Monday, August 27, 2012


What do you get when you cross a fancy cheese store with a restaurant/wine bar?  Awesomeness.  Cheesetique in Del Ray (second location in Shirlington) is unadulterated awesomeness.

Cheesetique is sort of like a restaurant mullet: business in the front and party in the back.  First, the serious part: the cheese shop/gourmet grocery store.
They have a huge selection of cheese and accompaniments (jams, jellies, chocolate, wine, etc.).  We had a blast browsing while waiting for our table in the back of the restaurant.

That brings me to the party half of the restaurant mullet: the wine bar/cafe behind the cheese shop.  They have a full menu of cheeselicious goodies from grilled cheese to cheese plates and everything in between. With the help of our friendly waitress, we ordered a bottle of wine and a sampling of plates to share with our friends.  We ended up ordering nearly everything on the small plates menu (burrata, carpaccio, caprese, crostini, flat bread), a grilled cheese, and a cheese plate with figs, honey, and six different cheeses.

I remember talking to one of my coworkers a few years ago and telling her I didn't like cheese that much.  She was outraged.  I explained that I thought adding cheese to burgers, sandwiches, etc. rarely enhanced the flavor and I'd rather save the calories for something else... like more dessert.  Well, turns out I'm an idiot.  I was a picky eater as a kid and rarely ventured beyond Kraft singles.  Over the years I've learned that I actually like cheeses of all sorts.  Soft to firm, stinky to mild.  Cheese is fun! 

We're officially putting Cheesetique in our "definitely going back" category of restaurants.  They've got a list of 7 grilled cheese sandwiches and 4 mac n' cheeses that I plan on working my way through.

Second Thoughts from B

J's "restaurant mullet" tag is genius.  I guess it makes up for her dedication to Kraft singles for way too long...

Having a dinner of wine and cheese sounds pretentious or at least very European. I know we aren't European, and I'd like to think we're not pretentious.  So what gives?

You can blame my lifelong love of bleu cheese that I stubbornly got J to adopt while we were first dating.  You can blame CityZen's eye-opening cheese plate that was part of a set chef's menu many years ago.  You can blame ecstasy-inducing burrata in Rome. You can blame our friends M and A who have some of the more sophisticated palates around, and help introduce us to new flavors every time we eat out with them.

Regardless, our love of cheese is alive and well, and each of our favorites can be found under one roof.  Sophisticated and high-end cheeses you've never heard of and childhood comfort foods all on one menu.  It may initially sound elitist, but I'd simply call it delicious.. and the true restaurant mullet. Cheesetique Cheese & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Food Two Go: Philadelphia's Distrito

We're back from a fantastic European adventure full of great eats and wonderful scenery.  While we get settled back into DC life, we wanted to share one of our favorite recent road trip meals: Iron Chef Jose Garces' Distrito in Philadelphia.

We've been to two Garces restaurants now (Chifa and Distrito) and loved every dish.  Something about his way of combining a punch of bold flavors with a lighthanded touch just makes us giddy.  At Distrito, we got the pleasure of sitting in the coolest table in town (or the universe?): a classic VW Bug taxi that was turned into a booth.  Call ahead to ask for the taxi table and be the envy of every guest at the restaurant, especially the little kids.

The yellowfin tuna ceviche with serrano-coconut sauce and lime sorbet is the perfect summer dish. Light, refreshing, but smacks you in the tongue with a pop of spice and flavor.  We could have eaten 6 of these.

I'm usually disappointed and bored by flatbreads but this version with duck confit, manchego cream and tequila cherry escabeche was anything but boring.
I wanted to high five the kitchen for these flat iron steak and truffle potato tacos.  It was like if mashed potatoes, french fries, and high quality beef had a baby and wrapped it up in a tortilla swaddling blanket.  Weird?  Yes.  But, so delicious.

B saved his high fives for the lamb chops with smoked bacon atole and 3 chile BBQ sauce.  Even I, the lamb skeptic, was doing a happy dance over these.

We left Distrito smiling from ear to ear and plotting our next move in the Garces Restaurant Road Trip Adventure Game.  With 15 restaurants in 5 cities, we've got a lot of eating to do!

Second Thoughts from B

Let's be clear, TwoDC is not looking to become TwoPhilly.  It might just seem that way.  After a lull in posts, we write about a restaurant in Philadelphia?  What gives?

Here's the deal: J has spent several days a week in Philly for the last four months for work.  Needless to say, when your blog is centered around things you do together in DC, this presents a bit of a challenge.  I guess we'll have to work that into her next client's contract.

While we're at it, let's figure out a way to have more business dinners at Jose Garces restaurants.  Over the course of two meals and maybe 15 dishes (they are all small plates), I've yet to be disappointed.  With the expectations that comes with the title of Iron Chef, this is no small feat.

Each dish is constructed with purpose and every component serves a role in the flavor, texture, and appearance.  I can't say enough about the tremendous balance that he achieves.

So no, we're not trying to be TwoPhilly, but I can't say we're not tempted.  It would be a long commute, but if we could eat Chef Garces' masterpieces every day, it might just be worth it.
Distrito on Urbanspoon