Andale - DC Dining (part 2)
Saturday was exhausting. The library where I work held an annual community celebration program that takes 5 months of planning lots of stress and countless sleepness nights to pull off. Several of us compare to planning a big wedding every year. You plan and plan and fret and fret, get totally stressed out and on the day of the event you run yourself ragged and forget to eat. Meanwhile all your guests have a great time. Thankfully this is the last year for us to do this program. It's gotten to be too much for me and my staff to do.
Biscuit Boy has become well versed in what to do the day of this event.......walk gently around me, coo on me and take me out for dinner after it's over. Basically this translates to "be nice during the day then ply me with alcohol and feed me good food for dinner."
Biscuit Boy was our photographer this year and took a lot of really great pictures. It also got me out of the library a little earlier because we wanted to drop off the film before the photo store closed. Between digital and film cameras, he must have taken 150-200 pictures.
We stopped by the house for a little bit to walk Biscuit Pup and relax just a bit. Then we drove into DC to one of our favorite places - Andale. It's a Mexican restaurant that serves some of the best margarita's in town. I should know, I've tried my share. Plus they have about 50 different Tequila's. Biscuit Boy is the first member of their Tequila Club. He had to sample 40 of their tequila's to earn this honor. Over the course of a year, he tasted and tasted. Now he has (or will soon have) his own personalized tequila glass and a 25% discount on all of his tequila purchases. Woo Hoo. Me, I'm a margarita girl when we go to Andale.
But booze isn't the only reason to go to Andale. Good food and friends are the others. Our friend Brie, is one of the bartenders. She and the bar manager, JB, take good care of us and everyone else who sits at the bar. And it's great fun watching them work.
The food is really worth the trip. Allison Swope, the chef, is especially good when it comes to fish. If there is a seafood special listed on the night we visit, one of us will usually get it. My favorite entrees are the Enchiladas Verdes - corn tortillas dipped in a sauce of tomatillos, Serrano chiles, garlic and cilantro then filled with shredded chicken. It comes with refried black beans, sliced onions and queso fresco. Biscuit Boy is partial to the Barbacoa de Borrego - leg of lamb rubbed with a paste of red chiles, garlic and oregano, covered with avocado leaves and slow roasted. It comes with the braising juices as soup with garbanzo beans, carrots and potatoes.
Among our favorite appetizers are the Zicil-P'ak - a spicy toasted pumpkin seed dip made with roasted tomatoes, habanero chiles and cilantro, served with warm tortillas.
Our dinner on Saturday started out with a Hibiscus Tea Margarita for me and a shot of chilled Tequila for Biscuit Boy. We chose the special appetizer which was Seared Toro Tuna with dandelion greens salad in a balsamic reduction. We fought over it. The outside of the tuna was grilled while the inside was still cool and nice and pink. It was great by itself but even better when you got some of the balsamic sauce on it. For our entrees, I got the evening special - Pacific Barracuda served over garlic mashed potatoes and Swiss chard and topped with a tomato/olive/caper sauce (I think it said it was a Veracruz sauce on the menu). I loved it. The fish was juicy and full of flavor, the mashed potatoes were creamy and galicky, and the swiss chard had just a hint of bitterness. Biscuit Boy got the Barbacoa de Borrego. This is lamb that anyone would love.
Too full for dessert but wanting something sweet, I got a Cafe Andale for dessert. I've seen Brie and JB make hundreds of them and always wanted to try one. Tonight was that night. A Cafe Andale is made with Damiana Liquor (check out the bottle on their web site), dark creme de cocoa, freshly brewed coffee then topped with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. It was just what I needed. And after two hibiscus tea margaritas, a glass of white wine, it was all the alcohol I could handle.
Needless to say, I was full of good food and slightly buzzed. Oh, ok, I was really buzzed but oh-so relaxed. I slept like a rock that night.