Six years ago I married an amazing guy who has been more than supportive, kind and patient. Boy am I lucky he isn't scared off by the rather, ahem, assertive person I can be. :-)
But as amazing as he is - it sometimes comes downto me to come up with plans for our big events. I don't mind it - but I don't always get it right. This time, I think I hit one out of the ball park.
Today is day 1 of the anniversary weekend - in other words, son packed off to grandparents and dinner downtown night. While my husband is not what I would call a foodie he does appreciate a good meal. He leaves the foodiness to me. He is, however, a fan of the show franchise "Top Chef" and we can often be found sitting on the sofa, eating dinner and watching the latest episode when the season is on. To top this off, we happen to be lucky enough to live in Washington, DC - home to quite a few of the cheftestants on Top Chef. The most recent cheftestant to open his own home here in DC is Mike Isabella formerly of Zaytinya and now of his very own Graffiato.
Oh. My. G-d.
No, seriously - we had the meal of our lives there tonight and it is not often we say that.
One of the biggest issues we have in finding good restaurants is food allergies. My hubby is allergic to anything that swam in the water. Me - count out goat cheese of any kind (bye-bye feta), anything with mold (i.e. blue cheese) or olive meat (just the meat, the oil is fine). Yeah, can make things kind of tough when you are a foodie. So, instead of just heading down to the restaurant I decided to call to make sure our allergies could be accommodated. See, there is a chef's tasting menu on the menu - in other words, trust your chef - and I so wanted to see what he would choose for us. When I called yesterday I spoke to a lovely hostess who checked with Mike to see if he could accommodate the allergies. No problem he said soI decided we would go for it.
Boy am I glad we did.
First the only stressful decision we had to make tonight was about what we were drinking. Everything else was chosen for us and I am pretty sure we got the best of the best.
Here is the first course - ham and fresh, stretched mozzarella.Not only was the ham incredible - there were three different hams on the plate, one of which had a honey on it, another which was mild and a third that was slightly salty - but the mozzarella was one of the best things I have ever eaten. Now I understand why this cheese is a favorite.
Our next course included a small plate of chipolini onions over candied garlic (yes - candied) and a small plate of beets. While the beets were not our favorites, they were tasty. The onions and garlic were really good - a nice balace of flavors.
Third up was a garden salad with a cow's cheese that was crumbled like feta (I double checked - not feta) which was light and fresh and tasty as well.
Next came a pizza of all pizzas. In New York a few years ago I had the pleasure of having a special pizza by Mario Batalli at Otto. It had a red sauce, a few types of cheese and an egg in the middle. This one knocked that one out of first place for me. First, it was a white pizza covered in fresh fontina, truffle cheese (yes - truffle cheese) with slivered white truffles and a duck egg. Did I already mention that this was one of the best meals we've had...ever?
Next came ribs rubbed in coriander with a radish pickle salad and a yogurt sauce followed by Sweet Corn Angolotti (a filled pasta) and somewhere in there I had his braised octopus - it was after the pizza
but before the angolotti.
Right after the angolotti, Mike came over to chat for a few seconds. Nice as can be - remembered that we were the couple with the strange allergies (ok - hard to forget that one) and was pleased that he chose a good menu for us. That was
before we realized we got dessert with this tasting menu too.
Have I mentioned yet that this was an amazing meal? Yeah? Well - it only got better.
This was dessert - a lemon basil sorbetto and a chocolate sea salt torte with sea salt gelato, or something like that. The sorbetto was made with opal basil thus the strawberry ice cream color. The torte - totally worth the head ache I got a bit later. (I know better than to mention I am allergic to chocolate as well - being a chocoholic who is allergic to chocolate is no fun at all so I deal with the headaches. :-D)
It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
So, if you are in the DC area, want a good meal and have a few hours that you would like to spend in the care of am amazing chef I definitely recommend Graffiato. I know we are probably heading back there sometime when we have a chance. We may trust ourselves with the menu next time, or we may trust the chef again. Not sure. Either way, I am not sure we could go wrong.
Thank you, Mike Isabella, for starting our anniversary weekend off just right!
Next up - "Wicked" at the Kennedy Center. YAY! :-)