Just got back from the Jose Andres Greek creation Zaytinya in Washington D.C. The trip was brief, but very informative and a great learning opportunity. I had the chance to work with some fun new ingredients, and experienced a totally different style of cooking from what I'm accustomed to.
The snow took many of the taxi companies off the road. This is the line at the train station for the single taxi cab left in D.C. Ok, maybe there were a few more, but not many! Wonderful start to the day!
Zaytina does some big numbers - average of 500 covers on the weekdays and up to 1000 on the weekend nights. Not a problem when you've got a kitchen crew of nearly 60 people!
They roast these lamb shoulders over their grill everyday starting at 8am. By the time they're ordered, they've been slowly roasting for 12 hours or so. 75 bucks will get a whole one for you - carved table side...
The cooks called this guy Senor Pan. His job was to literally make bread all. day. long. This is him working on some "Air Bread" in the wood stone oven. The bread puffs up to be completely hollow inside and is used for Jose Andres' "Philly Cheesesteak" at Minibar. Cool huh?
They were nice enough to send me out a few courses after my shift. Food was delicious! Incredibly simple and refreshing. Nothing felt heavy or overbearing.
Various spreads...hummus, baba ganoush, labneh, tzatziki. Taramosalata: cod roe whipped into a tangy creme fraiche - awesome.
All their bread is baked to order - imagine pulling that one off for 1000 people a night!
By far the best brussels sprouts I've ever had. Oven roasted and served with barrberries, coriander seed, and a garlicky lemon yogurt. Mmm mmm good!!
Octopus was great and really tender. Braised in red wine vinegar first. Then flashed on the grill. They paired it with a fava puree, capers, and pickled onion.
Cous cous with confit of quail leg, cranberries, and winter squash. Poached quail egg and seared quail breast on top. Homey and delicious!
Remember that roasted lamb shoulder? Anything left over at the end of the night goes into these little babies. House made filo and feta. Sublime.
I had just enough time after service to make a mad dash through the snow (literally getting stuck in it several times on the way there) to see Abe. Security lady made a perfect impromptu photographer. Great end to an awesome trip!
*Next up: Popcorn Ice Cream! Get excited.
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