Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spend Valentine's Day with José Andrés (Indirectly, of Course!)

I make no secret of my affinity for José Andrés; so if you haven't made plans for Valentine's Day yet (and shame on you, if that's the case) here's four of the best places in town to call and beg for a reservation. Keep in mind, begging is optional. Besides, there's always Shake Shack, right?

America Eats Tavern (

America Eats Tavern, located at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, VA, will offer a special four-course tasting menu on Valentine's Day (along with a Sweethearts brunch all weekend), celebrating local and regional flavors, inspired by some of the country's most historic dishes. For $75 per person, Head Chef Nate Waugaman's menu will include:

First Course ­- Choice of two to share:
•  Hushpuppies
•  Oysters Rockefeller
•  Steak Tartare
•  Vermicelli Mac & Cheese

Second Course - Choice of:
•  Harvard Beet Salad
•  Butternut Soup
•  Waldorf Salad

Third Course ­- Choice of:
•  Seared Scallops - Walnut Catsup, Stone Ground Grits, Toasted Walnuts
•  Mutton with Oysters - Braised Lamb Neck, Fried Oysters, Cottage Fries, Oyster Catsup
•  Grilled Delmonico Steak for 2 ­ Delmonico Potatoes, Glazed Carrots & Parsnips, Herb Butter
•  Mushroom Chicken and Rice for 2 ­ Cranberry Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower Casserole

Dessert ­- Choice of:
•  Martha Washington's Chocolate Cake
•  Lemon Meringue

Additionally, America Eats Tavern will offer a special Sweethearts Brunch on the Saturday of, and the Sunday following Valentine's Day, in addition to regular brunch service. At $50 per couple, the brunch includes:

Drinks ­- Choice of:
•  Bellini
•  Mimosa

Choice of:
•  Mini Tarts ­ Lemon, chocolate-caramel sea salt
•  Doughnuts ­ served with blackberry jam

Choice of:
•  Eggs a la Benedick ­ slow-poached eggs, English muffin, pork belly, hollandaise sauce
•  Shrimp 'n' Grits ­ Byrd Mills Grits, Meadow Reserve cheddar cheese, pearl onion petals, ham hock
•  Vermicelli "Mac" 'n' Cheese ­ prepared like pudding
•  Waffles a la Mode ­ mini waffles, vanilla bean ice cream, blueberries
•  Smoked Salmon Bagel ­ capers, onions, cream cheese

Jaleo (

All three DC-area Jaleos will offer a special Valentine's Day à la carte menu in the spirit of José's native Spain. Jaleo DC's menu includes:

•  Esferas de sangria de cava y rosas ­ Rose petal of white sangria $3
•  Ostras con caviar ­ Rappahannock oysters with caviar $18
•  Higado de Pato ­ Foie gras terrine with apple purée and toast $12
•  Ensalada de bogavante con puree de coliflor y naranja sanguinea ­ Chilled lobster salad with cauliflower purée, blood oranges and pomegranate $14
•  Arroz con bogavante y butifarra ­ Surf and turf rice with lobster and sausage $12
•  Cordero a la brasa con salsa de romero ­ Grilled lamb t-bones with rosemary sauce $14
•  Presa ibérica de bellota cruda con praliné ­ Acorn-fed pork 'presa' carpaccio with lemon dressing and pine nut praline
•  Pastel caliente de chocolate con sorbet de frambuesa ­ Warm chocolate mousse cake with raspberry sorbet $9
•  Sopa de frutas rojas con helado de queso ­ Wild red berry soup with Idiazábal cheese ice cream $8

Menus for Jaleo Crystal City and Bethesda are also available.

Oyamel (

This Valentine's Day, José invites guests to a romantic and festive Valentine's Day at Oyamel, combining the flavors of Mexico's regional diversity with the modern fare of Mexico City. Menu highlights include:   

First Course -­ Choice of:
•  Erizo de Mar with Mamey Granita
•  Live Scallop Citrico

Second Course ­- Choice of:
•  Ensalada Noche Buena
•  Ensalada Manzaza Navidad

Third Course ­- Choice of:
•  Lobster Pozole
•  Yucca Dumplings con Frijol

Fourth Course ­- Choice of (plates for two):
•  Beef Strip Loin chilmole, bone marrow, picadas, chayote salsa verde
•  Whole Branzino al ajo, salsa Mexicana, pickled onions
•  Lamb birria with Rack and Breast, frijoles, herb Salad

Dessert ­- Choice of:
•  Tres Leches
•  Flan de Comote 

Zaytinya (

Zaytinya invites guests to visit the Eastern Mediterranean this Valentine's Day, with a menu available a la carte or at $75 per person:

•  Olde Salts Oysters ­ Lindera honey vinegar, green apple, baharat $15
•  Lobster Kritharakia ­ orzo pasta, tomato, feta $18
•  Papiatopita ­ braised duck, foie gras, house-made phyllo $18
•  Lamb Bacon ­ sweet gem lettuce, kohlrabi tzatziki, dill $10
•  Bone Marrow Kibbeh ­ beef and bulgur wheat fritters, almonds, pine nuts, za'atar labneh $11
•  Chocolate Rose ­ Valrhona chocolate pudding, blood orange, cardamom cream $8

About José Andrés' ThinkFoodGroup:
ThinkFoodGroup, founded by award-winning chef José Andrés and his partner Rob Wilder, is the creative team responsible for renowned dining concepts in Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami and Puerto Rico, including minibar by José Andrés, Jaleo at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and The Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS Hotel Beverly Hills and South Beach. The company also oversees all of the creative and educational efforts for José Andrés, an internationally recognized culinary innovator, passionate advocate for food and hunger issues, author, educator, and television personality. Named to Time's "100 Most Influential" list and awarded Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation, Andrés is credited with creating the "Spanish food boom" in America. He is the Dean of the Spanish Studies program at the International Culinary Center, and was host and executive producer of Made in Spain on PBS. His cookbooks include Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America. Andrés has taught at Harvard and George Washington University. In late 2010, José Andrés and ThinkFoodGroup launched World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit, which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world. For more information, visit