Thursday, March 19, 2009

Liberty Tavern

Generally I try to avoid brunch buffets. They're usually overpriced and consist of food that has been dried out sitting on hot plates all morning. Liberty Tavern, in Clarendon, is an exception.

Liberty Tavern serves a bountiful amount of fresh food, both hot and cold, at their (unsurprisingly) popular Sunday buffet for a reasonable $17. The buffet begins with homemade mulled hot apple cider, which, other than coffee or fresh squeezed OJ, is perhaps the only acceptable non-alcoholic brunch beverage. At least two dozen buffet items follow, most of which are fairly original and well-prepared. Their homemade frittata with tomatoes, rapini, and mozzarella and their inventive pizza with prosciutto, apples, and sauteed onions were highlights. Most of their other hot dishes were made with interesting ingredients to distinguish them from ordinary buffet items. The scrambled eggs were combined with a touch of cream and applewood smoked bacon. The potato gratin had broccoli and sharp white cheddar. And there is a carving station with roasted turkey and pork loin with assorted gravies (the turkey is recommended).

For the cold dishes, I was immediately impressed by their Irish smoked salmon, which had a good amount of accompaniments. The salmon was fresh, though a little salty. They have assorted homemade breads and cakes -- my favorite was a cranberry pound cake with walnuts, which produced a really nice salty-sweet combination. And they have a few forgettable pasta salads.

Perhaps the biggest draw is there dessert buffet, featuring a large selection of vintage candy, such as whoppers milk balls, bit-o-honey, neccos, dots, and my personal favorite Mike and Ikes. That was complemented by a homemade shoofly pie which was sweet and delicious.

The coffee, which is not included in the buffet price, comes in a very elaborate presentation. It features a 3-serving french press with an hourglass that informs you when it is time to press the coffee. The resulting brew is nice and rich with a flavorful aroma.

Contact information after the jump. Continue reading.

Liberty Tavern
3195 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201
Sample brunch menu.

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Monday, March 2, 2009


[Ed. note: A shorter version of this review appears on Wonkabout.]

There are many fine upscale pizza places in D.C. Only one of them has an all-you-can-drink mimosa deal for only $9 at brunch. Sure, the "champagne" is Andre - - the Two-Buck-Chuck of sparkling wine -- reminiscent of sorority formals where that stuff flowed like water. Unlike sorority formals, however, RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria in Columbia Heights also serves exceptional pizza.

Red Rocks has a small brunch menu that they serve alongside their regular menu. The brunch menu has some ordinary items like French toast, waffles, and scrambled eggs, but also has more inventive offerings, which make good use of its wood-fired oven. Their "sunrise pizza" features a fried egg, well-seasoned breakfast potatoes, parmesan, and herbs, which is then cooked in their pizza oven. The resulting pizza has crispy cheese on the top while the dough remains soft inside. Nonetheless, it is a little dry, and could have been improved with a sauce; ask for a side of their excellent marinara. Their omelet is untraditional -- it is large circlular and unfolded, resumbling an egg pizza. The "pizza omelet," filled with green peppers, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni, fennel sausage, and mozerella was an excellent choice, with crispy fillings well-complimented by the creamy mozerella and eggs.

The pizzas off the regular menu are prepared with fresh ingredients. My favorite is the pesto pizza with really good homemade pesto, fresh mozzarella, ricotta, and cherry tomatoes. The "Funghi" is also a good choice. It contains mushrooms, fontina cheese, parsley, garlic, and cherry tomatoes.

RedRocks has a small collection of appetizers. Most of them are fairly starchy, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense if you're going to also order a pizza. Nonetheless, their mussels with marinara stand out as a decent choice.

Contact information after the jump. Continue Reading.

RedRocks Firebrick Pizzeria
1036 Park Road, NW
Washington, D.C. 20010
(202) 506-1402

Sunday, March 1, 2009


[Ed. Note: This weekend I was invited to attend a food bloggers brunch at the Meritage, the restaurant at the North Bethesda Marriott. The purpose of the brunch was for local food bloggers to get together and to give us the opportunity to describe the restaurant to our readers. Thus, consider this a description rather than a review.]

The Sunday brunch at Meritage features both a hot and cold buffet, coffee, and one mimosa, bloody mary, or glass of champagne for $24.95.

The buffet is extensive. It has a cold antipasto bar featuring various salad ingredients and prepared salads such as a shrimp salad and a cherry tomato and mozzarella salad. The cold offerings also include a shellfish displace with shrimp cocktail and crab claws -- shells pre-cut and with two dipping sauces. It also has smoked salmon with accouterments, and a tapas selection including roasted peppers, olives, sundried tomatoes, and others.

The hot buffet has various breakfast items like scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage. It also has chicken and fish entrees that change weekly as well as homemade potato pancakes and blintzes. To complement that, there is a omelet station with a variety of choices, and there is a carving station with roast beef and turkey with a choice of sauces.

For dessert they have a large variety of cakes, pastries, and pies as well as a large fondue selection with a tower of liquid chocolate. They also have mini creme brulees.

The hotel is situated across the street from the White Flint red line metro station in North Bethesda.

Contact information after the jump. Continue reading.

The Meritage at the North Bethesda Marriott
5701 Marinelli Road
North Bethesda, Maryland 20852
(301) 822-9234
Brunch menu

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