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ArJewTino

“Latins are tenderly enthusiastic. In Brazil, they throw flowers at you. In Argentina, they throw themselves." -- Marlene Dietrich

$30.06 for Gazpacho and Cotton Candy? Now THAT'S a deal!



Don’t ever eat gazpacho.

I don’t care how nice the restaurant is where you buy it or if they throw lobster in it, gazpacho reminds me of what marinara sauce would look like if you scraped it off a leftover pizza box after three days, blended it on the “puree” setting, and served it in a fancy bowl.

This culinary judgment call comes courtesy of Monday night’s dining experience at Finn and Porter’s, where I met some of my friends for the beginning of Washington DC’s Restaurant Week (for those who do not live in DC, this is a week when “fancy” DC restaurants serve a reduced-price menu to attract new clientele; for $30.06, you get a three-course meal of food you otherwise would need to pay for by emptying out your 401(k)).

Thanks to my friend Ting’s mad forward-thinking, reservation-getting skillz, we got into F&P at 8pm. I was surprised not to see too many people dining there, until I realized we were by the new convention center on 10th St. Who the hell ever hangs out on 10th St. unless you’re a tourist? And how many tourists even know what, let alone when, DC’s Restaurant Week is? Even I often don’t remember until everyone I know starts talking about it.

The best thing about RW is going to a fancy place and paying less. The worst thing, though, is facing off with an undertipped, surly waitstaff. Thanks to F&P’s half-empty dining hall, though, we had a very pleasant staff that brought plenty of stale bread and tepid water.

Shortly after sitting down, we were accosted by an extremely eager sommelier who nearly bullied me into ordering a $200 bottle of wine for $160. He was so persuasive that it would have been the smartest financial decision I would ever make that I almost considered it. I have to give him points for tenacity, but, hello? We were there for the Restaurant Week deal! If we could afford a $200 Merlot we could have afforded to dine somewhere better. Mr. Hyper-Sommelier was very entertaining, though, and didn’t even grunt when we decided to share a $32 bottle of red. AND I learned a new word.

After making faces at the lobster gazpacho, I tasted A-Train's Vietnamese lettuce wraps (thanks for sharing, A-Train), which were delicious. My entrée, the Grilled Rockfish, was superb, even if it did come with creamy cannelini beans I could have bought at Whole Foods. The dessert was an espresso chocolate soufflé, followed by a complimentary bowl of white cotton candy and pirouettes. I never thought that carnival fare could be classed up just by taking out the pink coloring and setting it in a fancy bowl. But it can. What’s next? Cracker Jack on china? Giant lollipops in a champagne flute?

In the end, we left a generous tip. Not so much because we’re generous people, but because our table was so loud and we cackled about raunchy subjects that would make a whore blush, that it was the least we could do. If we didn’t have work the next day, I’m sure a game of flip cup with wine glasses would have broken out. As Traci said, “You can dress this up all you want, but it’s still just us.”
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