Pineapple and Pearls 2nd Visit — Washington DC (1/2017)

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I had a work trip come up, so I used the opportunity to dine a second time at Pineapple and Pearls.  I knew enough in advance to be able to secure a spot.  In the seven months since my first visit, the restaurant garnered 2 Michelin starts in the debut of the guide for the Washington DC area.  The format and prices had not changed.  As a single diner, the only place I could book a seat was at the bar.  But that’s fine, as it meant beverage pairings were optional.  Half the meal is charged when you make the reservation and the balance the day of prior to arrival.

Upon entering the restaurant, they offered me one of two pre-dinner cocktails.  It was either a whisky cocktail or this, which was a blend of hot white chocolate, mescal, and chartreuse.

After being seated, I was offered the beverage menu, which listed more cocktails, wines-by-the-glass and beverage pairings options (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).  This time, I went with the non-alcoholic pairing. I was also offered the choice of still or sparkling water.

The first bite offered was the same as at the first visit – fennel bon bon with a touch of absinthe. Beet sugar formed the shell and inside was fennel yogurt, dehydrated golden raisin zest.  Underneath as a chaser was a combination of fennel, sunchoke, apple and celery juice with a splash of absinthe.

The next small bite was a beef tartare wrapped by cured sirloin into a roll.  This was topped with paddlefish roe and shitake ash.

My first beverage pairing was a winter pear and vanilla sparking cider.

The next small bite was a hoecake/johnnycake served takoyaki style (grilled pancake in the shape of a ball found commonly as street food) with Périgord black truffle and honey.

The next dish was a compressed napkin that they added hot water to for a finger towel to clean up after the finger food. It was scented with Kafir lime and ginger.

For the full write-up, click here.

 

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Pineapple and Pearls 2nd Visit — Washington DC (1/2017)

WashDCPinePearls-41

I had a work trip come up, so I used the opportunity to dine a second time at Pineapple and Pearls.  I knew enough in advance to be able to secure a spot.  In the seven months since my first visit, the restaurant garnered 2 Michelin starts in the debut of the guide for the Washington DC area.  The format and prices had not changed.  As a single diner, the only place I could book a seat was at the bar.  But that’s fine, as it meant beverage pairings were optional.  Half the meal is charged when you make the reservation and the balance the day of prior to arrival.

Upon entering the restaurant, they offered me one of two pre-dinner cocktails.  It was either a whisky cocktail or this, which was a blend of hot white chocolate, mescal, and chartreuse.

After being seated, I was offered the beverage menu, which listed more cocktails, wines-by-the-glass and beverage pairings options (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).  This time, I went with the non-alcoholic pairing. I was also offered the choice of still or sparkling water.

The first bite offered was the same as at the first visit – fennel bon bon with a touch of absinthe. Beet sugar formed the shell and inside was fennel yogurt, dehydrated golden raisin zest.  Underneath as a chaser was a combination of fennel, sunchoke, apple and celery juice with a splash of absinthe.

The next small bite was a beef tartare wrapped by cured sirloin into a roll.  This was topped with paddlefish roe and shitake ash.

My first beverage pairing was a winter pear and vanilla sparking cider.

The next small bite was a hoecake/johnnycake served takoyaki style (grilled pancake in the shape of a ball found commonly as street food) with Périgord black truffle and honey.

The next dish was a compressed napkin that they added hot water to for a finger towel to clean up after the finger food. It was scented with Kafir lime and ginger.

The next dish was a single long housemade chilled udon noodle with Jonah crab,  tempura, blood orange, ginger and toasted pumpkin seeds.  This was fruity and salty with a nice added crunch from the tempura for texture contrast.

For the full write-up, click here.

 

 

Pineapple and Pearls — Washington DC (6/2016)

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A friend had sent me a link to a new restaurant in Washington DC.  It sounded interesting and very much the type of place I would like to check out.  When a last-minute trip to DC for work came up on my schedule, I went to their website to make a reservation.  They have different seating/menu choices.  If you want a place at the Chef’s counter or a table, then you have to reserve a tasting menu plus beverage pairing place.  They will charge you half the cost up front and then charge the other half the day of the reservation.  You can also select a seat at the bar, where you do not have to select the beverage pairings (but you can order the alcoholic or non-alcoholic pairings or individual beverages when seated).  The split charge to your credit card works the same way.

The restaurant is located right across the street from the Marine Barracks.  Upon arrival, while waiting to be seated, they offer you a beverage. One choice was Kir Royale, which is what I had.

The first presentation of the evening was a fennel and absinthe bonbon with a cucumber chaser (underneath).  The bonbon shell is filled with house-made fennel yogurt, fermented fennel and orange zest and rehydrated raisins.  Apple, sunchoke, cucumber. and celery juice spiked with the absinthe made up the chaser.  This was a nice quick bite to start up the palate.

For the wine, I chose just to have a glass of wine.  On the wine menu, they listed a 2000 Chablis from a magnum pour.  However, they said they were out of it that evening and could substitute a 2003 Puligny-Montrachet.  They let me taste it first, and I decided it would be fine, even though I tend not to favor Puligny-Montrachets over other white Burgundy choices.

The next bite was pineapple-glazed asparagus topped with Serrano ham, some chilies and pineapple aioli.

For the full write-up. click here.

Rogue 24 — Washington DC (1/2014)

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I came upon this restaurant by accident.  In the past, when I have searched for molecular cuisine restaurants in DC, only minibarDC came up.  I had not visited DC in a while, but I did not do a search.  Instead, I was looking through OpenTable.com for a restaurant to reserve for a planned dinner with some friends.  While I was scrolling through the choices, the Rogue24 listing caught my attention.  There were no reviews, the price was listed at a $$$$ rating, and the tagline seemed to indicate some innovative preparation techniques.  When I checked out the website, it sounded exactly like a place I would need to try.  They serve either a 4-, 16, or 24-course menu.  There were no sample menus on the website, just pictures of some of the food.  Unlike many restaurants of this type, there were no specific sittings – you reserved a time slot like any other restaurant.  During one of the coldest weeks ever in DC, it was easy to get a reservation.

The restaurant is located halfway up a “historic” alley near the Washington Convention Center.  It was only a 5-minute walk from the nearest Metro stop.

For the full write-up, click here.

minibarDC — Washington, DC (11/2012)

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Since starting my molecular cuisine food trek about two years ago at The Bazaar, I’ve wanted to go to minibar (another José Andrés restaurant).  But it was hard to get into when it was open and then it closed for over a year.  So, when an assignment to Washington DC came up, I was hopeful I would be able to get a reservation.  Coincidentally, I knew some friends from work who had expressed an interest in exploring this type of food.  The restaurant handles reservations in groups of six, and in its prior iteration, there was just a counter for six diners.  In their new location, they still handle seatings in groups of six, so I organized a group for the experience.

The first hurdle wasn’t as bad as I thought.  To get a reservation, you have to write them an email when the reservations are open for the selected day 30 days in advance starting at 10 am Eastern Time.  I did that and within a couple of days, we had our slot.

The more difficult task was trying to find the location.  Google Maps still came up with the old address.  Armed with our smartphones, we managed to head in the right direction a few blocks away but still with some uncertainty.  Even standing right in front of the restaurant, we weren’t sure we were in the right place.  There are no signs (yet) indicating that the restaurant is there behind a couple of elaborate white doors.  But we made it, still early to begin our dining adventure.

The hostess asked for our coats and led us into a very modern, white, and smartly/whimsically decorated room.  We were offered drinks (cava for some, tea for others) and told to settle in and relax.

For the full write-up, click here.