The Inn at Little Washington; Washington,VA.; 4/2/21


The Inn at Little Washington is a 42 year old restaurant about 70 miles east of Washington DC.  It is the only restaurant in the area to have been awarded 3 Michelin stars and the chef, Patrick O’Connell received the James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to American food.  The town with a population around 200 and the oldest of the 28 cities in the U.S. with that name, got the nickname Little Washington due to its proximity to DC.  The Inn/Restaurant had to overcome some resistance in the town but now most of the town seems to revolve around it.  The main inn has 18 bedrooms and suites and now there are a number of buildings in town that it also has rooms in, with one under construction across the street that will be a casual restaurant. Continue reading

Mama Chang, Fairfax, VA., 4/2/21


Mama Chang opened early in 2019 in Fairfax, VA.  It focuses on family dishes from the Hubei province, where Peter Chang is from, ones his mother and other females in the family cooked.  There is less pepper than in the traditional Szechuan dishes.  The large interior is filled with light from the many windows and white walls.  Textured ropes hang from the ceiling, the well spaced light wood tables are bare and tons of green plants surround the room.  It feels open and spacious but a bit sterile.  Portions are generally large – we way over-ordered but wanted to try a number of the dishes.  The server was masked and willing to give advice. One note is about their to-go containers which were nice plastic dishes with good locking lids not the usual leaky styrofoam containers. Continue reading

minibar by José Andrés, Washington D.C., 9/9/17


Minibar offers only a tasting menu which is presented around an open kitchen.  It appeared that the menu is done in shifts for groups of 6 people. The multiple staff assemble your 25+ courses while you watch and are happy to interact and answer questions.  Pairings are offered in three levels of pricing or you can order your own bottles of wine.  Cocktails are also available through the next door barmini, which is physically connected to minibar.  The food is modern and beautiful and often not what the eye thinks it is.  There were no choices to make or supplements to contemplate.  At the end of the meal they do give you a menu and staff list, but descriptions are not a part of the menu.  At the end I’ve included a photo of our menu that evening but it changes regularly.  All the staff are super friendly, helpful and pacing moves along at a nice pace but do expect to be there at least 2-3 hours.   Continue reading

All Purpose Pizzeria, Washington D.C., 9/9/17


All Purpose Pizzeria opened a year ago last March and it is a fairly large place.  There are a variety of seating options  which are placed fairly close together.  Some seating at the bar is available.  It has a cool tile floor and wood slats in the ceiling to cover the exposed duct work.  At lunch it is pretty much a pizza and sandwich shop, whereas at dinner there are a few more options, so it was not surprising to find a number of families with children eating there.  We wanted wine by the bottle and the list is on the back of the dinner menu so I was able to get a photo of that to include with this.  Service was friendly, efficient and helpful.   Continue reading

Pineapple and Pearls, Washington D.C., 9/8/17


Pineapple and Pearls is a tough reservation to get right now and we were lucky to get a couple seats at the bar counter.  There is a regular dining room and kitchen counter seats that all receive the same tasting menu, but in those seats the only wine service available is through the pairings option.   At the bar you have the option of ordering your own bottle(s) or glass however be forewarned that the list is woefully small.  The seats are the same as the stools by the kitchen counter and you also get a smaller more intimate group to eat with, however with staggered seating times no one is on the same course at the same time.  The restaurant is a sandwich and coffee shop during the day but that service is to end soon and casual dining will be via the restaurant next door, while this location (which opened a year ago in April) will be dinner only.  We were greeted with a nice cold glass of bubbly until they were ready to seat us.  Once they checked about any dietary restrictions the menu began pretty quickly.  All the staff that served us were friendly and helpful with answering questions.   Continue reading

Rasika, Washington D.C., 9/8/17


Rasika bills itself as the “flavors of India” and the glorious aroma when you enter tells you it serves just that.  It is a large restaurant that was really busy at lunch.  It offered prompt and efficient service as it appeared that a number of patrons were on an office lunch break.  A portion of the kitchen is open and sits opposite the largest table which could accommodate a pretty big group.  The other polished wood  tables are nicely spaced and appointed with large cloth napkins.  Faint music was in the background and the noise level was not too bad considering it was full.  A wall of hanging crystals separate the bench seating of bar and dining room sides of the restaurant.  The good sized menu offers vegetarian and non-vegetarian options as well as 2 tasting menus (4 and 6 courses) with optional wine pairings.  The Chef’s Table tasting is 6 courses and basically gives you a nice sampling of their greatest hits.  Our helpful  waiter cautioned that it would take around 2 hours which was fine by us.   Continue reading