News to Digest
Cinco de Mayo is this Saturday and local restaurants are celebrating with a week of special dishes, a tribute to the avocado and even a hybrid Cinco de Derby spread. In other restaurant news, a local restauranteur offers a discounted treat for Mother's Day and the Hill can now enjoy take-out tacos for breakfast and lunch.
My Oh Mayo
Ceiba has a four-course tasting option on the menu through Saturday. For $39, the special includes baked oysters, chicken with pumpkin mole, salmon Vera Cruz and vegetarian options. For dessert, a trio of coconut, chocolate and dulce de leche puddings pays homage to the virtues of hope, purity and union represented on the Mexican flag.
Over at Cafe Atlantico, chef Katsuya Fukushima celebrates Cinco de Mayo with a variety of dishes incorporating Hass avocados, available nightly through Saturday. Dishes include a salmon "ravioli" with avocado-scallion sauce, tuna ceviche wrapped in avocado and carne asada with baked avocado. Dessert is a rich chocolate cake with avocado-passion fruit sauce. The fabulous house guacamole ($12) will also be on the menu.
Meanwhile, Christy and Tom Przystawik, former chefs at Cafe Atlantico who now co-own Alexandria's Food Matters, return to their past with a special Cinco de Mayo menu on Saturday. The day-long Mexican menu will offer several types of quesadillas, queso fundido, mole chicken, plantains with housemade crema and chile chicken enchiladas. Tres leches cake-lovers will find the treat on the menu. The theme becomes Cinco de Derby with the beverage menu. Margaritas, horchata and limeade will share the stage with mint juleps as a nod to Saturday's Kentucky Derby.
Mom at the Market
Also this Saturday, Heather Stouffer, founder of Mom Made organic baby foods, demonstrates her purees at the H Street farmers market (624 H St. NE) from 10 a.m. until noon. The food is made without salt, sugar, additives or preservatives. Though Stouffer bears no relation to Stouffer's frozen foods, she did recently launch her own line of frozen purees and meals.
Tasty Ticket Deal
Restaurateur Ashok Bajaj teams up with Ford's Theatre to offer discounted tickets to "Meet John Doe" for anyone who dines at one of his restaurants from May 7-13. Patrons who dine at 701, Ardeo, Bombay Club, Oval Room or Rasika anytime next week can purchase $10 tickets to the show for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12 or 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 13. Mention the promotion when making a reservation to learn the special source code for booking tickets.
New Around Town
Taqueria Nationale, the take-out space at Johnny's Half Shell, opened yesterday serving breakfast and lunch to go. Open from 7 a.m.-3 p.m., the taqueria serves breakfast fare including a deluxe breakfast taco of egg, cheese and crumbly chorizo wrapped in two corn tortillas ($2.25), scrambled eggs with bacon, grits and a biscuit ($5.50) and a waffle with maple syrup ($4.50).
For lunch, the taqueria lives up to its name with five varieties of a la carte soft tacos, ranging from $1.75 to $2.50. Carnitas arrive with caramelized onions and cilantro, while the battered fish is piping hot under shredded cabbage. Chicken, beef and bean round out the options. The fillings are all well-seasoned and enjoyable, but the doubled-up corn tortillas are thick and unwieldy. In addition to a soup of the day and three small salads, the taqueria plans to serve a "Plata Tipico Americano" that will rotate each day. Yesterday's special was a chicken pot pie, while today is meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Other planned platas include a burger with fries and an enchilada.
To drink, the taqueria has three large glass jugs or sweetly refreshing aqua frescas ($2 each) made from watermelon, pineapple and, my choice, cantaloupe. Sweet milky horchata ($2.50) is also on the menu.
Soon to Come
Mio opens tonight. The restaurant, situated right next to relative newcomer Il Mulino, features a menu of primarily American dishes with a wine bar area and live piano music. Chef JohnPaul Damato, formerly of Jaleo and Restaurant Nora, has assembled a menu that includes grilled split lobster, pork roast with leek confit and caramelized sunchokes. The restaurant plans to start serving weekday lunch within the next few weeks.
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