Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bidwell Brunch at Union Market

Pin It Now!

Last year, Amanda and I visited the newly opened Union Market over in Northeast DC and blogged about it here. We were thrilled about all of the existing vendors and were really excited to see what else would come to the market.  Well, a year later, I am happy to report that Union Market has become one of my favorite local spots in DC.  My boyfriend and I go there almost every weekend in search of something new to try out.  Our recent favorites have been the bagels and lox at Buffalo & Bergen (owned by Gina Chersevani of Hank's Oyster Bar), Cordial Wines, Righteous Cheese, and all of the different smoked fish at Neopol Savory Smokery.  Restaurants like Ris and Toki Underground have also opened up stations, but we have been waiting, with bated breath, for Bidwell, a new diner, to open inside the market.  

Bidwell opened a couple of weeks ago and finally started serving brunch.  We visited last weekend, and, as you can see in this picture, were in competition for seating with not only all of the diners, but also all of the Drink the District beer fans that were lined up outside the market.  Luckily, we snagged a couple of seats at the bar and were seated right away.

The menu is small, but intriguing.  Lately, I've been into by anything with an egg on top, so naturally I went with the Raclette Truffled Grilled Cheese that was topped with a slow poached egg (read: extra runny) and fresh chives.  One thing I love about Union Market is that the vendors purchase from each other.  Bidwell buys cheese from Righteous Cheese and meat from Harvey's - all inside the market! 

The raclette cheese was salty and creamy and complemented by the earthiness of the truffles and the simplicity of what appeared to be sourdough bread.  The slow poached egg on top was added perfection. I spread the egg all across the top and had some yolk left over for dunking.  

Of course the sandwich alone wasn't enough.  I had to try at least one other thing on the Bidwell menu, so I ordered a side of fries. They were salty, thin, and crisp- just as I like them.  They were served with a sriracha ketchup, but I also requested a side of regular old Heinz.  Cause I'm old school like that. 

My boyfriend ordered the breakfast burrito.  Filled with chorizo, eggs, and cheese, his only complaint was that he would have liked a little more.  Actually, his request was more specific: he thought it should be 10% bigger.  I promised to pass this request along.  Size aside, the flavor was delicious.  It was served with a tomatillo salsa and a small side salad. Since he needed 10% more, I shared the fries with him, too.  

Overall, we loved Bidwell, and I am quite excited to try it out for dinner.  The gin and tonic salmon sounds promising, but the menu had lots of fun options. We also loved that you can tour the market either while you wait for a table or after you're done eating. We stopped by Cordial and picked up a Spanish Rioja and some DC-based Green Hat Gin.  Overall, A+! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


Pin It Now!

At the start of the holiday season, I was finally able to check out new 14th Street pizza-centric restaurant Etto.  Many of you might be familiar with popular pizza jaunt 2Amys up near the National Cathedral.  Etto and 2Amys actually share an owner, but I am happy to report that the pizzas are much different--I've personally never understood the acclaim of 2Amys.  Etto is a tiny restaurant, seating only about 40 patrons.  It has an additional 10 or so bar seats. The staff was generally friendly, but on the quieter side.  

Let's start from the beginning though.  We started out with a bottle of prosecco.  Clearly, there was no room for that to disappoint.

We next moved on to the roasted artichoke.  It was served with olive oil, garlic and other spices.  The flavor was delightfully simple, but in a good way.  It was refreshing, light, and harmonious.  This was actually a dish featured on their nightly special menu, but if you happen to see this offered again, make sure to give it a try.

Next we shared the Buffalo Mozzarella.  This cheese was drizzled with olive oil and had hints of lemon.  It was served along with fresh bread.  It actually tasted as if an Italian grandmother was working in the back room preparing this cheese.  It was incredibly fresh and flavorful.

Last but not least, the star event.  Etto doesn't offer a huge variety of pizzas, but they do make all the dough fresh in-house using an old fashioned mill machine.  The pizza is wood fired to perfection before being delivered piping hot to the table.  

One main difference between Etto and 2Amys that I immediately noticed is that the pizza is not doused in olive oil, which I feel makes the 2Amys pies extremely soggy.  Etto's pizza, on the other hand, while thin, managed to maintain its crispiness.  The sauce was tart and tangy, and the mozzarella cheese was melted perfection.  The fresh basil on top added to the overall flavor palette.  

I will definitely be returning to Etto again soon.  The atmosphere, service, and food are bound to make it a staple in the 14th street restaurant world.