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Palena


tjaehnigen
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The burger is divine.  Heaven on a plate.  The salad's great as well but something about the world's perfect burger makes a girl's heart go pitter patter.

I kinda had my heart set on the chicken...though I wouldn't be surprised if I SAW the burger that I wouldn't have a rather abrupt change of heart. But there's something about having to wait 20 extra minutes - it's like a guarantee that it's going to be special.

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Oh the chicken's special alright. I just love the burger and am hard-pressed to try something else. When I went for Saturday brunch, I did the burger AND the blini 'cause I couldn't NOT have the burger.

Yes, it is that good and I only obsess a weeeee bit about the burger.

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Everybody knows that the only chicken better than Palena's chicken off somebody else's plate is your own order of Palena's chicken, Jenny. No sad eyes required.

I talked to Chef Frank briefly earlier in the week, and I had to ask him about that chicken. He said, "We just marinade it with some vegetables and spices we like for a few days." Yeah right, pal. He could tell his response wasn't cutting so he added that I'd learn more if I tried to figure it out on my own than if he just told me how to do it. :rolleyes::smile:

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I'm not sure why I never order the chicken because whenever a dining companion does, I make sad eyes until they share with me. 

Hmm...

I don't think the sad eyes thing would work with my roomie...so the chicken it is.

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Must add a recommendation for the "steak and eggs" if you see it on the bar menu at Palena, as it was at lunch on Saturday. A chunk of Snake River Farms flatiron (They also get the paleron from time to time, according to the head man himself. Oh, I'd love to be there when he makes daube) -- rosy and tender -- in a Roman sauce of pinenuts and spinach with a poached egg on the side. Wolf the steak, pop the yolk, let it all the good juices mingle gently and sop up the delicious remnants with their fantastic sourdough. Also managed a minestrone and a full order of the fries, though Jeff did tactfully try to steer me to a half portion. Swore I'd never eat again. But then some VIPs arrived and we got donuts and hot chocolate. Totally smashed those out, too. :raz:

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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Jeff gave Mrs. JPW and I a sneak preview of some summery cocktails coming up at Palena as things warm up. There's a sort of updated lemon drop, with what Jeff called a "lemon Grappa" and Grey Goose with a squeeze of lemon juice. Very lemony, very refreshing, perfect even when it's not hot out yet. I liked the rhubarb juice with prosecco cocktail too, but then I like rhubarb quite a bit.

There's also a much-expanded Monday cafe menu to recommend, including an artichoke antipasto that features fresh mozzarella and a filet of sardine. I also enjoyed the boudin blanc with foie gras-mounted sauce and Oregon verjus. Good eating.

Kisses to Nadya and friend who we bumped into there. :wub:

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There was quite an intriguing comment re: Palena's service in Tom's chat yesterday.  I am surprised no one has brought it up yet.

So the person "ended up leaving without ordering as we were upset at the indifferent treatment we received from our server (10 minute wait to even be acknowledged, no water, menus tossed down to us like paper airplanes, etc)" -- intriguing is definitely the word for it. On one hand, I'm sure I've been seated for 10 minutes before receiving water or menus in more than one restaurant; on the other hand, certainly you'd expect immediate, prompt acknowledgment from a waiter even if he was having a busy night.

The followup -- a call from the manager to make it right -- was certainly the right response. Lemme quote the whole thing just so we have it here for reference.

Washington, DC: I just wanted to write in a positive restaurant experience. My husband and I had reservations at Palena for my birthday. We ended up leaving without ordering as we were upset at the indifferent treatment we received from our server (10 minute wait to even be acknowledged, no water, menus tossed down to us like paper airplanes, etc). We simply wanted a nice evening out and did not feel like complaining to management. So, imagine our surprise when we received an unsolicited call from the dining room manager at Palena inquiring about the situation, apologizing, and inviting us back for dinner on the house even though I said repeatedly that wasn't necessary. I felt this was amazing customer service by the restaurant and am, of course, more than willing to give them another try. Just wanted to put in a positive comment!; Thanks for your great chats.

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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I highly recommend a number of dishes that were on the menu as of last week:

Artichokes Sott’Olio – Artichokes marinated in olive oil with house cured Portuguese sardines and Spanish mackerel and Mozzarella di Bufala from Naples. This chef knows his way around an artichoke, not to mention cured fish.

Galantine of Organic Chicken, with mostarda di frutta, lentil salad, treviso and arugula dressed with hazelnut vinaigrette. A delicious pate-like dish served with a kind of fruit preserves, which was a nice contrast with the sharpness of the treviso (a type of radicchio, I think) and the arugula. If you see this dish on the menu, do yourself a favor and order it.

Penne with lamb meatballs. Sublime. One of those dishes so perfect you want to take as long as humanly possible to eat it because you don't want it to end. In fact, a tear may come to your eye as you savor the last bite.

Thanks to Kelli and the staff for excellent service. :wub:

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And I will agree with Nadya with regard to the minestrone soup with fennel and sausage.  Possibly one of the best bowls of soup I have ever had.  The stock was rich and flavorful, the vegatables a perfect consistency and the sausage an excellent accompaniement. 

Just noticed this. The minestrone is indeed flavorful and and the veggies a perfect consistency, but the sausage seemed too refined for the soup IMO.

Other than that, it's excellent.

That artichoke and sardine dish sounds very good.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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Palena's patio was the place to be today. Warm sunshine, warm welcome. Wholeheartedly recommend the deconstructed salmon "caesar salad" and the blood orange and prosecco "bellini."

Edited by iamthestretch (log)

"Mine goes off like a rocket." -- Tom Sietsema, Washington Post, Feb. 16.

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Palena's patio was the place to be today. Warm sunshine, warm welcome. Wholeheartedly recommend the deconstructed salmon "caesar salad" and the blood orange and prosecco "bellini."

For us it was a little too bright outside, so we opted for a window seat. I'll second iamthestretch's food comments though. I had the "bellini", and Mrs. Polford had what she said were the two best Bloody Marys she's ever had. She had the salmon caesar salad, which I tasted (I especially loved the dressing and the fried capers accompanying) while I had the Steak and Egg. Delicious sauce with raisins and pine nuts and garlicky greens completed the dish which they thoughtfully gave me a spoon for. Naturally, we split a fries plate. The fried lemons were perfect. Hot chocolate and donuts completed a pefect meal.

If I lived in DC, I'd be a regular here. Given that is's literally seconds from the Cleveland Park Metro station on the Red Line, I'll be back next time I'm in town. Then I'll have that burger.

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I had the boudin blanc last night. I love this dish. Holding my butter knife between the tip of my thumb and forefinger, I was able to easily slice the sausage with just the weight of the knife. If it was any more tender it would just melt on the plate.

peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Had a wonderful lunch at Palena this past Saturday. Came in at about 1:30 and only three other tables were occupied. I had the BLT panini, which was composed of house bacon, spinich and a tomato confit served with a side salad, excellent!! Dining companions had the artichoke and fontina panini and crawfish bisque. For dessert we had the donuts and hot chocolate..... two donuts (one glazed and one sugar) were the best I have ever had. Hot chocolate was excellent b/c it was not overly sweet and when dunking the donuts into it they tasted even better.

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Only a few people at 1:30? I've been planning to get in there one of these Saturdays and assumed standing by the door at 11:28 was the best way to snag a seat. Now to find out when Sin City is playing at the Uptown and time it all just right...

Cooking and writing and writing about cooking at the SIMMER blog

Pop culture commentary at Intrepid Media

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Only a few people at 1:30? I've been planning to get in there one of these Saturdays and assumed standing by the door at 11:28 was the best way to snag a seat. Now to find out when Sin City is playing at the Uptown and time it all just right...

You may be too late... I think I saw a sign saying the Interpreter was opening today.

To keep this food-related--get the pumpkin cheesecake if it's still on the menu! Not as good as the pumpkin goat cheesecake of last fall/winter but still DAMN good.

Hubby and I going Monday night...

Jennifer

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Anticipation. Yep, another couple of happy hours at Palena are planned for tonight. Hopefully I won't be stymied by another private event. :hmmm:

The gnocchi with castelmagno ( :wub: ) and nettle was awesome last time. Could be worth repeating. I also tried that stuffed lamb breast which was not at all what I had expected, but wonderful. I really didn't understand the prep (anyone care to expound on it?), but the flavor was incredible.

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Woo Hoo! Going to get my Palena on tonight. I wonder what's on the dessert menu. An even more pressing issue is should I order the divine burger or go for somethin' new? One cannot go wrong with the burger and fry plate...

Sidebar: Does anyone know if one can get an order of the donuts to go? Or is it on premise eating only? Golldang, those gems were delish.

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Woo Hoo!  Going to get my Palena on tonight.  I wonder what's on the dessert menu.  An even more pressing issue is should I order the divine burger or go for somethin' new?  One cannot go wrong with the burger and fry plate...

Sidebar: Does anyone know if one can get an order of the donuts to go?  Or is it on premise eating only?  Golldang, those gems were delish.

The penne with the lamb meatballs is something special--I had that the last two visits.

On the dessert front: Cheesecake has been there lately. Yummy! The Baltimore Cake made an appearence on Monday. Lovely...

Donuts seem to only happen on Saturdays--I've been known to snag an order to go for Sunday breakfast.

Jennifer

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