Ensconced on the ground floor of the Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC, Michael Mina’s fine American-style steakhouse venerates the whole cow. In addition to treating cuts of meat with the utmost respect, the restaurant offers a dedicated cheese menu – a treat for visiting vegetarians. Six artisanal cheeses from as many states are on offer. Order a cheese flight as part of a multicourse meal, or enjoy the platter with one (or more) of the restaurant’s 20+ wines available by the glass in the hotel’s atmospheric lounge.
The team at this fine kitchen inside the Park Hyatt Washington is so committed to applauding the craft of regional food producers that each supplier gets marquee-style billing on the menu. At the Blue Duck Tavern, the cheese flight is one of the stars of the dessert menu, a dish that easily rubs shoulders with the restaurant’s famous apple pie. Fresh and aged American cheeses also appear at the continental breakfast buffet and in the adjacent lounge as part of a nightly presentation on the tea-to-cocktail menu.
Diners in search of a power perch on Capitol Hill find exceptional service, fine American food and a wine list deep enough (3,500 bottles) to make the French blush at Charlie Palmer’s formal American restaurant located one block from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. A variety of artisanal American cheese is also available as flights of three and five selections with wines to match on the lounge’s fun-loving menu (think lobster corn dogs and mini burgers) and dessert menus.
Romance abounds at this special-occasion American restaurant captained by Eric Zebold at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The atmosphere and service is as whisper-quiet as the wheels on their elegant cheese trolley. Here, multi-course meals are the norm. And really, once you’ve committed to six, why not add a seventh course? Discretely nod at your server to supplement a cheese flight. You select from the marbled, moldy and mild. And while you’re at it, add a wine flight to match. A cheese plate is also offered in the tony Empress Lounge during afternoon tea time, and after 8 p.m. on weekends when a jazz ensemble sets a date-worthy mood.
The oldest public food market in the city is a trusted year-round source of cheeses. Make a beeline for Bowers Fancy Dairy Products and order a selection. This family-run stall has been offering a vast selection of fine international cheeses –and dolling out substantial samples since 1964. Consider them dairy ambassadors. Round out your food pyramid with stops at vendors like Market Lunch for crab cakes and soft shell crabs (in season), Canales Delicatessen for prosciutto, and Fine Sweet Shop for Bergman cookies to round out your food pyramid. Eastern Market is easily accessible by Metro and an easy walk to the U.S. Capitol, and the National Mall beyond.
The oldest public food market in the city is a trusted year-round source of cheeses. Make a beeline for Bowers Fancy Dairy Products and order a selection. This family-run stall has been offering a vast selection of fine international cheeses –and dolling out substantial samples since 1964. Consider them dairy ambassadors. Round out your food pyramid with stops at vendors like Market Lunch for crab cakes and soft shell crabs (in season), Canales Delicatessen for prosciutto, and Fine Sweet Shop for Bergman cookies. Eastern Market is easily accessible by Metro and an easy walk to the U.S. Capitol, and the National Mall beyond.
An American brasserie overlooking the open courtyard at the Hotel Monaco is an excellent respite from a day of sightseeing or pre-game before a basketball game at the nearby Verizon Center. A flight of farmstead cheeses pops up on the dessert menu, accompanied by pumpernickel-raisin bread and seasonal compotes. While sampler is generous enough to make an indulgent meal, we recommend it is followed by another flight: the house-baked cookie board. Cheese-heads are in search of a more substantive meal, might supplement with the cheese-topped French onion soup or the rich (and cheesy) Croque Madame might satisfy?
Opened in 2012, the city’s first new artisanal market in over a century showcases the bounty of the mid-Atlantic watershed as well as the dynamic entrepreneurialism of Washingtonians. Locals come to do their weekly grocery shopping and indulge, as out-of-towners will, in a fantastical dine-around at the 20+ indoor vendors. Pause for a knish at Buffalo & Bergen; slurp the freshly shucked at Rappahannock River Oysters; nibble on a fiery Korean-style taco at TaKorean or a take on a two-handed grinder from Red Apron Butchers. Just don’t skip the cheese flights paired with wine, beer or fruity house-made sodas at the fist-pumpingly perfect Righteous Cheese counter.
This ingredient-driven wine bar in the “new” U neighborhood offers snacks, entrees, charcuterie and hefty cheese boards paired thoughtfully with wines. Some folks build an informal meal around a cheese flight, it’s easy to add “garnishes” like pickled vegetables, olives and toasted almonds or spicy-salty cashews. We recommend pairing the international cheeses with bocce balls. There are gravelly courts near the backyard bar (first-come, first-served). Pick up some tips for the locals and challenge new friends to a match. Just keep an eye on your Goat Gouda.