A day with the cherry blossoms yielded two fun food outings:
(1) Old Ebbitt Grill, a classic D.C. institution that has hosted presidents. It's the sort of place you'll find gold-gilded paintings, framed 1970s newspaper clippings, and a mounted walrus head. Also, on a weekend, it's about the only place open downtown for brunch. I wish I had photos – definitely recommended for a touristy visit to the Mall.
(2) Hot Bakes n Cakes. You will never guess what sort of establishment this is. Well. OK. Perhaps you'll get the "cakes" aspect. But this restaurant is far more than just cakes. It is a French bakery married to a South Indian eatery.
And it is awesome.
D.C. is sprinkled with these treasures – tasty ethnic restaurants in dull strip malls. You wouldn't think to stop. You wouldn't think, this food will be fantastically delicious, the staff friendly, the prices terrific. No. You'd keep driving and go to Olive Garden. Well! Let's take a detour! (As they say in business: high risk, high reward.)
These lovely popper things made a playful appetizer. They are insanely light and crisp and completely airy in the middle. As in, hollow. I have no idea how they make them. Perhaps there is a little glass-blowing-type contraption in the back. You tap, tap, tap them with the back of the spoon (or just crack them in half, as I did: oops) and create a little nest for the chickpea and red onion filling.
Ron and I tried garlic naan, which was terrific. Ray ordered the chicken dish, above, which was a speciality of the house: Hot Bakes Chicken, I think ...
I tried the palak paneer, a familiar Indian dish with spinach and cubes of cheese. Very good.
Ron and Marissa got these rolled up dosas – an Indian version of a crepe. You could order various kinds, with potato or onion or whatnot inside. Tasty, although ... also ... potentially very surprisingly hot. Be careful.
Last, but certainly not least: the cakes! The light, layered confections were delicious. We ordered a Black Forest piece and a mango piece to share – quite good.
As if that all wasn't enough, Hot Bakes n Cakes also creates kids' birthday cakes. I hadn't seen a doll cake like this since I was, oh, 4 years old and blowing out candles myself.
7000D Brookfield Plaza