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Intermittent Notes

May 2014

May 8, 2014

Palena logoWhile we're on the subject of food in northwest DC it's worth noting the recent closing of Palena. Former White House executive Sous Chef Frank A. Ruta opened Palena in 2000, in the Cleveland Park neighborhood. The location he chose was iffy on account of parking difficulties, never resolved, and no doubt parking was a large factor in the closing. But Palena's real problem was with Ruta himself. Well known for being admired by his peers, Ruta is a culinary genius. But after a few years he stepped somewhat out of the kitchen to concentrate more on management. His food suffered. He says he belatedly realized what was happening and went back to more full-time kitchen operations but the damage had been done. Lots of his clientele left, too few returned. The money people hammered the restaurant for overdue rent. Quite suddenly, it closed. Sad, especially the photographs of all of Palena's restaurant equipment, furnishings, etc., posted online for a speedy auction...

Continue reading "Palena"...

Mark Furstenberg standing in the front window of Bread FurstIf you happen to live in upper northwest DC but are too busy to follow all the neighborhood news I have something very, very important to tell you: There's a new bakery, called Bread Furst, just opened, and it's great. There's a backstory, too. The guy who opened it, Mark Furstenberg, is 75 years old, a bread expert who wants one last try to provide DC with quality bread. The bakery opened Tuesday but was mobbed. I went in yesterday afternoon when it was raining (no crowds) and bought a couple sample items. They were outstanding. I'll try to go in early tomorrow morning to get another sampling, this time of their breakfast pastries. Assuming those are outstanding also — as of course they will be — my life will become a little less complicated; instead of semi-regular, weekend morning driving expeditions into northern Virginia or Bethesda, Maryland, for breakfast pastries, I can drive or walk just a few blocks down the street. At last, a worthy neighborhood bakery... Yippee!!!!