Downtown Diane Eats Her Way Through DC

Decided to head to DC for a quick respite from the Baltimore scene and what I discovered was a whole new world only one hour away.After checking in at the gorgeous Washington Terrace Hotel (1515 Rhode Island Avenue) and heading up to our beautiful suite, we decided to check out the hip restaurant in the hotel, 15 ria.Executive Chef Jamie Leeds has created a menu guaranteed to please everyone in your party.

Her menu celebrates the farmer's market, utilizing organic produce whenever possible. There are nightly specials such as Molasses Braised Short Ribs on Tuesday and Kobe Flatiron Steak on Saturday which include two side dishes. The menu features a wide selection of seafood, pork, vegetarian and poultry entrees.

I ordered the Grilled Halibut, served with a lemon-chive risotto cake, balsamic glaze and shiitake mushrooms, it was almost too beautiful to eat. It was delicious with the balsamic glaze adding just the right flavor to enhance the dish. Don't miss ordering a side of mashed potatoes.

They were some of the best have had anywhere. I ordered the signature drink, a Blueberry Smash featuring Bacardi Limon, Fresh Mint and Blueberries over ice, luscious! My friend enjoyed a perfectly prepared Double Cut Pork Chop with salt roasted apricots and a bourbon vinaigrette. 15 ria is comfortable and beautiful with amazing food to match. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner served daily with Brunch on Sunday. www.15ria.

com.After a night of sweet dreams in our extra-comfortable King bed, we headed over to the International Spy Museum (800 F Street, NW). This features an unforgettable tour of the world's largest collection of espionage artifacts. There are interactive exhibits about weapons, disguise and surveillance. The history of spying is presented throughout the museum in very interesting, fun and informative ways. Adults, teens and children will all find something they like about this museum.

The Museum Store carries a variety of spy items such as invisible ink, secret pens, recording devices, disguise kits, books and Cds. Advance tickets are available through www.ticketmaster.

com.After your museum tour, head to the casual Spy Cafe, or the very "hot" restaurant upstairs, Zola. We headed to Zola and were we glad that we did.

Zola, voted hottest restaurant bar scene this year, doesn't disappoint. It is modern and highly sophisticated with a menu and wine list that is very impressive. Zola, subtly carries on the espionage theme of the museum. There are even dramatic spy ovals cut through several booths that allow guests to peak into adjoining quarters. In addition, you can "spy" on the chefs in Zola's kitchen through little windows as they cook your meal.There are many other cool focal points to explore throughout this restaurant including a large revolving wood door that leads to the restrooms.

I had the opportunity to talk with Ralph Rosenberg, Director of Operations. He was a pleasure to talk with and gave me a tour of Zola and it's private meeting rooms and party facilities. The food is amazing. I had the Ahi Tuna Sandwich, and my guests each enjoyed their lunch , one exclaiming Zola's Homemade Hamburger, "the best she' s ever had.

" Try the refreshing fresh squeezed ginger infused lemonade with your meal. Save room for the Chocolate Fondue for dessert, served with assorted fruit, homemade marshmallows and pastry treats for lots of dipping fun. I can't wait to go back to sample Chef Frank Morales Dinner menu and some of their amazing wines, it looked to me like one of the best wine programs I have ever seen.We walked off some of our lunch by shopping in Georgetown.

We stopped by some of the fabulous new shops and we also took a stroll to The White House and posed for pics like perfect tourists. Dinner was at Zaytinya, Turkish for "olive oil." Our server Nuray did an excellent job of suggesting items to try on the menu that features Greek, Turkish and Lebanese cuisine in mezze, little dishes. There is a wide variety including many vegetarian options. I loved the Chilled Greek Tomato Soup and Loubieh Bel Zeit, which was slow cooked green beans with tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and pearl onions.

Chicken with Orzo in Tomato sauce was simple, yet tasty, with nice spice. The hot, puffed pita bread served to all diners, was extremely enjoyed at our table. The dessert menu featured some unfamiliar items including Olive Oil Ice Cream, which I had to try, but was a bit sweet for me. I did love the Organic Summer Berry was a perfect ending to our meal.

The restaurant is very sleek and stylish and I will definitely return for more delicious mezzes.We just had to try one more restaurant that I had heard so much about. Sea Catch, which is located right on the C&O Canal. So the next day we headed over to Sea Catch in Georgetown for a Crab Cake Sandwich that I heard was out of this world. The Jumbo Lump Crab Cake definitely lived up to our expectations, served with a side of delicious roasted potatoes, the Crab Cake was full of crabmeat, not filler, and was very tasty.

Don't miss the Chilled Gazpacho with Lump Crab which was full of flavor and a great light start to our meal.Sea Catch offers a full Raw Bar featuring clams, oysters, mussels, shrimp and their shellfish sampler. General Manager, Brian Reymann, was a pleasure and went out of his way to make everyone feel comfortable in his restaurant.

Visit for information on upcoming wine and tasting soirees.A trip to Georgetown and the surrounding areas is definitely a worthwhile getaway, whether it be for a day or overnight, there is so much to experience and all so close to home.


By: Jason Losover

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