Brunch at AGORA, 19 August 2012

I need to get out to brunch more often.  Today I made it to AGORA, which is a couple of blocks from Dupont Circle.

AGORA has a prix fixe brunch menu for $29.95 with bottomless drinks.  They’re also nice enough to call out what menu options are gluten, dairy, or nut free for those that need to know.

There was pretty much no way I wasn’t going to order this option right here.

Being that it was 1130, I felt Mimosas were the best option, and out came a carafe (one of a few).  The server also brought out some pita bread and apricot jam to start things off.  The bread was piping hot, and was used to eat a lot of the other dishes.

Essentially, as many of these as you want (in a two-hour span).

I started off with Patlıcan Közleme (Charcoal smoked eggplant, green and red peppers, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, dill) and Labneh (Strained yogurt, diced apples, walnuts, savory and endive).  Both tasty starters.

Eggplant spread with peppers. Good cold mezze starter.

Another good starter…tangy labneh topped with diced apples.

Next up, I picked the Manchego, Basil, and Tomato Omelette (three farm fresh eggs with manchego, basil and tomato, served with a side of potatoes that went well with the rest of the omelette) and Cilbir (two farm fresh poached eggs topped with yogurt, sumac and spicy oil).  I first tried Cilbir at Zaytinya a few weeks ago, and this was just as good…before, I’m not sure I would’ve thought eggs and yogurt mixed together would be a good call.

Manchego, basil, and tomato omelette.

Cilbir…eggs with yogurt, sumac, and oil, with a side of tasty potatoes.

I closed out brunch with two dishes that were brunchy, but not as Mediterranean…the Pastirma Eggs Benedict (two farm fresh poached eggs with cured loin of beef topped with traditional Hollandaise sauce on English muffins) and French Toast (Challah bread dipped with egg-batter, dusted with powdered sugar. Served with maple syrup.)

The Pastirma Eggs Benedict was really tasty…hard to go wrong with Eggs Benedict at brunch.

French toast…not much different from the norm here.

This was a good bottomless brunch for a good price…I’d encourage you to check it out.

1527 17th St NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 332-6767

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Filomena, 12 August 2012

I’ve had Filomena on my list for a bit.  I’d heard great things about this particular Italian restaurant, so on Sunday I went to Georgetown to check them out.

Upon entering the restaurant, take a look to the right before you go downstairs into the dining room.  You’ll see a small room that looks like the kitchen of a home, where the restaurant’s homemade pasta is created.  You can see some pictures of it here.

I started with three appetizers to get a taste of what Filomena had to offer:

  • La Torre di Melanzane – “Stacked Slices of Eggplant breaded and Pan fried when ordered. Layered with fresh Mozzarella Cheese, Tomato Sauce and Fresh Basil.”
  • Arancini – “Rice Balls– All time favorite of Little Italy’s Street Feast of San Gennaro and in scenes from “The Godfather”. Italian Arborio Rice rolled and stuffed with Mozzarella and Bolognese Meat, dusted with Bread Crumbs and quick fried. Served with Tomato Sauce.”
  • Burrata Mozzarella di Caprese – “Burrata—A ball of Buffalo Mozzarella with a Ricotta Cheese center. Served with Fresh Tomatoes, Basil Leaves and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.”

All three were great…our server, Nenad, recommended the Arancini and Burrata (and my entree below), so kudos to him for that.  If you have to choose just one starter, I’d go with the Arancini (although why just have one??)

La Torre Di Melanzane – a delicious tower of eggplant.

Arancini – fried balls of rice stuffed with meat and cheese.

Burrata Mozzarella di Caprese – can never go wrong with cheese, amirite?

Filomena has some large portions when it comes to their entrees.  I went with Bill Clinton’s favorite Filomena dish, the Linguini Cardinale (lobster meat in cardinale lobster sauce over pasta).  Loved it.  Apparently Filomena sees a lot of other celebs (see here and here).

My dinner companion got a special (the picture of which didn’t come out too well).  The Risotto alla Vitello consisted of two giant veal chops over a bed of mushroom-prosciutto risotto.  If I see this on the menu next time I go back, I’m getting it…delicious (and HUGE portions).

Along with dinner, we had a Falesco Umbria Merlot.  Worked well.  There’s plenty of other options as well.

Bill Clinton’s favorite, the Linguini Cardinale.

Although I was feeling pretty full at this point (I even had to get the rest of my food to go – never happens!), I had to try the desserts.  All of the cakes and tortes are on display opposite of the dining room, and the dessert menu displays pictures that will definitely sell you on that last course.  The Hazelnut Daquois was awesome.

Filomena’s Hazelnut Daquoise was excellent. All the other desserts looked great too (especially the Cookies ‘N Cream cake, which looks like a big Oreo). See more on their desserts page.

I thought I was finally done gorging after the dessert, but there was more.  Deposited on the table along with the bill were two decanters – amaretto and sambuca.  Was great post-dessert.

Amaretto and sambuca to finish things off. Served with coffee beans for the sambuca.

Apologies for the photos…the restaurant is dark and romantic…definite date night quality.  Great food as well, so you can go alone if you have to…worth it!

1063 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington, DC 20007
(202) 338-8800 (and an entry on Wikipedia)

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