Well, it’s finally happening. The inauguration, I mean. Just when you thought “Phew! Thank god I made it through those political discussions with my crazy relatives over the holidays,” the ride has yet to even take off. Amid CNN specials with titles such as “The End” and the outpour on social media of post-Obama administration mourning, many people are feeling a lump in their throats caused by (1) sadness and (2) fear of the rollercoaster our country is now strapped into. How do we escape? How do we find comfort in this political state? Have some perspective. Think back to Obama’s words on election night – “no matter what happens, the sun will rise in the morning.” While you should be educating yourself and getting involved in local politics (or joining me at the women’s march in DC on Saturday), you should also take the time to appreciate the people you care about most. Not a single part of your Friday has to include watching a moldy orange become leader of the free world. You already know the outcome. And while it is important to go out and fight for something you believe in, we should also continue to work towards that Barry O optimism. In this particular post, I’m referring to appreciating your significant other (or a good friend is a worthy substitute). Take them on a date. A real date. A candles and conversation kind of date. A date where you turn off your phone and forget about the rest of the world for a few hours sans political drama. You could make dinner or get takeout and have a cozy night in while listening to your favorite records. Alternatively, you could go out to dinner at a restaurant specializing in another country’s cuisine. Pretend you’re thousands of miles away together. Whatever you decide to do for dinner, make sure it’s a romantic and intimate escape. And if you happen to be in the DC/Virginia/Baltimore area, I’ve got you covered. Tucked away on a quiet street in Georgetown is Chez Billy Sud. Because nothing puts you in a trance like puff pastry and garlic butter, am I right?
This quaint French restaurant will help you slip away from reality for a night and transport you to a classic unspoiled gem in Paris. Be advised that making a reservation is a must (Michelle Obama ate here so you know…). They also play amazing background music. When I last went, they were playing Django Reinhardt—a personal favorite who I have on repeat every time I tour in France. (Side rant, I personally can’t stand when a restaurant plays music that doesn’t match the type of food being served. Justin Bieber at a classy oyster bar? C’mon man.)
If you do end up eating here on Friday (or any time soon), make sure to order the escargot. Theirs comes in puff pastry with roasted mushrooms and garlic herb butter. The kicker is the pureed mushrooms and shallots they put underneath. Describing it doesn’t do it justice. This dish literally releases endorphins.
And who would I be to not talk about artisanal cocktails? I’ve had the Royal Tennenbaum made with plymouth gin, cocchi (pronounced “Coke-y”) americano, zirbinz, and a rosemary sprig. Michelle likes a good French 75, so the French 77 with saint-germane elderflower liqueur, crément de limoux, lemon, and nv brut was Steve Carell’s perfect combination of sexy and cute.
An appetizer I HIGHLY recommend is the smoked bluefish rillettes. For those thinking WTF is/are rillettes, just imagine pâté…meat, fish or poultry that’s been chopped up and cooked in its own fat, olive oil, or butter. YUM. These were layered with crème fraîche, horseradish, dill, and salmon roe. Definitely one of the tastiest items on the menu. Enjoy it with their perfect salade verte and you’re good on appetizers. Unless you’re me, in which case you get too excited and decide to order a whole plate of “frites” that aren’t even on the menu. It’s the simple things.
I should probably also mention that their entrees are superb, especially paired with a solid French wine. Michelle and I have tried the seared duck breast, a spin on a classic, and the herb crusted tuna, much more modern. The chances of you going wrong here are slim to none.
And when you are done with dinner but still want to linger (and digest all that rich goodness), the restaurant has a cozy bar right next door called Bar à vin. The eccentric bartenders will find you the perfect digestif to sip by the fire as you sit next to your date and continue to forget about the American government for the night.
P.S. If you live somewhere else and need suggestions, tweet at me and I’ll help you find the perfect spot.