Organic Truths in Washington DC

Despite popular theories, I am not Amish.

I grew up in an Amish area. I was not allowed to travel more than 5 miles from home. And I worked hard as a kid. I envied those cushy sweatshop jobs in China. The ones where the kids got to be kids for two or three hours a day.

But that all that doesn’t mean that I am Amish.

My love of the plain people and their fancy desserts is well documented.

My dislike of Washington, DC is equally well documented.

But what would happen if you combined the two?

I found out last week when I visited Nora’s (, a trendy organic joint at 2132 Florida Avenue.

Now, I wasn’t looking for a trendy organic joint (as I write that, I realize it sounds like something else entirely). I was meeting a friend who was in town for a seminar, and all I wanted was a restaurant that:

1. Was right off of New York Avenue. I wasn’t driving through a traffic circle this time.
2. Had valet parking. (See above: once I found the place, I wanted to be done. I wasn’t driving through a traffic circle this time).
3. Had entrees under 50 bills.

Nora’s should put all of that on their website.

Even without those critical optimizing keywords, the restaurant was 90% full on a Thursday night.

My friend was waiting at the bar when I arrived (which tells you something about her–which is that she likes her vodka tonics–and something about me–because I was late, having forgotten that even without the circles, the city has plenty of annoying stop lights which seem just long enough to let three cars drive through). Anyway, in the time it took me to write that parenthetical bit of useless information, my friend had chatted up a local gentleman who said the restaurant was his favorite. Well, he was a local in the past, but still liked to hit the old neighborhood to enjoy a good meal (while enjoying the pretty women at the bar as well).

In addition to checking out my friend (whose motto is Better Men in 2010, if you would like to submit an application), this gentleman also was nice enough to check out the menu. He thought the chicken curry sounded good…and my friend thought so as well. That’s what she ordered. I think she liked it, although it’s sometimes hard to tell with her.

I went with the Amish veal. Why? Because the idea of something Amish in this city of stupid traffic circles and unvarnished frivolity made me laugh. And the rest room had cool murals of Amish people (at least I think that was the artist’s inspiration…the gal above looks Mennonite to me, and so does the quilt). Artistic license aside, I fell for the marketing of the dish and was pleasantly surprised when it came out.
The meal was far from Amish–the plate was a little pretty for that, and the portions a little small. But it was tasty, and the mashed potatoes underneath were a great surprise.

Because it was a girls’ dinner, we goaded each other into getting dessert (the rule here is that when you eat with girls you are honor and duty bound to get dessert. It makes up for any dinners with men where you cannot–even if you did not like your dinner and are as hungry as a horse–you cannot order anything indulgent after the main course.)

My dinner companion went for some chocolate concoction that practically gave me a migraine just from the proximity to all that cocoa.

I opted for a dessert that made my chocoholic friend’s nose turn up–rhubarb pie. I know that not everyone is a fan of rhubarb, but–being the good Pennsylvania Dutch girl that I am–nothing makes me happier than a dessert that’s more tart than sweet. And the fact that everything was organic was just icing on the cake…or a sweet lattice topping on the pie, as it were.

In fact, it was so good, I would even consider braving another drive to DC to have it again.