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!  :)

top 100 restaurants: zentan

Zentan is a hip and ritzy Asian restaurant created by the famous Chef Susur Lee, and located near the McPherson Square metro in DC.  We discovered the restaurant when Village Vines emailed us another free $10 credit to get 30% off our final bill, so we went straight to their restaurant list and made our choice!  It’s also fun, of course, that Zentan turns out to be another Top 100 restaurant.

I definitely want to go there again.  I loved the modern vibe of the place, and the wait staff was very friendly.  Chris wasn’t as impressed as I was, but I think he just wished we’d ordered different sushi rolls.  We chose our entire meal and wine based on our waitress’ recommendations, and I was thrilled with all of it!  Next time, we’ll choose more of Chris’ favorite sushi instead.  :)

This was our view of the restaurant (before it filled up and was hopping!):

The bar and awesome candles at Zentan.

We ordered a 2009 Adelsheim Pinot Gris from the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  Crisp, refreshing, and to the point.  We started with a half-order of the Singapore Slaw, which had a salted plum dressing and peanuts in the mix.  It was very light, and a great way to begin.  Next, we shared the Escolar, which is Asian crudo (raw fish) with pickled jalapeño, jicama, and shallot-sesame dressing.  As the waitress had said, it was just a really clean and nice fish!

Finally, we ended with two sushi rolls: The “Brick” (spicy lobster, scallop, barbeque eel, avocado, & tobiko) and The “Rock & Roll” (crispy calamari, yellowtail, mango, & jalapeño).

The "Brick" and the "Rock & Roll" Signature Sushi Rolls.

We usually ask for roe-less sushi… but oops, forgot to do that this time!  So we just tried to scrape off the roe as best we could and not think about baby fish being born in our stomachs.  :)

What is it about sushi?  To me, it might be the most romantic food in the world…

I really loved Zentan.  It reminded me of Passion Fish, a restaurant in Reston that is more highly-ranked on the Top 100 list.  I do think I might like Passion Fish better than Zentan, but I definitely prefer DC over Reston.  In any case, it’s wonderful to know about two delicious and trendy sushi restaurants now!

top 100 restaurants: kinkead’s

Chris and I are trying to go to all of the Washingtonian’s Top 100 Restaurants. It’s a slow goal, but we are making progress! Last night, we tried out Kinkead’s, a seafood restaurant near the Foggy Bottom metro. We used Village Vines (they emailed us a free $10 credit) to get 30% off our final bill… always a good option for the more pricey restaurants.

It was a funny environment. Loved the live piano-playing! Kinkead’s seems to be the place where the rich, elderly people of DC go. Chris and I enjoyed people-watching, and gathered a lot of info by eavesdropping on nearby conversations! There was a family a few tables away, representing a few generations, where one older man seemed to know the waiter very well. To the right of our table, an elderly couple barely spoke as they ate, but laughed loudly at a joke the waiter told about how people are always on their cellphones these days. To the left, a couple (probably in their 30s) dined with their parents; it was apparently the first time both sets of parents were meeting each other. We were hoping for a proposal! Maybe it happened after we left.

This is Kinkead's logo - on everything at the restaurant!

Anyway, Chris ordered the Alaskan Halibut with Crab Imperial, Scallion Spoon Bread, Sweet Potato Puree, and Mustard Cream Sauce. I can’t find the exact name of what I ordered, but it was Red Snapper with Asparagus, and some sort of asparagus cream sauce (which I MUST learn how to make!). The portions were perfect, and the meals were divine!

The Alaskan Halibut - Chris' meal.

The Red Snapper - my meal.

For wine, we each ordered a different glass. Chris got a yummy red blend, and I chose a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. I need to branch out more into white wines… I truly loved this one! Dryer, and oh so full of citrus flavors!

We really enjoyed our time at Kinkead’s, but I’m not sure if we’ll rush to go back (maybe if we’re living around here and rich when we’re in our 70’s!). The meals were delicious though, and we felt very refined as we ate.