Monday, November 3, 2014

Wildwood Kitchen - Awesomeness Comes in Small Packages

Wildwood Kitchen
Shops at Wildwood
10223 Old Georgetown Rd.
Bethesda, MD 20814
301-571-1700

Wildwood shopping center is a strip mall at the corner of Old Georgetown and Democracy in Bethesda. I go there once in a while when I'm trying to source a particular ingredient or quality of ingredient that only Balducci's carries locally. It is home to Oakville Wine Bar, where you can always get a quality piece of fish and glass of wine or some good pizza at Geppetto. There is also a Starbucks and a few other places, but I don't go there often. 
There is a small restaurant down towards the end of the strip though, that might entice me to make the journey more frequent. It's Wildwood Kitchen.
If you live in the DC Metro, or the east coast of the U.S., you've probably heard of the owner. Robert Weidmaier. He owns several concepts, most notably Marcel's in DC and Mussel Bars scattered about the area. Marcel's is a favorite of the critics and is fine-dining while Mussel Bar is casual place to have some great mussels and exotic beer. Brasserie Beck is also under his umbrella and has seen some great chefs come through it's doors.
All that being said, Wildwood Kitchen is a neighborhood joint that happens to have some terrific food being put out by Matt Newland, Chef de Cuisine.
Let's get on to dinner though,
 I'm never one to turn down a good smoky rye drink with a big ice cube, this one was called the Smoking Rye Boulevard and had Campari and cherry. This version was good without being smashed with smoke. That happens sometimes...not sure if it's what's being used to create the smoke or the length of time it's in there, but this one was good. 
 The bread is torn, brushed with olive oil and mildly singed. It's a perfect format for dipping in the sauces and soups to follow.
 Speaking of soups, the potato soup with goat cheese was the soup of the day. One of the nicest I've ever tried.
Duck Rillettes were nicely done. Tender and flavorful with a good bumpy mustard on the side.
 I'd like to get Chef Matt's recipe for his confit...if he'd give it up. Literally the best texture I've ever had in a confit. 
 I had the hanger steak. It was topped with a compound butter and served atop a puree of parsnips. The veg rocked.
The finale was a grapefruit with sabayon and meringue morsels with some grapefruit sorbet if memory serves me correctly. It was light, citrusy, and a great way to end dinner.

This restaurant is a true neighborhood gem. If you go, make sure you get your reservations at least a week or two out if you prefer prime-dining hours. It's a small place. Go with friends and enjoy. You won't be disappointed.

Wildwood Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Ginger Cafe - Santa Teresa's Best Non-Tico Tipico Breakfast

What is a non-Tico breakfast you ask? It is more of a continental breakfast, which is to say it's not beans and rice or some variation thereof. Not that there is anything wrong with beans and rice for breakfast. I had it several times while in Costa Rica and enjoyed it thoroughly. 
Ginger Cafe was a slightly more European cuisine.
To start with, the coffee was amazing. I fell in love with Costa Rican coffee while I was in Santa Teresa. Here I had a latte with an extra shot of espresso.
This is what the kids had as appetizers...yes, they got appetizers before breakfast. We were on vacation after all. This is a croissant from a bakery down the road, which we also ate at a few times, slathered with Nutella. 
Some of our crew were hooked on the banana french toast.
I was a fan of the eggs and toast with salami. Interesting choice of breakfast meat, but it's what I got. Our server's English was about as good as my Spanish, so I likely ordered the wrong thing, but it was tasty. Notice the butter: great color/flavor. The eggs were perfectly cooked too.

One of the more interesting things about this restaurant is the fact that it is attached to the owner's house. The house itself is a large, open-air structure. When you look up from your table you can actually see the fridge in his kitchen, which is upstairs. The walls in the restaurant are just gauzy coverings. Very cool place. I'm taking notes for when I'm ready to retire and open my place.

If you get the chance to go to the Mal Pais/Santa Teresa area make sure you stop in. You won't be disappointed.