Monday, April 23, 2012

First Visit: Bandolero Pop Up at Tacklebox

I'm a huge fan of Chef Mike Isabella's first restaurant, Graffiato. So, when I heard his next was going to be Mexican with a two week Cleveland Park home base, it was done and done.

I went Thursday night to Bandolero (which is in the middle of a trial run in the old Tacklebox space) to try the $65 pre fixe menu. You start out with delicious guacamole and chips PLUS pork rinds - don't flinch, it totally works! Oh, and don't miss Sam's lineup of sweet and spicy margaritas and cocktails at the bar (I loved the jalapeño infused tequila.)

Next, you pick three items from the menu. My favorites ended up being the mahi-mahi tacos, albondigas and the nachos with crispy goat and goat cheese.
Lots of fun options at Bandolero
They were out of my first choice at dessert, tres leches cake, so I settled on the coconut pineapple flan.

There are a few kinks they are working out, but it was a lot of fun being a part of the test opening. The manager came by and engaged us in a serious conversation about what we loved and what we would change.

I'll be back next week to try a few new things. Let me know what you thought and what I should order next!

Bandolero is temporarily located at 3407 Connecticut Avenue in Cleveland Park. It'll move to it's new home in Georgetown shortly, so try it while it's here - and if you can't get a reservation, the Cinco de Mayo party will be open to everyone.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Strawberries & Graham Cracker Crumb Cake at Ripple

Do you ever choose where to eat dinner based on what you want to get for dessert? Ever since I saw Ripple's tweet that they had fresh strawberries in and were serving them with a graham cracker crumb cake, pistachio brittle and mascarpone cream, I knew I'd be visiting ASAP.

Strawberries & Graham Cracker Crumb Cake (photo: Tammy Gordon)
My partner in crime ordered up a peanut butter ice cream sandwich (you can get the same ice cream sandwiches that are for sale at Sugar Magnolia.)

Stop by and check them out while strawberries are in season - it's a sweet bite of spring, even though it's still chilly out!

Ripple is located at 3417 Connecticut Avenue NW (between Macomb and Ordway Streets), just one half block from Cleveland Park metro.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rabbit Bolognese at Ardeo + Bardeo

Friday night found Caroline and I looking for a chill neighborhood dinner. You know, some place you can wear jeans, not have to wait for a bar seat, get good comfort food and a nice glass of wine. We decided on Ardeo + Bardeo... I just love the renovated bar that makes me feel like I'm in a cozy but chic European city bistro.

Before I even arrived, I wanted (and got) Chef Nate Garyantes's rabbit bolognese, which is hands down one of the best bites in the neighborhood. Have you had it yet?
Rabbit Bolognese at Ardeo + Bardeo (photo: Tammy Gordon)
Caroline decided on the classic Ardeo burger with a salad - and we both had a few glasses of a nice tempranillo. One of the other highlights was when the chef sent out a tasting of lamb charcuterie for us to taste, along with a sous vide pork chop. Definitely stop in and see what's new on the menu. Half of the fun at Ardeo + Bardeo is serving what the chef is experimenting with, especially seasonal ingredients.

Lamb Charcuterie at Ardeo + Bardeo (photo: Tammy Gordon)
Ardeo + Bardeo is located at 3311 Connecticut Avenue NW in between Ordway and Macomb. There is valet parking, but the easiest way to arrive is Metro which is only a half block away. Follow Chef Nate Garyantes on Twitter to stay up on the latest from the kitchen.

Live in Cleveland Park, follow me on Facebook & Twitter for the latest happenings in the 'hood.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Blondies at Sugar Magnolia

What was your favorite neighborhood bite of the weekend?

Me? This decadent almond coconut blondie from Sugar Magnolia (the new bakery at Ripple.)
Almond Coconut Blondie from Sugar Magnolia (photo: Tammy Gordon)