2 Mar

One of my favorite weekend activities in Washington is to wander among the stalls of the Eastern Market farmers market and bizarre. There is just something about browsing local beets, baubles and beef (etc) that puts a smile on my face. This year’s less than desirable winter conditions have however kept me away for some time now. With ice covered sidewalks and chilling temperatures, the 2.5 block walk to my local Safeway has been more than enough adventure for me, thank you very much. This past Saturday however the sun was shining, so when my Dad and stepmother Nadja (who also happens to be the P&Q editor, thanks Nadj!) called to invite me on an Eastern Market outing I bundled up and joined them.

After shopping we were all a little hungry so we wondered on over to Montmartre for some brunch action. I have been to Montmartre several times for a post market brunching and tend to enjoy myself for the following reasons: 1) Dinning in the Capitol Hill Montmartre is quite similar to dinning in the Parisian Montmartre, warm and cozy with lots of European sensibilities. 2) The restaurant has a distinct neighborhood feel where regulars chat with the wait staff like old friends and lone dinners enjoy a coffee and a quiche while they browse the Post at the bar. 3) They have good food (bien sur!).

The brunch menu includes several common French café type items, a croque monsieur, a quiche of the day etc, plus a selection of entrees such as hanger steak, cod over gnocchi and the like. On this occasion I was feeling more lunch-y than brunch-y so I went with the panini, a culinary melting pot of prosciutto, spinach, bell peppers, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella and pesto. I enjoyed my choice. The ingredients added up to a really nice depth of flavors: freshness from the pesto, salt from the prosciutto, creamy-melty goodness from the cheese. My only complaint would be that the dish’s accompanying side salad was a bit of a throw away on this occasion. Other hits at our table included the aforementioned quiche and the smoked salmon eggs benedict (which I have had before and can personally give two thumbs up).

One rather stuffed panini... soon to be stuffed in me!

One of the things I enjoy about brunch at Montmartre is that the portions are just right. Instead of a massive pile of eggs, potatoes and bacon smothered in cheese, you get your main dish with a little side salad. Thus you don’t leave the restaurant in a food coma that carries you into the next work week. To be fair there has been many a morning when I have wanted that pile of cheesy potatoes (perhaps after quite a few too many beverages the night before) but on most occasions a grilled sandwich with a little greenery is just perfect. Nothing like a little taste of Paris to get your weekend started off right!


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