“Let’s get out of here and live our life,” I typed to Himself on Facebook. He in one room, I in the other, both on Facebook dwindling a hot Saturday afternoon while all three kids were out of the house. What? Are you kidding me? It is so easy to lazy away a day in front of screens, watching others live their lives as we sit and wish it were us trekking across Italy, or at the beach, or buying a new car. So we jumped up, got in the car and spent the afternoon into the evening at two places recommended to us by my cousin who is a Belgium beer importer. ChurchKey DC upstairs to Birch & Barley was where we started our night with some beers and a small plate of Potato Croquettes- I always need a little food when I have a drinky-poo. I was so pleased they had 4 ounce servings of beer as that is about all I can handle! Himself had a smoky beer that was like drinking bacon. Not my kind of beer. But I had a nice light and crispy glass of Allagash. Perfect.
That little beer gave me a pretty good appetite, so after pumping more change into the parking meter, we headed downstairs to Birch & Barely for dinner. The atmosphere was relaxing with its wood, brick, and stone features highlighted by flickering candlelight. What impressed me more so than my dinner, which was a spectacular pasta dish, was the Cucumber Melon Salad that was so refreshing and bursting with flavor that I asked the server for the recipe. While he did not give her exact measurements, the chef did let her in on how it was prepared. With a few substitutes, I got close enough, and Himself and I had it again with our dinner last night.
Cucumber Melon Salad
1 cup diced cantaloupe
1 cup diced honeydew melon
1 cup sliced and halved cucumber
1 T. spearmint leaves
1 T. small basil leaves
1 T. small dill springs
3 T. olive oil
1 T. white balsamic vinegar
pinch Kosher salt
1/2 cup Marcona almonds, toasted
In a large bowl toss fruit with herbs. Whisk together oil, vinegar, and salt and toss gently with fruit. To toast nuts, place in a hot dry skillet and heat until the nuts just start to brown and release their aroma. Top salad with nuts.
If you are ever in DC and want to have access to 500+ bottled beers, an educated staff who can pair any of your dishes with the perfect beer or wine, an ever-changing fresh menu, and creative and beautifully presented food, give Birch & Barley a try.