La Chaumière — Lunch on 14 August 2017

2017 Summer Restaurant Weeks: Week Two, Day One

Monday was the first day of The Big One: The official Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, featuring more than 250 restaurants in the greater Washington area.

I took the shuttle from my place at Dupont Circle to La Chaumière, an old French charmer in the heart of Georgetown.

Moules Farcies à la Bourguignonne

Moules Farcies à la Bourguignonne

As you can see from the picture…. Nothing, really. If I hadn’t taken it myself, I wouldn’t have any idea what it is, either.

It’s a photo of Moules Farcies à la Bourguignonne, my starter at La Chaumière. The dish consisted of ~10 tiny, tiny mussels, baked in garlic butter with pesto. Savouring the sauce is always the best part of eating a serving of mussels, and I mopped up every bit of the garlic pesto sauce with the restaurant’s good bread.

Veal Marengo

Veal Marengo

Veal Marengo is a stew made with veal shoulder, tomatoes, and white wine.
For some reason, possibly because of the mound of rice in the center of the dish, it reminded me of New Orleans. Flavourful and filling.

Mousse au Chocolat

I ended the meal with a classic: Dark Chocolate Mousse, with a raspberry on top.


Old Man Shouts At Cloud

A Rant

I’m getting reactionary in my old age. There was a time when a restaurant dress code would have been enough to make me cross the place off my list. People should dress any way they wanted, I believed, and what the other patrons thought about it was irrelevant.

Now that dress codes are largely a thing of the past in all but the most upscale places, I’ve changed my mind.

The ambiance and cuisine at La Chaumière attract a refined, soft-spoken, well-dressed, rather elegant clientele, ranging from their early 20s up, but leaning toward the mature side. Shortly after I started my main, two women in shorts and sleeveless tops—basically beachwear—were seated at a nearby table. One of them was 50-ish, badly bleached, and wearing clothing designed for someone 30 years younger. They were joined by another similarly dressed woman. And then the phones came out.

It was just wrong.

Did she have every right to go to a fairly sophisticated restaurant dressed as if she was headed for the Jersey Shore? Of course she did.

Did I give her the evil eye and mutter rude comments in her direction? Of course I didn’t.

Did it ruin my enjoyment of the meal? Certainly not.

Did I have a right to be mildly irritated by the appearance and behavior of a fellow diner? I think I did, as long as I refrained from showing it in any way.

Until she put down the phone and started playing a tuba.


The interior at La Chaumière. Pictures found on the Net.

“How To Make A Blockbuster Movie Trailer”

A helpful guide from the Auralnauts.

According to their self-description…

“Auralnauts are Craven Moorhaus and Zak Koonce. We do a lot of things here. We change the dialogue in movies to turn them into comedies. We change dialogue in commercials to turn them into dark glimpses into dystopian futures. We count how many people were murdered by popular movie stars. We write music. We basically do whatever we want and hope you enjoy it, because thinking too hard about what people want tends to ruin the creative process.”

Le Vieux Logis — Lunch on 11 August 2017

2017 Summer Restaurant Weeks: Week One, Day One

Bethesda Magazine Restaurant Week starts on the Friday before the much bigger Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Week, so it’s become something of a tradition for me—which means I’ve done it more than twice—to kick off the month-long moveable feast in Bethesda. And there’s no better place to start than at the refreshed and revitalized Le Vieux Logis, aka “The Old Lodge,” which is generally considered one of the best of the unincorporated area’s ~200 restaurants.

Terrine

Terrine

You can think of a “terrine” as being so similar to a pâté that the difference doesn’t really matter to most diners. They’re both made in loaf pans, and served sliced. This was a velvety Roquefort Terrine, with an apple, endive, walnut, and pear salad. The matchstick apple slices gave it a good tang.

Salmon

Salmon Pesto

The menu described this as a “Crispy Crêpe of Salmon Pesto,” but it seemed to me to be more of a puff pastry than a crêpe. I suppose this is similar to the fine line between terrine/pâté, and I defer to the chef, who knows far better than I. Crêpe or puff pastry, it was an excellent main, and came with a serving of ratatouille Nicoise and piquillo sauce. (Piquillo is a sweet-tasting pepper, without the usual pepper heat.)

Dessert

Dessert

Oh, yes. Dessert was a warm chocolate coulant, with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. A coulant is a soft-centered rich chocolate cake—it’s sometimes called a Chocolate Molten Cake. When you break the cake’s outer “shell,” melted chocolate floods the plate.


My two rules for photography in a restaurant: Never use a flash to photograph food, and never photograph other diners. The only exception is when you’re part of a large, celebratory occasion, and you know all the people in camera range. So, as is the case today, my photos are sometimes less than great, and I’ve rarely included interior pictures in these postings.

This year, I’m going to try to find those interior shots on the restaurants’ websites, and include a few if possible. Here are a couple from Le Vieux Logis:


Great start to a month of what I hope will be great dining!

Summer Restaurant Week Weeks Month Is Here at Last

It may not be “that most wonderful time of the year,” but for me, Restaurant Week is high on the list.

Washington’s 2017 Summer Restaurant Week celebration started on Friday, and this year, various RW extensions and local offerings will make it last from 11 August through 10 September.

RW has turned into a major project for me. When the first, incomplete listing of participating restaurants is posted, three or four weeks before RW kicks off, I dive right in, reading reviews, comparing menus, planning schedules. While enjoying a scrumptious meal at a bargain price is the reward at the end of the journey, getting there is…well, you know.

There’s an element of the “Living well is the best revenge” mindset in how much I look forward to RW. Fine dining requires three things: The desire to taste it, the leisure time to enjoy it, and the money to pay for it. At many points in my life, I’ve had one, or sometimes two, of those things, but it’s really only relatively recently that I’ve had all three at the same time.

So you can look forward, with anticipation or with dread, to a month dominated by stories about my adventures in good eating.

The Crown — Season 2 Teaser

A Christmas gift from Netflix to all of us Anglophiles: The Crown returns on 8 December 2017.

It looks like we’re jumping ahead to the early 1960s by the end of Season 2, which is good news, since Season 1 often felt like it was taking place in real-time.*

The new season will begin with the Suez Crisis in 1956 and end with the fallout from the Profumo affair of 1963. The teaser features a brief look at Michael C. Hall, aka “Dexter,” as President Kennedy.

The Crown, with its solid performances, was one of my favourite shows of 2016.


*Not that I minded. For me, the more detailed, the better, when it comes to getting my British fix. I was only worried that at the pace the first series was playing out, I’d be celebrating my 100th birthday long before The Crown made it to the Diana years.