Pan Con Chocolate

On the two nights that we spent in DC last month, we twice had the opportunity to dine on some haute cuisine. Our purveyor was none other than the world-famous Spanish chef José Andrés, who I had the temerity at the time to describe as a “local” chef, not fully realizing who he was. In a sense though he is a local chef there, hosting a suite of eateries clustered just north of the mall, in the Penn Quarter, on the 400 block of 7th street NW. We visited three and ate at two of his restaurants. We first tried China Chilcano that features Peruvian fare with Japanese and Spanish accents, but it being Saturday night, we were shut out. No worries though, because there were plenty more places to choose from.

We ended up down the block at another of Andrés restaurants, Jaleo, a Spanish themed establishment that we were so impressed with that it made the blog that night. It also was packed, but we ended up being seated at the bar, which is how we ended up dining the next night too. We started with a sliced apple and fennel salad, with Manchego cheese, walnuts, and sherry dressing. For our main course we dined on two small plates, shrimp sauteed with garlic and a Spanish omelet with confit potatoes and onions. Pictured is dessert for two that we ordered, chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil and brioche ice cream. One scoop of gelato was not enough.

The following night, we went across 7th to Oyamel, a place that featured food from Mexico City. We both ordered tacos. Anne’s featured wild mushrooms and poblano peppers and mine contained confit pork with avocado salsa verde. Trying to be more restrained than the night before, we skipped dessert. All three of these places are on the Michelin Guide’s (by the French tyre company) Bib Gourmand list of exceptional restaurants at “moderate” prices.

In addition to Andrés’ culinary success, he has also won distinction for his humanitarian work with the World Central Kitchen. Winning the US National Humanities Medal. More recently, last year he received an award of $100M from Jeff Bezos, to distribute to non-profit organizations of his choice, which he has used to feed the Ukrainians and receive their Order of Merit in gratitude.

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