Je Voudrais…

Le Diplomate“Je voudrais…” was one of the first French phrases I was taught in my middle school French class. I vividly remember our teacher (“Madame,” of course) bringing in Coke and Orangina to our class so we could practice saying, “Je voudrais un Coca s’il vous plaît.” It was thrilling, I tell you. Of course, if I had used the phrase when placing my order at Le Diplomate last Sunday, I would’ve gotten some strange stares, both from the waiter and my dining partner. I’ll say, although I was slightly offended at the mangled French pronunciations used by my waiter, once the food came, it really didn’t matter. The food was rich but summery, meticulous but comforting. Having opened only a few months ago on the 14th street corridor, Le Diplomate has basked in an array of shining reviews. And with the sun peeping through bright red awnings and reflecting off the chummy yellow patio bistro chairs, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect place to enjoy brunch with a good friend.

Le Diplomate patioWe were seated after only about 20 minutes, preferring the short wait to eating inside or on the side patio (with a lot more foot traffic). We snagged a perfect table at the sweet spot between inside and out. With its towering ceilings, skylights and dining room completely open to the patio, Le Diplomate has completely mastered the dining “en plein air” effect. Entranced by the absolutely perfect weather, we were content to gaze lazily around at our fellow diners, slowly peruse the menu, and sip on the Mimosa Lorraine (Crème de Griotte, Crème de Pêche, Orange Juice, and Sparkling Wine) or Bloody Mary. More importantly, our servers were content to let us do just that.

Le Diplomate DiningWhen it did come time for ordering, I prattled off my list of allergies and asked if there would be anything problematic with my order. Although our server didn’t seem exceedingly informed, he was confident that the restaurant wouldn’t have any peanuts anywhere near my dishes. Peanuts aren’t really a thing in French cooking, thank goodness. mimosa and bloody maryI will note, however, that the bread basket brought over by another server did include a cranberry walnut bread. Although tree nuts are entirely safe for me, I still would have appreciated a head’s up. For many people I know, this would have been a big faux pas (see how I used the French, there?).

croissantOne buttery, crackly croissant later, the server brought our main dishes. I’m told that the egg white omelette with ratatouille was lovely, but I can only really speak for my dish: Eggs Boudin Noir. Baked “en cocotte” (in a vivid orange Le Creuset boat-like dish), my soft boiled eggs were surrounded by crispy, salty boudin noir (blood sausage) and roasted asparagus, with some crusty, grilled levain bread on the side. Outrageous. I assure you that this dish was responsible for my inability to move for several hours afterwards. Luckily, my afternoon consisted of lying on the grass in Meridian Hill Park people-watching and reflecting on my meal. And imagining a new one.

Eggs En CocotteYesterday, I decided to capitalize on the obviously genius combination of eggs, sausage and asparagus to make my own version of eggs en cocotte. IMG_1633With my CSA bounty at the ready, I made a delightful little frittata with scallions, chives, sharp cheddar, roasted asparagus, and chicken sausage. I may have then topped it with tabasco sauce. Not exactly French, but very delicious!

Le Diplomate | 1601 14th Street Washington DC 20005 | 202.332.3333

Greens of Plenty

Happy Memorial Day Weekend! First order of business, an apology. Turns blogging is like flossing – you really need to do it regularly to reap all the benefits. (Reminds me – I should really floss more). Anyway, it has been a while, but I’m so excited to be back! To ease myself in, this will be a non-traditional post. Don’t worry, I’m currently amassing a nice array of posts about actually dining out, but for now, I’m making a fuss about my new best friend: a weekly CSA!

My friend Michelle and I decided to go halfsies on a weekly CSA program from Smucker Farms of Lancaster County. The Smucker CSA is so fabulous because it brings together many different Amish and Mennonite farms working cooperatively. Although our CSA is only fruit and veggies, we can always pick up meats, cheeses, and other local items (like Gordy’s Pickles and chocolate chip cookies from Blind Dog Cafe) from their store on 14th street, which serves as the pickup spot. From now until November, we’ll pick up a box every Friday, and halve the bounty for the week! The price is right, as is the convenience factor (I love when other people shop for me!), but more than anything, we’re very excited about the thrill of new ingredients which we would never pick out ourselves. (I’m looking at you, bok choy!) So far we’ve been inundated with greens, but as the summer progresses, we’ll have a much bigger variety. So, without further ado, a week of CSA meals!

Obviously not too much effort went into this meal, but it was delicious all the same! Mixed green salad with radishes and scallions, with raisin challah toast!

Obviously not too much effort went into this meal, but it was delicious all the same! Mixed green salad with radishes and scallions, with raisin challah toast!

Absolutely gorgeous swiss chard (with stalk) sauteed with lots of garlic and scallions with  a simple olive oil and pecorino romano sauce over linguine.

Absolutely gorgeous swiss chard (with stalk) sauteed with lots of garlic and scallions with a simple olive oil and pecorino romano sauce over linguine.

Got over my fears of bok choy and sauteed it up with mushrooms, ginger and garlic in olive oil and butter. Add a roasted chicken thigh for some protein, and you've got a very comforting, filling meal!

Got over my fears of bok choy and sauteed it up with mushrooms, ginger and garlic in olive oil and butter. Add a roasted chicken thigh for some protein, and you’ve got the quintessential “comfort food” meal.

Finally, a luscious bibb lettuce salad with radishes, scallions, and roasted almonds, roasted asparagus, and topped with lemon juice, olive oil and a liberal dash of salt and pepper!

Finally, a luscious bibb lettuce salad with radishes, almonds, scallions, and roasted asparagus, and tossed with lemon juice, olive oil and a liberal dash of salt and pepper!

I’ll be back soon with a post about dining out in DC! Now, go floss, everyone!