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Much of the region’s inauguration-themed food and drink, ranging from an all-Hawaiian menu at fyve restaurant lounge at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City to deep-dish pizza at Rustico in Alexandria, will roll out later this week. But here at Young & Hungry Central, we’ve been combing the area, trying to find those inauguration eats already out there. Here’s what we’ve found:
The Dream and The Spirit: These specialty cocktails are available at all five restaurants in the Passion Food Hospitality group, including Acadiana, D.C. Coast, and PassionFish. I tried them both at Ceiba, on 14th Street NW, and completely bought The Dream. This hand-warmer of a drink is served in an Irish coffee glass; the bourbon provides just the faintest hint of alcohol burn to counter the drink’s sweet butterscotch and caramel flavors, while the orange garnish adds both a fruitiness and a welcome hit of acid. I’d sneak a flask of this stuff onto the Mall, if I could. It’d make the whole waiting around for the Grand Moment more bearable.
The Spirit, by contrast, lacks the complexity of The Dream. I enjoyed its lychee flavors, but found the cocktail, with its triple threat of Champagne, grape juice, and St. Germain liqueur, too fruity by half. This is not a time for frou-frou drinks.
Galena Cellars “Eric the Red” Marechal Foch, Illinois: I asked the bartender at Oya Restaurant & Lounge what she thought of this French-American hybrid grape from Illinois. She made a face and said not much. She poured me a sample so I could figure out if I wanted to invest in an entire glass. After the single courtesy sip, I knew I didn’t. I found the wine’s extremely ripe fruit flavors off-putting; they were so up in my face that I didn’t even notice the grape’s acidity, which, as sommelier Andrew Stover later told me, gives the wine good balance. I include Stover’s comment in the name of fairness to this underdog varietal, which he says is similar to pinor noir.
Obama and Biden Rolls: This may be the only time I’ll actually choose Biden Bush over Obama. Asia Nine‘s Biden Vice President Roll Presidential Lame Duck Roll, with its deep savory roasted duck and sweet and spicy accents, is superior to the one-note wonder known as the Obama President Roll, which essentially tastes like spicy, toasted sesame seeds. For an extra $3, you can pair either roll with a glass of sake, which comes with these little wisps of gold leaf floating on the top. The waiter explains that gold is a sign of success and wealth in Japan. I tell him it’s a sign of success and wealth in the United States, too.
Image by Flickr user Eden Weaver