Tag Archives: zaytinya

A Food Tour of the EU Embassies

10 May

by Green Gourmet L

Of all the things going on in DC, people swore up and down that I HAD to go to the “Open House” weekend at the EU Embassies. As I read about the events from last year, I realized that I needed a plan of attack. This year, they were expecting over 50,000 people, long lines, and gorgeous weather. Our plan? Wait in line early for a “popular” open house and then hit the smaller ones later in the day. This plan worked perfectly. Here’s where we went (and the food, of course).

Embassy 1: Greece 

We must have waited in line for about an hour to get in. Just when you think you’re almost there…

You realize upon entering that there is a line to get to the food. Hmmmph. It was worth it. to get a sampling of savory and sweet dishes from some of the restaurants around town.

An Ouzo flavored soda to quench your thirst:

Followed by some grape leaves, pita chips, hummus, and tzatziki:

For dessert, of course the traditional baklava and a honey/walnut cookie:

Know who else was there? Zaytinya of course! If you’ve never heard of Zaytinya, check out the Green Gourmet’s review here. Zaytinya was serving their own version of greek yogurt with apricots and handing out their secret recipe. Yum.

After a sweet ending at the Greek Embassy, we decided to head to…

Embassy 2: Estonia

Do you know where Estonia is? I do (now). When we were outside, we were lucky enough to watch some traditional Estonian dancing, and they were nice enough to pose for the papparazzo.

Although, I’m not sure how the people from Estonia survive on their food. The samples were garlic croutons and dried anchovies.

I guess you just drink alot of this:

This light brew got us ready to move onto the next…

Embassy 3: Bulgaria  

This was one of my favorites on the inside.  A big beautiful staircase and lots of fresh flowers.

They were serving a traditional savory cheese pastry called Banitsa:

And a red wine produced in Bulgaria. Is it possible for a red wine to be both sweet and dry? Discuss.

At this point, we were over having to wait in any more lines. And because it was a beautiful day, we headed to the Georgetown waterfront to visit the House of Sweden.

Embassy 4: Sweden

Sorry Sweden, apparently I was feeling camera shy. Or slightly tipsy from three  two servings of Bulgarian wine.

This is the entranceway, which has a modern water feature.

The inside feels very much like wandering through Ikea. Multiple floors, huge glass windows, modern architecture. They served some of my favorite cheese (Jarlsberg) with lingonberry jam. And chocolate cookies courtesy of… you guessed it, Ikea.

What’s the perfect end to a perfect day of Embassy tours? The perfect beer. In this case it’s Blue Moon.

I’m kinda bummed I won’t be here for the upcoming Around the World Embassy Tour happening this weekend! Click here for more details. Have fun on your travels and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

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Restaurant Week DC- Zaytinya

28 Jan

by Green Gourmet L

I was fortunate enough to take a snow day yesterday (yay!) which included a lunch at Zaytinya and our own semi-private viewing of the movie Social Network. Great food, great movie, great day off from work. Zaytinya is one of those restaurants that is constantly talked about in magazines, online, and around DC, so I figured we needed to check out what all the fuss was about. It’s a Lebanese/Greek/Turkish fusion restaurant that serves mezze plates (small plates made for sharing). Luckily, we were able to get the extended Restaurant Week menu for lunch for the price of $20.11 (get it?). Since my family has Lebanese roots, I grew up eating hummus, baba ghanoush, tabouleh, and I am a bit skeptical about “fusion”. But this place had all of that…and more!

Pre Course

Not really a course, but could have stood alone. This “Z” is the olive oil and pomegranate molasses vinegar dip for hot, fresh pita right out of the oven. I could definitely have eaten this for my whole meal and been completely happy. And the pita just keeps coming. How hard is it to make pita? I will definitely be attempting this at some point soon.

First Course

Baba Ghannouge made with fire-roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, and garlic. This definitely rivals my dad’s Baba (sorry D!) because it had a nice, smoky flavor without being the least bit bitter. We gave this one an A- on the Green Gourmet scale.

Fattoush is usually a summer salad made from pita chips and veggies (similar to an Italian panzanella) with a vinagrette. This one had tomato, cucumber, red onion, green pepper, radish, pita chips, pomegranate seeds and pomegranate vinegar dressing. The pomegranate seeds really took this salad up a notch, since it gave just a hint of sweetness.

Second Course

Lamb Bahar- spice rubbed lamb kebab over tabbouleh with tahini sauce. If you aren’t familiar with tabbouleh, it is a salad made of bulgur, parsley, mint, and lemon juice. Every Lebanese home cook seems to have their own favorite tabbouleh recipe. Mine has more bulgur and less parsley. Oh, and by the way, this lamb dish was by far our favorite of the meal.

Sea scallops in a yogurt/dill sauce. The sauce was thick, creamy and had the perfect combination of dill and lemon. Made me think I was in Greece on a patio overlooking the Aegean Sea. Yum.

Third Course

This is probably one of the best duck quesadillas I’ve ever had. Cinnamon spiced duck confit, crispy lavash bread, haloumi cheese, served with lebneh (yogurt) and cucumber/mint salad. You can’t go wrong with duck fat and cheese.

Shish Taouk- grilled chicken, sumac onions, and garlic toum. Toum is the Lebanese version of aioli, usually made with oil, salt, lemon juice, and of course garlic. If I had fries, I would have unabashadely dipped them into this sauce. I also wanted to wrap all of this up in my pita and make a killer sandwich.

Dessert

Dessert courses always seem to be “hit or miss”, and this was no exception. Well, one dessert was a hit and one was a miss. I guess it can’t be all perfection right? First, the hit:

A parfait of marinated apricots, vanilla yogurt cream, apricot sorbet, and pistachio powder. A nice, light end to a multi-course lunch. And unfortunately, the miss:

Turkish Delight. Walnut ice cream with goat’s milk yogurt mousse and honey gelee. I don’t really like the candy, but I thought I might like it deconstructed in ice-cream form. But, alas, I sure don’t. However, I will try anything once.

And I still ate every last bite!

If you haven’t been to Zaytinya, I would definitely recommend it. It’s a little on the pricey side, but this lunch gave me ideas of what I want to add to my Lebanese cooking repertoire. Stay tuned for delicious home-cooked Lebanese dishes, and don’t forget you read about it on the Green Gourmets!