The design of food and interior decor are very similar. Presentation of both delight many senses. Recently, my husband and I had a lovely dining experience at Mini Bar http://cafeatlantico.com/miniBar/miniBar.htm in D.C.'s Penn Quarter. Mini Bar is a six seat restaurant in the back corner of Cafe Atlantico's upstairs dining room. The restaurant is Jose Andres' homage to avant garde scientific gastronomy. I've wanted to go for two years. With our time here running short I was determined to get the reservations (which are a big pain to get). Armed with four phones, we started dialing at 10 am, 30 days prior to the reservation date as per the Mini Bar requirements. After being put on hold and then dropped repeatedly we finally got through. Yeah!!! So what is the big deal you ask? This was a meal unlike any I've ever had. If you're not into food and aren't adventurous this is going to bore the snot out of you. You may find the pictures entertaining though and the story at the end funny. So stay with me. The night we were there we had 28 2-3 bite courses. Yes, 28!! Some of them were the strangest things I've ever eaten. Here are the highlights and a couple not so "high"lights. Even though a couple of the items were not my faves, the presentation was amazing. You actually sit at a bar as each course is prepared in front of you and then served. It was like a circus. At the end of the meal your check comes inside an eggshell that the chefs dramatically smash to bits.
Olive Oil Bon-Bon
Cotton Candy Eel - Not my Fave!
TZATZIKI Salad - Yum!
Steamed Brioche Bun With Caviar
Philly Cheese-steak - Sinfully Delicious
Prettiest Dish Award - Kumquats & Pumpkin Seed Oil
Okay, so here is the funny part of our evening. As we were being seated at the bar, there was a table of two men right behind us. The guy looked so familiar to me but after living in so many different places, everyone looks like someone I know. He looked at me with familiarity too. After listening to his voice I realized it was Hung, winner of Top Chef's Season Three from Bravo TV. I turned around to tell him that I recognized him and he said, "I know you too". I'm thinking, Ummmm no you don't but let's see where this goes. He then says, "You're one of those Housewives" (as in Bravo's, The Real Housewives series). I told him that yes, I'm a housewife amongst others things, but not one on TV. My husband I laughed all night and as we tried to figure out which one I am (I'm thinking it's not Gretchen from the OC, bummer). So which one am I? Here is the story in the Washington Post's Reliable Source. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/reliable-source/2009/06/hey_isnt_that_110.html I love how I'm referred to as a "lady". I guess the days of deluding myself about my age are over. Note, the guys were called youngish and there was no young in front of the lady. Nice.
PS Bravo TV is a shameless self indulgence for me and I love so many of the shows ( especially Top Chef and the Housewives). So this is all a bit ironic.
One of our dining companions that night covered the evening in his blog. Check it out.