Taking Flight: Cider Flights at D.C.’s First and Only Cidery: ANXO
Welcome to D.C., Michelin. It’s so nice to have you. It’s no secret that T and I are obsessed with food. So obsessed that I can’t even begin to calculate the number of hours I regularly spend researching restaurants not only in D.C. but around the world– many in cities and countries that we haven’t even been to yet–and have no imminent plans to go to–but I like to be prepared just in case, because you know. Eventually we’ll go to all of those places, right? Right.
Recently the almighty and highly coveted Michelin guide has arrived in our nation’s capitol and you’d be hard-pressed to find many more elated than me. Twelve D.C. restaurants have earned recognition–we’ve been to ten of these twelve “winners” and with the exception of Plume (beautiful restaurant and outstanding service, but we found the food to be meh), we pretty much agree with the list. Which two do we have remaining, you ask? The highly-praised Pineapples and Pearls (counting down the days to our reservation on December 1…and yes, you can expect a blog post on that one for sure) and Tail Up Goat (hoping to get there soon!).
*Kinship: My absolute favorite on this list–and of course, the most expensive, too. Kinship is Eric Ziebold’s (former chef at City Zen–yep, we miss that incredible restaurant, too) newest creation and is downright fantastic. We dined there to celebrate my birthday so it was a night of pure indulgence and gluttony and not one detail was spared. Everything from the food to the decor to the service was sublime. We absolutely loved everything but our favorites include the Maine lobster french toast, the crab-stuffed dorade, crispy kasseri cheese, Osettra caviar, and salted caramel peanut bar. This was one of our best ever D.C. meals (recently awarded 1 Michelin Star).
*Thao Khip: In my last D.C. restaurants post I sang my praises for the Dabney, one of three D.C. restaurants to be featured on Bon Appetit’s America’s 50 Best New Restaurants nominees list (and recently awarded 1 Michelin Star). Well meet a second one of those three restaurants: Thao Khip, D.C.’s popular and highly-acclaimed Laotian restaurant. While I don’t think it’s among the same caliber as the Dabney and not entirely sure it’s quite worthy of being nominated as one of the best new restaurants in the country, it is very very good and I definitely recommend going. What I loved most about this place was its extensive menu: I feel like I could return 5 more times without ordering the same thing twice–and that’s saying a lot considering I don’t eat meat. Standouts include the chuenh tofu, pak nam, and mieng viengchanh (you better believe I copied and pasted that one from their website). And speaking of their website, their restaurant menu is much more expansive than their online version.
*Thai X-ing: Have you been here or even heard of this awesome Thai restaurant? We hadn’t until our friend Jess introduced us and brought us here. Some say that this place is D.C.’s best kept restaurant secret. Well I can’t entirely attest to that (being that I don’t have much to compare it to, since the other ones must be secrets too…duh). What I can attest to is the fact that this place is fantastic and one of the best value-for-what-you-get eateries in the city. For about $40/person, your table is served the “chef’s choice” pre-fixed menu, which consists of of 5-7 delectable home-style dishes (prices and number of dishes depend on the size of your party–there were four of us, so we were served seven courses). There is no menu and they thankfully accommodate most food allergies, as well as non-meat eaters. While they do have a fully-stocked bar, they also encourage a BYOW policy, for a small $5 corkage fee. This place is my new favorite Thai restaurant in D.C.
*Hazel: Months ago I wrote about all the cool kids and restaurants popping up in the hip and vibrant Shaw neighborhood. Well, here we go again. Hazel is yet another fantastic restaurant to join in on the fun and they’re serving up some serious deliciousness. Some shining stars include the crispy chickpea tofu with szechuan mushroom sauce (amazing!), grilled sweet potatoes with crispy shallots and cotija cheese, and english muffins with apple-truffle butter and cheddar. Once again, Shaw, well done.
*ANXO: Jeez, Shaw, quit showing off. On second thought, don’t. D.C.’s first and only cidery has made us some serious cider fans. Because you know, between beer, wine, scotch, and bourbon, we clearly don’t have enough drinking options to choose from. While this place is largely known for their delicious ciders, their food also deserves equal amounts of attention. Their Basque cuisine primarily focuses on small plates (pintxos), and our favorites include the octopus, snapper, quail (according to T and our friend Ian, the quail was so nice, they ordered it twice), sardines, and salt cod fritters.
So there you have it: our favorite D.C. dining experiences of Fall 2016. It seems that now more than ever is the perfect time for us to gather around the table and unite around something that many of us can find some common ground in: food. Food has the unique ability to bring all walks of life together, regardless of our backgrounds, all while nourishing our souls and bringing us comfort.
And if food’s not enough, know that there’s always cider and (hopefully) copious amounts of wine.
Go ahead, fall right in: