In the oppressive heat and humidity, one has to find amusement to take the mind off the misery of a D.C. summer. So this week, we found three fun activities: eating, drinking, and watching a great show.
We started the week off by celebrating Bastille Day at a wonderful new restaurant in D.C. called Le Diplomate on 14th Street. As soon as you walk in, you feel you are either in Paris or at Balthazar in Manhattan. Opened by Stephen Starr, who has dominated the Philadelphia scene for years, it is well-run and one can tell he has perfected the management of an efficient staff and kitchen. It is a large, with three noisy rooms with a wonderful zinc bar and never seems empty. And the food! The foie gras was divine and totally melted in the mouth. The terrine was perfectly prepared. The half lobster was cooked exactly as it should be and was beautifully presented. For the main courses, we tried as many as we could – the half chicken with pommes puree that tasted as if it was a small piece of heaven that was pure butter. The steak au poivre was so tender it could’ve been eaten with only a fork and the accompanying pommes frites were crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The duck breast was just right in a honey sauce. Our only disappointment was the frissee salad, which we all prefer in the traditional manner with bacon lardons and Le Diplomate’s variation has duck confit, which just wasn’t our idea of perfect.
Next in the week to ward off the doldrums of heat, we went to a very different style restaurant, The Boat House on MacArthur Boulevard. This is a small, family run restaurant that has the traditional American fare – hamburgers, ribs (which are superb), salads, pasta and always a Greek item since part of the family originated in Greece. Decorated with rowing boats and oars as well as t-shirts from different college crew teams, it is so relaxed and homey feeling that there are couches at the back where one can sit and read or just chat with a friend in comfort. The food is excellent but the portions are huge so be prepared to take home leftovers. Their happy hour at the bar is usually packed with people getting the mini-crab cakes or spinach dip with their happy hour martinis. The homemade chicken tenders with a honey mustard dip are mouth-watering.
The last escape of the week was to see The Book of Mormon at The Kennedy Center. WOW! What a magnificent show. Funny, great music and dancing, and the irreverent humor was perfectly written – not too much, not too little. The actors had magnificent voices and the tap dance numbers were just right. This is a must-see if it is playing anywhere nearby.
Now, I just have to hope that this week is a little cooler or I am going to have to go searching for new things to do that are inside with air-conditioning!