Mitsitam Cafe at NMAI

I arrived to DC on the 19th, after a full night of travel to compete in the “Native Iron Chef Cook Off”.  My duties start on the 22nd, so with some time to kill, I start exploring off close to what brings me to DC.

Full plate at the Mitsitam Cafe

Lunch at the Mitsitam Cafe, National Museum of the American Indian.  Four years ago I catered a film release here.  Every day for three days I got to eat a lunch here, this was very exciting!

The food standards are high — sourcing from First Nation tribes when available, contemporary spins on traditional dishes, really fresh, healthy foods.
My lunch consisted of four tastes: seabean-asparagus salad, wild rice salad, cactus, pepper and mushroom ragout and adzuki bean-turkey chili.
People comment on the pricing, but coming from Alaska, the quantity of food and quality it seems pretty reasonable to me. Furthermore they have a huge selection of First nations foods, and a great beverage list that includes beer and wine.

For dinner I ate at Top Chef alumni-Mike Isabella’s restaurant,  Graffiato.

This was a treat, for starters I was frisked and given the metal detector wand as there was a “VIP” inside.  There were 4 black suburbans and at least 8 peeps with guns and headsets.  Rumor was it was the First Lady, but I didn’t see her, the party was upstairs.
To top that the food was amazing!  I started with a Burrata salad-heirloom tomatoes, aged balsamic and burrata cheese-think fresh mozzarella but “gooey-er”.
For entree I had the Countryman, a black truffle based pie with fontina cheese and a perfect egg-cooked in an immersion circulator at 64 degrees and held at 52 for service.
The pizza was cooked in a Woodstone brick oven at 650, the dough was sourdoughish with a great pull and substance.

The place itself was super sexy, 24 bar seats total, eight that belly up to the bar, the remaining to the open kitchen.  Polished cement floor, exposed brick and beams.  This place was meant for business and it delivers.

While on this coast I will be doing further R and D for a restaurant project I am working on, the cook off on Sunday and Monday brings me to New York for the day, where further food geeking will include a visit to the Food Network studio.

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