Washington, DC – 7/14/16 – Jaleo and Pineapple and Pearls

I happened to find myself on this block around lunch time and as somehow I had never previously visited Jaleo, decided it was a perfect time.  The G&T was exactly right for this exceedingly hot day even by DC standards.  And the two salads I ordered made for the perfect summer lunch.  Unfortunately I seem to have forgotten to take notes on the menu.  Heatstroke perhaps?

Pineapple and Pearls
There was so much that I absolutely loved about Pineapple and Pearls even though I did not walk away with the same effusive comments as many reviewers have had.  Even in seemingly well designed dining rooms I tend to not take notice unless there is something exceptional and too many these days tend to be on the generic side.  This room is easily my favorite that I have been in this year and I wanted to take almost every element home with me, from chairs to lighting fixtures to the flatware (which will be on my Christmas list this year).  It was a perfect mix of modern and mid-century modern and so well done that you could not stop looking at each element.

The fennel & absinthe one-bite bonbon started the dinner off on an excellent foot and a beautiful vintage coupe glass certainly did not hurt.  The subsequent 3 small bites were all fantastic and even the oyster I actually very much liked and they are not one of my favorite foods.  So much thought was put into the bread course that instead of being a side actually it was its own course and worthy of being such.  The egg drop soup and summer red curry were perhaps too many soups for a mid-summer menu, and while both were very good, were not great.

Upon arrival at Pineapple and Pearls guests are offered a welcome cocktail in the entry space which serves as a daytime coffee shop serving a lunch menu.  On the lunch menu, posted boldly on the wall, was fried chicken and after standing there for 5 minutes looking at the menu fried chicken was all that I could think about.  Absolutely brilliant to have a take out box in which was found a quite ‘dinner’ upscale version of a fried chicken wing.  The desserts were all excellent and as a whole far overshadowed the main courses of the menu.  The only slight disappointment were the donuts provided to go which were unfortunately stale by morning.  However the shortbread and cold brew coffee were a perfect breakfast snack and a lovely reminder of the previous night’s dinner.  The other quibble I had is that pours on drink pairings were very sparse.  I was trying to drink slowly to make small pours last through multiple courses but it was never slowly enough.  I couldn’t help but feel that I would have gladly paid for an additional glass of wine or two.

Fennel & Absinthe Bonbon

Asparagus, Pineapple & Country Ham

Baby Elotes

Oysters & Vodka

Black Pepper Pain Au Lait

Green Garlic Egg Drop

Fluke “Veronique”

Sweetbread Stuffed Chicken Wing

Summer Red Curry & Coconut Rice

Strawberry Shortcake & Brillat-Savarin

Coffee Kakigori

Crispy Buckwheat & Honeycomb Ice Cream

Chocolate Souffle