the party at 7:00pm, and “gold” tickets got in an hour earlier.  Chris and I started getting full around 8:30/8:45 or so, and felt affirmed in buying the standard tickets.  However, it was too bad that a lot of stations ran out very early… so maybe that could be a draw to buy the more expensive tickets next year.  We were especially sad to miss PassionFish’s Kamikaze Roll (so good!).  Another small complaint –  which was also affirmed by others on Twitter – was the incredible amount of desserts.  We wondered if it would have worked better if the dessert stations were all grouped in one section of the room.  A rearrangement of stations doesn’t solve the main issue though: most people weren’t expecting a dessert to be the only selection from some of DC’s top all-around restaurants.  In any case, the foods – both the savory and sweet ones – were very yummy! :)

All in all, we had a BLAST.  The party was so glam, we felt like we were in foodie paradise, and we were inspired to try out many new restaurants!  Next year, I plan to wear a looser dress, and I also plan to spread the word beforehand about how much fun this party is!

I missed the restaurants of Chef José Andrés at the event, but it actually turned out okay for us in the end… Chef José tweeted that it was his birthday, and that he was giving away free glasses of Cava after 9pm at all of his restaurants!  Chris and I took a short walk to Jaleo after the party, and enjoyed some Cava in celebration.  Happy birthday, Chef José Andrés!

Cava at Jaleo

Now I find myself very sad that the Living Social Best of Washington Party is over, but it will live on in photos and in fond memories of the taste sensations!  To find out more about the event, go here, here, and here.  By the way, one of my tweets is featured on their Tweets page!  :)