A Few Bites At Jaleo – Washington DC

Originally published in 2013 on http://www.markberepeterson.com

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Whenever I am in the Washington DC area I like to pay a “visit” to one of my favorite Chefs, Jose Andres.  His empire of DC restaurants is impressive and exquisite.  He won the James Beard award in 2004.  He is one of my all-time favorite celebrity chefs.  I own two of his cookbooks, Tapas : A Taste Of Spain In America, and Made In Spain.  I have watched his TV series Made In Spain and numerous interviews as well as guest appearances on such shows as Anthony Bourdain : No Reservations.  On this occasion I spent the morning at one of the many museums in DC and then took a walk over to the award winning Jaleo.

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I was excited to go not just for the food but they had gone through an elaborate remodel since my last visit.  Would it meet my expectations and be as fun an environment as I anticipated?  Yes, the remodel is gorgeous.  The remodel is bright and fun.  The virtual palate of colors over the bar is impressive and the bathroom is a must see.  For a confirmed germ-a-phobe that is a hard sentence to write, but nevertheless it is the truth.  A cacophony of faces gazes up at you from the floor of the bathroom.  It is simply fun.

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In the past I’ve been to Jaleo in the evening and with friends.  It has always been fun to order a medley of small dishes and share them.  Today I am dining alone and at lunch.  To my surprise they have an express lunch which allows you to choose from a select few options three courses for $25 – perfect.  My first course is something simple, Pan con tomate y manchego (toasted slices of rustic bread brushed with fresh tomatoes and manchego cheese).  It is simple and delicious and a nice start to my meal.

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On this day I am in the mood for something a bit spicy and potatoes.  So naturally my second course was Patatas Bravas (fried fingerling potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and aioli).  It was just right for the mood I was in.  The potatoes were fried crisp and the tomato sauce had just the right amount of bite to it.  At this time a girl in hre thirties was seated next to me with her parents.  They were fun to watch as her parents obviously didn’t understand the restaurant concept at the beginning, but by the end were ordering more tapas dishes without their daughter’s help.  They obviously were very much enjoying their meal.

My third and final course was Tortilla de Patatas (traditional Spanish omelette). I told you I was in the mood for potatoes.  It was a delightful end to a very traditional classic tapas meal.  In the past I had certainly had more elegant and elaborate tapas meals at Jaleo, but today this was just right after my morning at the museum.  Would I return to Jaleo?  Absolutely next time I am in DC.  I still haven’t tried the paella, which is on my culinary to do list.

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