In the last week I haven't done a lot of cooking. I've made a simple version of shakshuka and then relived my childhood by making mashed potatoes, boiled hot dogs (sans buns) and canned peas. Ok, so the last dish might sound gross to you, but I love it! Don't knock it till you try it ;)
Needless to say, there have been quite a few meals out to fill in the gaps.
This week I had lunch with K at the recently opened Merzi. The basic idea of this casual restaurant is similar to Chipotle, which I love, but with Indian flavors. I had high hopes: Chipotle + Indian = success, right?
It was one of those cold DC days with strong wind gusts. Unfortunately, K and I weren't the only ones who decided to check out Merzi: the line was out of the door! Luckily, it moved quickly and we were inside in less than 10 minutes. I loved the decor: modern and warm with bright colors. Aren't the lamps gorgeous?
While standing in line we got to taste naan and a few chutneys, and I could not resist taking a photo of this pretty orchid on one of the tables.
On to the food. Here are directions from Merzi's website:
When you walk into Merzi, you will be surrounded by delicious aromas–try to focus on the meal you are about to order for yourself! Walk to the counter and get ready to order.
1. Pick one of the following for the base for your meal: naan, rice, salad or chaat.Whenever lamb is on the menu, that's usually my first choice. I did not deviate from my normal routine. I chose chaat, a combination of black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, onions and peppers; corn and tomato salad and medium chutney. K went with rice and chicken. The food was good and filling and fresh. This is definitely a great place to come for a quick lunch or dinner, but I was hoping for more Indian influence. Next time I'll have to try their naan and braised shredded beef.
2. Pick one of the following: Black-eyed peas, garbanzo beans, or onion-pepper mix.
3. Choose your meat (or not!).
4. Pick whichever fresh vegetables you like.
5. Choose one of our warm sauces or cool chutneys to throw on top of it all.
6. Choose a drink and ask for a samosa or potato tikka at the register.
7. Grab a fork (or just grab your naan roll) and enjoy!
I've also finally made my way to the newly reopened Ardeo & Bardeo. This was a media event and I got to taste five different passed hors d'oeuvre. Some were better than others. For example, the beet salad and the garbanzo bean salad were good, but nothing I could not have easily made at home. My favorite dish by far was the veal and ricotta meatballs with citrus scented tomato sauce. These would have been so good over cheesy polenta.