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In August, Everything Is Just Peachy

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Peaches are at their peak—juicy, flavorful, delicious. Enjoying one fresh as a snack is always a treat, but area chefs are being more creative, adding local peaches to special menu offerings. So don’t wait! Visit one of the following restaurants to enjoy peaches in appetizers, entrees, and desserts.

Bastille

Michelle and Christophe Poteaux, the husband-wife team behind Bastille in Old Town Alexandria, are known for using locally sourced ingredients for their French-inspired dishes. Both chefs, who spent time at top restaurants in California, collaborated on sweet and savory dishes while at Aquarelle in the Watergate Hotel. That flavor combination defines the peach offerings at Bastille this month. And please don’t restrict your Bastille visit to August. Visiting the restaurant is like spending time dining in the French countryside with a building that resembles a country farmhouse. Inside, the decor continues the ambiance with dark wood walls, rustic tables and chairs, and country fabrics. One tip: Bastille needs a fulltime bartender. Having the wait staff prepare special cocktails leads to less than attentive service.

I began my meal with a salad—warm goat cheese cromesqui, with organic mesclun, local peachs, and pecans. This dish managed to bring together all my favorite food groups—greens, cheese, fruit, and nuts—in one incredible combination. The colors were brilliant, the textures varied. The goat cheese was crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, while the grilled peaches were carmelized and tender without being soft. The toasted pecans provided the necessary crunch. We could consume this dish year round.

For the main course, I enjoyed a truly spectacular dish, housemade Moullard confit duck leg, honey lavender gastrique sauce, confit new potatoes and garlic in duck fat, grilled local peaches. Duck is often prepared with fruit—cherries, blackberries, plums, apples. Peaches are a less frequent choice, but a brilliant one, particularly when the peaches are succulent and full of flavor. Kudos to the local farmers! And these peaches truly had to be fabulous to stand up to the main star, the duck with a crispy skin and tender meat. The supporting cast—the potatoes, the garlic, and the lavender gastrique sauce—completed a perfectly balanced and marvelous dish.

We love peach desserts. Michelle’s reputation as a pastry chef set the bar high and we were not disappointed. Bastille’s peach tartin was heavenly—light, sweet, and the candied ginger added just the right amount of spice. The perfect end to a peach perfect meal.

Bastille is located at 1201 North Royal Street, Alexandria. To make a reservation, call 703-519-3776 or go to the Bastille website.

Blue Duck Tavern

We are fans of Blue Duck Tavern and so were delighted to see that Executive Chef Sebastien Archambault and Chef de Cuisine John Melfi had entered the peach sweepstakes. The menu only included one dish, but it was a winner: crispy fried veal sweetbreads with bourbon-marinated peaches and roasted Path Valley Farm sweet peppers. As our server noted, sweetbreads are not easy to prepare, particularly when they are fried and can be soggy.

The Blue Duck version remained crispy and held up to the other ingredients while allowing the other flavors to come through. Here the sweet peaches, with bourbon no less, were the perfect counterpoint to the tart peppers. We could easily have enjoyed this dish as a main course, rather than an appetizer. Excellent!

Blue Duck Tavern is located at 1201 24th Street NW in the Park Hyatt Hotel. For reservations or more information, call 202-419-6755 or go to the Blue Duck Tavern website.

We are still working our way through the other area restaurants celebrating peaches in August. Here are the other eateries in the mix:

Station 4

Planning to take in a Nationals game or a play at Arena Stage? Then dine beforehand at nearby Station 4. Throughout the month of August, the restaurant is offering a Peach Tasting Menu prepared by Executive Chef Orlando Amaro. The six-course prix fixe menu includes: Blue Point oysters in an onion-peach mignonette; seared scallops with pickled peach on cilantro salad; seared fois gras with roasted peaches and summer truffle juice as well as peach tartin with crème fraiche and basil sorbet. Station 4 also is offering a refreshing peach sangria to enjoy with the meal or on its own.

The prix fixe menu ($38 per person, minimum two guests per order) is available exclusively during dinner service from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m..  For reservations call 202-488-0987 or please visit the Station 4 website.

701 Restaurant

If you plan to dine during August at 701 Restaurant, then make sure to try the peach offering by Executive Chef Ed Witt—an heirloom tomato salad of basil, pickled peaches and caramelized banana peppers, topped with star anise cracklings. The restaurant, known for its innovative modern Continental cuisine, is steps from Capitol Hill and the White House at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW. For reservations, please call 202-393-0701 or visit the 701 Restaurant website.

1789

Just reading through the peach offerings at 1789 from Executive Chef Anthony Lombardo and newly-appointed Pastry Chef Justine Sullivan, makes our mouth water. The choices include: Peaches and Burrata, thinly sliced peaches drizzled with aged balsamic served with grilled bread and imported Burrata; The Boot’s Best themed cheese plate, a selection of Pecorino Romano (Sardinia, Italy) and Taleggio (Lombardia, Italy), served with coriander raisin toast, spiced walnuts and peach thyme jam; and Summer Peach Crème Brulée, Saint Germain macerated peaches, almond butter cake and peach Prosecco sorbet. 1789 Restaurant is located in the heart of Georgetown at 1226 36th Street, NW. Reservations can be made by calling 202-965-1789. For additional information please visit the 1789 website.

Bibiana

Dessert is also the main peach offering from Ashok Bajaj’s Italian restaurant Bibiana. Pastry Chef Jemil Gadea has created Zabaglione, seasonal fruit served with Prosecco Zabaglione, white peach sorbet and topped with sponge cake “croutons.”  Bibiana is located at 1100 New York Avenue, NW. For reservations, cal 202-216-9550 or visit the Bibiana website.

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