Eno Wine Bar (Georgetown)

I wrote this post long, long ago…might as well fire off the stuff in my back log!

It seems like wine bars are making a resurgence recently. The lady and I have added 4 or 5 of them to our To Try list in the past couple of months. As I was walking to A Bar a few months ago, I reminded myself about Eno Wine Bar on the West End of Georgetown. Walking back to pick up some things from office before heading home, we decided we weren’t ready for the evening to be over yet. So, we dipped into Eno to have a glass of wine.

When we walked in, I was very impressed with the space. It was small, warm. Concrete, brick, and wood. It was clean and modern but still cozy. I felt immediately at ease. I was also curious about the outdoor space, but we didn’t venture there.

Once we were seated and perused the menu, we decided that wine AND a chocolate flight was the perfect way to end this evening.  I ordered a glass of sparkling rose (because bubbles!) and the lady ordered her usual, a chardonnay. We noticed that they had Happy Hour specials, but we didn’t ask what was included. I wish we had. Next time! Would have reduced the bill by about $5-6 per glass of wine.

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We also ordered the Nuttin Butter chocolate flight. It came with 3 chocolates: Apple Pie, Hazelnut, and Brown Butter Caramel.

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  • Favorite thing I had: All 3 of the chocolates were SO TASTY. The rose was not the best pairing with the chocolate, but it was also good.
  • Favorite thing she had:  She liked the apple pie chocolate the best.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The whole food menu looks great. I’d be interested in the deviled eggs, the Moroccan Spiced Meatballs, the salads, and the flatbreads. I’ll also go with red wine or sparkling white, next time.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Next time I want a glass of wine near work. Maybe if I need a fancy-ish Happy Hour spot.
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Cava Mezze (Barracks Row)

I’ve been hearing awesome things about Cava Mezze for a long time. I’m not usually into small plates, so Cava got bumped down on the list for a while. Since starting the blog and finding myself switching into a TRY EVERYTHING mode when out to dinner, I’ve come to appreciate small plates more. You can order a bunch of different things and everyone gets to try some. I suppose it can be annoyingly pricey to have to order 2 or 3 things to get a meal, but we had already had cheese at Sona Creamery, so a few plates were all we needed.

As soon as we sat down there was a basket of warm pita bread with harissa, olive oil, and kalamata olives also plopped onto our table. What an amazing start! We decided to start with drinks. The lady went for a glass of white wine from the greek section of the wine menu and I went for a cocktail. Unfortunately the cocktail menu isn’t on the website and I neglected to get a picture of it, so I don’t recall what it was called. But it was pretty!

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I do remember that it had jalapeño in some manner. It was tasty, but you could taste the green of the jalapeño and it needed something to balance that out.

As far as food, we went with the tzatziki, the falafel fritters, the chicken souvlaki, and the spicy lamb meatballs. I really loved that they brought everything out as it was ready, so it felt like we were eating progressively. We’d be wrapping up one thing and the next would show up, except for the tzatziki, but we just dipped everything in that.  Each thing was even better than the next.

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The tzatziki was the thickest I’ve ever had, but so flavorful. It went with everything we ordered. It was so good, we obviously forgot to take a pic before we dug in.

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The falafel balls were crispy on the outside and very moist on the inside, with whole chickpeas. The hummus and sauce served with them were also a perfect complement.

 

The souvlaki was flavorful and the chicken was cooked perfectly. It actually inspired me to make chicken kabobs for dinner earlier this week.

 

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The lamb kabobs were just the right amount of spicy and super flavorful. I’m all about some lamb recently. And really want to attempt to make my own lamb kabobs/ kefta soon. It’s just SO GOOD.

Everything about Cava Mezze totally lived up to everything I had been hearing. The food had those classic greek flavors, but even more flavorful and delicious than average. It’s rare that we have an experience where everything is amazing, but that was definitely the case here. I’m just sorry it took us so long to get there for the first time!

  • Favorite thing I had: The pita, the tzatziki, the spicy lamb kabobs.
  • Favorite thing she had: She liked that the falafel had whole chickpeas. She also really liked the tzatziki and her wine was better than she expected. Apparently greek wine has a reputation for not being that great? Everything else greek is amazing, I don’t buy it!
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: More of the cocktails! The mini gyros sounded interesting. The spanakotpita, the saganaki just for show. I will also definitely be hollerin’ at brunch soon.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): I hope to get this one into a monthly/ every couple of months rotation. I will definitely be making an effort to get back for brunch as soon as possible.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Anywhere on Barracks Row! We walked past Ted’s Bulletin and saw some really incredible looking desserts.


 

Sona Creamery and Wine Bar (Eastern Market)

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Despite being a really quick drive from Old Town, we don’t make it to Eastern Market nearly as often as we should. Once we decided that we wanted Cava Mezze for dinner on Saturday, I remembered that Sona Creamery was also nearby. Wine and cheese sounded like a perfect pre-dinner snack, so our plan was made.

We ended up there at about 4:30, so it was delightfully not crowded. My first impression was that it was a cool space. It felt clean and bright, but also cozy. We took a couple of seats at the bar and were greeted by an exceptionally friendly server and one of the owners. Bonus for us, it was also happy hour! Every glass of wine at the top of every category was $6. I ordered a glass of prosecco and the lady had a viognier.

We also decided that the experience would not be complete if we didn’t also order a cheese plate. The menu was themed for the 4th of July holiday. They had 13 different cheeses from the 13 original colonies. Cute!

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We decided on Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina, sort of arbitrarily. I bet any combination would have been excellent. It took a few minutes for them to craft our plate, and once it arrived, I saw why. In the mean time, it gave us a chance to study the huge awesome chalk mural on the wall behind the bar. One of the owners also took the time to tell us about the future ideas for the mural. They’re going to be doing a wine vs. beer theme soon and are thinking about making it an interactive place to tally that up. I loved the energy that both of the owners had. Super friendly, outgoing, charming, and just fun to chat with.

Our cheese was finally ready for us! It was more than just a cheese plate! It was a work of art. I almost felt bad about digging in it was so beautiful.

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From left to right, it was the Maryland, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. The top left bit was butter with unflavored pop rocks and pink salt. Which was AWESOME. It was a perfect balance of flavors, and pop rocks are just cool! The owners told us that they actually have to import those from France because the unflavored ones don’t exist in the US. Such a cool way to wake up the palate. Once we ran out of bread, I may have just eaten a little bit of the butter… moving on!

The extras on the plate were placed near the cheeses that they best complemented. From left to right: I don’t remember what those orange cubes were, but it will come to me. Apricot, candied walnuts, strawberry jam with Marcona almonds, grapefruit confit, pickled fennel, a green olive tapenade and fortified soil? Everything was really, really delicious and amazing. The lady and I both favored the feta. It was the most complex of the 3. It was great with the fennel, tapenade, and soil.

The experience was absolutely perfect. Even better than I ever expected. I can’t wait to go back and try other things and just support such nice people!

  • Favorite thing I had: The butter, the feta, the grapefruit confit, the jam.  The prosecco was also tasty.
  • Favorite thing she had:  The feta and the strawberry jam. Not together.
  • Most interesting thing I want to try next time: ALL THE CHEESES. I’d love to see the other little snacks they put on the plates with different cheeses. I’d also like to check out the actual food menu. Oh, and the cocktail menu.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): The owners were so nice, I feel like this is the kind of place where we should become regulars. We definitely have to work on that.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): District Taco is nearby. And Eastern Market! We made our way over to Barracks Row for our dinner reservations.

Society Fair Date Night Bag (Old Town)

As much as I love to cook, I also love eating food that I didn’t have to cook, in the comfort of my own home. I love the food at Society Fair, but a Date Night Bag gives you a chance to try a wider range of food than they serve in the wine bar or the cafe but the same quality. Of course you can order carry out, but for some reason this is different. It seems higher quality. So for a Date Night Bag, you place your order and pay online basically any time before Friday, pick up the bag up sometime Friday, and take it home and enjoy.

This bag included Curry chicken, basmati rice, Indian Chickpea salad, naan, different chutneys/spreads, coconut chai rice pudding, and a bottle of riesling.

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All we had to do was heat up the chicken, rice, and naan, plate it up, pour the wine, and enjoy. It took all of  5 minutes to get from the front door to sitting down eating a fantastic meal. Well, maybe a little longer, I had to take pictures!

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The naan was some of the fluffiest and softest I’ve ever had and the wine pairing was perfect for the flavor profile of the meal. The curry was just spicy enough. The chickpea salad was great and I’d love to make it myself. I’m thinking it would be a good dish to take a to cookout. The rice pudding was good too, but the chai spices were just a touch strong. There was an anise flavor that was a bit much. But don’t get me wrong, we still ate every bite of it. The whole meal was plenty for both of us and we had one serving of everything but the naan left over.

 

  • How often I order a bag: Every couple of months. It’s perfect when we need a quiet night in but still want really tasty restaurant-quality food.
  • My favorite thing about it: The fact that I just have to pick it up, wine and all. At $49, it’s cheaper than going to any restaurant and ordering two entrees, dessert, and a bottle of wine.
  • Bags I want to try: Like ScratchDC, I like trying things I wouldn’t cook for myself. A little bit more adventurous meals.
  • Why you should try it: Because it’s delicious. And all you have to do is go pick it up. They even do the wine pairing for you. You can also pass it off like you cooked a fancy meal, if you need/want to.

 

 

Upcoming Adventures

You guys, Favorite Friday just isn’t going to happen today. I’ve been super slammed at work this week, working early, working late, and just wasn’t able to get today’s post written. I figured instead, maybe I’d just write about some of the things I’m excited about in the next few months.

Last night was our inaugural wine and in the courtyard with the neighbors. (I promise I’ve been working late! I worked late, skipped the gym, drank some wine, and then went back to answering work e-mails until bed time.) I’m excited about this because it means that spring is here to stay and we’re on our way to summer! Finally! This means cookouts and pool time are just around the corner!

Tonight we have reservations at Dram & Grain. I need some fancy cocktails after this crazy work week, so I’m excited! Also a little nervous… because I like cocktails, but am not always super big on the actual taste of liquor. I mean I’m sure the drinks will be fabulous, but this is certainly an adventure for me.

The end of flag football season is near! I mean, I love football and my friends and the community. What I don’t love so much is how much of my weekend it eats up. Games are on Sunday mornings. That’s PRIME BRUNCHING time! I’m looking forward to being about having time to brunch, take day trips to wineries and close-by cities, have picnics parks, and just generally have more time for adventures rather than only having time to do responsible adulthood things on weekends. Right now on the calendar, I have a trip to Annapolis and Lyon Distilling for the first weekend after football. We may bump it back a couple of weeks and just brunch and rest on that first weekend off. We’ll see how we’re feeling. Has anyone been? Anyone have good tips for where to eat or things to do in Annapolis?

Some general plans for this summer include exploring Yards Park, professional women’s soccer games (DC Spirit) up in Germantown, Nats games of course, wine tasting out in VA’s wine country, hitting some of the breweries a little bit further out (Manassas, Fredericksburg, Frederick), maybe a trip to Rehoboth? I’m sure I’m missing so many things…

I’m also looking to take a trip home to Salem, VA to see my parents for Memorial Day weekend, or some other weekend in May. I’m excited to share the good eats of back home on the blog. There is so much food there tied to good memories and my history, I’m excited to be able to tell those stories.

The lady’s sister is getting married to an awesome guy out in Leesburg in June. I’m so excited to be a part of that wedding and get to spend time with the “in-laws.” I love her entire family. They have taken me as one of their own and so now I have a whole additional set of grandparents, parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I’m extra excited that “seester” is finally moving here just before the wedding, after a couple of years of long distance with awesome guy fiance. I’m excited to have family living nearby.

And finally, my biggest excitement for the summer  is our vacation to Asheville, NC. The lady and I have been meaning to get there for YEARS. We spend plenty of time in NC as her parents and grandparents, as well as most of my extended family, live there. They just don’t live anywhere near Asheville. So, since it’s an off-year of the bi-annual family beach week, the lady and I decided to plan our own vacation. We’ve already booked an adorable studio apartment for the week, east of the city, just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway on a little farm. I’ve also already done tons of research and plotted restaurants, breweries, hiking spots, shops, art galleries, etc on a Google map.  I’m looking forward to a week of enjoying the mountains, the slower pace and friendliness of the south, all the food and beer (there are over 50 breweries in the surrounding area), hiking, art, and catching up with a friend or two who live there. It’s going to be a lot of fun to share that here on the blog as well.

Writing all of that out just makes me even more excited for what’s to come. And has been a nice few minute escape from the craziness of work. For any co-workers or bosses (someone spilled the beans about the blog during our all-staff meeting the other day in my Longevity Award announcement) who may be reading… I promise I’m working hard!

 

Planet Wine Shop (Del Ray)

Planet Wine is connected to Evening Star and also owned by Neighborhood Restaurant Group (who continue to prove to me that they can do no wrong). I figured that while we were in the area, post No. 9 Lounge, we should pop in to look around. I had been here before and knew they had a pretty good beer selection. I was hoping to find a fave or two to take home for later. As soon as I laid eyes on the giant shelf dedicated to beer in the middle of the shop, I took quick notice that they had quite a few VA Breweries represented. I got excited! There are several breweries in central and southwestern VA that I love that I hadn’t been able to find close to home yet. I first noticed that they had a Wild Wolf brew and went on the search for Blonde Hunny Ale. I discovered this one on my last trip to Roanoke and had only found it as far north as Harrisonburg. Of course they had it. Now I was sold on making a purchase. I grabbed a carrier and we were off to the races to fill it with a few more.

Then, as if the clouds parted and god said “Happy Birthday” to me especially, the lady pointed to a beer. I blinked and focused on it. Right there on that shelf sat one of my very favorite beers. One that has a special place in my heart because it’s brewed in my hometown by the brewery that inspired my dad to start home brewing. The beer that started my journey into learning about and enjoying craft beer. Right in front of my face Parkway Brewing Co’s Bridge Builder Blonde. My hometown has finally come to my new home. I’m pretty sure I squealed with excitement and snatched it off the shelf as quick as I could. The lady grabbed a couple others (Dogfishhead’s Namaste and Duclaw’s Sweet Baby Jesus) and we were on our way. I chatted up the guy at the register about when they got Parkway and told him about how excited I was about it. The lady said he seemed taken aback by my enthusiasm and excitement. Oopsie. It’s the little things in life.

  • Favorite thing I found: Duh. Bridge Builder Blonde by Parkway Brewing
  • Favorite thing she found: Sweet Baby Jesus by DuClaw Brewery. Not too hard to find here, but always fun to see.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Let’s be real, I’ll be back next week. Anytime I have a hankering for any local or VA beer. Anytime I needed expert help to pick out wine. I really should check out the wine next time…
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Home, so you can enjoy what you just bought. Or anywhere in Del Ray, like St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub.

 

 

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The Red Hen (Bloomingdale)

I knew this was going to be a good experience the first time when I walked in and I recognized the electro-indie song playing. It was cozy and warm on the cold blustery evening and I felt relaxed immediately. Our server’s timing was impeccable. She seemed to show up at the table at the exact right time every time and made an excellent wine suggestion for me despite the sommelier being out for the evening. I was impressed with everything and this place was deemed our new favorite restaurant in the whole city. We loved it so much, we went back to celebrate our 6th anniversary there.

  • Favorite thing I’ve had: Everything I’ve ever had there, standouts were the Rigatoni with Fennel Sausage Ragu & Pecorino Romano and the Smoked Ricotta Crostini. Oh and the desserts. Just yum to all of them.
  • Favorite thing she had: Ricotta Cavatelli with Spring Peas, Braised Sauerkraut, Bacon, & Mascarpone. A good $10 glass of chardonnay.
  •  Most interesting thing I want to try next time: The menu will be changing with the season, so I’m just excited to see what they come up with. What makes this place stand out: Everything was perfect. It was a delicious and sorta fancy meal, but still a fairly casual place.
  • How soon I’d go back (tomorrow/next week/next month/special occasions): Tomorrow, if we could afford to. This one has to be between next month and special occasion.
  • Places to go afterward (what’s nearby): Boundary Stone, Big Bear Cafe, Rustik Neighborhood Tavern