Saturday, July 12, 2008

An attempt to update and Domku, finally

It's been a busy summer. Here I thought I'd be able to update more with school being out... June was basically weddings and traveling -- we spent two weeks in Japan and I did a lot of good eating there, though I'm not sure how much of it will end up in this blog. I kept daily food notes, though, so it's all there waiting to be documented more fully. Back in D.C. I've been trying to take advantage of my work-from-home situation this summer to do some more cooking, and have tried to fit in the farmer's market weekly. The heat has kind of limited my options, but some of the highlights have been: a ground beef-eggplant-chickpea stew of sorts in tomato sauce over orzo; a zucchini and lime soup; beet and fennel salad (all three in the same meal, incidentally); stuffed grape leaves made with fresh grape leaves from the Adams Morgan farmer's market; sweet potato tacos with dill-and-green onion sour cream (a collaboration with my friend A.); kale sauteed with soy sauce and sesame seeds, and most recently, tsubu-an (Japanese chunky red bean jam). We had the tsubu-an over thick buttered toast for breakfast, something that I tried for the first time while we were in Maebashi, Gunma prefecture and loved. I also found another market for Japanese staples in a pinch; it's in Bethesda, so a little far, but still more convenient than going out to the Asian mega-groceries in the Arlington area: Daruma grocery, 6931 Arlington Rd. Bethesda, Md 20814 (301)654-8832. They have a little cafe in addition to the grocery store; things are a little spendy on the grocery side but again, good in a pinch. I also enjoyed muddling through a mostly-Japanese conversation with one of the store owners (very friendly). In terms of new restaurants we've tried, M. and I splurged for our second wedding anniversary dinner and went to the Tabard Inn restaurant. I had a goat ragu with homemade orecchiette pasta, and he had duck with swiss chard. For starters we tried the homemade charcuterie plate, a specialty of the house; all very good.

With that brief summary, onward and upward...

Today was a sticky, extremely hot day. I spent the morning going to the Adams Morgan and Mount Pleasant farmer's markets with my friend S., who moved to the neighborhood not too long ago. Bought some peaches, eggplant, kale and chard, among other things (fresh ricotta, which I pounced on; it's kind of hard to find good ricotta). After dropping off our purchases at home and taking a break from the heat, we ventured out again to go to Domku for lunch. I had mentioned on this blog a while back that I had planned on visiting Domku, the Scandanavian-Slavic restaurant in Petworth, and today I finally got the chance to check it out. S. had been curious about it, too, all the more so because a recent trip to Norway had whetted her appetite for Scandinavian cuisine.

We arrived around 1 pm after meandering over on Park, making a pit stop at Columbia Heights coffee for an iced coffee and a respite from the heat. We sat at the window and watched some kids playing in a blow-up pool while music blared from a sound system nearby--part of a neighborhood block party or something, we were never clear on what was going on.

The restaurant itself was very sunny, a long room with bare brick on either sides and the bar at the end, with a pool table and bathrooms behind the back wall of the bar, where teapots were displayed in square-shaped nooks. We particularly liked the chandeliers interspersed with hanging bundles of twigs bedecked with yellow flowers and butterflies suspended from the ceiling. Overall the decor seemed very light and airy and...Scandinavian (I think we were both curious to see how the fusion promised by the website would play out). Since it was still technically brunch hour, I was able to order the house bloody mary (with red chili aquavit) and S. got a pomegranate cocktail. The bloody mary was spicier than I was expecting!

All of the food that we ordered was very good: nice presentation (we also liked the mismatched porcelain plates). I ordered the Chlodnik-- a chilled buttermilk soup, a bright pink, with chunks of cucumber, carrot, and beet, and slices of hard-boiled egg floating of top, and the anchovy and potato salad. S. got the gravlax sandwich. There were a few discrepancies between the menu and what we found on our plates: S. got ciabatta bread instead of the promised french bread, and my salad came with kalamata olives, not black olives--but everything was delicious all the same. The service was a little slow; we ended up staying there for over 2 hours because we decided to order a crepe with lavender syrup for dessert and there was a considerable gap of time between "courses." Overall I would definitely recommend Domku. Great atmosphere, fairly reasonable prices, interesting and tasty food. It seems like it would be equally enjoyable as a place to chill over cocktails. If you're curious, check out their website: they have some delicious photos on there.

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